Monday, June 30, 2008

A Day of Rest

Yes, traditionally, that would be Sunday but today was my day of rest. I had the foresight to request a vacation day today and it turned out to be a good plan. After about TWELVE hours of sleep I motivated out of bed to do some general household things (laundry, dishes, trash). Aside from the obvious need for sleep, I am not feeling too bad from my day yesterday (did I mention I played a tennis match after the Iron Girl???). A little bruised and swollen on my left knee from the motorcycle crash and I feel like I have strep throat although that too is just bruising from the "iron girl incident of 2008".

I did sign up for a couple of races today. I think I was motivated by watching the Olympic Trials in both Swimming and Track and Field. I signed up for my first Olympic distance triathlon over Labor Day weekend and a half-marathon in November. The half-marathon advertises "a custom silver necklace to all finishers". Say no more, I'm in!

The plan is to get up and run 5 miles tomorrow AM possibly at Suwanee Park and then I have a tennis match after work. I'll let you know how it goes...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Iron Girl Re-cap

So first let me say I DID IT! I guess that makes me an iron girl :) Overall, it was a great experience. There are areas for improvement but I felt good about the race.

Overall 1:54:39
Swim (600 yards) 12:34
T1 2:56
Bike (18 miles) 1:10:26
T2 1:56
Run (3 miles) 26:46

Today was definitely a lesson in mental focus.

I got up at 4:30 as planned (OK, I got out of bed at 4:30 - I actually woke up at 3:00 and could not go back to sleep ARGH!). Grabbed a muffin and some water and then, for some reason, I felt this would be a good time to catch up on my sister's blog of their happenings. Before you know it, it is 4:53. I needed to be out the door at 5:00. Yikes! I jump up from the computer and start getting dressed, ice in the cooler, load the car. Out the door at 5:10. At 5:12 I can't remember if I threw my timing chip in the bag, pull over on the side of the road to reassure myself. Yes, it was there. I continue on my way to Lake Lanier.

My photog did not join me this time, his leg hurt and was up late working on his motorcycle. (You may or may not know that he had an accident not too long ago that required the reassembly of his leg with a metal plate along his shin bone and 13 screws. It is the source of daily pain at this point but seems to be something he will have to learn to endure. At any rate, it makes it painful to walk on a daily basis). Just as well as mentally I was probably better off on my own.

Long story but my mother was in town this weekend for a church related event and we tried to meet up several times none of which worked out due to the event being downtown, the church bus getting stuck in traffic, and my obligations related to the race. Short version is she was upset that we couldn't work out a time to meet so the frustration over that contributed to my edginess and resulted in my need to just be alone to avoid snapping. In all honesty, there is an overabundance of stress in my life so that was just kind of the thing that caused the meltdown for me. The stress of this and everything else just sort of mounted up on me and made for a restless night last night and lack of focus this morning. So back to the event...

I arrive at 6:00 which turned out to be perfect. I grab my gear and head over to the bike. All is well, I rip off the trash bags I had taped over the bike the night before, get my numbers drawn on my arms and legs and head to the swim start. As I walk to the start, I notice that EVERYONE appears to the exceedingly fit. This wasn't like the last triathlon where there was an assortment of levels of fitness. Probably 95% of the people I saw were perfect physical specimens of fitness. Not intimidating at all.... I also noticed too there were A LOT of pink swim caps meaning there were a lot of people in my age group. I guess that is the reason we were the first wave.

I did a decent job on the swim. My pace was actually faster on this race than the last one. The main difference in this race was there was a mass of people to fight through the whole way. There were very few spaces of open water where you felt you could swim freely without kicking someone or someone kicking you. I did get slightly off course once. It is surprising how quickly that can happen - I probably swam about 8 strokes and was on the other side of the buoy. After that, I had to mentally concentrate on swimming towards the right to avoid pulling to the left of the course. After you exit the water, there is an uphill climb to the bike, not as long of a run as the last race but definitely more of an incline.

Transition 1
I felt the transition was decent. My heart rate was still up from the run up that hill and my legs were feeling tired today for some reason. I definitely did not have the energy I had at this point in the last race.

There were two major events that went wrong here. The start and the finish. The bike leg did not start well AT ALL. You have to run your bike up to the gate and then cross the "mount" line before you can get on your bike. There are tons of people cheering as all this happens and there is a sharp turn to the right to get on the road. As I am mounting my bike, it goes to the left and I am not in a position to grab the brakes (you basically have to be seated and hunched over to stop). Upon reflection, I could have gotten my feet down sooner but this was a split second happening. So I am getting on the bike, feet on the pedals trying to get going the bike veers to the left and INTO A PARKED MOTORCYCLE. Oh, S@*#! was all I could say as this was happening until MY TRACHEA RAMS INTO THE END OF HIS HANDLEBAR! I am not joking... I came away with a bruised knee, a couple of cuts on my legs and then a bruise on my throat from the attempted tracheotomy. I say a quick apology, get back on the bike and out of dodge to avoid dying from embarrassment. The only thing going through my head as this was happening was please don't let the motorcycle tip over. Thank God it didn't. All the volunteers are yelling "it's OK, you got it, keep going". Not the way I envisioned this starting. I did not need to add more irrational fear to my bike leg.

