Friday, September 30, 2011

Extended Absence Greeting

Interestingly I just noticed that I started this blog exactly one year ago today.  The purpose of it was to chronical my journey toward my first 70.3 race.  At the time I thought I needed something to keep me accountable (besides my Coach of course) and focused on my goal.  I'd always found that it was way more difficult for me to chicken out of something if I'd told alot of people about it. 

Fast forward 365 days and I've come to learn that I have become a triathlete.  I raced the 70.3 distance (almost twice - ha!) and instead of coming across the finish line feeling like I had ticked off a monumental box on my bucket list and could move on I looked back on my races and analysed what I'd done right, what I'd done wrong, talked to my coach about what we should change, etc.  I look at this sport and specifically the training that is required for it as an essential part of my life.  I've met amazing people that inspire me and have helped me to see what I'm capable of. 

In the 365 days since I started this journey my life has changed tremendously and for alot of reasons I've decided to take a bit of a hiatus from blogging.  I am focused now on training for an Ironman (who would have ever guessed) and improving my 70.3 times.  I know that I will be focused and dedicated to training without having to report in.  I will be fine.  And I will crush next season.

Thanks to everyone who took the time out to read and comment.  I will continue to follow your journeys and wish everyone the most success.

Peace out.

mary - xo

Monday, September 26, 2011

Half Rev Cedar Point Race Report

This was my redemption race after the 70.3* that was Steelhead.  I knew that I needed to get the full distance in this year and have a race at that distance without the *.  My training had continued to go well and I was feeling good and hopeful about this race.  My anxieties this time were around whether I could pull off what I had accomplished at Steelhead and prove to myself that it wasn't a fluke.

Unfortunately, three days before the race I woke up in the morning with that "swallowing hot knives" feeling in my throat.  Oh no!  Sydney had been sick for the last week and I had been trying to avoid her all the other sick people at work and everywhere else but it caught me.  Shitty timing.  I instantly called my doctor and begged them to get me in for an appointment.  I called in sick to work and spent the day in bed drinking my weight in hot water with lemon and honey.  My doctor said it was too early to tell if it was strep throat but prescribed me penicillin anyway since it couldn't hurt.  She wouldn't weigh in about the weekend but said I'd just have to see how I felt.  By Thursday night I thought I was out.  I was so sick and knew that there was no way I could race that distance feeling the way I felt.  Friday morning I woke up feeling worse and spent the day in bed again feeling very sorry for myself.  I waffled between just not making the trip at all to Sandusky or going and at least cheering my friends on. 

I had to make a decision by Friday evening since Sydney and I were driving up Saturday morning.  I decided to pack my stuff, go along for the ride and see how I felt.  Worst case scenario I would be there to cheer everyone on.  Best case scenario I would feel well enough to race and give it a go.  Fortunately I felt a little better on Saturday as long as I kept my rotation of medications going on a timely basis.  Unfortunately I had started to develop a cough that had kept me from sleeping much Friday night. 

The trip to Sandusky was pretty uneventful except for some wonky weather and a detour that resulted from a boobing up of the directions on my part.  Once at Cedar Point we met up with some local friends and did the packet pick-up thing.  It went very smoothly since there was hardly anyone there.  Syd and I checked into our hotel and commenced the extremely thorough and diligent bed bug inspection that comes with rooming with Sydney.  Happy to find no bed bugs we sorted our stuff out and made plans to have dinner with some friends.  After dinner we made a quick trip into town to get a few things, made our way back and hit the sack by 10.  Fortunately we were 5 minutes from transition so didn't have to be up until 6.  Unfortunately I didn't sleep much because of the damn cough.  The cough syrup helped me to stop coughing but then kept me from sleeping.  Ugh.

The morning went by uneventfully.  We had breakfast in our room, got dressed and tattoo'd with the temporary tattoo race numbers and packed up our stuff since we were checking out.  We got to transition with lots of time to spare and I loaded my bike with my nutrition, pumped my tires and chatted with the people I knew.  Before long it was time to hit the beach to warm up.

Swim - 50:54 (31/34 AG  174/221 OA) 2:38/100m
I seeded myself about halfway back and in the middle which in retrospect was a very bad move.  Once the gun sounded it was a flurry of dolphin diving and flailing arms and I got hit alot.  I'm not a fast swimmer but I'm fairly steady if I can get into a rythm.  Once I started swimming my cough started in full force.  I hadn't wanted to take cough medicine before the race, not knowing how it would effect me.  Unfortunately my swim consisted of me trying to cough during my exhales but every time I would take a breath I would start to cough.  It was a mess.  About halfway through the swim the men's wave that started 5 minutes after us started to catch up and I got pummelled  and dunked by alot of guys.  I was so happy to see the beach after what felt like forever.  I was certain I had been in there more than an hour and was surprised to see that there were actually a couple of pink caps behind me when I got out.  Very disappointing swim considering the amount of time I've spent working on it.

T1 - 3:08
The timing mat was just out of the water and I ran over it and up the beach.  Once I ran through the shower I was surprised to see wetsuit strippers since there was nothing mentioned about them in the athlete's guide.  I already had my wetsuit down to my waist and as I ran toward them one of them pointed at me and yelled "sit down!".  He and a girl in a purple wig grabbed my suit and stripped it off of me in two seconds.  They each grabbed an arm and pulled me up and tossed my suit at me.  They hurled me almost into the transition area (I'm not that big)!  Wetsuit strippers are awesome!  Once at my bike I got into my shoes, grabbed my bike and ran out.

Bike - 3:16:25 (28/34 AG  155/221 OA)  17.1 mph avg
Once out on the bike I felt awesome.  My legs felt great and I was flying.  I passed the 10 mile mark at just under 30 minutes and was excited that things were looking and feeling so good.  The course wasn't as flat as advertised but I like rolling hills so it didn't bother me.  Unfortunately, once mile 25 hit things started to go south.  Here is where my tale should be repeated to all newbie triathletes as a big fat what not to do the week before a race.  While out on a group ride the Sunday before this race someone mentioned that I could get alot more aero if I took out a couple of spacers from my stem and lower my bars.  I hesitated because of the upcoming race but let him do it.  BAD.MOVE.  By mile 25 my neck and shoulders started to really bother me.  This is so unusual because I love being in aero and can stay there for a 3 hour ride with no problems normally.  The change to my position, without any time to get accustomed to it was race suicide.  Within a half hour my shoulders and neck were seized and I could not look forward it hurt so badly.  I was riding with my head lowered trying to peer up ahead.  This was of course very unsafe and made for slow going.  I couldn't even ride on my hoods.  By mile 35 I thought my day was over.  I was in so much pain that I was crying and it was starting to result in numbness in my arms and hands and an inability to control my bike.  I almost rode into the gravel shoulder.  I finally stopped and got off my bike thinking my day was done.  I stretched my neck and contemplated what to do.  Do I sit on the side of the road and wait for a SAG vehicle?  After about 5 minutes I got back on my bike and although I couldn't get into aero I could ride on my hoods.  This only lasted about 5 miles.  The remainder of the ride consisted of me riding about 5 miles, getting off my bike and stretching my neck out, and rinse and repeat.  Finally, with about 10 miles to go I figured out that I could put my right arm in the aero bar and put my left elbow on the pad of the aero bar, then prop my chin on my hand to keep my head up.  I must have looked like a complete fool and am so thankful there were no photographers out on the bike course.  This was of course less than ideal but at least it allowed me to finish the bike without having to stop again.  I am kicking myself for this idiotic mistake to this day since I was on my way to a really great bike split.

