Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A few updates

I had my acupuncture appointment last week. I was terrified. I thought, as I laid on the table preparing to have needles inserted into my knee, that I was going to throw up. It wasn't painful though. It was actually kind of nice to have 20 minutes of peace and quiet.

On Saturday I participated in my triathlon club's beach ride. It's about 100 miles from Portland to the beach. I rode the bus and set up aid stations for the first 2 segments though and only rode the last 40 miles. It was a really nice ride and a lot of fun, too.

Garmin Data

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Wahine All Women's Sprint Triathlon

Did I tell you about my knee?

A few days after the Clackamas Cove triathlon, I tried running a few miles. I limped home and struggled to go up and down the stairs. After 2 weeks, I saw a sports medicine doctor. We've tried a few different things, but I haven't yet been able to run more than 2 miles without pain. Still, he said that I probably wasn't going to do any damage by racing, so he taped my knee up on Friday and wished me luck.

I usually have a mantra for each race- something that I keep repeating in my head when it gets tough. Saturday's was "Today's Best." It wasn't going to be my est race, but I would do the best that I could do on that particular day. I even had the volunteer who was body marking write it on my arm for me.

The race was at Blue Lake in Northeast Portland. I had gone to the lake 2 weekends before to swim in the lake and ride the bike course. The water was warm enough to swim without a wetsuit and the course (Marine drive along the Columbia River Gorge) was beautiful and pancake flat.

My age group was in the first wave of the swim. I was really surprised at how many 20-29 year olds were racing. My age group is usually small and not very competitive. My swim was sub-par. We swam out to the east, right into the rising sun. I couldn't see the buoy to sight and my taped knee caused me to veer to the right much more than I normally would.

800 yard swim- 18:56 (2:09 pace)

It was quite a long sprint to get to the transition area. I, as usual, had one of the fastest transitions of all of the competitors, especially since I didn't have to bother with a wetsuit.

T1- 2:18

The race officials were unable to close all of the roads for the original intended course, so they made a smaller, 2 loop bike course. I hate being unprepared for a course. The new course was hillier and not nearly as scenic. I didn't like slowing to turn around or switching between head winds and tail winds so many times. It did make it easier to count how many were ahead of me though!

12 mile bike- 42:15 (15.62 mph)

Another quick transition. I didn't know it at the time, but there was a girl in my age group who was chasing me out of transition. She came out just 11 seconds behind me.

T2- 1:04

My knee was bugging me right away. I walked on and off for the first 3/4 mile or so. The girl in my age group passed me. Her pace was slow enough though that I felt like I could keep up. I stayed on her shadow until we got to the turn around and aid station. She slowed down for water and I passed her. I settled into a weird hobble/run at about a 9:20 pace, pretty quick for not bending my right knee.

The path got a little hilly when we got back to the park. Hills were really hard without one knee. The girl in my age group must have been tailing me the whole time, because she passed me down one of the hills. She was sprinting, but she misjudged the distance left to the finish line. I knew, based on her speed earlier in the race, that she probably wouldn't be able to hold it for the last 600 yards or so. My adrenaline kicked in and I couldn't feel any pain in my knee anymore. I picked up the pace to my all out sprint. I passed her and was able to hold her off, finishing 12 seconds ahead of her.

5k run- 29:19 (9:26 pace)

Total time- 1:33:53
Awesome finisher medals!

I knew that there were 7 girls ahead of me from my swim wave, but I didn't know how many were in the 20-24 group instead of my own age group. I had some lunch, packed up my gear and watched the other awards ceremonies while waiting for the results to be posted. I was pretty disappointed when the results were printed and I saw that I was 4th in my age group. I had such a good season and hated to miss the podium at my last race. Then I discovered that the top 2 girls in my age group had taken overall 1st and 3rd, so my age group awards rolled down so that I got 2nd in my age group. I've maintained my streak and gotten 2nd in my AG in every single one of my timed triathlons.

