27.6.12

Fizzle Out

I'm not sure I've wanted to write a blog post less than this one. But, how can I not talk about my very first triathlon experience? I could totally pretend it didn't happen - which is actually what I want  to do, but then you'd probably just call me a big cry baby. And I am. I'm the first to admit it. I should probably be living some high of doing something pretty challenging and new, but I'm not. I guess I've been having what I'd deem a pretty successful year so not hitting my goals is a huge mental set back.

I don't hate triathlon and I will do another one. It's just that next time I need to focus on me a bit more. Mostly I'm sitting here really mad at myself for decisions I made that ultimately affected my performance. I suck at not living up to my own expectations - not anyone elses, mine. And having only myself to blame for the outcome of the race is hard. So, because I don't want to dwell on it, and you just want the gritty details anyways here's the synopsis.
Tri Family - Aunt Kath, Hubby, cousin Tricia, Me, Dave, cousin Christine

Because the race was out-of-town we opted for a hotel room and left Coach M with my mom at my aunt's house. Smart. Lights out at 10 - asleep at who-knows-when. I didn't really sleep. Wake up call 5:30 am - I was already staring at the alarm clock anyways. Quick load up of the bikes and gear, out the door by 5:50 to get to the Starbucks that said it was open at 5:30. It wasn't. (Curse word).  Have I mentioned I'm starving?


Family Photo Pre-Race
Bikes racked and transitions are set up by 6:10. The weather seems to be holding and the forecasted showers seem to be willing to wait until after the race is over. Meet w/ the family, get a bit excited, get numbered, get timing chip, and state to hubby that I'm getting hangry - off to the car to eat breakfast for 6:35 so we're back for the pre-race meeting at 6:45. At this point hubby and I should have left to get coffee but we didn't. We headed into the pool w/ the rest of the family and watched swimmers until it was finally our turn at 10am. I tried to listen to some music but I felt really rude. I ate an apple at about 8:15 but should have really walked to the car to get more food as I knew we still had a while to wait. Mistake which ultimately lead to a crappy run.

Hanging out in the pool pre-race - I took my headphones off for the shot.
My Aunt - She's got such a great sense of humor about things including her race number.


Hubby and I were originally slotted to be in the same heat/lane but were able to change. Good for him. Not for me. I ended up swimming w/ a dude doing breast stroke the entire time and who refused to let me pass for a couple lengths. I spent so much mental energy worrying about him I didn't get to focus on my swim. Mistake which ultimately lead to a 18 minute swim instead of the 15-16 minute mark which I'm more than capable of.

T1 went fantastic. Both transitions were probably the best part of the race. They went smooth as I visualized and I had great access to both the bike exit/entry and the run exit. I guess something had to go good. All in all I spent less than 4 minutes in transitions and considering the lengthy mount/dismount runs both from pool to bike and bike to road I think that's pretty fair.

Leaving T1

The bike was probably the best part of the race in terms of performance. I didn't hit my goal time but I did maintain a high cadence through out which was one of my main goals. I passed and got passed. I killed the hill for sure climbing really well but have some speed work to do on the flats. The wind was no help but everyone had it so not much I could do about that.

Cheer Squad - Coach M and her cousin Coach A, who after the race said to her mommy (Tricia) - I don't want to watch you race ever again. No reason, just 2.5 year old logic.


I grabbed some electrolyte mix leaving for the run, swigged a bit then tossed it to my cheering family. But in hindsight I should have grabbed my apple juice. About 500m into the run I knew I needed calories. Pushing as hard as I could I managed to pass a few runners which helped my spirits some but did nothing for my actual energy levels. I passed hubby as he was on the run back and he looked strong. So now it was just me on the course, the last of the family. This somehow defeated me mentally; It made me feel slow and like they were waiting for me. Which they were. High fives from my cousin's daughter and Coach M helped give me that final push to the finish line. All in all I was the 9th fastest female runner but it was by far my slowest 5km time in a long while.

