Monday, August 30, 2010

Race Report - Lakes Country Triathlon

I registerd for this tri after Chisago, when I decided I just hadn't had enough triathlon for this season. I somehow managed to coerce two of my friends into signing up too, so I wasn't going alone. Saturday afternoon I met up with Laura and Sandy and we headed to Brainerd. Laura forgot her helmet, so when we got into town we had to stop at local bike shop. She got a helmet, AND a new bike. Which means I inherited her old one! Yay for a road bike!

Sunday morning we were up and at the beach ready to go. While getting set up in transition, I ran into Wendy. It was great to chat with her. I would have taken a picture with her, but she is so cute and little, I would have looked like a giant ogre next to her and my weak self-esteem can't handled that. :)

After the pleasant distraction of meeting Wendy, it was back to thinking about the race ahead. The nerves started to kick in. It was windy. I was really worried about how difficult the wind might make the bike feel. I reminded myself that my last few bike training ride have been windy, so I was well trained.

Ready to go!

I was in wave 6 (waves were by sex/age), and I got more and more nervous standing there waiting for the swim start. The water looked rough. And the buoys looked oh so far. And the water looked rough. I had two really great 3/4 mile open water swims last week, so I kept telling myself that this was only 1/2 mile and tried to stay calm. All that went out the window when I got in the water. It was so choppy. I felt like I was being tossed around like a beach ball. And like I was going nowhere. To avoid full-on panic, I relied on the breast stroke. And just kept swimming. After what felt like at least an hour in the water, my fingers brushed sand during my stroke and I stood up. And promptly stumbled and fell sideways like a sloppy drunk. I have experienced dizziness during and after lake swims before, but this was way worse. I had trouble walking out of the water and staying upright.
Swim time (1/2 mile): 27:34 (slow, but not as bad as it felt!)

I managed to jog into transition and then just stood there staring at my stuff. I was really out of it, and still feeling dizzy from the swim. Finally I started remembering what I was supposed to be doing and got moving.
T1: 3:43 (why yes, I did lay down and take a quick nap before the bike)

So then I was onto my new inherited Raleigh bike and off. I drank some gatorade the first few miles in an attempt to chase away the drained feeling I had after the swim. For as windy as it was, the wind really did not bother me for most of the bike. I just kept pedalling away. There were a few decent hills, with one bigger, long hill at about 7 miles, and I felt awesome on the hills. The benefit of being one of the last people out of the water from the second to last wave was that I passed a lot of people on the bike, and I never got passed once!
Bike (17.3 miles): 1:00:40 (SO close to breaking 1 hour - next year!)

Back into transition, go to put my bike back, oh wait, someone else's bike is in my spot actually sitting on top of my towel and swim stuff. Thanks. I had to move a couple of bikes to get mine back in.
T2: 1:06

Then it was off for the run. I was so tired. I think my swim exhaustion finally caught up with me. I fought with myself to keep running, but ended up walking through the water stops. I still managed to pass quite a few people on the run. The final stretch back into the park to the finish felt slightly downhill and I knew I was getting close, so I was able to give a little kick at the end.
Run (3.9 miles): 37:49 (yeck, I can do better than that)
Total time: 2:10:49

After going through the finish, I grabbed some water and rushed to get my camara and get back to the finish in time to cheer on my friends (and get great pictures of them crossing the finish line). We then headed back to the water to cool off.

Done! Funny how the water looks so much calmer two hours later . . .

Even with the rough swim, this race just continued to build my love for triathlon. I can't wait for next summer and a new triathlon season to see how much I can improve.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mama Goes Masters Virtual Race Report

Last night I toasted MCM Mama's 40th birthday with a few cocktails. While I'm sure she would have preferred that I honor her with a few beers I've never heard of, I was more in the mood for my favorite golf drink. It's the thought that counts, right?

After a late night celebrating the end of another golf season, my race day alarm went off way too early. But I thought I had a good chance of winning my age group in this race, so I rolled out of bed and got ready. When I finally stepped outside, I was thrilled to feel brisk, cool air. The race director informed the race participant that timing would be a little weird because she didn't have any timing device. Apparently she had already packed her bag for a triathlon this weekend and she was afraid she would forget her timing device if she pulled it out. So she thought it would be appropriate to look at the oven clock before starting the race, and then, upon finishing, run back down the driveway, onto the back deck, into the kitchen and check the time. Oh, and then she forget to look at the clock before the start. The race director? Not so bright.

After the timing mishap, the race was off. The first mile was a celebration of all things cool weather. I said good morning to the crazy people who walk their dogs by carrying them down the road and checked out the sleeping alpacas.

During the second mile, I started regretting the extra drink or two I had in honor of MCM Mama. But for the third mile, the race course turned onto one of my favorite running roads, and the nice gentle downhill helped me forget my queasiness.

Finally I was on the home stretch. I sprinted the finish line (mailbox) and left it all out on the course.

Per the race director's instructions, I ran into the house to look at the oven clock for my finish time. The clock read 6:47. Now, I don't really understand this timing process, but I'm pretty sure that means I ran a 6:47/mile pace. Damn, I am fast. Or I guess it could mean that the race took me 6 hours and 47 minutes . . .

