Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lakes Country Triathlon- Race Report

Confession: before breaking down the data I was feeling somewhat pouty/discouraged upon first viewing my times from this race which made me less ambitious about sharing them with you all. Now that I've gotten over that....

Swim- 21:45 (1/2mile)
T1- 2:02
Bike- 1:06:13 (17 Miles)
T2- 00:42
Run- 40:55 (3.9Miles)
Total- 2:11:37

Getting to Baxter, MN in time for packet pick-up and body marking meant being on the road at 4:30 a.m. Ouch. Thankfully what sleep I did get was solid. The drive there was beautiful. Cold morning temperatures lead to stunning fog lifting off of the lakes that seemed to blanket everything around us. Other than the risk of being hit by a motorist due to reduced visibility, I would love to bicycle in fog like that. Maybe sometime this fall.

Once we arrived it was readily apparent that this race was larger in attendance than any of the other triathlons we took part in this year. That only added to the excitement & opportunities to drool over more pretty tri-bikes.

Jeremy's dad helped us unload and took pictures as we went through our ritual of laying out transition gear and checking tire pressure. After that we headed across to the beach for the usual pre-race meeting in which we used the time to "test" the water and visit with a few of the guys we've gotten to know from other races.

Swim- My Beloved was in one of the beginning heats so I stood on shore shivering and trying not to worry about how far the buoys were out there until the ladies 35 & under wave was ready to go. As the minutes passed I started to realize I was hungry. Bummer, I had made the mistake of eating breakfast too early on the trip over. At least I had shot-bloks waiting for me on the bike.

The gun went off and I positioned myself in the best spot I could find. Closer to the middle then I would have preferred,but it was okay. For about the first 1/8 of a mile I was struggling to find a breathing pattern and getting focused. Feeling the weeds that had been churned up by the other heats getting caught around my neck as I swam didn't help. On the upside being in the water and actually swimming made the distance of the buoys seem a lot more attainable.

The swim was tiring, the ladies almost petting me as they passed was weird & the weeds were annoying, but alas I made it. Woohoo!!! I can swim 1/2 mile in open water. :)

T1- The pirate flag Jeremy got for us was perfect for helping me spot our transition site. As I headed over I could tell that I wasn't going to transition as fast as last race, but that was to be expected given the distance of the swim. The idea of shot-bloks never seemed so appealing. I popped one in my mouth and headed out for the ride.

Bike- Within the first few pedals outside of T1 my shot-bloks went flying. I hadn't placed them as securely in my trip-top as I thought. Hearing the packet hit the ground made my stomach cry and freak out the riders around me.

After that the ride felt decent and I was able to keep at a good clip until the soreness I had felt in my hip earlier last week started to nag me and send a few sharp pings down my thigh. Between needing fuel and the muscle cramping I knew my hopes to hold to the 17.5 average I had kept last weekend just wasn't possible this time around. It was disappointing to see so many people pass, but I didn't leave anything on the table and still managed to pass a handful of people
on the uphills.

T2- On the way into T2 Papa Rick was there shooting pics with his spiffy Nikon and cheering me on. This lifted me up. All I can say is a huge thank-you to Hammer Nutrition for donating the raspberry gels (the backup fuel I almost didn't set out) to this tri. Another great t2 and I was off to the run.

Run- It was a bit of a slog at first. Always is until your body decides that, yes, those muscles truly do exist and you can use them now.
A 1/2 mile in I met up with Jeremy and we cheered each other on. :) Once I reached the firstmile mark I took the gel figuring it would settle best then. It tasted awesome and helped energize me. Eventually I locked into what I felt was a maintainable pace and despite my right toes thinking they needed to curl their way under my foot (Yeah, that was a wee bit painful) I was able to hold to it. Toward the end of the run two deer came out of the woods and ran beside me for a few yards. That was unexpected and delightful.

Finish- I didn't kill myself sprinting like a mad-woman this finish as I typically do. Honestly, I didn't have the energy. I definitely picked up the pace though and was able to finish strong.

As I said earlier, I had hoped to have a stronger race to end this tri-season. That being said I'm still thrilled that I was able to accomplish as much as I have in my first year of participating in triathlons. They were three great races and I enjoyed them all. Each one for different reasons.

What's next? Well, foot races are just starting for us now. I head to my hometown tonight and plan to do a 7mile training run tomorrow morning in prep. for the Dick Beardlsey 1/2 marathon on the 6th of Sept.

As a side note: I'm sure there will be some fun photos of this race to share once my hubby and father-in-law get back from sailing and I'm able to upload them from his camera. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Young Life Triathlon - Race Report

This Saturday Jeremy and I competed in the Young Life Triathlon.
After several solid training runs & a few great swim sessions last week I was feeling pretty confident going into it. Some self doubt began to settle in later Friday night when I started to over-think the open water swim. I did what I could to distract myself by focusing on other things like making sure we had all of our gear ready to go. That seemed to work. Once everything was laid out &/or loaded we crawled into bed savoring what sleep we could before the alarm went off.

