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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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james island sprint triathlon

I Want To Be an Ironman – Week 18

This week was much more choppy than usual since I wanted to race at least one more race of the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series. And since we had done our mock olympic the weekend before, I did all workouts in Zone 2 (no intervals). Also, I am apparently super lame and took zero pictures. So here is a meme.

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Monday – long ride (part 1) 2 hour ride/34.83 miles/17.4MPH/73 degrees Long rides around my house require some creativity. I did an out and back involving my usual 1 hour route, some back roads and a couple loops through a neighborhood. It was boring. And hot.And the weather is lying – it was much warmer than 73 when I started, and felt like the 90’s by the time I was done.

Tuesday swim/run 60 minute swim/unknown distance. Tammie and I split the cost of an hour session with a local coach who gave us some drills to practice, where I learned I was actually doing them improperly. I have a lot to learn when it comes to my swim. More of the swim was discussion than actual swimming so I’m not really sure how far I went, but I’m counting it. 58 minute run/5.83 miles/9:58 average/73 degrees. OK, now I KNOW the weather is lying as it was definitely not 73 degrees. Or something in my watch is broken. Maybe its wishful thinking, since the high temp for at least 3 days this week was at or over 100. 73 would feel like a cold front.

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Wednesday swim/run 60 minute swim/2500 yards. This swim almost didn’t happen. I went to bed at 9:15 the night before, my alarm set for 5:15. I tossed and turned, and maybe dozed until nearly 11 o’clock, when I finally took half a Xanax because I knew it would help me sleep. I left my alarm set figuring if I woke up feeling exhausted I’d turn it off, but surprisingly I felt alright. I’ve read, though, that feeling tired but being unable to sleep can be a sign of overdoing it, so I told myself if I didn’t sleep well that night I’d rest the next day. 60 minute stroller run/5.55 miles/10:38 average/75 degrees. It was sticky and not fun, but I got it done.

Thursday long ride part 2. 2 hour ride/33.7 miles/17 MPH/79 degrees. Looks like the weather is working right again. I took a different route this time and it made the ride much less boring. It was still hot though. And I slept pretty well Wednesday night so didn’t have to rest.

Friday long run 75 minute treadmill run/7.6 miles/9:52 average. Bryan unexpectedly had to go into work much earlier than usual so I still got up at 5:15 but headed upstairs to run instead of outside. I forgot my heart rate monitor and had issues getting Netflix to work at first but it ended up not being as bad as I had dreaded thanks to Orange is the New Black, Season 4.

Saturday rest day

Sunday James Island Sprint Triathlon. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this race. When we left at 5:30 it was already 82 degrees. In the end, it wasn’t my worst and it wasn’t my best, and I still got a mug 🙂 I’m hoping the Tri group coach will post some pics I can steal so I can have some for the recap at least.

Total Training Time:  10 hours 45 minutes

Training Thoughts: I am SO OVER THIS HEAT. It sucks the energy right out of me. Bring on fall!!!!

Charleston Sprint Tri Recap (Race 2)

The second race of the sprint series traditionally falls on Father’s Day. Figuring Bryan would want to sleep in that morning, I hadn’t originally planned on racing. I thought I might get up with the twins and cheer, but when the weather showed a break in the heat and low temps predicted in the 60’s, I asked Bryan if he would be ok with me racing if I moved my long ride to a day that allowed him to sleep in on Saturday instead, and promised to come home shortly after I finished.

He told me to race and take my time. He is the best.

I was able to arrange my training schedule again to allow me a rest day before the race. I’m not sure this will be able to happen again this year, so I was in a “race” mentality.

The Swim

Distance: 600 yards

Fastest Time: 14:07

Swim waves are broken up into 10 year age groups and typically ours is pretty large. I didn’t count but I think there were less than a dozen of us this time, but that didn’t keep me from nearly running into at least 3 people. I sighted a lot more this race than last since I was afraid of going too wide, and I think this slowed my pace down. I still technically PR’ed the swim, but my pace per 100 yards was slower than last week.

