Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SummiTri Sprint Distance Triathlon

I was looking for an Oly triathlon.  My previous Oly race left me with a bad taste in my mouth due to my sucky swim. Dang it!!  I was looking to improve in the event distance, and specifically tackle, and nail, the swim ... however... There. Were. None.  :(   I did find a Sprint triathlon in Munroe Falls, so I jumped on that bandwagon and figured, what the heck, I could use a good sprint tri experience right about now - at least let me ROCK the swim and be respectable in the bike and run.

This triathlon was at Munroe Falls and I have learned a bit about the layout of the land down there with various rides, but I had never actually been to this location.  On this particular morning, I would have company: My son Kevin, my daughter Jaime, and my husband Ted.  Samantha, my oldest, was at a slumber party.  So, me, and my entourage of 3 headed down to Monroe Falls.  I was running a bit later than I feel comfortable with.  I like to get there early and have my choice of the rack real estate. I hate to  have to squeeze in between others as they sprawl out and claim the prime real estate locations.  When we parked, I grabbed up my bike and b-lined to the registration table, leaving my family in the dust.  My pre-race jitters usually result in me being pretty intense, impatient, anxious.  I wish I could be more relaxed! I hope that gets better in time.  However, I will always prefer to arrive early and have my packet, chip and bike racked as early as possible.  I think once that is squared away, I can do a better job of relaxing, focusing, stretching and trying to be a little more pleasant. 

So, I squeezed my tiny bike into a tiny space and had to ask my "neighbors" to move their stuff just a bit so I could lay down my stuff.  Ugh, can I just mention how much I LOVE the higher end race events where you have your own space??  The Rev3 events have your name in your rack space so there's one less thing to worry about.    After transition was set up, I headed off to the john, where a nice line was forming. Only 2 stalls :(   Ugh.  I was lucky to get in line and be done in 10 minutes.  This race could have used to rent 10 porta-potties for the race!  Many ladies were heading for the woods, and I'd have done the same if needed.

'The announcer started to give the pre-race directions and the swim was an out and back - with a U-turn UNDER A LANE LINE! Not only that, but you had to swim under a lane line again to exit.  That was a new race experience!  Now let's recap: my PRIMARY goal for this race was to ROCK THE SWIM.  Tackle it, swim strong, and not have an anxiety attack.  I wish the swim was longer, but this is all I had - 400 yards.  We started in the water, which Janet Edwards pointed out to me, seems to result in less anxiety as you don't have to run off a beach or jump off a dock.  When the buzzer rang, I started my swim, chanting my mantra in a rhythmic way.  I focused on breathing, I focused on staying calm. I was near the front of the pack and actually found myself being held back by the row of swimmers ahead of me.  Wow.  THAT felt good.  I figured I'd just settle here and see how it went.  In the past, the problem usually sets in at the 4 minute mark.  I was feeling GOOD!  I got to the turn around and was thrilled with how comfortable I felt. Dipped under the lane line and settled in the outside lane, right up next to the lane line so I could use it to guide me, rather than sighting regularly.  Plus, most of the other swimmers were hugging the inside lane line, so I had my own little area, fully unobstructed by others.  Long and strong, and attitude of gratitude.  Then, about the 4 minute mark, I got that adrenaline rush, the HR sky-rocketed, and my legs felt numb.  OH NO!  This is exactly the feeling I get - this is the panic attack.  Damn it! I look up and I'm nearly there.  I really started focusing on how well this swim has been going and I absolutely WILL NOT LET IT BE RUINED!  I really focused on my breathing and bringing my HR back down.  I didn't stop.  I didn't switch to breast stroke. I continued.  And, then I was done! Before I knew it, I was at the finish and exiting the lake. I hit my split time: 6:58.  Oh. My. God.   I just had a good swim.  A really good swim!  Wow.