T2 - 1:57
I was so happy to be done with the bike but once I got off and ran into transition I realized that the damage I'd done to my neck and shoulders would effect me on the run.  I threw my socks and shoes on and went on anyway.  I've DNF'd once and it was the worst feeling in the world.  I would do what I could on this run.

Run - 2:14:44 (21/34 AG  123/221 OA)  10:17/mile
It was going to be a long half marathon but I resolved to just put one foot in front of the other and finish it.  Within the first mile I saw a friend who was on his way back and was having an awesome race.  This made me smile since he deserved to have such a great race.  Another couple of miles after I saw another friend who asked how I was doing.  I almost started to cry and said, "It's not been a good day."  He said I looked good and encouraged me to finish strong.  I started taking nutrition at every stop and contrary to Steelhead had to walk through the aid stations to make sure I got it down.  I finally saw Syd and she looked great.  I told her I wanted to stop so badly.  Finally, with about 5 miles to go I told myself to HTFU and do this.  I picked my pace up a little and was surprised to see Syd up ahead.  I went past her and I know she said something to me but to be honest I was in a bit of a daze.  I kept going and passed another local friend that I was surprised to see.  With about two miles to go I started to feel really bad.  I had cold chills and had stopped sweating and my face felt tingly.  Weird.  Finally, the turn back into the park and the end was in sight.  I ran down the finish chute and across the line.  It was done.  70.3 in the books. 

I collected my medal and finisher's shirt and waited for Sydney.  A couple of volunteers continually asked me if I was okay and whether I needed medical.  I must have looked like a train wreck.  I was determined to be there for Syd at the finish and was happy to see her.  After a couple of minutes we stumbled to the food and sat down.

Total Time - 6:27:09
AG - 21/34
OA - 123/221

I was very disappointed with how this race went.  Some factors were beyond my control (my getting sick and coughing my way through the swim) and some were completely my fault (screwing with my bike fit a week before a race).  Not the way I wanted to end the tri season - and this is why there is one more race report to come.  Stay tuned, and if you've read this far you're a trooper!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bulldog Sprint Triathlon Race Report

So, I am a little behind in the race reports.  Will try to remedy that as quickly as possible.  Here is 1 of 3 I owe you.

I raced this sprint tri last year and had a really good time.  I also snagged a 3rd place AG which I think helped elevate the fondness.  I had included it in my plan from the very beginning of the season even though it was the weekend following what was to be my first 70.3.  I went into this race with no expectations and hoping to just better my times from last year.  I do enjoy doing a race I've done before so I can compare my results and (hopefully) see improvements.  Coach Mary wasn't super thrilled about me doing this race.  Especially since I had immediately signed up for another 70.3 after Steelhead that was only four weeks later and therefore only three weeks after this race.  "I'll just use it as a training day.  Nothing crazy." I said. 

I drove out to the race site that morning by myself.  None of my usual group were racing but it turned out that I knew a couple of people once I got there.  I checked in and was surprised at the line of people who were trying to register that day and being told that the race had sold out.  This race is held in a provincial park which I guess must really restrict the number of people they can have racing.  According to the race results there were only 121 people total that raced.

Swim - 500 meters - 19:53 (74/121) 2:40/100m
(Last year - 23:36)
All I can say about this swim is that it must be long.  For one thing it looks long (though they all do) but when reviewing the race results and looking at the /100m times posted by a couple of the top local athletes it seems everyone either had a really slow swim or it was long.  I am happy that I improved on my time from last year - especially because last year's swim was a hot mess - but overall I was still disappointed by this time.

No idea on time for this because they included T1 and T2 times with the bike time (I hate that!).  I stripped off my wetsuit and got into my shoes and helmet pretty quickly.  The transition area was set up in a grassy/sandy area that made everything a filthy mess.

Bike - 20 kilometres - 41:25 (81/121) 29 kph
(Last year - 42:22)
It started to rain during the bike leg and I have to admit that I held back a little because I was nervous about it being slick.  This course is two loops of the park with alot of turns and I really wanted to have a fast bike time so I was a little disappointed by this.  Given how much training I've done on this bike over this last year the difference between last year and this year should have been much different.

I overshot my spot in transition because the girl next to me had racked her bike in my spot - GRR - so I lost a minute or so here.  I tossed on my shoes with no socks and headed out of there.

Run - 5 kilometres - 26:57 (82/121) 5:24/km or 8:41/mile
(Last year - 31:22)
I went out as quickly as possible and my intention was to try to maintain that pace for the whole 5k.  Here is where my screw up with my nutrition caught up with me.  I forgot my sports drink and gel at home so had had nothing during this whole race.  I think I started to bonk at about 3k because I zoned out a little.  Fortunately, someone I knew was going in the other direction and yelled out a "Looking strong Mary!".  It actually snapped me out of a bit of a fog and looked down at my watch to see that I had started to slow down a bit.  I also couldn't remember the last couple of minutes!  Ooops.  Anyhow, I got my wits about me and kicked the pace up a little.  With about 200 meters to go I turned it on and ended really strong.  I was excited with the time because it a new PB for me for the 5k!  Yay!

After the race I made a beeline for the food because as mentioned earlier I had forgotten all of my food.  Very disappointed to see that they only had hot dogs.  WTF?  Hot dogs?  I had paid $85 for this race!  Not impressed.

Total time - 1:28:14
AG - 7/14 (there's that middle of the pack again)
OA - 82/121 (funny coincidence was that my bib number was 82)
Last year - 1:37:18

I think it's interesting that I knocked 9 minutes off last year's time but didn't place.  Booo.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hello Again

So, it's been pointed out to me that I'm a little behind in the blogging (thanks Syd!).  September was a busy month and I not only owe a race report for the Half-Rev at Cedar Point but two other sprint tri's I've raced.  I'm working on them I promise.  I learned some lessons and had some triumphs but most of all I've come to learn what this sport means to me - a revelation if you will.   I'm trying to put it all into words and will endeavour to have something up soon.