Time: 14:02

Transition 1:

Fastest Time: 1:26

I was less anxious about transitions this time which I think helped. I did cut off a little time, but I’d still like to figure out how to do that thing where you start with your shoes clipped in the pedals already. I am afraid of falling.

Time: 1:15

The Bike

Distance: 12 miles

Fastest Time: 35:15

I crossed the transition line and had trouble clipping in. Some days I clip right in, others I flail around like a floppy uncoordinated fish and today was, unfortunately, one of those days. I also don’t start my watch until I’m ON the bike and pedaling so my actual bike time tends to be off. On the plus side, Thursday’s tips on turning proved to be very helpful and even though there was a nice headwind I still managed to average a faster speed than any other race. Unfortunately, since I spent so much time getting on and clipping in (25 seconds!), I didn’t officially PR the bike like I thought I had.

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Time: 35:07 (riding time)/35:32 (official)

Transition 2

Fastest Time: 48 seconds

I typically run one lap of the run with my tri top on and throw it at the Pit Crew for the second because I get too hot. This time, I thought I’d try taking it off during transition, and this proved to be an epic fail. My arm got stuck, and I spent an extra probably 20 or so seconds trying to get out of it. Next time I’ll stick with what worked before. I said to myself ” well this isn’t working” and some guy next to me said something like “it never does”. HAHA

Time: 1:13 (worst transition 2 ever)

The Run

Distance: 3.1 miles

Fastest Time: 24:00

The run felt hot (even without a shirt). I forgot to change my watch windows so I could watch my pace so I had to run it partly blind, only getting an update every mile. I’m not sure it would have mattered but I guess there is no way to know. I kept my phone with me and blasted some music again the last mile, probably annoying some others but hey it helps. I was able to keep an eye on overall time though and after mile 2 realized if I hurried (ha) I could slide in with a 1:15:xx finish time. I didn’t care if it was 1:15:59! Also, I got a freaking awesome race picture.

2016 Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series Race 2
Images from the second race on Fathers Day for the 2016 Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series at James Island County Park by Charleston County Parks and Recreation

Time: 23:54

Total

Fastest Time: 1:16:12

This Race: 1:15:55

Honestly, with all the transition snafu’s I’m surprised I pulled off a PR but I did, so yay! As least I know where I can easily knock off at least another 40 wasted seconds. Ha.

Overall: 12/72 females

Age Group: 2nd place

Swim: 42/72 

Bike: 7/72

Run: 13/72

I Want To Be An Ironman- Week 12

Monday: run/swim. 60 minute run with 1×5 min Z4/6.16 miles/73 degrees. I knew the twins would want to join me for my run in the morning, and I had a 5 minute interval scheduled. The thought of pushing them for 5 minutes of an interval didn’t seem fun so I took off early and did the first 20 min solo and pushed them for the rest. It looks like I averaged 7:40 ish for the interval portion, though it did take a solid 2-2.5 min to get my heart rate up where it needed to be. 62 minute swim/2500 meters. Since my swim buddy was unable to meet me this morning I decided I’d try a long continuous swim. I swam 2500 meters straight (my longest so far) at 2:28/100m. Slow, but it felt comfortable enough that I could have kept going, and that pace will get me to the end way before the cutoff so that’s all I care about.

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It’s on on the watch so it counts

Tuesday run  yoga/ride. I woke up in the morning and my left PSOAS was mysteriously sore – enough to cause discomfort just while walking. This was completely out of the blue, so I pulled out my yoga mat and followed a sequence specifically for the hip flexors (PSOAS) and felt well enough afterwards to do a workout. Figuring that running might irritate it more, I  opted to hop on the bike figuring I’d go 30 min and see how I felt. I had no issues during the ride itself, but it was still irritated after. I opted to skip the interval portion this time. 40 minutes yoga/60 minute ride/18.18  miles/18.1 MPH/HR 145/81 degrees

Wednesday – swim/run. 60 minute swim/2100 meters. It was a cruddy swim, I took a lot of breaks, and decided 2100 was enough for the day. 45 min run with 1x 5 min Z4/4.83 miles/9:19 pace/78 degrees. I opted for the treadmill on this one since I was getting out of work early so I could hang out with the family that evening. My third floor only cooled to 78 degrees since the treadmill was running so it was warmer than I would have liked but better than the 95 degrees it was outside.

