Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Semi - Wordless Wednesday

Today is dedicated to my giant, lovable, goofy dog Sampson. He is an old boy, but he still keeps me hopping. In the old house he used to sit on the toilet in the bathroom during thunderstorms as seen in this photo. In my new place, he likes to stand in the bathtub.
Can you believe it is July tomorrow already!? Where did June go?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ahhhhhhhhhh - Friday Five

1. I took it easy this week. I needed it. Work has been insane busy this month and it is not letting up for most of the summer. Road 10 miles on Tuesday, 20 miles last night and will get in about 40 miles on Saturday.

2. Monday after some stressful personal stuff I had to deal with in the afternoon, I had a massage. I think this should be done after every race. I rarely follow my own advice, but at the urging of another I scheduled it. My quads (and the rest of me) were sore from the race. The massage therapist did an awesome job. JUST WHAT I NEEDED. I was amazed at how tight my feet were. They have felt AWESOME all week since they got worked on. I went to a Massage Envy and have decided that as I move into MCM training - massage will be necessary. I signed up for a year of monthly massages.

3. I am searching for another tri to do between now and the end of September. Olympic Distance. Any suggestions? Is there anything that isn't sold out yet? The races in the mid-Atlantic region sell out so fast!

4. My daughter leaves next Thursday for 16 days. I will miss her, but I will also enjoy my parenting-free time. This will allow me to get back into my training routine. I gotta start MCM training! Early morning running here I come.

5. Sunday swim practice has moved to the outdoor pool! I am excited about this as I like being outside and this is a long course pool (50 meters). I can't remember if I ever have done practices in a long course pool. Maybe when I was 9 or 10 and very serious about swimming.

Have a Great Weekend! Happy Races to All! GO CDA IRONMAN RACERS!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Inaugural Washington DC Triathlon Race Report

Well, I finished! I move up to the Olympic Distance with moderate success I do think.
I am proud. I love the medal. It is my favorite one so far. IN TRI WE TRUST! Indeed!
Stats for those that don't want the long, long read:
  • Overall: 3:20:37
  • Swim 1500m: 34:20 (I want to shave off 4:30 please!)
  • T1: 4:4:5 (omg this is so bad!)
  • Bike 40k: 1:18:24 (I am happy! Still want to be faster!)
  • T2: 3:48 (no idea why so long)
  • now here is well it fell apart
  • Run 10k: 1:19:21 (gee think I might need to work on this!?)

So for the long story... first a little history...