In the meantime I'm eagerly following everyone and am SO excited to watch some important people race at Kona very soon!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Steelhead 70.3* Race Report - Part 3

Sorry for the delay.  Training in earnest has continued as I'm racing the 70.3 distance again on the 11th.  I'll talk a little bit more about that later.

So where was I?  Oh yes, T2, or T1 as it turned out on this day.  I came in off the bike feeling really strong.  Other than almost slipping as I ran in my tri shoes with my bike - note to self: work on getting out of the stupid shoes without unclipping! - I found my spot and felt like I transitioned quickly.  I had already put my soks on before the bike start and grabbed my gel flask, baggie of salt pills, visor and was out of there.  The reality is that my time was slower than I thought it would be and I'm not sure why but it is what it is at this point.

I started out on the run feeling fantastic.  I was at a 5:30/km (8:51/mile) pace and not feeling taxed at all.  This was though the pace that I had held at the Oly in July until shit fell apart at mile 4.  I decided to keep going at that pace until I couldn't anymore as this day had turned into one big experiment.  At one point (I don't remember when - it's all a little foggy) I went to open my little sandwich baggie to take a salt tab and they all flew all over the road.  This would come back to haunt me later but otherwise things were going really smoothly.  I was passing people and the heat wasn't bothering me and I was able to jog through the aid stations.    I was feeling great and excited to see a PB for the 5k, then a PB for the 10k.  People all around me were stopping and walking and I felt awesome and would pick them off one by one.

During our discussion that week Mary had said that it would start to get hard around mile 8.  Well, she's obviously coaching for a reason because mile 8 started to get hard.  I started to feel my quads and lamented the loss of my salt tabs.  I went for Coke at the next aid station and was very disappointed that it was Pepsi - blech!  Coke is bad enough, but Pepsi?  I was looking for pretzels, which I'm almost positive was listed as something that would be at the aid stations but no luck.  In retrospect I should have taken a piece of banana that they were offering but I didn't know any better.  By mile 10 my quads were on fire from the cramping.  At one point I saw a little bag on the ground that looked  like it had salt pills and actually considered picking them up.  I then thought better of it because a)they could have been anything, and b) I was seriously worried that if I bent down I would not be able to get back up.  I wanted to stop to walk so bad but knew that if I stopped, I would likely not go again.  Around mile 11 is the second go at this hill on the run that is a pretty decent climb all things considered.  I used my arms to motor me up and was satisfied to pass all the walkers.  I got pretty big ovation at the top with all kinds of people cheering because I had run up that hill.  That helped a little.

The last mile was Hell.  My quads were cramping and burning so badly that I couldn't feel my feet.  I ran alongside a couple of guys that were struggling as well and we just tried to keep each other going.  I was never so happy to see a finish line in all my life.  Sadly though, the triumph that I had envisioned feeling whenever I thought of crossing the finish line at this race was missing.  I was disappointed and felt a little robbed.  What I can say though is that I am proud of myself for running every step of that 1/2 marathon.  Every aid station, every hill.  I also managed a PB for the 1/2 maration by almost 2 minutes. 

At the end of the day this race was a little anti climatic.  And maybe that's my fault for having built it into such an epic event in my mind.  What I will say though is that it showed me that I am capable of more than I give myself credit for sometimes.

That evening I was already emailing Coach about potential redemption races in September.  I HAVE to get that 70.3 miles in.  I cannot check that box after Steelhead.  And so, on September 11 I will be racing the Half-Rev at Cedar Point.  70.3 miles.  It's not an "Ironman" race but that's just marketing in my opinion anyway.  Of course with this new race comes so many doubts and anxieties like, "What if that was a fluke day?", "What if the swim (my weakest) proves hard enough to screw up the rest of my race?", "What if I bike slower or have a slower half marathon?"  So many questions and worries!

Steelhead in Numbers -

Bike - 3:00:21 (18.63 mph - 53/92 AG)  - My goal on the bike had been 3:15 so this was awesome.
T2 - 2:34  - You'd think I'd stopped for lunch or something.
Run - 2:05:49 (9:36/mile - 46/92 AG) - My goal had been 2:30 so this was awesome too.  NEVER expected to PB. 

Overall I finished 46/92 in my AG.  Dead middle.  I guess maybe I'm not a "back of pack" triathlete anymore?

Almost finished!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Steelhead 70.3* Race Report - Part 2

The alarm went off at 4 a.m. but quite frankly I had been up most of the night.  I wasn't feeling anxiety or nerves but for whatever reason was still frustratingly unable to fall asleep.  I ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich and started sipping my real fruit juice/coconut water mix.  A quick change into my singlet and it was time to meet everyone downstairs to start loading up the bikes.  

We reached the race site a little while later and were lucky that Sydney's husband Andy could drop us off nearby to the park where we could ride our bikes in the last little bit.  As soon as we got out of the car all I could hear was the wind and pounding surf.  I started to get a little worried about the swim given how the weather had been the day before.  Once we were in earshot of the transition area though we heard the announcement that the swim portion of the race was cancelled.  There were 5-7 ft swells, a rip current, and small vessel advisory.  I almost started to cry.  I of course did not want to swim in unsafe conditions because I do have a life to return to outside of triathlon but I had trained for this race for 8 1/2 months.  This was my 'A' race and first 70.3  Also, unlike the swim cancellation that had occurred a couple of years prior they did not add a run to the beginning.  The decision was made that it would be a bike/run, with everyone being sent out by bib number, in a time trial format.  I was going to race in my first 69.1.  Not nearly as satisfying and thus, the 70.3* that will forever mark this experience.

It took me about a minute to decide that I was going to have to sign up for a September 70.3 race and therefore today was going to be a long, hard brick workout.  After what seemed like an endless wait they began sending off the pros one at a time at 30 second intervals.  By the time my bib number came around (567) they were sending us off about 5 seconds apart which resulted in a bit of congestion at the beginning.

Instantly I noticed that my Cateye (that had functioned fine from the car to transition) wasn't functioning.  I had counted on that to tell me my current speed and the distance travelled.  My Garmin was set only to show me my cadence.  I wasn't about to pull off to mess around with the Cateye and I'm not coordinated enough to mess around with changing the data fields on my watch while moving so I decided to race this race based on cadence.  I know that an average cadence of between 90 and 95 is ideal for saving the legs for the run so that's what I did.  

