Friday, April 24, 2009

Is that... Progress?!?

After the string of aches pains and injuries before Lavaman, I decided it was time to strip my run training back down to the basics and start over again. I spent two weeks just trying to build myself up to 'normal'. Doing runs three days a week but only on the treadmill. First with my brace and then without. Everything seemed to be going ok. Then came the 'big' test. On the 18th I did a 10K.

I came into this race wanting to learn a bit more about myself. I wanted to take what I had learned from Lavaman and see how it felt while racing on my own. Could I push a bit harder? Can I spend more time outside my comfort zone then I did that day? Plus I thought it would be interesting to see how my run performance would be when not proceeding it with a swim and a bike ride :)

So Saturday we got up at the 'Butt-Crack' of dawn and headed up to Columbia for the Old Mill 10K.  My husband and his son were also entered and it was kind of exciting because it was the first time we had all done something like this together.

In case you aren't familiar with this area, Columbia is a tiny town in the Sierra Foothills, that has been turned into a State Park.  From their website:

The Gold Rush to Columbia, California began on March 27, 1850 by a small party of prospectors. News of the discovery spread and they were soon joined by a flood of miners.
Unlike many 
settlements that have changed with the times, Columbia, California seems to be frozen in the 1800's. Today, Columbia State Historic Park is the best preserved of California gold rush towns.
As a popular destination for school living-history programs, special family gatherings, or a year-round getaway, Columbia State Historic Park offers a unique blend of museums, 
displays, town tours, live theater plays, and shops, restaurants and attractions.
When I read about their 10K I thought it would be a nice easy 'fun run' for our family to try as a first time.

We arrived an hour before out start time and picked up our race packets.  It became very apparent that this wasn't a run that was used to people coming from 60 miles away to participate.  We got a lot of "Who's kid are you?  Should I know you?"  looks from people.  But everyone was very friendly and helpful.  A short wait in line and we had our t-shirts, ribbons and race numbers.  We pinned each other and then went for a short warm-up.

The time leading up to the start was easy going.  We watched them launch the three races that were starting before ours.  It was fun to watch the casual folks file in for the 2 mile run.  One older couple were there in jeans and t-shirts saying "We may as well get our Sunday walk in today!".  Then the LITTLE kids lined up for their 300 yard run.  We had entertained ourselves watching the 3-8 year olds, 'warm-up' and 'stretch' with mom and dad before the race.  They were all so serious as they lined up to start.  The starter told them "GO!" and they were off... kindof.  A little girl and boy had gotten tangled at the start and crashed to the ground upsetting them both.  And one little guy just stood at the starting line looking confused.  They untangled the two 'crashers' and both of them started running again but the little boy lost at the starting line just started crying when dad said "come on!  let's run!".  They were all so cute! :)

After that was the start of the kids mile.  These were the 'serious' 14 and under runners (most probably 10 and under).  They got started without a hitch and we were left to just wait for our race to start.

Finally 9:15 rolled around and we were ready.  I got my Garmin ready, unsure how accurate or regularly the mile markers were going to be on the course, and with a pace goal in mind.  I wanted to run for a full mile at a time, with 1 minute walk breaks in between.

The first mile was a gradual uphill climb.  I put my head down and just kept chugging.  My husband had been battling plater faciitis and didn't want to injure himself by running so he kept pace with me by fast walking (Yes, I run that slow :)) The run course was a funny thing - winding it's way through city streets and even parking lots before finally coming out on the highway shoulder.  The way was VERY well marked and there were volunteers at all the right places to make sure everyone got through the higher trafficked areas.  The hills were taking their toll on me though and I was struggling to keep running.  But I didn't let my doubts win though and kept on running.  I slowed to a walk at the first water stop right at mile one.  The water felt great and I had two cups because it was starting to get warm out there.  They were calling out times as people passed and I learned that I had finished the first mile in just over 14 minutes! whoo hoo!  I left the water stop at a quick walk feeling really good about my race so far.

It took me a little bit to figure out that somehow I hadn't set my watch program right.  It didn't signal me to start running again after one minute.  I made quick alterations to my plans and figured I would start running at 1.25 and I did.  The route continued to climb and it was getting hotter.  Luckily the scenery just got more and more beautiful!  The hills were an amazing shade of green where they weren't completely covered with wildflowers.  The houses hiding in the hills were amazing, each one left my husband and I going --- "Oooo I want that house!"  I just kept pumping my arms and moving my legs.  I dropped to a walk again at the two mile marker (matching my watch exactly) and started evaluating the route in front of me.  The gradual rise was giving way to a brutal hill.  I shook my head and looked at my partner.  "I'm going to have to walk the hills" I admitted.  He just shrugged and told me "Whatever you need to do".

There was nothing else I could have done.  Near the top of the hill I checked my watch and I was only managing and 23 min/mile pace and yet my heart and breathing were worse then when I had run that entire first mile!  I took half a second to catch my breath and then started jogging down the other side.  At mile three was another water stop and again I took two BIG cups of water.  They called our times again but I was too focused to pay much attention - it was over 30 min.  After that was another climb, then another drop and then a field?  We just kept following the arrows and the volunteer's directions and we were pointed through a fence and onto the airfield.  The race route went through the airport and two of the runways! (How's that for small town - lol).  I started out thinking the run across the grass would be easy, but I was wrong.  The grass was cut, but had a weird springiness to it that made it almost like running in sand.  Somehow I had lost my husband, and when I looked around mid-field as I hit the 4 mile marker I was surprised that I couldn't see him anywhere.  I started walking again as the path pointed to what looked like a nice shady spot under some trees.

Shortly after passing through the trees and starting back on a road again I heard noise behind me and turned to find my husband running to catch up with me.  He hand sprinted through the grassy part.  I gave him a quick kiss hello and we started back into our pace.  I found out that what was separating us was that I was running the downhills - whereas he had to slow down the on the downhills because they hurt his foot more.  Before I knew it we were back at the mile one water stop which was also mile 6! Almost done and I was going to finish in GREAT time.  I picked up the pace a little more.  It was a gentle downhill now and I tried pushing myself to give just a little more.  At one point I started to really feel the effort and thought about dropping to a walk but thought - NO I'm going to finish this strong, I'm tired of leaving gas in the tank.  So I kept on running.

As we turned the corner to the finish line my husband started piling on the speed.  Even on his worse day and my best I can't keep up with him but I turned it up a notch too.  He came in the finish line well before me, but turned around and waited in the shoot for me to cross the line.  I was thrilled to have finished in 1:39:25 - and again, was NOT last!  That's just over a 16 min/mile pace and considering that the grassy airport area was the only part of the entire route that wasn't uphill or downhill, I was really pleased with those results!  And best of all, I had ran the entire thing without my brace on - and was pain free!

Oh and my Step Son - for whom this was his first race EVER -- he took first place in his age group! :)  He wants to know when we're going to race again.

The next few days of recovery were a little tough.  All the downhill running had really made my hips sore!  But it was normal muscle soreness that went away after the allotted time.

This week I've been back outside running again.  I've started back with a couch to 5K running plan with the hope that slowly building the miles/minutes will keep me from ending back in that 'bad place'.

