Monday, September 27, 2010

Naylors Beach Triathlon Race Report

I signed up for the Olympic distance event for this race put on by Richmond Mutisport in Virgina. These people put on a great event and a GREEN event. Well done!!

Now as you all know I have been training for the Marine Corp Marathon and pretty much that has been my focus since the beginning of July. There have been some swims and some cycling during these past months, but the focus has been more on running. Going into this event I was not sure how I would do, especially since I haven't been in the pool in a few weeks.

Saturday, I drove down to Tappahannock and Warsaw VA from my suburban Maryland location. Amazingly I didn't hit any traffic on I-95 South - that never happens. I went to Naylors Beach campground (start/finish area) to pick up my packet and attend the race briefing. The race organizers were placing the buoys for the swim in the river while I was there. They looked FAR away. "gulp". The river looked like it was really moving too. "double gulp". At the race briefing, the race director tells us that the tide will be going out during the olympic distance waves and should be flat for the sprint distance. Okay. Tide going out, helpful ? maybe?

After the briefing I headed over to my hotel. Checked in. Go to room. Someone else has already occupied this room. Go back to the front desk. She tells me, "Uh oh! This can't be. We are fully booked! I am going to have to call corporate." I am thinking - YOU WILL FIND ME A ROOM HERE OR SOMEWHERE ELSE - and before I have to get uncharacteristically nasty - she flips through some papers and realizes I am to be in room 103 not the 303 she gave me. Whew! After that, I grabbed some dinner and then did some reading and tv watching before calling it a night.

This was a race with reasonable start times. Compared to races in Wash DC, which have really early times. Transition opened at 7 and my wave start was 9:10 am. I got up, dressed, ate some food and headed over to the course. Since this was a small race, I easily found all my Ancient Mariner (my Master's swim team) friends that were also racing. We had people in all the categories - both the olympic and sprint tris, the duathlon, and the aquabike, and the swim -run (I don't know what that is called). This event definitely had something for everyone. I set up my transition, hit the bathroom, donned my wetsuit and went to play in the water. All morning I debated the wetsuit. It was a wetsuit legal event, but the water was comfortable without a wetsuit. The air was in the mid-70's at start time. I ended up wearing it.

SWIM - The swim was in the Rapphannock River. This is a swift moving river and it is a tidal river. Tide was to be going out with our start. It was an in water start and we could stand were we started. The course was set that you went out on a diagonal to the first turn buoy then straight down the river to the next turn buoy and then back into shore. The first two waves went. Then my wave went. I am swimming and swimming. I am feeling constricted and tired and can't catch my breath. The first turn buoy doesn't look like it is getting any closer. I freak momentarily and call a kayaker over. I hang on for a bit. I consider get out. I am thinking "Why in the hell am I doing this?" The kayaker tells me, "you have gone quite a bit. You can do it." I catch my breath and thank her and start swimming again. The tide/current pulling me and everyone else off course. FINALLY I get to the first turn buoy. I get around that and I am just wiped out. UGH, I still have quite a bit of swimming to do. There is a kayak nearby I hang on his tip for a minute. Again considering getting pulled out of the water. WHY DOES THE MIND DO THIS - WHY DO WE GO THERE? The kayak guy says something encouraging and I head out again. With the help of the tide/current I make it fairly easily to the next turn buoy. Then it gets really fun..... NOT . This was the hardest part of the swim. I was right at the yellow turn buoy when I turned and I am swimming and sighting and all of a sudden the red marker buoy is way off to my left. The tide/current is pulling me and many others way off course. I felt like I was swimming in place and not getting any closer to the shore line. I was so happy when I could finally touch ground as that meant I was closer to shore. I swim and walk in to the shoreline. I am beat up at this point. I climb up the berm as I am taking off my wet suit and head into transition. 37:16 for 1500 meters. I bet I swam more than 1500 meters with all of the off course business that happened.