From the get-go I felt really good.  I hunkered down into aero and started passing people.  I caught Sydney (she was bib 508) and asked her as I went past what speed we were going because my Cateye wasn't working.  She replied "Fast!" and shouted at me to save something for the run.  The course is rolling (compared to where we live) and I was having a great time passing people on the uphills (the advantage of being small) and taking advantage of the free speed on the downhills.  I made a point to be conscious of my nutrition and eat and drink when I was supposed to.  I ended up not drinking nearly what I had intended but managed to eat a package of Honey Stingers and two gels during the three hours.  I also took a salt tab somewhere along the line.  I had a very scary moment happen while going through one of the aid stations.  I was not taking anything as I was able to carry all of my required food/drink but ended up about ten feet behind a guy that fell while trying to grab a bottle.  He skidded onto his side, flipped over his bike and began to roll into the oncoming lane.  Unfortunately, I had swerved into the oncoming lane to avoid him going down and had to swerve almost into to the grass to avoid running over him.  I felt sick when that happened and my first instinct was to stop.  I looked back though and a ton of volunteers had converged on him and I don't have any kind of medical skill to offer so I kept going.  It took a bit to get my wits about me again and I was on high alert through the remainder of the aid stations.

I passed the 50 mile marker in what seemed like no time and couldn't believe how fast that ride had gone.  My only complaint about the whole thing was the peletons of (mostly) men that went by.  I don't know if it was as a result of the time trial start (by the time they got to the men's waves they were sending them one on top of another with no delay) or what but the blatant cheating that was occurring was really discouraging.  It especially bothered me when I saw a group of about six men riding in a pack with two women from my age group firmly ensconced in the middle.  I worked really hard to get the time I got and made sure that if anyone passed me I dropped back and that if I was passing I was going fast enough to actually pass.  From reading past race reports of this event it appears that this is a problem at Steelhead and I'm not sure why nothing's done about it.  Okay, rant over.

Next thing you know I was pulling up to the transition area and hopping off my bike with only a half-marathon to go!

Some pics - 

Me, Sydney, and Dave before the start

Bike Start

Loving the bike leg.  Look at my grin!

Coming into transition.  Need to work on getting out of my shoes!

Steelhead 70.3* Race Report - Part 1

"The hay is in the barn."  My coach said this to me the week before Steelhead when I was feeling rundown and like I was getting sick and panicking when she suggested commanded me to take a day off from my scheduled workouts.  This stuck with me and was what I repeated to myself the day before and morning of the race.  There was no reason why I couldn't do this! 

We travelled the 3 1/2 hours up to Benton Harbour on Saturday morning after a quick bike/run brick workout.  Along the way we stopped at an IHOP to load up on pancakes as suggested.  I think Coach Mary's advice was "eat until you're full, then eat one more pancake" -  I could not believe how packed that place was at 10 a.m. on a Saturday! 

A couple of scary thunderstorms later we arrived in Benton Harbour and after meeting up with some fellow Windsorites for lunch we hit up the registration/expo at St. Joseph High School.  Registration went very quickly/smoothly and we then spent some time trying to part with some money at the expo.  I was disappointed that the Ironman store had only L and XL t-shirts left that had the m-dot with all of the participants names as that was what I really wanted to get.  I ended up buying a t-shirt that says "Ironman in training - 2012" and a couple of stickers.  The rest of the expo was pretty lame if I'm being honest.  I don't know why I'm always expecting these to be better than they are.  Maybe it's because the first expo I ever attended was at the ill-fated Chicago tri and that was gigantic with the best deals and everything you could possibly hope for that is sports/triathlon related.

After getting all registered we headed to the hotel to get our bikes ready as we had decided to check them in that day so that we could take the shuttle from the parking to the race site the following morning instead of having to worry about coordinating our bikes the morning of.  By the time we hit the hotel the weather had turned foul.  I was so happy  that Mary had suggested we do our brick in the morning when I saw all of the other Windsor athletes trying to head out in the crazy weather to get their workouts in.  We also learned at this point that Jean Klock Park, where the race was being held, had closed tranisition early because of the crazy weather and sand storms.  No early bike check in for us.

After a little relaxation we met up with other tri friends and headed out to dinner.  Unfortunately the dining choices in Benton Harbour are not substantial and 16 of us ended up at Applebee's because they at least had a pasta menu.   I had a pretty tasty grilled shrimp on pineapple rice dish that was on their "healthy menu".  After dinner it was back to the hotel for lights out at 9:00 p.m. and hopefully a good night's sleep.

Stay tuned for part 2...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Steelhead 70.3 Teaser

Because I know you're all on the edge of your seats.... :-)

I unfortunately did not completed 70.3 today.  Neither did anyone else though - the swim was cancelled because 7ft swells and a rip current advisory.  No lifeguard boats, no swim.  So booo to that because I can't put a checkmark next to that particular goal.

Anyhow, a full race report will follow but the highlights are as follows:

- Exceeded my goal time for the bike
- Exceeded my goal time for the run
- PRs for not only the 1/2 marathon but the 5k and 10k too

Had the best race of my life but I must admit, I'm feeling a little robbed because of the swim cancellation.  Stay tuned for more....

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Countdown Begins

I have a bib number - 567
I have a wave start time - 7:25
I have a countdown - 10 days

I guess this is actually going to happen.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tri For Life Olympic Triathlon - Race Report

Better late than never?

Life has thrown me a few curveballs lately, thus the lack of posts.  Thanks God (as my mom would say) for triathlon as the regular routine of training has assisted in keeping me focused and (mostly) sane.

I competed in my first Olympic distance triathlon on the 17th.  The Tri For Life triathlon is part of the 3 Disciplines race series.  I did the Motor City sprint triathlon in June that was also organized by 3D and I can't say enough good things about this race organization.

Having never done this distance I was at a loss as to what to expect both from the race and from myself.  What I ended up with was a mixed bag of results, a couple of good lessons that I will take with me to Steelhead, and an appreciation for the Olympic distance.

We were advised during the week leading up to the race that the water temperature in the lake we were to swim in was almost 80 degrees and as a result we could not wear wetsuits.  My first reaction was to panic.  How could I do a swim without my wetsuit?  I then gave my head a shake and remembered that I have been swimming 2-3 times per week for the last 7 months diligently!  I swim 1800-2400 metres regularly without problem and have been doing open water swims once a week - albeit with a wetsuit - for the last 2 months.  I CAN swim 1.5 kilometres and I can do it without a wetsuit.

Otter Lake is across the border and 2 hours away from where we live.  Sydney and I packed our bikes into the Flex and headed out at 4:45 a.m.  Crossing the border was no problem and the website directions were perfect.  I choked down a whole wheat tortilla with Nutella before we left - I hate eating so early -and brought another to eat an hour before the race.  I also brought one of my homemade direct energy bites to eat 15 minutes before the start.

Parking was a breeze as there was a huge field about 5 minutes from the race venue where volunteers were on hand to direct cars.  We got registered in no time, body marked, grabbed our chip timers and went to set up transition.  This was a small race as it's only the second year so transition consisted of two long racks on either side of the transition area.  I nabbed a spot close to the bike out/in and set up my stuff.  I was pre-occupied with getting into the water to do a test run of the swim without a wetsuit and as a result didn't do my bike warm up.  This would come back to bite me later.

