Tuesday, July 10, 2012

file under: FINALLY

I have a completed triathlon on the books. Not only am I spared the nonsense of making a freaking Ironman my first triathlon, but I am also officially hooked.

Shawnee Mission Tri was much-needed fun. I swim at the park once a week, ride there almost as often, and have started the race before, so the whole deal was comfortably familiar. I entered the long course, aiming for a good training day, sticking with all my Ironman workouts leading up (only SEVEN weeks left!) including a 6-hour brick the day before. Weather-wise, humidity was high, but the temp had cooled off to the 80°s from the previous day's 107° – jackpot!

The swim wasn't so awesome. I did much better than KS70.3 at settling into my stroke, but my sighting – which I've practiced quite a bit lately – went out the window. I paused regularly to catch my bearings and find a free spot to swim. Getting forward momentum back up from vertical over and over was a ridiculous energy drain.

The bike was 4 loops and I was a little worried at the start of the first lap – ugh, perhaps a little early to find my max heart rate? A few minutes in though, I settled down and started to enjoy it. It was a great lesson on the benefit of riding a course before a race. I knew even I, the scarediest scaredy cat, could safely descend the short winding hills in aero, and that I needed to fight my urge to ease up after climbs because there's no time to relax.

I was even chatty, saying annoying motivational things to other riders, perhaps drunk with accomplishment because I was, for the first time, passing people? Now I get why people passing me are always saying silly things – gosh, you're TINY, good for you! (dude, I'm 5'3", not eligible for a handicap plate), good job Pippi (reddish hair + braids = never heard that one before), oooooh, your kit is soooo adorable! I need to get that one... for my wife (yes, from a man).

I spent most of the ride wondering where the ladies were.  Even when we started to catch the short course racers, the male to female ratio was shockingly unbalanced. Wow, 3:1? Get out there, girls! On my third loop, a long course gal in my age group flew by and I thought, self, follow that. I made it a minute or so, but she was a machine. I barely kept her in sight and then she turned off to transition while I still had another lap to do. Inspiring.

Once again, I successfully dismounted my bike without crashing – score! The run started off rough with a hill that I had to walk (whoops, is this a race or something?), but I still had a big stupid grin on my face because it was my first time getting to the run in a triathlon! I like it! My pace was all over, really slow at the start, walking the water stations, but finishing the last mile-and-a-half at 6:xx pace, so, um, I think I could probably even that out a bit next time.

After the finish, I sent a text to S at home to let him know I had a great race (in my post-race eloquence, it said, fuckin' nailed it this time!, how classy) and wanted to wander around and soak up the scene, maybe watch awards to "see what fast people look like", and found out – surprise! – he was on-site with the kids! They had just missed me at the finish, but I was thrilled to have them there. We waited through half of the loooong award announcements, but started to get bored, so I figured I'd just check out my final time on the print-outs and then head home. Wait, what! 2nd in my age group? OK, granted, there were only 11 people in the group, but still! We HAVE to wait around for awards now :)

I tried to give it to the kids, but no takers. S thinks we need a trophy case – ha!

1000m swim: 21:58 (2:01/100yd)
T1: 2:05
18-mi Bike: 59:04 (18.2 mph)
T2: 1:18
4.5-mi Run: 39:51 (8:53 min/mi)

Fifteen exclamation points in one post. How unlike me! (make that sixteen)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

more positives from failure

Keep thinking of more things that were good about trying the race Sunday:
  • No new blisters! Well, other than from the flip flop run.
  • Doing a race with so much walking between parking/transitions was good practice for hauling stuff from hotel to IMLOU transition.
  • I'm now out to my neighbors as a triathlete-type, which helps my goals feel more real. Got body-marked at check-in on Saturday, thinking, "why not, I don't have anywhere to be," forgetting the neighbor's birthday party that afternoon – what a tool.  But it turns out that, with my pre-race goof, the wait to get marked on Sunday would have been the difference between making it to the start or not.
  • Got a pair of compression socks at the expo. 
  • Swam in conditions that cannot possibly be replicated at Louisville, but if they are, I'm ready.
  • Learned the swim is not my weakness.
  • Witnessed the reason I safety pinned my chip strap. 
  • Learned all my sustained efforts on the trainer did in fact transfer to climbing hills.
  • Learned my bike position is sustainable.
  • Discovered race excitement does not last for more than about 15 miles of the bike ride.
  • Practiced water bottle hand-offs. I was really nervous about those.
  • Got to test some of my nutrition plan.
  • Got to test my night before and race morning routines.
  • Was very impressed by the race staff and volunteers. 
  • Was inspired by the IronKids race going on during check-in. Those kids knew how to suffer.
  • Learned I need a different helmet (already taken care of), which would have been a very silly lesson to learn in an Ironman.
  • Am still proud of finishing that swim, like floating-on-air proud.  
  • Marked almost everything off my list as far as gear needed to race and train outside.
  • Got in 40+ miles of practice riding in traffic with frustrated farmers buzzing by (can't blame 'em, we were so spread out).
  • Learned Coppertone Water Babies Pure & Simple 50 SPF (has to be the Pure & Simple, the regular stuff is crap) gets the freckled, red-haired, swim- and sweat-proof stamp of approval.
  • Learned I will still carry a tiny tube of sunscreen on the bike just to alleviate any worries.
  • Saw someone only 3 minutes faster than I was on the swim get a Vegas slot. How cool.
  • I'm not usual googly about celebrities, but saw what a neat sport this is to be able to mingle with elite athletes.
  • May have finally succumbed to one excuse for quitting, but persisted through so many more before that point.
So, that's probably a wrap on Kansas 70.3. I need to put my energy into looking forward now, and I'm actually pretty excited to tackle my weaknesses, now that I know what they are.

