Category Archives: Random Bits

Pounding the Pavement

I completed the Blacktail triathlon this past Saturday. I took 1st in my division but I’m pretty sure I was the only person in my division. *shrug*

I panicked in the swim despite having gone out 3 days before  swam the same course with some nice free style strokes.  So awesome.

Blacktail Sprint Bike Route

That is the elevation profile for the bike route. It was my favorite part of the race. I was mad at myself because…do you see that little dimple just before the crest on the climb out? yeah?… I stopped there then realized how close I was to the top. I could have made it up that sucker without stopping! SO PISSED OFF at myself for letting my head get in my way. I rode the course once before, it took me 15 minutes and 3 stops to make it to the top of the hill. Saturday it took me just over 12. That’s a win! I dropped my chain around mile 5 and I still completed the fairly hilly bike loop in an hour. I’m pretty happy with that even though I stopped.

The run course was a trail with patches of soft sandy ground that seemed to consist of mostly uphill and one really steep downhill. I don’t like trail running and in the single path areas I would hop off the trail into the sage brush and grass to let the faster runners get by me. I could complain about how this effected my time but honestly, I welcomed the breaks. I walked a lot. After those hills on the bike my quads didn’t like the hills on the run.  I also didn’t run with my headphones which seems to make a huge difference for me, but I wanted to hear the people who needed to get around me.

My final time isn’t posted yet, they are having some issues uploading the data but my garmin has my moving time at 2:01. I’m guessing I can add another 6-7 minutes for transitions. It was a hard course and while I really want to rip apart my performance, I did what I could and I finished that sucker. The onus is mine, I’ve had no real plan this year and have lacked consistent training. I almost waited to take on the course until next year; I’m glad I didn’t because there may not be another Blacktail tri.  The turn out was really low this year but I’m hoping they do one more so I can see how I improve over the winter. I’ll just have to be happy I did it once.

They told us it’s the hardest Sprint and Olympic distance triathlon in the Pacific Northwest. I completed that sucker!

Today I have  15 mile bike ride planned and I have to get in a 3 mile run, which I might convert into a 1 mile book end runs  to a 15 minute speed interval workout. We’ll see what happens. I need to start waking up earlier, this Friday I have a 13 mile training run on my marathon schedule. Who would have ever thought I’d run a half marathon for training? Sickness.

***I went out and got myself 24 miles of road @ 16.5 mph (someday I’ll be faster) then ran 4 miles. Two easy miles sandwiched 2 miles of run:walk intervals; I got up to 8mph. That’s fast for me, granted it was only a minute but still…

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To Bone and Back

Because Jackie was getting on my butt about posting. ; )

A couple of months back, when I started trying to fill every crack in my calendar with an event, I started asking people if they wanted to join a relay team to do To Bone and Back.  How hard can it be to get 7 more people to commit to a run? Apparently it’s difficult.  When they finally opened registration all of my maybe’s became chirping crickets.  I like crickets…when I’m camping or hiking. In stepped Jackie who whipped up a team in about 2 days. Stoked!

We had a runner decide to bail 2 days before the race but were lucky enough to have another person want to step in. The day before the race, a minor tragedy struck when one of our runners had an unfortunate encounter involving a shopping cart and her foot. Stitches should have been sought but were not and running was definitely out. I stepped in for her.  After a brief meeting the night before and some leg shuffling, a basic plan set in motion.

To Bone and Back Profile

Our first runner took on legs 1&2 in just over 90 minutes. Look at that 2nd leg! Eeek! Our 2nd runner (leg 3) covered her 5 miles in a slick 45 minutes, as did our 3rd runner (Jackie, on leg 4). Then came my slow butt at just under 52 minutes for leg 5. Hills man, they kill me.  Our very pregnant leg 6 runner kicked its butt in just under an hour.  I was up again with just under 45 minutes for my second leg (leg 7). I love gravity! My pace was still slow compared to my teammates but it was my fastest time evah! That tiny blip didn’t feel so tiny when I hit it after that drop. Our final runner crushed her leg (leg 8) just under 50 minutes. Our total team time was 6:25 placing us 4th in the women’s open division, at least that’s what was posted on the board after the race who knows what will be in the paper on Tuesday.

