Thursday, September 30, 2010

Is It The Mountain Air?

I have been posting the race reports for my past races.  I apologize for any boredom that this may cause anyone but I wanted to get them written and posted on the off chance that people start following me (Hi Mary!).  I know my favourite part of reading blogs is the race reports so I didn't want to leave them out. 

Anyhoo, onto training.  Paul and I have been on vacation on the West Coast for almost two weeks now.  He has a brother who lives in Bellingham, Washington with his family and I have a sister that lives in Salmon Arm, B.C. with her family.  We spent a week in Washington and have been in Salmon Arm since last Friday.  I couldn't go without training in some way for two weeks!  Besides, I'm signed up to run the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon on October 17th.  I ran the half last year for the first time and would really like to beat that time. 

Where I live, in Southwestern Ontario it's flat.  Really flat.  Like doing "hill repeats" on the bike means driving over and back the 401 highway overpass.  For real.  The prospect of running while on the West Coast actually worried me quite a bit.  Actual mountains?  Could I do it?  I had one long run each week along with the other maintenance runs scheduled.  Couple this with my running alone (I usually run with Sydney) and I was nervous.  I must say though it hasn't been so bad.  My average pace is actually faster than at home and although my quads hurt like a mother the first week my legs feel fine now. 

I've done both of my long runs at a faster pace than I planned, depsite the hills.  Today I ran 8km and averaged 6:31/km.  I ran without looking at my Garmin because I wanted to just run by feel.  I attacked each uphill and concentrated on keeping my form and lifting my feet (I'm a bit of a shuffler).  On the downhills I concentrated on keeping my body upright and controlling my pace.  Mostly it was a really pleasant run that went by quickly while I enjoyed the mountain views and the horses and cows that I passed.

We get home Saturday afternoon and my next run is 17k with Andy on Sunday.  I'm anxious to see how/if this translates.  Then again, will jet lag and the time change have a negative effect?  Stay tuned...

Tecumseh Duathlon 2009 Race Report

Tammi talked me into it again.  Signing up for a race when I probably had no business doing it.  Again, I had been working on my swim but was too intimidated by the distance to do the Sprint Tri.  I thought about doing the Try-A-Tri again but when Tammi called and said she wanted to do the full distance Duathlon I said "why not?".

This race was held August 09, 2009.  This day turned out to be the hottest, most disgusting day weather wise that our area had seen in a long time.  I had spent the entire day before with my neice at the Kids-Of-Steel (her second year!).  It rained ALL DAY and her wave kept getting postponed because there would be thunder and lighning and they'd have to wait it out.  The next day, the day of our race, was a stinkpot of heat and humidity.

Again, I arrived early to set up my transition and get my chip timer and body marking (still my favourite part).  The race didn't start until almost 10:00 which became a problem as the day got later and the sun got hotter.  Paul was doing the bike leg of the Duathlon relay with Sydney's husband and another girl they knew.  He had just bought a road bike because he was thinking of also getting into triathlon but had literally ridden it once.

Run #1
This was a 3k out and back.  I tried to stay with the herd but the pace was really fast for me.  I quickly dropped off but still managed to finish the 3k in good time (for me).  Tammi was already well and gone into transition by the time I got there.

Run time - 16:39 (5:33/km avg)

T1 + Bike + T2
I grabbed my bike in transition and because I still was not using clips I was off pretty quickly.  The bike was a 30k, two loop course.  I tried to pay attention to what was written on people's calves to see if they were in the Duathlon and more importantly in my age group when I came upon them or when they were (more often) passing me.  I did pass one girl in my age group but it was no consolation as she was riding a city cruiser with a basket in front (for real!) and wearing an iPod.  She was literally almost completely upright!  I passed Tammi about half way through the first loop as she was on her mountain bike and already starting to struggle.  The way back was brutal.  There was a headwind the made me want to cry.  I kept watching my speed on my Garmin and I was down to 8 kph at some points!  Back to the race site and we had to turn around and do it again.  I hate two loop courses!  Much of the same on the second loop except by this point the heat was starting to get to me.  I'm not the most confident rider and not good at getting my water bottle out of my cage while I'm riding.  As a result I don't drink enough.  I didn't have anything to drink during this bike leg.  Bad idea, especially considering how long I was out there.  I finally came into T2, grabbed a gel and threw on my run hat before heading out.  I literally wanted to cry I was feeling so crappy.