Out on the course it takes about 6 miles or more to get over it all I am thinking the whole time is please don't do anything stupid at the finish. I'm coughing due to the near tracheotomy I gave myself and trying to keep up with changing gears when appropriate. The course was pretty hilly. Not the "gently rolling hills" as described by the race director but more than a few steep hills. In spite of that, it actually felt like I did a better job of being in the right gear for the most part. Or at least until the finish... I am riding up the final entry way before you make the turn uphill to the bike finish. Somehow, I got in the complete wrong gear and am going nowhere. In front of the same crowd that saw me T-bone the motorcycle. Nothing I can do but laugh. Thankfully, I was in the proper gear to fly up the steep hill to the bike finish so there is another positive. All in all, the bike still needs work. I definitely need outdoor time on it working on changing gears and not so much on the indoor bikes.

Transition 2
Not bad, I think I was pretty quick getting in and out. I grabbed a GU gel for the road.

The run started great. I think it was just excitement to get off the bike. I flew about the first half mile or so then my legs really started to feel it. It was a slower pace this time, between and 8:45 and 9:00 minute miles. I did manage to sprint the last little bit up the hill to the race finish.

Post Race
Iron Girl has quite the post party. Massages, breakfast buffet, giveaways. Along the course with the water, they were giving out ice cold sponges to cool you off. A very nice race, I would definitely do it again. I guess my paparazzo felt guilty about not coming to the race and showed up for the finish and even bought me a t-shirt which was nice! He was regretting it after the long walk uphill back to the car with the bike. :) I will say the experience is much nicer if you have a cheering section. You kind of need that moral support to cheer you on in during transition. As for the throat. I think this one is going to leave a mark as they say. I am definitely feeling it now but am sure I will survive to ride another day!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Iron Girl Eve

Here we are, Iron Girl Eve. There was a mandatory check in today which included checking in the bike at Lake Lanier. Luckily for me the lake isn't *too* far but I can't imagine going to Lake Lanier two days in a row if you lived on the other side of Atlanta. At first glance, this ain't "my first tri". They were extremely organized and helpful.

My first stop was to get my race number and show my ID in case I wanted to swap numbers and have someone score a great time (for what benfit I don't know but it must happen...). Next stop was my race packet which includes a variety of numbers to be attached to your bike helmet, bike and then yourself for the run. They didn't do the body marking today but did attach a pink wristband that has to be worn from now through the race tomorrow. After that I followed the maze to get my timing chip, swag from AFLAC (including the talking duck) and race t-shirt. I also picked up several samples of sport drinks, nutrition bars, etc. along the way. I was also given a pink swim cap which identifies your age group.

The swim for this event is done in 5 minute waves based on age groups. My age group is first and is indicated by the pink cap. Of note, the "oldest" age group is 45+ so I guess after 45 they corral you all together. I guess I only have 6 more years left! The swim course seems to be essentially the same course as my other race but the opposite direction. It looks as though they are starting from the finish line of the other race and swimming towards what was the start.

After picking up the race packet and goodies and registering for a trip to Hawaii (pick me!, pick me!), I drove over to drop off my bike. This is really where you could tell a big difference in race management. In the other race I did you just had to find somewhere to put the bike. In this one, all the rows are numbered and you are assigned a spot based on your race number. It makes is easier to find your bike out of 700 other ones and if you showed up late for drop off you still have a spot. My only concern with leaving the bike tonight was that it is supposed to rain and I didn't feel good about leaving the bike out in a downpour. I decided to bring some trash bags and packing tape and wrapped up the seat, handlebars and brakes (I don't know why it seemed like a good idea). My neighbor in the bike corral brought a vinyl tablecloth with no means to attach it to her bike so I donated some of my tape to the cause. There seemed to be some beginners this time around too so I won't be completely on my own. My swim wave starts at 7:00 ... in 14 hours I will be leaving the house to do this thing! I think my photographer is coming with me, not sure. I did get an attitude yesterday when it was suggested that I should go ride around the neighborhood on my bike to test it out before the race. Yeah, I might be a little edgy.

Of other interest ....

I have noticed that I have my first black toenail or I think I do. The part I can see around the nail polish appears to be black and it did hurt quite a bit a couple of weeks ago. I have heard it described as a badge of honor. I wanted to be one of the lucky ones who can train for a marathon without losing a nail. I guess it is not to be. Basically the nail turns black because there is a blister underneath the nail bed from the constant pounding on your toe(s).

