Monday, October 31, 2011

Holiday Season Challenges

If you are like me, every year you go into the holiday season planning to get a jump start on new year's resolutions and not gain weight.  Two of our fellow bloggers are here to help!

Amanda over at Run To The Finish is hosting the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge.  I participated in this last year and had a great time.  Amanda has established point values for different types of activity and eating habits. You track your points for the duration of the challenge and have the chance to win random prizes.  There are also opportunities to get bonus points by doing fun things.  New to the challenge this year is to select your activity level as either a Builder, Doer, or Advanced.  I was amazed last year to see how many points some people earned so I'm excited to have the levels this year since someone training at a much higher level is going to earn way more points than someone training to maintain fitness.  The HBBC runs November 19 - January 6 and you still have plenty of time to sign up. 

Mary at Fit this, girl! just announced her own challenge today.  Her challenge is called the Reverse Resolution Challenge.  Mary is a fun blogger to follow and I'm excited to try out her challenge this year.  For this one, Mary asks you to commit to two resolutions (or goals) and then select three measurable actions to accomplish during the challenge.  The challenge will run November 1 - January 1 and each week Mary will send out two emails to the participants with helpful tips and ideas for improving fitness.  You commit to report in via email to Mary each week on how you are doing against your goals and action items. 

I think these two challenges will work well together and hopefully provide me with that extra bit of motivation for the next two months.  My goals are to rediscover my fitness and build my long run back up to a 10 mile distance by January.  My second goal is to try to lose 10 lbs by January.  I have definitely let my fitness slip in the last month since completing my half ironman and losing a few extra pounds would be awesome!

If you want to join either challenge, visit the links above.  Both are offering some great prizes and even better the motivation and inspiration to tackle those January resolutions a little early!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Week Be Gone - Vacation Recap

I just got back from a vacation to Islamorada in the Florida Keys.  A friend of mine lives there and asked me to come visit sometime ago.  I finally booked a trip and took a long weekend to get away and catch up on some rest and relaxation. 

Don't worry...I survived this lobster attack!
Laura lives just a block away from Founders Park which is a great city park.  Laura loves to walk and usually does a four mile walk each day.  We headed out Saturday morning for a little workout.  I did the first loop walking with Laura and then ran 3 loops on my own and caught up to her for her 4th lap.  I think I got in about 5 miles and then we walked about a mile to pick up our bikes from the night before.  Friday night we rode bikes to Marker 88 for drinks and then ended up heading to a restaurant for dinner via a taxi (leaving our bikes behind.) So altogether I got in around 6 miles for the day!

The trail at Founder's Park!

Yes, this car has eyelashes.  Just some of the fun scenery on the trail.
On Monday, we headed out to walk and did 4 miles around the park.  We took a few minutes to play on the walking trail strength training stations.  Laura is trying to increase her ability to do pullups so I showed her how to utilize another piece of equipment for a modified pullup to help her build up to more regular style pullups.  Mind you I can't do a single pullup but I know what exercises I should be doing to build the strength for them.  Maybe I should listen to myself!

Tourist Things:
I visited the Theater of the Sea which is a marine park.  When you arrive, you join the show that is in progress as they are all on a set schedule.  They offer a trained parrot show, dolphin show, and a sea lion show.  There is also a guided marine animal tour and a nature walk.  I loved the dolphin show and watching how much fun the dolphins were having doing their tricks.  The sea lion show was also really cute.  I love animals and it is so much fun to see them show off their personalities!

Hello, how cute! Impressive iPhone photography if I don't say so!

Making friends with one of the parrots!
Another fun stop was visiting Robbie's Marina which is known for its tarpon feeding docks.  The tarpon fish are huge and you get a bucket of small fish to feed them with.  We ran into some of Laura's neighbors at the marina and Roman volunteered to teach me how to feed the fish.  I'm a little squirmy sometimes and was really grossed out touching the dead fish but I held them by the tail and it wasn't too bad.  I dangled the fish above the water and was encouraged to get closer to the water...when all of sudden the tarpon jumped and gobbled it up.  It scared the crap out of me! Only problem was I still had a bucket full of fish to use.  When I was done I was so happy to wash my hands!

And the Rest of the Fun:
My running partner Anne moved to Miami over the summer much to my disappointment! Her birthday was over the weekend and her husband reached out about meeting up for lunch on Sunday.  It was so much fun to surprise her at Alabama Jack's in Key Largo for lunch.  Anne was so confused at first and thought I had just randomly run into Danny at the restaurant. 

