Monday, November 7, 2011

I have Moved/

I have moved from Blogger to Wordpress. Wordpress just seems to run a bit smoother and I like the layout better. Its still a work in progress but if you care to check it out I finally got around to a new post. I have yet to figure out how to add all the blogs I follow here to my wordpress site but I know there has to be a way... If only I was good with computer stuff! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ironman Augusta 70.3 Race Recap.

Let me apologize in advance if this is super long. I am trying to learn everything I can and the only way I know how is to write in as much detail as I can recall and beg that you will point out ways in which I can shave time off. Please pick it apart it will not hurt my feelings I really want to get better.

Sunday September 25, 2011
Two alarms went off at the same exact moment 4:15AM. I had been awake for a while going over my gear and execution plan in my head. I was abnormally calm and focused for a race morning. I got up took a shower and began stretching out to make sure nothing was hurting. I attempted to eat my pre-race meal, a bagel with peanut butter and a banana, but I was only able to take in half of it. I checked my gear bag once again before Matt and I headed out. We stopped at McDonalds so I could get some coffee and then made our way to the transition area. He made sure I got everything out of the truck I needed and told me good luck for I would not see him again till after the race. He went back to the hotel to pack up our stuff and get my parents and aunt and uncle.

I put my ear buds in and turned up my Ipod so I could not hear any conversations around me. I have found for me that listening to all the pre-race conversations on how tough/easy a course is causes me to start thinking I may need to change my plan and this is not the time to do that. I had looked, read, researched, the course and I knew what it was going to be like in my mind at least and I wanted to stick with that. I had to get my age and number placed on me again because the previous days markings had come off in the shower ( I think I called that one). I made my way to row 61 and was relieved to see Koa still chillin on the rack. It had rained during the night so I wiped him off. There was a bike missing to my left and the girl who was 2 spots down asked me if they did not show up. Since we figured they were a no show she stated we should both move our bikes over to give us more room. Fine by me. We shared the space and the extra room was rather nice. I put the desired air in my tires, filled up my aero water bottle with cold EFS and placed a water bottle in the lower cage then began placing all my gear out. Once I was satisfied with my layout I grabbed my morning clothing bag and took off to stand in line at the wonderful Port-O-John. Pee #1 was out of the way so I went back and rechecked my gear. I kept thinking I was missing something but I never could figure it out. I finally got over the “what am I missing” issue and took off to wait in line for the transport bus that would take us down to the swim start.

While standing in line I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned around while taking my ear buds out and there was a guy standing there. He asked me if I had done the Oly Tri in Greensboro. I told him I had and he said he remembered me from the race (seriously it’s a small world with 3200 other racers around he picks me out…creepy). We talked a little a bit about that race and he told me he had done this race several times. We parted ways once the bus showed up. I made the short bus ride to the swim start and I checked my watch to see how long I had before the start of my wave (8:52) it was only 7:20 so I figured I would go stand in line again to pee since I am so use to having to pee a million times before a race. Pee #2 out of the way so I found a spot and began stretching out and watched the first few waves of men swimmers start their day. They made it look so easy. I knew I had not eaten enough so I started eating on a power bar. I headed down to drop off my morning clothing bag around 8:15ish and ran into Beth (she won this sneak approach). We chatted for a moment before I found another line to take care of pee #3 (seriously peeing this much is annoying – dang you pre race nerves). I found a spot to put on my wet suit and then handed my bag over to the crew. I was sort of sad I had to give up my Ipod it was keeping my mind occupied.

The Swim
Around 8:30 I stared to make my way up to the swim start since they told us in the pre race meeting we may end up going before our original time. They were running about a 1 min fast so I was able to watch more wave starts. Finally they called for my wave and we all made our way down to the water. It’s funny at this point during my first Tri I was a wreck. Not today.

It was an in water start so we all jumped in and “hung out” till the air horn sounded. Man once that thing went off the water went crazy. It was almost like a whirlpool effect. People were going everywhere. It sort of freaked me out at first but I moved farther over to the left to try and stay away from the crowd which worked out for a little bit. Before I knew it people who can’t swim in a straight line or sight right where swimming straight into me. I stopped a few times to keep from getting swam over, let them pass, and continued on my way. 