Yesterday I was starting to get the lower leg pain that had plagued me all during my Lavaman Training. It was frustrating. I went for a run with my new running partner (My Great Dane Zeus), and came back in pain. I quickly grabbed ice when I got home and wrapped both legs in it. Once they were comfortably numb I got into a position that stretched the painful area and just sat there for about 10 minutes. Then I loaded up on the ibuprophene before heading to bed.

I woke up this morning with that familiar sense of dread. What's it going to feel like when I put my feet on the ground? I wiggled my feet a little under the covers....hmmm. That's strange. I threw my legs over the side of the bed and sat up. Then slid forward and started to put weight on my feet. Wow - really strange. I stood up and took a step. HUH!? where was the pain? I took some more steps... oh heck yea! I mild twinge in my foot is all that's there. No tight calves, no heal pain, no icepick in the side of my foot!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Going strong!

Going to Lavaman had more then one positive effect in my life... it's gotten my husband back in the gym! yay! I'm so much stronger and dedicated when my training partner is right there beside me! When we stop at the gym tonight on the way home, It'll be the the second week in a row that we've made it all five days! And we both feel fabulous because of it!

We're both doing a 10K this weekend, and I'm meeting but with a bunch of teammates from TNT on Sunday and we're doing a bike ride. I love my new life - making fitness a part of everything we do, and having friends who do the same thing. It's empowering.

Weight loss is going great - down almost 14lbs since Lavaman. I know that'll only help in every race to come!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Whoo Hooo! - I can't wait!

Sunday, May 3, 2009



Congratulations on your entry in the 11th annual
scheduled for
Sunday, May 3, 2009 at the Oak Shores Day Use Area located on the west shore of Lake Berryessa.
We trust that your training has gone well and hope this event will be an ample reward for your effort.
Come prepared to have a great time and pack a picnic to enjoy afterwards!

This is the official "ENTRANT NEWSLETTER." Nothing will be sent via regular mail. All
triathletes will
pick up Race Packets, which include your timing chip, race numbers and swim cap at
PACKET PICK-UP on race day (details below).

Please read the following information carefully and PRINT IT OUT to review again before race day.



When: Sunday, May 3rd, 6:30 AM – 7:45 AM
Oak Shores Day Use Area, Napa, CA

Rack your bike FIRST, then come to Check-In.

What to Bring to Check-In:
Photo ID — NO ID, NO RACE!

RACE PACKET contains:

  • Velcro ankle strap timing chip (which you will wear on either ankle for the duration of the event)
  • Bike number (which goes over the top tube of your bike near the handlebars)
  • Bike helmet number (which sticks onto the front of your bike helmet)
  • Run Bib Number (which must be worn on the FRONT of your jersey). Please Note: This bib number
    is also your ticket to regain entry into the transition area to recover your bike and gear after the event.
  • Swim Cap



When: Sunday, May 3rd, 6:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Oak Shores Day Use Area, Napa, CA

  • 6:30-7:45 am Transition Set-Up and Check-In
  • 7:50 am Pre-race announcements
  • 8:00 am Race starts approximately at this time
  • 11:00 am Informal Awards ceremony will be held at the finish area,
    announcing the winners for all age groups in each category. Full results will be posted at
    within 48 hours of the event and personalized award plaques will be mailed six to eight
    weeks later.


  • Rack your bike and lay out your transition gear in the transition area.
  • Racks are NOT pre-assigned, but are first come first serve.
    Please be respectful of your fellow participants who've arrived and set
    up their spaces ahead of you. *If it comes to our attention that you have been
    disrespectful of your fellow participants, you may be disqualified from the
  • The transition area is for athletes ONLY. No spectators will be allowed in the transition
  • Be sure to make a mental note of where you rack your bike.
    Racks will be labeled to help you.
  • A bike mechanic will be available for any last-minute emergencies.
    This does not mean you should count on him inflating your tires. You
    should arrive with a ready-to-race bike.
  • Anticipated RACE START is 8:00 am. Do not arrive at 7:45 a.m. and expect to set up your transition area in time to compete!


TRANSITION CHECKLIST: Following is a list of items that you will need or may want
in your transition area:

  • Small towel
  • Wetsuit
  • Goggles
  • Bike
  • Bike Helmet REQUIRED!
  • Bike Shoes
  • Bike Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Socks
  • Running Shoes
  • Running top and/or race belt
  • Running Hat
  • Nutritional Aids (water bottles, sports bars, gels, etc.)
  • Sunscreen

Following the swim, there is a short
200-yard run back to the
transition area. Most athletes opt to run this barefoot. However, if
you prefer to have shoes for this short run, some athletes choose to
leave a pair of flip flops or their run shoes on the beach near the
swim finish.



The half-mile SWIM starts in self-seeded, ability-based waves of 100 swimmers each. This means that athletes choose which wave
to start in. Fastest athletes (those shooting for a top-five finish in their age group) are asked to go in the first wave. The
final wave is reserved for new triathletes and tentative swimmers. Everyone else figures out where they fit in between.

Before the start of each wave, the Race Announcer will ask the next 100
swimmers to enter the water. As you enter the water, you will
walk across a timing mat and your timing chip will record which wave you are about to start in; your personal race clock will
begin ticking at the start of that wave. Starting the swim this way minimizes passing during the swim and the bike, making for a
safer, saner event. View

Each group of athletes will enter the water before the start of their wave. The swim course follows a clockwise, triangular
course, marked by orange buoys. Swimmers must keep the buoys to their right at all times.

After the swim, there is a 200-yard run to the bike transition area.
Remember: The transition area is for athletes ONLY. No spectators will be allowed in the transition


The 11-mile BIKE course begins at the main
entrance to Oak Shores, turning right onto Knoxville Rd. and traveling
north. You bike out to the turnaround at the north end of Putah Creek
Bridge (5.5 miles), then return southbound on Knoxville Rd and go past
the main entrance and enter in at the south entrance to Oak Shores. Entire bike course
is closed to traffic. NO HEADPHONES!


Your safety and the future of this event depend upon ALL athletes adhering to the following rules while
out on the bike course:
  • Absolutely NO HEADPHONES! Athletes wearing personal listening devices will be disqualified.
  • Bike helmets are MANDATORY! Your bike helmet must be fastened before you mount your
    bike and may not be removed until you return to transition area and have dismounted your
  • All participants must obey all normal traffic laws during the bike portion of this event. This
    means riding as far to the right as practicable, no cutting tangents and especially no crossing
    the centerline.
  • Cyclists must ride single file at all times. Participants may pass slower riders when conditions
    allow and the pass can be made quickly. After passing a slower rider, cyclists must resume
    riding as far to the right as possible.
  • No riding two abreast. NO DRAFTING or riding in packs.
  • All participants must obey all directives from race officials, volunteers, CHP and Napa County
Any violation of the above rules will result in penalties (TBD based on violation) against the offender.


Runners will exit the
transition area and turn left onto Knoxville Rd heading south to the
turnaround (1.5 miles), then return northbound along Knoxville Rd,
entering Oak Shores at the south entrance, down to the dirt path and to
the finish line. Runners should stay to the right at all times.
RUN MAP. There will be one aid station as you exit the
transition area and one that you'll pass at the turnaround at mile 1.5. Runners MUST stay in the lakeside
lane of the road at all times.


