Monday, June 30, 2014

The Dam Tri Race Recap

I have such mixed feeling about his race, so bear with me as I recap this race.  Remember, it's MY race and MY emotions about it and they might be different than how you would feel.  I respect anyone and their efforts to try and do a race and I appreciate the fact that just finishing is GREAT, but FOR ME--- well I want more.

Going into this race, I just kept thinking about how under prepared I was.  I had swum only a handful of times since Mighty Moraine Man in September.  I think I swam a few times after that race on a race high, but recently (since January) I swam for a total of 2 times.  Yup 2 times!

As far as the bike, well I did do the MS 150 and that is 150 miles over two days, but on that ride there is a rest stop every 12 to 15 miles and it's a ride not a race.  Even so, since then I had been on my bike twice, and I only logged one brick (bike/run) workout.  To say the least, I was unprepared for a triathlon of this distance (.9 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6.2 mile run).  

I told Tracey, who was doing the race with me, that I was just going to give myself permission to go slowly.  I mean, what else could I do?  And so I went...

I was soooo nervous from the moment I woke up (4:30 am by the way) and my stomach hurt so badly.  I tried to eat something, but I just couldn't handle it.  I knew I needed fuel, but I just couldn't get myself to eat.  I had a bar and tried to eat, but it gagged me.  I gave up.  So now I'm going into this race on zero calories.

We got to the race and picked up our packets no problem.  The time went by so quickly, we set up our transition area, took a few pictures (of course) and before I knew it the pre race meeting was happening.

Soon enough we walked down to the shore and the elites were starting.  Up next, the men.  Then they called our wave and we got in the water.  Nothing to do now, but just swim.

I wish I had gotten a pic with the buoys because it looks sooooo far.  Well .9 miles of swimming IS far!  
The swim was wetsuit legal so I decided to wear my wetsuit.  I'm not sure if it was the right decision because as soon as I got going, I was so hot.  I also felt so thirsty.  It was also apparent that I was going slowly.  I figured there might be 2 people behind me.  I swear I had the worst time swimming in a straight line and I don't know why I was having such a hard time swimming.  Um out of practice perhaps.  I always sort of just wing the swim, but at this distance I don't think you can just "wing it."  Noted!

Swim:  43:33 

It took me 43:33 to swim .9 miles.  I'm sure I swam over as I'm pretty sure at one point I was going in circles.  Ha!  Regardless that was a horrible swim and about 10 minutes longer than I anticipated it taking me.  Regardless, I was SOOOOO glad it was over.

I got to transition and was VERY shaky.  I tried to move as quickly as possible but that wasn't very quick.  

T1:  4:01 

As soon as I got on the bike, I had one mission and that was to FUEL.  I had a bar in my bike bag and I had a bottle full of gatorade and one of water.  I started with the Gatorade and drank a lot, but it started to upset my belly so I switched to water.  By the end of the ride, I had eaten half my bar (about 100 calories) and drank BOTH my bottles.

The bike was pretty lonely.  I knew I was one of the last females out of the water so there weren't too many people behind me.  I did get passed by a lot of sprint distance racers, but never got passed by any olympic distance people (no women anyway).  Once the sprint distance racers split off, I never saw anyone else for a long, long time. There were times during the race where I questioned if I was even on the course.  I was focusing on trying to go as fast as I possibly could.  There were so many LONG hills.  They weren't too steep, but LONG ASS hills.  It was hard to not get in my head and feel down.  I'm normally a middle of the pack racer and I knew I was bringing up the rear and that was messing with me.  Nonetheless, I trudged on.

At around mile 18 the wind really started to pick up and any flat stretch that came along was ruined by a terrible headwind.  Then at mile 21 my Garmin went out.  It started to just beep over and over again and appeared to be shorting out.  It switched to a screen I had never seen before and said my total race time was 10 hours and some odd minutes.  I could no longer see how fast I was going or how far I was on the course.  Luckily each mile that went by my Garmin would still beep so I could see I was keeping up a decent pace (for me).  Also around 21 I caught a glimpse of another rider up ahead.  That helped me to feel so much better and I followed him/her into the finish.