The water was absolutely nasty. There was seaweed and miscellaneous debris everywhere. A few times when I would go to breath I would have seaweed on my face –that had to look funny. Your fingertips would almost touch the growth as you were swimming. I was feeling good, sighting well, swimming a rather straight line, and making forward progress at a comfortable pace. All of a sudden a foot came out of nowhere and connected with my nose. It caused me to take in a mouth full of water which in turn made me immediately nauseous. The water was nasty! I was not sure what to do at this point because I thought I was going to loose my stomach content so I flipped over on my back and took a few deep breaths. The nauseous feeling went away in seconds I said a few thank yous and flipped back over and started my groove again. I feel right back into my normal pace counting two left arm strokes before taking a breath. The counting helps me focus on something other than swimming. I did not know how long I had been swimming but it did not feel like it had been very long. I decided to look forward and see how close I was to the finish and much to my shock and surprise I was within 200 yards. I checked a couple more times because I just knew I was seeing things there was no way I was almost done. Nope I was almost done. I think I started grinning here while still swimming because I knew I had done much better than I ever thought I would have with this part. I had passed people from previous waves how that happened I have no clue but I will take it. I came out of the water and could hear my family calling my name so I looked to the right and there they were on the hill jumping and clapping. This pumped me up tremendously because they knew how much I was dreading the water. We had to run up the boat ramp which (as I had called before) sucked. The run to the bike transition was somewhat long it seemed to take forever seriously it had to take 1-2 mins just to get to the wet suit strippers. 

I am the one in the middle with my hat already off and a goofy grin!
I found my suit stripper and she yanked off my suit and tossed it to me as I was taking off to see Koa. There were no more running mats at this point so you were running on grass which was littered with gravel and the rocks were cutting into your feet. I got stuck behind a group of girls who were also trying to dodge the gravel so I slowed down. I would not have felt right running them over just to gain a few seconds. I realized I really needed to pee (yes again) and I was debating what to do while I was getting my gear changed out. I decided I might as well take the time to go here at the port-o-john in hopes that I would not need to pee again while I was on the bike. Yes this cost me time but I am just not the pee on your bike kind of girl… yet.

Swim: 1.2 Miles
Pace: 1:36/100m
Time: 30:34
Rank at this point: 1671

T1 Time Swim-To-Bike: 5:15

The Bike
I grabbed Koa and took off running to the bike start line. This was a mess people were crossing the line and stopping right there trying to get on the bike which caused a massive clog. I found a spot I could squeeze through on the left side and moved out of the way before I got on Koa and took off. I had spoken with Jason from Cook Train Eat Race about my nutrition plan for the bike leg and he had told me what works best for him and I had played with the same liquid calories strategy he goes by. As soon as I made it through mile one and the line of riders were not so on top of each other I took out ½ of a honey stinger waffle and ate it. Everyone kept telling me how important it was to take in lots of fluid during the ride so that my body would still function on the run so I stated drinking from my aero bottle of EFS. I had cut up 3 honey stinger waffles into four pieces per waffle and placed them in a zip lock bag which was in my bike bag just in case I felt like I needed to eat something along with the liquid calories. The first 13 miles were really uneventful. I kept drinking the EFS and I had one small piece of waffle every 30/40 mins.

I thought the riders would be more spread out but we all were on top of each other seriously there was no way not to draft. The officials would just ride on by on their motorcycles not penalizing anyone because there was no where for us to go so that we were not in the draft zone. Passing was challenging because we all were so tight. Every once in a while a spot would open up and I took advantage and passed as many people as I could. I was holding a pace, per my bike PC, of 18-20 which made me extremely happy. Then I stated to get worried that if I tired to hold this pace my legs would be done by the time I got off the bike and I would kill my run. I was going over and over in my head what to do but ended up staying at that pace… I realized I also needed to pee again GREAT so much for spending more time in T1 so I would not have to go on the bike course. Anyway mile 15 I reached down to take another drink and my aero bottle was bone dry. I had already consumed my 32 oz of EFS. Okay not going to panic I still have another water bottle. I reached down to my lower cage to grab my bottle and got nothing but air. WTH where did my bottle go?  I came out of the aero position and looked down. Gone… empty… no bottle. Why is it when you’re not thirsty but then you realize you’re out of fluid you feel like you have not had anything to drink in day’s? I knew there were two hydration stations along the way so I tucked back in and lucky me I only had to go a couple miles before I saw the first stop.

