Tuesday, May 26, 2009

By the Way

In case you didn't notice - there's a new tri over on my list.  "Anchor Man" is being held weekend after this.  It's 1/2 the Escape from the Rock tri and I figured it would be a good chance to go over the course and get a feel for it.  I'm a little nervous about it.  And for once it's the swim that has me worried - .75 miles is no big deal - but .75 in the bay!? heh.  Plus, because it's in the bay I'll have to wear my wetsuit.  My wetsuit and I still don't get along... bleh

And the run up the sand ladder will be interesting too.  But I'm going to take it all in, learn what I can and have fun.  That's what it's all about right?

Oh - and if you've been watching my ticker up there you know I've been working on my goal to shed a few pounds - wanna see how I've done?


On the right, me, in my tri suit before lavaman.  On the left, me in my tri suit after Deer Valley :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Super Sprint was SUPER!!

I just finished the Deer Valley Super Sprint in Antioch (250y Swim/6 mile bike/2 mile run)- what a fun fun race!

I wasn't sure how this one was going to go - I've been training so hard to get my run times down and with this short short course I figured I could really go all out - you know, SPRINT :)

The best part was that my step son was also doing this race.  After seeing pictures and watching me do triathlons he's become interested so I signed him up for this one thinking it would be a great 'first time' race.

I have to say, that the organizers of this race weren't that 'organized'.  The race was supposed to start at 9:00 so we go there the 'standard' one and a half hours early (7:30).  Only to be the very first people there.  There was no sign of any race anywhere!  I double checked all my info, looked over the map several times and confirmed that, yes, this is where we were supposed to be - so we waited.  Finally about 8:00 someone showed up and started directing folks.  Participants started setting up the bike racks, etc while the race director and another volunteer checked people in.  We wandered over, picked up our race numbers and then, when they finally had the bike racks up, set up transition.

Then we waited, and waited, and waited.  Everyone was friendly and relaxed so it really made for a nice wait, but a wait non-the less.  At about 9:15 they finally shouted 'We're going to start, everyone head to the pool!'. And so we did.

This race had a short course and a long course for the kids so they were the first two 'waves'.  It was so much fun to watch the itty bitty guys swim in the pool, then run to the transition 'tri' mom and dads cheering, leading and sometimes, pushing them along.  Then it was finally time for our race.  The director called out - "wave 0!  Short course wave 0!"  and nearly everyone on the desk said - huh?!

There had been so explanation of the way the waves were going to be handled and most had no idea if they were in wave 0 or not.  it took a bit, but finally it was explained that the wave was related to your number.  If you were 1-9, you were in wave 0; 10-19 was wave 1 - etc.  "I" the step-son was in wave 0 and he diligently got on deck, then into the pool and before we knew it, they were OFF.  Waves started every 5 minutes after that and I was in wave 1, so I got ready.  Luckily the lane I picked cleared before the 5 (or so) minutes was up so I got it to myself.  I had 1/2 a second for a quick dip before the director yelled "GO!" and my wave was off.

The swim went good.  I felt great in the water and had no problems getting an easy stroke and breathing rhythm going.  It was just a matter of swim swim swim, turn, swim swim swim turn.  I popped out of the water just as they sent the next wave in - 5 minutes for 250 yards! whoot!  Much better then I expected.

From there it was an easy run down to the transition.  I was a little surprised to see (I) there still in transition.  I had seen enough to know he was struggling on the swim but had expected him to be long gone.  We wasn't. He had really spent himself trying to swim and had actually gotten sick after getting out of the pool!  When I got there he finally started changing into his bike gear, but not quickly.  I FLEW through my transition as fast as I could.  (No chips - have no idea how long I took) and was out of transition before him.  Overall I would say I was really pleased with how that part went.