I was able to get in and warm up for ten minutes.  The water was warm and got deep really quickly.  I actually felt pretty good swimming without the wetsuit and was comfortable.  It felt a little strange swimming in my tri shorts and top (I think a singlet would have been better) but nothing that freaked me out.  I had my new Garmin 310XT set to multisport to keep an eye on my times and could wear it on my wrist without having to worry about getting my wetsuit off around it.

The Swim
All Olympic distance women went off in the second wave a few minutes behind the Oly distance men.  I stuck to the back of the group so as to avoid getting run over by the faster girls.  Automatically I was in a groove.  I felt comfortable and did not at all feel any panic.  This was good!  I sighted every ten strokes or so and my line was perfect.  The course was a bit of a hexagon so you had to really keep an eye on the next buoy but I was having really great luck staying on course.  I did notice that the majority of my wave was up ahead but I didn't let it get to me.  I managed to avoid getting hit until about 250 metres from the end when I caught a couple of stragglers from the men's wave and the sprint distance swimmers were converging.  I got through it though and swam until my hands hit the ground.  Success!  I was stoked to have gotten through that entire swim without once hesitating or stopping.  Then I looked at my watch.  WTF?  Did I stop for a sandwich along the way?  In retrospect I realize that I've always been so focused on not freaking out that I actually forgot to race.  So, for Steelhead, no more thoughts of controlling panic.  I can swim the distance.  I must now focus on swimming faster!

Official time - 38:50 (8/10 AG)

A quick run up the beach and across the street to transition.  The no wetsuit made T1 a breeze.  I got into my shoes, helmet on, glasses on, and GO!  T1 time was 1:40.  Given that Steelhead will involve my stripping off my wetsuit I'm not sure I can have a transition this quick.

This course is described as rolling with a couple of bigger climbs to keep people honest.  Coming from the flatlands of Essex County it was way more than what we're used to.  I discovered something in Italy though - I love to climb hills.  And given that I'm relatively light it lends well to rollers.  I started hammering on the bike and immediately heard a clicking noise.  I looked down to see that my cadence sensor, which has been strapped to my bike since last September without any problem had come loose and spun around and was hitting my pedal on every stroke.  I figured I'd live with the annoying sound until suddenly it spun a little more and was now hitting the spokes on my back wheel.  The last thing I wanted was to break a spoke over something so stupid so I had to stop.  I got to the top of the next hill and hopped off my bike.  I didn't have anything to cut the zip ties with so had to screw around with moving it until I got it to a spot where it was tight enough and would hopefully not get loose again.  I lost 3 minutes screwing around with that!  So frustrating!  I hopped back on, got into aero, and went.  I started passing people and was able to pass 5 women in my age group (there were ten of us) and many others.  I diligently drank all of my aerobottle and was only passed by two people (men) the entire 40k distance.  The only frustration was once we hooked back up with the Sprint distance people toward the end of the bike course it got to be a little hairy out there.  There were a lot of mountain bikes and people that were obviously unfamiliar with race rules.  They were all over the place and there were a couple of close calls when I passed.  I guess "on your left!" doesn't mean the same thing to everyone?  I got to the end of the bike course feeling really good about my bike and feeling pretty fresh despite the heat (it was over 90 degrees).  For Steelhead I will FOR SURE check my bike over for mechanicals beforehand.  Otherwise I was really pleased with my performance on the bike given the hilly course.

Official time - 1:23:30 - 17.8 mph avg (3/10 AG)

Again, nothing unusual to report.  I did take the extra minute to put socks on since I was worried about blisters.  Given the heat I knew I'd be dumping water over myself and my feet would end up soaking wet.  That, coupled with a 10k distance could prove painful.  VERY glad I did this and I will definately do it at Steelhead.  T2 time was 1:11.

I felt awesome as I headed out on the run.  The heat wasn't bothering me, my legs felt great, and my pace was awesome.  I was on pace to do a sub 1 hour 10k which I've never done before (don't laugh all you speedsters out there) and totally felt like I could hold it.  Then mile 4 hit and I got a stitch.  Since I don't get stitches I didn't really know what to do.  It seemed to feel better when I pressed on it so I ran like that for a few minutes but then the stitch spread across my whole stomach.  What was happening?  I wanted to cry.  I had to stop and walk and even that was painful.  I watched my average pace get higher and higher and my hope of a sub three hour Oly go out the window.  I started a pathetic shuffle/walk.  The slower I went the more I felt the heat.  It was awful and I was so upset!  Finally, with about 1k to go I decided that I could either be out there all damn day or I could suck it up and run the rest of the way.  I started to run and the stupid stitch was gone.  Too late though - the run was blown.  I was passed by only one woman in my age group during the run.

Official time - 1:08:28 (5/10 AG)

Total time - 3:13:37

The woman that passed me on the run?  3rd AG.  Very bitter pill to swallow.

Next up is the big dance at Steelhead.  I'm excited and nervous.  I'm down to race weight and feeling strong.  I've had some really good workouts that make me worried that I'm peaking too early and some crappy runs that make me worried that I can't do it.  I have no idea what to expect out of myself time wise but know that I want to cross that finish line feeling that I left it all out there and that I ran the best race I could run.

Good luck to all who are racing in the next couple of weeks.  Not sure how much updating will occur and although I haven't been a diligent commenter I am keeping up daily with all of your blogs.  And there will definately be a Steelhead race report.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Radio Silence

Rest assured that the training continues.  I'm racing an Olympic distance in Michigan on Sunday and of course the big one this year, Steelhead HIM, is in 33 days.  

Good luck to all in your upcoming races.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Have I Lost My Mind?

My first Half-Ironman is approaching quickly (56 days - YIKES!) and I bounce from excited to nervous, to feeling confident, to wondering WTF was I thinking I can't possibly do this!  My plan was to do the HIM distance this year and a full IM next year.  In the last couple of months or so I began to question this plan.  Should I wait?  Can I really do it?  There was also the question of which one.  What race did I want to work that hard for?

Then, a couple of weeks ago Sydney sent me this link.  And since then my mind has been turning over.  Two new Ironman races were announced for next year and Mont Tremblant in Quebec was one of them.  I've been to Mont Tremblant in the winter to ski and it's so very beautiful.  I looked at the website and the details of the course.  It's a tough one.  Lots of climbing on the bike and scary descents.  The run course is hilly.  The swim, well, any swim for me is a challenge.  Could I do this?  If you would have asked me a few months ago I would have given you a resounding, "Hell no!" but cycling in Tuscany changed something in me (a post about Tuscany is coming, I promise!).  It was really hard cycling and the climbs were crazy hard for me.  The descents scared me like nothing before.  But you know what?  I did them.  And although most of the time I was the slowest of the group I got it done.  And by the end of the week I was a little bit better at the climbing and little more confident on the descending and I proved to myself that with alot of hard work I can accomplish what I set my mind to.