Bike:  1:44:30 (14.35 mph average) 

When I got into transition it was obvious that I was waaaaaay behind the other racers.  There were no bikes on the racks.  haha  Then I actually heard the announcer say, "There's about 10 more people out on the bike course, most of our bikers are already in."  Oh well, all I could do was run.  I got my shoes on ASAP and got the heck out of there.

T2:  2:21 

As soon as I started running, I knew I was in big trouble.  My achilles and calves were so tight and they straight up hurt.  I thought for awhile that my calves were cramping up.  It doesn't help that the start of the course was uphill.  I walked.  Yep right from the beginning.

Once I got up the hill I started to "run" again, but it became apparent that running was not going to be easy.  I was fine on any straight or slight downgrade, but if there were any uphill at all, I was struggling.

Because my Garmin was all messed up, I couldn't hit the lap button and start my run on the Garmin.  So the first mile came up as 8:48 minute mile, but that included the tail end of my bike.  Obviously I wasn't running an 8:48 mile.  I just kept plugging away. I felt like my feet were barely moving, but I was trying to give it my all (which wasn't much).

Mile 2: 11:17

At mile 2, I saw Tracey (which meant so was at mile 5ish).  She said she was "dying" and it actually made me feel better.  Haha misery loves company you know.  It wasn't that I wanted her to be suffering, but if she was, I didn't feel so badly about my current discomfort.  Ha!  Right after I saw Tracey, I decided I needed to adopt a run/walk method.  I figured I'd run 2 minutes and walk 30 seconds.  Well after 1 round of that, I realized 30 seconds wasn't enough of a walking break so I switched to 2 minutes running and 1 minute of walking.  Having a set ratio helped to keep me focused and moving forward.   I still had no idea of pace or overall time as my Garmin was so messed up.  Each lap would beep and that would be my only indication.

Mile 3: 12:29
Mile 4:  11:38

Adopting the run/walk was the only thing that saved me mentally.  I think at this point and for this race I was giving up mentally.  I don't know if I've ever done that during a race before.  I'm always a warrior and push through, but I was definitely giving myself permission to hold back. I mean what was the point of busting ass?  I didn't want to suffer and so I didn't.

Just past the 5 mile mark I started playing leap frog with another person.  She would pass me and then I'd pass her and so on.  We finally started running side by side and we were talking.  She told me she was a grandma (I later found out she was 50 years old) and was happy to be out there just doing the race.  She also told me to appreciate the fact that so many people wouldn't even sign up and be out there TRYING.  Yes, I know that is true.

We hit the last water stop and I told her "let's go."  We had about .5 miles to go and I was never so happy and I picked up the pace and dropped the walking.    Then at the .2 mile mark I saw Tracey waiting for me and I ran as fast as my little legs (ok big legs haha) could carry me.

Mile 5: 11:58
Mile 6: 12:24

Obviously I was happy to be finishing.  "Grandma" is behind me 
Run:  1:11:04  I think the run must have been short because this puts me at an 11:30 something average and clearly I wasn't doing that.

I crossed the finish line in 3:45:27 enough to earn me second to last in my age group and 96th place out of 110 people.  That's humbling right there!

I'm pretty disappointed in myself.  Here I think I'm in better shape this year than last, yet I did much worse than my last olympic distance tri in September.  I think the difference between that race and this one is all attitude.  Going into that race I had the "I think I CAN" attitude and this race I had the "slow and steady" attitude.

I'm proud of myself for going out there and running the race, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed.   I'm really sick of not being "good" at things.  I was frustrated before with always being middle of the pack and in this race I was bottom of the barrel and that doesn't feel good.

Again, I mean no disrespect to anyone with regard to their times. My own disappointment comes from my perceived effort versus my performance.  I'm talking about the level of effort I put into working out and how I seem to remain the same year after year, after year.  It's hard, it makes you want to give up (just being honest).

You know I won't give up, especially since this girl would never let me.

Thanks again to Tracey for always waiting around for her slow friend to finish.  Congrats to you Tracey on a GREAT race.  You'll always be my inspiration.