The bike course had been described as 'rolling' and I knew I was in for some hills, but I was determined that this time they wouldn't defeat me.  I figured with this short 6 mile bike I could afford to spend some effort on the hills and really try to push through them.  And I did!  The biggest bummer was that I wasn't able to take advantage of my excellent downhill biking abilities :)  The downhills were short and just as I would start to gain momentum there would be a turn.  Another disappointment was that I got stuck 5 times by traffic lights.  Although there were bike lanes the streets were really busy and a biker had to keep their wits about them.  Overall though I was really happy because I was only passed by three people on the bike - that's a record for me! :)  I finished the 5.76 mile bike course (it was a little short) in 22:45, averaging 15.2MPR!  My goal had been to do it in 30 (12MPR) so I was thrilled with those results.

Once off the bike I did a quick change into run shoes and skirt and I was off to hit the trails.  I had really lofty goals to NAIL this run and actually run the whole thing.  I'm still doing a run/walk plan in my training but I figured I could push it a little on this race day and run the 2 miles straight.

I started with good intentions.  I fell easily into running, following the trail along for a short while and then I look up and see 'the hill'.  It was really nasty looking.  I knew the way my legs felt and with that grade I wasn't going to run up the silly thing, and I didn't.  BUT other then the hill, and walk through the turn-around/waterstop I did run the rest!  (I) caught up with me right before the turn around at mile 1, but I was ok with that.  I still beat him on overall time - he never made up the 5 minute loss from the swim ;)  I managed to finish the 1.84 Mile (again a little short) run course in 24:36 with an average pace of 13:22.  Since I had a goal to be under a 15 Min pace I BLEW that goal away.

I had figured - if I finished the swim in 8 -10 minutes, did the bike in 30, and ran in 30 and added a little time in there for transitions etc, I should be able to finish under 1:30 -- my total?  59:44 - I squeaked in UNDER an hour!  I was so excited and so proud of me!

If you're in the area, this is certainly a really really fun race.  Not the best organized but easy going and fun.  I mean, how can you beat watching 6 and 7 year olds do their first tri!?  I learned some more about my transitions (like give my feet time to dry before trying to put on socks) and gained a lot of insight as to my limits.  It's a lot easier to push hard on the bike when you know you've only got to run 2 miles after.  I have a few minute gear changes to make too for future tris, but other then that - I feel more dialed in then ever.  And the Step-Son.  Well he's not so sure about future tris - the swim kicked his @$$ and I don't think he liked that I beat him.  But he's interested in doing Dualathalons and to continue running so that's good :)

Alright - time to get some rest - keep Triing everyone!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Big Update

So much to catch up on!!

First of all, I've been training.  I haven't been perfect but I've kept at it and that makes me happy.

After the Napa Triathlon my Step Son showed a LOT of interest in doing tris so, I signed us both up for a Super Sprint on Memorial Day.  I figured it would be a fantastic first Tri.  It's a 250y swim in a pool, a 6 mile bike and a 2 mile run.  It'll be good fun for me too because it'll give me a chance to feel what it's like to go all out for all three events - something I can do at those distances.

Bike training has been sporadic at best. I know my biking is something I need to work on, but finding time to ride before it gets dark has been a challenge, and weekends have been busy.  Ok - so I'm making excuses.  BUT hubby and I have made some plans this week that'll make sure we get a couple of good rides in this week. I'm excited about it.

Swimming - well it's been non-existent.  That is, until last week :) I After some searching I found a local tri team that sounded really good so I joined!  (Forward Motion Race Club )  Then I found out they do group open water swims on Friday nights so on Friday I showed up and joined in.  It was GREAT!!  It's certainly going to become a regular part of my routine.  I like long open water swims so much better then pool work - although I know the pool work is good for working on specifics like form and lowering stroke count.

Running - that's actually been going really really well.  I've been hitting almost every workout and I'm currently getting better/faster.  Last week was week four of my 1st day to 5k program and I ran a three minute set, followed by a 90 minute recovery walk and then a five minute set.  Although I've ran that many minutes (and more) before, I'm now running those intervals at a less then 12 minute/mile pace.  It's my goal to keep lengthening those intervals without dropping my pace so that eventually I'll be able to run an entire 5K at the sub 12min/mile pace.  After that - I'll be doing a program to keep that same pace for the 10K length!

