Thursday, August 29, 2013

Triathlon Family

A few months back, I guess it's probably closer to 7 months ago now, I had to break up with a friend.

It was really hard to do. I'd know her for many years. I'd noticed over the past year, we were starting to become toxic to each other. Our lives had gone in different directions, and we had different priorities and....well, just different everything. I was bad for her, and she was bad for me.

The break up hit me really hard. I mean, here was someone that I used to talk to ALL THE TIME. We'd call. We'd text. We'd email. She was one of the last people I talked to before I went to bed at night. All of a sudden that was gone.

For months, I was at a loss. Who do I go to when I'm having a bad day, and I just want to scream irrationally?

Over the past few months, I've gotten to know a few people. People who have very similar interests to me. It's been really great. Especially since given my work situation, I'm not around a lot of people during the week.

I never even really considered how much this was going to affect me. All of a sudden, when I go do some type of training, sure enough, I'll run into someone that I know. This triathlon web of mine has become huge. I love going out on my Saturdays now because I never know who I am going to run into.

I like to train by myself. But there's a lot to be said for being able to swim, bike or run with another person or a group of people. It's the "we're all in this together" mentality.

This coming Saturday, I have a race. This week, I've been talking to people. I've been amazed at the number of people who will be at the races on Saturday. Even though, we tease each other, and give each other a hard time, we are also each others biggest supporters. I don't know if there is anything more fun that cheering on a friend as they run by during a race.

As hard as it was to let go of one relationship, I realized that I had allowed that relationship to take over my entire life. I missed out on meeting all these truly great people before. I really enjoy meeting my new friends on Saturdays for our swim/bike/run sessions or doing insane races with them.

It's like getting a group of crazies together and seeing how far we can push each other. I've gotten to do things that I would never have done before; things that I never would have even considered.

So, I'm racing on Saturday. Although, I won't have my normal group of "crazies" there, I'll get to see some really great people and cheer them on.

I can finally appreciate what it means to have a triathlon family.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Rattlesnake race report

For not really wanting to do this race about a week ago, I'm really glad I did. Besides, if I didn't do it, I knew I'd have hell to pay.

Official results are not yet up, but my times are close enough. Yea. I forgot to hit my transition button here or there, but ultimately the finish time is the same.

Last night, it occurred to me that this was my best chance to FINALLY get my sub 3 in the oly distance. Quite honestly, that was a low ball time. I knew it. It's just that, with the year I've had, nothing is guaranteed.

I thought 2:45 was realistic. 2:50, worst case, but the goal I was shooting for was 3:00.

Back in 2009,  I did this race and came in at 3:30. A 5-10 minute PR was just not going to cut it.

The Swim:

The swim start is a time trial. Swimmers take off every 2-3 seconds. Perfect. I love this type of start.

As soon as it was my turn, I felt great. I felt strong and relaxed. I quickly caught up to the women that started before me and was quickly surrounded by guys doing the double (oly today/sprint tomorrow---they had their own wave start). 

As I made my way through the back strokers and side strokers. I kept thinking, "I feel so good. I really must be going slow."

My personal goal for the swim was 27min. That was conservative but again once bitten twice shy. In my case, I felt like I'd been bitten more than a few times.

This 1500m swim was the kind where you have to get out, run around a little dealie whop and jump back in.

All along, I kept saying that I have a 22-24 minute swim in me. I just hadn't done it. Imagine my surprise when I got out and saw 12:11 on my watch. I run up the beach chasing after other women while thinking "Come on, you've got this, don't fade. There's no reason to fade when that loop felt so easy."

It HAD felt easy. But for once, I didn't think the course was short. I knew that I was just capable of swimming that fast.

On the second loop, I really wanted to try to go faster. I kept focusing on Strength over Speed. Strong Pull, push back, strong pull, push back.

I started picking off swimmers ahead of me. Because of the way the start went, I wasn't quite sure where other women in my AG were. For the first time, I just didn't care. I was there to race my race.

I think that took a lot of pressure off of me and allowed me to get into my own groove.

When I finished the swim, I glanced at my watch: 24:12. I managed to negative split the swim with HUGE PR. Course PR of 13:00, recent 1500m swim PR of 4 minutes.

avg pace per 100m 1:29

I was so excited. I got out of the water, whipped off my wetsuit and started screaming to Mr. Tea "DID YOU SEE THAT? DID YOU SEE HOW FAST I WENT? I KNEW I COULD DO IT! I KNEW IT."

Pretty sure he was laughing at me. I just took off sprinting to T1.

T1 time: :48

The Bike

I threw down my wetsuite and took off on the bike.