I think back to March 2006, where I was in a hospital bed in the acute care unit on the stroke ward at GW University Hospital wondering what was happening to my feet, legs, hands, arms, head, eyes...etc. I had not done a triathlon at that time. I had thought about them. I grew up as an athlete - swimming, running track and cross country, playing soccer, riding my bike everywhere possible. As an adult I had not given up on those things, I just wasn't doing them all that much. Obviously, and I've mentioned it before, getting a rare syndrome was my epiphany. I completed a mini-sprint tri 6 months after getting out of the hospital...but I didn't do another until last June. I certainly do not know why I waited so long! Although, I will say my life was a bit of a roller coaster between Sept 2006 and June 2009.
ANYWAY.... I am happy to be here doing this, no matter the time. I do have a bit of the competitive bug still though. I want to be faster. I want to get better. But I also want to have fun. If it stops being fun, then I shouldn't be doing it.
Saturday I took Gina (my bike) on the metro to go to packet pick up, the expo and to leave Gina in transition. I love riding around downtown DC. I need to remember to do that more often. Packet pick up was well organized. The volunteers were absolutely AWESOME! Expo was tiny. Not unusual. I saw my favorite bike shop peeps, bought some Hammer Gel and Heed packets. Then I was off to transition. I road Gina down through DC with a couple other women. This was going to be their first tri. This race had a TON of first timers. It was well promoted and supported with training groups for newbies. I think that was great. Got to transition, racked Gina. She was flirting with the cute boy Cervelo on the rack next to her. I took a little air out of her tires as it was HOT HOT HOT and to keep her in line. Some one's tube exploded while I was there...I don't think they were thrilled to find that on Sunday morning.
Then it was off for a practice dip in the Potomac. They had the course marked, but with just little buoys. On race day they had GIANT cubes every 100m and the turn spots for the sprint and olympic. It was nice! Last June, I did the Dextro Energy Triathlon - sprint distance - with the very same swim location. I think the mighty Potomac river won that day. Last year the river was running colder and was rough due to recent storms. Last year was wetsuit legal. This year though.. the temps were up. You could wear the wetsuit, but you would not win awards. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about that, but then I thought - who cares! You know how to swim either way. Back to practice dip. I jumped in and did 750 m. I felt fine. I was happy. Time to get something to eat and head home to relax.
I engaged in my pre-race ritual of painting my toenails, watched tv, chatted with a friend - which helped a ton!, and finally decided I should try to get to sleep, although I was keyed-up. Like most of us, I don't sleep well the night before a race. I think my dog picked up on my vibe, cause he was being a nuisance too. I think I got up to pee 2 or 3 times in the night. Well hydrated I was. Finally 3 am rolled around and the alarm went off. I got up had my pre-race oatmeal with blueberries and a banana, coffee and of course water. Took the dog out to pee - and hit the wall of humidity. Yuck. I was 3:30 and the air was thick. No fun! I gather my stuff, check of my list in my head and headed out the door. I had to park about 2 miles from transition and then catch a shuttle to transition. I got to transition a little before 5 am. I had to touch up my markings as I had gotten marked on Saturday, pick up my timing chip and set up my area - all before 5:15 which is when transition was to close! I was a little nervous that I wouldn't have enough time or I would forget something, but I got it all done. Then it was just the waiting game.
Race complaint #1: ~20-25 port-a-potties for 2500 racers! Are you kidding me!?! Also they were crammed around near the corrals for the start. Just not efficient. Now, since it was now 5:20 I did have over an hour to "hang out", but I really didn't want it spent in the port-a-potty line, but wait I did. I chatted with the people in line and that was fun. Met more newbie women. While in line the announcer starts telling us the start will be delayed as there are still trying to get all the roads secured. The first sprint wave was to start at 5:30. I think they ended up closer to 6 am for the start. My original start time was 6:35. They did shorten the interval between waves to help with the time though. I wasn't happy about standing around longer, but not much I could do about that so I wasn't stressing it. I took in a gel and some water while I waited. I had thought on Saturday I might need something more substantial, but I had butterflies so eating wasn't really an option at this point.