Heading out on the run


Here are my results from the women only.

Place-12/117; 6/41-F3039; Swim: 65th-17:53 Bike*: 16th-46:35; Run: 9th-26:06; Total: 1:30:33.6

*includes transition times, about 4 min total I think.

High five for hubby in the final stretch

Ultimately I had the training to be about two minutes faster in each discipline but it didn't come together for me that day. Live and learn right? After the race we headed back to my aunt's. I ate copious amounts, napped w/ Coach M, and finally had a cup of coffee. My body is feeling a-ok and I'm ready to be back into the high gears of training.

And what about the fam? Hubby was the 15th overall male (17th overall) and finished in 1:18:58. He had a great run and was 8th fastest runner on the course. He is super excited about racing and I'm sure will be talking about triathlons more than ever now. My cousin Tricia blogged about her experience too.

Hubby looking strong finishing

Tricia finishing her run

Coach M and Papa

Post race shot - Christine missing

For now I'm just letting it go and focusing on what's next. I've got a 10km in two weekends and then lots of serious focusing for my half in August. I haven't lost the will to train and if anything my desire to be better burns even stronger.

21.6.12

Fears

Warning: this is very much an internal dialogue ramble that I'm typing to make myself feel better. But please, read it and validate me just a little. A couple more sleeps, then I will be a triathlete and not just a wannabe. Everyone is asking how I'm feeling. A couple of my coworkers have kindly reassured me that I'm going to 'kill it'. I guess that's the lingo twenty year olds use these days. So, am I feeling liking I'm going I kill it or like it's going to kill me? Well, not the later, but I expect to be breathless at the end and parts in the middle. I expect it's going to hurt, and maybe not in the hurts-so-good kinda way. I expect to wonder 'why am I doing this?' but also have moments of 'I've got this'.

I suppose the overriding emotion is curiosity. I'm curious how my swim will go. I'm curious if I've done enough bike training. I'm curious if my run will be as fast as I hope. I'm curious to see if I've trained decently and if I'm cut out for this sport. Am I going to enjoy it - mentally? physically? I recently read Chrissie Wellington's book A Life Without Limits. That girl has guts - my goal - be more like her - push past the hurt.

I have set some lofty goals for myself which others seem to be holding me to as well. Last week or so hubby says to me, I think you could win it. I ask, my age category. He says, the whole thing. I think he's on drugs or lack of caffeine. My goal would be top five women but knowing that's ambitious for a sport I've never done I think top 15 is more realistic. And if living up to hubby's expectations aren't enough, my cousin Tricia has set an actual time goal for me. Eep! Ok, to be honest it's my goal for myself too but I'm allowed to be an over achiever in my own brain. Then, a friend if ours is doing a sprint the same day in another city. He bet me that if I win, he cooks dinner, if he wins, I cook. Great, I'm competing with a testosterone filled male, how is that fair?

Legitimate Triathlon Fears


So what else? Well, I'm afraid hubby and I will be slotted in the same swim lane as our predicted swim times are identical. I really don't want this because I will get overly competitive with him and try way too hard to beat him out of the pool rather than focusing on my own swim. I'm just not sure how I could ignore him in the same lane as me. He is likely a stronger swimmer than I am but I not-so-secretly wish it was the one discipline I could be faster in than him.

The bike. I am seriously afraid of a flat. Hubby is going to teach me how to change one tomorrow but in such a short race it would just kill all my good vibes. So, positive thoughts. My goal is to have a steady high cadence through out the ride. I worry about the bike because I'm still relatively fresh in that department. Knowing how to dig and push doesn't come as easily as it does on the run. Also, I don't want to ride so hard that it sucks me dry for the run.

Then there's the run. Probably the factor I'm least worried about but still. The course goes down, flattens a bit then goes back up. My goal is not to attack the downhill too aggressively. Downhills can take just as much energy as the uphills.