Danny, Me, and Anne! Great friends that I miss a ton:(
The weather wasn't the warmest and the water was choppy but I had a great time relaxing on the beach with Laura.  It was great to listen to the sound of the water and read a book. 

Nothing tops sitting by the water for relaxing.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Fame of Hannah

 A few days ago, I was discussing an upcoming baby shower that we are throwing for my friend Kyla with her.  She is having her first baby in early December! We were talking through the invite list and trying to go through the various groups of people to include...running friends, biking friends, and swimming friends.  When we went through the swimming friends list I asked if Hannah 150's should be invited. You see, I have only met Hannah once but I have heard her name so many times because the Hannah 150 is named after her and it is a staple in our swim workouts. 

Fast forward to tonight and I joined my friend Kyla for a swim workout at her gym.  Normally I don't swim with her during the week so it was fun to see different people in the pool in the after work crowd.  There was some interesting form going on that's for sure!

Kyla and I didn't have a plan to follow.  Our goal was to have an easy and relaxing swim workout since we had a meet on Saturday and then a tough swim on Sunday.  We got started with easy warm-up after spending a few minutes trying to catch the attention of our friend Brent who was already in the middle of a workout when we got there.  Kyla even threw a pool buoy at him and he didn't notice! He finally took a rest break and we were able to say hi!

After swimming a few hundred for warm-up we did a kick set alternating different kick strokes.  Then it was time to start the workout and Hannah 150's were on deck! The Hannah 150 is made up of a 50-free, 50-stroke, 50-free.  These can be done on whatever interval you want and are usually done in IM order for the middle stroke section.  I don't know the full story behind them or when they were officially decreed as the Hannah 150 but in the 2-3 years I have been swimming with my friends they have always referred to this set that way.  I think Hannah used to regularly swim with the group and this was her favorite interval to recommend. 

Anyway, tonight we did a set of 6 - Hannah 150's and I did mine in IM order but by 25's instead of 50's.  So for the first interval I did 25-fly, 25-back. Then on the second one I did 25-back, 25-breast.  We went on a 3:00 minute clock which was a little slow for Kyla but gave me a little more rest.  I used to always swim these as straight free while the group did the stroke work so it is a big change for me to tackle the stroke work in the set. 

Back to the baby shower, before we decided on doing the Hannah 150's for our workout Kyla told me that after our conversation about the invite list on Monday she reached out to Hannah and told her that I had asked if "Hannah 150" should be invited! Too cute and now you all can share in spreading Hannah's fame by taking her interval to your pool too. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Post-Workout Recovery Treat!

Today I want to share with you one of my favorite recovery products...
Promised Land Dairy Reduced Fat Midnight Chocolate Milk
Promised Land Midnight Chocolate Milk is available in a 2% and Whole Milk formulas.  IT is the best chocolate milk, hands down!  

I have long been a fan of chocolate milk and have tasted everything out there and the first time I tried this I was sold.  I have shared the discovery with my sister because chocolate milk is a special treat that she always stocks at her house when I visit so that I can share a treat with my nephew!  I prefer the 2% formula just for the lower calories (170 vs 240 calories) and fat content (5g vs 10g.)

Promised Land Dairy promises Heavenly Taste from the land of milk and honey from Pampered Jersey cows! Their products are made without artificial hormones or antibiotics for an all natural product.  This appeals to me and is an added bonus on top of a great tasting product. 

Below is the description of the product from their website:

2% - Now enjoy the rich taste of Midnight Chocolate with reduced fat, for a wholesome indulgence you can feel good about.
Original - Decadent. Rich. Do they describe your chocolate milk? Our award-winning Midnight Chocolate is loaded with all-natural flavor, but has no artificial colors or hormones, for a wholesome indulgence you can enjoy naturally. 

I have found Promised Land chocolate milk at my local Wal-Mart Supercenter but you can check their website to find a retailer that carries it near you. Check it out next time you are looking for chocolate milk for that perfect recovery treat after a hard workout.

*I was not paid or compensated in any way for this review.  The opinions expressed are mine after purchasing and tasting the product.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Arkansas Masters Indoor Swim Meet

Today the Arkansas Masters Swim Club hosted an indoor meet at the Walton Life Fitness Center.  This is a corporate fitness center and we were very lucky that the organizers were able to secure the facility for the meet.  It is a great pool and we had a great turnout of around 27 people for the meet. 

