Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bits of Randomness...

The weather here has dropped about 5 degrees this week. Yes, a whole 5 degrees. I'll take it. Swimming in the morning has lamost been, dare I say, CHILLY. Even though it is now 90 instead of 95 it makes much better lunchtime napping weather. Yes, I nap in my car at lunch, is that weird? If so, don’t tell me. Funny, the main thing that has stuck with me thus far from reading The Triathlete’s Training Bible was something about napping. Go figure.

I had an EPIC training weekend this past weekend. It was the first weekend where the reality of 140.6 hit me in the face. I looked at the scheduled workout and wondered if it was even possible. Turns out it was possible, much to my delight (and surprise).

Saturday was a bike sandwich. A 10 mile run, 60 minute bike and 5 mile run. It was super hot because I got a late start. CR’s birthday was Saturday and he asked if I would make him pancakes (I am such a giver…) ;) So pancakes made, stop at Walgreens for a few things, pick up my CSA bag from my farmer and before you know it you are starting your run at 10:00.

Sunday was day two of EPIC weekend. An 80 mile bike ride followed up with a 4 mile run. The last 15 miles or so of the bike were a little rough. I am wondering if you ever get used to your neck sort of being in an awkward position for that long. When I got to the car to deposit the bike and start the run, I had my doubts about how well it would go. Oddly enough, in looking at my time, I negative split the run which almost never happens. I started off slower than usual but by the time I got to miles 3 and 4 I was at my normal pace. It didn’t seem faster as I was running (and really wasn’t paying attention to the time) so the pace surprised me when I downloaded it later from my garmin.

Lastly, my 16 year old niece started a one year journey as an exchange student this week. She normally lives in Alaska but will be spending the next year with a family in Turkey. Her original flight was to leave from JFK last Saturday but after Irene changed those plans she ended up leaving from Seattle and arrived in Turkey sometime yesterday. Should be an incredible experience for her!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Taking it Off Road...

Alternately titled "Do I need Trail Running Shoes?". The North Face Endurance Challenge series is making a stop in the Atlanta area next month and I am taking on the challenge of the 10k! Baby stepping my way in to the world of trail running (that and hoping I don't hurt anything 2 weeks before Beach 2 Battleship...)

The race distances include everything from a 5k on up to a 50 miler with varying race goodies depending on your distance. I really was coveting the arm warmers that come with the half marathon distance but logic prevailed and I decided to stick with the more sensible 10k option.

Check out their cool promo video. Makes you want to get out there and give it a try, doesn't it?

If you are in the Atlanta area or are looking for a Fall trail race, check it out HERE online. The race is being held at F D Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain which is about an hour south of Atlanta on October 15-16.

5k • 10k • Half Marathon • 50k
Gore-Tex 50 Mile • Kid's Run
Marathon • Marathon Relay

Saturday & Sunday, October 15-16, 2011
F. D. Roosevelt State Park, Liberty Pool Area

Start/Finish Location
F. D. Roosevelt State Park
Liberty Pool Area
Highway 354
Pine Mountain, GA 31822

Friday, August 26, 2011

Changing perspectives...

This past weekend, I rode the course at Augusta AGAIN. Obviously, I felt the need to reallllly get to know every nook and cranny of the course (or not). The real story is that the first time I rode the course, I went with a group of people from a local bike shop (shout out to Decatur Bikes). The second time I went, I rode with a few friends from my running group who couldn't make it the previous week.

It is funny how my perspective of the course changed the second time. I have a couple of theories as to why it changed. The first being that prior to seeing the course, I had been told it was essentially flat so any hills at all were one too many on that day. My other theory is that I rode an extra 5 miles that first time because I missed a turn and got lost. Those last 5 miles were Chattanooga hilly and it may have skewed my memories of the course which is funny in a way because everyone I ride with tells me I have "hill amnesia". I tend to forget the major hills on some of our routes when describing the ride to potential new riders.

So, for the benefit of any readers who are doing the Augusta 70.3... from this day forward, let it be known that my new "official" review of the Augusta course is this:

The first 16 miles are flat. After mile 16ish, the route goes to rolling hills with some flats mixed in, there are some fairly long, slow uphills somewhere around miles 30 to 40. You are not climbing Mount Everest on a bicycle. They are the type of hills that make you wonder when they might end because it feels like you climb for a while. After that the course goes back to rolling hills with a short steep hill and one more long slow hill before you hit the flats for the last 4-5 miles. There you have it. Go forth and prosper.