On Jeff Galloway's site, it recommends that you just leave it alone and let it grow on out and fall off which is my intention. He does mention a couple of methods for removing the blister which sound a bit barbaric and I am thinking you must be in a lot of pain to consider it. One involves heating a paperclip until it turns red and then applying the hot paperclip to the center of your nail which will basically melt a hole in the nail and allow you to open up the blister to relieve the pressure causing the pain. YIKES! Lets just say mine hurt for a day or two but is feeling fine now, thanks. I think I will invest in some dark nail polish, however.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday update

I am really lagging this week. I took Monday off (shocking!). The intention when I hit snooze 800 times Monday morning was to go after work. Of course, once I got to work and it started getting close to 5:00 that seemed highly unlikely.

Today was better. I got up and went over to Suwanee Park. DJ was supposed to meet us there for a run. We waited... waited.... waited... no DJ. At about 6:10, someone we have run with before pulls up and announces she received a text and his car won't start, he had to call AAA. OK. We wait until 6:15, she decides to call him. He gives her directions for the run over the phone. I am a little annoyed at this point because I am on a tight schedule in the morning if I am to make it to work on time and lets just say this wasn't the first time this has happened. So off we run, 10 times around the park going up and down all the steps along the way. Pretty decent run, sloping uphill on one side, downhill on the other and then of course the stairs. It took about 45 minutes so am guessing it was around 5 miles in all.

Jump in the car, head over to Lifetime in a mad rush to get ready for work. DJ's car is there! What??? Who knows... Not worth worrying about, I did get a run in although probably not what I would have done had I known he wasn't going to show. As my friend Theresa says, I should get used to disappointment :)

Tennis match to finish off the night. Really easy.... 6-1, 6-0. YAY! I am first in my division but don't expect to stay there for long, I have a couple of tough matches coming up. Update on the USTA State Championships. I did get enough people on my team to commit to play so we are going to be competing in Augusta in August.

I am starting to get a little nervous about the iron girl. I fluctuate between nerves and excitement. Right now I am feeling nervous. I think mostly because the participants are mostly experienced triathletes (they have done more than the ONE previous triathlon like me). The bike is starting to freak me out again. I started worrying about the mechanical issues today and how if something does goes wrong someone will just have to pick me up as there is no repair I am going to be able to take care of roadside. Maybe I can get the number for AAA from DJ. HA HA. I am going to bike/swim in the AM so hopefully the nervousness will pass.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Don't forget your sunscreen!

I have become quite the expert on sunscreen in the past couple of years so in honor of the first day of summer and to help all of you ward of skin cancer here are my top picks! I know, nothing says cool like lying naked in the dermatologist's office in a paper dress while a doctor probes every piece of exposed skin for suspicious moles. A close second to that feeling of cool are the shots to numb your skin so they can cut away the mole that they proclaim to look like "a butterfly".

OK, maybe your idea of cool is different than mine... In that case, to avoid this kind of cool experience remember to slather on some sunscreen! (a message from the Karen W cancer society)

I actually have a few favorites in my sunscreen arsenal. My all time favorite sunscreen for arms, legs and other exposed areas is Coppertone Sport Continous Spray. It comes in 30, 50 and I think even 70. The BEST EVER INVENTED. This stuff sprays on, does not have to be rubbed in and does not come off. If you sweat or swim this is the stuff for you!

I have also tried the other two products in the picture. Hawaiian Tropic Ozone is OK. It does not spray as well as the Coppertone so I don't think the coverage is as good. Do not even try Banana Boat Ultra Defense. The spray is really wet and appears oily on your skin. It is advertised as no rub but you feel like you need to rub it in because it is so oily on your skin. Also, the spray does not give as much coverage as the coppertone. Not pictured is Neutrogena Cooling Mist. Unless you want an asthma attack from inhaling the fumes you probably should avoid this one. I didn't feel it gave good coverage, was not particularly "cooling" and you would not want to inhale while applying the product (unless you are into that sort of thing...).

For faces:
My favorite sunscreen for the face is Coppertone Sport Faces 50. This one is a lotion as you might expect but doesn't clog your pores and stays on great. Neutrogena Age Shield Face 70 is a close second but does get a little "white" when you sweat. (if you don't know what I mean, it looks like you forgot to rub in the lotion on your face).

There are a thousand varieties out there, these are my faves. Whichever one you do purchase, make sure it has not expired before you buy it. I have seen plenty of bottles of expired lotion for sale at the store.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Group Run

This morning I ran with my GFA group. I had not been there in a few weeks due to the triahtlon and tennis conflicts. It was nice to join up with them again, long runs are sooooo much easier with a group. You may want to stop but you don't because you are with the group and the conversation can keep your mind off how far you have run. Today it turned out to be fairly cool, it was cloudy so the sunw asn't beating down on us as we ran. We did anywhere from 10.5 to 11.5 miles depdening on whose device you trust. The guys have a garmin GPS, I have a nike footpod. My footpod said 11.53 miles. Their GPS was reading about 10.5. It was a nice run around the Duluth area from our Wal-Mart meeting point near Shorty Howell Park down and around Pickneyville Park then back to Wal-Mart. My pre-run meal consisted of a pack of 100 calorie pringles that I grabbed on the way out. Not too smart... Note to self, next time get up earlier to eat and bring GU gels.