Outside of training - well you might have noticed I finished another race.  Well I don't know if you would call it a race as much as an 'event'.  We did the Bay to Breakers this weekend.  I have to say, this is certainly something that should be on everyone's life list and everyone should do it at least once just for the pleasure, and a pleasure it was.

Five of us signed up for the race, my hubby, my step-son, my two daughters and me.  We all pretty much started together but my step-son (I) and my youngest daughter (S) decided to run the whole thing and they took off.  Hubby, oldest daughter (C) and I all just walked.  We had a BLAST - even with the heat.

I ended up leaving Hubby and C behind at mile 5 and ran the rest of the race.  It was beautiful! and the last turn to an ocean view and then the race to the finish along the beach was picture perfect.  Even with all of that though the highlight of the day was something I was never expecting...

In the last month or so Hubby and I have become addicted to and inspired by the "Biggest Loser".  I purchased season 6 and we watched the whole thing over a few days.  Then I got a season pass to season 7 and we watched all of it except for the last few episodes that hadn't aired yet.  Friday night we finally got to watch finale.  It was FANTASTIC!  Jerry's weight loss/transformation was just amazing.  So, you can imagine our surprise and happiness when we ran into Jerry on the street before the start of the B2B!

After the race, we ran into him again and the girls wanted to check on how he did.  He said he had a great race and that doing the B2B had always been a dream of his, but that he had always been too heavy... well, he's not too heavy now!  The girls and I got another picture just cause we could!

As for our results:

Step-son(I) was first to finish for the family with a time of 01:28:56

This was the first race for him of this length, and considering the crowd and the hill - I thought he did really well and I was proud of him.

Daughter (S) was next with a time of 01:41:42

This was her first race EVER and at 15 with no training other then months and months of soccer I thought she did EXCELLENT.  She even pushed through an asthma attack that started at mile 7.  She said she didn't want to stop she wanted to finish running.  That's my girl!

I was next with a time of 02:25:55

As I said, I wasn't out to 'race' this one (maybe next year).  And I even stopped along the way a few times (Including a long stop at a chevron to get some water since the water stop was out.)

Hubby came in at 02:39:32

He's been battling planter fasciitis and I was proud of him for finishing at all - at one point a few weeks ago he thought he was going to have to drop.

and then my oldest (C) finished 02:43:25

She had set herself a goal of finishing in less then three hours, and she did!

Overall - it was an excellent family filled day -- the worse part?  the three mile walk from the finish line to catch muni back to the start.  :P

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon – 5/3/2009 – Race Report

We woke up early on Sunday.  The race was supposed to start at 8:00 and due to parking and setup it had been suggested that we arrive at 6:30.  Since we live 2 hours from Lake Barriessa where the race was being held that meant leaving the house at 4:30 – and a 4:00AM wake-up call.

I had a little trouble falling asleep the night before and 4:00AM came very early.  But, I had set everything out and packed my bag in prep so there wasn’t much to do other then get dressed, grab my bag, load my bike and go.  A quick stop for gas and we were on our way.

The weather was terrible.  I watched the rain and wind with growing apprehension.  The rain was really coming down and the wind showed signs of getting stronger.  Not exactly ideal conditions and certainly not what you would expect for the area in May.

We made it to the Lake without much of an issue and just a little past 6:30.  I was surprised to see so many people there already!  We were directed where to go and then I watched with dread as we passed parking lot after parking lot that were full!  Finally about a mile down the road we found an open spot and pulled in. 

It didn’t take me long to grab my bike and gear and start the long walk to transition.  The rain was still pouring and not showing any signs of letting up.  Luckily the wind was gone and even though it was raining the temperature was nice – perfect even.  Not too cold and not too hot.

The transition area was about ½ full and I quickly found a spot and racked my bike.  A short hike toward the water and I checked in, got my race packet and had my number marked on my hands.  ((Which, by the way, was a total waste of time!  Every person there had no markings left as soon as they walked away from the table))

Back at my bike I decided it was time to start the fight into my wetsuit.  Hubby tried to help me get it on and set correctly, but I could already tell it was going to be a problem.  The tightness across my shoulders and under my arms just wouldn’t ease no matter how much I tugged and stretched.  I finally gave up and gave my attention to setting up my transition area. 