So you want to be a triathlete...

Saw this on Carolina John's facebook page this week. So very relatable, don't you think?

The article is from Clark Endurance and posted on Trifuel HERE.

Fact: you will not become efficient at swimming, biking or running over night. Sorry to burst your bubble. This is NOT an easy sport.

Check your ego at the door because chances are someone fifty pounds heavier than you will lap you in the pool. Not to mention she will be ten or fifteen years older than you.

You will be passed on the bike many times and you will never be the fastest runner in your town.
You will have early morning workouts. Really early.
You will plan your weekends around your swim, bike and run.
You are up while others are sleeping.
You are training while others are sitting.
You will discover others who also follow this blood, sweat and tears cult.
You will eventually get a flat tire... and have to change it all by yourself.
No matter what you hear, triathlon is NOT an inexpensive sport.
Warning, it is extremely addictive, hence the impulse spending on wetsuits, bikes, running shoes, aero bars, aero helmets, speed suits, power meters, GPS heart-rate monitors and many other ‘gotta have items.’
You will hate swimming more times than you like it for the first year.
You will suffer through road trips with whiny fellow triathletes.
You will suffer set backs.
You may experience an injury.
You will develop a love/hate relationship with a foam roller and ice baths.
You will at some point realize you need a coach.
You will hate swimming for the first year.
You will wear tight clothing.
You will not like how this tight clothing fits or looks.
Your age will take on a whole new meaning.
You will discover a whole new meaning for tan lines.
Food will become an extremely important part of your life.
You will learn new words such as GU, cadence and brick.
You will hate swimming for the first year.
You will spend more time on your bike than on your couch.
You may lose a friend or two because you spend too much time swimming, biking and running, and they could careless about your heart rate training, foam rolling pain or 20 mile bike ride.
You will learn patience.
You will be humbled.
You will start to realize you are paying money to put yourself through pain and suffering, but for some odd reason, you LOVE it.

This sport called Triathlon, becomes a part of you. You start to plan your entire year around sprint, international, half-iron or full-iron distance races. Your vacations become racing, and you start to realize that this sport called triathlon could become a life-long adventure.
Many people settle for things in life. They settle for a crappy job, marriage, friends, food, place to live and overall fitness and health.

Those who desire more or those who want more out of life than a drive-thru window and boring sitcom, will choose triathlon or an activity that makes them happy. An activity that will change their life. Triathlon will change your outlook on life, your career, your marriage, your goals, your friends and many other things you thought you had figured out. It’s not just crossing a finish line or a boring finisher medal. It’s the countless hours that got you to that point. A moment in time that you will NEVER forget. A moment that you will discuss with your family and friends for hours if not days after the event. These discussions will most likely be about how you could have done better. At what point could you have swam faster, biked harder or ran more efficient? This is what will go through your head everyday until you get the opportunity to suffer again.

So you wanna be a Triathlete? Enjoy the ride and train hard!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back from DC ...

What's shaking kids? I can say that because I was in DC on Tuesday when the earthquake went down. It was my first earthquake and all so it was pretty exciting. Based on my experience, I am gonna go out on a limb and say that the news coverage was very over the top. Yes, there was some damage here and there but....

I was in DC for a training class. There were about 12 of us in a room on the 2nd floor of a 12 story hotel when we felt a little rumble. Almost like a truck went by the window (except that we were on the 2nd floor...), I thought it was the guy bringing in our afternoon cookies or maybe the air conditioner kicking on. We all just sort of looked at each other when the rumbling got a little bit stronger (and no cookies appeared). At that point, we grabbed our belongings and went outside just in case. Later we found out that you are not supposed to go outside but this being our first earthquake and all, who knew? At that point, we didn't even know it was a earthquake we just knew things felt a little unstable. It lasted all of 10 seconds. The most amazing thing to me was by the time we got outside (about 60 seconds later), it was already on the news. Crazy how fast they can get the information out to the public.

