Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My mom lives in BFD

And, eerily, that is 26.2 miles away from me (well it is 26.9 but I'm trying to make a point). When I drive to her house it feels SO LONG. I always make sure I have a beverage and maybe some snacks, that my ipod is charged and have in the back of my mind the phone calls I need to make.

So why in the world would I want to run this distance?

It hurts my head to think about it but what freaks me out the most is that I am TOTALLY TEMPTED. My college buddy SpeedyDDS who I ran the half-M with is all gung ho about doing the fullM in Tucson this year. She even sent me The Non-runner's marathon guide for women which cracked me up.

I just don't know if I have all that running in me…would help prep me for the Victoria Half-Iron that my TEAMmates are trying to convince me to do.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Multiple Choice Quiz

Which of the following things occurred at this weekend's triathlon?

  1. I got off course and went 9 extra miles on the bike
  2. I swam without a wetsuit in a lake that is rumored to have leeches
  3. I won first place in my age group
  4. All of the above

For answer read below (but the answer is D…it was a wacky race)

Race Report:

Work-it-out Triathlon

Maple Valley, WA

July 27, 2008


I had been looking for an Oly to do in July since Padden was not really a full Oly distance (only ½ mi swim, 21mi bike, 5.6mi run) but I couldn't find a race to do. So when my mom suggested I do a sprint in her neighborhood I thought, "What the heck!" So I signed up and signed up my 10 year old sister for the kids tri.

Night before the race we rode down to the lake from my Mom's house (~3mi) to get in a quick swim. I wanted to try swimming without a wetsuit open water (a first for me!) and I wanted her to practice swimming some distance (a first for her…even the 75yards that the race was turned out to be a stretch). The lake was pretty and super warm; even pretty far out you could see the bottom.

The next morning we got there at the crack of dawn for day of registration and while I knew there was going to be a late fee for me I was a bit miffed that the fee was the same for the kid's tri (so my late fee was 16% and the kids was 50%). But, in normal race day congeniality, I smiled and paid the fees and went to set up my transition. It was a VERY small race (<100 people) that seemed to be divided into 2 tribes: the teams of trained and experienced age-groupers and first timers. I realized this because there was still a lot of space left near the bike-out/in. So I set up there and ran into my first dilemma. Since I wasn't wearing a wetsuit I couldn't wear my number in the swim but I didn't have a race belt so I'd have to fumble with safety pins. Ugh.

We went out in gender waves and the swim sort of sucked. I missed my wetsuit and my new tri-top had gotten really loose in the water. I swam really wide on the outside and felt like I was totally off course. When I got out of the water my top had fallen way down and I was flashing the crowd (my jog bra). T1 went surprisingly well. I even safety pinned my number without problems!

For the bike I only brought one bottle of water and no food; it was only a 14 mi ride and from my previous experience with sprints I don't do well with trying to fuel too much (insert ominous, foreshadowing music). The bike course was semi tough, I hadn't seen it before and kept being surprised by the lack of flat regionsL. It seemed like we were always going slightly uphill unless we were going seriously uphill. But I was doing OK, I wanted to try to average 18mph for the ride and was really trying to shift efficiently on hills and not just crank up them. I was about to pass a few folks at mile 8 and a freaking Ford Explorer drives up beside me and starts asking me questions (are you sure you're on course was the main one)! WTF?! I was so grouchy with them because they scared me and told them to stop talking to me…but we were at mile 9 now and didn't seem to be heading back. Hmmm….

I rode nearby 3 other women for some 3 miles when one of them (a local) said she was sure we were off course and helped us find a roundabout way back to the lake. 23 miles instead of 14…I was mostly worried because I didn't want to be just pulling in from the bike when everyone was finishing the run (not to mention I had only taken water and now had just nearly doubled the bike) but I needn't have worried about the first part. It seems as though ¼ of the field had gotten off course before they realized there was no indication of the turn-around. So my bike adventure buddies and I parted ways and headed for the run.

I had a pretty great run on a pretty funky course. One portion had us scrambling down a little hill from the trail to the streets. But I felt pretty good and was carrying my ½ Melon Gatorade Fierce/ ½ water.

I finished, pretty bummed/pissed about the whole bike debacle but I hadn't missed the kids tri so I was happy. The kids tri didn't start for quite a while because there were still sprinters out on the bike course (YIKES!). The kid's Tri was a logistical nightmare too, they had the kids biking in the parking lot which was fully open to the public. So we were watching as these kids had to dart around moving vehicles. It was like watching a bizarre game of Frogger. Really bad!

