Thursday, August 18, 2011

August Races

My husband & I had a great time at the Flat Five in St. Charles two weekends ago. It's an annual event in which each finisher receives a trophy with their finishing place on it. Sweet! Being early in August, it was really hot already & I remember the news said humidity was 92% that morning when I was getting ready for the race. I haven't been keeping up with speed work, but have been continuing my long runs, along with weekly base miles, so I wasn't expecting miracles here, again. We were just out to have a good time, & get our trophies!

No surprises on the course, there is a short hill about a quarter mile in, just as there is every year, but the rest of the course is flat & finishes up on the Katy Trail right in front of the river in downtown St. Charles. The heat & humidity were hard to push through near the end, & there was a guy who nearly passed out with a quarter to go. I ran back & brought him some water, but there were already 2 guys doing the same thing so I let them handle it. Poor guy was out of it. We suffered no ill effects from the heat, & crossed the line to receive our trophies.

I finished in 37:14, & have no mile splits to give you because I have become the Anti-Garmin. I think I'm doing a great job just feeling it out as I go, & results have been pretty consistent with what I'm capable of. I'm taking the pressure off myself & having fun. :-) There's a time & a place for the Garmin as a training tool, but I'm done using it for every run or ride.  

I was 5th last year, so even though I was slower by 13 seconds this year I went 4th overall! That's what I call raising the bar. Next year I will really have to work on it to get 3rd.

I was also asked to join a women's tri team, since they lost their runner, so I headed to O'Fallon to race the Alligator's Creek sprint tri with Alyssa & Amy last Sunday. Even though I was just doing the run, I wore my tri shorts & top so I could blend in.

I felt sort of silly standing there by the pool, & here's a shot of me trying to see my teammate Alyssa in the pool.

It was a serpentine pool swim, & she had to swim 300 yards, I believe, then run up to the transition area to tag Amy who would ride her bike through a hilly 18 miles. This was a tough course.

The run course was just as tough. Hilly, windy roads so you had to be careful to run a straight line. My dumb shoe came untied (which never happens) before I was even a quarter mile in. No way was I going to stop to tie it, so I got on with it, hoping I wouldn't sit & dwell on it the whole time. I soon forgot about it, so all was well.

I didn't wear the Garmin to this either, so I have no splits, but I can say that I did my best to not redline on the uphill & just plowed down the downhills not really giving any recovery time. It was just not an easy course. The weather was perfect, & there was beer at the end :-) I finished the 3.1 mile run in 22:54, for an average of 7:23 minute miles. Ouch. I'm not too broken up about that, & I did tell them I would probably be in the 22 minute range with the hills. Cutting it close.

We took first for women's relay teams & each got a trophy.

These aren't the official results, but it shows our splits. Well done, girls!!

Apparently, I will be doing a little mini tri this weekend. a tri-snack, if you will. It will be interesting to see what happens here, as I only have 8 laps in the pool (200 meters), 3 miles on the bike, & a one mile run. I may throw up. lol


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Luck in the Land of Lincoln

My husband & I were able to get away for the weekend (thanks mom, uncle Tom, & aunt Paula!), so we headed to Springfield, IL to the Springfield Tri Fest. We needed a break from life, more than anything, & neither of us had really trained specifically for this, so we were just looking to have some fun. 

I knew I could cover the distance, with my recent bike ride of 40ish mile (plus weekly riding base), last weekend's long run of 10 miles (plus weekly running base), and I had also recently covered the 1500 meter swim distance in the pool (as well as 2 recent 1000 meter open water swims). Not perfect, but I figured I would make it through OK, so I decided on the Olympic distance (appropriately named "Iron Abe" - swim 1500 meters, bike 24.8 miles, run 6.2 miles).

My husband is in the middle of marathon training, but has had some bike miles recently, & figured he could get through the swim, so he went with "Stone Man", the sprint distance (swim 500 meters, bike 12 miles, run 3.1 miles). We both had pretty good races, all things considering.

I was registered as a male for some reason, so was given a pink swim cap (for men ages 39 & under). I didn't realize until I was standing in the water getting ready to go that all the women had green caps. It makes for a good photo opp though, so there I am above in the pink cap amongst the other women in green. I didn't hear what the water temp was at the pre-race meeting, but I woudn't run my bath water that warm. About half-way through the swim I could feel my face starting to get really HOT.