Thursday – long ride. 130 min ride/34 miles (ish).  I cheated a bit and split this into two (and also changed the day). My morning ride was solo and the evening was with a group for a bike clinic lead by our sponsor bike store. The owner gave us some great advice on turning and this turned out to be very helpful for Sunday.

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Friday – swim. 60 minute swim/2500 yards. This swim felt hard too. I tried doing some intervals at a set pace, and managed to do ok, I just felt tired. The hours on the bike the day before, namely the ones while it was 96 degrees probably didn’t help.

Saturday – rest day

Sunday – James Island Sprint Triathlon. Recap to come. Spoiler: I got to add another mug to my collection, and a new time to put on my PR board. 🙂

James Island Sprint Tri #1 Recap

It’s triathlon season again, which means it’s time for the James Island Sprint Triathlon Series.

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After last years championship race, the series offered a significant discount if you signed up for all 5 races for the following year. Considering all I had to do was race 2 of them to get my money’s worth, I signed up for all 5. I doubt I’ll race all 5 (most notably the one on Fathers Day) but I hope to get 3-4.

The Swim

Distance600 yards 673 yards

Fastest Time: 14:03

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I’ve spend quite a bit of time lately concentrating on form and technique. My practice swims, though shorter distances, were getting faster so I expected I’d be able to take some time off of my swim. It ended up being a bit of a snafu, though. I nearly ran into one person and actually ran into another, and ended up so far wide I touched the shore twice. I was disappointed when I exited the water and found that my finish time was nearly one minute SLOWER than last year, and cursed while I ran to transition and realized I had gone 73 yards too far. Later, it turns out that the buoys were likely placed too far apart as I wasn’t the only one who calculated a longer distance. On the plus side, I exited the water and jogged to transition without feeling like my legs were made of lead. And, my pace was actually faster than last year. Had the distance been correct, my exit time would have been 13:30 (30 seconds faster). Also, I really should have practiced some sighting.

Time: 15:02

Transition One

Fastest Time: 1:30

I hadn’t practiced transitions at all since I started training and it showed. I had issues with my helmet and had to put it on my head twice. I felt unorganized.

Time: 1:36

The Bike

Distance: 12 miles

Fastest Time: 35:15

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I’ve never been very smooth at mounting my bike and getting clipped in and today was no exception, though honestly for the longer distances I’m really unconcerned about it, so there is a good chance not much practice will go into this this year. This course has quite a few hairpin turns and I’m pretty sure I lost time on them. Plus, I was back and forth with another girl in my age group for most of the ride, and trying to avoid passing each other constantly, I stayed back for a good distance. Does this mean I could have stayed in front of her? I’m not sure. I did eventually pass her near the end but I’m not certain I would have maintained it. I think more knowledge of the course will help my speed next time. Though it was slower, I wasn’t disappointed. It is the first race of the season, after all.

Time: 36:02

Transition Two

Fastest Time: 48 seconds

This transition was slightly better, but still slower

Time: 56 seconds

The Run

Distance: 3.1 miles

Fastest Time: 24:24

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Finally a time I was able to beat! I had some leftover confidence from my fairly recent marathon time and figured a 7:50 average should be doable. My first mile was right on target at 7:50 and the second at 7:45. I stopped for water at mile 3 and lost several seconds (and ironically, a 23:xx finish time. ugh). I met up with Jason near the end and basically forced him to sprint with me, which I wasn’t sure he was super thrilled about.