My good friends Kyla, Carie, Brent, and Lori were also competing.  Brent and Lori were also part of the organizing committee for the meet so they were also working as starters and officials.  There were some other friends at the meet but also some people that travelled from Oklahoma City and Tulsa to compete. 

If you are familiar with Masters then you know that you can sign up for just 5 individual events in a meet.  There were 17 different events in the meet today and I selected four to compete in.  I had decided early on to compete in the 100 and 500 yd free events.  I was never a swim team member and this is only my second swim meet as an adult.  I branched out and decided to add on the 50 back which unfortunately was immediately after the 100 free.  I also polled my friends and decided to enter the 100 IM event.

We started off the meet with easy warm-up.  I practiced my flip turns even doing several backstroke turns to just make sure I could handle it for the 50 yd back! At the end of the warm-up time, Carie and Kyla talked me through how to do a backstroke start.  I tried it a couple times using the starting block but my start just looked like a back belly flop.  I tried it by holding on to the edge of the pool and that worked a little better and I was able to get an arch in my back for the start.  I did one dive start from the edge and did a very easy 25 fly to practice for the IM.  The starting blocks at the Fitness Center are really tall and I'm very nervous about using them so I planned to do my dive starts from the edge of the pool instead. 

First up for me was the 100yd free.  I was in Heat 1 with Carie next to me.  It was great to have a friend and training partner next to me to calm my nerves.  Kyla captured this video of me doing the 100 free!  I submitted an entry time of 1:41 and was shocked to swim a 1:22:04. 

My second event was the 50yd backstroke.  I didn't get a huge rest between the two events and it was tough.  I swam an easy 50 between the two to try to keep my legs warm but it was tough to have such a short break between events even though I was in the 2nd heat.  I submitted a time of 50 or 55 sec for this one and managed to swim 43.68 seconds.  I did okay on my flip turn but felt like I was swallowing a ton of water and drowning on the 2nd half of the 50:(

My third event was the 500yd freestyle.  I was in the first heat for this event and thought I would be swimming next to Kyla.  But when we were on deck we realized that they had changed the heat assignments and Kyla was moved into the 2nd heat.  The challenge for this event was keeping track of the number of laps.  They forgot to have volunteers do the lap counters for the first heat so we were on our own.  I submitted a 9:00 time on my registration and again beat my expectation with a time of 8:09:89!!! I was really proud of my time for this event and know that I worked hard for it. 

My final event was the 100 yd IM and I was in heat 2.  I don't do a ton of stroke work so this distance appealed to me because it was just 25 yd of each stroke.  That is the perfect distance for my butterfly skill level!

I did my dive start from the edge and then started on the fly.  Just last week Carie showed me what she calls the survival fly which has a long recovery on the front of the stroke.  I have rhythm challenges with my dolphin kick so I tried to use this to slow down and cover the distance. 

If you open the pic bigger, you can see me doing fly!
Next up was the back stroke which went a lot better than the 50 where I felt like I was drowning. 

At the end of the backstroke, I counted strokes from the flags and then flipped to my stomach to hit the wall and turn into the breast stoke. 

My breast stroke went well and before I knew I was sprinting in the final 25 yds of freestyle. 

My predicted time was 2:00 and I finished in 1:35:31.  There was just one little problem...Carie was watching my heat and she noticed that I did something illegal during my turn between backstroke and breast stroke.  Apparently, you are not allowed to fully turn onto your stomach.  So I should have been DQ'd for the 100 IM but since there weren't any starts/turns officials today I didn't get DQ'd.  The only problem is that I know I messed up so I'm pretty bummed about it.  Kyla and Carie tried to explain what I did wrong to me but I still don't know how exactly I messed up.  Needless to say...we'll be practicing IM turns for sure. 

Overall, the swim meet was a great event and I had a good time participating.  The meet souvenir was a super soft cotton long sleeve shirt with the Arkansas Masters club logo on the front of it.  The club also hosted a social after the meet with yummy lasagna and salad.  I was bummed about my 100 IM issue but even with that little hiccup I was super proud of all my times in the events.   Doing this swim meet was outside my comfort zone but having so many great friends also swimming made it a great time. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Redman Misc Items

One of the reasons that I selected Redman Half Ironman as my first 70.3 race was because it was super close to my birthday and near my sister and her family.  I knew that they would be awesome supporters to have cheering my on during the race! Even better news was that my Dad and Stepmom also came to cheer on the race.  I was able to score 2 birthday celebrations with cupcakes and ice cream cake.  My sister is great at spoiling me and you can't top the fun of time with my niece and nephew.  My niece even managed her first few steps during the race weekend.  