I made it home last night around 10 PM and got up and back on my training schedule this morning. I hit the pool at Lifetime and then headed out to the tennis courts (not officially part of the training plan). I am currently trying to decide between riding my bike tonight or tomorrow...

and finally..... We have a winner! I did a little action and my winner is #1: Mari Fridenmaker - CONGRATS! Mari's go to breakfast is a smoothie: Ice, Banana, Frozen Fruit (ie Strawberries), Powdered Milk, 1 T of Peanut Butter, 1 T of Plain Yogurt and Water! Looks like she will be able to stock up on some smoothie supplies at Publix.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Who wants a Publix gift card?

I do! I do! Well you are in luck because I have been given a $25 Publix gift card to give away to one lucky reader. Hooray!

From August 18th through the 25th, Publix is holding their Great Deals on Great Meals event. The event, held exclusively at Publix, allows you to take advantage of great savings on some of your favorite brands, including great prices on everything you need to fuel up for that morning run or treats to take to your next tennis match.

During the event, look in-store or visit to download $12.00 in coupons for great breakfast, lunch and dinner products. The coupons are valid from August 15th through September 4th so don't let them go to waste!

I know I will be stocking up on CR's favorite breakfast of Honey Nut Cheerios. Now that we are watching his cholesterol again, this is his daily ritual.

While I am there I might also grab some more Quaker chewy granola bars. Love these for pre-workout snacks. So easy to grab and go at 5 AM when I am heading out the door. Have you tried the new Smash Bars? They are a fun combination of graham, chocolate and pretzels in a granola bar.

So how do you get the gift card, you ask? Well, we all know CR's go to breakfast is Honey Nut Cheerios. Just leave me a comment telling me what your go to breakfast would be if you had to eat the same thing every day.

Just as a little FYI disclosure, the Publix gift card, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. The winner will be drawn at random on August 25th. Good Luck!

**** If you have a single second to spare, please go to Refuel with Chocolate Milk to help me win a chocolate milk refuel grant to help fund my trip to Beach 2 Battleship 140.6. It literally takes ONE second. No forms to fill out and you can vote once a day between now and September 15th. THANK YOU! ****

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Loving what you do...

This post is going to go off the beaten path of fitness for a moment. There are so many out there seeking for a job, I felt the need to share a positive story.

A few years ago, we were tucked in our happy cocoon. CR and I had jobs. Mine had its moments like most do, I have often said that my office is a mirror image of the television show The Office. Lots of strange situations that probably seem funny from the outside looking in. CR on the other hand was working for himself. He was a one man show working in auto transportation. He didn't love the work as such but he enjoyed the flexibility and the pay. Then things changed. About 3 or 4 years ago, people stopped buying cars as much. Meaning, there wasn't a lot to transport in the world of auto transportation. Decisions were made, we sold our trucks and trailers.

At the time, CR was asked to be involved in a business start up. We had a friend who had made a small fortune in higeher end restaurants in the area. We trusted that he knew how to make a business successful even though this one had nothing to do with the restaurant industry. CR poured himself into the work. We weren't crazy with the type of business that was being developed; it just didn't feel like a good fit. At this point, everything forged ahead. CR gained invaluable experience from the process. He dealt with county licensing and permits, negotiated with real estate developers and a myriad of other things that he had never done before. Then the investor got cold feet and the project ended.

CR had never really been in a situation where the next opportunity wasn't just waiting there for him. He had spent his life doing so many things but how do you take that and sell yourself to a company. Even if you only want to get your foot in the door, some see you as overqualified because you spent so much time working on your own while others see you as not qualified enough because the things you were doing don't fit neatly in their view of experience needed for the job. Let's not even talk about how it feels to be 40 or 50 and in that situation. There is a lot of stress, some hopelessness and a lot of uncertainty.

We sat down and figured out his strengths. We thought about about what he might like to do in a perfect world. What would make you smile every day going to work?One of his hobbies was motorcycles. He can repair anything and often has people come to him wanting him to work on their bikes. He really wasn't interested in being a bike mechanic. (I guess from experience he knew that it would be hard on his body). For a while, he spent some time writing a technical manual for a bike manufacturer. It was part time but helped. He was also well known in his circle of motorcycle friends for being sort of salesman of the brand. He loved the product so much that his enthusiasm helped sell the product.