Time: 24:00 

Overall

Fastest time: 1:16:12

This Race: 1:17:31

I’m blaming the long swim.

I had honestly hoped for a PR on this race because I figured it’ll be the only one I’m not too tired to actually race, but who knows. And I’m not disappointed. Plus, I won a mug, so who can be sad after that?

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The 4th Tri

Well crap, I think I’m about out of catchy sayings now.

The goal for this race, the final sprint of the season, was to cut off some time. Any time would have been great, but a couple of minutes was what I wanted to see. Was it possible? I wasn’t sure. ‘

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pre race pictures this time because I Iost my phone before I even warmed up. I checked my bag about 80 times, I retraced my steps to my car, I looked IN my car, nada. I checked the registration tent and no one had turned it in. Great. Well thats just great. And not a great start for a race either. In the end, though, I knew worrying about it wasn’t going to change whether I found it or not, so I just tried to switch my focus.

I did a quick bike warm up, and then got in the water. My warm up swim felt….unorganized. Not smooth. Choppy. Ugh. I was just not feeling it today. No phone, and not feeling it, great combination.

The Swim

Last Race: 14:36

Distance: still .3 miles or 600 yards, but I swear even though this is the 4th time overall I’ve done this, the buoys look SO FAR AWAY.

An awesome friend of mine gave me a couple tips to help cut some time off my swim. First, start on the inside. Second, try sighting every 8 or so strokes (I was doing so every 5-6). I attempted this idea in the pool and kept veering WAY off to the right, so I wasn’t really sure what I was going to end up doing, but I did at least start on the inside.

After the whistle went off, something clicked. I found a rhythm and went with it. I wasn’t passed by anyone doing the backstroke and I only SAW (key word here) one person in the group behind me pass me. I actually hit the shore in under 14 minutes, but struggled wading out of the water to the timing mat.

This Race: 14:06 (it turns out that I’m not sure I swam faster so much as straighter – I did 608 yards this time vs 625 the last)

Transition 1:

Last Race: 1:36

I’m not sure what I did here, but it wasn’t faster.

This Race: 1:39

I need some practice with this transition.

my only picture from the day and it was taken at home afterwards
my only picture from the day and it was taken at home afterwards

The Bike

Distance: 12 miles

Last Race: 36:16

Having done the course a couple weeks before, I was more familiar with the turns. The advice to me for this round was this: take the visor off your helmet and remove the bottle cages. Sounds crazy right? But anything extra on the bike can cause you to be less aerodynamic, and therefore slower.  I decided to haul ass and pray my legs weren’t mush when I got to the run. In fact, my goal was to make it farther before my friend caught up with me, and I did, so win. Actually, overall it was a huge win. I was only passed by one person (TAMI!).

This Race: 35:16

Transition 2

Last Race: 1:09

Still had to change shoes, and actually stopped to take a couple sips since I didn’t have a bottle on my bike, but I still cut some time

This race: 48 seconds

The Run

Distance: 3.1 miles (5k)

Last Race: 25:25

The run after the last race felt HARD, and I’m not even sure why because it wasn’t a particularly humid day. This time, it felt much easier. Weird. I didn’t need to stop at the water stations and felt great overall

This Race: 24:34

And all my friends say I'm pretty fly with my inhaler
And all my friends say I’m pretty fly with my inhaler

Final Standings:

Last Race: 1:18:51

This Race: 1:16:12 (PR!!!)

Age Group: 5/15 (just can’t quite make top 3)

Overall Female: 25/94

Swim Overall: 54/94

Bike Overall: 9(!)/94

Run Overall: 27/94

Oh, and I did find my phone! It must have been near the car because someone put it on my windshield!

Onward to Kiawah!

The Third Tri’s the Charm (2015 Sprint Recap)

I wonder how many more little catchy sayings I can use with the word “Tri”.

It’s a little further into the season than I’d hoped before my first Triathlon this year, but my plans to do the previous one were changed when I decided to go ahead and do the LASIK surgery (a decision I do NOT regret one bit!).