Cute division medals
I have cancelled my plans for a fall half marathon in order to rest and recover my knee. I just got clipless pedals for my bike and it will take a while to get confident in my cycling with them. I have a bike ride to the beach with my tri club later this month. (I'm only doing the last 40 mile leg, not the entire 100 miles.) My next step in rehab is an acupuncture treatment in 2 weeks. I am hopeful that I will be able to train to run a half marathon in January. I've got to get at least one half marathon under my belt before I make the leap to half ironman. I may have to put it off for a few years though. I'm starting an accounting program and school is going to take priority over racing, at least for a while. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Race Recap: Clackamas Cove Triathlon

I've been too busy training to blog about my training. The highlights:
NW Open Water Swim Series (1500 m race every Tuesday night in May)
Portland Triathlon Club's Mock Tri May 9th
McMinnville Sprint Triathlon May 30th

1:24:53, 2nd in my age group

I was feeling good and confident in my training for my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. My A goal was to finish, B goal was 3:30 and C goal was 3:15.

The weather was perfect on Sunday morning. Comfortable and cloudy, but no sight of rain. As I was in line for body marking, I was informed that the low river had created dangerous rapids near the swim exit. As a result, the course would not be a 750m loop (2 laps for the Oly) and end a quarter of a mile down a paved road from the transition area. We were given garbage bags with our race numbers in case we wanted to shed our wet suits at the swim exit.

I got through body marking and was setting up my transition are when I realized that I had been marked with the number "202" instead of my actual race number, "220." This caused a major panic attack. I ran back to body marking and cut in line to the nearest volunteer. Nothing could be done about the permanent marker on my body, but I got the right timing chip so my time would be right.

I have been battling allergies all spring and a chest cold from last week so my pre-race ritual now included a preventative puff on my inhaler. I was too stressed to eat more than a few bites of my Cliff Bar. I met some nice people in transition (I always do) and found someone with whom to trade sunscreen application.

The swim start was a quarter mile away, so I put on my wet suit halfway and slid into my socks and shoes to make my way down. The first wave was warming up when I got there, so I had plenty of time to set out my garbage bag and gear. This was essentially T0. For the Olympic distance, there were 3 heats of men and all the women and relay racers were in the final heat together. We had a chance to warm up in the water for a few minutes before the race started. The first two men started their second lap as we lined up.

The horn sounded and the triathlon started. I was jostled as usual, but my open water training served me well. I stayed composed, put my head down and swam. The weather made it easy to sight. The currents were strong enough that I got slightly off course a few times when I went too many stokes between sightings, but it wasn't bad. I noticed the first wave of Sprint Triathletes lining up as I prepared to round the last buoy to begin my second lap. I definitely did not want to get caught up in their scut. Fortunately my first lap was quick enough and I was probably 200m past the start when I heard their horn. I had another strong swim lap, even passing a few men from the wave ahead of me. I had another perfectly timed lap as I finished just before the last wave of Sprint Triathletes started.

The Clackamas Cove is pretty rocky at the jetty where we entered and exited the swim course. I had to exit the water pretty slowly to navigate it safely. I had forgotten my body glide for my wrists and ankles so my wet suit was a it of a pain to get off. I had a pretty big advantage with the "T0" though. Most triathletes have bike shoes that clip in, but I still ride in my sneakers. I stripped my wet suit and put my shoes on at the swim exit and didn't have to change my shoes when I got to T1. On the road I saw Dan, Lacey, Liam, Rosie & Carter set up under the underpass cheering on the athletes. Lacey made cute matching shirts so they were easy to spot!

Swim: 39:49 (1500m swim + stipped wet suit + put on shoes + run 1/4 mile)

All I had to do in T1 was put on my sunglasses and helmet, throw some nutrition and Halls in my pocket and grab my bike. Because I didn't have to change my shoes like most other athletes, I had one of the fastest transitions. 

T1: 0:56

The bike course was well directed & marked. I waved hello to the family again and I was off. The first mile or so was through town and the roads were closed for the event. Then we made our way out to the country. I'm not a strong biker, so I got passed quite a few times. It started getting demoralizing when the Sprint Triathletes started to pass me. There were 2 sections to the "out and back" bike course. The Sprint turned around halfway through the Olympic course, which continued 6 more miles to the turn around. There were plenty of other bikers until I passed the Sprint turn around. Then it was empty except for the occasional athlete on their way back. I resigned myself to the fact that I was in last place, told myself that I was going to stick to Sprint Triathlons from now on, and kept turning the pedals. 