The following cutoff times are cumulative from the start of the last swim wave.
  • Swim: 25 minutes
  • Bike: 2 hours
  • Run: 3 hours
More Cutoff Time Details Here


  • Be sure to pick up your well-earned t-shirt after the race.
  • There will be plenty of post-race snacks for you to enjoy in the
    finish area.
  • You will need your run bib number to retrieve your your bike and transition gear.
  • You must pick up your bike by
    12:00 NOON.
  • We ask for your cooperation in keeping the finish area clean. Please put trash in the trashcans.

Your ankle-strap timing chip will record all of your discipline and transition splits. An informal awards ceremony will be held
at approximately 11:00 am. There will be some prizes
donated from IslandersWear, The Framery, Health Spa Napa Valley, Gotts Winery and Juice Beauty which will be handed out at this ceremony, so stick around
to take home your prize! Personalized individual award plaques will be mailed to athletes
six to eight weeks following the race.
Full results will be posted at



~5520 Knoxville Rd., Napa, CA

Please note: These are slow, narrow, winding roads. You should allow AT LEAST 40 minute drive time from Napa. From
the EAST side of the Bay Bridge, you should allow at least 1. 5 hours
drive time. Please plan accordingly.

From Marin County (Allow 2 hours)

Take Hwy 101 north. Take Hwy 37 east. Take Hwy 121 towards Napa. Turn left onto Hwy 29. Take
the Trancas Street east. When Trancas ends, bear left onto Hwy. 121 (Monticello Road). At Moskowite
Corner, turn left (north) onto Hwy. 128. Turn right on Knoxville Road toward Lake Berryessa. Continue
along the shores of the lake until you reach the Oak Shores Day Use Area.

From Vallejo (Allow 1 hour 15 minutes)

Take Hwy 29 towards Napa. Take the Napa-Vallejo Hwy Exit, which turns into Hwy 121. Take Hwy
121 (it may also be called Monticello Rd.) east towards Napa. At Moskowite Corner, turn left (north)
onto Hwy. 128. Turn right on Knoxville Road toward Lake Berryessa. Continue along the shores of the
lake until you reach the Oak Shores Day Use Area.

From Winters in the Central Valley (Allow about 1 hour and 15 minutes)

Pick up Hwy. 128 in Winters and head west. Turn right onto Hwy. 128. Turn right on Knoxville Road
toward Lake Berryessa. Continue along the shores of the lake until you reach the Oak Shores Day
Use Area.

  • Parking is limited, please carpool if possible!
  • Limited parking will be available in the Oak Shores parking lots on
    Sunday. There will also be parking along Knoxville Rd. and in the Smittle Creek lot (about 1 mile north of Oak Shores on Knoxville Rd.)
    NOTE: Participants who park in the
    Oak Shores parking lots WILL NOT be permitted to leave until all cyclists
    and runners have come off the road
    (about 11:00 am).


We look forward to seeing you at the NAPA VALLEY
on May 3rd!


Wendy & Dave Horning,

Jessica Grace, Michelle Ruettinger


Enviro-Sports Productions, Inc. | PO Box 1040, Stinson Beach, CA 94970 | 415.868.1829 |

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lavaman Lessons and "What's next?"

First of all - thank you to everyone for your support in this.  It meant a lot to me to be able to share this journey with all of you!

As for Lavaman and what I learned here's a list:

1)  I'm stronger then I think I am
2)  It's ok to swim aggressively.  I don't have to slow down and let the other person pass me
3)  I'm a better swimmer then I gave myself credit for. I should take advantage of that
4)  Don't assume the timer stops when you get out of the water - keep hustling through to transition.
5)  Transitions don't have to take 10 minutes.  I don't have to fear leaving transition
6)  Training on hills, even when they tell you this will be a 'flat race' is still a good thing
7)  Being undertrained is not the end of the world
8)  A good nutrition plan really does make all the difference in the world
9)  Running into random people a few days later who also did the race, is just as fun as doing the race yourself

And yes - I am thinking about doing Lavaman next year.  After finishing in the 700's how could I not.  I mean it's a race I almost can't help but do better at next year!

As for what's next for me?  Well I've a list of races I want to do.  Some for fun and to get some more confidence, some to challenge myself at the longer distance again.

Before I left for Lavaman, I wrote a training plan that pretty much takes me through the entire summer.  I started on that 4/6.  The goal is run 3x per week, bike 3x per week and swim 3x.  So far so good although I haven't hit every workout - I feel like I'm continuing to improving my general fitness which is really the reason for all of this in the first place.

I've also started on a new nutrition plan.  I know I can only improve my bike and run times by dropping pounds (I've proved that to myself before when I've lost weight).  If all goes according to plan, when I return to Lavaman I'll 100lbs lighter as well as better trained!  (I've dropped the first 10 already).

I'm also back to weight training 5 days a week.  What a joy it is to have barbell back in hand - AND hubby and I might be taking yoga at least 1 day a week :)

So - a typical week looks like this for me:

Monday (AM)
Weight training
Run - Treadmill Intervals

Monday (Noon)
Swim (per

Tuesday (PM)
Weight Training
Bike - Trainer Cadence Training

Wednesday (PM)
Weight Training
Run - Treadmill Distance

Wednesday (Noon)

Thursday (PM)
Weight Training
Bike - Distance

Friday (AM or PM)
Weight Training

The remaining Swim/Bike/Run workout are not set in stone - depending on my race schedule, and what we are doing over the weekend, different things will happen different days.  If there's nothing 'special' going on I'll probably be running and swimming on Friday and then Biking either Saturday or Sunday.  However, this week I have a 10K race on Saturday so I'll probably swim/bike on Friday.  My goal is to have one entire day of rest per week.

And yes, I realize that all looks really aggressive.  But, when I say 'run' I'm usually talking about 2-3 miles.  Bike is in the 10-15 mile range and the swim,  we'll that's a bit more, but I love to swim :) .  Weight training is a 5 day split and usually only takes 30 minutes or so (Chest on Monday, Legs - Tuesday, Back - Wednesday, Shoulders/Tris - Thursday and Bis/Abs on Friday).

It may sound strange but it feels good to be in charge of my own training again.  Now I just need to hold myself accountable.

I'll try to update my progress every week or so!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Race Report - Lavaman 2009 - The Race

I got to bed relatively early the night before the race and didn't have much trouble falling asleep. I woke up once to the sound of the wind howling, but ignored it and went back to sleep. I had set the alarm for 5:00 AM because we had to be down in the Hotel Lobby to meet the team at 5:45. If I'm well rested I have a pretty good internal alarm clock and sure enough I found myself waking up on my own, knowing the alarm clock was going to go off at any second. I rolled over to look at the clock and groaned to myself. It was only 2:00AM. Apparently my internal clock was still on Pacific time!

I didn't have any trouble falling back to sleep though and enjoyed those extra few hours.

When the alarm did go off, I was ready for it. I hit the floor 'running' It took me almost no time at all to get ready as I had done all the worrying about what to wear the two nights prior. All that was left to do was to put on the clothes I had laid out and eat.

The Bagel and cream cheese I had purchased the day before made a perfect breakfast. I chased that down my morning dose of caffeine, and by 5:30 I was ready to walk out the door.