I've been working a lot on visualization this week. Especially for navigating transition. The word I keep repeating to myself is precision. Not fast, but precise. I don't want to be redoing anything. I think if I can keep this in my head and not rush the process I will come out level headed and hopefully quicker.

What else. Well, as it's a staged pool swim I worry about the wait. They are going slowest swimmers to fastest. Hubby and I are taking lawn chairs and we plan on wearing our compression gear. Hopefully there's a shaded quiet spot we can rest as we have to wake at 5:30. I'm not opposed to going back and sleeping in the car. Then there's the balance of food intake while we wait. Its frustrating. The race isn't posting heat times until the morning of the race which leaves for so many unknowns even though they are sold out and final swim times had to be submitted last week. I'm sure they have their reasons but c'mon.

What else... fluids. I really don't want to have to reach for my water bottle during the bike but I think this is inevitable. A co-worker told me about a system at MEC that I need to go check out as the website hasn't turned up anything. Ideally I'd love a straw/hose to come up to between my handle bars from my water bottle so I can just lean forward and sip. I'd have a diluted electrolyte mix with my favorite Nuun flavour - citrus. Yum! As it's a road bike and not a tri specific bike I can't use any of the funky aero water bottles. Otherwise I have no plans for nutrition on course. I am going to put a box of apple juice in transition that I might take between the bike and the run to help keep my brain happy with carbs so I can keep going strong.

Maybe I could use Aero bars like these?

And that's it. Rambling complete. Off to catch some zzz's.

17.6.12

Fathers

Well, what would a bunch of 'F' titles posts be without a dedication on Father's Day to a very special father who is my constant and biggest fan. Hubby is an amazing father to Coach M and I am grateful for that everyday. M is truly a daddy's girl and he relishes in that fact. He is often the one who takes her grocery shopping or to swimming lessons. He's a real hands on dad. At a recent race I took M to go cheer on some friends while Hubby stayed home to sleep off his night shift. M cheered for a while as runners passed us, 'go Daddy'. She definitely knows he's a runner and loves him for that. Back to him in a bit.

Always lending a helpful hand! On course where I set a PB for a 5km last fall (since broken)
Doing gymnastics with Coach M

Growing up my dad wasn't particularly interested in my sporting activities. He did his dad duty and watched from time to time but by no means was I encouraged to be better. Oh well. That's the past. Now a days you won't catch my dad lining a race route with a 'Go Kourtney' poster but he is happily taking Coach M for the night (albeit along with my two teenaged sisters) while we go stay in a hotel the night before we race in his hometown. My dad has fully embraced being a grandpa and just loves doing anything with Coach M. Plus, he will cook us a fantastic pre-race meal the night before. I suppose the irony in the fact that my dad was the least invested in my sporting activities is that I'm the child who is the most active now.

My Dad with my niece and Coach M

Coach M has two other important grand father figures in her life. Papa is my mom's significant other and he was so generous as to push M so I could race last October to get my then 5km PB. He has qualified and ran Boston and is going to be embarking on a special quest for his 50th year of being alive on the planet. Hubby's dad, Grandpa to Coach M, is the kinda guy who randomly decides to take up running (again) and rather than a casual 30 minutes he busts out a 10km. Then he decides it's too hard and should stick with walking. I've witnessed this a couple times in the years hubby and I have been together and it never fails to make me shake my head, he's an all or nothing kinda guy.

Coach M's Papa

Heading out for our New Year's Eve Run - Papa & Dad & Coach M
Back to hubby. Hubby wasn't always the svelt English/Irish/Dutch/Canadian figure he is today. He was once very overweight. He still ran but was filling his body with beer, wings, and nachos. He was staying up late and generally being a single male in his twenties.  Between seeing a picture of himself and moving into a career that dealt with individuals struggling from health issues closely related to their physical state hubby started making positive changes. He didn't stop cold turkey but gradually decreased the quantity he put in his body and eventually starting swapping towards healthier options.
Hubby at his heaviest. I think this picture was a wake up call.

