Monday, September 27, 2010

Tie Dye Triathlon Race Recap

Yesterday was my final sprint triathlon for the season.  The YMCA of Norman hosts the Tie Dye Triathlon and it happens to be near my birthday so I refer to it as my Birthday Triathlon!!!  My sister and her family live in Norman and it is a great way for me to celebrate my birthday with them.  The race starts early on Sunday with packet pickup and transition setup at 6:00AM.  Walking out the door this year was quite the shocker with very cool temps and a lot of wind.  That made me nervous! Officials temps around my finish at 9:20 were still just 61 degrees and 13mph winds, but back to the race!

Brrrr...Fall is here!
The swim for the race is an indoor pool swim that is a snake style swim with racers starting every 15 seconds.  I had issues last year during the swim in that I got stuck behind people so I moved up my seed time to 8:55 for the 500yd swim.  I was hopeful that this would move me up in the starting order and also improve the swim experience.  I ended up with bib number 53...woohoo my wait time wouldn't be too long! Of course, just before the race start I had a last minute bathroom freak out.  My race nerves just got a hold of me and I had to make a mad dash for the potty.  With a pool swim you can't really take care of these things like you can in the lake! I hurried back just as my group was moving into the pool area.  It looked like people had seeded themselves pretty well.  There were a couple of clumps but things were moving quickly.  I jumped into the water and tried out a couple flip turns but just wasn't feeling comfy with them.  It took a couple lanes before I had my open turn and glide under the lane working smoothly.  If you haven't done a snake swim before here's how it swim on the left side of the lane and go up and down each lane going under the lane rope and moving down to the next lane after each 50.  Things worked quite smoothly for about 350 yds and then I started to catch up to the guy in front of me.  At one point I hit the wall near another competitor and quickly said something like "Dude, let me go" to him in order to pass him on the wall.  It really is only safe to pass in the middle of the pool since things are so crazy! For the last 3 laps, I was swimming right on the feet on #52.  As I started down the final lane a very strange thing happened.  Another competitor came out of nowhere and started to pass me on the inside of the lane.  Very strange! We ended up hitting the wall seconds after the two competitors in front of us.  Mr. Crazy Rush came off the wall and swam dolphin style under water to pass the three of us.  Totally strange and upsetting for me...if you mis-seeded yourself by that much then deal with it versus screwing up the rest of us.  See the pics below of our blowout match!

On to the bike...after a short run through the hallway and out to transition.  It was a longish run and the blast of cool air was really shocking! At the last minute, I had thrown in a long sleeve shirt and was glad to have that to put on before heading out on the bike.  My transition was a little slow but I think it was due to the long run.  I got started on the bike and quickly noticed that the headwind was going to be brutal.  The course includes a ride to a stretch that you go up/down/up and then head back to the Y.  The two ups and the course was straight into the headwind and it was brutal.  I was pushing but had to ride in a much lower gear than I normally would to be at race pace.  Once I made the turn on the first loop it was like I was in a wind-free heaven! I got passed a little on the bike and managed to catch and pass a couple people too so it was an even match for me!

The dismount and run into transition were funny because I realized my toes were frozen! I took the extra time to change into dry socks because I knew my feet would thank me! I made it to the run out and realized I didn't have my race belt on so I hightailed it back to my spot and grabbed it.  I headed out on the run and saw #55 just ahead of me.  I made him my rabbit and decided to try to catch up to him and use him as a pace buddy.  We talked about the crazy guy on the swim and about other races and stayed together through the 3K mark.  I had a bad side stitch and decided to take a quick walk break so I could get in some good deep breaths.  I got started back up and enjoyed seeing everyone on the is so great to pass along and receive a "good job" and it is one of the reasons I love this sport! One guy said "good job. relax" and it was actually really needed.  I was really stressing about having a side stitch and wanting to be done and needed the reminder to just relax and enjoy the moments.  I knew that with 1K left I was almost done! As with all races, I loved seeing the finish line and making it through another great race.

Heading into the finish line!
My time was 1 minute slower than last year but not bad considering how much more challenging the wind made the bike course.  My performance relative to the total number of women was better on the swim and bike but down on the run.  It was a little disappointing but I was happy to be around the top 26% for women in the race which is a much more competitive and larger metro area than where I live. 