I stood there in the rain at a complete loss.  It was POURING and I knew I didn’t want to have EVERYTHING get soaking wet.  Finally I just shoved everything back in my tri bag and covered it with my rain coat.  Transitions were just going to have to suck!

Once that was decided, it was time to go check out the lake.  A short walk over decently clean surface and I got my first good look at the swim course.  The water was as I expected, brown, with 0 visibility and choppy from the storm.  The course was supposed to be a triangle but from the start looked more like an out with a slightly wide ‘back’.  And there were three buoys with a small turn at the second toward the third. 


Finally I took the plunge and got in.  After swimming at SF Aquatic Park and Livermore’s Lake Del Valle I was shocked at how warm the water was.  There was no gasping for breath from the cold, no instant locking of the muscle.  WHEW!  Yeah, the visibility sucked but that I could deal with.

A quick swim and I was back on shore.  I wandered through the transition area, and then walked back to near the swim start to listen to the prerace announcements, then, we were all standing on the beach waiting for the start.

The start seemed a little strange to me, and from the grumbles I was hearing, to everyone else as well.  They were going to have 6-7 waves and everyone was asked to self seed by swim ability.  Eh – huh?  Elite swimmers and those going for a top age group finish go first, first time triathletes, and poor swimmers last; everyone else in between.  Their goal was to get 100 or so swimmers in each wave.  It didn’t really work.  The first wave was maybe about 20-30 swimmers; the second, 30-40.  I had planned to go out in wave three but when I watched 150 or so people walk into the water I held back.  What a mess!  Wave four looked a little more reasonable and I got an outside/front position right in line with the first boyee. 

We got a ‘ready-set-go’ and we were off.  My adrenaline was pumping now, and I was trying to not let it get out of control.  I tried to keep my swim at a steady rhythm, but in the back of my mind was the thought that I didn’t want to get run over by any of the swimmers behind me.  The 0 visibility made it a lot harder swim then it had been in Hawaii and I found myself having to spot a LOT more.  That was tiring.  Plus, the minute I started swimming, I lost all the give I had pulled into my shoulders and I was fighting against the material of the suit.  Half way to the first turn and I was already tiring out.  It was frustrating.  To top it all off the storm had made the lake choppy.  Whereas the ocean swim the waves and current had gotten familiar and predictable,  this was not.  I found myself more than once breathing into a wave in the face, and worse, I started to swallow lake water.  I kept on swimming, desperately trying to find a pace that was comfortable without dropping  me behind.  Finally, I was at the first turn, and around it.  I found a sighting/breathing rhythm that seemed to be working  and I finally started to feel like I was making progress with a slow and steady crawl.  I was passing people now; mostly those who had dropped into breast stroke or side stroke.  The problem with that is that is you have to be much more careful about not getting kicked or hit as you pass people doing these strokes, because they are ‘flailing’ a bit more. 

I was surprised when the second turn came so quickly and I made it eager to have this swim over with and head to shore.  I again found my rhythm, this time seeming to neither pass or be passed.   The third buoy was coming closer and suddenly I shocked to see people getting to their feet and starting to walk!  I didn’t remember the last buoy being so close to shore but I started piling on the speed anyway.  I passed several ‘walkers’ and then found myself in the midst of swimmers again.  HUH?  Apparently the water just got shallow for a second there and I had bumped my swim to the next level too soon! I dropped back into my normal pace but was struggling a little, winded.  I kept on swimming, sighting for shore and chugging along.  Finally the REAL finish was ahead and I pushed to it, swimming ‘til my fingers touched bottom and then standing and running up out of the water and to the shore.

Several people had left shoes at the shore, but having walked the path before I knew it was smooth and clean.  Still winded from the swim I started the uphill run back to transition.  There was no way I was going to make the same mistake I did at Lavaman.  It was all out – all the way.  I unzipped my wetsuit on the run, grabbed my left shoulder and pulled it out…I instantly knew something was wrong and heard a little gasp from the sidelines.  I looked down and confirmed what the cold air had already told me had happened.  When grabbing my wetsuit I had accidently grabbed the strap of my top too and pulled them BOTH down.  I stopped before TOTALLY exposing myself but certainly gave a few people something to talk about J  It took me a moment to find my strap and dig it out of the wetsuit and get it back on, but once I did I was back on my way.  I was a bit more careful taking out my right arm and my suit ½ way off before I was ½ way to transition.