Monday, June 11, 2012

the wrong kind of first

Just deleted a long post about my first DNF yesterday at Kansas 70.3 listing what I did wrong. There's not any one thing that explains why I quit at mile 45 of the bike – it was windy, I had some equipment issues, my mind was not in it, etc. – so I thought it would be good to write it all out so I remember it next time... as if I'm going to be able to forget it.

But, what I really need to remember is how I feel today.

How it felt to sit under that aid station tent watching people go by in the same conditions that I'd just quit.

The ride in the SAG van with two guys who had quit too.

Having to surrender my chip and walk the last half-mile of the course, dropping my bike at my truck before heading to transition to collect my gear, still in my bike shoes.

Watching people struggling on the tough run, seeing the speedy finishers, hearing the finish line sounds.

The text I sent my husband.

The drive home.

The painfully awesome "YAY IRONMOMMY!" banner still up when I got home (not about to let that little girl think it wasn't appreciated).

Having to pitch the race shirt (damn, this one actually fits).

Yeah, I'd like to avoid everything on that list from here on out. The conditions were tough yesterday, but any race will have something tough about it. The real lesson for me here isn't that I need to toughen up in strong winds, or train differently for the swim, or admit I need a cheering section, or plan my pre-race better, or invest in a functioning bike computer or a new helmet. Those are all things I do still need to do, but they aren't the answer. The simple and difficult answer is that I need to find some mental fortitude. 

I should probably contribute to that mental fortitude by mentioning that not everything about yesterday sucked. I got through a tough and wetsuit-less swim. I handled the ride's hills better than I'd expected. I have no complaints about my bike saddle. My husband is awesomely supportive. I'm eager to redeem myself.

So, the lesson's weren't all fun, but they are all useful. Moving on now.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

change of address

Don't feel like reading? Deal! You'll appreciate my new blog address: tri JOURNAL

The long version: I've not been writing or thinking about writing lately. I can use excuses about lacking ideas or time, but really, I don't think this site fits my voice right now. I suppose it feels narcissistic and negative, and I'd like to think I'm neither (blogging about not being self-absorbed – irony alert!).

I thought I should just quit blogging altogether, but wait! I still want to jabber on about my workouts, ideally without becoming a Facebook braggart (which I use only for keeping in touch with my family members, and they hear enough of my training in person). I do also miss the creative outlet, journal record, and accountability too. And knowing that a handful of nice people – or fussy ones, it takes all kinds – see what I post, sometimes even offering feedback, is a helpful little feeling of community for a basement-training introvert.

So, I'm switching to a simpler format to track the rest of my Ironman training.  I'll be posting a picture per workout, adding thoughts when I have them (which means it'll mainly be a lot of pictures).  Check it out here if you like. 

I'll save this space for when I'm feeling extra wordy :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

focus like an eagleowl

On that focus thing, this guy knows how to do it right:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

no focus

I swore I wouldn't whine on Facebook, but this is my blog, so I'm going to get this out of my system.

This whining is not going to be about triathlon because, frankly, my focus hasn't been on triathlon lately.  Basically I've been busy doing things I don't enjoy and I am very bad at being flexible.

We were supposed to be in Mexico on our 10-year belated honeymoon last week, but our childcare plan fell through. On the bright side, our flight rolled into a credit we can use later, we got most of our hotel cost back pretty promptly, and S had Spring Break totally free from work.  So, of course we decided to spend that on something fun. Like working our asses off sprucing up the second home/mortgage we inherited last summer so that it might finally sell after 280 days on the market.

Yes, sarcasm.

Just to make me feel extra guilty, the kids were unbelievably good at crashing around an empty house for 8 hours a day while we essentially ignored them and patched, painted, cleaned, painted, mulched, painted, painted, painted. Even worse than the outright neglect, we didn't eat a single homemade meal the entire week.

Toward the end of the paint-a-thon, my guilt turned into expensive karate classes for a little girl who was excited out of her mind to start a new activity. What can I say, I was willing to buy her just about anything after that lame vacation week, and it just so happened that I was suddenly anxious to get her out of the body image-obsessed ballet culture.

In case a tiny girl in an oversized karate uniform isn't lethally cute on her own, I made a matching gi for her American Girl doll:

(I'm so rarely an over-achiever that I go a little nuts when the motivation strikes)

So, to sum up: Cancun, grandparenting fail, no Cancun, Spring Break, debt, painting, painting, painting, fast food, child neglect, karate, ballet, doll clothes, mortgages, real estate, and a little bit of half-assed Ironman training. Quite the scattered week.

And, I said this wouldn't be about triathlon, but how about a gratuitous bike picture:

Here's to getting my focus back. Pronto.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

F***ing germs

I'm sick.

Junk food is grossly appealing to me today.

The following awesomeness is about as processed as I tend to get: 
(a claim I can make because the internet can't see the jumbo Russell Stover box over there on the dining table)
maybe not the whole bag of peas, that would edge out the junkiness

 a giant bowl, 5 minutes, a microwave, and a big sprinkling of black pepper

You're welcome.