T1 + Bike + T2 time - 1:21:56 (22 kph avg)

Run #2
The second run was a 6k course that wound it's way through the surrounding neighbourhood.  This course had NO shade and there were only 3 water stations.  I took a gel at the beginning of the run but I think I was already dehydrated.  It wasn't long before I started to walk.  I didn't feel so bad because alot of people were walking.  It was awful.  It was approximately 114 degrees with the humidity and it was almost noon at this point.  I shuffled/ran/walked and tried to just get myself through it.  At about the 4k point there was a water station and when I was about 50m from it I saw a guy pass out.  By the time I reached him the ambulance was there already and when they left with sirens screaming I remember thinking, "wait, take me too!".  That guy actually was in a drug induced coma for a couple of days while they treated him for multiple organ failure.  He was a fairly good triathlete that was pushing for a podium spot that day.  Scary!  Throughout the run I was playing cat and mouse with a girl from my race and age group.  She passed me then stopped to walk and I would pass her.  At 5k I told myself to suck it up and I would run the last kilometer without stopping.  I needed to get it over with!  I finally saw the finish line and was running up the chute.  About 10 feet from the finish I feel someone whiz by me.  NOOOO.  I thought it was her.  Fortunately it wasn't.  It was my friend Dawn who was doing the Sprint Triathlon and is an awesome athlete.  She won the women's masters (over 40) division.  I came across the line and Paul, Sydney and her husband Andy were waiting for me.  I started to cry.  It was so hard.

Run #2 time - 48:17 (8:03/km)

Total time - 2:26:52
Overall - 89/105
AG (F35-39) - 3/4

I got an age group award.  How funny is that?

Belle River Do-A-Du 2009 Race Report

My second multi-distance race was held May 31, 2009.  I signed up for this race with my friend Tammi who doesn't train on any kind of consistent basis but enters races like this anyway.  She's crazy!  This event also included a sprint distance triathlon but I didn't sign up because I did not feel ready for the swim.  I had taken an Adult learn to swim class at the local college in March and had finally learned to do a proper front crawl but I was not nearly at a point where I could complete the entire sprint distance swim.  And so, Do-A-Du it was.

I got to the race site early (shocker) and set up my transition area.  My husband Paul came with me and I remember how cranky he was about how early he had to get up and going.  I was beyond irritated with it but whatever.  Over the winter I had also purchased a new road bike.  A black and pink Specialized Dolce.  I was beyond excited about this bike.  Mostly because it was black and pink.  I literally walked into my local bike shop, told them I needed a bike for triathlon training, didn't want to spend more than $1,000 and there she was.  To be honest, she was the only bike in the shop that was small enough for me.  Needless to say I was excited to see what the difference would be like to race on a road bike compared to a mountain bike.

Run #1
We all lined up at the start line waiting for the word to start the first 2.5k run.  Unfortunately there was some confusion about when we would go.  At one point they told us to go, then stop, then it was GO GO GO!  This run was pretty uneventful.  I tried keeping up with Tammi  and her friend but their pace was way fast for me (I'm a really slow runner).

Run time - 15:49 (6:20/km)

T1 + Bike + T2

I ran into transition and grabbed a drink of water and my bike.  I wasn't using clips yet so I didn't need to worry about changing shoes or anything.  Uneventful T1.  I mounted my bike at the line and took off.  I felt really good on the bike and started passing a couple of people.  I caught T and her friend who were on mountain bikes.  One thing I learned on this course was that I would have to spend some time on bike learning how to use my gears!  This was a 15k out and back course.  There was also a Sprint Triathlon and Dualthlon going on at the same time.  They did not have any volunteers at the bike turn around for our race.  Luckily, I happened to notice a spray painted turn around arrow in the middle of the road and made the assumption that it was the turn around.  I yelled at T when I saw her to watch for the arrow but she didn't hear me and she and most of the Do-A-Du participants missed it and ended up riding the entire 30k course.  I got back to the race site, dismounted and ran my bike into transition.  Again, uneventful.

T1 + Bike + T2 time - 40:59 (22 kph avg)

Run #2
This was another 2.5k out and back.  Shady in a lot of spots.  What struck me most was alot of the full Duathlon and Triathlon athletes that were passing me were saying very nice and encouraging things.  It's something I try to do to the (few) people I pass in races now.

Run time - 16:55 (6:46/km)

Total time - 1:13:42
Overall - 10/15
Age Group (F35-39) - 1/1

Goodlife Fitness Try-A-Tri 2008 Race Report

My first triathlon race.  The Windsor Goodlife Fitness Try-A-Tri was held August 10, 2008.  I was excited to race and sooo nervous.  I had started running that January and had completed a couple of 5k races.  Very slowly.

Race Kit Pick-Up
The day before the race we picked up our race kits.  Man I thought I was something!  Participants got a knapsack type bag with a gel and the usual advertisements, etc.  My race number was 365.  My friend and training partner Sydney and I had dinner together that night with our husbands.  We "carbo loaded" with pasta and bread and ceasar salad and tried to estimate what our times would be like.