Something fun about the race was that they had motivational signs all along the run course.  There were even math problems written in sidewalk chalk along the route.  My favorite quotes from the signs were:
"Don't sweat the petty stuff and don't pet the sweaty stuff."
"We know you peed your pants. That's okay."
"I bet you wish you had your bike back now."

Something fun that we did as a family was have race weekend shirts made.  We wore the shirts for my race and also my sister and brother-in-law's race the next day.  Our shirt says Alright^3 otherwise known as Alright, Alright, Alright.  Hopefully you can hear Matthew McConaughey saying that from Dazed and Confused because that just makes it so much better!

Below are some of my favorite pics from the race/birthday weekend!

Pre-race dinner and birthday celebration #1! Cupcakes!!!
The family that cheers together and races together!
My dad, Stepmom, nephew Gavin, sister Lindsey, brother-in-law Tim, and niece Livia.
Getting the cheering supplies ready!
More cowbell, Debby!
Gavin helping me pick out post-race food!
Tim, my sherpa
Post race awful unattractive photo that my dad took.  My dog is
is the big one sleeping above my head. My sister's dog who claims me as her
personal property is laying along side me.   
Post-race dinner and Birthday celebration #2! Ice cream cake!!!

Redman Half Ironman - The Run

To finish up my race recap of the Swim, the Bike, and now the Run!

I got started on the run and realized I might have dinked around a little bit on the bike.  My time was in line with my expectation but I got started on the run feeling really good.

Only 13.1 miles to go!!!
That good feeling didn't last that long...maybe 6 minutes! It was about noon when I started on the run and the temps were definitely warm.  I didn't notice the heat on the bike but it was really warm and sunny out.  I loved seeing the people around the race site but there really weren't many spectators out on the course.  The course is a very flat out and back loop.  There were plenty of water stations along the route and they were really well stocked.  The volunteers on the run course were absolutely amazing...they all made sure to call out to you by name as they got the drinks and snacks you requested. 

All smiles for the camera
My overall goal for the run was to stick to a run/walk plan but unfortunately my plan became more of a walk/run plan.  My Garmin died as I was finishing the first loop of the course.  It lasted to the 6 mile mark and I passed it off to my sister.  I wore a water belt and really didn't need it other than for holding my nutrition. 

Starting loop 2 of the race
The second loop of the course was a little slower than the first but I tried to stay positive.  I was suffering from blisters on my left foot and it was really hard to not think about them.  I tried to keep a quick pace going when I was walking and resorted to counting people to get myself to run longer than my brain wanted to go before taking a walk break. 

Passing off my water belt.
I was really excited to see the final water stop and know that I was about 1 mile out from the finish.  I started seeing other athletes returning to their cars with their medals and finisher shirts and knew that I was close to being a finisher!!! It was motivating and emotional at the same time.  I got a little choked up and had to tell myself "don't cry about it, just do it."  I pulled it together before seeing my family around the 1/2 mile out mark.  My sister came out to meet me and I passed my water belt on to her and told her that I was hurting.  After that I picked it up and talked myself into making it to the finish strong.  My dad had to sprint in order to capture my finish line photo! As I made my way down the finisher chute, the announcer called out my name and told everyone that I was celebrating my birthday and was a first time finisher.  It felt so great to hear all the support and cheers. 

Rocking a single arm fist pump as I finished!

All smiles coming down the chute!

I liked that the course were out and back loops.  It meant that you got to see other racers a lot.  It's amazing how helpful it is to have someone else cheer you on during their race and to return the favor to them.  The racers weren't that talkative during the bike portion but people were much more friendly and talkative on the run.  A negative to the course is that there is no shade whatsoever on this course.  It is a sunny course and I got quite the sunburn on my scalp from it. 
My sister Lindsey, Me, and my Dad!
After finishing, we were given our medals and a finisher's shirt.  The finish tent included the post race food selection and was connected to the medical tent.  Thankfully I didn't need those services! I didn't feel too bad except for my sore feet.  I got slightly sick feeling but it was mostly a feeling of I'm really hungry but nothing sounds good feeling.  On the way home, my awesome brother-in-law and race sherpa Tim took me to McDonald's for a Happy Meal!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Redman Half Ironman - The Bike

Continuing my race recap from The Swim.  I entered transition and got started getting ready for the bike.  I sprayed some sunscreen on and watched it run down my arms.  I was worried that I would get sun burnt but I tried to rub it in and deal with it! I put on my shoes, helmet, bike gloves, and sunglasses and was ready to go.  I had opened my gel chews earlier when I set up transition so I didn't have to mess with any of that. I got my bike off the rack and proceeded to the bike out. 