A couple of big things changed this year: I purchased a triathlon bike and started riding with a group. I also find a super nice friend to actually teach me how to swim freestyle. See, when I said I didn’t know how to swim, I really meant it. Actually, for awhile I thought “freestyle” meant pick whatever stroke you want. I didn’t know it was the name of an actual stroke type.

Now that I’ve embarrassed myself.

Pre-race pic :)
Pre-race pic 🙂

The Swim

Distance: .3 miles (600 yards)

Last years fastest time: 17:21

There is something about an open water swim that makes me nervous. I’d done a practice open water swim (I was nervous for that too) and completed up to 1400 meters (almost a mile) without stopping in the pool. I was still nervous. The buoy’s look REALLY far away. The swim warm up did help this time, though. Unfortunately the water was pretty much black so I couldn’t really see anything, but the fact that I knew I could make double the distance in a pool helped me stay focused. I started in the back though, still, and counted 4-5 seconds before I even began. I was pretty close to another girl most of the day – she ended up beating me – while doing the backstroke. Harumph.

This year’s time: 14:36 (almost 3 minutes faster!)

Transition 1:

Last year’s fastest: 1:58

Actually I expected to have a longer transition time this year because I’m “clipped in” (I have bike shoes that literally clip into the pedals), but apparently I managed to get out faster and didn’t stumble too much while trying to get clipped in. Win.

This years time: 1:36

This bike looks prettier than last year
This bike looks prettier than last year

The Bike

Distance: 12 miles

Last year’s fastest time: 40:41

Joining the YMCA Triathlon club and riding 1-2x a week in a group has been a HUGE help and has really made me not only push myself but realize I’m capable of going faster than I thought. There was a bit of a headwind on part of the ride (though not enough to really blame it on anything) and I think that I was a little more cautious than necessary on a couple turns because I hadn’t ridden the route since the year before, but overall I was happy with my average speed.

This year: 36:16

Transition 2

Last years fastest time: 48 seconds

I actually had to change shoes this year (bike shoes to running shoes), so I did add some time this time around.

This year: 1:09

Why yes, I do pay to download race pictures when they are good ones :)
Why yes, I do pay to download race pictures when they are good ones 🙂

The Run

Last year’s fastest time: 25:06

I honestly haven’t been running all that much but I’ve been pretty consistent about speed work so I was really hoping to knock some time off my run. Compared to the previous few days weeks, it was actually pretty cool out at race start, but by the time I got running it had warmed up and the run just felt hard. I stopped to walk a bit once and briefly at all the water stops. Ugh. I hate running in the heat

This year: 25:25

I win! (not really)
I win! (not really)

Final Standings:

Last year’s fastest time: 1:25:53

This year: 1:18:51

Age Group: 5/10 (missed 4th by 30 seconds and 3rd by 1:45)

Overall Female: 23/84

Swim Overall 53/84 (closer to the middle this time!)

Bike Overall 13/84

Run Overall  30/84

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Olympic Distance Triathlon Training – Week 8

Though I haven’t technically been following the training plan since the beginning, week 8 marks the halfway point.

Sunday: Ride 2 hours 2 minutes (42.2 miles). I really enjoy having a good group to ride with – they really push me in terms of both distance and speed and I’m finding I can go farther and faster than I thought I’d be able to. I kept up with the fast part of the group this ride and even pulled (led) a couple of times at over 20mph. It wasn’t for a long distance, but it does show me I am capable of hanging with the big dogs!

check out those speeds!
check out those speeds!

Monday: Run 40 minutes (4.25 miles) on the tread mill. Treadmills are still not my favorite but its been so freaking HOT here that I’d rather run on the hamster wheel lately. I felt like I was fighting a cold and my legs were still a little jello-y from the ride Sunday so I took it easy.