Swim :Interestingly, my age group which tends to be one of the last waves at most races was going off right after the Olympic distance elite age group racers. I didn't mind, but it was different. Finally, it is my turn! We jump off the floating platform, tread water for a bit and the horn went off. I started swimming. It was a bit crowded and I bumped into a few people, but I just tried to get it going. My left arm is a bit weird (I think from above mentioned illness) - it takes awhile for it to warm up. At about 400m all was feeling good. I just kept think strong arms, consistent strokes, steady your breathing, breath both sides. I got a little off course a couple of times. At the turns things were a little congested. Lots of jostling and there were some men from the wave after mine that were catching up and getting into the mix. You are fighting the current the first half of the swim and then it is with you the second half of the swim. I am not sure if I noticed the difference. So I get up the ramp. I was happy with my swim. I didn't let the Potomac get the best of me this year. Also, I was happy to not have to start wrestling out of a wetsuit and make my way to T1.
T1 - was slow. Now it was quite a distance from river's edge to my rack spot, but I know I am slow in this area. I think I may try no socks on bike next time. I think it could work. I also put on my shoes. Then have to run out in them. Not very quick. One day I may master the shoes on bike maneuver, but not a real priority at this time.
Bike course was 2 loops for the 40k. The course had four 180 degree turns - so I got them twice. I liked the course. The false flat up Rock Creek wasn't bad. I had no technical difficulties. I kept my cadence up. I worked on trying to get my heart rate stable. I could tell it was getting hot out there. I took in a gel when I got going and then again at the start of the second loop. I kept hydrated. I took in all of one bottle and part of the second bottle. I enjoyed my ride. I was very happy with it. It was a little shy of my goal, but I am still stoked about it!
T2 - getting off the bike, running in my shoes to my rack. Bleh! My legs had that gee you just got off the bike after averaging 19 mph and you want me to do what feeling. I had to move a rack mates bike over so that Gina could be on her spot. Took off the shoes,helmet, sprayed on more sunscreen, drank some more. put on shoes, hat, grabbed a gel and headed out. My legs were not happy
Run I love running past the monuments! So I am heading out. I start jogging next to another woman and we comment about the heat and humidity. Her name is Pauline. We decide to stick together. I am glad I did. Her enthusiasm was contagious. I needed a little enthusiasm for this run. And she was doing her first tri ever!! We jogged for a bit and then would walk for a bit and we continued that through the whole course. Again the spectators and course volunteers were awesome. Pauline saw people she knew and her husband was also out on the course. I will see the pictures soon as we have been in touch. Towards the beginning of the course I saw my friend and former running coach - Jenn (Coach_Jenn on twitter). Her husband John was also racing. I got a shout out on the course! I was happy. I don't ever have spectators! The hills on this course were tough. Shade was very limited. Motorcycle playing music in the 9th street tunnel was wonderful! Nothing like a little Van Halen to perk you up. Pauline and I were singing. At one aid stop I had the volunteer just toss the cold water on me. I told her that I loved her. It was hot, but the aid stations were ready with cold wet towels, ice, water, powerade. It was nice. I had ice in my bra, my hat, down the back of my shirt. Now, during the run my stomach was not being friendly. Did I take in too much liquid on the bike? I started burping. Yuck. My run buddy was also having some issues. I think we were meant to run together yesterday. The cruel part of this running course was that you run past the finish line and loop around near it before you actually start making your way down Pennsylvania Ave to the finish. Not nice! I love the view from Capitol Hill, but I really didn't need it on the course yesterday. We turned onto Pennsylvania Ave, Capitol Hill at our backs. Pauline and I high-fived it and said lets finish this thing! I kicked in the last of what I had. The announcer said my name as I crossed the finish (a first for me), I put my hands up in the air and shouted a woo hoo! I got an ice cold towel, my medal, hugged Pauline and thanked her and went to find a trash can - the nausea was coming..I had tears in my eyes. I truly thought I was going puke up what ever gel, water, heed, powerade I had taken in. Stomach cramped and I had that feeling in my throat, but it never happened. I went by the food tent. They had burritos! OH GROSS! Not after a tri! No bananas left only oranges. Acid fruit no thank you. I did grab a cookie, but I couldn't even eat that. I drank water. The Pom Juice booth was handing out Pom Juice recovery smoothies. I took one. I kept it down and it was delicious.
Post race:
I got my gear bag, changed into dry clothes. Took the shuttle bus back to transition. Packed up my stuff and then made the awful 2 mile trek back to my car. I think I would have tried to ride my bike, but I had my pump and my pack felt heavy and awkward. I didn't want to risk crashing post race. Thankfully, one of my rack mates was walking back that way too. She and I chatted and tried to find the shady sides of the street. That will be my complaint #2 about this race. It is a lovely venue, but parking near where transition is quite limited. And I totally get why there are not shuttles to take you, your bike and gear back to parking, but man that sucks to have to trudge after you gave your all on the race course.
Time to find the next Tri and start into my marathon training plan.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pre-Raced Jitters??!!??