We had to carry a 7″ long plastic bone to hand off to each other at each leg, I carried it in my skirt pocket because I hate having things in my hands when I run.  Jackie’s hands get sweaty when she runs. : )  I almost got hit by a car after I handed off to our leg 8 runner, mostly my bad.  They needed a few more porta-potties and some more traffic control but otherwise it was awesome. I was grateful for a supportive and enthusiastic team that tolerated my f-bombs and MC Hammer dances; strangers with water sprayers; the view, especially on leg 7; the breeze in the hot sun; knowing that there were 24 of our local servicemen and woman in Baghdad running with us an ocean away, I’m grateful for all of our troops. I hope they make it home safely and soon.

Would I run To Bone and Back again? Um…YES! Even though I am so very sore today. Hills man, I ehat them. Part of me wants to run the same legs next year to see if I can beat my times but I think there may some arm wrestling to be had over leg 7. ; )

The Team

I’m on the right in the back. The big dude. Yeah. Nope. That’s me, I’m a girl.  Alopecia, remember? I buzz buzz the hairs and it’s one of the reasons I don’t really post pictures.  All of the ladies were wonderful.  I’ll ID them by leg number from Left to right….Leg 8, Leg 4, Leg 6 tucked in the back, Leg 3 up front and me Leg 5 & 7.  We’re missing our Leg 1&2 runner in the photo and if they ask me to remove it I will.

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Listening

The Transition Area

Looking out over the lake from the transition area.

My body is tired.

The race run down. It was a gorgeous day. The water course was clearly marked, well patrolled and the water was so much warmer than Rigby Lake.  They said it was slightly short but I was so slow I’m going to pretend it wasn’t so I don’t feel worse about my time.  The bike course was changed at the last minute due to road construction. It was relatively flat in terms of hills but slightly rougher than my snobby butt is used to riding,  though probably not the worst and was the full 13 miles.  The run course followed the bike course and that little tiny incline felt like  mountain for me yesterday.  There were lots of volunteers and support along the route and I laughed every time I saw the roaming porta-potty.

I was tired before I hit the water (3 hours of sleep in a strange bed, I realized I was locked out of my bathroom at 12:30am putting me on the receiving end of a very put-out and pissy hotel clerk and I didn’t really eat anything for breakfast) and I panicked. I was one of the last people out which is fine, I expect that from my swim right now. I’m not particularly strong in any of the of legs but the swim is my weakest.

On the bike I willed my body to go faster and it couldn’t. I think this is the first time I really felt like I just had to ride it out. All I could hear in my head was a chorus of friends saying you need to rest sometime. It was a frustrating moment to dig down into the tank and come up nothing. I averaged 17 mph, according to my Garmin.

On the run my goal was to be able to run it out at the end, at this point I had accepted that it wasn’t going to be my best out,  so I walked through the aid station and had some oranges slices and a drink. Average pace 10:38, according to my Garmin.

They had some issues with chip timing. They started my chip with the Olympic distance men, which didn’t happen, and I know there were people who came in before other racers but had slower listed times. Mine is pretty close  even though my Garmin disagrees with my listed bike time, in my favor. *shrug*  The only way to make it matter less is to get faster so there’s no wondering.

Yesterday they awarded me second, it looks like I actually got third by a minute. Stupid orange slices. ; ) Yesterday though, they were worth it.  I emailed them about returning my medal, I don’t want to keep something I didn’t earn. But the woman who took first in Athena, kicked it! She beat my time by almost 30  minutes. She would have been first overall for females by almost 6 minutes, that’s crazy fast. That’s so awesome!

From March 19 to Sept 11 of this year I will have completed 13 events. 6 of them sprint triathlons, 1 half marathon, 3-10K’s, 1-5K, and 2 relays (in one my leg will be 5 miles, in the other I’ll have 3 legs that are TBD). October 1st I have my first full marathon, then a few 5 and 10K’s in the winter.  In all of last year I mostly walked my way through 3-5K’s between Thanksgiving and December 31.  The year before…I think I may have done the Thanksgiving 5K…I think. My body is in shock and even though I’m almost at 40 pounds lost since October, I’ll still have another 35 to go once the magic 40 is hit…it feels like it’s taking forever. Hauling it around is a lot of extra work.

I need to work on nutrition, sleeping, stretching and recovering.  Sleeping sounds good.  And beer. Can I work beer in there somewhere?

**UPDATE…they said I could keep the medal, that they didn’t expect me to return a medal awarded to me on race day because of the chip timing company’s error. After a long email about why I’m racing to begin with, I’m sure his eyes glazed over at one point, I said I was sending it back.  I didn’t earn it, why would I keep it?  As I put it in an envelope with a note thanking them for a great race, my 4 year old asked what I was doing. “I’m sending it back because I didn’t earn that place, someone else did so it belongs to them.” “Because you lost?” “That depends on how you look at it, I finished. That’s good!” “Because you lost?” “Yes. Because I lost. And that’s okay because I tried.” Blank stare. He’s 4 so who knows what actually imprinted on his brain during this exchange.