Tuesday: Run 35 minutes (4 miles) on the treadmill. 1 mile warm up, then 3×800 at a little less than goal 5k pace (7:03) with a half mile recovery in between, then cool down.

Wednesday rest day. I had planned to take the twins to the track, but at “feels like” temp of 102 at 6 pm, I decided against it. Plus, I didn’t really need the time anyway. I did, however, get the go ahead to swim at my 2 week post LASIK check! WOO HOO!

Thursday– SWIM (!) 35 minutes (1200 meters) and spin class (it rained). My endurance did go down a bit after not swimming for almost 2 weeks. I was more tired after 35 minutes than I would have liked, but I didn’t forget how to swim, so that was a bonus. Best of all, I COULD SEE THE END OF THE POOL!

my camera can see the other end, and now I can too!
my camera can see the other end, and now I can too!

Friday: rest day. The nice thing about a long working early in the week and a shorter week hours wise is 2 rest days!

Saturday: Swim 25 minutes (1000 yards). I did one 600 yard run (the sprint distance) and practiced some sighting. The concept of open water still makes me nervous, but I’m ready as I’m ever going to be.

Tomorrow is the first sprint for me this season ( I got a late start). Wish me luck!

Totals: 

Planned/(Actual)

Swim: 2 hours 19 minutes/ (55 minutes)

Bike: 1 hour 52 minutes/ (3 hours, 2 minutes)

Run: 56 minutes/ (1 hour 15 minutes)

5 hours 7 minutes (5 hours 13 minutes)

Next Week:

Swim: 2 hours 19 minutes

Bike: 3 hours 7 minutes

Run: 1 hour 33 minutes

If At First You Don’t Swim Well…Tri Again (Sprint Tri #2 Recap)

You can read my first race recap here.

When I initially ran the triathlon idea by Bryan I presented the dates as a one or the other type situation. I.e. I’d like to try this, and these are the two dates. His response?

“Don’t lie, you want to do both”.

“No, no” I claimed “I don’t even know if I’m going to like it, I really just want to do one or the other.”

Who was I kidding?

Do I look nervous?  I am.
Do I look nervous? I am. Also, my swim cap is super sexy.

The Swim

Distance: .3 (i.e. eleventy billion) miles

Sprint 1 time: 17:51

I had two goals this time. First, don’t panic. Second, don’t finish last.

I actually did a swim warm up this time, and I’m honestly not sure if it helped. I did figure out over the last couple of weeks that I tend to veer towards the left for whatever reason, so I started all the way to the right of the group, and in the back. I knew I wasn’t going to be fast and I figured it would help me avoid getting kicked. Still, standing in the water waiting for the horn to go off, the buoys seemed REALLY far away. Did they place them further out this time? I think they did.

Either the number of laps that I calculated in the pool as .3 miles is way off, or swimming in open water really is a totally different thing, because I was still slow as molasses. The good news is, I managed to not panic, and kept my eye on the bouys enough that I didn’t veer way off course this time.

And I finished second to last (2 seconds behind third to last), so I considered it a win.

Those buoys look awfully far away
Its really a 80 trillion mile swim

Sprint 2: 17:22

Transition 1:

Sprint 1: 2:01

I would have managed a shorter transition time, except I ended up having issues getting my shirt and number on, so that cost me 10-15 seconds. At least I didn’t have to walk this time.

Sprint 2: 1:58

The Bike

Distance: 12 miles

Sprint 1: 42:28

I pumped a bit of extra air in my tires right beforehand this time. I’m told more air = less friction = faster time. The logic makes sense assuming  you don’t pump so much air that you blow your tires, because that definitely isn’t going to help your time.

I think it also helped that I was familiar with the course this time and expected the sharp turns. I was still passed by about 50 people on fancier bikes (on your left! yeah, you and everyone else!), however, not only did I pass a few mountain/hybrid bikers, I also managed to pass 5 road bikers!

My dopey bike and stupid got messed up shirt
My dopey bike and stupid got messed up shirt

Sprint 2: 40:41

Apparently there is some truth to the tire thing.