I had not officially calibrated my footpod and it had seemed fairly accurate on my Stone Mountain run but since there was a such a discrepancy between my mileage and the two GPS guys, I decided to stop at Mountain Park and calibrate my footpod on the way home. It is pretty easy, you just have to run a mile then upload it to the PC when you get home. When I stopped at the mile marker at Mountain Park, the footpod was showing 1.05 so it really pretty close.

I did manage to spend some time with Wii this week. I have a new addiction, Guitar Hero. I know... So far I am pretty close to mastering "Slow Ride" by Foghat and "Hit me with your best shot" by Pat Benetar. If you do well enough, you get to play the whole song. If you do not do well, you get booed off the stage and they stop you in the middle of the song. Hours of enjoyment. Too many hours. I had planned on going to bed at 8:00 Wednesday night. At 10;30, I finally turned off the Wii and went to bed. It is addictive. My goal is to progress to something other than the "easy" level. HA HA. Perhaps I should track my progress on the side bar with my running. :)

Oh! I did sign up for the Georgia Games. DJ talked me into it. It seemed important to him to have a lot from his group participating and he did really get me started on the while running thing so I agreed to give it a try. I am running the 1500 (just short of a mile). I will be happy as long as no one laps me! July 20th.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Howling

Did anyone know that foxes bark? They do. In my case, they bark at 4:30 in the morning. I was woken up to an odd barking noise. You could tell it wasn't a dog but it was more a cross between a dog and a crow which is a little difficult to describe. A fox was sitting in the grass in front of my car barking. When the outside lights came on, the fox started bounding around the backyard continuing to bark. This continued for about 10 minutes then he/she finally went off into the woods and stopped barking. It was almost as if he was calling for the other fox that is usually with him. The trash can was unusually full that night, perhaps he was calling his friend to join him for dinner. I am not fluent in fox so I can't be sure that was the issue. It is interesting that they always go off into the woods to the right as if they are going to the neighborhood on the other side of the creek. Ironically, the neighborhood is called Fox Forest.

On to the workout side of life...
Tuesday, I did 18 miles on the bike in an hour! I am not sure why but I was thinking it was going to take me closer to 1:20. After the bike I did a 1 mile run. The combination of the bike and run gave me a lot of confidence for the race next week. I completed the hardest part in a little over an hour. Add 2 more miles and a quick swim and that is my race next week. (Funny how 2 miles seems like such a easy-do these days. There must be something to all this training!)

After work, I had a tennis lesson that turned into a tennis marathon. I had planned to hit for an hour. After 20 minutes, the coach tells me that he needs to help out with Cardio Tennis and I could join that group to finish up. As it turns out, the Cardio Tennis class was TWO HOURS. I have this thing about not wanting to be rude and leave in the middle so I stuck it out. The cardio tennis class was fun, just a little too long. I lost interest about 90 minutes into it. I probably was just tired at that point considering I had worked out that morning. Two hours and twenty minutes later, I was sweaty, worn out and on my home. Needless to say, I did not get up this morning and work out. TOO TIRED!

I received an e-mail with the official race information for my triathlon next Sunday. The race starts at 7:00 am at Lake Lanier. I have to go on Saturday to pick up my race packet and check in my bike. This is a much bigger race than the one I did a couple weeks back so I am assuming this is normal procedure. In a way, it is kind of nice to have that out of the way so you don't have to get there as early on Sunday morning.

Another good turn of events (I think) is that the swim starts in waves by age group. From what I have heard this is pretty standard unlike my other race which was a free for all start. They are running my age group first (35-39) which works well for me since the swim is my strongest leg. The participants in this race are much more experienced than my last race so I am expecting many, many people to pass me on the bike and the run. My goal for this race is just to finish and be proud that I did it. It is funny, after all the training I have done, the race seems like it is not that big of a deal. I guess that is a good sign that I am feeling prepared.

**side note on the swim, they are providing caps so hopefully there will no breakage issues! I definitely will bring spare ponytail holders. :)

On tap for tomorrow: 6 mile run and workout with DJ (AM) and tennis match (PM)

Monday, June 16, 2008

change in plans

I woke up this morning with a headache and was honestly too tired to get up early enough to get the bike in so I did the second best thing which was a 1000 meter swim. Better than nothing!

I was so sluggish all day at work. I could barely keep my eyes open which would be normal for a Friday but not so normal for a Monday. The only thing I can figure is I was dehydrated which I figured out after I drank 1.5 liters of water around 3:00 and instantly felt better. I thought I took in plenty of water yesterday but maybe not as much as I thought. Even after I got the fuel belt (which I neglected to bring with me on my run yesterday... much like the enviromentally friendly grocery bags that I NEVER remember to bring into the store with me!)