Ok. Here we go.

First of all, the road had really big sections of being in really bad shape and being re-paved. I don't think ANYONE had course breaking speeds today.

Again, I had goals. I knew that if I wanted to hit my goal, I had to be halfway by 37:30.

My goal: 1:15.

I ended up doing 1:17 which was about 19.8 or 19.6 mph. The course was harder than I remembered it. Also, on the bike, I first started to notice that I was having problems.  I was SO thirsty. I was hot. I went through 3 bottles (2 of water and 1 of nutrition) just on the bike. That was NOT normal for me.

Maybe had I not had problems, I could have done 1:10-1:15, which I STILL think I can do.

Trust me. I am not sad at all about the 1:17 because I beat Coach Mike's guesstimate of 1:20.

Also, this was another HUGE PR of 17 minutes from the last time I did this course. It wasn't an oly bike PR for the year because I've certainly ridden faster but given the course....I'm pretty damn happy.

I kept waiting for the D3 guys to catch me on the bike. I kept seeing them on the other side of the street. But it never happened. Then with a half a mile left, my friend Jeff caught me and passed me. grrrr.

I pull into T2 ( :28) and take off running.

About a quarter of a mile into the run, and the first D3 guy passes me. We'd been talking before the race, and I told him that I thought for sure he was going to pass me on the bike.

Always the gentleman, he says, "Nope. You're just too fast."

THAT AND I had a 10 minute headstart. Uh huh. YOU do the match. DUDE WAS FLYING.

For the first 3.1 miles, honestly, I felt really good, except for the damn THIRST and the heat. WHAT was going on? At each aid station, I start slamming down water and gatorade. (I'm not a fan of gatorade but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do).

By the time I hit the turnaround, I could feel the break down happening. I was sick, nauseous. I was sweating like crazy. I couldn't maintain my pace.

I decided to take a walking break thinking it would help. I realized very quickly that it was even harder to start running again. That told me something was really wrong. Normally after a walking break (after say.....getting a cup of water), I am refreshed and can keep going. I saw my average pace drop from 9:40 to 10:00 to 10:15 to 10:30.

I looked at my garmin and realized that not only was the 2:45 goal shot but so was the 2:50 and now I was at risk for not even breaking 3 hours.

I kept going, doing what I can. My only thought was "keep going. you've come too far to miss out on your goal."

As I approached the finish line, there was a group of people cheering on the runners. Evidently there was a woman behind me. They started yelling "You can catch her! GO GO GO!"

Let me tell you something....I was about to pass out. I was so sick feeling. I was hot. I just wanted to be done. Those people were yelling for the woman behind me.....and....

I'm not proud of this....

but all I could think was "F*CK YOU AND YOUR F*CKITY F*CK F*CK CHEERING."

And the woman behind me passed me.

Goal time for the run: sub 1 hour.
Actual time: 1:11 with the first half being in 30 minutes.

Finish time: 2:55, just making my sub 3 hour time.

I won't go into what happened next, but it involved throwing a sandwich at Mr. Tea, yelling or maybe it wasn't yelling I don't remember but it was something about getting a PR after he said something about not making my 2:50 goal, almost collapsing at a table and just wanting to lay down. 

Once I got home, I started pumping in salt tablets. Once I started feeling better, I realized that I could eat without tossing my cookies. Over the next couple of hours, I was able to think coherently and figure out what happened.

It wasn't the heat. It was that I miscalculated my electrolytes. I needed more than I brought. once you're in a hole, during a race, it's tough to get out of it.

It's never easy to end a great race on a bad run, but it is what it is. The run was STILL a course PR of 4 minutes. Unfortunately, it was also my second slowest run of the year. 2nd slowest behind the hilliest course that I've ever run as part of an oly tri. So, that's not good.

For now, I'm going to continue eating to get recovered for tomorrow's long workouts. Honestly, I really wish I didn't have to do them. I'll just do my best. The thing that really sucks is having to get up at 3am to make a 2 hour drive. UGH. If Suzanne wasn't counting on me being there, I would totally bag the drive, sleep in, and do the workouts locally.

 I have two more races: a sprint and an oly. Then, I head into half marathon season.

That's all I've got to say about that.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I've been meaning to write. So many times I've started different entries and stopped.

As you know, I had a rough week made even harder by some other things that were going on.  Life happens, and we do what we can and move on.

This coming year is a new stage for me. Some of you (my friends) have been through this, but it's the first time that I've been through it. My oldest officially moved out of the house. My youngest is in his senior year in high school. This time next year, he'll be gone off to college, military....whatever it is that he decides on. (As of yet, he doesn't even know). He won't be here.