I am psyched and nervous about tomorrow's race. Perhaps I will feel a little less after I got to packet pick up and the practice dip in the river today. I also have to rack my bike today.
On Sunday, transition opens at 3:30 AM! Transition closes at 5:15 AM and the Sprint distances starts at 5:30 and the Olympic distance starts at 6:30. I am a little worried about morning nutrition. I will eat before I leave the house, my usual prerace oatmeal and banana. But then I have a vast amount of time before then and race start. I am not sure what I will take to eat after I set up in transition and the go WAIT for my wave to start. I have over an hour from transition closing and my start time.

Okay time to keep all the positive visualizations of me as a strong swimmer, cyclists and runner going. I have trained. I am ready. HUMIDITY be damned! Gotta love living, training, and racing in the swamp of Washington DC.

Race Report will come with photos even!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Wacky Bridge Ride

Or I would name it the Hills and Valleys Ride or the Road Kill Express (skunks! stinky!)
On Saturday the 12th, I joined up with my Frederick County, MD friends for what Phil, the ride genius, called the Wacky Bridge Ride. True enough we did cross three bridges that all kind of looked the same, but they were indeed different bridges. We started at 7:30 am and while the temperature was still on the nice side, the humidity was already quite thick. The ride started out innocent enough, until someone noted on the route sheet, "NOT SHOOKSTOWN!" That was the first of many tough climbs of the day - and that was at mile 4! We even had a rest stop at mile 9 to replenish fluids. We road on Bennie Hill Road LOL! It was hill too and the 1st of the three wacky bridges was on that road. I thoroughly enjoy riding out in the countryside. I have gone on roads and been through towns that I would have never driven on or through. I am finding little towns that I want to go back to explore.
We climbed up Arnoldstown Road to Gapland Road which is where Gathland State Park is located. That is the picture of the arch and some of us riders in front of the arch. The very first picture shown is on the road heading in that general direction. The dip or gap in the mountains (above the mail boxes on the left of the photo) is where Gathland is and Gapland Road. Gapland Road was an AWESOME downhill right into the town of Burkittsville. Anyone see the Blair Witch Project?? Right here people! We road some more and more...and finally had a rest stop in Jefferson, MD at the Jefferson Market. COLD Water! A bathroom! FOOD! I was hot, sweaty, covered in road debris, we had gone on some roads that were seemingly a mix of mashed dirt, gravel and just a dab of pavement, surprised we had no flats, and I was HUNGRY. This was mile 32.5 of what was "advertised" as a 50 mile ride but was really only a 45.43 mile ride. LOL. The heat and humidity were on and while I had been drinking my fluids, I am thinking perhaps not enough as later on Saturday I was feeling a bit dehydrated. So from here we didn't have much left, but of course because Phil designed this ride and we are in a hilly area there was more climbing to be had. Thankfully the last few climbs were nothing like the climbs earlier in the day. It was a great ride and a ride of extremes in the mph department. At one moment your flying down a hill at 35 mph and next you are barely making it up a hill at 4 mph! I was wishing for a third chain ring on a few of those hills! I was so happy I remembered to bring a change of clothes so I could shower at Phil and Jeanette's house before driving my 40 minutes home. That was an awesome shower!
Next up! DC TRIATHLON! Woo hoo! They just sent a great email with loads of info and my race number! 2143! I am getting excited!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Behind on Blogging and Embracing the Taper

Last week was super busy at work and it won't be slowing down any time soon. Since I am behind I will recap from last weekend

After a traffic-filled Friday night drive to my Aunt's in Chesapeake VA (VA Beach), I was up and out the door at 6:30 on Saturday morning to get myself something to eat and meet up with a Fat Frogs Bike Shop in Chesapeake for their group ride. What a well organized bike shop group ride. I highly recommend if you are in the area to check it out. They had 5 pace groups, all with a designated leader. They kept to strict pace lines and everyone took several turns pulling the line. I picked the B pace group 16-18 mph. We were not to go over 18 the leader said, unless we got the wind behind us and it "pushed" us a little faster. The terrain is FLLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT. Not even a roller. I am so not used to that! It was awesome. I would say it was an easy workout for me. I picked that group, but could have worked a little harder and probably managed just fine in the B+ group. Next time. I hope to get down that way a few more times this summer, since I have a free place to stay close to the beach, it is hard to pass up!