The other non-event of the day was my previously re-scheduled tennis match. We had scheduled it for last week and my opponent cancelled due to the heat (it was 94 degrees last Monday). Today it was only 91 degress so I guess that was cool enough. It actually was not that bad once you got used to it. I managed to pull off a win (YAY!)

So... new plan for the week:

18 mile bike AM, Tennis PM (Tuesday)
5 mile run + 600m swim (Wednesday)
6 mile run & workout with DJ in the AM, Tennis PM(Thursday)
10 mile run (Saturday)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Great weather - great day!

It was a little warm this morning as I headed to Stone Mountain for my run but not nearly as I hot as I had expected. I think the temperature was somewhere around 80 degrees at 9:00. I opted for the long loop around Stone Mountain today. It was the first time I ran that route; I enjoyed it. The route is less traveled than the loop around the base of the mountain and has a fair amount of shade which is nice. I started off at the parking lot where you walk up the mountain and then ran in the direction of the "great lawn" where they have the laser show. I took a left behind the hotel and then a right back on the main road towards the gate eventually making my way past the golf course, the camping area and Evergreen conference center. The road eventually ends at the base of the mountain and then I just continued on back to my car. All in all a great run. I would definitely do that route again.

There were loads of people there today walking, biking and rollerblading around the mountain so it was a good day to break away from the regular route and try something new. Stone Mountain for me is sort of my comfort zone for running. I find it very peaceful. I have been there THOUSANDS of times in my 39 years. It just feels like home. I pass by the "big rock", the place where I went to Girl Scout camp, the place we used to meet to get into costume for the navity play at Christmas, the sliding rock by the grist mill where we used to play in the water. Lots of memories.

I got to use my new Nike gadget today. It worked great! All in all, the run was 8.14 miles according to the foot pod. The cool thing is when you get done, you can download the run to your PC. My pace for the run was all over the place. The first mile I was running around 8:13, the 2nd mile I went up to 9:53 (not sure why) and then back to around 8:13 for the last miles. No wonder it seemed so hard today. I was going much faster than usual. It is good information, I obviously need to get a better feel for pace.

After the run, quick shower and then off to tennis. Today I played singles and won (the crowd roars...). Our team won the day, 4-1.

The workout plan this week:
18 mi Bike (or 75 minutes)AM Tennis PM (Monday)
750m Swim & workout with DJ in the AM, Tennis PM(Tuesday)
5 mile run + 700m swim in the AM and Tennis PM (Wednesday)
6 mile run & workout with DJ in the AM (Thursday)
10 mile run (Saturday)
and... a day or 2 of rest!

I'll let you know how it comes out. :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

days of rest

The last two days have been days of rest. Beginning tomorrow I have to get back on the program! The plan is to get up early and do 9 miles at Stone Mountain before my tennis match at 1:30.

Last night, a couple of friends and I went to see Mamma Mia! at the Fox. It was a cute show, funny, lots of songs you know by ABBA (or might know depending on your age group). Before the show, we ate at Silk Restaurant on Peachtree. We had eaten there one other time and it was pretty decent. Not as great this time for some reason (maybe because our server didn't give us free lobster bisque... maybe, not sure...) They have a pre-theater menu that is reasonable and the food is not what you would get every day. I thought I would do something out of my comfort zone and get sushi. I have had california rolls and enjoy them, it was the "chef's choice" that was questionable. As it turns out, perhaps I should have stayed in my comfort zone. HA HA. The salad, spring rolls and berry mojito were all good :)

Side note, I had the best lunch hour yesterday. I went to downtown Lawrenceville and parked on the square. I walked a couple of blocks to the post office, walked a few blocks the other way to Fleet Feet and then picked up a Sicilian Salad at Dominick's. I don't know why but it felt so peaceful. Very small townish; the perfect break from work. I highly recommend it.

While I was at Fleet Feet, I got a cool mileage gadget. It is a Nike Plus foot pod that will gives you a readout of pace and mileage on a armband you wear. I am looking forward to trying it out! Must charge it now... add that to my list of things to charge every night! Phone, ipod knockoff, footpod thingy.

My main purpose in going to Fleet Feet was for a fuel belt. After the sales guy pointed out all the pros and cons of what they had, I bought the least nerdly one I could find. (He didn't recommend the Camelbak because you basically wear it like a pouch on your back and that in and of itself can make you hot. This sweaty head needed to hear no more... point me to the belts!) The one I got is called an amphipod and has 4 bottles that can be arranged however suits your needs. You can also remove bottles if you find you need less than 4. If you see me running with it, you may pretend you don't know me but be assured that I will be fully hydrated on my 10+ mile days in July and August. There is also a pouch for keys and gel packs.