Today I celebrated my birthday and was so happy to find out that I won Anne Marie's big Brooks giveaway for a pair of Brooks shoes and some new running shorts! What a great surprise for my birthday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

CVS Peas Cold Pack

I had a little clumsy moment yesterday and tripped over a piece of luggage as I was exiting a building.  I saw the woman leaving ahead of me but just didn't pay attention as she paused after getting through the door.  I was rushing to get back to the office and should have paid more attention to what was going on.  I fell pretty hard landing on the inside of my right knee.  I didn't get scraped up but did end up with a big knot on knee. 

Enter my favorite birthday present from my sister...the CVS Peas Cold Pack.  These came out a few years ago and are available at the CVS Pharmacy drug store.  They come in several different designs but I love the knee pack because it has a velcro strap that you can use to wrap around either your foot/ankle/or knee.  I keep my Peas packs in the freezer at all times, ready for any running injury.  They stay cold for up to 30-40 minutes though you should only ice for 20 minutes at a time.  They don't cause any skin burning sensations like icing with an ice bag can sometimes cause.  And the velcro strap means the ice pack will stay in place if you need to get up and move around. 

 *I did not receive any compensation for this review, just a product that I use and love!

Below is the description provided by CVS: Conforms when cold. Targeted relief for pain or swelling. Stays colder longer. Reusable. Flexible & form-fitting shape. Adjustable elastic straps. It's not just an old wives' tale. Frozen peas have been recommended by medical professionals for years, due to their unique ability to provide flexible cold treatment for swelling and joint pain. Now there's Peas therapy packs! Just like a bag of frozen peas, reusable Peas conform and soothe wherever cold therapy is needed. Innovative soft gel peas provide long lasting cold relief and mold to your contours for a comfortable, body hugging fit. Colorful gel-filled peas and form-fitting shape provide soothing relief. Slim profile for wear over or under clothing. Adjustable elastic straps secure cold pack around the knee. Soothing high-performance therapy for swelling or discomfort, strains and sprains, sports injuries, and bruises. Made in China. Buy Some CVS Peas Here!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lessons Learned

Monday is the Rush Hour Speed Workout hosted by Mike Rush of Rush Running.  I try not to skip out on the weekly speed workout because I'm not likely to get in a speed workout on my own.  There is something about suffering together that makes it so much easier!

I've been suffering from allergies lately and Monday was a little rough.  I was tired and had a horrible headache and just didn't think I could handle the workout.  I got to the track and my running partner Anne told me she was tired from her 22 mile training run on Sunday.  We both knew that we would need each other to make it through the workout and we weren't likely to hit the goal paces but we would try. 

Here's the workout:
1st set: 1000m at 10K, 1 min rest, 1000m at faster than 10K, 1 min rest, 1000m at 10K
1 1/2 min rest
2nd set: 800m at 5K, 30 sec rest, 800m at faster than 5K
1 min rest
3rd set: 400 m at mile, 30 sec rest, 400m at mile, 30 sec rest, 400m at mile

Anne and I covered the entire workout distance but made a couple of modifications.  We ran our 1000's at a little slower than 10K pace.  We chose to go straight through for 1600m then took a quick water break and then returned to finish up the remaining 1400m to hit the 3000m.  We did 1200 at just off 10K pace, then a faster 400m, took a water break, then did 800 at 10K, faster 400m, and a shuffle 200m.  We followed the rest of the workout pretty much as listed except we didn't go after mile pace on the first 400m.  We went for a fast 400m on the 2nd repeat and actually hit mile pace which we weren't expecting.  Our last 400m we decided to take the first 200 easy and then build over the last 200.  Somehow we managed a 1:57 which was crazy considering we were taking it easy for half the repeat!

My headache was worse when I was resting than it was while running.  I was glad to have a great final repeat but there was no way I could have matched that effort for the whole workout.  We got plenty of good pacing work during the workout and really stayed near 10K-5K pace throughout the entire workout. 

My lesson learned is that it helps to have a running partner who will support you and push you...especially on days when you are second guessing your abilities.  We take turns on the inside lap setting the pace and Anne has a killer kick that gets me nearly every time. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Conway CATS Sprint Triathlon Race Recap

If you haven't realized yet...I write long race recaps so grab a snack!

On Sunday, I competed in the CATS Sprint Triathlon in Conway.  The race was held at Lake Beaverfork and began at 8AM.  I wasn't able to go down early on Saturday and needed to do packet pickup on race morning.  It was so great that they actually offered race day packet pickup! There were four of us in town for the race including my friend Anjeanette and father/son duo Brent and Cole.  Anjeanette and I drove down together and shared a hotel room.  I had horrible race nerves and wasn't able to sleep the night before the race.