And so in 14 months - a year after Steelhead, I will tackle Mont Tremblant.  It's going to be the challenge of my life.  I hope you stay along for the ride - I'm going to need all the support I can get!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Motor City Sprint Triathlon Race Report

My first triathlon of the season was Sunday and I'm happy to report that for once, I did NOT finish at the back of the pack!

The sprint distance for this race was a 500m swim, 20k bike, and 3.3 mile run and was held on Belle Isle, about 20 minutes across the border from home.  I'd heard great things about this race and course from friends who had raced it before so I was excited and nervous to try it out.  Excited to see how my training is translating into performance and nervous that all of this training wouldn't translate into an improved performance.

Packet pick-up on Saturday went really smoothly.  We were given a clear bag with our race number on it for T1 (there were two transition areas), a swim cap, and the race t-shirt.  The t-shirt isn't bad in that although it's cotton it isn't that horrible stiff, scratchy cotton you get alot of.  It's a soft cotton in a nice colour with a cool graphic.  My only complaint is size.  Aren't triathletes generally on the slimmer side?  Why is the women's small so huge?!  Despite that, I did appreciate that the bag wasn't loaded with useless papers and because Hammer was a sponsor you had the option of grabbing a gel from the bin.  People crack me up though.  The sign on the bin says, "To ensure that all athletes are able to get a gel please take only one" and people were grabbing fistfuls.  Really?  They're not THAT expensive.

On race day the alarm went off at 4:45 because we wanted to head out for 5:30 to ensure that we had ample time make it across the border and set up transitions.  I choked down a bagel with peanut butter and a banana and loaded up the car to head out.  Border crossing was a breeze and we arrived at the location to find loads of parking and alot of people already there.  Sydney got registered, we got our timing chips, and set up our run stuff at T2.  I got a great spot, second from the aisle, about halfway between between the bike in and run out.  We then had to get our swim and bike stuff down to the beach area where T1 and body marking was located.  It was little odd riding my bike in flip flops, with a bag containing me wetsuit and other gear but I managed the mile to T1 without falling so that was good!  It also gave me a chance to make sure that my bike was in the right gear before I racked it.  Again I scored a spot on that was second from the aisle and went about setting up my stuff.  I went to body marking where they wrote my number on each arm, on the top of each hand, and S on one calf, and my age on the other.  Overkill much?  

The race meeting and my wave start was still more than an hour away but I put my wetsuit on because it was FREEZING!  We chilled out (literally) on the beach and finally at 7:40 the race director held the meeting.  The Olympic waves began going off at 8:00 sharp and we got in to do a warm up.  I was worried about getting into the water but truthfully it ended up being warmer in the water than out of it.  I warmed up for about ten minutes and felt really good.  Finally, it was time to head back into the water and get ready to start.  

I was most nervous about the layout of this swim course.  For a 500m swim there were four buoys that we had to go around.  This coupled with all of the buoys meant for the Olympic distance made a little confusion when looking out at the course.  The horn went off and I started out feeling really strong.  I took the first turn a little wide and started to head to the second buoy.  The water was only about shoulder deep here so a good majority of the field was walking or running through the water.  I hate that!  It's frustrating to try to swim through a wall of people who are walking and not letting you swim by them.  Once you turned at the second buoy the water got too deep to stand up in so everyone started swimming.  The thrash fest began and I was just trying to separate from the group.  I finally got a good line and was sighting the next buoy perfectly.  Unfortunately the group was headed to the inside of the buoy when the lifeguard started yelling at them to go around the outside.  They all made a bee line towards me and that's when I got pulled under.  I came up choking and spitting water and lost about a minute trying to spit out all the water and get myself collected.  I was so pissed because I was having a good swim and with such a short swim a minute was big chunk of time.  The rest of the swim was awful as my hr was crazy high and I had a hard time getting my breathing down.  What I learned from this?  Learn to swim FASTER so I can get in front of all this mayhem.

Swim time - 12:22 (78/127 females) - BOOO

There was a fairly long run up to the transition area and I used this time to try to get my wetsuit sleeves off.  The sleeves of my 2XU wetsuit are really tight but normally don't give me any trouble.  I think because I was so worked up from the swim my coordination was the first to go.  Fortunately, I was out of the sleeves and collected before hitting my rack.  I stripped pretty quickly and got my shoes, glasses, and helmet on.  I lost a little time trying to stuff everything into the plastic bag - the bags would be collected and transported to the finish area - which then proceeded to tear around the top.  Finally, I grabbed my bike and ran for the mount line.

T1 - 2:24 - I normally way quicker in transition so this was disappointing

The bike course was two loops plus about a mile of the island.  Two car lanes plus the bike lane was closed to traffic for the race (there weren't enough participants to allow them to close it to all traffic).  Racers were instructed to stay to the right and pass on the left.  This did not happen.  The bike course was a complete gong show of people riding all over the place, sometimes two and three wide.  I resolved to not let this bother me and just try to pass as many people as possible.  The course is totally flat and in fairly good shape.  I was happy to see that I was only passed by Olympic distance athletes sporting University of Michigan or Michigan State racing kits and full disc rear wheels.  The oddest person I passed was guy on a tri bike wearing an aero helmet but wearing running shoes on flat pedals.  I felt really strong on the bike and kept a steady pace.  My only problem was trying to figure out how hard to push.  I felt like I could have pushed the bike more but was worried about burning out my legs for the run.  This is something I'm going to have to work on.  I also drank continuously throughout the ride as instructed by Coach Mary.  I had Hammer Heed in my aero bottle and was happy to see that I've become better at drinking with an elevated heart rate.  My stomach did start to revolt a little about 3/4 of the way through so I stopped drinking.  It was still pretty mild out so I wasn't worried about dehydrating but I was worried about puking up the Heed so I made the call.  It worked out well.  

Bike time - 38:07 for an average pace of 19 mph (24/127 females) -  I am VERY happy with this bike time.  

I dismounted with no problem and ran it into T2.  I quickly switched out the shoes (speedlaces worked great), tossed off the glasses and helmet and grabbed my hat and gel.  

T2 - 1:05

I sucked back the gel running out of T2 and gabbed a cup of water from the water station.  Right away I fell into a smooth pace and was happy to see that my legs felt great and although I could tell that my hr was high it felt like I could maintain it.  The run wound into a nature trail that was in pretty rough shape. The race team had taken the time to spray paint the areas that were heaving and potholed but you still had to be really careful.  I passed a couple of people (not in my age group) and was passed by ALOT of men in the 40-44 AG that had gone off after us.  I ran based on feel and concentrated on quick feet.  Unfortunately a woman in my age group went by me with less than a mile to go.  I tried really hard to stay on her heels to potentially sprint it out at the finish but it wasn't meant to be.  She ended up finishing about 30 seconds ahead of me.