Today, I worked on a much needed house cleaning. Several loads of laundry, dishes and .... wii installation! The wii is big fun :) I really didn't get to play with Wii Fit that long but did play SEVERAL games of Wii tennis. How does the computer know I have no backhand? Freaky. I also tried Wii golf, baseball and headbutting soccer balls. The headbutting thing is kind of hard, I am sure I look hilarious playing it. Next on the schedule for tonight: watch Top Chef finale on tivo!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Short and Sweet

I think I ran about 5 miles today. That is what the "program" calls for so I trudged around Discover Mills twice this morning which amounts to about 45 minutes or 5 miles. I don't know why but it felt really hard. I have been pretty tired this week. Maybe I never really recovered from the tri on Satruday. Not sure.

Yesterday was running / weights in the morning and then a tennis lesson last night. It was HOT.

This weekend I am supposed to get 9 miles in according to the program. I don't when I can fit it in at this point. I am considering getting either a camelbak or fuel belt of some sort. I see people with them at the races which seems unnecessary with all the water stations but for training, I can see where you might need to carry something with you if you are going to run very far in this heat. Both options seem kind of nerdly but I guess passing out on a sidewalk or in the middle of the road somewhere is not all that cool either.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Race Results

The official results were posted today. I was 2nd in my age group and 13th out of all females in the race.

Swim: 11:25.40 (17th overall out of 345 - male and female! 1:31 pace per 100 yards)

Transition 1 (changing from swim to bike): 1:44.30 (in looking at everyone else's time that seems to be pretty quick)

Bike: 47:57.70 (clearly my weakest link - 15.6 mph)

Transition 2 (changing from bike to run - pretty quick too considering I had to change shoes): 1:26.90

Run: 23:40.1 (7:38 per mile pace - insane considering I normally run around 9:00 on my long runs - I must have really wanted to get this thing over with!)

Overall time: 1:26:14.4

In other news...
I received my number for the Peachtree today!

and... I think we have enough to submit a roster for the state championships for my mixed team. (assuming one of my teammaters doesn't sell his house in the meantime - we are considering pulling the sign out of his yard when he isn't home). The matches aren't until August so hopefully he won't get any interest until after the event!

and... I was supposed to play tennis tonight. My opponent wanted to reschedule because it was too hot. She must not be from around here.

a day of rest, sort of...

Not much activity to report on Sunday. I did play a match for the "3.5" team Sunday morning. I was the sacrificial lamb at line one singles. I normally play "3.0" so this was a higher level team and a little out of my comfort zone. Normally the matches are played at 12:30 on Sunday but this day we played at 10:00 to avoid the heat which as supposed to be around 97 degrees.

As expected, I was overmatched. I must have done fairly well as my opponent invited me to join their team for the following season. I'll take that as a compliment :) By that time I was feeling the effects of the event the day before and was pretty tired so I do wonder if I might have done slightly better if I had more rest.

Another exciting turn of events on the tennis side of life.. I had captained a mixed team in the Fall which ended up going to the city finals. We didn't win the finals so we weren't exepecting to go to state. As it turns out, we were notified that we got a bid for the state championship in August! More news on that... we may or may not have enough players to actually go.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I conquered the TRI

There were moments I thought I might die but all in all it was awesome! The day started at 5:15. I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep last night. I certainly did not go to bed at 8:00 as planned. After a last minute air pressure check on my bike tires, we got on the road at 6:15 and made it to the lake by 7:00ish.

First lesson learned, get there early. After getting my race number and time chip, we trotted the bike over to find a space on one of the racks. There was no space to be found and eventually just had to move some people over to make room. If I had gotten there earlier, I am assuming that would have been less of an issue. They wanted everyone down to the swim start by 7:30 so I was feeling a little rushed anyhow. I set out my brightly colored towel to make my bike easier to find in the sea of bikes and then laid out my needs for the bike leg and run leg. I grabbed my goggles and cap and head to the swim start.

As it turns out, the swim start is a pretty good distance from the bikes. It is easily a quarter mile or more. We get all the way down there, take a photo and I proceed to put my cap on. It tears in half. uh oh. I decide to take my ponytail holder and re-adjust it to get my hair out of the way and swim without the cap. It breaks in half. uh oh again. I can't swim with my hair all over the place, it makes it really hard to see and breathe. what to do... I have a spare cap and ponytail holder. I can't remember if they are in the bag I left in the car or the bag at my transition area. Rick offers to go get it. He can barely walk with that plate in his leg much less run 1/4 mile there and back in 7 minutes so I decide it is best for me to go. I needed to warm up, right? OK, I had not planned to warm up but...