The course was billed as flat for the first half, with one significant hill on the Olympic course. This was true for the first half. I stayed in the big ring and had plenty of flat stretches to drink and eat some Sports Beans. Not long after I passed the Sprint turn around, I came to a hill that required me to put my bike gears into the small ring and lower my cadence. Then another. No big deal. As the course wore on, I started looking for the turn around. I was directed to make a turn and then I saw it. The mother of all hills. It looked like those pictures you see of hills in San Francisco. I may have let out a curse or two. Then I powered through the remaining flat to get some momentum. I could see a few other riders way ahead. This hill was about 3/4 of a mile. I tried to get out of my seat and climb, but the road was too uneven and I couldn't keep my bike steady. I just had to sit and slog and pedal and pant. I noticed the other riders coming down the hill were not pedaling, just cruising. I told myself that I was going to pedal down and not rest my legs. When I got to the top, it was only a few hundred yards to the turn around. When I started to go down the monster hill, I realized that I could not possibly keep up my cadence with my wheels. Even though I was on my breaks for part it, I don't think I have ever gone as fast as I was going down that hill. It was fun and terrifying. 

As I flew down the hill I also realized that I wasn't actually in last place. There were a couple men and several women who were still on the "out" as I was coming "back." This made me feel good. I even started thinking about placing in my age group. There were not many women in the Oly and the 19-29 category is usually pretty light anyway. I pass a few of the back of the pack Sprint Triathletes and made my way back towards T2. It was so nice to see my family again and hear them cheer me on. 

Bike: 1:43:06 (24 miles) 

My second transition was also fast since I, again, didn't have to change shoes. I dropped off my bike, helmet and glasses and put on my hydration pack, race belt & visor. 

T2: 0:54 

I saw the family again on my way out and gave high fives to the kids. They had their shakers and bells and the made the other athletes smile, too. There were a lot of runners on the course and it was, again, well directed and marked on closed roads. The course is mostly and out and back 5k (2 laps for the Oly.) I knew that the end of the course was at the top of Oregon City's Grand Staircase. I had visited it a few days prior and realized that my occasional run of the high school bleachers had not prepared me to run up these 4 flights of stairs twice, so I planned to walk them when I got there. 

I was still feeling pretty good at this point. I had to pee and the sun had come out, but I kept it up. I tried to drink, but my stomach rolled and bladder protested. I managed to run the first set in the stairs, but walked after that. I was glad to find out that the course actually went down a different path so I didn't have to run down the stairs. 

I didn't see my family at the overpass where they had been set up before. They had already moved to the finish line. My sister came out and ran with me for a little bit as I rounded the park to start my second lap. I gave her my hydration pack as we parted and was glad to not have to carry it anymore since I couldn't drink anyway. 

I started calf-stalking on my 2nd lap. Anytime I crossed paths with a women, I checked her leg to see if she was in my age group. I had already seen on woman in my age group heading to the finish as I was finishing my first. I saw two more running back not long into my second loop. "There's the podium," I though. I still wanted a time of which I would be proud and kept running my slow and steady run. At some point in my run a guy told me I was "smooth." I took that as a compliment of my run form and kept that comment in my head whenever I felt myself getting lazy. 

The course had thinned out and the traffic cops were getting ready to open the roads as I wound down my final stretch. I got a small second wind, but was a little defeated when I head the award ceremony going on as I was finishing. They were too busy calling award to call my name as I finished. That was a bummer. But the empty course meant that Liam could join me as I crossed the finish line, so that was awesome. 

Run: 1:08:08 (6.2 miles) 

Total Time: 3:32:51

I selected a medal and took a finish line photo with Dan & the kids. Dan gave me my chocolate milk and told me my approximate time was 3:47. I knew that the extra 1/4 mile run before T1 and monster hill were going to cost me a little extra time, but 3:47 was much longer than I had expected. I went to the results booth to get my print out only to find out my real time. It was still over my B goal, but with the weird day, I was pleased. I also learned that I had place 2nd (of 3) in my age group. Not really anything to brag about, but it came with a nice certificate and a liter of Ale. 

I made a random stranger really happy when I gave her my prize.

This is my post-race pint of choice.
I washed the sweat off my body and lake water out of my hair and got a little rest before the kids were up, I couldn't really justify a nap on Father's Day even if I had raced that morning. Dan was such a good sport in taking care of the kids at the park while I was racing. The kids are having a great time with their cousin though, so I got to put my feet up a little. 