Transition went smoothly - I was getting excited that this could be a good race.  T1=1:31.  On to the bike leg.  There were some rollers on this course, and 2 good climbs, but not near the steepness that I struggle with.  This would be 2 loops.  I was settling in with my breathing and then started to attack the hills.  I passed a few people!  I settled in with 3 ladies and we jockeyed positions throughout the course. I felt strong and it was nice to have those girls to pass, then get passed, then try to pass again.  I had no technical issues and the bike went smoothly.  Bike = 38.24 (avg. 18.75)

The second transition went smoothly, and my split gave me T2=1:41.  Off for the run.  I heard, but didn't see, Ted and the kids cheering, heard him yell that I was way ahead of pace.  I had hoped to do better than my last year time of ~1:28:30 (which, should be noted, was my 2nd Sprint triathlon, and Sprint tri distances are not necessarily consistent from race to race, unlike Oly, 70.3, and IM).  For the run, I wasn't on empty, but I HAD given a lot to both the swim and bike, so I was fading a bit.  I tried to hang with a few ladies from my AG.  I did not rock the run.  While running is usually a strength of mine, I can regularly do a 5K in 22-23 minutes, I am not yet able to translate that effort into the run in a triathlon :(   I know this is a huge area of improvement I need to work on.  NEED MORE BRICKS!!!  I've been focusing on the bike primarily this season, so my running has been sidelined for the most part.  I really need to figure out how to hold a faster pace on the run after the bike.   Anyhow, the course was 2 loops and I love that it took us through the crowd near transition, that cheering always is helpful for me!  I heard Kim and some CTC peeps cheer me on, and I heard Ted and the kids cheering, with Ted telling me I was still ahead of pace.  On the run I had been doing a bit of cat & mouse with a 44 yr old woman - a woman in my age group.  As we neared the finish, I saw her about 50 yards ahead.  The competitive part of me wanted her ... so, I kicked it in.  I closed the gap. I beat her into the chute, and took 3rd place in my AG!  I know my run wasn't a stellar performance, but overall I was very happy with the race. Run=30:00.   Sprint Tri = 1:18:36   Next year I want 1:10:00 :) Totally a realistic goal for me! I can improve that run, I know it.

So, I was happy with that race!  In the mean time, I've found some people interested in doing OW swim at Headland's beach Tuesday evenings!  I will love to have more OW practice and that starts this week.  This weekend, a holiday weekend - woo hoo! - I actually have NO RACES on the schedule.  I know most of you will be floored by that :)  I considered looking for a road race, but I got a call from a new friend, Elizabeth,  and we planned 2 training workouts - a 12 mile run on Saturday and a 60 mile ride on Sunday.  I'm totally thrilled to have those lined up and to have a buddy to train with.  Liz is training for her first 70.3 in August or September, and has been making fantastic improvements in all 3 legs.  She beat me in a Duathlon a few weeks back and ended up taking first place overall women! I couldn't be happier for her. She's a strong runner and I can definitely use the help in that area, especially maintaining a consistent pace. 

I'm not convinced the panic attacks are over for the swim, but I feel optimistic that I can regain control when they happen.  I suppose I'll have an opportunity to prove that in 2 weeks, as I head out to Providence, Rhode Island for an Ironman 70.3 event - my first "official" IM event.   This one looks to be interesting in that there is a split transition.  Hmm ... curious how that will work out. Guess I'll find out soon.  In the mean time ... Ohm ...

Peace out!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Highs and Lows

Greetings Peeps!  Highs and lows ... applies to both my blood sugar levels, and my mental and emotional state as I train and race in local events. A little double endtendre!
I'm a bit behind in my blogging and I have no real excuse ... maybe I've been procrastinating and waiting for that uber-rush of enthusiasm I like to have while I'm blogging? But, it hasn't arrived and time is ticking away. So, I'll just jump right in!
I'm two race reports behind :(  I'll make up the lost ground here. The first was a duathlon in Willoughby two weekends ago.  It's a smallish race right around the corner from where I live. I worked it last year as a volunteer and frankly it was the nidus to jump start my re-entry into triathlon. Anyway,  I had hoped to do an Oly triathlon the day before, Saturday, but I was too late in registering and got shut out.  I was immensely bummed! So, I threw all my energy into the duathlon on Sunday.  Yes, I was a week after doing a 70.3, and probably should have been resting, but I just love to race these things, so off I went!  I had a pretty good 5K run, a pretty awesome bike leg, if I do say so myself, but the final 5K left me a little empty - I was running on fumes.  A fellow teammate and friend, who happens to be my age, passed me at the 2 mile mark. I usually beat her, but not on this day! I was really okay with her passing me, and she was so gracious - asking me if I was okay and encouraging me to run with her for the last mile.  I just didn't have it and frankly had resolved to slowing my pace.  I was quite happy for her, however!  Liz Kelley rocked out a great duathlon and got first place overall for women!!  I am proud of her, she's been working really hard and will tackle her first 70.3 in August.  I finished about a minute behind her and got first in my age group (because she got first overall, she didn't ALSO get first in the AG, I did). Frankly, it was such a small race that it wasn't a huge victory, but hey, whatever. I had a good workout :)  Later I was a little mad at myself for losing that competitive edge, but then I thought, I really am still recovering from the 70.3 - and frankly I'm feeling a bit beat.  So, onward.