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Rigby Lake Triathlon

This is the race that I turned to my husband in September and said I’m going to try this. I need to try this. I’ve counted myself out for too long and I have to give it a go.  I couldn’t run a mile without stopping, I couldn’t swim a lap, I really didn’t do much biking, I was 80 pounds overweight with arthritis in my hips and neck and I was beginning to question my sanity. I should have been committed at that moment.

I left my house at 6am on Saturday and made the drive down to Ribgy Lake for the triathlon. My wave didn’t start until 9:05 but I wanted to get a rack end and watch the other participants set up…and I hadn’t really slept in 2 days because of my nerves and I knew sitting at home pacing or playing another game of Angry Birds was not going to help me.  I sang really loudly to really loud music all the way there and stopped just before I pulled up behind my friend Jay who was paying her parking fee. I didn’t need her to have anymore proof that I’m a little crazy.

Small chit-chat and joking occurred, lots of equipment ogling and encouragement was given. I have to say that everyone I talked to that day from the organizers to the volunteers and the participants (elite and newbies alike) were so kind and encouraging.  Encouraging words before, during and after the race where exchanged. I really like this group of people I’ve fallen into.

After Jay headed out for the Olympic distance swim (hello animal!) Jackie and I put on our wetsuits, I ate a honey stinger wafer because my stomach was growling and then,  true to form, I acted like a giant dork because I was nervous and uncomfortable and in a frackin’ wetsuit. Weeehtsuuuuuit. Which I bought because now I have 2 more wetsuit worthy tris on my calendar. Crazy much? There may have been some dancing and Fat Bastard references about being right sexy…ooo…umm…I know there are a few pictures out there of this, I’m not excited about that but I’m hopeful no one will know it’s me with my swim cap and goggles on. It ain’t purdy.

About 10 minutes before the male wave of the sprint was to go we hopped in the water to acclimate. If I had testicles this would have been the point they would have migrated closer to my heart. While I think it calmed me down in some aspects, and made me question my sanity in others,  I still freaked out when they said go. I just could not get a rhythm down so I decided to relax and just get through it.  Keep swimming, keep swimming, keep swimming. It was difficult for me relax while my face was in the water so I mostly swam with it out. I tried to just relax and do what I could. I back stroked, side stroked, free styled, frog stroked, made up my own strokes and even though my body was saying get out and a little voice in the back of my mind was telling me I was in over my head, I kept going with empty snail shells and debris floating by. When I walked out of the water it had been just over 26 minutes from when I hit start on my watch. I was immediately disappointed but determined to keep going. The announcer grabbed my hand to steady me up the beach and the organizer told me to keep my wetsuit on until I got to the transition to stay warmer. I tried to run but my Achille’s tendons were so tight from the cold water, I decided that walking would be better until I could feel them again. That didn’t happen for a long time. A wonderful woman helped me strip my suit off and one of the guys from the bike shop told me I was doing good and had a strong swim. In between grunts of trying to get up off of the ground I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes with great exaggeration at him and told him I almost died. I can’t be sure since my brain was frozen at that moment but I don’t think I was a kind recipient of his encouragement. My official swim time, which includes the walk up the hill and suit stripping was 28:56.

My transition took more than twice as long as I had practiced because my feet and hands were so numb. I had rolled my socks down and stuck them in my shoes so that they would be easier to roll on, while it helped some the absence of nimbleness in my hands and lack of helpfulness from my toes and feet complicated everything. I still managed the overall pattern I had laid out and ended up with a 5:28 transition.

I should have played with my Garmin more before hand because I assumed that when I clicked it over to the bike leg in multisport mode it would show me the screen I use when cycling. It didn’t. I had an overall time and overall distance on the display. No cadence, no speed. So I did what I could to maintain a steady cadence, it turns out I did okay in that regard. I almost ate it dismounting but managed to save myself.  My speed was lower than I wanted it to be, 16.4 mph, and I managed to finish the ride in 34:40. I put hot packs in my biking shoes (and my running shoes) before the race and I was surprised by how numb my feet still were when I got back to the transition.

My transition was 2:16. I almost made it out of the transition before I realized I forgot my Garmin and went back. What a dumb reason to go back.