 I told you this was the DAMN! tri.  Ha!  On to the next thing folks.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

State Parkin'-- McConnells Mill

You might remember when my family went to the Kinzua Bridge State Park.  Well that trip had me intrigued about the history of the bridge and I wound up doing some googling.  While googling information, I stumbled across the fact that the Kinzua Bridge State Park is part of the "20 Must See Pennsylvania State Parks."  You see where this is going right? 

I decided as part of our summer fun we'd try to tackle the list and I enlisted Tracey and her kiddos to come along with me.  Now we know we won't get through the WHOLE list this summer, but we decided to just do what we can.  

Since it's the end of June and we hadn't yet managed to see any parks, we decided to make a quick afternoon trip and go to McConnells Mill State Park, which is about 40 minutes from our house.  

The park features a deep scenic gorge with the restored watermill and a covered bridge at the bottom, accessible by a roadway that winds between large, room-sized boulders on the hillside. 

I hadn't been to Mcconnells Mill in years and was excited to see it.  The water at the mill was running very rapidly due to the large amount of rain we've been getting.  It was kind of crazy.  

You can see the covered bridge in the background 
We also went through the covered bridge.  I only brought my iPhone and the pics didn't turn out great.

After we saw the mill and the bridge, we decided to go for a hike by the creek.  The water was running so rapidly and we were pretty close to the edge.  It made me so nervous the whole time.  I couldn't breathe until the path turned more inward and we got away from the water.  I just kept imagining someone getting swept and and carried away.   I'm such a worrier.  

The kids ALL had such a great time hiking in the woods.  I can't even tell you how nice it was.  I don't think I heard one complaint.

We scaled large rocks and collected walking sticks.  You know all the things you do in the woods.

Of cours the girls took any moment they could to have a photo opp.

It was so incredibly hot out and despite having packed a TON of water, we drank it all.  A stop at the local convenience store was in order to make the trip home.  I'm pretty sure that was the highlight of the kids' day!  Ha!  

What do you think, would you want to visit the 20 Must-See PA State Parks?  
I think it's going to be a fun adventure.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Damn Tri

Ok people I'm doing the Dam Triathlon tomorrow (an olympic distance), but I'm renaming it the Damn Tri because I'm skerrrred.  I have swum less than 5 times since last September.  That means .9 mile swim ain't gonna be pretty.  Plus it's supposed to be 1000000 degrees.  So there's that.




Let's do this!

See ya on the flip side.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Go Ape

At Christmas time, my mom asked me what my kids wanted.  I was hard pressed to come up with an idea for ME let alone for my mom.  Then it hit me!  I wanted my mom to give my kids an experience rather than a gift.  She wound up giving Ella and Jack magazine subscriptions (another good idea) and she got Nicholas a GoApe Treetop adventure.  

What is GoApe you ask?  In their words:  Go Ape would be described as a 'treetop adventure.' That means we build giant obstacle courses up in the trees using ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and super-strong wire and top it all off with the world's best zip lines.

I've had this planned for a month or so.  I figured it was the perfect time to go as Ella and Jack are both in VBS this week and Nicholas is not. It just figures we woke up this morning and it was pouring rain.  I thought about canceling, but it didn't seem worth it.  Our schedule was clear for this day and who knew when it could work out again.  So we went.  A little rain couldn't stop us.  It did stop just about everyone else though and we didn't see one other person on the course until we were leaving.  That was GREAT!  

The first "obstacle" is a Tarzan swing into a giant rope/net that you have to scale to get to the next tree top.  Way to start us off easy.  Haha!  

The Tarzan swing actually wasn't bad it was scaling the rope/net thingy (which I don't have a picture of).  It took a lot of upper body strength to get up that thing.  I tried to remember to use my legs, but damn!  

I might have gotten a little ahead of myself.  In the beginning of each obstacle there is a rope ladder you have to climb to get to the first landing.  Sometimes the ladder was STRAIGHT up.  That also took a lot of strength.  I kept thinking to myself, if you tried this and you were an out of shape person, you'd be screwed.  