We started focusing on sales. He took a couple of sales jobs in the home improvement industry. Neither of which lasted very long only because it quickly became apparent that CR was spending more in gas than he was making. They weren't a total waste, he gained quite a bit of sales experience from those jobs. The constant negotiation with customers and learning the psychology behind making a sale is something he still uses today.

A little over a year ago, one of CR's friends decided he was going to open a gun range. This friend had extensive experience in business start ups much like the previously mentioned friend. We admired the plans over Christmas but really didn't give it much thought. One day last August CR stopped by to see the store on his way home from an interview. They got to talking and his friend offered him a job. The pay wasn't ideal and I am certain his friend didn't think he would even be interested. They mutually agreed that CR would work there "until something better came along".

CR personally has a small collection of guns and enjoys shooting at gun ranges or skeet but had no real experience behind the counter. He jumped in and applied himself like no other in the new experience. The job may have been "until something better came along" but he treated it as if he were going to retire from the place. He used his sales skills to sell guns and with his friendly personality he is great with the customers. He even had some natural leadership skills in there that he just never had a chance to use working on his own all those years.

Fast forward a year, and "something better" never came along. Only because CR loved his job so much he stopped looking. He was promoted last week to store manager. He is also teaching classes on gun safety once a week and gives private lessons. He knew very little about guns when he started but he immersed himself in the opportunity. The moral of the story? If you are out there looking, don't give up hope. Seek out opportunities in industries or tasks that make you happy. I have found that things have a way of popping in but you have to be open to the possibilities. Had CR dismissed taking the job at the gun store because of the lesser pay, he would have missed out on an opportunity for a job he really loves. We should all be so lucky. He smiles every day on his way to work.

Did I mention he has a company car? Good thing he doesn't mind being the center of attention. :)

In case you missed it (or maybe just want to vote again...). I'm a Chocolate Milk Refuel grant finalist! PLEASE follow this link to vote for me to join team refuel to help me earn some gas money for the road to the Beach 2 Battleship. Scroll down to find Karen Whitlock and click to vote. No registration or forms to fill out. You can vote once a day from now until September 15th :) THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It was Twenty Years Ago Today...

Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play... Actually, TWENTY years ago today, CR and I were wed in one of the smallest ceremonies known to man. Yes, my Dad can thank me for saving him oodles of cash on a big church wedding. I have never been one to follow the crowd, I tend to do my own thing. The wedding was no exception. A small backyard BBQ some cake and we were Mr. & Mrs.

We went spent the next week hang gliding in Chattanooga, TN and winding our way on a motorcycle through Asheville, NC and parts of Virginia via the Blueridge Parkway. For the record, the motorcycle trip was supposed to be an afternoon trip. Five days later we made it back to our car on Chattanooga. Ah, youth.

Happy Anniversary CR!

In other news... I'm a Chocolate Milk Refuel grant finalist! PLEASE follow this link to vote for me to join team refuel to help me earn some gas money for the road to the Beach 2 Battleship. Scroll down to find Karen Whitlock and click to vote. No registration or forms to fill out. You can vote once a day from now until September 15th :) THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Previewing the Course... Augusta 70.3

I am a HUGE fan of riding a race course in advance of race day. Whether in a car or on a bike, there is nothing like seeing the road in person. This morning, I headed out with one of my friends to join local tri group to ride the Augusta 70.3 course. Augusta is about a 2 hour drive from here so the day started with a 4:30 AM wake up call. A little early for a Sunday but in the end it was worth it!

We parked in the most nondescript area possible. There was a boat dock, a small shack for a rowing club, a covered picnic area and a small field. As we were rolling out, the ride leader mentions that the boat dock is the swim exit and the field is the transition area. Could not believe it. It will be interesting to see how the area is transformed when Ironman invades on September 25th. If I go back next week, I'll have to remember to take a picture, it really is hard to believe. (BTW apologizing in advance for the lack of pics, we were all bizness today) ;)

Once the bikes were unloaded, our ride started from the transition area and headed out of the riverfront area along the ride route. On the ride over, my friend and I had "new ride group" worries. You know, "are they going to hate us because we aren't super fast", "hope they don't take off and leave us", that kind of thing. We aren't crazy slow but we aren't 20mph riders either. For the first couple of miles, it was the tightest ride line you have ever seen. What were we worried about? No sooner had I said that then it was like the front part of the group had taken on rocket fuel and were gone. L.O.L. Luckily, the back half of the group was still with us and my friend was smart enough to have brought a map with her.