Transition 2

Sprint 1: 49 seconds

The girl next to me put her bike on the rack crooked so it took me a little more time to put mine back. Otherwise it was pretty uneventful.

Sprint 2: 48 seconds

The Run

Distance: 3.1 miles

Sprint 1: 25:56

I find it interesting that, even with all my years of running, by the time I get about halfway through the bike I wonder how much energy I’m going to have left to run when I’m done. I pushed myself a bit more with this bike, too, because I had this back and forth thing going with another girl in my age group (on a road bike) and purposely pedaled faster to get in front of her because I was annoyed that we were so close.

Anyway, I knew that I’d psych myself out either way if I paid attention to my pace (either be annoyed I was running slower than I thought or nervous I was starting out too fast if I was going faster) so I only watched the distance on my watch and ran the 5k by feel.

It was a good call, apparently.

Sprint 2: 25:06

We win! (he won first)
We win! (he won first)

Final Standings

Sprint 1: 1:29:01

Sprint 2: 1:25:53

Age Group: 9/14

Overall Female: 55/106

Swim Overall: 99/106 (told you I swim like molasses)

Bike Overall: 62/106 (not bad for a hybrid bike)

Run Overall: 25/106 (hey! this is actually pretty good!)

With some swim lessons and a better bike, I think I could be competitive in my age group next year.

Wait, did I just say next year?

 

 

Can’t Say I Didn’t Tri (Sprint Tri Recap)

Like my play on words there?

I am so clever.

Even after my announcement post earlier in the week (which I partially did so I wouldn’t chicken out), I hemmed, hawed and procrastinated registering. My contact lenses showed up on Thursday, and still I waited. This type of race was SO out of my comfort zone I actually debated not participating at all. Finally Friday afternoon, a mere 45 minutes before the registration deadline, I clicked submit.

I was in.

I rode with a friend and am SO glad I did, as he was able to give me some pointers on how to set up my transition area, pumped some extra (much needed) air in my bike tires, point out that they accidentally gave me the wrong color swim cap (I am, in fact, not a male aged 40-49) and generally kept me calmer since I wasn’t spending the entire drive wondering what the heck I was thinking.

Still, I was nervous. So nervous in fact that I tried on my bike helmet to make sure it fit over my ponytail without checking to see that it was on the right way and had some very kind gentleman (who likely thought I was really a blonde) point out that I was wearing my helmet backwards. *facepalm*. I told him that I had put it on to make sure it fit over my ponytail and then just didn’t check it, but if he didn’t believe me I totally understood. He said he did. (But I don’t believe him.)

I go to get on my bike for a warmup and CRAP, my chain is coming off of the….holder things (I really need to get up on the bike lingo). I wheel it back and ask the nice gentleman (luckily a different one from the first) if he knows how to put a chain back on when he gently points out to me that it just mid gear shift. The shifter must have gotten pushed on the ride. *facepalm*

So now that I’ve looked like a complete idiot to not just one but TWO people, I did short run/bike a warm up, switched my swim cap and was ready as I’d ever be.

My (not too lofty) goals were as follows:

1. Don’t drown

2. Don’t finish last in my age group

3. Assuming #1 doesn’t happen, finish in under 90 minutes.

Transition area and photobomb
Transition area and photobomb

SWIM 

Distance: .3 miles

Hoped for time: 14:00ish

Actual time: 17:51

So a more experienced, VERY smart blogger once recommended practicing an open water swim before race day. In her experience, she found herself a bit panicked after realizing she couldn’t see underwater. Now, I technically don’t have a freestyle stroke. What I’ve done is more of a side stroke and so my head is out of the water anyway. In fact, since I’d managed a whole (slow) one mile swim prior to this I figured, no biggie.

Wrong. So very wrong.