The following weekend I signed up for an Oly in Maumee Bay, about 2.5 hrs away.  I arose at 4 am and hit the road.  Checking BG around 6:15 revealed a 71 - pretty low for a pre-race BG!  So, I attacked the powerbars and gu gels and got myself in the 130's before racing.

I had plenty of time to set up. Got a great PRP - a few actually, which always is a great relief! There were mayflies everywhere - yuck.  I saw lots of fellow CTC'ers too.  What a gorgeous day this was turning into!

Then ... the swim :(   I was hoping SO BAD to go under 3 hrs this race.  I'm ready! I'm due! It can do it! I just need everything to come together and IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN!!  I was prepared for today to be that day.   But, the swim ... it wasn't good.  Just to refresh your memory, my last Oly swim was 25 min and I rocked it - no panic attack and a good strong swim I was proud of.  On this day, however, I had a return of the panic attack.  And it was a big return! I had a very hard time with this swim.  I did a lot of breast stroke and considered quitting on several occasions.  The water conditions were perfect. It wasn't too crowded. I have NO EXCUSE.  My head - my mind - just lost the focus I needed to keep the panic in check and I felt completely vulnerable and scared.  I just wanted to quit.  When that's happening, I just want to DNF and eject.  It's ESPECIALLY hard when there are 2 loops to swim.  When there's just one, well, I need to get back to the start anyway so it's a little easier to "buck up", but when there are 2 loops, I really need to push through to start the second loop.  This panic attack was one of the WORST ones.  Like almost as bad as the very first one in the Cleveland Triathlon. That one I attributed to lack of practice in OW, but I can't say that anymore.  Yes, I can do more OW swims, but I've done enough to know I can do them!   I keep thinking back to Knoxville and what happened there that went so right ... ?  It was a point to point swim, no loops.  I chanted a mantra the entire time: "long and strong, with an attitude of gratitude".  Plus, I was alone, no personal spectators, no team mates (well Janet, but she was LONG GONE!)  Simply put, I was more relaxed and more focused.  I will work on simulating that experience for future triathlons.  This is going to be my main focus for the next few races - to master the swim experience and optimize it, avoid the panic attacks if I can.  I really need this to come together for me to break 3 hrs on an Oly - and I TOTALLY WANT THAT!!!

After the swim, I was feeling pretty low.  I was very mad at myself. I tried to shake it off - afterall, I certainly wasn't the last out of the water!!  There were a significant number of athletes behind me.  I just didn't do MY personal best. So, the attempt to shift my mental state to re-focus on the race was in full effect.  The bike route was flat and fast, only some wind on one of the stretches.  It was a 2 loop route.  Only 4 people passed me and they were fast men on their second loop while I was on my first.  I passed about 7 people personally.  I would say my bike was a 7/10 - I could have rocked it harder but my mental attitude was working against me.  T1 and T2 went very well, no complaints.

The run - I was still hoping there was a tiny chance to go under 3 hrs but I'd have to run sub 9 minute miles ... while I can easily do that on a run race, in a triathlon, my tank is somewhat empty and I'm in a 9:30 - 10 minute pace.  It wasn't looking good.  I didn't have that competitive edge, I was down on myself.  I hate that I do that to myself - I wouldn't do it to anyone else! Why do I do it to myself?  Anyway, it was nice seeing familiar faces on the out and back run.  I ended up crossing at 3:07 - a PR for me by 2 minutes ... but DAMN - I COULD HAVE GONE UNDER 3 HRS!!  I know I could.  I want a do-over!!!   Ugh.  So, I will try again ... I have other Oly's on the schedule.

This weekend is a sprint triathlon.   My goal is to PR (not sure what time that will be but I will research that from last year's events) and nail a good swim.  I need this to be a confidence builder! I will try a few things different for the swim leg, too.   We'll see if I can't regain control over my emotions and mental state through meditation and focus. 