I perfectly executed my first drive by water bottle grab without incident! I jumped off the bike at the end of the line and stood in line for a second so I could pee again. Got back on the bike and waited what seemed like forever to wait for a spot to enter back into the line of riders. There were so many riders but I could not believe we were not spread out more. I finally found a spot and took off again with my aero bottle and cage full of water again. 17 miles out of the way and I still felt great. I knew this was where the rolling hills would start and last a while before the course would flatten out again. I jockeyed for a better position for a while since I did not care to be passed by so many people due to my having to pee grrrrrr. The hills presented themselves.. yay.. I hate hills. Honestly, though they were not that bad even for a flat land rider such as me. Only a few of the hills where killer but I refused to come out of my saddle and just spun on up. I was actually passing tons of people on the hill climbs. This worried me once again. While my overall pace had slowed tremendously due to the hills I knew if I kept up my over aggressiveness I was going to kill my run. I talked myself down off my desire to pass everyone in front of me and settled in behind – not drafting close- a line of riders to finish up the hills.

The miles just kept on passing with only one interesting event. There was a man standing at the end of his driveway with a card board sign that read something along the lines of “Go Home, Your not Welcome Here”. He was yelling at everyone as they passed about how we were such and inconvenience to the community and not to come back next year. Come on man really ONE day out of the YEAR you may have to drive a different way to the store calls for that type of stupid behavior. I rode up beside a girl right after passing him and said he must think he can’t do this she started laughing and said we should go back and show him he too can do this.

I ran out of water again right before the second stop. I kept going back in forth in my mind if I should get a Ironman Preform or water at the next station since my EFS was long gone and I figured I would try a Ironman Preform to get some calories and hope and pray it did not mess with my stomach. I executed another good on the go 2 bottle grab without incident. I was worried I was not going to be able and do that. I put more water in my aero bottle and placed the Preform in my cage. I tried the Preform and I did not care for the taste at all! I only took a few sips of it along the way because I just knew I would not be able to stomach it. I was so happy I decided to bring as many honey stinger waffles as I had they saved me! I never imagined I would go through so much liquid in such a short time. I was mostly overcast but very humid and the later the day got the hotter it was getting. It started to lightly rain around mile 45ish. It did not last long but it felt good while it was raining! The hills finally died and the course was flat again which made me super happy but I could feel my “stupid” race up the hill efforts in my quads. CRAP I knew this was going to happen. I checked my watch and saw I had been on the bike around 2 hours and 40 mins (approximately). I knew I could easily cover 10 miles in 30mins if I pushed it so I had a decision to make go for it and get the bike done in just over 3 hours or slow down and save it for the run. This was hard for me because I am so freaking competitive and all I wanted to do was pass the next person. But running is my back ground so I felt like I ultimately could make up more time there than I could with an all out effort riding. I don’t know if this was the right thing to do or not to be honest. Looking back I sort of wish I had just gone all out for it but I made my decision and I stuck with it.

The last 15 miles were once again uneventful other than a new PR on bike distance for me. The longest I had ridden before this race was 50 miles so I was super excited once I saw the 50 mile marker. At this point the sun had come out in full force and it was really heating up quick. I kept drinking water and took a Gu gel when I was within 2 miles of the bike finish. I made the turn to go into transition and there was my Mattie James and my dad yelling at me to keep going and I was doing great. I am not sure if the spectators know how much simple words of motivation helps push you along. It does WONDERS!