I am thinking about another Oly on July 18th and another swim series in August. I'm also registered for Sprints on Aug 1st and Sept 19th. I'm toying with the idea of a half marathon as my A race for late fall. We'll see. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

An Update

"I acknowledge that a Multi-Sport Event is an extreme test of a person’s physical and mental limits and carries with it the potential for death, series injury, and property loss. I HEREBY ASSUME THE RISKS OF PARTICIPATING IN THIS EVENT. I certify that I am capable of completing all disciplines of the event, and that I am physically fit and that I have sufficiently trained."

Well, maybe not sufficiently trained yet. But I still check 'I agree" and registered for the Olympic Distance Triathlon! Eek! 

I've been training slow and steady. I took a weekend off for my ski trip, which was both awesome and painful, and I've had a chest cold that's kept me on my butt for 5 days and counting. But I've passed the time by scouting out bikes and clip-less pedals/biking shoes to buy for my birthday and I joined a local triathlon club. 

The kids are growing like weeds. They love to take family bike rides and watch Spiderman cartoons. I found Liam having a solo tea party in the play room before bedtime. He told me, "Tea parties are only for big boys." Not quite, dude. Rosie loves to color and is talking so much. On the way home from our ski trip, we picked up some burgers. A few minutes later, Rosie said, "It came apart! Oh goodness, momma!" I love these crazy kiddos. 

The aftermath of my attempt to ski.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

a confidence boost

I had a nice conversation with an old friend a few nights ago. I confided in him my hopes (and fears) of doing an Olympic distance triathlon this summer. He was very supportive and encouraging.

I also had my first long swim of training this morning before work. The kids were already at daycare, so I wasn't as conscious of my surroundings as I usually am when I swim half expecting an interruption from the gym's kids club. I was totally focused on my swim and it was awesome! My training called for swimming for 40 minutes to build endurance, but didn't provide any additional guidance, so I took it one lap at a time. I felt good enough to swim free style without any breaks the entire 40 minutes. I really pushed myself the last 8 or 10 laps so that I could swim an even mile (32 laps). I'm really impressed with myself and feeling much more confident about an Oly Tri.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!

I'm not going to get all sentimental about the new year, but 2014 was so full of changes for me that it is worth a recap and the opportunity to put some of my goals in writing.

Fitness. 12 months ago, I would have never believed that 2014 would be the year of fitness for me. I discovered my inner athlete and haven't looked back. Even though it scared the pants off of me, I am so glad that I put myself out there and signed up for that triathlon. Since I started keeping track in September, I have run 113 miles, biked 89 miles, swam 6 miles, completed a triathlon and 2 5ks. I probably did 50 hours of yoga this year, too, including learning to do headstands, side crow and bird of paradise.

I've come a long way with learning to play the piano this year, too. I am still not good enough to share on the interwebs, but I'm getting there. Maybe this year.

Work was another surprising addition in 2015. It was one of those things that just happened so unexpectedly and with miraculous timing. I'm so grateful for my job and the wonderful people with whom I work. Ask me how I feel after tax season though. :)

Goals for 2015

Play the piano 15 minutes per day. (I'll give myself a little bit of leeway during tax season though.) I'd really like to learn "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" and a nice version of "Come Thou Fount."

Scripture study or similar every day with no exceptions. I started listening to readings on my phone while I would get ready for bed. That really helped me. I could also start listening in the car on the way to or from work.

I feel kind of sick to my stomach to write out my fitness goals. They become official when I put them in writing. My big goal is to do an Olympic distance triathlon. (Eeek!) 0.93 mile OPEN WATER swim, 25 mile bike, 10k run. I've only found one race that works for me. The Clackamas Cove Triathlon is June 21st. Tax season is going to be hard on my training, so I'm starting tomorrow.

I would also like to do 2 more sprint triathlons, the annual RS tri at the end of September and the Wahine Women's Tri (also an open water swim) at the beginning of August. The Wahine Tri also has an option for a kid's triathlon. That's going to be amazing for Liam. He will be so excited.

I may run the Lake Run 10k in May if I feel up to it. I don't know yet. It's not a priority, but would fit with my training. I'd mostly do it so that Liam could do the kid's run. If we go to Florida for Thanksgiving, I would LOVE to do the Space Coast Half Marathon. Mostly for the bling.

I don't know if I can make that happen this year. We'll see.