I'll also be doing OW swims weekly out at Mentor Headland's Beach, and am hoping to have some CTC peeps join me!  Everyone is welcome, please come and help me regain my control over this OW swim issue!!

Today I see my endo.  I've been waiting for months for this appt.  I have TONS of questions. Tons of things to talk about!  Hoping to convince him I can get a CGM - a continuous glucose monitor - which will be a HUGE help for me in my training and racing.   Fingers crossed folks!  We'll see!  Look for another post soon with more on that.  Gotta run - thanks for hangin!  Love that you guys support me - it makes a huge difference to me!!

Peace out,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rev3 Quassy 70.3 Race Report

Whew!! What a weekend!  I knew it would be a world-wind tour, but it always seems so easy in theory, and much harder in reality :)   Left home at 5am Saturday morning.  I love to have a significant part of the drive over by lunchtime. I had a friend, Steve,  accompany me for the return trip - the biggest lesson I learned from Knoxville is NOT to attempt driving significant distances after a race - my "tank" is empty, I'm not focused and my reflexes are off. I am a jeopardy to anyone on the road and to myself.  The trip was uneventful and we made great time. We headed straight to the venue so I could deal with my neuroses about check-in, packet pickup, etc.  I'm a bit of a freak before a race and not a whole lot of fun to be around.  I'm working on that.  It's getting a little easier with each race to try to remain calm.  I so wish I was "laid back" but I'm not, I'm "high strung" ... a very attractive quality, as we all know! :)

Quassy amusement park is nothing like Cedar Point!  It's like a high-end carnival.  I'm not complaining, just reporting. I enjoyed the venue very much and had no problems - there was plenty of close parking, the chute and finish line were in a nice area, and I liked where transition was.  I am really very impressed with these Rev3 races!!  I'm thinking I may be a long-term fan and competitor - they do a fabulous job of supporting the athletes.

When we arrived, there were very few in line. I got my packet then went over to get my chip activated and have my picture taken for the big screen Trinitron when you finish.  Of course my hair wasn't in great shape, as I'd jumped out of bed and hit the road at the crack of dawn! Maybe for Cedar Point I'll actually try to look nice for my photo!!  I am so vain!

Next stop was checking out the various vendors set up around there. I love All3Sports and I was a wild woman and bought 3 DIFFERENT flavor GU gels! I know! I live on the edge.  Usually I use Powerbar Gel, Tangerine but I was feeling a little crazy and went out on a limb to try new flavors and a different brand. Gotta say, LOVED THEM! I got Blueberry, Pineapple, and Orange Vanilla Cream. YUM.  Plus, no cramping, which I'll address more in a minute.  Got a cheap tri-top to complement my Triabetes bike shorts - it was very warm and the thought of riding and running in the bike jersey was making me nervous.  I chose a solid black top and had to choose between small and large.  I'm a medium - they had none :(   I tried both on and could pull both of them off, however, in the interest of everyone's eyes and mental health, I opted for the large.   When you dehydrate during these events, it's important to continually take in fluids and gels, which can result in a bloated buddah belly.  The large top would be less offensive to spectators :)   The small would "restrict my core" and subsequently my breathing (yeah, no. It would just accentuate my residual baby-fat from growing 3 children in my body).

Next, took my bike over to check-in and set her up in transition.

Got a text from Janet and Joey Edwards that they "here" and in line. By this time the athletes were arriving and it was getting crowded.  We found them and talked a bit.

Next, we drove the bike course.  Egads!  It was a challenge to keep on course, as the map didn't really correlate with the turn by turn directions.  The definitely could not have been navigated alone - it was essential to have a focused driver and a map reader.  Gotta say, I wasn't the best map reader ever. It was kind of confusing.  We drove 90% of the course then headed to the hotel to check in.  The bike course, from the car vantage point, didn't seem as awful as I'd imagined.  But it was in no way FLAT - it was hilly, very hilly.  Lots of rollers and two long climbs.  I don't think I was MORE scared after the drive, I was probably a little less scared.

We got to the hotel and by this time we were starving. Granted there was a continuous grazing that happened during all those hours in the car.  The cooler was well stocked with good stuff and drinks so we indulged in a good variety of snacks.  But, now we needed a MEAL.  The Edwards' offered us to join them as they went out for a meal at an Italian restaurant.  I typically eat pretty light the day before, often skipping dinner or eating it at 2pm.  I set out to eat light, but when the menu was in front of me, spaghetti and meatballs was calling my name!  I ate most of it and was comfortably full - left a portion and didn't feel the need to clean my plate.  Blood sugars have been pretty great the entire time.