I didn't take into account that in the pool I get to push off from the wall every 25 yards, so the swim felt REALLY long. I had some soreness in my right arm as a result that has lasted all week, but I made it through in 43:00.8, with the 2nd to last swim time in my age group. Ouch! I'm a slow swimmer for sure, but I just don't like it well enough to work on it. I've tried, but I just can't get in to it. Talk about endurance sport: about mid-way through the swim I started to wonder when this torture was going to be over, & I just simply endured it. I blocked my mind & started singing songs in my head like "All out of Love" by Air Supply. Don't ask me how I come up with these gems. It's a gift ;-)

Anyway, I made it, & my transition 1 went smoothly with a T1 time of 1:27.5 so I could put on my helmet, sunglasses, cycling shoes, & race bib. This is definitely improving, though I would love to get that time under a minute. Maybe I will skip the socks next time since they are always just soaking wet anyway.

The bike went pretty well for me, though my arms were very sore from the swim & I just couldn't get comfortable. I changed positions a lot, & spent a lot of time thinking about it. 1:20:26.1 was my bike split for 24.8 miles, at 18.54 mph that's a little slower than I know I can ride on a fairly flat course. Just a few weeks ago I rode 20ish miles & held just over a 20 mph average speed. I'm not too broken up about it though. Every experience is a learning experience.

I think I need to do some lifting for my arms, because something just wasn't right. I had started a lifting program, but I'm not at the gym often so I wasn't consistent with it. Next week I will start though, & just make it a point to go.

I did another good transition, as T2 was 1:09.3 so I could put the bike back on the rack, get the helmet off, & change into running shoes.

I raced in my Waterloo Flying Dogs tri suit, which a good friend gave me. In this area, they probably thought it was a cycling club from Waterloo, IL, but they are actually from Canada!

Weather was absolutely perfect. It was barely 80 degrees, with overcast skies, & it started to rain a little toward the end of the run. I feel like it was wasted on me though...

The run was the sort of devestating part for me. Usually, in a tri, my run split is in the top 3 overall for women. This just wasn't the case. I don't think it was a fuel thing, since I hydrated on the bike & took a HammerGel but my legs just wouldn't turn over. Usually, when running off the bike, it takes a little bit of time for your legs to realize what's going on, but for me that day it just never clicked. I think I've only done a handful of brick workouts the whole summer, so it's no surprise. Just a bummer. I was hoping to really do well on the run, but finished in 53:45.8 with an 8:39 average pace. :( That's pretty harsh, considering that, according to race results predictors, I am in shape to run 45:47 for a 7:23 average pace. I mean, I carried a 7:49 pace for a half marathon... It just wasn't my day... I was really surprised it wasn't slower than it was, actually, since I was sure I was running 10 minute miles.
I need to find a 10K to run on its own before giving the olympic distance another tri, so I can get more comfortable with this distance. Afterall, this was my first ever 10K!! I'm not counting though, since it sucked ;-)

I finished the whole thing in 2:59:49.5 (not bad for my first olympic distance, & fourth triathlon ever!) & was very surprised to finish 2nd in my age group! I was lucky, really, because this was not an outstanding performance.

I also learned, by looking at results, that if I had registered as Athena (which I qualify for) I would have won by quite a bit. I feel like I've come a long way, with weight loss, & discovering that I can compete athletically & I somehow just don't want to put myself in that category, not that there's anything wrong with it. It makes sense, really, that at 5'8" & 153 pounds I'm just not the same size a your average female triathlete. I feel like I'm at a very healthy weight for my body, so I'm not complaining, just at this stage I'd rather try to get age group awards.

Abe Lincoln himself presented the awards :)

It's a really cool iron rendering, & the finisher's medal is similar & doubles as a keychain! Pretty cool, since none of my other medals can actually be used.

My husband & I both did the Stone Man distance last year, & I was thrilled to get to come back since this was such a well-run event with great food, lots of volunteers, awesome race timing with immediate results scrolling on a flat screen monitor, a great course (with the swim in Lake Springfield), & a dri-fit shirt. I also love that they keep consistant with the theme (giant chocolate pennies, iron/stone awards/medals, etc). A very cool event that I hope to do again next year!

We are running the Flat Five in St. Charles, MO this Sunday, so hopefully with cooler temps (& while not being preceded by a swim & a bike ride) my legs will get a chance to redeem themselves :-)