I couldn’t feel anything past the balls of my feet so my run started out as a gentle trot. I stopped once to tie my pants and strolled through the water stations wise-cracking the best I could. My quads were tight and let me know they were still angry with me but they allowed me to finish my run in 34:24.  I was glad I had decided to put on a sports bra under my trisuit (which has a built-in sports bra) because when I took my jacket off during the run, my suit and it’s bra unzipped. Hello!

My final time was 1:45:47. I had wanted to finish under 1:45 before I strained my quads so I did pretty good for 2 weeks of little to no activity and angry legs. I’ve been struggling with a few mental stumbling blocks. It’s hard not to compare your times with others and to not pick apart what you could have done differently.  I learned some things that I can work on implementing for next time, some things I need to work on more and some new things to try out to see if I like them at all. This is my first season.  I could have pushed myself more on the bike and the run but I have a calendar full of events and I’m coming off of an injury. I kept wrestling with how much I should push.  I’ll beat my time next year, or I may go after the Olympic distance instead. I was 1st in my category but instead of letting people congratulate me, I have to tell them there were only 4 women in the Athena division and that one of them who had a faster time switched to her age group category just before the race and the person who holds the course record didn’t show up to race. When people say you did great, I say I should have done better. I’m not sure what it is that makes me do that but I wish I could stop. What matters is that I showed up and I finished. That’s what I would tell anyone else because it’s true and I would mean it with great sincerity.

My body permitting, I will be there again next year. And I’m sure I’ll be questioning my sanity all over again as the announcer yells GO! and I plunge my body into that freezing cold water and start kicking. Crazy it is! I think I love this sport.

**My girls did great! Jay placed 3rd in her age group for the Olympic distance and Jackie (who decided a week before to do it and had tapered her workouts in March) placed 3rd in her age group. Their times were amazing.  Jay is doing the Boise 70.3 the day I’m trotting running the Teton 1/2 Marathon. When I start to feel whiny, I’ll think about what she’s doing and how much butt she’s going to kick!

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13

I hope it’s lucky. My 11-year-old informed me it’s the most unlucky number in the world. The kid just can’t let me have my delusions.

Quads, eh. Tight and sore. They hurt when I’m sitting, I’m a tad concerned about tomorrow.  I need to get up early to do warm up deep stretches before I leave, then do some active stretches about 45 minutes before the swim. The bruises are starting to show, I feel so hard core. Ugh.

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If I Had A Twitter Account

It would probably be in close running for the title of Mayor of Crazy Town with what I imagine Charlie Sheen’s Twitter posts must have looked like a while back. I hope someone’s finally trying to help that guy instead of making buck off of his break down. No money to be made here folks, just crazy.

I will not be checking the weather for tomorrow again. I AM SO TOTALLY LYING!!! I will check it elevenity thousand more times even though what it says will not make a damn bit of difference regarding my showing up and giving it what my 2 weeks with no activity double quad strained body will let me give. I no longer have a goal time that’s a lie, I just want to finish but I’m going to be givin’ ‘er all she’s got in the hopes I can get close to my goal time.

I’m heading to PT at 8 this morning to get a report on whether or not all of my stretching and thigh rolling and beating has paid off and will give me a shot at finishing tomorrow without having to walk the run leg. I’m a dreamer.  Then it’s off to get some spray for easier suit removal and then my race packet. Then for those of you who know me and would like a comical vision of my awkward clumsiness to play over in your mind, I will stand in my bedroom and practice my swim to bike transition change minus the water and the bike. Just the undressing and redressing part, over and over tonight until I think I have it right. I’m not going think that at any point in time.  To ease the pain in your brain over the vision of me undressing, it’s not a true undressing. I have a one piece tri-suit that I look right feckin’ sex in…hang on…can’t type…laughing too hard…it has a black bottom and a cobalt blue top with some pattern strip running down the sides. It was on sale. What the heck is the deal with ‘real’ workout cloths and the sans panty requirement? I felt like a total perv the first few times I slipped them on commando style. I’m sure my mom had something to do with that. I don’t really think about it much now and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Off to spin in circles today. For the most part I plan to stay off the radar because I can’t stop talking or thinking about tomorrow and a few other things that are spinning in my brain. It’s all a big blur of rainbows and unicorn farts in there.

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: )

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
– Mark Twain

I read this quote this morning and it made me think of all of my friends, new and old, and family, who whether they silently question my goals or not, have openly encouraged me in these past 6 months and believed in me when I struggle to find it in myself.  I may stumble and fall on this path but it’s nice to know that I have many hands that will help me back up, brush off the dust and usher me to the next starting line.  Thank you.

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