 Exiting the water at Napa 

I hit transition with a time of 21:29.  Not Great for a ½ mile swim, but not bad either.

Back at my bike it was a mess.  Everything was soaking wet.  My feet were muddy and nothing was in order.  Changing clothes where your wet from a swim is one thing, but changing clothes when your wet from a swim and your clothes are wet from being soaked the rain is another.  One of my big goals for this tri was to improve my transition times and things weren’t looking good so far.  T1: 9:46 – bleh!

Just as I started running my bike to the mount line, the rain started to let up.  What a relief!  I had not been looking forward to riding on rain slick roads.  The clouds looked like they were breaking! Yay!  I hit the mountline, mounted and I was on my way!  Oooo slow down a bit cowgirl!  First thing out of the mount line was a BIG downhill with a sharp turn at the bottom.  The rain may have stopped but the roads were still slick!  I mashed my breaks to keep my speed reasonable, made it down the hill and around the corner, over the speed bump and NOW I was on my way.    At least one person behind me wasn’t so lucky and I heard a crash that made me wince, secretly glad that wasn’t me!

I had been looking forward to this bike.  I felt like I had improved in the past month and I knew the 20lb weight loss couldn’t hurt.  Then I turned onto the road and faced the first hill.  I was shocked and disappointed at how hard it was!  I had carried such high hopes into this race that it was completely demoralizing having them crushed just minutes into the bike.  I knew right away that I wasn’t going to be setting any personal records.  This was going to be one of those races I just hung on and gritted my way through!  Would it ever going to get easier?!

I kept on riding, trying not to let all the negative thoughts going on through my head get to me.  Downhills were still my friend and I passed many many a rider on them, only to have them catch back up on the uphill.  It became very apparent that many of the riders were beginners because I was constantly having to shout people over to the side of the road, and I wasn’t the only one.  Once again, on a steep downhill I had a girl drift into and push me over the yellow line.  It was frustrating, but at least took my mind off my disappointment at not being better/faster. 

The turnaround came up fast.  I was rather surprised that they were having us just turn around in the middle of the road.  The turn was too sharp for some people and many either came to a stop to make it, or had to slam on the breaks to keep from ridding off the side.  I made the corner carefully (because I hate to stop) and started the return trip.  Ahhh glorious downhill!  Although the entire course was either uphill or downhill, overall the course gained elevation on the way out and lost on the way in.  I was enjoying the ride back. 

I actually managed to pass a few people who didn’t pass me back!  Better yet, my feet weren’t going numb – well, they were numb from the cold, but no pain and I was getting to use my areobars to good effect.  

napa bike1

The ride back was a little sobering in one sense though.  I passed two different spots where a bike was on the side of the road and the rider in an ambulance, at one place there was quite a bit of blood on the road too – the ride was taking a few causalities – I just needed to make sure it wasn’t me.

The turn to the bike finish came as a pleasant surprised and before I knew it I was off the main road and going back UP the ‘killer hill’ to the mount line.  I unclipped without a problem and dismounted like a pro – that was a victory in and of itself! J

The transition to the run was pretty easy.  Off go the bike shoes, on go the running shoes.  Off goes the helmet and on goes the hat.  I wasted a bit of time so that I could find my watch and put it on, but I knew I was going to need the motivation to get through the run.  My legs were rubber!  T2:  5:41

I set off on the run determined that I was going to make at least THIS part of this triathlon a positive.  I had set up my garmin earlier to beep me every time I dropped below 4MPR.  I told it to ‘go’ as I crossed onto the course and off I went.  It was actually a really nice start to the run.  Soft trail running along the lake front, a slight downhill was just what my legs needed to recover from the bike.  The trail turned a bit and then went UP and onto the main road.  Now it was time to settle into my pace.  The sun had come out now and it was actually turning into a beautiful day.  Everyone seemed to be running with smiles and I relaxed into a run/walk rhythm that seemed to be getting me to my goal.  As time rolled on the rubber started to leave my legs and it just became a battle with my cardio levels.   

