Tuesday, October 22, 2013

First Half Marathon!

Whew, I'm going to write this now...if I wait for a free night, I might be waiting a couple of weeks!

To address a few questions about my half marathon, here are a few facts 1. No, it was not a last minute decision. 2.  No, I did not train for it.

You're probably thinking "Well, that's a dumb move" and you'd be mostly right! :)  This was a race that was only happening once.  It took place on a highway that has been built, but not opened yet.  Only one chance at something?!?  I had to do it!  The race options were a 5K or a half marathon.  And the drive is over an hour - I'm not driving all that way for a 5K!  So a half marathon it was!  I knew I had a busy couple of months before hand.  With 3 tris, 2 long bike rides and a 3K open water swim, there wasn't really time (nor interest!!!) to train.  I had one Saturday open for a "long run" and did my run/walk for 6.8 miles before I went home and got ready for an afternoon of heavy drinking (aka bourbon bar crawl...the most delicious recovery!).  The half marathon was one week after my Wet & Wild Triathlon, so I didn't really have time to over analyze it either!

For the race day, I decided to wear this jersey I got on clearance from the bike shop I go to, mesh bike shorts with adidas short over.  I went with the biking jersey because it had built in pockets in the back, which proved to be invaluable.  I wore a hat I got at one of my tris and my race belt as well.  It was my first time wearing that jersey, so I didn't want it to put holes in it w/safety pins.  I used tri slide all around my sports bra and arm holes of the jersey.  I used my hoo ha ride glide down below.  The one thing I forgot was sunscreen! 

They had sent emails that week to get there early because parking was limited.  It was a 9am start and I arrived around 7:15am.  I got my packet (which contained my timing chip, tshirt, and visitors information for the city it was in - lol!) and went to the restroom, where there was no waiting!  I went back out to my car, rearranged some stuff, and decided to hit up the bathroom again a little while later.  The day before, I had a pork chop and salad all ready to go for my lunch, then i dropped it on the break room floor. :/  so then I went to Taco Bell.  Yes, taco bell the day before my half marathon.  Another bad decision!  luckily, I was able to remedy the situation during that trip to the bathroom and was fine the entire race.  Pretty soon, it was time to go to the starting line!

The race course was shaped like a t with only one arm.  We started on a side street and ran up the ramp to the highway.  At this point, the 5Kers went north and the halfers went south.  The halfers went south to mile 5.5, turned around and went north past the ramp to the highway and up to the 5K turnaround, then the halfers turned south, again, to the exit ramp and back down that side street to the finish line.

I started in the back of the pack and was dodging a lot of people on the side street and the ramp to the highway.  Once the 5K split from the half, there was a lot more room!  I ran my first mile in 13:39.  I was worried about the 4 hour time limit, so I ran for the first 20 minutes before starting my run 4 mins, walk 1 min routine.  The lead runners came back our way when I was at the 3 mile mark!  So speedy! This part before the first turn around was so, so good.  I felt great!  My 5K time was in a good range and at the hour mark, I was at mile 4.5, which was great for me!  The scenery, albeit a bit boring, was very pretty with the sun coming up and a little fog over the many, many corn/soy bean fields.  I took a hammer apple cinnamon gel, which was delicious, at the 45 minute mark.  I was sipping camelbak elixir in lemon lime from my full size water bottle too.  During this time, I had written the names of people or things on my arm that I wanted to pray for.  I dedicated each mile to someone different, so that helped pass the time and made me feel like I was helping out my family/friends. 

I made it to the 5.5 mile turnaround in 1:16 (the winner of the half finished in 1:15!).  There was a timing mat there plus some music, which was a nice break.  I took a margarita shot block at this time, and could barely wait for the next mile to get to the water station.  Too much lime flavor going on in my mouth!  After that, I had water the rest of the time because I was SO over the lemon lime flavors :)  I looked over because i heard someone run up behind me, and wouldn't you know it.  The longest mullet I have EVER seen!  Oh man, that made my day.  The kid was about 12 and he was struggling, but still going faster than me.  I told him he was doing a great job and he quickly high tailed it out of there.