T1: 3:30 - I walked to my bike. I was wiped out from the swim. There were hardly any other bikes left in transition for the olympic distance. I was thinking negative thoughts - like YOU REALLY SUCKED ON THAT SWIM MICHELLE. Helpful, I know. I got the rest of my wetsuit off, tried to get the dirt and crap off my feet - I did put socks on - can't go without -then shoes, got my helmet and glasses, grabbed my gels and gloves and I was out. I was lucky my rack spot was right next to the bike/run out.

BIKE - I was still a little shaky from the swim. I drank some nuun water and just pedaled. I grabbed a gel and proceeded to eat that and goo it all over my left hand, handle bar. Yuck what a sticky mess for the rest of the ride. LOL . Pure talent that is me. While it had been a bit cloudy in the morning, then sun was starting to break through and a lovely breeze (NOT) had started up. First turn and I am heading into the wind. GREAT, first the tide now the wind. But I just barrelled through. I had been warned about a couple steep hills on this course, and there was one that was steep and one that was a long, slow climb - nice rollers for the most part. I was able to pass a few folks so that made me feel a little better after the crappy swim. I needed anything I could get. Edited to add for Tri Diesel's benefit - I had a burp with substance while on the last part of the bike. It hought I was just going to burp, but there was more to it. Blah! It was gross. I was rinsing my mouth out with my nuun water spitting on myself and on the road and trying to keep up the pace. Towards the end of the course the olympic distance merged with the sprint. Those sprint distance folks looked so fresh. (The sprint waves started an hour after the last olympic wave). As you came into the dismount area you hit a road with speed bumps. LOL I started prepping my legs for the run by standing up and going over the speed bumps. I dismount in my normal awkard and slow manner and trot into transition. 1:28:43 - 26 miles. I will take it.

T2 - 2:18 Legs are feeling tired by not totally trashed. I really need tri-specific cycling shoes for these events. I fumbled trying to get my shoes off and I need to put zip ties on my running shoes. Then this would be faster. I grab some honey stingers and pour some water over my stinky gel hand and head off.

Run - The sun was out fully now and it was heating up. So much for the forecast of 69 as the high. It was warmer than that when the race started. Legs are feeling okay, but I am having trouble getting any kind of speed going. I just feel tired. I proceed to run/walk the whole 6.2 miles. At one point, I misstepped off the road and roll my right ankle. (Now I have rolled both ankles in one month). I cuss, rub my ankle, spit on my left knee that is bleeding now and get back going. I walk for a bit then start up my shuffle. You would think with all the running that I have been doing this would be better. NOT SO MUCH. I wasn't the last person on the course, but I was close. 10k - 1:21:34 pitiful

My Official finish time 3:33:20 This is not pretty.

Overall women's olympic distance winner's time - 2:32:59. How awesome is that and she was 16th overall!! Even more wonderful - she was in my age group (45-49). She BEAT many people much younger. And due to her amazing performance, that left myself and one other person for the age group awards. So even with my not so stellar performance I GOT FIRST IN MY AGE GROUP. I will take it as it may never happen again. The joy of a small race. Also getting older - less women in the brackets.

Next up - 13.1 miles to run at the Half Full Triathlon. Yep - I was the bike leg (56miles), but the runner on our relay team can't run as of last week. She is able to bike or swim. Well our swimmer is unable to do 13.1 miles, so since I am in marathon training and this should be something I can do - I am now running. I am not totally unhappy with this switch as MCM is only 33 days away. I need to be running.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far!
Happy Training and Racing

Monday, September 20, 2010

Revenge of the Penugins Race Report

So for my first 20 miler ever and part of my training for the Marine Corps Marathon, I did this event. It is designed to fit nicely into the schedule for those running MCM as the group that organized this event also trains people for MCM among other races. Anyway.... I went to bed Friday night as a decent hour. I did my usual night before positive visualizations of me running strong and feeling good. I know it may sound silly, but I feel that it really works for me to do this as I am drifting of to sleep.