I made it to the line jumped off the bike and guess who needed to pee – ME AGAIN. I ran to my bike spot and sort of tossed Koa onto the bar (sorry buddy). I pulled my helmet off, placed my running hat on, yanked off my bike shoes, tried to put my socks on but my legs and feet were so sweaty they did not want to go on so I had to sit down and force them before I could get me shoes on, flipped my race bib to the front grabbed 4 Gu gels and took off to the Port-O-John to pee again… As soon as I got into the POJ I realized I had forgotten to take my gloves off DANG IT MAN. I thought about just tossing them but then I was like that is silly I have already taken more time to stop to pee I have time to run them back to my bike since it was not that far from the run start anyway. I was coming out of the POJ and someone let out a loud scream that sounded like they were right on top of me. I stopped dead in my tracks ears perked up still holding the door open as I frantically searched the area for someone being stabbed, shot, having a medical issue whatever I don’t know all I know is my instinct kicked in full force and the world slowed down for a moment. A second later a girl came out from the POJ beside me in tears. I asked her if she was okay and she told me she had just dropped her glasses into the POJ. I laughed because it was nasty and ultimately funny but also I think in sheer relief no one was hurt or in danger. Seriously you CAN’T do that to me I go into Cop mode. Ugh.. I wasted time for glasses ok glove-toss time to run.

Bike: 56 Miles
Pace: 15.83
Time: 3:32:13
Rank:  2418

T2 Bike-To-Run : 4:03

The Run   
I don’t think I knew how hot I truly was till I was off the bike and the wind from the bike died down. It took me a mile before my legs felt somewhat normal off the bike. I was almost 3 miles in holding an 8:30 pace per my Garmin when all of a sudden I realized I was getting tunnel vision which was turning into blurred vision. The pressure in my eyes was so intense I thought they were going to come out of my head. I felt my head and I was sweating which was a good sign but I knew something was very off. I made it to the mile three and I took a one of the ice cold sponges and held it on top of my head. The water was so cold and my body was so hot it actually sent me into a mini shock that took me a moment to recover from but the pressure in my eyes went away. 3 miles in and I am overheated already how do you come back from that?

There was a water station at every mile so I kept pushing along taking water to sip from and one went over my head face and neck. I made it to mile 5 and my cheering squad was set up and this pumped me up again! My dad began running along beside me and gave me some water. He was telling me how strong I looked and I believed him at this point it’s the only thing I could hold onto I may not feel strong but he said I looked strong so I will take it. I was passing people right and left. Around mile 7 one of the pro men was walking along giving words of encouragement (I only knew he was a pro because of the chatter around me) anyway he started running beside me and said “I love to see someone who looks like they know how to run – looking good girl keep it up and you will be done before you know it) he patted my shoulder and took off the other way before I could utter much more than thanks.

My dad coming out to cheer me on.
Mile 8 is about the time I started to fall apart. My socks and shoes had gotten really wet at this point and I could feel 2 water blisters on my right foot forming with a vengeance. I contemplated taking them off and running barefoot but looking at the street I knew that would not be much of a user friendly option. I would stop and walk for a moment and try to wiggle my foot around in my shoe to find a better position but nothing was working and each step was becoming more and more painful. I checked my Garmin and I my pace was in the 10 min mile which just broke my heart. I knew I was not going to be able and finish the run in under 2 hours like I had originally planed. It only took me a second to get over this because I was still super happy about the whole experience and the overall journey that had brought me here. It started to rain which was a welcome because it was so hot. It did however finish soaking my shoes and began forming more blisters. Not much you can do about that. I saw an old high school friend who came out to cheer me on along with my buddy Kevin who I met in my first Tri. He was going to do this race but he got a stress fracture 2 weeks ago during a long run. He was only able to swim which he used as a practice.

I saw my dad again at mile 10. He came up beside me and I told him I was hurting he told me to keep going I only had 3 miles to go. So I did I kept going and I kept saying over and over 3 miles only 3 miles I can do 3 miles in my sleep. 3 miles is nothing. My normal stride was off because of the issues with my feet but I managed to pick up my pace a little. I saw my cheering squad again at mile 12. I was so HAPPY to see them words can’t even express the feeling knowing I only had a mile to go. I knew I had more in me so I took off. I picked off one person at a time. I forgot about the pain and I found my normal pace for the last mile. I rounded the last corner and I could here the crowed cheering the racers on as they entered the final stretch. Man what a feeling it’s hard to describe! I gave it all the energy I had left. Finish Strong. I was so elated with this accomplishment I am not really sure it has fully sunk in yet. I do know one thing as soon as I crossed that line I felt like I was more than a runner I was a triathlete.