Back to the hotel and we all just settled in - doing our own thing, mostly on our respective computers. I think I fell asleep around 9.  Personally, I slept great.

I woke at 4 to eat and have coffee. I private bathroom in the lobby and a very successful PRP. (I know, thanks for sharing! You are welcome!) This is a VERY good sign!   :)  Next I went next door to Dunkin Donuts to get coffee and bagels for my roommates. I wasn't the only one with this idea, as there was a line of athletes and athlete family members with the same mission.  The poor girl at the counter was all alone and we kind of all descended on her.  I was 2nd in line ... see, it pays to be the early bird! Honestly, I was first, but I was on the phone so the lady stepped up before me.  No worries.  While they did have coffee brewing fast and furious, she had no toasters on. All bagels would have to be untoasted. And, no cream sticks :(   I had no idea what a "cream stick" is ... but I'm told it's another name for an eclair.  Who knew??  Steve would have to settle for Nilla Wafers for breakfast - the breakfast of champions!  I had eaten my protein bar, but was happy to have the coffee.

Back in the room and I changed and we headed over to the race.  We followed the line of cars with athletes and, without directions arrived without any problem.

I set up transition and began my stretching. I was trying to focus on my race.  I got into the lake and did an easy swim - that was a first for me and it felt good.  I had ejected from the others, as I kind of just need to be alone.  Meanwhile, Miss Janet is laughing, hanging out with people and goofing off. Wow. Amazing.  I think I need to re-think my pre-race routine!  Honestly, this was the latest I'd ever arrived to a race!!  I was a bit nervous about that but everything fell into place.  Plenty of time to get marked, set up, wait for the porto-potty and stretch - even go for a swim!

The waves began and I waited for mine.  When my wave went off I started swimming and felt good for about 5 minutes.  Then, I lost my focus.  I had another panic attack at the first buoy.  Not the first TURN buoy, the very first buoy.  My HR climbed and I had anxiety. I considered quitting.  What am I doing?? I can't do this?  Race for SEVEN hours?  No way.  Then I thought of how hard it would be to face everyone if I quit.   Not due to injury, but due to self-doubt and fear.  I never want to succumb to that!!  I did some self-talk and told myself to put my face in the goddamn water and SWIM!  DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO BREAK YOU!  I think I lost around 4 or 5 minutes with that tantrum.  UGH.  However, I was able to re-focus and get into a groove. 

At the halfway point I was having some phlegm issues.  I could feel it in the back of my throat and it was irritating me.  I kept coughing to try to clear it.  I finally stopped and did a VERY HARD throat clear ... then I tasted blood.  I spit into my hand and yep, blood and phlegm.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is how gross those lakes are.  Didn't phase me, as I'm fully aware, but I know many of you will shudder at that.  I had irritated the back of my throat and now it was going to remain irritated. Okay, whatever, I've got a race to do.  I continued swimming and found a strong groove, the rest of the swim felt good.  I'm disappointed with my swim time ... I thought that panic stuff was behind me.  I honestly think I wasn't focused enough at the start.  I am looking forward to my next tri - specifically the 70.3 in July, so I can knock that :41 down to a sub :30.  I know I can do it!

T1 went okay, except I was in the wrong alley and had trouble finding my bike. Steve was there, and said "next row over" - yep, there she was.  I stripped out of my wetsuit and put on my helmet, socks, shoes and glasses and was off for the bike leg, all 56 miles.

Most of you know my struggle with hills.  And you probably know how hard I've been working to overcome those struggles, which are part physical and part mental.  Well, today it DID pay off!  I will readily admit that this was the hardest ride I've ever done.  I even dismounted and walked up at two places.  But, I really had a lot more strength on the other hills and used the rollers to maximize my momentum.  I remember Ben and Tim and Steve saying just keep the legs spinning.   I really did that pretty well.  That was the best bike leg I was capable of on that day - no regrets!  I worked hard the entire race and mentally I was kicking ass!  Stole Joan's mantra: Strong legs, strong lungs, strong heart, strong mind.  It really helped me!!! 