I got up Saturday morning BEFORE my alarm as my darling, elderly dog walked into my room POOPING and walked out. Gee, Sampson, perhaps a little bark before the poop and I could have gotten you out the door. Oh well. Cleaned that up, then got back in bed for the 5 am alarm. Now this race didn't start until 8 am, but where the start/finish line was in the park had a parking issue and I still needed to pick up my bib, tshirt and timing chip. I took Sampson out, ate breakfast, prepped my bottles of nuun, got my Honey Zinger chews in the container and then I was off to the park.

This race was held on the C&O Canal towpath. It had a 10 miles option as well as the 20 mile option I was doing. We started at Carderock Recreational Area. I haven't run the towpath in all my training thus far. It is dirt and gravel. I was a little apprehensive of this as I can twist my left ankle all too easily on nothing. Anyway. I park, get my bib, tshirt, and chip. Walk around a bit. Sit in my car and reading tweets and playing angry birds. Go to the bathroom twice and then it is time to start.

I wanted to start out slow, but run steady. I am aiming for 12 min/miles or better. I know I am truly a penguin. First we run up towards Angler's Inn and then turn around and run down towards Georgetown. So I get into my pace. A few people around me. Get to the first water stop and turn around point, my Garmin had already gone past 2 miles. The race organizers had said this water stop/turn around was 1.5 miles. Uh oh.... how off is the rest of this course? I get a little water, eat a few honey stingers and keep on going. I find a couple women that are keeping my pace and I stay with them. I am feeling good. Go past 5 miles (according to my Garmin) and of course I have to pee AGAIN! I think my body is conditioned to have to pee at 5 miles. Every single one of my long runs, I have to pee at 5 miles. I am pissed that I have to pee (LOL) cause that means finding a nice spot behind a tree and then losing the women I am pacing behind. I hold off for a bit, but then I can't do that any longer. I find a spot, drop my tights, pee and then I am back up on the course. I am able to get back up on my pace and stay there even without the women I had been pacing behind. As I am running, I am calculating in my head about how far the turnaround should be for the 20 miler. I get to the 13 mile mark and I am still feeling pretty good. I had my fastest consecutive 13 miles ever on this run. I was thrilled! Then I hit 14 miles and my knees decided they had enough of this pounding. It was weird how it hit and then my running form just fell apart from there. The cadence and pace chart on my Garmin download it is so evident to. I am steady and then bonk......all over the place. I found myself not breathing right. I was holding my breath, I wasn't keeping my posture. I tried to focus on form and breathing and it would feel better for a bit, but I just could not get my pace back up or keep it to anything reasonable. Once I got to about 16-17 miles I started walking with the running. My knees were screaming. I can't remember which aid stop I hit, they said "Oh you only have XX miles to go" and I am looking at my Garmin and thinking uh oh the course is wrong - this sucks. But I have no choice but to keep moving towards the finish. My Garmin hits 2o miles. No finish line in site. I keep going not sure if my "jog" was any faster than my walk, but it felt a little better on my body. Everything is hurting now. Finally I get to the finish line and go over the timing mats. I am happy I am done, happy I came in under 5 hours (the 20 mile beat the bridge cut off for MCM) and I look at my Garmin to hit stop and I am at 21.42 miles. Course off by almost a mile and half!!! Measure much??

So while this is the Revenge of the Penguins event - I get down to where post race food and water is. NO FOOD LEFT. NONE! Really people? The true penguins of the day are shafted. There are still others on the course and you have no food left. Oh wait there were some individual slices of warm cheese....gag....really?? I am tired, sore and REALLY NOT HAPPY at this point.

I stretch for a bit then get in my car to drive home. I stop at the grocery for my 20lb bag of ice for my ice bath. While I sat in the ice bath I drank my Generation UCan recovery drink and marveled at the fact that I just ran 21.42 miles (well if you call what I do running) not too many more at I will be at 26.2. While I was in pain and miserable for the last several miles on Saturday, I could have kept going to 26.2. It would not have been pretty, but I could have done it. I spent the rest of Saturday on my couch. I ordered a pizza, had a beer, watched college whole body was sore. My poor running form at the end really beat me up. Sunday, I was still quite sore. I didn't go to swim practice but I did spend some time with the foam roller. Today I feel pretty good, a little bit of soreness.
I have a triathlon this Sunday. What was I thinking?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting excited!