Run: 13.1 Miles
Pace: 10:35
Time: 2:18:41
Final Rank: 1957

I still have some work to do but I learned so much from this race and I plan on taking it all in so I can come back stronger for the next because there will be a next there will… always be a next.

Overall time: 6:30:46

Monday, September 26, 2011

The day before...

The day before any big or new distance race, for me, always seems to be filled with so much nervous excitement. I think I stress more this day than I do the day of the actual race. Mathew and I drove from Valdosta to Greensboro, Ga on Friday so we could hang out with my family Friday afternoon then make the hour drive to Augusta, Ga early Saturday morning so I could take care of all the pre race requirements. The race expo and registration/race packet pick up was scheduled to begin at 11AM and we figured we might as well get there then and get all that taken care of before it got “busy”. We were not the only ones with this plan. The hotel was packed with compression wearing, fit, toned, lean, muscular, M-dot tattooed, water/sports drink caring, last race T-shirt wearing amazing looking athletes. I know this sounds stupid, I promise, but just looking around at these people was intimidating. I was standing in a VERY long line waiting my turn to pick up my race packet just taking in everything and I noticed a lady a few people up in front of me who was “wringing” her hands in what I picked up to be a nervous behavior. This particular lady was a bit larger than most of the 100’s of people around her and I could see her looking people up and down as her eyes moved along the line of racers. I don’t have a clue if she was feeling the same intimidation I had previously experienced but I really wished I could have given her a hug and told her how proud I was of her for being there in this line. All I am saying is if I felt intimidated by the extremely athlete people then I can only imagine how she felt and I was so proud of her for being there doing what so many don’t think is possible. After spending an hour in line I finally got my race kit and made it to the pre-race meeting just after it had started. I was able to pick Beth from (Discom-BOB-ulated Running) out in the room and since we had sort of a challenge I made sure she did not see me...yet. After the meeting I headed over to the Expo to look around and realized that was not going to happen due to the small size of the room which was packed with more people than a Fire Marshal would be happy with so I waited around till I saw Beth walk into the room. She knew I was in there due to the exchange of text but I was able to sneak in behind her. I was going to go in for the sneak attack leg hug but I really did not want to get kicked or hit in the face so we “re-introduced” ourselves before we exchanged leg hugs! Go check out he page I am sure she will be doing a race re-cap as well! (Beth I am so glad we got to meet). 

Once all that was taken care of I found my mom and dad and we headed out for some lunch. Being that the hotel we were staying in was only a mile from where we had lunch we decided to go ahead and check in so I could look over Koa one last time before taking him to the bike drop off for his first slumber party. I knew something was wrong when my dad came out from checking in and Matt was not close behind him. I had already taken Koa off the truck and was messing with my gear. I realized Matt had been in the lobby for a long time so I called him and he informed me the hotel had messed up our reservations (made in June) and they were booked with no room for us. The hotel began calling other area hotels trying to find us a room. They finally found one a few miles away that said they had one room left and for us to come on over. The Jameson Inn (Original hotel) told Matt they would pay for the room due to mistake being their fault. So I put my bike back up and we took off to the other place. Once again I realized something must be wrong because people were coming and going and Matt was still in the lobby. I walked in and he looked at me and shook his head. I asked what the problem was and basically there was a new person working the desk who did not understand how to read the computer and they were also booked. My stress level went from medium to low high. We drove back over to the Jameson and Matt explained to them what had occurred at the hotel they had just sent us too. While Matt was dealing with that I went to my parent’s room and hung out with my mom. Apparently the Jameson Inn had done the same thing with another lady’s room and she was at the front desk being rather crude. Matt on the other hand stayed cool calm and collected which went a long way. Crude lady was sent packing and Matt was told 20 people had yet to check in their rooms thus he was given a room due to the length of time we had made reservations and his “nice” demeanor. I felt sort of bad for the last one that got there to check in only to find out they did not have a room. Augusta was booked! 