I met the rest of the team in the hotel lobby and we all prepared to walk/ride down to the race start together. My transition bag was just a 'bag' and wasn't really fit for riding with so I chose to walk my bike down. Since everything in my bag was carefully sorted, and I didn't want to mess with it too much all I wore was my tri suit, TNT shirt and my running shoes. It never occurred to me that walking a mile in my running shoes without socks was a bad idea. I was about 1/2 way there when I noticed the 'rubbing'. About 3/4 of the way I felt a sharp pain that I knew was serious bad news! ^*(^*(^@!#

I tore off my shoe and sure enough I had a blister AND it had already ripped!

I thought to myself "Seriously!?" could anything else possibly go wrong!?

(11 days later and I'm still fighting with this fricking blister)

I limped the rest of the way to the transition area - one shoe on, one shoe off, pushing my bike with my large purple transition bag slowly sliding off onto the ground.  I'm sure I looked a mess!

I found my number in the bike racks and noted that the space was just as tight as they had warned us it would be.  I joked with the men on either side of me that I was glad they were there because it meant that their bikes would be out my way when I got done with the swim.  The both laughed and joked in return although the guy on the left commented that he expected me to be gone when he got back from the swim.  I laughed at that - assuming the 6 minute head start he would have on me would get him into transition well before me.

Then it was time to find a porta potty and then stand in line to be numbered.  Overall the mood was very relaxed and easy going.  It was good to finally be there and I was getting so much energy from the people around me I was pretty much 'buzzing' with it.

I happened to be a little 'late' to the marking line so I was standing in a bunch of 'locals' rather then TNT folks. It was cool to hear them chatting so casually about a race that was a 'really big deal' to someone like me.

Marked and chipped I was ready to eat my banana and then head down to the swim start.

Talk about wearing your age on your sleeve - I mean leg :) I was a little bummed when they told me I needed to move my timing chip to the left leg as that was the leg I would need to put a brace on, but I was pretty much rolling with the punches that point.

The energy levels kept going up as we all waited for the swim start.  Some people were getting really nervous and worried, some were really quiet and introspective and some seemed to be like me, in the moment and enjoying the hell out of it.  I tend to be like this for big events in my life.  Spend the days leading up to it worrying about all the details and the day of - just going with the flow.  I usually figure if there was something to worry about I had already worried about it and done anything I could to solve the problem if I could.  At this point it was in God's hands :)

And then the Pros and relay teams lined up.  We watched them take off with a big ol' WHOOP and the race was started.  

Then the red capped Men 

Next, the yellow - Men 40+

and then the pink capped women - <>

and then my group 40+ women were in
We were supposed to 'self seed' ourselves and frankly I had no idea were I should be so I hung out at the back.  The only time I had 'raced' with others I had been struggling with learning how to swim in my wetsuit and I was one of the last in, so I figured the back was a good place for me.

And then we were off...The water felt great, the temperature perfect and there was hardly any surf.  It actually felt much calmer then the day before - it was encouraging, maybe the wind wouldn't be that much of a factor after all...
And suddenly I discovered that the back was NOT the best place for me...  I wasn't even pushing myself and was passing about 1/2 the pack.  In fact I couldn't push myself otherwise I would have been running people over!  I kept a steady pace as much as I could, squeezing through when I found an opening and mostly trying to avoid people.  I have a pretty balanced swim stroke so swimming in a straight line isn't that hard for me.  I normally just have to make minor adjustments as I go.  Being able to 'site' on the bottom was real boon as well.  I would pick a pit of corral or plant and just swim toward it.  Unfortunately, not everyone was so fortunate.  I found myself constantly having to stop or slow to avoid being run over by people who were obviously (to me) going the wrong way!  twice during my swim someone passing in front of me going parallel to swim course! I have a feeling that I'm going to have to learn to swim more aggressively in future tris.  

Except for avoiding collisions the first trip 'out' was pretty uneventful.  I was swimming well, breathing well and felt great.  the practice swim the day before had taught me my lesson and I was keeping the water out of my face as I breathed and all was good.  I rounded the first turn and headed to shore.  It looked so far away!  but I knew I had felt good all the way out so it couldn't be as far as it looked.  Again, I kept my head down and just swam my pace.  I passed a few more people including a few 'yellow caps' and 'pink caps' from the waves before mine.  As I make the turn near the shore to do the last leg of the swim I had this rush of joy... I had done this swim the day before, this was a piece of cake!  I really got into it then, paying a lot of attention to what was going around me, watching for people cutting across my path and trying to work it so I didn't have to slow down to let them through.  I was squeezing through narrow and narrower gaps and generally being more aggressive (without punch, hitting, scratching or kicking anyone).  I  made the final turn and took a good look at the shore - there were two big palm trees to site on and I kept them firm in my mind.  I was pushing myself now, keeping a steady pace.  I had found my rhythm.  Every time I check my trees there were right were I expected them to be. At one point I spotted two sea turtles swimming under me and I raised my head and yelled - look turtles!  Then I realized what a dork I was being and got back to swimming

Suddenly there was someone pushing between me and another swimmer.  Ok fine, you want to go faster?  I let her push her way through and then got back into my groove.  Suddenly I was running over someone.  the swimmer who had pushed through was now stopped, head up, checking her sighting.  I swam passed her, only to have her sprint past me and stop again!  When I passed her the second time I realized I had had enough of this.  I started upping my pace, breathing was now every right stroke instead of every fourth and I was bearing down on the shore not willing to passed again.  I wasn't.  Coming into shore with the crowd cheering and music playing was just awesome!  I came out of the water with the biggest 'swimmer's high'!  

I couldn't help myself I ended up coming out of the water with both hands in the air as if I had just finished the race! :)

I saw my coach on the sidelines cheering me on.  He looked a little surprised to see me so soon.  I hadn't show the potential to be a solid middle of the packer at any of the practices.  I waved and shouted "That was fun - can I do it again!"  and I seriously meant it - which bodes well for some of the longer races I have planned for this year :)

There was a short run to the transition area that I didn't push on - I could have gone much faster - still I was pleased with my time:  under 40 minutes was 20 minutes faster then I had thought I would go! :)

As I hit the transition area they were announcing that the leader was headed back from his bike ride.  I kind of had to laugh at myself for being so proud of my swim when this guy was nearly done with the swim AND the bike already.   I was kind of shocked when I got back to transition and my neighbor on the left hadn't come back from the swim.  Turned out he was right, I did finish the swim first.  In fact the guy on the right of me was just leaving as I cruised in having just finished his transition from swim to bike.

I took my time in transition.  I mean - really took my time.  It wasn't that I had a lot to do, I just dawdled.  Luckily, when I had packed and put everything but the  kitchen sink in my transition bag I had thrown in a roll of athletic tape.  I tapped up my blister, put on a wrap (not my brace) on my ankle hoping it would help support it during the ride and save it for the run, put on my bike shoes, bike shorts and my tri top and then I was ready to go.    It took me over 10 minutes.  WAAAY longer then it needed to.  