I hit the line and saw my brother-in-law and cheerleader Tim and my friend Mandy's mom.  I said hi to both and clipped in and was off! The first few miles of the bike course were on a road that circled around the lake.  I took things easy on this stretch to get my legs turning over and tried to settle into a good pace.  The next few miles were on some major roads and had a lot of police support to keep the athletes safe.  It was very reassuring to know how well they took care of us! I tried to say thank you to all the volunteers and police officers working the turns and intersections but I know that I missed a bunch.

In the pre-race meeting, they explained the aid station procedure.  The liquids would be given out via hand ups from the volunteers.  This freaked me out since I hadn't actually practiced this and had done all of my training with rest stops.  I had polar bottles on my bike and there was no way that I was going to toss those.  My friend Britt had given me a couple of tips...slow way way down and watch for tossed bottles on the road.  I rolled into the first aid station and almost forgot to slow down enough to take the bottle.  I grabbed a water bottle from the next volunteer and took a few big swigs from it and then tossed the bottle at the end of the aid station.  Mission accomplished!!!

The bike course wasn't too bad for the most part except for a section of the route that was trashed.  The roads were awful in this section and the road was basically painted orange with pothole and rough road markings.  You had to watch the road because the line was constantly changing in order to avoid the rough patches.  This section of road was on an out and back section of the course so you got to experience it twice...yippee! I took a bottle of Gatorade on my way back through this section and stored it in one of my back pockets on my shirt.  I spent the next 8-10 miles worrying that it was going to fall out of my pocket and get me an abandonment penalty. 

This definitely impacted me and I chose to stop at the mile 42 aid station to put water into my bottle versus sticking a bottle in my back pocket.  The ladies at the aid station were super nice to me.  I pulled up and had my bottle lid already off and was holding it with my teeth.  It was an attractive look, I'm sure! I unclipped and stood over the bike and then squeezed the water directly into the bottle still in the cage.  Then I screwed the lid back on while the aid station volunteer removed the old Gatorade bottle from my back pocket.  I was out of there within 30 seconds tops!

Around mile 49 I realized I came pretty close to missing a turn on the course.  Luckily a couple of riders passed me just before the turn and so I saw them move over in the road to prepare for the turn.  It kind of scared me that I wasn't paying as much attention to the race so I definitely turned it up a notch after that turn.  Around mile 52 I could see ahead that we were almost back to the lake road.  I got a little choked up for a bit just overwhelmed that I was doing it and getting this race done. 

Overall I liked the bike course.  It was fun on the out and back sections to see all my friends on the course.  The route was mostly flat with some slight inclines...nothing long or steep just a nice little elevation change.  We got lucky and the Oklahoma winds weren't too crazy.  The only negative besides the crappy section of road was that the course wasn't very spectator friendly.  There were a few small groups of spectators out on the course but it was pretty much the racers on the road and that was it. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Redman Half Ironman - The Swim

Redman, on September 24th, was my first half ironman distance triathlon.  I was a diligent reader of the pre-race guide and showed up at registration on Friday ready to check in all my gear for the race.  I was quite happily surprised that it was only the full distance racers that would have to prepare and check in gear bags.  Registration was a very smooth process and didn't take very long at all.  There were mandatory athlete meetings which really covered basic information.  I didn't learn that much except for a couple of road hazards that we would encounter on the bike course.  I took a few minutes during the mandatory meeting to shop the expo booth while it was deserted!

The race would start on Saturday at 7:15 for the full distance racers.  There would be a 15 minute wait and then the start of the half distance waves.  My favorite comment from the athlete meeting was that as athletes we were too healthy for the close in parking spaces.  The race urged us to use the athlete parking lot 1 mile away so that our family and friends would have access to the easier/closer parking.  While this is no big deal before the race...that mile walk back after covering 70.3 miles was a little slow! It also meant that I needed to adjust my timing in the morning to allow enough time to get to the race site and walk from parking.