While last weekend's run was supposed to be 18 miles I only ended up with 12. I mentally pooped out. I was also having some gastrointestinal issues, but I think the bulk of it was mental. The funnier part is while I thought of it as a crappy run, my numbers were not so bad. Oh well...

I am excited about this weekend. It is Revenge of the Penguin time! This is an organized race of 10 or 20 miles. No time cut off other than darkness. It will be a great test to see if I can beat the MCM "beat the bridge" cut off as I am doing the 20 miler. My first ever!!!! Ankle is feeling good and even though I have had some things aching lately all is feeling pretty good this week. Woot!!

Earlier today I tweeted asking for suggestions for 70.3 triathlons for late summer/early fall 2011. I can't believe I am thinking about this already, but I want to tackle this next year. Let me know if you have any suggestions!!

I will post a Revenge of the Penguins race report even if it sucks!
Until then - Happy Training and Racing!

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Running long

Last Saturday was a long run of 17 miles. Just shy of 9 miles, I stepped on a patch of uneven pavement and my crappy, weak, left ankle rolled. UGH. I was in a groove too. After a few choice words shouted at the sky, I sat down, rubbed my ankle, did some twists with it and then I was up and moving again. It was a run/walk deal for the next 2 miles. I had no other option that start moving towards home. After about 2 miles of run/walk, I mostly ran the rest of the way to get in the 17 miles. It wasn't the prettiest. My cadence was off, but I got it done and only 6 minutes slower than my 16 mile run from the week before. Obviously something is moving in the right direction and I am keeping my pace better.

This Saturday is 18 miles and the 18th will be 20 miles. Woot! I have been running alone and without music. Your mind goes to some strange places while out there running long on your own. I have a Chi Running metronome too to help with my cadence - I am starting to get it. Sometimes, though, I tired of the metronome noise and turn it off. It does help you keep a rhythm and keep mindfully on the task of running. On the 18th my 20 will be with other people. It is a organized event - Revenge of the Penguins! Fun.

This Saturday and Sunday I am volunteering at the Nation's Triathlon. I had no interest in doing this race, so I decided to volunteer. I am working packet pick up on Saturday and then I have finish line area duties on Sunday. It should be fun.

Also - Saturday there is a blogger meet up for the DC area. I am hoping I can stop by at least on my way to volunteering. If you are in the DC area and what to join in on the fun - see below from Liz Runs DC:

As some of you saw on my blog or on twitter, I'm planning a blogger potluck picnic. I know some of you have already told me you can't come, but I wanted to include you on a DC email list for future meet-ups. Here is what I'm thinking for the meet-up. If a lot of people have conflicts we can schedule it for earlier in the day (but please not too early since I have a 16 miler that day!):
When - 9/11 at 1 pm
Where - Rock Creek Park. If we get enough people I can see if we can reserve one of the small pavilions, but otherwise let's plan on doing it old school (picnic blankets).
What - Potluck picnic. Everyone brings something to eat or drink, and some people bring blankets. Afterwards, people can run, bike or hike together in the park, but you'll probably be too full!
Please respond to the following:
Are you coming?
If so, what do you want to bring?
Do you want to be on emails for future meet-ups?
Feel free to post this on your blog as well because I'm sure there are other DC bloggers I don't know about. Thanks everyone!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Still Here! My life in bullets

58 days until MCM

Daughter started school yesterday. 8th grade!

I ran my longest run EVER last weekend - 16 miles. Wow. 13 of them were good miles the last 3 totally sucked!!! 17 miles are on the schedule this weekend

I have been on the bike and need to get on it more. 24 days to next triathlon and the course has hills.

Work is still super busy

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