But bizzaro day is not over yet. They do awards and I am sort of half polite-listening and clapping when I hear MY NAME. I won 1st in my age group (20-29…there were only 3 of us in this race). What! I was cracking up; I guess I got rewarded for getting the least lost? It was flipping hilarious. I won a gift certificate for 25bucks at a bike shop, so at least I recouped my late fees J









For 23mi











Monday, July 28, 2008

To flip or not to flip?

I have deep seeded flip turn trauma.

When I was a wee lassie and swam on a team, my coach had a very loud and unwavering stance on flip turns.

In her opinion you must never breathe into or out of a turn. Now, generally, I am not much of a breather. I usually breathe every 8 or 10 strokes (only on my right side J). But this edict made flip turns very frantic for me. Retrospectively this may have been because I don't breathe enough on the straights which made going breathless for so long at the turns so much harder.

After High School I swore of FT's for life. I promised myself I wouldn't ever subject myself to them again and for open water this is fine. However, I know my pool workouts would probably benefit from them.


Hmmm… do I keep a promise to myself that I have maintained for 9 years or do I try to improve myself and work towards overcoming an obstacle? Hmmm.

What I have been doing is sneaking in a FT at the far end of the pool. What I've learned from this is I am either RUSTY or I never really had good form. I kind of look like a flailing otter.

Swim goals:

1 pool workout with at least 50% FTs.



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tri’ing to see the world

I have been looking at races on I am Tri (I know….working hard or hardly working?) and am stricken by the amazing places some them are held. I have always wanted to see the world I just had no idea I wanted to do it with my bike.

I want to do a Tri in Australia! And one in Thailand and Austria and at Disney World (hehe). It just seems like such a good marriage of hobbies.

I find in my adult life I am having a hard time justifying travel; there never seems to be enough time or money or a good enough reason. I find myself traveling only for work or to a wedding here and there. Even my one big European adventure was constrained by the Thanksgiving break my students had. At least with event travelling I can feel like I have earned the trip by training hard for it.

Now, how to finance this?


I read this somewhere:

Normal Person: So you do triathlons?

Triathlete: Yes

Normal Person: What are you best at?

Triathlete: Spending money.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I just can’t swallow something so thick and warm.

OK, provocative title aside, it is the truth. The texture of Gu just does not work for me. And it isn't just Gu brand it is the gels in general. My history with Gu goes like this. Back in the day (~Oct 07) as I was training for my 1st half-M and as my mileage was increasing I decided it was time to experiment with fueling.

Strawberry-banana was the flavor I decided to give a whirl on a 12 mile run. Around an hour into the run I give it a go. Now mind you, I feel ridiculous eating and running. I feel like the people around me want to say "Ok chubby, you may be missing the point of running", but that aside I open my packet and put about half the packet in my mouth. AUTOMATIC PANIC, my gag reflex turns on and I cannot will myself to swallow. For the next 0.5mile I run with a mouthful of Gu, trying to figure out what to do with it.

Fast forward 9months and I decide to give Gu another chance for 2 reasons: 1. I have a hard time with solids during a race and 2. I almost died after the half marathon until I ate an orange which makes me think I need to focus on taking fuel if I am seriously considering training for a full marathon. My latest attempt with Gels was this last Saturday.

It has been 3 weeks since my big race and I am planning on doing an Oly distance this Sat so I did a decent Brick. It was a 26mi bike ride and 7 mi run which I thought would be the perfect time to practice gels. I snipped the tops before I headed out for easy access and set an alarm for 1hr into my ride. At this appointed time I tackled my first gel (this was a powerbar brand, tangerine flavor). OK, I have to say here, does it make anyone else crazy that it takes that much volume for 100 cals, I'm pretty sure if you put a 100cals of Starbucks mint-chip frap it would be ~one drop. So, I bravely squeeze one into my mouth and the panic returns…but this time I'm on a bike fumbling to remain in control and not litter and get to my water bottle. I swallow. But it was not pleasant and I think the stress it caused me was > the energy it gave me.

~45min later, I get either optimistic or delusional and decide to give the Hammer gel a try (Raspberry). This packet is even bigger and while the flavor wasn't bad (it tasted like melted jello) IT WAS A GIANT MESS. It got all over my hands and since I couldn't down the whole thing, it spilled into my jersey pocket which later wound up leaking on the seat of my car.

I think the bottom line here is that I am not Gel'in. So I still need to figure out my fueling situation but on the run I had a very successful time with ½ Melon flavor Gatorade& ½ water…totally saved my butt!


Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Will race for cookies

Lake Padden Triathlon,

June 28, 2008

Bellingham, WA

Race Report

After 4 months of training the week long taper leading up to the race really got to me! I got so anxious about my bike working, my jersey being too small, my shoelaces not being triathlon ready (they use lace-locks…it is very high tech and professional) and etc. Then I got to the pre-race pasta dinner. Here some of our honored teammates stood up and talked about their experiences with blood cancer and how hard those battles were. Each of the women who spoke was diagnosed in a different decade (1976, 1991, 2001) and the difference between their stories was astounding! From Sue (Dx `76) who had 5 subsequent secondary cancers to Jonelle (Dx`01) who was able to finish school while getting treatment, I finally saw the reality of what research can do. It directly shaped the cancer experience for these women and hopefully will continue to break cancer down into the category of understandable/treatable (and dare I say, curable) diseases. After the pasta dinner my pit crew (My mom and Emily) helped me lay out my clothes and made sure I sacked out early.

The race itself was great. It was an unfamiliar 80 degrees and sunny the morning of and we got started bright and early. The TEAM set up our transition areas nearby each other and chatted nervously until it was time to head to the swim.

I actually would have to say the swim was my most eventful leg. I started out in the front of my wave and close on the inside. I went out strong and actually wound up kicking and fighting my way through people a bit (Now I think it was just Steve, a TEAMmate and mentor who was bossy all season and probably deserved it!). After the buoy turn around I found myself headed back strong until I looked up to spot and saw that I was heading into traffic from the other direction (Steve then took the opportunity mid-swim to laugh at me which makes me wish I had been able to kick him harder). I finished the Swim and ran to the transition area. My one snag I need to work on happened here. I HAD to get out of my wetsuit so I stopped right inside the transition area and tried to step out of the wetsuit without getting in other people’s way.

My T1 was pretty quick and I had remembered to get into my smaller chain for the immediate hill. Got out on the bike course and felt pretty winded and disheveled but otherwise OK. Until my one bike snag, during the first mile I kept hearing a clicking noise coming from my front tire. I stopped and investigated but it was just the bike computer sensor was hitting my front tire. Fixed it pretty quick and was off again. The ride was great, I felt good and was surprised at some of the speeds I was able to maintain even on some hills. The big hill at the top was tough but I was glad when I reached it because it meant I was almost 2/3 done!

My T2 was super fast! Since I don’t have bike shoes I had no reason to lollygag so I headed off for the run. This is when I realized I had done a pretty poor job of hydrating and fueling on the bike. It was ~85 out and I probably should have taken that into consideration. The run was hard and I slogged through (which was disappointing). Oh, and my one shoelace came untied.

Crossing the finish line was nice but having my TEAMmates cheering me on and watching my TEAMmates cross the finish line was amazing!

It was a good race and, for the sake of this blog I am going to try to come up with top 3 take home lessons I learned from each race:

1. Don’t stray from your hydration/fueling plan
2. Stay out of people’s way when removing wetsuit, practice that maneuver a lot!
3. Figure out the shoelace issue

Swim 00:14:09.9 T1 00:01:31.6 Bike 01:18:19.0 T2 00:00:44.7 Run 01:00:41.9

Finish 02:35:27.1

The first post is as awkward as the first race

Am I stupid for doing this? What is everyone going to think? Am I using the appropriate etiquette?

These were some of the questions that were running through my head as I set up my transition area for my first tri (a local sprint) and are the questions I have about blogging. I decided to write my own new triathlete blog mainly for myself. I want a place to put down my training accomplishments and observations.

So, I will catch this blog up on where I am in all of this:
Jan 2007- decided to start running despite NEVER having been a runner and being near my highest weight (never was much for the scale but I have a guess as to what I weighed)

Mar 2007- Ran my first 5K, well walked a bit but still pretty pleased (39:08)

May 2007- 2nd 5K, ran the whole thing! (35:00ish)
July 2007- 1st 10K, Swedish SummeRun
Sep 2007- 2nd 10K (1:09:25)
Oct 2007- 3rd 10K, SO FUN! With Heather and Luca and Emily doing the 5K, (1:06:23)

Dec 1, 2007...Half Marathon with Speedy Angela T! It was such a great experience and I got to experience it with some great old friends. (2:25:38)

January 2008- decide to check out Team in Training meeting to get help training for a full marathon but instead am enticed by the idea of triathlons

Feb-June 2008- Training with the most awesome group of folks I could imagine for a great cause

June 2008- My first triathlons
Issaquah Sprint:
Swim 00:07:54.4 T1 00:02:07.7 Bike 00:55:44.3 T2 00:01:04.2 Run 00:28:30.4 Finish 01:35:21.1

Lake Padden Competitive:
Swim 00:14:09.9 T1 00:01:31.6 Bike 01:18:19.0 T2 00:00:44.7 Run 01:00:41.9 Finish 02:35:27.1

Now, I am trying to figure out what the next step is. I love doing Tri's. I like the person I become when I am training for them.

I hope this blog will be another tool to use for my improvement and documentation of the journey.