Run time - 30:58 for an average pace of 9:07/mile (the course was a little longer than 3.2 miles).  I'm happy with this and it's a PR for 3.2 miles.

Total time - 1:25:54
30/127 Overall
5/18 Age Group

5th place!  I'm so excited by that.  Although I was disappointed with how the swim went, and wonder whether I could have pushed harder on the bike I'm really happy with the overall outcome.  I was on the first page of the race results for the first time ever!

Happy with the outcome

My next race is an Olympic distance in Otter Lake Michigan on July 17th.  I'm a little nervous about the swim but what else is new?!

Congrats to all those who raced this past weekend and good luck to anyone racing this weekend. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Italia 2011 - Part I

I'm going to separate the update about my trip into a couple (or few) posts because there was just SO much.  

Week 1 - Rome

We departed Toronto on the 15th on the 11 p.m. flight that was scheduled to last 9 hours.  I love the overnight flights because I don't have any problem sleeping on planes (I'm pretty small so the lack of legroom doesn't really effect me).  The first hour and a half was frustrating because I was SO tired and wanted to sleep so badly and they kept the lights on and wouldn't STOP with the announcements in English, French AND Italian.  Finally they turned off the lights, turned on the movie and I went to sleep until about half an hour before we landed.

Immigration and Customs was ridiculously easy - if not a little frustrating for the all of the pushing and cutting in line - we located our shuttle driver, and commenced the harrowing drive into Rome to our hotel.  We found a great place to stay on Expedia called the Residence Villa Tassoni.  This is a permanent residence with various apartments that they let out for week or longer stays.  It was a 10 minute walk to the Vatican, had a kitchenette and balcony, but was not located in the super touristy part of Rome.

Over the course of the next four days we walked many kilometres and I had a limone gelato every. single. day.  Some of the highlights were The Coliseum, The Trevi Fountain, Parthenon, The Vatican, and The Vatican Museum.  We didn't do any formal tours (though were approached ALOT by people selling tours), preferring to take things at our own pace.

One thing I will say about Rome is that four days is ALOT.  It's really busy, and expensive and the constant noise/motion/people can become pretty draining.  I had been before but Paul, Dave, and Kathy hadn't so it was important that they went and experienced it.  Would I go again?  Meh.  I don't know.

As far as training went I had arranged with Coach Mary that I would sort of wing it and upload any Garmin data when I got home.  Certainly week two would be filled with alot (ALOT!) of cycling so I wasn't too worried about it.  I did manage to run twice while in Rome.  The second day we were there Paul, Dave, and I (Kathy has a knee injury and can't run) went out for a 30-45 minute run.  All downhill for the first half and all uphill for the last half.  I felt great and managed a pretty reasonable pace throughout the run.  On the Thursday we went out for an hour and a half and that was an awesome run!  We found ourselves in front of the Vatican at 6:30 a.m. and there wasn't a soul in sight.  We ran to the River and along the path and I did a ladder workout.  Running on the cobblestone streets is pretty challenging and my calves and knees were really feeling it by the end but it was an awesome workout!

Some pics - 

Day 1 Gelato Outside of The Coliseum

Gelato - Day 2 :-)

Dinners on the balcony

The Vatican - with NOONE around!

Paul and Dave running along the River

On Saturday we said, "Arrivederci Roma!" and boarded the train for the three hour ride to the Tuscan countryside.  Stayed tuned for Part II and more pics!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

May In Review

Well hello again.  It's been a while and I'm not sure anyone's still out there?  Obviously, I'm back from Italy and will post a review (or likely more than one) of my trip soon.

For today, you'll need to put up with my May In Review.  Keep in mind numbers will be skewed because of two weeks in Italy.

Swimming - 6,900 meters in 5.42 hours (14.74% of training time).  This is 8,050 meters less (yikes!) than last month but significantly less time spent.  There was NO swimming at all for me after May 15th.

Biking - 470.5 kilometres in 26.41 hours (71.91% of training time).  Of course, this is because I spent a full week in Tuscany doing nothing but cycling.  It's difficult to compare to last month since April was mostly trainer time.

Running - 32.74 kilometres in 4.9 hours (13.33% of training time).  This is 55.22 kilometres less than last month but again, other than two runs in Rome during the first week of my trip, there was no running after May 15th.
This weekend brings my first tri of the season.  The Motor City triathlon where I'm participating in the Sprint.  I'm a little nervous for the swim and hopeful that I'll show improvements over last year.  

I hope you're all having successful training weeks and good luck to anyone racing this weekend!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Well it's finally here - Italy 2011.  Our flight leaves tonight from Pearson direct to Rome where we'll be until Saturday.  Saturday we take the train to the Tuscany region where we'll spend the week cycling, going to the beach, and eating wonderful food fresh from the local markets.

60 - 120km a day of riding is on the agenda that second week with lots of village stops for panini and gelato.  A couple of epic days are planned including a 110km trip to Voltera (Twilight fans will recognize the name of this place) that includes LOTS of climbing.  

I'm nervous and excited and will return in two weeks with lots of pictures.  Until then - trilikemary out...

Monday, May 9, 2011

97 Is Less Than 100

I just noticed my ticker today and it says 97 days.  I'm less than 100 days from my first Half Ironman.  Oh boy.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Most Fun I've Ever Had Getting My Ass Handed To Me!

My first ever team time trial was yesterday and ended up being one of the funnest days I've had on a bike so far.  The local Bike Sabbath group organized it and eight teams of four participated.  If you go to the link that's me in the white helmet at the top of the collage.

The weather gods were smiling on us because it was the most perfect day weather wise for riding.  Sunny and clear, about 60 degrees at race start time and best of all, negligible wind!  My team was one of two all female teams.  My friend Dawn was the only other woman and  raced on a team of boys (and held her own btw - they took second place).  

We went all out for 60k and finished in 2 hours and 7 minutes for an average speed of 28.3 km per hour (or  just over 17.5 mph for my US friends).  That's pretty decent for newbies over the course of 60k and was certainly faster than we thought we'd go.  We learned that next time we can certainly benefit from some proper pace-lining but we got it done!  I must admit that the final 10k was a test of mental toughness for me and when we crossed the finish line I got off my bike on really shaky legs.  Immediately following the race Sydney and I changed into run gear and did a 15 minute transition run because we're tough like that. ;-)

Even with a 20 minute handicap we came in last place but crossed the finish line strong which was really the main goal in the first place for me.  It was a great day with friends riding bikes with the added bonus of some eye candy in the form of a skinsuit.

I hope everyone is experiencing the beautiful weather we're having here.  I'm off for a one hour run (we'll see how the calves like that!) and then some gardening!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April in Review

It's that time again!  Let's review how April went training wise.

Swimming - 14,950 meters in 8.83 hours (32.08% of my training time).  That is 5,150 meters more than last month is 3.58 hours more time.  Wow!  That is a huge increase.  March was a bad month for swimming though considering the amount of time I was sick.