Standing in the water waiting for the gun to go off sucked. I have never in my life been this nervous for a race. And suddenly the distance they have mapped out seems like way longer than .3 miles. I’m pretty sure I flapped my hands like a crazy person a couple of times. The gun went off and I was being kicked and splashed and had water in my nose. And suddenly I realize Oh My God I CAN’T TOUCH THE GROUND! I CAN’T TOUCH THE GROUND! Why are the lifeguards so far away?!? The first bouy (there were three to go around) is seriously eleventy billion miles away!

I’ve been practicing in a pool, and totally underestimated the feeling of safety doing lap swim in a pool with a max depth of 5ft and walls on either end should I ever feel tired.

I seriously had to refocus. I could do this. I’ve done this. I’ve done a distance longer than this. I could do this. So I focused on my breathing and started swimming, but with no side of the pool to use to keep myself straight, I went off course and took the very scenic route to the first bouy. I WAS second to last but got so far off that I ended up falling way behind. Getting to the second one was better, but I swear the distance from the second to the third was twenty trillion miles away (no seriously – thirty eight bajillion). I tried to come in from the inside to make up some time but it just didn’t happen. I was not only the LAST person in my age group out of the water, but about 12 people from the age group after me and 1-2 in the one after THAT finished before me too.

I can't figure out how to draw on it and they had already taken he bouys out, but imagine the bouy a little to the left of that shirt, and then me a little more to the left. HELLO scenic route
I can’t figure out how to draw on it and they had already taken the bouys out, but imagine the bouy on the other end of the shore a little to the left of that shirt, and then me more to the left. HELLO scenic route

TRANSITION #1

Time: 2:01

Aside from the fact that I had to walk for a bit once out of the water because my legs were all jello-y, this went fairly smoothly. I had no expectation on transition times simply because I’d never done it before. Practice is totally different than race day.

BIKE

Distance: 12 miles

Hoped for time: under 45 minutes (I started out biking 12 miles in 48 minutes)

Actual time: 42:38!!

Out of the 300 or so participants, I’d say 90% had road or triathlon bikes. 10% had mountain or hybrid bikes. I was one of the 10%. I did not expect to do fabulously on the bike.

Cool bike on the right (like 90% of the others), my dopey bike on the left
Cool bike on the right (like 90% of the others), my dopey bike on the left

Literally the day before I had Bryan change my pedals for the kind with the clips and straps. My chiropractor recommended it because it would help me push AND pull and therefore fatigue my running muscles less. I had a bit of trouble getting my shoes in the pedals at first, but other than that the bike felt great. I passed probably 6-7 bikers (all on mountain bikes) and got passed by probably 25 (all on road or triathlon bikes). Still, I cut almost 2 whole minutes and so that almost made up for my abysmal swim time.

TRANSITION #2

Time: 0:49

It helped that I had no fancy biking shoes with clips here so I literally just had to take off my helmet, put the bike on the frame and start running. (Also, despite the fact that my buddy I rode with started 16 minutes after me, he had managed to catch up by this point – show off.)

This was taken pre race but I wanted a pic here so here it is
This was taken pre race but I wanted a pic here so here it is

RUN

Distance: 3.1 miles

Hoped for time: under 30 minutes (I mean, I had just finished swimming and biking and by then it was not only hot and humid but also sunny. I had low expectations)

Actual time: 25:56

Either my chiropractor is a genius or pure adrenaline got me through this run, because even though my legs felt like jelly for at least .5 miles after every practice bike/run on my old pedals, I got off the bike this time and felt great. In fact, my finish time was only 30 seconds more than the virtual 5k I did earlier in the week – and that was just the run! The fact that I was still wet from the water and there was plenty of shade in the park really helped here.

Crossing the finish line was not as cool as the marathon, but it wasn’t far behind.

Finish time: 1:29:01

Finished!
Finished! And John looks pissed. 🙂

Age group finish: 8/15

Overall women finish: 52/98

I finished and I didn’t drown!

And I kinda want to do it again…..but that’s just crazy, right?

 

 

 

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