A few more hours of work and I am off for a fun weekend - State Fair and then my third triathlon. Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Race Report - Madison Mini Marathon

I ran this race last year for its inaugural year and I knew I definitely wanted to run again this year, because it was just so much fun. We drove through a monsoon Friday to get to Madison for the packet pick-up, and then to Beloit to my grandparent's house. Then it as up bright and early Saturday to head back to Madison for the race.

After a little it of hassle finding parking, we headed over to the start area to find the porta potties. We had to wait in line forever - I thought we would have to abandon the line in order to get to the start. Luckily we made it just in time and made it to the back of the start with about 30 seconds to spare. We were so far back, I'm pretty sure people who were planning to crawl the race were in front of us.

The first few miles of this race go through the University and downtown areas of Madison and are so fun. There are lots of spectators, music groups, and plenty to see.

This may be a good time to talk about the weather. It was crazy humid. Thankfully it was overcast so the sun wasn't beating down on us, but it was seriously hot. By the end of the first mile I was completely soaked with sweat. By the end of the second mile I changed my race strategy from "maybe I'll go to a PR" to "maybe I will avoid heat stroke." I walked the water stops, making sure to drink plenty and dumping water on my head.

At mile 11ish, the course starts back along the lake towards the University of Wisconsin. It was very tempting to get a little open water swim in and finish the race by water instead of road. But I resisted and finished (with an uphill in the last two tenths of a mile). 2:12:08. Definitely not a PR, but not a PW either. I headed right to the lake.

I had a lot of fun running this race again this year, although I must say it was more fun last year when it was 45 degrees. Even though my time pretty much sucked, I am happy with how I ran.

After the race, it was back to my grandma and grandpa's for a little recovery.

Don't even try to tell me you don't hang upside down from the monkey bars to recover from hard runs. Totally normal.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

House Arrest

Sometimes life likes to screw with your training. This is one of those weeks. My husband is on his annual trip to the Boundary Waters, so I am a single parent. I had to kill five hours last night sitting at a city council meeting. And then get up super early this morning to drive four hours away for a court hearing that lasted three minutes (and then drive four hours back, of course). Although the crazy week has put a damper on my running, it has allowed me to totally nail my first week of the Hard CORE club. And I have become reacqainted with my Wii fit. Let's just call it a mini taper for my half on Saturday.

While my hubby has been away, I managed to get recruited as the newest member of his men's bowling league. I'm not sure if this is due to my widely renowned bowling prowess (highly likely) or if I should take it as a sign that I need to start shaving my upper lip. Either way, I hope my husband is as excited about little extra kid-free quality time as I am.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sibling Rivalry

My younger sister Michele and I are 16 months apart. Growing up, she was the skinny athletic one and I was the chubby nerd. Michele played sports, could do cartwheels, and wore a size 0 all through high school. I ate hot dogs, read books, and tried to squeeze myself into too small juniors size clothes. For all my growing up years, my own self worth was centered around comparing myself to my younger, more beautiul sister. Ah, the torture of being a young girl . . .

When I started running, first for exercise during college and then to feed my newfound addiction to road races in 2004, I also started to change the way I measured my own value. It has been a long journey, but I now can celebrate the body that has run MANY races (including 3 marathons), given birth to a healthy, beautiful little girl, and so much more.

Besides giving me a new, more confident outlook, what I loved about running was that i was MY thing. No one else in my family, including Michele, ran road races. I loved doing something that was all my own. And then Michele started running. For other sisters, this would probably be great news - one more running partner! For Michele and I, it has been a source of unspoken tension.

When we have run races together, I get so focused on where Michele is and whether she is beating me that I forget to run my own race. I compare my finish time to hers and feel like a failure if I am not as fast, even if I PR. I know the scorecard: my 5K and marathon PR's are faster, she's got me beat in the 10K and half-marathon.

I have been working on moving past this. Partly because my mom told me to suck it up and get over myself, and partly because my running partner Jim has constantly reminde me that I run for ME. This weekend, I'll get a chance to put it into practice. Both Michele and I are running the half in Madison. Instead of worrying whether I'm in front of or behind my sister, I am going to concentate on powering up hills, staying strong, and celebrating one more opportunity to participate in the sport I have come to love. Run my own race.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Reconnected, Finally

Our phone and internet went out during a storm on Tuesday night. Qwest finally came out and fixed it yesterday. Saturday. Maybe I am a touch impatient, but really, that was a long wait for what ended up taking 10 seconds to fix. Anyhow, while I was back in the dark ages without any connection to the outside world, I got in some workouts (and some rest days!):

Monday: 3 miles track (not so speedy of a workout because it was HOT)
Tuesday: 3 miles easy, 1 hour kettlebells
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: rest
Friday: 16 miles
Saturday: 1/2 mi. swim/16 mile bike/2 mile run
Sunday: Hard CORE club core workout

Except for those two rest days in the middle of the week, not too bad. I ended up getting a little (or a lot) heat sick during golf Wednesday night, which left me feeling pretty crappy all day Thursday. The heat and humidity has finally broken, so I am planning on getting so good workouts in this week.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Summer Vacation

We just returned from our annual summer family vacation with my in-laws. A week of reading while watching my daughter splash around and play in the sand, interspersed with some golf, boating, drinking, and games. Good times. While on vacation, I managed to bike 20 miles, do a bike/run brick workout, swim a little, and run just enough to break in my new shoes.

Nothing says back to reality like a long run - I'm getting up early to try to beat the heat tomorrow! Looking forward to catching up with what you all have been up to for the last week.