Sunday after a Saturday afternoon and evening of graduation party for my cousin, I got up to run. While I got out early, I should have gone even earlier. It was so hot and humid already. I managed to eek out about 4 miles. I can only hope next Sunday (June 20) is not super humid. I do not like running in extreme humidity!

Sunday afternoon my daughter and I hit the beach in the intense sun and heat. We were successful in not getting burned and enjoyed the still chilly Atlantic Ocean. I even did a bit of swimming along the shore line. After a yummy pizza dinner, we hit the road and didn't have too much trouble with traffic on the way back. It was a good weekend!

This past week, I got a wee 2 mile run in on Wednesday, a 10.5 mile bike on Thursday and a 45.43 HILLY tough ride yesterday (Sat) - the Wacky Bridge Ride. I will post about it this week. I took pictures!

I am officially one week out and am in taper week. Last night I was thinking I would get up and run 6 miles and then go to swim practice at 8 for at least an hour of it. Well I am sitting here at the computer at 7:41. Doesn't look like that is happening does it. he he
I didn't set an alarm when I went to bed. I let myself sleep until I woke up. I needed to honor my body's sleep need and I did have a hard ride in the heat yesterday. I made it to 6:30 am. After I took the dogs out (I'm dog sitting), I looked at my training plan that I have been quite loosely following all these weeks. I decided I need to embrace the taper and follow what it on my plan all week. Today 30 min easy run, Monday 30 min swim, Tuesday 30 min run - sprint intervals but not too hard, Wed 30 min swim, Thursday Easy bike ride, Friday rest, Saturday easy bike spin to loosen legs and then SUNDAY IS RACE DAY!

I am nervous and excited about moving up to Olympic distance. I think I am ready!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I am being good to myself and my training plan. I am quite happy about this as June 20 is coming soon!

Last Friday I met friends out around 8 pm, 'cause I needed to get out and be social. I stuck to drinking water - need to hydrate for this heat - and went home at 11 since I had to be up for a 40+ mile bike ride on Saturday morning. It was a good ride. It was titled the NICE HINEY! ride. All due to the fact that we ride on Hiney Road for part of the route. hee hee. I did take some pictures, but communication between my phone and the computer has been at a standstill. Can't they just play nice? I did see cows, llamas, peacocks, and goats! And we road through one covered bridge. I love riding out in the country where the traffic is light to nonexistent. We did have a couple HUGE tractors that we had to move around, but other than that hardly any cars. LOVELY!

Now, I am going to the VA Beach area this weekend for my cousin's high school graduation (can we say National Merit Scholar and Cornell Scholarship recipient!!??!!). I am proud of him. Now, I tell my daughter and my neices -be like your cousin! No pressure! ha ha h ha Anyway, I have a training plan to keep, so I have found a bike shop near my Aunt's house with an early Saturday (and Sunday too!) morning bike ride of ~21 miles! CHECK! I will be up and out before anyone else is stirring. AND then I just went to map my run and planned a 6.2 mile run from her house. So the plans are there - I just need to execute. I am quite motivated, though, because I do want to finish and finish strong on June 20! I am thinking ride on Saturday morning and run on Sunday morning. I know this plan is missing some swimming, but I will do some laps in my Aunt's tiny pool.

Of course my trip won't be complete without some beach time. There better be beach time! I love the beach. I need the beach. The Atlantic even at VA Beach is still quite chilly this time of year, but I am sure I will still go in.

Okay back to the crazy short work week.


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