There is a lot to deal with. On one hand, I'm looking forward to having a clean house. Let me tell you, a house gets worked over when you have 4 adults living in it. When Jordan moved out, the reduction of "stuff" felt like a lot more than 25%.

Over the past few years, I've done a 180 on what things I really want to do when the boys move out. the things I *thought* I wanted to do....well, I don't care about anymore.

But, I think these are all normal feelings when people have kids really young. If they aren't normal, f*ck it. They're my feelings, so they're normal for me. For such a long time, I felt really trapped and put every bit of energy I had into raising the kids.

Only to get to a point, where I can do whatever I want to do. From even the simplest things, like eating dinner whenever I want or not checking to see what EVERYONE else wants....or better yet....staying in bed for as long as I want.

For awhile, this sense of freedom was literally overwhelming. I wanted to do everything and go everywhere.

I've settled down now.

Since this blog is *primarily* a training blog, this also positively affects me training in a completely different way than I was expecting.

Of course, I have time to train, more than I ever had. Yes, I have a job. I have one of the most flexible jobs around. I can train whenever I want.

But, I can GO places. I can go to any races. Next weekend, I'm doing a race. The next day, with my crazy swimmer friends, I'm doing a 2.4 mile swim and a 1:30 bike. The swim is a drive that's over 2 hours from me. It doesn't matter though.

I can go spend time with friends. MY friends. Not friends because my kids are on the same little league team.

This weekend was USAT Age Group Nationals. For the first time ever, I knew almost 10 people doing either the olympic (on Saturday) or the sprint (on Sunday).

This would be the perfect set up for me. A weekend with a bunch of like-minded people. I would love to do that.

The problem is that I'm not fast enough to qualify for Nationals.

And it was killing me. I was watching the pictures coming in of everyone celebrating or cheering each other on. I was so genuinely happy for each of them, just for making it to Nationals. To me that's a really big deal. Nationals is one of those things that I always wanted to do but never really thought there was a chance that I could ever make it.

Mike and I are supposed to go over my list of goals at the end of this season. I sent him a rather lengthy list of goals, some short term and some most long term. The goals can seem sort of random. I guess, in a way, they are.

For a long time, I'd see women at races, hitting speeds that I couldn't even dream of hitting. Year after year, I set "reasonable" goals.

This *new* list has some crazy goals. My thinking has changed over the years. If other women can do those speeds....why can't I?

I was looking at the finish times of the women in my AG. NO ONE IS EVER #1 IN ALL 3 SPORTS. That's why I love triathlon.

The women who came in first....she wasn't some sort of crazy athletic woman. She was just a woman who worked really hard to make her weaknesses, less of a weakness, and she knew how to use her strengths to her advantage.

There's no reason that I can't be the same way.

When the goal becomes bigger and more important than the discomfort you have to go to get there, it's time to go for it. 

Although I'm waiting to share the goals, only because I want to make sure that they don't change, I will tell you this. There are two goals that I want really bad.

1.) I want to break 6 hours on the 70.3. It's been a long time since I've done a 70.3. I'm a little nervous about doing one. I've been putting it off because I have been afraid to do one again. I kept saying things like "When I can swim *this* fast" or when I can "run" this fast. Those goals were moving targets. Every time I hit the goal, instead of doing a 70.3, I changed the goal and made it harder. I did it because I was really afraid of doing it. I know that now.

Now, I'm still afraid. At least, I'm ready to take it on. When? I don't really know. Maybe next year?

2.) I really want to get to a 2:45 Oly. This season has been so strange for me, disappointing. It's all my fault too. I picked bad races. Of the races that were supposed to be "A" races, something odd happened. I just want an opportunity to race an oly. I don't think 2:45 is really much of a stretch. I just haven't been able to get there for a variety of reasons/mishaps. (At one race, I go off course. At another, the swim is long. Another is at a higher altitude. Another had last minute, course changes. At another, I was undertrained---because of work issues and not being able to ride. It's been one thing or another).

Although these are two different distances (3 if I throw in more sprints---which I will), I think they can all work together.

In the meantime, I have a race this weekend. This race was the very first Oly distance race that I did. I'm not really sure how I feel about the race.

The race has one leetle issue that I think is going to be really good for me. The race has a time trial start by bib number and NOT by Age Group. What this means is that I have no idea where the other women in my AG.

THIS WILL BE VERY GOOD FOR ME. I need to stop thinking about where the other women are. I can focus on just racing my best race without being concerned about others. Some times I'm better at that than others. :)

This race will force the issue.

Wish me luck!