The first 15 to 18 miles were essentially flat. At the point the hills were about to begin the ride leader pulls up and gave us pointers on how to race the course and asked us about our nutrition plan. I told him mine involved fig newtons and accelerade every 15 mnutes. I had the alarm set on my garmin (which really helped BTW). Every time my alarm went off from there forward he announced "time to take a fig newton". HA HA.

In terms of race strategy, he said not to let the adrenaline of the race take over because you need to save something for the last 40 miles of hills. Pretty much everywhere we ride has hills, there are really no flats where we normally train so hills are not such a huge deal. The weird thing though was that several people who live around me had said the course was more or less flat with some rolling hills. Just goes to show you that one person's mountains are another one's molehills. I won't say the hills were like climbing Mount Everest or anything but I was a little suprised given the course description I had heard from those people. My garmin had it at about 3200 feet of climbing. I did a little extra as you will see.

The nice thing about the course is that the roads were marked. Every turn had an arrow and a pink Mdot in the road. At about halfway, we regrouped at a convenience store to top off with water. Back on the road, I was following the rocket fuel group with the rest of the group behind me. The rockets were pulling away from me but I was able to see them in the distance. At some point I heard some talking behind me so while I knew the group wasn't right behind me I felt like they were close. I continued to follow the turns in the road. I no longer was able to see the rockets in the distance, I no longer heard the talking behind me. I continue to ride. I slow down a bit hoping they will catch up. I wasn't all that much faster than the group. I am a decent climber on the bike but still something wasn't right. It had been a while.

Just when I think about stopping to wait, I see another pink Mdot which confirmed I was in the right spot. I decide to keep going. 24 miles to go, 18 miles to go, 11 miles, I make a turn off the country road onto more of a highway. I ride. I keep riding. More hills. 2 miles to go. Where ARE they? Did I miss a turn? WHY did I not take that map when Debbie offered it to me? No pink Mdots to be found. There is no way this is right. Googled my current location on my phone and got directions to the transition area. The first instruction was "W on Hwy 278". Hmmm.... which direction is west? I decide to go back the way I came. Nothing on the directions is coinciding with the roads I see. I pull over again. I call the ride leader who is out looking for me (and 2 other lost people - glad they weren't too lost but there was some relief that I was not the only one). He was just around the corner. I keep riding and we eventually run into each other. At this point I was at mile 60 of a 56 mile bike ride. There was no argument from me when we decided to load up my bike in the car and ride back. At that point, I was just thankful to be found!

In retrospect, I should have stopped at one of the early turns with the pink mdots and waited for everyone to catch up. So dumb. The rocket group was long gone and the other group would not have been all that far behind me. They would have had to come through there eventually. I should have also definitely had a map. In my mind I was riding with the group. I never dreamed I would get separated but it happened and honestly it was a little scary when I was 3 hours away from home with almost NO IDEA how to get back to my car. That portion of the ride was a perfect example of what not to do.

Despite the navigation issues, I was so thankful to have had a chance to ride this course. It was not at all the type of course I had in my head so it was good to see it first hand. I know in Chattanooga, I drove the course in my car and it really helped. I highly recommend it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Casual Fridays...

As I have mentioned before, by the time Friday rolls around I am DRAGGING! Even with packing my gym bag along with my work clothes the night before, my packing process is usually a mad rush. Thankfully, I work in an office that has casual days more often than not. I am in the Atlanta area but our home office is in Dallas and they are good about having casual days frequently and for the most random reasons. Lately, they have had a heat wave in Dallas so we have had casual days for the past two weeks. Over the fall and winter, whenever Texas Tech wins or someone even mentions Texas Tech we have casual days. I am not complaining one bit!

The great thing about casual day is I usually don't have to iron anything. Hooray! Yesterday, I received a pair of the Windsor Knit Athletic Pants from 4AllbyJofit in the mail. LOVE these pants! I literally unfolded them out of the package and put them in my gym bag. Not only did I not have to iron them but I got a compliment on them withn 5 minutes of walking in the door to work.