Before I knew it, I was at the turn around and feeling really good!  The run, like the bike, had very little ‘flat’.  Overall, it seemed to climb on the way out and so I was looking forward to the down on the way back.  I kept up the run/walk combo.  I wasn’t passing anyone – but I wasn’t being passed either so I was happy about that.  Again I was surprised when the turn off the road onto the trail came up.  I was running now and decided to just keep on running.  Down the hill, across the trails then up another hill and I just kept on running.

napa run 2

I was getting tired and considering walking for a little when I turned a corner and wow! There’s the finish!!  I crossed the line with the biggest smile, and then looked up to see the photographer.  I kept smiling and kept running waiting for him to take my photo… and waited and waited.  I wanted to stop running so bad but I wanted to good photo!  Finally he flashed me and I could stop!  

Napa Finish

I was finished – I had done it!  Another triathlon and a new PB on the run (40:23)

After, I collected my metal (a nice one btw) my t-shirt and get grabbed some food from the table.  Then loaded up all my gear and started the LONG walk back to the car (I think that was the worse part!).

Overall I think it was a great race.  It was well run, the volunteers were great and the venue beautiful.  I can’t wait to do this one again next year!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Napa Valley Sprint - 2:21:17!!

34 Mueller-Boddy, Shawn Mountain House, CA 40 F 2:21:17.0
swim ( 0:21:29.1 ) t1 ( 0:09:46.5 ) bike ( 1:03:56.3 ) t2 ( 0:05:41.6 ) run ( 0:40:23.3 )

That's right!  I met my goal!  under 2:30!!! whoot!

Yes - I was disappointed with the swim time - but then I've not had good experiences with swimming in a wet suit - this wasn't an exception.

I was disappointed in the bike too - there was hill after hill after hill and it made my overall time much much slower then I was aiming for.

But, the run... I mean, look at that time!! *happy dance*  I pushed and look what I did!!

I'll return with a much longer race report - cause I'm tired, you should know I'll be going to bed happy.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Big Day Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is my first 'on my own' Tri.  I'm so excited!  I've signed up for this particular triathlon three times - this will be the first time I actually make it to the starting line.  It feels GREAT!

Training has been a little spotty.  I haven't swam since HI :|  but I'm not really that worried about it.  The swim is only 1/2 a mile, and I'm very secure in my swim form.  I'm sure the work I've been doing in the gym has strengthened my muscles, and that the running and biking has kept my cardiovascular system working.  My only big concern with the swim is that I'll be wearing a wet suit, and if you've been around here at all you'll know I don't like my wet suit... If you haven't been here before then I'll say it here - I don't like swimming in a wet suit.  Still I hope to push through and put up a decent swim time.

Run and bike though... I've been training, and really working on pushing myself on both and I'm pleased with the results.  I've also been working on what I feel was my biggest obstacle for Lavaman (both my training and my race)- my weight.  The past four weeks I have had laser focus on my goal to lose weight and it's payed off.  I've dropped 20 lbs since Lavaman!!  If you've never dropped 20 lbs in your life I have a suggestion for you.  Gab a backpack w/20lbs of weight in it and go for a run :) and/or a bike.

So between the two how have I faired?  Well I went for a short BRick workout today.  25 minutes on the Bike and I averaged over 14 MPR! a month and a half ago I was averaging 11.   And the run?  Well I did a 10 minute run and the best part was I didn't feel like my legs were made of lead when I started - 10 minutes and I averaged under 12 min/mile.  Now I can't sustain that pace for long still, but to keep it up for 10 minutes!?  I was lucky/happy to keep a 15 min/mile pace before!!!

So - wish me luck tomorrow - I'll try to post a report as soon as I can.  I want to finish in less then 2.5 hours.  I think they'll be posting results on this page Envirosports sometime tomorrow.