Race morning was a little cool and we had to break out the GPS to find the race site.  The location of our hotel was very close to the lake but we had to take a couple of goofy turns and it all seemed so confusing in the dark and on 4 hours of sleep! We pulled in and got parked and as we were walking towards the registration ran into Brent and Cole who beat us there by just a few minutes.  Check in went quickly and we were all done by 6:30 with the race not starting until 8:00. 

We proceeded to transition and got our bikes situated.  Brent and Cole had already picked bike racks and we chose a different rack that we thought would be easier to locate coming out of the water.  Below is a little comparison of my transition set up and another racer's.  Yep, that is a chair in transition!

We sat in the transition area for a little while before the pre-race meeting.  I was struggling to perk up and find some energy.  I contemplating curling up on the concrete for a little nap but decided that probably wasn't the best idea.  After the race meeting, we headed down to the swim beach.  The females were in the 3rd swim wave so we had some time to hang out.  AJ and I overheard some outstanding swim advice...if you breathe too much you'll cramp up! That cracked us up and we passed it along to Brent so that he could also enjoy a pre-race laugh.  For all three waves I noticed a lot of people lining up on the diagonal to the swim buoy.  I like to swim straight line to the buoy so I was really annoyed when people came swimming at me from the side since they weren't correcting to the line.  The swim was uneventful and went pretty well. 

I got on the bike and headed out of the transition area.  The bike course was an out-and-back that had some gentle rolling hills along the way.  It was fun to just push when I could and try to pass people when possible.  The course wasn't closed to traffic and there were a couple times when the cars were slowed on the road and I had to pass them on the right.  I didn't like that and felt very nervous passing them but couldn't slow down since it was a RACE!

I came off the bike and headed out on the run...squeaky shoes and all! The run included a short section through a baseball park complex.  The run was also an out-and-back and had a couple of small hills.  I was glad to see there were two water stops because the temps had warmed up and it was actually toasty during the sunny portions of the run.  It was fun to see my friends and get to cheer them on during the run.  I finished up the race feeling like I had a little left in the tank and probably should have run faster.  Other than that, I was really happy with my performance.

Here's a picture hint...I'm holding a medal!
My race time was 1hr 31 min 52 sec.  The race was a 500m swim, 15mi bike, and 3.2mi run.  (Not sure why there was the extra 1/10th on the run!) I was really nervous going into the race and wanted to do well.  I had entered in the Athena division and the awards were announced in a random order.  My age group was announced and I would have smoked the competition...and I had no clue who was in the Athena so I was second guessing what I had entered!  AJ's age group was next and she won it! They then moved into some of the men's age group awards and Cole won his age group. 

The race director realized he had skipped Clydesdale and Athena so he went back to those divisions.  He started with third place and my time was faster, then second place and it wasn't got it...I won the Athena Division!!! Finally, we were waiting for Brent's age group to be announced.  He was expecting second place and we were all excited for him when he placed first! Not bad for our group and we were all excited.  We celebrated by stopping at WhattaBurger in Russellville on the way home. 
Four First Place Finishes: Cole, Me, Anjeanette, and Brent

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wow, it's been 10 years!

Tonight I finalized plans to attend my 10 year College reunion! I know...most colleges don't have reunions but I went to a small, liberal arts school called Augustana and we have reunions in 5 and 10 year increments.  I have changed so much since college and would never have imagined that someday I would have completed triathlons and as many races as I have!
Cheer Days (4th from the left in the back row)

In college, I was a moderate exerciser.  I had been a dancer growing up and that was my main form of exercise.  I was on the cheer squad for my first 2-3 years of school and kept in decent dance/cheer shape for that.  As a small school, we weren't a competitive style cheer squad.  We did dance routines and partner stunt work but nothing like what you see on the ESPN cheer competitions.  For the liberal arts requirements to graduate I had to take two HPER classes.  I took Yoga for a semester and I took swimming for another (I never thought that I would swim much ever after that though!) I think I also took a weight lifting class somewhere in there too.  Occasionally I would join friends for aerobics classes or even some short runs...remember carrying your Walkman while running? It was a yellow sport version if you had the same one as me!
Graduation Day with Ole the Viking

I graduated in 2000 and moved to Washington, DC.  My sister began training for a marathon and asked for company on some of her runs.  She still loves to tell people how much I hated to sweat when I started running.  In 2001, I decided to train for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.  I didn't expect to get hooked on running.  I ran lots of different races throughout the next 4 years and returned to Augie in 2005 for my 5 year reunion.  Now 5 more years later, I have begun road biking and picked back up on swimming.  I have had fun learning about triathlon and have discovered that it is a sport that pushes me in new ways compared to running. 