This was taken right before "the incident"

I am running back to the bike to check there first. All of the racers are headed to the start. Some are telling me I am going the wrong way. Very funny, sir. I stopped and asked a lifeguard who had her hair up if she happened to have an extra ponytail holder. No. bummer. I keep running. Ironically, we had discussed whether I should run from the swim to the bike in my sandals or barefoot. I was convinced I should go barefoot. At the time, we didn't know I would have a chance to test it out. I get to the bike - AHHHH my extra cap and ponytail holder. At this point, there is no one in the bike area, they are all at the swim start. Mad dash all the way back to the swim start. I run up as they are making announcements and edge my way to the front. Crisis averted.

So, they are making all these announcements, you can't hear a word of it. They have everyone herded up at the top of these stairs. Basically, there are 2 waves for the swim, people who have done a tri before and people who haven't. They said if you were confident in the swim you could go in the first wave so I did. Unfortunately, they didn't really separate everyone so if you wanted to be in that first wave, once they started the race you kind of had to push your way through the crowd of people waiting for the second wave so you could start.

I push my way through down the stairs across the beach to the water.

The swim is insane. Lots of kicking, lots of pushing people out of the way in the water, lots of people swimming over the top of you. After the first 100 yards or so the crowd broke free and you could swim unobstructed. The only thing different from the pool was you had to keep looking up to make sure you were on course. You also get the Alcatraz effect in that the buoy at the finish seems so close but you keep swimming and it really isn't getting much closer. I can see where the prisoners at Alcatraz thought they could make a swim for it.

My exit from the swim. Not sure who the guy is but we look like we coordinated outfits.

I head out for the bikes, and make the barefoot run I had practiced earlier. So far so good. The transition was good, I felt like I got out on the bike fairly quickly. Basically just pull off the cap and goggles and throw on bike shoes, sunglasses and helmet. Quick drink of water and a half of an energy gel. The bike leg was not all that bad. I figured out the gearing a couple of miles in and really didn't have any issues other than a helmet thing. Halfway through the bike leg, my head feels like it is splitting in half and I can't figure out why. Eventually I had to reach up and readjust my ponytail and position of my helmet. Problem solved.

The bike was extremely hilly. On my way back, I saw several people walking their bikes up some of the larger hills. I am proud to say I rode the whole way. I feel like I held my own in the bike. I only had 2 ladies pass me. Several men passed me but I also passed a couple people as well. At the end of the ride, you can hear the crowd cheering and it is so exciting. I was so thrilled to have done well on the bike I actually started hyperventilating a bit which was a problem. I am riding in to the transition area gasping for air trying to calm down. Really weird. It definitely was just me getting emotional over finishing that leg. I am not normal.

Here are some shots of the end of the bike and transition to the run. According to clock, I just noticed was out on the run at 1:02.56. Pretty decent.

On to the run.. Not too bad. My legs were starting to tire and the first part of the run is a ridiculous uphill climb. I can't even describe it; it just looked like some kind of ramp. Everyone that was running with me at the time was commenting on what kind of sense of humor the race director must have. No issues with the run to speak of. Not too many people passed me, maybe just 3 or 4. I passed a couple myself so I felt like I was doing a good job of keeping my pace. At the end, for the last quarter mile you can hear the people cheering. DJ tells me to sprint to the end so I was going for it even though it was a crazy uphill climb. I must have passed 4 guys and then the excitement got to me again. What a freak. Hyperventilating 150 yards out. I have another weird ramp thing to climb and started to stop and walk it to catch my breath because my breathing is this weird loud gasping thing. Again, not exhaustion just getting emotionally choked up that I have almost completed this race and all the cheering. So crazy. I take a couple walking steps and there is Rick at the top of the ramp yelling at me to get moving (I forgot how competitive he was). I take off up the ramp and sprint to the finish. YAY YAY YAY They are announcing names as you finish so you could hear your name over the loudspeaker. So cool. My time was 1:26 (for you calorie counters, I burned 1265 calories). Fantastic! I am not sure where I finished in relation to others in my age group. I'll check tomorrow and find out.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Triathlon Eve

Tomorrow is the big day. Still excited, not all that nervous. My official fan and photographer bailed on me so am not sure how many photos I will get of the event. A little disappointing not to have a cheering section but I can't blame him. I have to be at Lake Lanier by 6:30 which means leaving the house around 5:45. All of that amounts to a lot of standing around for the spectators since the event doesn't start until 8:00.

Today is a day of rest. I was up entirely too late last night so the plan is to come home straight from work, figure out what I need to bring with me, pack it up and get to bed early, early, early.

The official distances for this event are a 500m swim, 12 miles bike and 3 mile run. I am pretty confident I can do it under 2 hours - hopefully better - just not sure of the timing on the bike leg.

**update since this morning... my packing for the big day didn't really go as planned. As it turns out, in a cleaning frenzy someone who shall remain nameless threw away my wetsuit along with a variety of other snorkeling and scuba gear. Luckily it has been 95 degrees here the past couple of days and I probably didn't need the wetsuit anyhow so I guess that helped make my decision about whether or not to wear it. I think I have everything together now, just need to load the car.