I was finally on my way!  I walked to the mount line, mounted my bike and off I went.  Sorta... as I came out of the main start area and was heading toward the first turn I could see what appeared to be a traffic snarl up.  There was a line of cars backed up waiting to turn left (I was going to turn right).  As I rolled forward the shuttle bus from the hotel swerved over into the right hand lane blocking my (and other riders) way!  Volunteers were waving and shouting at the guy as he made his own way through the traffic holding up a clump of bikers.  I just kept going slower and slower.  I couldn't tell if this guy was turning left from the wrong lane or was turning right or what and I certainly didn't want to end my lavaman being run over by a bus!  But also knew I didn't want to stop!  After my mishap yesterday trying to unclip I would do almost anything to not have to put a foot down.  Finally they got everything sorted and I was REALLY on my way this time.

I quickly got into my bike rhythm.  I could feel the wind on the turn onto the highway, but it wasn't anything like the day before.  I just focused on trying to keep my cadence even and shifting when necessary.  I played a cat and mouse game with one rider.  He would pass me on the inclines (I carry too much extra weight to be a good hill climber), and I would scream past him on the down hills (That extra weight has to be goo for something).  I passed one of my teammates standing on the side with a flat waiting for the SAG vehicle.  That got me thinking about my back tire and I eyed it warily.  It had 'felt' full this morning, but was it really!?  I had also noticed that a muscle in my back into my glut was tight.  I was hoping it would work itself out as the ride went on and not get worse, but it was slightly annoying on every downstroke.

I tried to keep those worries out of my head as I continued.  I downshifted as I came to the 'big' hill.  Again I just focused on keeping my pedals moving.  If any spot on the 'out' side of the ride would be a challenge this one would be it.  

Suddenly there was a distraction on the other side of the road.  There was a pack of riders on the decent and they had gotten bunched.   Someone was blocking and I could hear the yells.  "On your left!"  "Get out of the way!"  "Move over!"  I shook my head and went back to griding up the hill VERY glad I wasn't caught up in THAT.  Near the top of the hill a man was parked with his truck.  He was sitting out on his folding chair in nothing but a speedo.  For some reason that struck me as odd and added a bit of levity to this long grinding hill.  As I got closer he shouted, "you're almost to the top, this is the worse one!"

I have to admit, speedo wearing old guy race fan, that was awesome of you and a great mood lifter for me.  Thanks!

Yes there were more hills after that, but he was right, that was the worse one!

A girl in blue had passed me on that hill.  Ok, no problem, but, I rolled down the decent of that hill, she started to get down on her areo bars and got wobbly - just as I was passing her.  This made me have to slam on the breaks and it killed my momentum for the next hill...  I got a little frustrated, but figured hey, it happens.  But I never seemed to get that momentum back again through to the turn around.

The turn around was as they described it, tight and fast and... speed bumps!? huh?  luckily I was already going slow when I saw it.  I laughed to the volunteers as I came on it, jokingly complaining "No one told me this was a cylocross race!"  They laughed in return, and I even hurt one of them repeating my comment to someone who hadn't heard.

The water stop at the turn around was a new experience for me.  It was probably one of the few things I hadn't practiced.  I grabbed an ice cold water from the first person and drank a bunch of it down.  I still had plenty of water on my bike so I tossed the 1/2 empty bottle to another volunteer as I exited and just kept on going.  I found out later that a few teammates had stopped and gotten off their bikes at the water stop.  The thought hadn't even crossed my mind.  I just rolled through.

As I came up the big hill from the water stop I realized that the way back wasn't going to be easy.  The wind had kicked up - a LOT and it was out to get me.  Luckily the way back was in total down hill, but it had some inclines too.  The worse thing about the wind is it didn't let you enjoy the decents.  I had to put as much energy into going downhill as I did going up!

My legs had started to feel a bit trembly at this point.  Nothing to worry about but I noticed it.  My bake tire seemed to be holding up, and that was a postive thought.  But, my feet had started to go numb!  I peddled on, wiggling my toes as I went hoping that this was just a passing thing.  It wasn't.  The numbness turned to pain, so that each peddle stroke felt like someone was pounding the bottom of my foot with a hammer.  I kept going.  I started curling my toes with every downstroke and that helped, but after a few minutes of that my calves started cramping.  I knew I needed my calves for the run later so I stopped.  Finally I curled my toes and jammed them agains the bottom of my shoes so they would stayed curled without my having to hold them there.  While painful to my toes it at least have me some relief from the hammer pounding.  Some.  What I desperatly wanted to do was to get off my bike and take off my shoes.  It soon became all I could think about.  I didn't want to stop though.  Again, yesterday's 'crash' was still fresh in my mind.  Plus my legs were trembling so bad I was afraid when I put my leg down it would give out on me.  What if I got off my bike and couldn't get back on again!?  Instead I found a point where I could coast a little and managed to coast and balance myself long enouch to undo all the straps on my shoes.  The extra room gave me a little relief.  So I kept riding.  Soon I found myself doing down the 'big decent'.  Even with the wind I was able to take advantage of this one and found myself coming up fast on blue bike girl again.  This time I wanted to give her pleanty of warning and I started screeming 'On your left'!  She stuck to the middle of the lane.  "On Your LEFT!"  I yelled again.  Nothing  "LOOK OUT!" I screemed as I passed her, and she drifted into meand I hovered with my bike tire rolling along the white dissqualification line.  I put on a burst of speed and got around her as fast as I could.  I needed that momentum!

The rest of the ride was just a blur.  I dutifly ate my energy gells, drank my water and peddled.  My brain took up a chant of "please stop hurting, please stop hurting, please stop hurting" as if I could will the hammers to stop pounding on my feet.  I reached the turn around spot from the day before and felt a little bit of excitment.  Then I was coming to the light to turn off the highway, and then I was making the turn into the beach and there was the dismount line.. OH GOD!! the DISMOUNT LINE!  I was going to have to stop.  In a panic I unclipped both feet.  There was no way I was going to do something stupid now.  Only I unclipped too early and I wan't going to be able to coast all the way to the line.  so I pedled a few strokes with my heals to make sure I didn't accidently clip in again.  And then the moment of truth, I stopped.  I leaned to one side and my foot hit the pavement and... my leg held!  In fact, it felt really strong!  Oh yeah!  I just just finished the bike!!!  I swung my other leg over suprised that the shaking I had felt early was just shaking, my legs were holding me up just fine!

I had hopped to do the bike in under 2 hours.  The wind and all the fiddling with my shoes and cost me time (mostly the wind), and instead it had taken me 2:10.  Later I looked at my watch and found out that I had averaged over 12MPR on the way out (uphill) and under 10 on the way in (downhill).  Some people out there estimated the wind was gusting up to 30MPR.  It certainly felt it!

T2 was even longer then T1 over 11 minutes.  I think I was just trying to put off the run as long as possable.  I sat down and rewrapped my blister, put on a pair of socks, put on my brace and put other pair of socks over that, hopping that would help cushion it.  Then I put on shoes, stripped off my bike shorts and put on a running skirt, and a visor and I was ready to go.  Again nothing that should have taken so long.  I just hung around :)  I listened to one girl who was streching having just finished the race.  She had been in the wave before me, had stepped on a sea urchin at the start and had had to leave the water to go to the first aid tent to have the spines removed - THEN hit the water and started her swim.  Here she was, done for the day and I was only 2 thirds through.