Sometimes his thought patterns are as complicated as his genealogy/heritage/citizenship. But I love him. He is über passionate about his family, his health, and lately, anything Triathlon related or training for running. He's kinda geeky. In training for our first triathlon hubby approached learning to swim by reading a book. Yes. You read that correctly. Once finally plunging in the water and practicing balance he is a competent and relatively good swimmer. Yes he eventually joined me with a coach and took some more pointers but you should have seen the look on her face when she asked him where he learned to swim.

Toeing the line against a 10 year old? She gave him a good run for about 100m. Hubby set a 5km PB at this race and was third overall!

My brother got hubby a shirt for Christmas that says 'Lazy but talented' He's not (always) lazy but to some, me included, it can seem that way. The effort he puts in, which is still fair, but compared to many others, gets him leaps and bounds ahead. He makes incredible progress very quickly. He is naturally talented and I think he's going to make an excellent triathlete, if only he stops talking about it and only it because if he doesn't I'm going to cut up his swim trunks and break his bike chain. I jest. It keeps him going, and me, plus he sets such a positive example for Coach M. I am so fortunate to share my life with such an amazing man. Happy Father's Day!

Lazy - but a very talented tandem slider.

11.6.12

Filthy

It's not just blogging I've been neglecting but house work has gone the wayside of training . No, the dishes aren't stacked up in the sink and I'm not wearing the same stinky running attire but the vacuum is collecting dust in the closet along with all the surface in the house. The room our computer is in has become the catch-all so going in there to blog or upload photos is painful because I crave organized spaces and it's anything but. Blame high levels of training for both hubby and I; more time being spent getting out yards in working order and not just a pile of dirt; and really wanting to spend our non training/landscaping time doing quality things with our daughter - it adds up to one messy house.

Eep!
We've been in the house two months and I haven't posted a photo of the new home gym. My dreams of waking at 6am to run or do weights was/is delusional. I have yet to do an early AM workout down here but many an nightly one. We bought the treadmill used but it's been good to us. When it's been pouring rain I can still do my brick workouts indoors. It's not a huge space but it accommodates hubby and I well. Knowing I'm not sweating on the carpet is also helping have some sanity in the filth department - rubber floor is easy to mop up.

All we need is an infinity pool and we're set to roll out the Branagan method to the triathlete community (not).

So, this is where tapering for the triathlon on the 24th comes in oh so handy. The 'plan' (yes in loose quotations) is to use the time and energy not training into tidying, organizing, cleaning, and otherwise getting our household in order so I can at least stand to sit down at the computer and blog about how training is going or how the race goes.

Training! Since being at physio and working hard at building some glute strength and releasing my very tight left IT, I've been going pretty hard the last three weeks trying to be über prepared for the triathlon. Overlapping tri training I'm in the early stages of half marathon prep which included a pain free 18.5km run yesterday with the mid 4.5km at race pace. The week before was 16km with the mid 3km at race pace. So for the most part I'm pretty injury free though I continue to do my exercises as regular as I can and use ice/heat along with lots of foam rolling post working out. That being said, I'm currently at physio typing this post. Mostly here for a follow up gait assessment but the IT band is twangy like a small town country band today so some work is being done.

Anywhoo. My swim times are steadily dropping and the bike is still fun and refreshing. So, I'm feeling good about my training but I am very very nervous about the race. Specifically the run coming off the bike. My bricks have been successful with pace and easing into my run stride fairly quickly so I'm hoping that will happen race day too. I'm anxious to cram in some more high quality workouts. But, I also have a proven track record of having great races when I allow my body adequate time to rest up and recover. So the plan is off (today) hard (bike) easy (swim/run) hard (run) easy (swim) hard (run) off this week. Then easy easy off easy easy off race next week. Likely no running next week just biking and swimming. And hopefully I will finally get my blog post about running shoes finished.