I had Matt check Koa over real well for the 100 time and we headed to the race start to look around at the swim and drop off the bike. I was able to meet up with a good friend of mine who lives in Augusta. She brought her husband and daughter to the bike check in to check out the atmosphere and wish me luck. She is a runner – a good runner at that. I have had the privilege of running with her and she made me work for every mile we covered… Maybe she will try a Triathlon next =) I dropped Koa off amongst the gaggle of other bikes. Goodness there were some good looking bikes out there! It did feel rather odd leaving the bike there. The officials were asking those that were there to go ahead and get marked to save time in the morning so my number and age were placed on my arms and leg. I sort of thought this was pointless because I knew I was going to be taking a shower before the race but they said if it came off they would just redo it in the morning. Matt, my dad and I walked down to the swim exit so I would get an idea of where I was going once out of the water. The exit was a boat ramp and and I remember thinking running up that after swimming a mile was going to suck. I stood at the end and looked back to where the bike racks were and man it was a long way away. I am not sure if that is normal all I know is the Oly Tri was not that long of a run from swim to bike. I had a moment of panic when I “saw” how long the swim was… I sent KC a text and she reminded me to focus on one buoy at a time just as I had been doing in the pool one 25 meter lap at a time. I know I have swam the distance before but it just seems longer when you can see the whole distance rather than laps in a pool. Anyway, I knew she was right so I put it out of my mind.
My dad and I checking out the swim course.

By this time it was getting rather late so we headed back to the hotel to pick up my mom and my aunt and uncle who had made the trip to watch the race. We all went out to Bonefish grill for dinner. We had to wait an hour before we could get a table but it appeared to be that way every place we passed. I struck up a conversation with a husband and wife who were there for the race (the husband anyway). He was from Tennessee so we got along GREAT! This was also his first 70.3 but he had done several Olympic distance triathlons. I love hearing race stories from other athletes! 

It was a long day. It all worked out in the end which I am rather thankful for! It also wore me out which helped me get over my pre race jitters and sleep. I set my alarm for 4:15 and I was OUT. Next post… Augusta 70.3 Race Day Recap. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ironman Augusta 70.3 Race Week

Well time flew and Race Week is here. I love race week. It’s a week full of nervous excitement. Am I nervous? Yes but it’s a good kind of nervous. I feel that I am as ready as I can be at this point so I am looking forward to getting out there and “playing”.

I have been struggling to come up with my race expectations. I have a strong competitive side but I also am trying to be realistic so I don’t set myself up for a crushing let down. So my main plan is to go out there and have fun while at the same time attempting to push hard and see where I fall in the end. I will be ecstatic just to finish but I would love to do so in the 6 ½ hour range for my first 70.3. Regardless I am going to go out there with a smile and have fun. I believe it takes experience in order to come up with the best execution plan so I am going to pay close attention to how I feel so I can note where I need more work. Therefore, my dream finish time can be more achievable when I pick out 70.3 race #2. I look at this as a Win Win situation. Now to get out there have some fun and learn!

Taper week has been going rather smooth for me this go around. My first tri, back in May, I was a nervous wreck so I did not taper as well. I have more of the calm before the storm feeling now. Probably because I sort of know what to expect now more so then I did then. I do have a new personal rule I will share:
  • No heavy lifting, esp. legs 1 1/2 weeks before the race.
My old “rule” was the week of the race = no more lifting. Well going by this self made rule I lifted hard and heavy last week (non race week) and have been paying for it in my legs the last 5 days. So that being said I changed my rule and have learned my lesson. I took Tuesday off completely from all activities just to give my legs another free day to stop hurting.

I have changed up my gear since my first tri. I have already introduced you to Koa (Here) my new ride.

We are getting along rather well. I am still adjusting to the aero position but it gets better / more comfortable with each ride. I have not been professionally fitted to my bike simply due to lack of time. It would have been much easier had there been a place here I could have taken it to have done. But I have been tweaking it the best I can and know how. I did a lot of reading on proper fitting and measurements were taken and the bike was adjusted and readjusted. My poor hubby would get home from work and I would be waiting in the garage with the tools so he could do his magic. Bit of background – Matt built bikes as a job when he was working on his bachelor’s degree. So he knows all about the parts and such of the bike not really about fitting someone to it but he has LOT’s of love for patients with me and my “that does not feel right” “that’s needs to be more this way”. Fun times.

I got an interesting package in the mail last week. My dad knows a pro surfer who found out I was doing the Ironman August 70.3 and had his sponsors over at O’Neill send me a sweet wet suit. He promised it would “make me faster”. I thought that was rather awesome! 