At this point I want to say something about triathletes.  People, these athletes are amazing.  They were supportive, kind, and courteous.  I felt so supported by others offering encouragement and praise at so many points.  Of course, the volunteers were amazing, as they almost always are.  I encourage ALL of you to volunteer at a race. It will touch you! It will be an amazing experience. It will make a difference to an athlete.  But beyond the volunteers, I was very much supported by the other athletes.  Honestly, it was so amazing that I felt very blessed to be exactly where I was - doing that race. There were DOZENS of people with kind, supportive words.  It really felt ... just amazing.  No one was nasty. No one was egocentric. It was truly a blessing to be there, at that time, in that race.  It makes such a huge difference! It is like a helping hand at every step.  I paid it forward with support to others, and, often, you see the same folks again and again as you do a little cat and mouse routine.  Never once was there anything but support!

At mile 20 I believe, I stopped at an aid station to refuel (LOVE CeraSport!!!) and use the porto-potty.  I come out and who is there? Steve.  Yes, again, I am surprised that with the thousand of racers, he finds me!  He decided to ride the course too, waiting until most of the athletes had left out of T1.  He then busted butt to see how he'd fare on the course.  He was averaging 18.1 I think.  On THAT course - that is ROCKING.  I was now where near that ... but then again, I am not near the cyclist he is.  I'm really okay with that! :)   I took 5 units of Apidra and hopped back on the bike, feeling a new surge of energy.  Steve passed me and continued on, which I'm grateful for.  Triathlon is an individual sport and I had my own race to run.  I loved having the support, but this was my race, and pacing isn't an ethical practice, either.  

I found myself really cranking the downhills - a new experience for me. Usually I'm very nervous and breaking, fearing going too fast.  But today, I had no fear! The road was in great shape, there weren't other cyclists to deal with at that particular moment, and I found myself rolling ~41 mph!  It was exhilarating!

Finished the bike and in T2 I took a long time. I checked BG - 116 I believe - perfect.  I was about to take 2 gu so I took a small dose of Apidra.  Unfortunately, due to high blood pressure (racing!) my finger stick wouldn't stop bleeding! It looked way worse than it was and volunteers were worried.  Ugh.  I also accidentally locked my Garmin keys and didn't know how to unlock it.  I tried one last maneuver and it worked, so I could switch it to Running Mode.  The, of course, stop at the Porto-potty.  Steve took a very flattering shot of me exiting and pulling my clothes back on! Sexy! And with the belly hanging out, for good measure!  I wish I would have flipped him the bird ;)  Kidding.  I can handle the unflattering pics that come with racing ... It's NOT a pretty picture!  Good thing we don't have a way to share odor over the internet! :)

My run ... well, pretty good actually.  Not fab. BUT - NO CRAMPING!!!  This was FABULOUS news!   I had taken 4 salt tabs at T2 (I think I ordered and consumed a stack of pancakes too, because my T2 was like ... forever!).   I played cat and mouse with another 42 yr old lady.  In the end I got her - which surprised the hell out of me because I mentally "let" her go.  She was slow and steady, and I was erratic.  I felt she was running a better race so I let her get out of sight, have the place.  Then, at mile 12, there she was!  Oh no. Now it's ON!  I'm going to get you!!  And I did.   :)    I liked the run! I felt awful the first 2 miles, but by mile 3 I'd found a comfortable groove. I kept waiting for the cramping to start ... and it never did!  I was relatively strong for the finish and really bolted the last 3/4 mile and into the chute!  I'd say my run was a 7/10 - room for improvement, but I was happy with how it went.

I had hoped to go under 7 hours.  As I was 5 miles from the finish, I quickly calculated that I'd need to run the remaining 5 miles at an 8 min pace.  That's possible for me, just not today, at this point.  It wasn't going to happen.  I became at peace with that and just did the best I could.  My time was 7:11:00, (the time you see at the finish is from the race start, not MY wave start, so it's a bit deceptive if you don't know that) In hindsight, I know exactly where I could find those precious minutes to get me under 7.  Of course, hindsight is 20/20.  Overall, I was very proud of my race.  I hung in.  I persevered. I had fun and I have an attitude of gratitude that God allows me to do these races. It's just such an amazing experience.