Race Day!
I got there early!  I'm an early bird by nature.  I always want to be there with plenty of time to set up my transition and figure out where I'm going.  Syd and I chose our spots and set up our stuff as best we knew how then proceeded to get our timing chips and get body marked.  Now I must admit, I think getting body marked was the thing I was most looking forward to.  I felt so cool!  Poor Syd though, the person marking her wrote the wrong number on her arm!  Then tried to fix it.  It looked like a hot mess and I knew Syd was devastated!  I dragged her down to the beach and proceed to rub at the number with sand and water until it mostly came off.  She got remarked and all was right again.  I hadn't eaten much that morning.  I hate eating in the morning in general and I was really  nervous.  I think this came back to haunt me later and I've certainly learned from that.

The "Swim"
I got into my Seadoo shorty wetsuit that I had purchased at Costco.  I thought I was so smart buying that thing.  Little did I know about the difference between a wetsuit for jet-skiing (which frankly is like a sponge) and wetsuit for triathlon swimming.  The swim was a 300m triangular course in Lake St. Clair.  I was so nervious I was almost sick.  I am not a swimmer and at that point did not know how to do a proper front stroke.  I could only swim head up and planned to do that for the entire swim.  It was an inwater start and Sydney and I placed ourselves at the back of the pack because we had read about the thrashing.  Syd is a fairly good swimmer but was nervous also.  The gun went off and everyone started running through the water!  WTF?  They were running and moving their arms as if they were swimming!  The area of the lake where this swim is held is not overly deep.  I'm 5' tall and it comes to my shoulders, so obviously deep enough to swim in.  Of course Sydney and I got caught up in this and didn't want to end up last so we started doing it as well.  I'm embarassed just thinking about it.  The only problem is that my legs go totally trashed (have you ever tried to run through shoulder deep water for 300 m?) and my feet were getting cut up by the zebra mussels.  There were a couple of times that Sydney grabbed a hold of me and dragged me because I was dying!  Finally we hit the beach and ran into transition.

"Swim" time - 5:39 (1:53/100m)

T1 + Bike + T2

I got to my spot in transition and started to get my wetsuit off.  My legs were burning from the effort of my "swim" and my heart rate was so high that I was feeling really light headed.  I had to sit down to put my shoes and socks on because I really thought I was going to pass out!  Sydney was waiting for me because we had planned on doing this race together.  I was trying to get her to leave but she wouldn't!  I finally grabbed my bike and we ran to the mount line.  I jumped on my bike and immediately felt like my legs were made of rubber.  Of course, the fact that I was on a mountain bike, had no idea about how gears on a bike functioned so was probably in the hardest gear, and had not really done any serious "training" for this race didn't help.  The course was an 11k out and back that felt like the longest bike ride of my life.  I finally coaxed Sydney to save herself and go on without me.  I think it took me about 8k to feel my legs again.  Not good on an 11k course.  Other than that it was pretty uneventful.  When I dismounted and tried to run into T2 I almost fell over!  I had never done a brick workout in my life and wasn't prepared for the wobbly legs.  Needless to say I walked my bike in.  I threw on my shorts (I had done the swim and bike in a two piece Nike bathing suit that I had used previously for beach volleyball), grabbed the gel that had come in our race kits and headed out to the run.

T1+Bike+T2 time - 37:17 (17.7 kph avg)

The Run
By the time I ran out of T2 my legs were feeling okay.  I took the gel and literally gagged and almost puked on the side of the course.  I'd never had one before and wasn't prepared for the consistency (and the fact that it was warm didn't help).  Looking back I laugh that I even thought I needed a gel for a race like that but what did I know?  Also, I hadn't eaten anything that morning so I probably should have had the gel before the race started!  The run was a 3k out and back on the Gnatcho Trail.  I remember about 1k into the run a herd of duathletes came up and ran around me and past me as if I was standing still!  I was excited at the final turn to see my sister and mom and best of all my niece Ally.  Ally had done the Kids-Of-Steel race the day before because she wanted to be just like her Aunt Mary!  I crossed the finish line and remembered to raise my arms and smile! 

Run time - 17:59 (6:00/km)

Total Time - 1:00:54
Overall - 67/78
Age group (F35-39) - 7/10

Post Race
I was so damn proud of myself!  The first thing I said to my husband was "I want to do that again!``  And so it begins!

New Girl!

Hi Everyone!  I'm trimary.  A late thirty-something back of the pack triathlete that has decided to sign up for a half-ironman distance event next year.

I started running with a friend 3 years ago.  We had a local 5k race as our goal and I could never imagine wanting to run any further than that.  After the 5k I did a local Try-A-Tri.  That Try-A-Tri was the hardest thing I ever did but once I crossed the finish line I wanted to do it again!  I'm addicted to the feeling that triahtlon gives me.  I've completed several running races and the longest triathlon I've done is a sprint distance.

This blog will be dedicated to chronicalling my training and racing experiences.