The man on my left came in as I was changing.  He had caught up to me during the bike.  He ended up leaving for his run before me.  I just couldn't seem to get myself out of transition.

Finally I bit the bullet and headed out.  It was time to face my nemisis - the run!

I trotted through transition to the start of the run... I didin't like what I saw.

But I had faced this lava path yesterday.  I knew it was coming I knew what I needed to do: walk and take it carefully.  And I did.  I knew the only way I was going to get through this part of the race was taking one mile at a time.  And that's what I did.  "Let's do mile one" I told myself, and I was on my way.

the first part of the run was along the 'resort' roads.  Nice and shady, little rolling hills.  There was lots of shelter from the winds and I agreed in retrospect with a lady who rolled passed me and commented "This is my favorite part of this run"

But, it was uphill - not my strength and I struggled to keep a decent pace.  I just wan't happening.  I had wanted to run/walk 15 minute miles but my pacing was closer to 17 - dang!

I kept at it.  The first water stop came into view and I congratulated myself for making it 1/6th of the way.  I grabbed tepid water and continued on my way.  We were climbing out of the trees and shelter now.  It was getting windier and hotter.  I could feel the waves of heat coming off the ashfault and I knew that I had better start taking in more then water on the run.  I'm a sweater and I would need all the electrolites I could get later on.  I kept chugging on other runners slowly picking me off one by one.  At Mile two I hit the turn off for the 'back' portion of the run.  I congratulated myself for making it 2/3rds of the way and had a gatoraid and a water, then kept on going.  Mile 2 to 3 was a bad spot.  the wind was horrible, there was not a spot of shade and the view none existant.  The only 'good' thing about it was now I was seeing runners on the 'back' part of thier 'out and back'.  Almost everyone I saw shouted encouragement and I shouted it right back.  I was running 1% of the time now and just wishing the whole thing would be over.  But I was walking - I didn't have my head down, I was trudging.  I was focused ahead, swingining my arms, jogging when I felt I had 1/2 a shred of energy.  Finally I hit the waterstop and turn around... 1/2 way!!! horray!

I turned around and found myself facing a down hill with the wind at my back.. YES!  the next mile was still hot and windy but I ran more and now I was seeing all the folks who were behind me.  I shouted encoragement to them as they passed.  I hit the turn off from the road and the mile four water stop and was greated with a hug cheer from the volenteers and the offer of ICE!

"Do you want Ice in your bra?"

Never did I ever imagine being so happy to hear such a suggestion!  "YES!!"

I dumped ice down my tri top, drank down a gateraide, sipped water to get the 'yuck' taiste out of my mouth and then dumped the rest of the water on my head, and I was off.  

the next mile was all through the hotel grounds and it was - wierd.  On the first leg it was ok... just a sidewalk through big grass lawn.  Then a turn with an ocean view - nice.  Then just as the crowds started to get thick the race route diverted down the side of the cliff.. WTF?  Oh - there's a trail here.  I single track dirt - OMG I HAVE TO RUN ON THIS trail!?

I picked my way along the dirt trail just praying I didn't fall off.  My pace had slowed to an absolute CRAWL.. At one point the 775 people who had ran the trail before me had caused it to break down completely and there was nothing left of it.  I just scrambled by and hoped for the best.  At last I saw the end and I was up on the hotel sidewalks again.  But now I was in the heart of the hotel.  I straighted my skirt and did my best to set a decent pace.  I wanted to look like I belonged in this race when I passed all these people.  Frankly 1/2 of them wern't even paying attention.  As I ran I had to dodge through hotel guests and at one point had to push a little boy as he turned around and almost ran smack into me!  There were a few guests who were cheering the runners as the went past and I appreciated that.  But man that pool looked good!  wouldn't it be nice to stop... NO!

Soon after the run route left the hotel and dropped into the beach.  I was at mile 5, the last water stop!  I grabbed more ice and put it down my top, grabbed a gateraide and water, dumped water on my head and then turned to do the last mile.   A girl I had cheered earlier had caught up with me, we turned to each other and assured each other, "last mile!".  "This is the last push" she told me

I nodded, and she asked, "Do you have any children?"

"Yes, three"

"Me too.  Remember in delivery, when you gave that last push before the baby was born?  That what this is, the last push"

I thought about that for a split second.  and then shrugged, "All of my children were born in less time then this race is taking me...."  was all I said before watching her back dissapear in front of me.

And then I faced the beach.  Yes, the lava run at the begining had been bad, and the hike up the hill into the wind had been too, but this... this was sadistic.

This was like the lava run at the begining, but someone had mixed it white bits of coral in with the lava.  Nice... There was no running this last mile for me.  I was almost defeated.  I was having to pick my way along unstable footing with shakey legs.  The black lava rock was collecting the heat and then the white coral would refect it back up at you.  I did the onlything I could do, put one foot in front of the other.  I could hear the celebration at the finish line now, but it did nothing for me.  I just wanted to stop moving!  My watch told me I had hit mile six and I felt something  new under my feet... Sand!  Oh yeah it's not rocks... oh crap it's sand!!!

My shoes sunk into the soft white stuff and every step seemed to drag the energy out of me.  I could hear the cheering.   There were a few spectators out this far and they were starting to cheer for me specifically.  I picked up my head and tried raising my feet higher.  "Your doing great!"  I heard.  "Keep going, you're almost there!"  "It gets better as you get closer, the sand is packed tighter"  was the one that finally got me moving.  

"It gets better..." I clug to that statement in my head.  I was running now, lifting my feet high to clear the sand, focusing on my breath.  Breath in one two, woosh out one two... "Just keep moving your arms - your feet have no choice but to follow"  I kept thinking.

And then I was in the chute and people were yelling and asking for high fives and I started smiling... I did it! I did it!

The funny thing - I wasn't as elaited as I had expected to be.  I was tired and most of all just GLAD it was over!

My coach was the first person to hug me, my husband the second...  

I had to wait to get my race metal but I got my TNT 'tri' pin.  I couldn't seem to get enough water, but was too hot/winded/tired to eat.  And I was certainly too tired to walk back up to the hotel just yet.

I sat in the shade, watching the awards.  Three people from our team were in the top three of thier class, and two of those were first.  That was pretty awesome.

In all - it was a great experiance and now that it's over - I can't wait to do it again!

My coach gave me my finisher's medal at the after party, and I caught up with my 'last mile buddy'.  I thanked her for her words out there.  An awesome day overall.

We interupt this race report to bring you...

Here's a video from Chris McCormick's Lavaman

I also found his race report here:

Now if you watch this you should know that I was just heading out for my bike when he was coming back in, and I probably hitting the turn around as he was finishing the race... notice the flags flapping around the finish?

There's also great vido on the 'laval rock' run that's the begining of the race.

I also love him asking for 'time' on the bike - and for how far back a specific person was.  It's nice to know that even a guy who can wipe out the course record by 3:00 Minutes in the worse conditions of the running of the race still has his moments of concers - just like the rest of us.

And the dude wasn't even rushing the finish!  Stopping to high-five and every thing!

Thought hubby got a great photo of him finishing....