I woke up to the sound of my alarm, the backup alarm, going off. On race-day my alarm means two things, #1. Jeremy set his on the m-f setting again & #2 We still have enough time, just not as much time as we would've liked to get everything situated. No big deal.

We arrived at the race pavilion only 15minutes later than planned, not bad. I got in line right away for packet pick-up and body marking then headed over to the transition area which was already getting crowded. To be expected with both the sprint & olympic distances sold-out I guess. I picked a spot as close to my Beloved's as I could and got everything laid out in it's proper spot before heading down to the beach for the pre-race meeting. Lots of spandex there.

Swim- 14:58

Seeing the buoys laid out ahead of me in a straight line wasn't as intimidating as I thought it would be. Watching the elite & men's heats go off before me was helpful. It definitely seemed doable. Once the gun finally went off for my heat, I was ready. Knowing that I am a slow swimmer I stuck to the back so that I wouldn't end up kicked and punched by other more fish-like swimmers trying to make their way around me. I did my best at sighting to avoid collisions, but after watching two women ahead of me collide pretty badly I started alternating from free-style to breast-stroke depending on how crowded the area was and how tired I felt. Overall the swim went really well. I only got kicked once and I never felt over-exerted.

T1- 1:37

Running out of the water I knew I was in for a bit of a rude awakening. My legs felt like lead, but I tried to brush it off figuring it was just the transition from the body positioning I had in the water to that of standing up. A few squirts from the water bottle to clear the sand from my feet enough to slide into my shoes, then snapping on the race # belt and my helmet and I was off on the bike course.

Bike- 36:28

Anxious to see just how much I could gain on the bike I hammered it from the start. Probably not the wisest of ideas, but being a sloth in the water only makes me want to go fast once I get out of it. The first few miles my legs continued to be less than cooperative which slowed me down a bit. I shifted from the drops to the hoods several times trying to adjust/find a more comfortable position. By mile 5-6 I was starting to feel revived again and locked my focus onto another woman I wanted to catch up to and keep pace with. I knew how to climb the uphills and take the most advantage of the downhills which allowed me to pass several groups of people and catch up with my intended "target".

I managed to maintain a 17.4 mph average. Woohoo! Yes, my road-bike rocks.

T2- 0:32 (Yes, really)

Practicing how to get off my bike & run into transition efficiently really helped this time around. It was smooth and effortless. After removing my helmet, racking my bike and grabbing my bottle of Gatorade I was off on the run. (In hind sight Gatorade is a post-race drink for me. It's just way way to sweet during a race but, I wasn't able to fuel much during the bike so I took it anyway.)

Run- 30:28

The start of the run was what I expected. My quads weren't there, but that's just how it is. I kept telling myself that now is the time, the finish is near and that if I let myself take a walking break it would be hard to find my stride again. So I kept on, trying to push myself to keep running and go faster. As it turns out that worked remarkably well.

I eventually found myself gaining on a woman who I could tell was running low on ambition /energy. Being that I'm a cheering fool, I told her to keep it up and that she was doing well. As I passed I could hear her whining about wanting to quit, but I knew when she slowed then hurried to catch up to me repeatedly that she was to stubborn to actually do it. It made me smile. We traded racing banter for a while until I rounded the corner and saw/heard my sister, bro-in-law and the kiddos there supporting me. Beyond them was the finish. I felt strong so I hammered it yet again sprinting faster and faster until I crossed the line. It's crazy how much people cheer when they see someone sprinting across the finish-line. I'm usually pretty tapped out for energy by the time I reach a finish, but there's something about that line only a few hundred feet away that instantly energizes me enough to sprint like a mad woman. It was a great finish.

Finish- 1:24:01

Overall my body felt a lot less in tune as it was back in May when I did my first race. I had hoped to feel more physically fit this race as I had trained so much more for it, but it didn't work out that way. I did my best to hide how much that discouraged me until I got home and could actually take a look at the results. Upon seeing those I knew why. In every area I was faster than I felt. :)

It was indeed an awesome race for me. I'm looking forward to this Sunday (The Lakes Country Triathlon in Baxter, MN) where I can test myself yet again. This time with longer distances. w00t!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I'm Not Fat, Just Hard to Kidnap.

Despite a busy schedule this week I managed to get some good training sessions in. More would've been nice, but such as it is.


I had hoped to pound out a 4mile run. From the start I ran the fastest mile I've knowingly ran since grade school. That's right, a smokin' 9 minutes. It was difficult & exciting. Feeling like I wanted to toss my breakfast and stomach cramping afterward is what cut my mileage down to 2.25 miles, one of which was walking. My suspicions are that I ended up taking the Hammer gel at the wrong time and without enough water when rushing out the door. The annoying part about fueling is that it can be trial & error and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between your body rebelling against what you put it in or just you.

When I arrived at the I.P. pool later that day I was met with a swarm of young boys. With that many people in the pool they weren't going to rope off lanes for lap swim. I was not amused yet decided to still pay my $2.65 and give it a shot. Having to dodge families that drift into my lane is one thing, but over 100 adolescent boys with very little adult wrangling is another. Upon observing them I knew two things instantly...