10 years ago as I left Augie, I really would never had guessed that I would be training for and completing triathlons and races.  I hated lakes and would never have contemplated going for a swim in the open water.  I've always loved going fast on the road but never would have pictured doing so outside the comforts of a car.  No, I can't actually pedal my bike quite to the 75mph speed limit that I always loved about South Dakota highways but I do love a good hard pedal and seeing how fast I can go! It's just so much fun to look back and realize what I've accomplished and how I've pushed myself to try new sports and grow.  I'm really looking forward to the reunion weekend and catching up with my college friends. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy 101 Award

So the Happy 101 award is circulating through the Bloggy World! Pahla at Adventures of An Average Athlete tagged me.  Pahla has a fun blog and you should check her out!

The Happy 101 Award rules are to list 10 things that make you happy and tag additional bloggers to pass the award along. 

Happy 101:
1) My big sisters! I love having such great sisters who support me in all that I do!

4th of July Bowling last year with my sisters, brother-in-law and my niece and nephew!
2) Family - in addition to my awesome sisters, I'm lucky to have a great family and extended family.
3) My niece and nephew...they are so much fun and I can always give them back to their moms at the end of the day!
4) family would question my honesty if I didn't list chocolate in my top 5!
5) Hershey - while she is named after chocolate, Hershey is my dog!
6) My training partners...I'm so lucky to have such awesome friends and training partners.  They push me to improve and they celebrate my successes with me!

Some of my favorite training partners: Britt, AJ, Kyla, and me.
7) Pedicures - I love a good pedicure except after a long run...lesson learned on that one!
8) Reading...I go through spurts but I love getting into a good book and will always buy the newest Clive Cussler book when they come out.
9) Racing - I'm so happy to have discovered triathlon and it has been a relief to have swimming and biking to supplement my running.
10) Cooking - I love to cook and try out new recipes. 

So to pass along the fun...

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ozark Open Water Swim Race Recap

Saturday was the Ozark Open Water Swim at Hickory Creek park on Beaver Lake.  Hickory Creek is towards the southern end of the lake and is somewhere I had never been to swim before.  The weather had taken a huge cooldown and I woke up Saturday morning to an air temp around 54 degrees.  Brrrrrr!!!

A Chilly Race Morning!
The swim offered three distances to choose from 1K, 2K, or 4K (.6mi, 1.2mi, or 2.4mi.) The swim benefits one of the local youth club swim teams.  One of the event sponsors was Proctor & Gamble so the schwag bag was full of goodies! Registration was pretty easy except for one little annoyance...the park entry fee was not included in the cost of registration.  As you got body marked, the volunteers asked for your $3 park entry fee since Beaver Lake is part of the state park system.  I think for a registration of $30 they could cover that fee for you. 

Check out the race schwag!
The air temps were chilly but you could tell the water wasn't going to be all that cold from the steam coming off the lake.  My friend Anjeanette was doing the race too.  Neither one of us wanted to take off our street clothes until the last possible minute.  We loaded up one bag with our towels and things and headed down to the lake shore.  Several of the Masters Swimmers that I know from the pool were there and a strong showing of local triathletes too.  It was fun to catch up with everyone while we waited for the race to start.

The race was an in-water start and was an out and back course.  The 4K racers simply did the course twice.  I took a few seconds pause after the whistle start to let the melee clear out some.  It helps to wait just a second or two if you don't like getting kicked or trampled in the water! My sighting on the way out to the turn was great but once we made the turn I struggled a little since the sun was in my eyes.  I was near someone at pretty much all times but didn't feel crowded or get run into that much. 

The race finish line...and the long run out of the water!
I came into the finish knowing that we had walked out 25ft or so before starting...meaning a run out of the lake to finish.  I was in line with another participant for the last .4mi or so and we both popped up at the same time to start running into the beach.  He totally kicked my butt...I just wasn't comfortable running with all the rocks and things in the water.  Either way, it was a lot of fun and we both got a chuckle out of the finish. 

It's all Good even if I was outsprinted out of the water! Need to work on lake exits!
The age groupers (kids race) started just after I finished so it was fun to watch them all start.  Those kids can swim like fish! We watched for a little while and then headed up to the restrooms to change into dry clothes.  I think my finish time was around 44 minutes for 1.2 miles which I'm really happy with.  I was doing the race for exercise and didn't really realize that it was a race until that morning. 
Post race with Anjeanette