Yes I have a tendency to wear my hat a bit sideways.
My Dad sent me some new Brooks T7 running shoes a few weeks ago and I have been enjoying them. So I will probably wear them in the race. My mom sent me a new 2XU outfit. Seriously, I know everyone says this but my PARENTS are AWESOME. They are some of the most supportive people I know and I am so grateful I have them in my corner. 

In 4 days I will hopefully have figured out my Identity crisis (here). My race number is 2817 if you care to stalk me on race day just click (Here).

Good luck to anyone who is racing this weekend! Till next time Keep Smiling!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

seven links

The individuals at Tripbase have been running a blogging experiment with the goal of uniting bloggers from all around cyberspace to share and develop a collection of lost, but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to be brought back into the limelight. 

I have had the privilege to be nominated by two blogger buddies, KC from 140 Point 6 Miles of Awesome and  JC from The Fat Slow Triathlete.

Here are the rules:
  1. Blogger is nominated to take part
  2. Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category
  3. Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part.
  4. These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers
  5. And so it goes on!
This may be a bit stretched for me since I don't blog as much as I had anticipated. But I like to play along so here we go. 

one - most beautiful post : 
I had a hard time picking this category but I kept going back to this post. Probably because its where I am currently in my journey. I was not expecting to fall in love with this triathlon sport in such a profound way.

two - most popular post : 
The Tri Suit test run - Winning
(Blogger ate my pictures and It is giving me some issues with trying to restore them so sorry for the big black ! box -dang you blogger)
This post was about my new Pearl Izumi Elite In-R-Cool Tri Suit and my review of its awesomeness. So I guess people like gear reviews or reading about my dog getting attacked by another dog..

three - most controversial post :
This is the only post I have written that I have been sent some emails talking about having body issues. I found it rather funny since I don't personally have any issues with my body. I guess some just read it that way.

four - most helpful post :
This post is about the gear I used for my first tri. I am not sure it was helpful to anyone else but it helped me remember what all I needed to take to my first tri event. 

five - a post whose success surprised me :
This was a very short post in which I made it public I was going to take a break from just running and attempt my first triathlon. It was this post that I realized I was embarking into a wonderful community of supporters aka triathletes. I was surprised by all the encouragement and the willingness to help from other experienced triathletes. 

six - a post that did not get the attention it deserved :
A short post about a topic that is close to my heart. Its not something people like to think about or speak about but domestic violence affects 1.3 million people a year in which 85% of the victims are women. It just breaks my heart.

seven - the post I am most proud of :
Lake Oconee Olympic Triathlon Race Report
The post I wrote after my first triathlon. There is nothing like the feeling you get when you achieve something you never thought you could. This was the start of a new lifestyle and my second job.

Alright, well thank you for playing along now to nominate other bloggers:

3. Coach D - Coach Dion
5. Colleen - Irondiva


Friday, September 9, 2011

Identity Crisis

I was presented with a moment today which made me realize I am suffering from an identity crisis. Stay with me I promise this is not about the adolescence to adulthood crisis we all were faced with. 

I was at the local YMCA talking myself through my second swim for the week. Anyway, I had been there a while with the pool almost to myself which was rather nice for once. I noticed about halfway through my swim that a guy had started his laps in the lane next to mine. He got done with his laps a few moments before I was done with mine. I finished up my swim for the day and exited the pool. I saw the guy had sat down in the chair next to the one which contained all my stuff. As I am walking up he stands and says “excuse me, I hope you don’t mind me asking but are you a triathlete?” You know how time seems to slow down to a crawl and what really is 1-3 seconds seems like hours. Okay got the feeling? well that is what happened to me. I began to stutter – just an FYI I don’t normally stutter. So anyway here I am being faced with a simple non threatening question and I can’t seem to formulate an answer. 

That is when I realized I am in the middle of an identity crisis. The line between a runner transforming into a triathlete. At what point is it okay to consider yourself as a runner, swimmer, cyclist, triathlete? Is it a personal realization, do you need to successfully finish an event for the sport of choice, do you have to win an event, or do you simply have to just train in that sport or sports? When do you know? 