1.) Picking a lane away from the wall to avoid being jumped on was a necessity. Boys have less regard for personal space (their own and those around them) and self preservation than the rest of us.

2.) They are delightfully odd at ages 6-10. Especially in groups.

None of them complained when they got kicked or struck by my down stroke & they never really moved out of my way to let me pass either. Overall no complaints decent practice for what it will feel like being surrounded, kicked and struck by other swimmers during the Tri next weekend.

Thursday & Friday

Work and rain put a damper on those two days. Not the end of the world because I knew Saturday's ride was coming up and that I would have rested muscles going into it.


up at 5am has never come easily for me. Saturday morning was no exception. My eyelids protested yet my stubborn will persevered. There are indeed times when being stubborn is a good thing. Just not many.

Seeing the sun rising to illuminate the hill- side and the fog that hovers over the lakes usually wakes me up enough to put me in a proper riding mood by the time we reach the starting point of the loop. The route has become known as "Around the block" in the cycling community
. Ironic, but surprisingly accurate given that this is rural Minnesota.

The beginning of the ride was a bit of a struggle. It had rained Friday night and some of the road shoulders weren't completely dry yet which caused wet gravel to be kicked up by my tires into the spout of my water bottle and onto my spandex clad rear. Uhg.

Road kill and rumble strips are not my friend. Braking to let Jeremy pass before swerving around them myself causes confusion and kills his momentum ( a precious commodity on this route). Lets just say learning to communicate with my Beloved in the context of cycling is a learning process.

Once those quirks were worked out I was able to lock into the rhythm of the ride.

That initial monster of a climb was still a monster, but I made it up what is this month's "Everest". Some summoning of every once of will I had and my heart trying to beat it's way through my sternum was involved. Successfully though, which made the rest of the ride seem less arduous. It was a marked improvement from last weekend. I'm proud of that.

A vagabond holding a cardboard sign at one of the street lights on our way home made my day. Which says a lot given that I'm pretty focused on two things (a nap and food) when we are nearing home after a hard training session. His sign was brilliantly witty and he appeared joyful just in making people laugh. The first fold explained his situation. A vet, not lazy, just needing help. Will take any work. And the next fold "What's the best part about dating a homeless woman?...You can drop her off anywhere." and the next, "I'm not fat, just hard to kidnap."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Run, The Ride & The Radiator...

The latter part of last week was a bit more eventful then planned.  Allow me to elaborate.

Thursday morning's run felt smooth & fast despite the heat. Listening to sermons while I run helps the miles pass and keeps me fueled in other ways.  I have been trying to build my base back up so that I'm able to do the Dick Beardsley 1/2 Marathon in September.  It's been a slow process as of late. Since the Fargo 1/2 I admit I've been slacking off when it comes to running  and  focusing more on swimming & biking. It's still a challenge  finding a balance in training between the three sports.

I decided to forego my swim on Friday as I was helping a couple paint their new apartment and figured it was better not to go into Saturday's long ride with a stiff neck from turning to breathe like I typically get. Skipping a swim session was a tough decision, but a wise one I think.

Saturday is when all the excitement happened.  The alarm clock went off at 5:15ish bright and early giving us just enough time to fill our water bottles & jersey pockets  full of what we would need for the ride.  We still ended up forgetting a few important things like the camera & the "Oh Crap" kit, but overall not bad considering how early it was.  After loading the bikes we were off to Pelican Rapids.

Upon arriving via Toyota to our designated starting point, Jeremy noticed that the heat gage on the car was way up and upon popping the hood we noticed that the radiator had formed a hairline crack (steam billowing up/out) & the coolant was completely gone. Bummer. Being as it was only 6:30 a.m. at this point we knew that there wasn't much we could do. Repairs shops hadn't opened yet and nobody sane would be up at this hour on a Saturday.  So what does one do until then? Flog themself up one hill and down the other over & over again until the 20mile loop is complete.  Of course. :)  It was awesome!

Fargo's only "hills" are the incline after an underpass and the dike by the river I used to sled down as a kid. Needless to say not much hill training here. For many years I have somewhat loathed the athletic legs some would swear I was born with, but the more I train the more I appreciate what they can do. Such was the case here. Other then the first monster ridge I noobishly (sp?) geared up at the start of the ride I was able to climb much better then I had anticipated.  It was a tough, but very enjoyable ride one I'm looking forward to tackling again this Saturday. Hopefully with no more car troubles.

Three things I learned this ride...

1.) Some roadkill can't be identified, but it's always fun to guess. 

2.) My husband smokes me on the downhills not to mention looks fantastic in his bike shorts.

3.) Bladed spokes really are bladed.  See...

And to finish it up, so far this week I have biked 18miles and swam 800yards. Swim went pretty well yesterday and the commute downtown to Salon Why to get my hair cut today felt great. Almost wiping out after my tire slid into the weed filled crack in the street, not so great.  

Before & after pics of the hair to follow.  My tripod is in the car & I can't get a decent picture of the back without help.