They are extremely comfortable and you can kind of dress them up to get away with wearing them work or be super casual and play tennis or golf in them. I wore them to work today in case I got a last minute invite to the PGA Championship which is being played down the street this week. Anyone, anyone?

The pair I was given is from the Windsor collection and is in the new raisin color but the pants come in a variety of colors including your basic black. If you decide you want to try a pair of your own, my personal experience is that the sizes run a little bit large. In most clothes that are sized small, medium, large I always wear a small. I don't ever try anything on and a small fits. With this line, I wear an extra small so you might want to check out the size chart and decide accordingly. My helpful hint for the day...

At least if I have to work on Fridays I can be comfortable, right? Have a great weekend!

....and, in the interest of disclosure, I was given these pants for review although the opinions expressed are very much my own :)

Friday AM Swim...

This morning started a little earlier than usual. I had 4000 meters on my training schedule and wasn't sure how long it would take to cover that distance in the pool. Interestingly enough on Tuesday at masters practice, it was mentioned that the noon practice group swims 4000 meters in an hour. In a typical practice, there are short set breaks and occasionally waiting to hear what the next set is so it seemed hard to believe that 4000 could be knocked out in an hour in that setting. We came to the conclusion that they swam longer than an hour. Mostly that was because the competitive people in the group did not want to believe they could be faster than us. I see a duel in the pool coming soon...

Anyhow, I got up about 30 minutes early so I could be at the pool by 5:30. I don't know about you but on Fridays I am draggggggggggging. I hit the snooze button a couple of times before I finally rolled out of bed. By the time I got into the pool it was 5:45. Not too bad but made me wonder if I would be able to get my full workout in before 7:00 in order to get dressed and get to work.

Since I do masters during the week, I think I am going to use Fridays for working on distance. When race day comes I want to have that confidence tucked away in my brain that I know I can cover the distance. The workout looked like this:

1 x 2000 swim
1 x 500 kick
1 x 1000 pull
1 x 400 kick
1 x 100 cool down

I was suprised that I got it done in 1:15 including a few set breaks and an unplanned stop to pull a freakishly long hair out of my face (is there anything more gross than swimming through someone else's hair in the pool - well, I guess a bandaid might be grosser). Racewise, I know I can swim a 100 in about 1:30 and a 1500 in 26:30 but wasn't sure how long I could hold that pace. It kind of feels good to have a closer estimate for the IM distance.

As I was swimming my cool down, I noticed the man in the lane next to me was using a kick board as a pool buoy. Very odd. I can't imagine that was very comfortable. I assume he wasn't doing flip turns with that thing although I should have watched for them, that would have been talent!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Acworth Women's Tri...

The day started out with a 3:30 AM wake up call so I could get in the car and head out to the Acworth Women's Sprint Triathlon. CR was initially going to go with me and then we realized what time we would have to get up to go and, well, the desire to sleep in was greater than his desire to see me for brief seconds here and there. I have to say I can't blame him! Given the choice, I would rather he come cheer for me at Beach 2 Battleship or Augusta since those are possibly once in a lifetime things.

Back to the story... Quite a few people from my training group were in the race. Two of the people I had been working on their swim so it was a morning full of nerves and excitement for them. I was suprisingly relaxed about the whole thing. I honestly don't have that many tris to my name at this point so I guess it is just the confidence of having some actual training going into the race (as opposed to a few previous times where I would ride the bike for about half mile just to remember how to change the gears).

We all corraled up by the swim start. The waves were done by age with the oldest age group going first and the youngest going last. They allowed about 6 or 8 minutes after the first wave then started sending every other wave off 3 minutes apart. I didn't have a particularly great swim time. The swim was a rectangle with 2 right turns. I can't really put my finger on why the swim was so crowded but I swam in churn for the entire 400 yards. If sardines swam inside their can, that was what it was like for me. I have never been in a swim that crowded all the way to the end, it was odd. Not sure if it was because we were over taking the previous waves so quickly or that the kayaks were too close in not allowing a lot of space or just my inability to get to the left and out of the churn. Most likely, the latter I would assume. I was estimating about 7:00 for the swim and ended up with 9:02. Oh well.