Thanks for hanging in with me! It's kind of like you did it with me ... the support and encouragement I get from everyone is more motivating and touching than I think any of you would realize! THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

IM St. George and the Captains

Here are some pics from St. George weekend, where I was able to meet the other Triabetes Captains, watch and work IM St. George, and finally, register for IM St. George for May 7, 2011.  It was an AMAZING experience and I feel so lucky to have these new friends enter my life! 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Knoxville Tri Pics

Here are some pics from the Knoxville Oly Tri ... I forgot my camera so my iphone had to suffice.  For Quassy: MUST BRING CAMERA!!!  I want pics ... let's document the journey, the suffering, the victory :)

My crotch is killing me ... a Memorial Day Wknd recap

Get your mind out of the gutter! This is family-friendly blog!! :) Cycling. I'm talking pubic bone bruising. No one really talks about out ... but I will!

Okay, so it was great weather for the weekend here in Cleveland, Ohio. I had to work a bit on Friday and Sat., and I had my 3 chicklets for the weekend, so it was pretty mellow the first two days. Sunday, my friend Ben mentioned a 5 mi run ... my ears perked up!!! What? Where? Blossom Time Festival in Chagrin Falls. Actually 5.25 miles. And, there's a carnival! Goody, I can bribe my kids!!

We arose early on Sunday - far too early for my poor chicklets, who were awakened between 5 and 5:30 for 3 days in a row now, and would be again tomorrow. We loaded up and headed out to the race. My oldest and her friend, were to be "in charge" of my younger two. This would be a first. I was a bit nervous about that. We had talks ad nauseum about stranger danger, code words, emergency contacts, sticking together and moving as a UNIT. Where to be at the start, where they could be while I ran, and where to be 45 minutes later. Unfortunately, I was all wrong in interpreting the course map so they waited and waited, no one was coming! The finish line was a mile south! UGH. But, they did very well and stayed where I instructed.

It was sunny and toasty! I could feel the sun baking me as we waited for the start. I felt pretty good. I was hoping to run under 40 ... until I remembered the 0.25 after the 5 mile mark, then I gave myself the goal of running under 42. It was a pretty hilly course. I don't have the same visceral reaction to hills on a run that I do to hills on a bike. Much of the course was in the shade. TONS of runners - always good for the mind - chunk off another runner, then another, then another. I hit the 5 mi mark and looked at my Garmin: 40:00. I'd need to pick it up to break my 42! And I did!! 41:42. I was pretty happy. Never mind my name is listed as Jeffary Heirdel on the results page. Someone must have been in a hurry because I've always been told I have neat handwriting!

Now it was time to pay the piper and take those kids to the carnival. I wrestled with all-day pass and tickets. Frankly, in the heat, and with the early start, we didn't seem to have much gas left. Kids finally agreed to tickets, accepting that they had a fixed number and it was their responsibility to ration them. I definitely think that was the right way to go - less expensive and we were on our way home in 1.5 hrs.

Monday - Memorial Day. I had planned to join Akron Bike Club (ABC) in their long ride out to Burton. I dropped kids off at their dad's and headed out to Cuyahoga Falls. We biked ~7.5 miles to the "start" at Hudson H.S. - met up with the group and headed out. I knew this would be a challenging day! This would be - if completed - the longest I've ever ridden. I'm looking forward to completing my first century ride here soon.

The ride out wasn't too bad. Some hills, mostly rollers. Good weather. Nice pace. Felt fabulous. Stopped in Burton for lunch ... and waited. And waited. Seems Cleveland Touring Club (the OTHER CTC) had the same idea. ABC cyclists spread out over 3 restaurants. We chose one - and chose badly. They were totally unprepared for the volume of diners. We sat, I think, for 1.5 hours. Baking in the sun. Getting sleepy. It was nice to meet some new people. Lunch finally arrived - Tuna Melt -and I inhaled mine! New guy Joe had pancakes - I coveted them.

Then, the dark clouds began to roll in. We were last served, despite the fact that we arrived before at least 2 groups. Oh well, the servers were apologetic. We paid and headed back.

The rain began. We opted to stay on course, not short-cut it. The rain grew heavier. We all stopped to shut off our phones. I made a mental note to never cycle without a ziploc over my phone again - pleading with God not to ruin my phone! I am not in the market to be replacing a phone at this particular moment! (It survived!) We pressed on. Climbing hills in a torrential downpour at times. Then, the wind came. I heard Joe say "Ugh. Too many pancakes". That cracked me up and I was kind of slappy-happy by this time. I couldn't stop laughing. I was so tired. So soaking wet. Yeah, next?? Thunder and lightning. There were 5 of us - although the fifth person wasn't the same, but morphed between 3 separate people without my noticing the departure and arrival of anyone - weird. Someone said, "is this safe? Should we be riding in lightning?" Ah, yep!! GOT TO GET HOME! It seemed like FOREVER. FOR.EVER.