Race Report – Lavaman 2009 – Part Three – Saturday, Prerace

I woke up Saturday morning feeling incredibly well rested.  Given that I normally don’t sleep well in hotels, this was a nice change.  Hubby and I got ourselves up and around, and decided to go in search of some breakfast, and find some food to bring back for race day morning.  About a mile’s walk and we found a Subway serving breakfast sandwiches (not bad) and wonder of wonders a market.  I picked up some bagels, cream cheese and bananas for race day and happily headed back to the Hotel. 

We were supposed to meet at the race start at 9:00AM for a lecture by a famous Ironman guy, but I figured 20 minutes was plenty of time to walk back to the hotel, change, and walk to the race start.  After all, I had been told that the race start was ‘right by the hotel’.  Uh yeah.  The race start was actually ‘right by’ the shopping center we had been at.  I was a little shocked when I had been expecting everyone to be up at the hotel and instead I started seeing them walking and riding toward and past me!  I called to one of my teammates, “where are you guys going?” and was told “We have a swim workout at 9:00”

Whaaaaaaaa!?!? I thought the practice was at 10:00!!  And why are you riding past me!? You mean the start is behind me!?

The stress that I managed to shake off during the night came roaring back to full force!  I was going to be at least 20 minutes late for our workout!

The walk back to the hotel, to the room and then back to the swim start was not a pleasant one.  All I could seem to focus on was how everything about this race seemed to be going wrong, from my various aches, pains and injuries, to my bike breakdown and now timing and scheduling.  It felt like the universe was trying to tell me “Don’t do this race!” 

“But,” I kept telling the universe, “I don’t have a choice! I can’t quit now!  People gave money, they expect me to be here, to finish this thing!”

When I found the start area I dropped my bike with everyone else’s, and looked for my team.   A short search found them not in the water, but gathered around listening to a lecture.  Whew!  At least I had one thing correct, the practice swim wasn’t until 10:00, I hadn’t missed it!  I had missed the first half of the lecture though.  I was a little bummed about that because what I did catch was really good.  Dave Scott is a fantastic speaker and had excellent advice for everyone.

Once he was finished we got ready for our first swim in Hawaii.  I think everyone felt pretty good about it.  All the practice swims in the SF Aquatic park when it was 50 degrees and lake Del Valle when it was just at 60 had made us pretty confident in the water.  The announcement that the water temp in Hawaii was a ‘cold’ 77 made us all laugh.  And even from the shore we could see how clear the water was.  

We hit the water joyfully after a few ‘new tips from Coach about sighting in clear water (much easier than the 0’ foot visibility in the Aquatic Park)  me, armed with my Hawaii celebration swim cap.  

It’s ok, you can say it, I’m a dork. What can I say, I used to be a synchronized swimmer and I just couldn’t pass up this retro cap when I found it. What better place to wear it then Hawaii!? Although, later I would regret my little flight of fancy.

The swim coarse was still set up for the kids lavaman from earlier that day so coach told us jut to follow it - a simple out and back, swim out 7.5 minutes and back 7.5.

And so we were off. First thing off the bat, I turned my head to take a breath and got a full face full of water. ICK! Nothing like swimming with salt water lodged in the back of your throat. Luckily, I'm a strong enough swimmer that a little 'spray' in the face didn't bother me mentally, but physically it was a new challenge to overcome. I soon found a good head position that managed to block most of spray and let me get clean breathes. I took coaches advice and sited landmarks along the bottom of the ocean so I didn't have to waste time and energy looking forward as often and just swam. Ok - swam and did some sight seeing. I stopped twice on the way out to check out sea turtles swimming below me.  

I felt a little bad about it until I caught up with one of the faster swimmers on our team, also hanging out checkout out the sealife. It made me feel as if I was doing the right thing, using this time to accustom myself to the water, but also using it as a time to relax my mind - and that's exactly what it was doing.

Finally I focused on my swimming, put my head down and pushed a little. I was a little surprised as how much I got out of myself. All my open water swims before had been in a wetsuit, something I hate. Without the wetsuit I found open water swimming a joy. I didn't want to stop! I was a little disappointed and suprised to look up and find myself facing a wall a swimmers. Apparently the lead swimmers had waited for everyone before turning around and heading back to shore - it was one of the best 'team' moments of the year so far. 

As a group we made it out last the little black and white post out there...

It was great pracrice because when we all looked at the 'real' course the next morning the swim that we had done on this day was almost exactly the second part of the course, it helped alot when rounding the corner to swim back out, to know that "Hey, I did this swim yesterday, piece of cake!"

The swim back to shore was a little more focused for me.  I paused, but didn't stop when I found some turtles, but for the most part I focused on form, on what was working and what wasn't, and just enjoying the feeling of swimming without walls.  I was bummed but elated to finally hit the shore, the swim was deffinatly going to be, MY GAME.

Later hubby told me that Dave Scott had also been swimming with us!  He said he looked great in the water and honestly still looks pretty good in a speedo!

I know people who would like to look like this in a speedo now - never mind at 55...

And then it was off to change and ride our bikes!

I threw on a pair of bike shorts, my TNT shirt, socks and bike shoes and I was ready to roll.  But first, the moment of truth... my back tire.  It 'felt' ok - I walked it over to coach and he verified, it had held air overnight! yay!!  A little 'top up' of my front tire and I was off!

Now it was time to face the deamon.  We had felt the wind all day, but how was it going to effect the bike?!

The ride on the side streets wasn't too bad, but as I approached the highway it could feel the wind start to take my front wheel.  The worse part is it seemed to be really catching on my areo bars!  When I finally hit the turn to the highway I couldn't believe how bad the wind was, I actally had to face my tire into the wind, opposite the way I was turning, to make the corner!  Once I made the turn though everything was alright.  The tail wind made the hills feel like NOTHING.  I coasted up one hill and then another.  Even though I was enjoying 'flying' with the wind, I KNEW I wouldn't like going back.  I found a turn around spot and headed back to our temporary transition, and as expected the wind HIT.  It was like trying to plow up a hill only you couldn't look forward to reaching the top.  I've never had to pedal in lowest gear DOWNHILL before.  And to top it all off - I didn't get to use my areo bars once - all they did was act like a wind catcher and keep trying to flip my front tire the wrong way.  It was such a relief get back into the more sheltered roads.  

As I came into transition I carefully unclipped both feet.  I had a history of bad falls at practice when only unclipping one foot so I had developed the habit of being ready on both sides.  I slowed and got read to make a left turn toward my stuff when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.  One of the other bikers was coming up fast on my left!  I braked to avoid a crash and then coasted to my spot.  I joked about 'not using my blinkers' to the others around me and then leaned to the left preparing to dismount only to discover... my left foot was still clipped!!! apparently when I had braked I had clipped my shoe back in without realizing it!  

Hubby said later that it was a pretty 'graceful' fall.  I pretty much rolled to the ground and managed to not bang myself up too bad.  The worse of my injuries was a road rash on my left leg.

(what's left of my rash today - 11 days later)

I had certaily crashed harder during practice.  Still it hurt the pride a little to go down like that, in front of everyone.  