Swim: 9:02

I was happy with my transitions as they were fast compared to my previous races. It always varies from where you run in and where your bike is but I felt like I was very organized, got what I needed and was out of there.

T1: 1:14

Off on the bike! The ride felt great. It was a nice mix of flats and hills so not a super easy course. As per usual, I got passed by some but this time I passed plenty of people as well which is always a confidence booster! I swapped spots about 10 times with one girl who chose to wear a sports bikini as her tri outfit. I really only wanted to get past her because I was tired of looking at her booty - ha ha! Every time she passed me back I was cursing her... I finally got her in the last half mile. It is the little things :)

Bike: 44:27 (17.6 mph)

T2 felt super fast as well. Throw off the bike shoes. Throw on the running shoes. Grab hat and number and I am off.

T2: 1:09

The run was a point to point run which resulted in a 5k that was uphill from start to finish. Luckily, the weather was overcast and almost cool so it wasn't as torturous as it could have been. It was a pretty run that winded through some neighborhoods leading to downtown Acworth and the finish line party.

Run: 29:10

Overall: 1:24:59

I always feel good about my races until I see everyone else's time and then I start comparing. I must learn to stop doing that... The race felt good. Honestly, the only thing I could improve on was the swim which cracks me up because that is my strong leg. Next time, I just need to do a better job of locating some space so I am not banging elbows, legs and heads with each and every stroke.

The finish area was super nice. Lots of massage tables, free Yankz shoelaces, Mix1, Muscle Milk and clothing vendors. The food was like a catered event. All sorts of salads, chicken salad sandwiches, cookies and a chocolate fountain. My goodness, they know what we ladies like!

If you are in the area, I highly recommend the Acworth Women's Tri. Very low key race and lots of fun!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Something iron on the horizon...

Something strange has happened over the past few months. I have gone from someone who could barely figure out what gear she needed to be in to someone who is leading group rides. When I registered for the 70.3 in Augusta, it seemed like such an incredible stretch now it seems like something very realistic. For the past few weekends, we have been riding 50 to 60 miles on a regular basis in addition to our regularly scheduled swim/bike/run training throughout the week. Yes, I am tired and cranky sometimes and the pile of sweaty laundry never seems to go down but my confidence in my ability to finish this race is sky high.

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that since I am already training for a 70.3 and a fall marathon simultaneously, maybe this is the year to try the iron distance. Since hiring at coach at this point is not economically possible, I started looking at training plans. I laid the iron training plan over the one I was already following. It pretty much matched the plan I was already on right up until last week when the iron plan start creeping up mileage and time spent in the pool. Decision time.

I started looking at races. The WTC races were out of the question. Those sell out so quickly they would require much more thought and planning than I was giving myself. I narrowed it down to two races, The Great Floridian and Beach 2 Battleship. Both are smaller races which I love and both are in the same general time frame. After that, there were pros and cons to each. The Great Floridian has a notoriously hilly bike ride with a flat run course. While the Beach 2 Battleship has a super flat bike ride with a somewhat hilly run. Temperatures in Florida are hot whereas every race report I have read on Beach 2 Battleship talks about the finger and toe numbing cold. The Beach 2 Battleship is the same weekend as my planned Atlanta Marathon. Until last week I was sure which race I was going to do and then had a change of heart.

Granted, most people register for their ironman a year in advance. Registering three months before the race is not the norm, I know this. I truly feel like I have the training base I need to build up my endurance over the next three months. As they say, I respect the distance. By no means do I think it will be easy but I am up for the challenge. Today, I thought my heart might pound out of my chest as I hit the register button. I think I might need some arm warmers :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Million Spokes...

I watched the documentary A Million Spokes today. It is about RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa). The ride takes place the last week in July each year. Basically, 10,000 riders go from the western border of Iowa on the Missouri river across the state to the eastern border (the Mississippi River). I wonder who I can talk into riding this with me as I have just added it to my "must do" list. too bad I do not care for camping. Sometimes you just need to get over yourself unless you want to miss out on great experiences. Maybe we can get CR a bike. I think he would enjoy it (and he likes to camp...).