I had a complete mental breakdown between miles 34-46. I was having a mental pity party for myself. My BG was all over the place - or so it seemed - I couldn't really confirm it because, you know, we were in a tsunami. I wanted to stop, curl into the fetal position, and cry like a baby. And my crotch was sore. Oh, so sore. WHY, oh why did I CHOOSE to do this??

We got to a point where we could go one way and tackle "the wall" or go another and avoid it. F the wall. I'd have ridden solo if they'd have chosen to tackle the wall - but most were of my mindset, I think, much to Steve's chagrin, and we took the alternative route.

FINALLY, the rain let up. The sun came out. With this, my mental state turned around too. I got a second wind. I could see that we were nearing our return destination. I got a tiny surge of energy. It lasted precisely 14.7 seconds. I was elated to see Hudson H.S. - the most glorious of visions on this day!!

I was bonking. Physically. Mentally. I stopped to check BG. 114 - perfect. Dang, I couldn't blame this on diabetes ... We still had the final ~7.5 miles home to do. I pleaded to get me home the easiest way possible. It felt like FOREVER. As we entered the development, we were JUST shy of 75 miles ... wanting to be able to mean it, we circled around the development streets until the odometer flipped to 75. OMG - the longest ride EVER. Almost 5 hrs on the bike, and 7 since we left. And I think I want to do an Ironman??? I cannot even fathom doing an additional 37 miles, THEN RUNNING A FREAKIN' MARATHON AFTERWARD. I am insane. Truly insane. I see that now. Delusional.

Exhausted. But happy. I built base! I completed 75 miles. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't always fun. But I did it!! And I will say, there were times - several - where I felt euphoric and had an attitude of gratitude. I'm amazed at the swing of emotions that happen out there!

Then I have this great idea ... a hill workout. Tomorrow. On my sore crotch. ABC's Chutes and Ladders ride.

Little did I realize just how bruised my pubic bone was - brutally sore!! People, let's be frank!!! It takes lots of time in the saddle to get used to sitting on that torture device! I muscled through with a double dose of Aleve.

I went in with a good attitude, but felt a little scared. The "lesser" hills DID feel easier to me. But then ... Oak Hill. Or, Oak Hell. I made it ~25% up the hill - at best - before I came to a standstill and dismounted. I walked a bit and tried to move up it again ... I couldn't get the necessary spin to even re-clip on crashed onto the berm. DONE! Walking it. Cursing. Trying not to cry. Grrrrr.

The rest of the ride was still pretty good, and I'm feeling stronger on lower grade climbs. I'm just not ready for Oak Hell. And some other ugly hill that I couldn't complete. Then my right knee started to be a little painful. Uh oh. I've been lucky - no injuries. I saw that my cleat had shifted about 5 mm and hopefully that was the problem. I didn't have the tools to fix it mid-ride, but I positioned my leg to find the sweet spot so the knee didn't hurt and finished the ride. Riverside is the return road, I believe, and that was a fun return route. I backed off the speed a bit, and just had a tempo ride back to the lot. Then a quick 1.5 miles just to practice running off the bike. I don't do enough of that!! That first mile is tough - then my legs find their groove. No knee pain on the run - making me feel a whole lot better.

That's it for the week. At best I'll do a swim or two, and an easy run, but I need to recover from Mon/Tues, as I'm heading to HILLY Connecticut to do the Rev3 70.3 on Sunday.

When I did my first half IM, my goals were: 1) finish and 2) try to go under 7 hrs. I did both. On a FLAT course. As you are finding out, my bike leg has a great room for improvement, so I had hoped my SECOND 70.3 would be to go under 6 hrs. Now that I'm hearing details of the course, I think I need to reconsider my goals. Geoff's words ring in my head: "not every race can be a PR race" I'll stick with: 1) finish and 2) try to go under 7 hrs. Anything else is icing on the cake. The reality is that this weekend is NOT a key race for me, but a base builder. I positioned this race, and next month's 70.3 so that I would be forced to amp up the mileage as I head toward September and my first Ironman race. I must keep perspective. I must work on building fitness, base, and mental toughness. I've made some headway, but I still have a LONG way to go, in all areas.

Peace out!