My photographer and cheering section has decided to attend the festivities after all so YAY on that front!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

3 days and counting

Three more days until my first triathlon - yikes! (I mean YAY!) Actually, I am getting excited. I have yet to make my packing list of things I need to bring or figure out how to set up my transition zone to make it most time efficient but I am starting to feel confident about my ability to do well on Saturday. I took the day off from "official exercise" to rest. It was a painful decision as to whether or not to get up and work out. I think I have addiction issues... or something seriously wrong with me. I guess there are worse things to be addicted to besides exercise. I did enjoy sleeping until 6:00. :)

I received the official e-mail from the race director. - the swim is on! The lake is low but there will be a swim leg which I am thankful for since that is my best leg of the race. With the drought conditions, there was some question about the ability to have an open water swim in Lake Lanier. Apparently the levels are high enough to make it happen. I am not looking forward to my feet touching the mucky bottom of the lake upon entry and exit - UCK!

Yesterday, I hit some tennis balls after work. K-swiss has started up again and my backhand did not magically become reliable as I had hoped so I enlisted the help of a professional. Luckily, I help out a lot with the junior tennis tournaments so I can get the occasional lesson for free. This particular guy who helped me really didn't have to do it for free but he did to be nice so MUCHOS GRACIAS to Vanaka!

The extra practice helped as I played my first K-Swiss match tonight and won pretty easily, 6-1, 6-2. My backhand wasn't 100% better but I could tell it had improved so I was glad I took the time to practice yesterday. I am playing the role of sacrificial lamb at line 1 singles on a higher level team Sunday so hopefully I can do as well in that match. I think the best I can hope for is to not embarrass myself.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I hate to brag but...

My Dad is cool. For 39.5 years or thereabouts I have been trying to get someone to celebrate my half-birthday. My Dad bought me a Wii (and accompanying Wii Fit) for my half-birthday (although he says it is not officially until July 11). So cool... He gave me the cash, now I have to scope out a place that has it. What a great half-birthday gift! YAY! YAY! YAY!

So this weekend, I went to a gun class. I have been saying that I wish I were really good at something. Yes, I do lots of things and am usually somewhere in the middle of the pack oh and I did win the state spelling bee for my particular school division in the 9th grade but I really want to be the "one to beat". I really had not envisioned shooting to be that thing (and still don't) although apparently I have some weird natural talent.

The class I went to is called "women on target" and basically teaches gun safety, how to shoot, etc. The $6 fee includes lunch, ammunition, class, and shooting a variety of guns (pistols, rifles and shotguns). The downside is the class was in Helen which is a lovely drive but it is also a 2 hour drive. I been around guns a total of three times before. Twice at a gun club and once at a pistol range. Mostly it involved me sitting and watching. I did some shooting but not all that much.

I arrived to the gun club which was down this gravel road with no markings so it was lucky I found it. The gun clubs I have been to have a nice cabin with indoor restrooms and air conditioning. This was not that kind of club. This has a covering over the pistol range and one port-a-potty (there were 40 women so you can imagine).

The class was OK - it was a little basic. "why do we call this a revolver?" ummm... because it revolves? sigh.... I was more interested in getting to the shooting. I learned the various parts of a cartridge, parts of a gun, etc. Since there were so many people there we had to take turns on the pistol range so I started out on the shotgun range shooting clay pigeons (they call them pigeons but they are orange clay discs that are flung up into the air for you to shoot).

After the shotgun portion I moved on to the pistol range. They had us shooting with 22s. I think I bored my instructor as I kept hitting the bullseye. Eventually, I had shot out the bullseye and the plywood behind it so that all the bullets were created divots in the ground behind the target. I was told by several of the instructors that people would pay me to show them how to be that consistent. So I guess that is my talent. It will probably not make me rich.

Here is a photo of me with my target. Disregard the holes at the bottom as they were with a 40 caliper Glock and I was tired at that point just firing off rounds. The Glock is quite loud and hard to control. (I sound like some kind of weapon freak don't I?). If you ever need a sharpshooter, give me a call... HA HA

On the fitness front, not much this weekend. We had our first match of the USTA season and I won 6-1, 6-1. I also did a brick (bike-run-ick!). I did a hill climb on the stationary bike for 12 miles followed by a one mile run. They say you should get used to running right after the bike as they are opposing muscle groups and it might be an odd sensation at first. It didn't seem that bad, I was able to maintain a 9:30 to 10:00 pace which is normal for me. I could have run longer but was short on time.

I did talk to someone Sunday AM who had done the "my first tri" last year. She said it was pretty hilly which I didn't want to hear but she did give me some good advice on the swim. She also said she had worn a wetsuit and was glad she did as it is chillier than you would think. I am still somewhat nervous about the event but am leaning more towards excited now versus scared of it like I was a week or so ago. Hopefully I can get some pictures to post.