For me I did not have to win anything to know and define myself as a runner. Running is just part of me. I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s that simple. I run because I love to run. Now that I have discovered triathlons I have fallen in love with the mental and physical demands the sport requires. I love everything this journey has taught me along the way not only about the sport but also about myself. Honestly, I can’t ever see myself going back to “just” running.  

Yet there I was unable to say Yes to a simple question. For some reason I felt like I would be lying had I said yes. So my answer to him after what seemed like an eternity was “I’m trying to be, I have done one and am training for another which is this month.” I could see his eyes light up when he said “that is really cool, I have just started to train for my first sprint distance which I hope to do next season.” We carried on a short conversation about how he finds running the hardest part and I the swimming (which by the way he told me I looked super strong in the water –Yes this made my day!) about what type of bikes we had, and if I was part of a local tri group or self coached. His name is Jason and he wants to start swimming with me on Friday afternoons even though I kept telling him swimming was not my strong suit. I am thankful I met Jason and hopefully I will see him around again so I can watch him fall in love with the sport I have fallen in love with.  

As for considering or defining myself as a triathlete maybe my opinion will change after I cross the finish line on September 25, 2011.  

When did you know?  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Accountability and a Challenge.

As you all know by now I’m new to this triathlon thing. I have one Olympic distance tri under my sneakers and am 21 days away from attempting tri #2 the Augusta 70.3 HIM. (Just saying 21 days away makes me nervous) In the matter of 8 months I have transformed from just a runner to a swimmer, cyclist, runner. Now please don’t misunderstand my term “transformed” I’m not a strong fast swimmer or cyclist but I am attempting to be.

My weakness, by far, is the swimming. While I have the drive and desire to become better at swimming I have caught myself allowing excuses not to swim enter my world. I have an issue with excuses (I hit my wife/husband because, my child does not have clean clothing or food because, I only had 2 beers and drove because… I could go on and on but you get the point) I detest them. Excuses are just that excuses - the lack of taking responsibility for your own actions. Therefore a couple of weeks ago, when I realized I was allowing this plague into my training, I sent my blogger buddy KC over at 140 Point 6 Miles of Awesome a text telling her I was going to swim that day so that I could be held accountable. She surprised me by telling me she had also been slacking in the swim department. Now if you have been following KC you will know she is an amazing triathlete and missing some swimming for her is not going to set her back. I swear that lady is a fish in the water, a power house on the bike, and a cheetah on the run! Anyway she came up with the idea that we hold each other accountable till our perspective races (me the HIM her the IMFL). We made a promise to swim 2 times a weak till our race date. Let me tell you it has done WONDERS for my swimming. I have yet to miss a swim since. There have been days where I just did not want to go but I know she is waiting on my text saying swim # 1 – 2 is done with. My fear of letting someone down is greater than my dislike of swimming so it works for me. I have generally been good at self motivation but for whatever reason I needed to be held accountable for my swimming and I am thankful she is willing to play along.

Speaking of playing along…. Drum roll…. Would you all like to play along with KC’s challenge???

KC sent the ridiculously funny Beth over at Discom-BOB-ulated Running and I an email last week asking if we were up for one of her challenges. Of course like any A-Type personality I said HELL yes probably before I even knew what I was doing. Yes I was that kid that if you said “double dog dare you” on the playground I would die doing the challenge. (I think she knows this) I digress… This challenge is not just for Beth and I you all can play along too if you wish!

The objective is to do the one activity you dread the most 5 times within a 7 day stretch. It has to be done in the same week. The challenge must be completed before 12/31/11. There are rules and perimeters for each of 4 different activities so don’t think you can just run 1 mile 5 days in a row…

The rules based on the activity are:

Running: No less than a 5K (3.1 miles) for each run day.

Biking: No less than 12 miles for each day.

Swimming: No less than 1 mile each day

Weight training: No less than 30 minutes per day

Now if you’re asking what’s in it for you well its simple really… Self satisfaction that you not only just made yourself better at your “weakest” activity but you just conquered a full five days of something you dread. So are you in?????? Come play! 

I of course I will be doing my weakest most dreaded activity  - Running

Just Kidding me and the pool are going to be besties for five days!