I knew quite a few others at the race which was a huge help and confidence boost! For the ladies, there was me, Mandy, Pauline, and Kayle.  For the guys, there was Mark, Cord, Jon, Ty, and Randy.  I also noticed a fellow athlete with the same transition bag and discovered she was also from NWA! There were some others that I recognized from local events but didn't know...either way there was quite a crew of racers from NWA at the Redman event. 

Still sleepy, not quite sure I'm ready, you name it I was feeling it!
Race Morning:
My official race sherpa was my brother in law Tim.  Normally my sister accompanies to the start of races and then Tim comes later with the kids.  This time he had asked to come early and he didn't even regret it when I said we would be leaving super super early.  It was a 30 minute drive to the race site and we got there right around 5:30 when transition was opening. 

I went into transition and got my set up done.  All of the racks were assigned by race number which made things really easy plus we had checked in our bikes during registration on Friday.  I was a little nervous but overall not too bad.  I kept feeling like I was forgetting things and like I didn't have my set up right.  Of course, I visited the porta potties several times! I never understand why people put their wetsuits on soooo early because they really slow down the potty line and you would think they would learn. 

A few minutes before the full distance start, I went ahead and put on my wetsuit.  Tim had to help out with the zipper and of course he took a very unattractive photo of me putting on the wetsuit. 

Not Cool, Tim!
Much better! Ready to race!!!

The swim is held in Lake Hefner which is only open for swimming for this race.  The lake level was really low so the organizers had modified the swim to a triangle with a long mud run to transition.  They were able to carpet a lot of the run otherwise it would have been a total mess.  Another issue was that some of the buoys had moved off course and even though the organizers explained it to us it didn't make much sense. 

Mandy, Me, Pauline, and Kayle! It was Pauline's 2nd 70.3, but the first for the rest of us!
The athletes were congregated inside transition waiting for each wave to be called.  As a group, the wave would then walk down to the lake edge with the beautiful chords of a bagpipe playing.  As we were waiting to get into the water, I told the girls that I had to pee and they encouraged me to warm up my wetsuit.  It felt goofy but I figured there wasn't that much of a difference between that and waiting until I was in the water! On a side note, later I would see a sign on the run course that read "We know you peed your pants and it's okay!" Too funny!

When we finally entered the water we discovered just how difficult the mud was as we sunk mid-way up our calves in mud holes. 
If you look closely, you can see all the ladies have their arms out for balance walking into the lake.
 I put on my goggles and immediately discovered that it was going to be a rough swim...they were fogging up super badly and I really couldn't see through them to sight.  Lesson learned...always Foggle my goggles in advance! I accepted that it was going to be challenging and got ready for the shotgun blast to signify our start. 

I took off and tried to settle into a rhythm.  I was with people for a while and then all of sudden I wasn't.  I popped up and took my goggles off to see where I was and I was so far off course.  I assumed at this point that I had missed the first turn because of where I was in relation to the other swimmers.  I was pretty pissed with myself and wasted energy trying to get back into the pack.  I finally got in with the pack and we reached a turn buoy and I was thinking great I'm back in the game and only 1/3 left. 

Imagine my surprise when I spot another white turn buoy...yep still a ways to go since I was only on the 2nd leg of the triangle.  I had to keep stopping and moving my goggles in order to sight and find landmarks along the shore to focus on.  It was such a great feeling to finally see the big arch over the transition come into focus and realize I was almost done with my swim. 

The first leg of the swim course...just try to figure out the buoy line!
I was so upset with my self because I felt like I swam so much extra distance over the whole swim due to my foggy goggles and horrible sighting.  The race organizers had about 6 orange buoys on the first arm of the triangle but they weren't in a straight line.  Between the first turn buoy and second there were no sight line buoys.  Between the second turn buoy and the swim finish, there were no sight line buoys.  It was just a tough setup!

I swam until my fingers touched the mud because I knew how tough the mud was to walk out of the lake.  There were volunteers standing in the mud who helped me stand up and start to get my wetsuit down to waist level.  The walk out of the lake was really slippery from all the athletes so I walked slowly until I could get to a spot that was carpeted.  I ran up the carpet to the wetsuit strippers where I was quickly helped in getting my wetsuit off.  They also had kiddie pools there to help clean off our feet. 

From there, I headed to my bike rack and got myself ready to tackle the bike.  I had no clue of my swim time and just knew that I felt good except wished I had stayed on course.  I checked around me and saw that some of my friends were still swimming so maybe my swim wasn't as bad as I thought. 

Swim results: 42:53
Up next: The Bike!