Biking - 8.92 hours mostly on the trainer (32.38% of  my training time).  That's a couple of hours less than March.  Why is that?  Hmmm.  I did manage two rides outside at the end of the month.  Hopefully May's stats will include distances and average speeds.

Running - 87.96 kilometres in 9.78 hours (35.53% of my training time).  That is almost 9 kilometres more than last month.

May should be an interesting month.  I have a 60km team time trial bike race this Saturday.  We will come in last, without a doubt, but were encouraged to enter a team by a good friend that is organizing it.  There are no prizes and times are reported on the honour system so it's SUPPOSED to be a fun event.  We'll see how it turns out.  I'm hoping for decent temperatures and no rain!

I'm also headed to Italy for two weeks.  The first week in Rome and the second in Tuscany for the cycling part of the trip.  I'm a little nervous about missing two week's worth of swims but will certainly get my riding time in!  

I hope you all had a successful month of April and that May is good to you!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

First Ride Outside

Happy Easter everyone!  The weather today turned out to be pretty nice so Sydney and I headed outside for our 45 minute ride to be followed by a 20 minute transition run.  This was my first ride outside this year and I have to admit I was a little nervous.  I've become pretty comfortable on the trainer (though bored some days for sure) and was wary about what things would be like outside with the elements coming into play.  

Fortunately it turned out pretty good.  I was dressed properly so didn't freeze or overheat.  The traffic was really light (I guess everyone was at church?) so not alot of cars buzzing by.  And, by some miracle the gale force winds we've been experiencing here were alot calmer!  

I did have a hard time keeping my heartrate in zone 2 which is where I was supposed to do this ride.  I wasn't feeling overly taxed but for some reason as soon as I would get my cadence anywhere near 90 rpm it would shoot up to high zone 3.  

I spent some time in aero as well.  My goal this year is to really get comfortable in that position because until now I've felt really out of control in my bars.  I do think they need to come back a touch still as I still feel a little too stretched out which messes up my centre of gravity and my control of the bike.  The problem is that I'm so damn small that the bars have to come back so far that I don't have enough sticking out the front to attach my aero bottle to and still have something to hold on to.  I was really hoping to use the aero bottle this year because I have a hard time getting bottles in and out of the cages.  Again, because I'm so small and the frame of my bike is so wee regular bottles are too long to fit into my bottle cages and I really have to fight to get them out.  Even the smaller bottles are tough to maneuver and I'm not nearly coordinated enough to wrangle with them while maintaining any semblance of speed.  As a result I ended up not drinking enough on rides last year.  I've though about getting one of those seat post holders but have heard that they tend to launch the water bottles if the road isn't perfectly smooth.  Oy vey!  

What's a 5' tall girl to do?  Suggestions are welcome although I've already thought that this makes a great case for me to get a tri bike. ;-)

Friday, April 22, 2011


Click on over to Shut Up and Run and check out the cool giveaway she has going on right now.  I would really love the "I Am Not Afraid" necklace by Sporty Girl Jewelry (ahem - Paul)  Read her blog too.  She's a semi-okay runner :-) with a funny sense of humour and lots of good potty stories related to her running.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1.  I am sick AGAIN!  So tired of this sinus infection, nasty cough thing I've been battling for three of the last four weeks.  I finally saw my GP about it today because it's become obvious I require some professional intervention to be rid of this once and for all.  She prescribed antibiotics (she doesn't do that alot) and a nasal spray.  She also reviewed my blood test results from the bloodwork I had done a couple of months ago.  Her office had called me the day after I had it done and advised that I needed to start taking iron supplements.  Turns out that my iron was 2.  Normal is 80.  Ooops.  

2.  I'm typing this post on my new shiny MacBook.  Love it!  My HP bit it last week.  A problem with the videocard overheating regularly and finally frying the motherboard.  This last HP was a replacement that HP sent me after months of fighting with them about my previous HP biting it for THE SAME REASON! This time around HP is not acknowledging any problems and not extending any warranties.  The Internets are full of people ranting about this as it's fried ALOT of laptops.  I don't have the time or patience to fight with HP again and am officially done with them.  I have gone to Team Apple.

3.  I swam 2,400 meters on Tuesday.  I went to a Master's swim in the evening instead of my usual morning swim at the pool with no Coach to do the workout Coach Mary sent me.  I feel pretty good about finishing that workout as 2,400 is the longest swim workout I've done so far.  I got home really late though - 10:30 p.m. which is WAY past my bedtime.  This is the only workout I've done this week as well, and it's not looking good for tomorrow's ride because have I mentioned the I'm sick AGAIN.  Grrrr!  Cross your fingers for me that I'm feeling up to the 1.5 hour run on my schedule for Saturday.

I hope you all have a great holiday weekend!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Southern Footprints Half Marathon

My laptop has finally thrown in the towel so I'm updating from the iPhone. Not the most ideal but I hope you'll bear with me until the laptop situation is rectified.

I ran my second race of the season today - the Southern Footprints Half Marathon. This race could also have been called the Wizard of Oz Half Marathon. The wind was CRAZY!! I'm not a big person and there were gusts that had me working not to blow over. It was mostly a cross wind until mile 12 when we turned toward the lake again and it was head on. I wanted to cry here, and stop. Winds stir up the demons in my pysche. On the bike and on the run nothing makes me doubt myself more. I was proud of myself today though because I beat those demons down and kept at it. I kept repeating what Coach Mary said in her race plan - "It's SUPPOSED to hurt!". I even managed to pass two people in the section with the highest wind. One I passed going uphill(!!) about 500m from the finish line. I had been targeting this girl for half the race! That was very satisfying. :-)

At the turn into the finishing chute all of my awesome friends were there cheering me on (the one advantage to being the slowest of the group - lots of support at the finish) and making so much noise the announcer even commented about my fan club. My mom and Dad and niece came out
too which was awesome. I love that she's interested in racing and watching me race.

All of this lead up to say that I finished in 2:07:43. A PB!! I'm very excited about that because the conditions made this race SO HARD but I was able to gut it out. I was still bottom half of my age group but it was a small field (152 total runners) and I learned to stop worrying about what everyone else was doing.

Other than the lack of water stations (I was so dehydrated by the end) this was a great race. I like the timing of it so early in the season and the course is really nice going along the lake, into the national park and through trails. The wind sucked and the rollers on the trail
part were more difficult than expected but definitely a two thumbs up race. The buffet lunch
afterwards was inside the host hotel and we had a chance to hang out and chat and cheer for
our good friend Dawn who won overall female - she is a STAR!

Well, this has taken an inordinate amount of time to type up on the phone so I'll end it here. I hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend and good luck to all the people I know both in blogland and in real life doing Boston on Monday. I will be tracking you all and sending speedy thoughts for a fabulous race. Cheers!