Ok so then once you got to the top there was a landing where you would hook in for your next obstacle.  

The obstacles were made up of wood, wire, ropes and such.  Each one was different and had it's own challenges. 


You might recall, I've been zip lining before.  During my pervious experience, the guide stayed with you the whole time and moved your carabiner for you.  This time the guides were NOT with you and you were responsible for moving the carabiner and your own safety. 

Now don't get me wrong, they gave you a "tutorial" beforehand, but I still felt like it could be a bit complicated for people who are intelligent challenged.  Having said that, my 10 year old was able to do it without making any mistakes so there's that.  It's just that you don't get a second chance if you fall from the tree platform.  I can't even imagine that they let some people up in the trees alone.  

Nevertheless, I felt pretty safe because I felt like I knew what I was doing.  I understood the double clipping and made sure I was clipped in at all times.  We were definitely rule followers and didn't take any chances.  I wondered a bunch of times if people actually do break the rules and just move as they please and not according to the safety requirements.  Oh well, can't worry about them I guess.  The point is, we followed the rules and I did feel safe.  

At GoApe North Park there are 5 obstacle sites.  Each starts with a ladder and ends with the ZIP LINE!  The best part is the zip line and where all of us had the most fun.  Nicholas loved zip lining.  He was definitely scared on some of the obstacles (especially the Tarzan), but he got more and more confident as the day went on.  It was such a fun experience with him.   

I loved this gift from my mom, I loved spending time alone with just Nicholas (and George) and I loved that it was an experience for just him.  I'm thinking giving an experience is a tradition my mom should do every year.   This gift was definitely priceless.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Track Tuesdays: 400m Track Workout

You know what today is?  It's Track Tuesday!!  You know what else that means?  The normally dreary, overcast skies in Pittsburgh clear away and the sun shines brightly, boring into your skin, and making you think death is imminent.  I know it's a tad dramatic, but it was 85 degrees and it was absolutely brutal.  

All of us moms get together and I punish them all with my planned workout.  The plan was to do 12 X 400s with 200s walking or jogging in between.  There was some debate at the beginning if the repeats should be 10 or 12.  Tracey and I wanted to do 12, but we all decided to do what we wanted.  Yeah I wasn't three in before I realized 12 might have been a little too ambitious in this heat.  

Myself and Tracey 

Since I took a picture of Charlene last time when she was unprepared, I took this one with plenty of advanced warning.  I might even detect a smile.  Don't let that fool you because we all were suffering something fierce. 


Maria and Kim 

So yeah, we did 800 m warm up (half mile) and then 10 X 400s.  The 400s were to be at 5k pace or better and then you could walk or jog 200 m in between each 400.  Make sense?  The goal is to do each 400 at a consistent pace.  That is, not allowing more than 10 second difference between each 400.

Here are my splits:

Warm up 800m (and some talking to explain things before we started):  7:33

#1:  1:49.40 7:16 pace
#2:  1:59.50 7:53 pace
#3:  1:58.79 7:49 pace
#4:  2:02.42 8:09 pace
#5:  2:04.97 8:03 pace
#6:  2:04.57 8:20 pace
#7:  2:03.05 8:13 pace
#8:  2:05.97 8:09 pace (this 400 was a little over that's why the pace is lower)
#9:  2:07.62 8:26 pace
#10:  2:05.82 8:13 pace

I obviously went out way too fast for the first 400, but I'm pretty happy with my pace after that.  I was pretty consistent and didn't allow more than a 10 second difference (if you don't include the super fast first 400).  This may not be fast to other people, but this is fast to me!

Even though I hate it, I love it too because I know it's so good for me!  What doesn't kill me makes me stronger.

I also love that this is something we can do "with" our kids.  The kids play inside in the field (lacrosse, soccer, etc) while the moms run.  It's good for us, good for them, and good to be showing them what their mamas can do.  Even though I did hear some "Get those knees up" and "you guys weren't even sprinting."  Little shits!  haha

Stop back next Tuesday for another fun workout.  Up next Fartleks.  Excuse me!  ;)