I waved off everyone's concern, put on my ankle wrap and running shoes.  The ankle wrap (more like a brace) was my 'secret weapon' against the tendonitis in my foot.  I had worn it a few times while walking and found it really helped to midigate the pain.  I had yet to run with it though and was a little nervous about what I would discover.  The run was a big question for me still.  I was still having trouble just walking from my office to the bathroom some days - how would I handle 6 miles!?

So off I went, with my lumbering run/walk testing the brace, the wind the heat and wondering how I was going to do this tomorrow.

The run was just 10 minutes - 5 out and five back but it told me a lot.  The brace was doing it's job.  It was managing the pain and I wasn't limping.  The run on the lavarocks that was the start of the run course, wasn't going to be easy.  I'm a poor runner at best.  I don't lift my feet high and I have trouble with uneven surfaces.  Plus my ankle is in a brace.  So imagine a path, and on this path someone had taken rocks the size of fists and smaller, and they've covered the entire path with it.  Then, they roughed them up so they grip each other (and your shoe) a little better, but if you do happen to stumble and fall you're going to be a MESS...  yeah - it became apparent to me that even if I had the energy, there was no way I was running the first bit of the run course.  But that was fine, I usually had rubber legs after the bike anyway and the excuse to walk would be welcome :)

The overall feeling after our short practice!?  I was going to make it - I could do this!  Only an act of God could stop me now! :)

After changing up in the room it was time to pick up our race packets.  I went through the various 'stations' picking up my envelope, t-shirt and the like.  As I walked away, bag in hand it fianlly hit me.  I was doing this! I was a 'competator' I was a triathlete.  My three year dream of toeing the starting line was finally coming true.  I stood there choked up for a reason I couldn't really explain.  I have no idea why that was the most emotional point in the entire weekend, but it was.   And I rellish the feeling of pride still.

I spent a lot of time relaxing after that.  Hit to pool for the first recreational swimming in 5 months and enjoyed being on 'vacation'  It felt good.  Went to the race meeting and it ended up being a lot of fun.  I'm sure in a year I'll be sick of pre-race meetings, but for a newbie like me - it was great to have.

Then it was the Team in Training pasta dinner.  Good friends, good company and another lecture by Dave Scott.

After that I hit the room, packed all my stuff for the next day and amazingly enough, fell right to sleep!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Race Report - Lavaman 09 Part Two – Friday, Prerace

Our flight for Hawaii was leaving early on Friday, so that meant an early morning for us.  Luckily I had made hotel reservations next to the airport for Thursday so we didn’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn – just slightly after J  I had been up late the night before, dying my hair – purple.  It hadn’t turned out the way I wanted so I got up extra early to do another layer of purple before checking out, and moving out.  For some reason my hair not turning out was really stressing me out, as if it was phofetic as to how the weekend would go.


There were a lot of firsts here, first Triathlon, first time in Hawaii, and because I didn’t know what to expect I had packed a LOT of stuff:  one large suitcase with my clothes in it, one smaller case with a lot of ‘backup’ tri gear and a carry-on with all my race gear.  Yes, three suitcases just for me, plus my laptop bag.  (I can laugh now).  Hubby also had two cases, one for his clothes and one for his camera gear.  He was my ‘official photographer’ for the entire weekend and was bringing a LOT of stuff along.


Thanks to ParkSleepRide we got an easy shuttle to the airport in plenty of time.  The wait in line, check in, only to wait in line, have your boarding pass checked , then wait in line to go through security was so annoying!  Even though I wasn’t late for my plane I found my patients were wearing really thin.  Looking back it was probably all race nerves and PMS.


We found our terminal, found the team and chilled ‘til it was time to board.


I haven’t had an experience like the trip to Hawaii since…High School Band…  Heh.  Yeah it was a big plane with a lot of people on it, but knowing 56 of the other passengers was really cool.  We laughed and chatted between the isles, took pictures and tried not to be too annoying to the people on the plane.  The best part was when we landed and the flight attendant read a statement from our team manager.  There where hoots, hollers and cheers from everyone on the team as she read our team fundraising total, than a captain lead ‘GO TEAM!’

I have to say my first impression of Kona was a little – disappointed.  The airport is basically situated in a desert, and everything was brown or black and very dreary and dry looking, not at ALL what I was expecting.  The drive to the hotel on the bus was interesting because it was along the bike course.  We were all pretty stunned to be driving down… HILLS!  HUH!?  I thought Lavaman was FLAT!?  What was also very noticeable was the wind.  You could see how hard it was blowing by looking at the short grass that was growing between the lava piles.  I tried to ignore the rout and just stay in the moment.  I was on a bus with a bunch of friends in Hawaii – the bike course is what it is, and I don’t have to think about it ‘til Sunday.


Check-in was smooth and the Hotel stunning.  We actually managed to get our room even though we were early.  We were amazed to find that we had to ride a TRAM to get to it.  You could walk to the room but it was a good 10 minute trot…  We chose the tram given the number of bags we were carrying.  There would be plenty of time to discover the hotel on foot later (and boy was there). 


After settling we walked to grab some food with a few team members, walked to the far end of the hotel to look it over, shopped in some of the shops and then walked back to our room to change and pick up my bike pedals and seat.  Then a walk back to the center of the hotel to the bike pickup. 


The bikes were a welcome site.  We hadn’t seen them in weeks and it was good to get our hands back on them again.  Most people were planning a short ride after pickup and had come dressed appropriately – I was just planning to get my ‘stuff’ back on it.  I found my bike easy enough, pulled it away from the rack and suddenly had a sick feeling in my stomach… my back tire was flat!  Probably the only thing I didn’t have in my suitcases back in the room was new rubber (I had tubes but not tires!)  I got my seat and peddles put back on and then presented the disaster to my coach.  I was livid; angry at the bike shop guy for telling me the tire was safe to put back on; angry at myself for listening to him instead of buying a new tire like I was planning and angry at the world for ‘Why is this happening to me!’  The one thing, baring a broken limb, that could keep me from finishing this race was a bike issue like this!  Coach calmed me down, took a look at the tire, pulled a few more pieces of debris from it, and told me to come by his room later and he would take a closer look and fix everything up for me.  “If it is your tire we’ll either get a new one at the expo tomorrow or someone will drive you into town to pick one up” 


I tried to calm myself with those words but it wasn’t helping.  My husband and I made quite the procession back to our room.  He was carrying my bike, sans one back tire, and I was carrying rim, tire and deflated tube.  I stopped counting how many times we heard “Hey, you lost your back tire!”


To top it all off, I was hurting – BAD.  My foot felt like someone was shoving an icepick into the side with every step I took!  My stress levels were at DEFCOM 1


Later in my room I checked the tube.  Sure enough it had a slice in the side.  I caught up with the coach later and he took a closer look at the tire, proclaimed it fit to ride on and we put the new tube in.  He assured me that if there were any problems on tomorrow’s practice ride we would find a replacement tire.


I wasn’t very mollified.


Back in my room I sorted through my tri gear for the 100th time.  I had to figure out what to wear for our training the next day that wouldn’t interfere with what I was planning to wear for race day.  Basically I was fretting.  Silly things seemed the end of the world.  Do I wear my tri suit for practice – if I do will it dry in time for race day? And so forth.


Needless to say I was exhausted by the time I fell asleep at 8:00PM – Hawaii time.