I was feeling alright, but needed to eat some more so I had 3/4 of a honey stinger waffle around mile 6.5 and drank the rest of my camelbak elixir.  I told myself to keep up the 4 min run, 1 min walk ratio at least till mile 7 because that had been my farthest run thus far, so I knew it was possible.  When mile 7 came up, I switched to run 3 walk 1.  Between mile 7 and mile 9, things really went downhill fast...and unfortunately, not literally downhill.  I downgraded to run 2 walk 1 and by mile 9.5, I just couldn't run anymore.  I took a couple more shot blocks and had them refill my water bottle at every water stop.  At one point, I touched my face and it felt like sandpaper with all the salt on it - not sure that was supposed to happen, but I didn't like it!  I had popped in my ipod - borrowed from my brother in law, Coach, around mile 8.  It was a needed distraction.  I didn't care what was on the ipod!  It ended up being rap and hip hop. Then, just before mile 11, I had been running a downhill where my toes in my right foot had been cramping up and trying to curl with every step, such a weird sensation!  I was tired and just wanted to be done, when a song came on.  Not any song, but a really moving song from my mom's funeral 3 years ago.  I had forgotten this song even existed, but it is a really beautiful song and I like it, so I kept it on.  And then the tear started!  I put my head down through a water stop as I was just sobbing and walking.  Love and miss that woman SO much!!!  The song was over and a hip hop song started in with the swearing and sexual references again, but I was still crying :/  

At the next turn around, there was 1.5 miles left and I wish I could have run more, but it was not in the cards for my ill prepared legs!  I probably ran 2 times for 3-4 minutes each in the last 5k, plus the last 200 yards of the race.  I made it to the finish line with my finishing pose ready to go, but there was no camera :/  My time ended up being 3:22.  There was also no medals because they ran out (we knew this beforehand), but they said they would mail us our medals.  I hopped right over to the refreshments line and grabbed a granola bar, pretzels, a water, and four apples (they were in bags from the orchard - they looked and are delicious!).  I skipped the chocolate chip cookies because they looked super oily and the paper they were on had grease stains.  Must have been bad because I don't turn down cookies!

I found a patch of grass and stretched, drank my water, and sent some texts alerting family and friends that I was done.  I had asked (begged a few) that no one come watch me because spectating was limited to overpasses.  I had not planned on taking my phone because 1. I didn't want to carry it and 2. I knew my family would be calling me asking me where i was, how to get to the overpass, etc I didn't need that!  Really I would have liked someone to drive me home!  I got in my car and headed straight to an amazingly delicious mexican restaurant.  Their taco salad is my favorite, so I headed to the bar and chowed down.  That may have been the best salad of my life! There was a place across the street that touted an indoor swimming pool with a swim up bar.  I was intrigued, but I also think that is superbly creepy!!!

I am very happy I finished and am proud of myself for doing a half marathon.  It is a long distance that not a ton of people can say they completed.  However, I didn't/don't think it is that big of deal.  My first tri was so special because I had been training for it for many months.  All that time and effort had an amazing result!  Tri Coach Jeff said that he was impressed that I did it because I hadn't trained for it.  Made me go "Awww...he always often sometimes once in a while says the right thing!"  The half marathon was more of a thing I did just to do it.  It was an experience I'm glad I had.  People were asking me if I was planning on doing another one.  I'm not going to say no, but I do know I don't really like running that much to begin with!

Have you ever done an athletic event just because you knew you could finish?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Longer Posts Coming Soon!

Hey, guess what?!?  I did a half marathon last weekend!  I need to recap that and the end of summer, too.  I'm mourning it (used to hate summer - who likes being sweaty?).  I need to respond to some stuff people at work have been saying (include as many eye rolls as possible).

I've had some bike trouble in the past couple of weeks.  Ask me how I feel about that.

Me and the trouble maker....in the BK drive thru :/
Or not.  Your choice.

I don't want to buy a bike trainer, but I think other people in my tri group are buying trainers and having "long rides" on the weekends.  Ugh.

I did degrease and lube my bike chain yesterday.  Felt pretty handy (thank you youtube!).

I've been bouncing around 218-220 here lately.  Just as long as its not an upward trend, I'm cool.  Here area  few pics I took tonight...first time wearing these bike/tri shorts by themselves (I did wear them under some capris once).  They fit much better than when I wore them at 233lbs!

Helmet hair

We hung out after our ride tonight and I stayed in this ensemble - I had to leave early bc I was shaking...so cold!  Not warmed up yet, either!

We rode up a crazy, crazy (for me) hill tonight.  I caught 30mph on the way down and on the way up I bottomed out at 5 mph.  Ouch for the legs, but especially the lungs!

via google maps
Well, hopefully I get home before 8:45 some night this week so I can at least recap the half!  Hope you all are doing well!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wet & Wild Triathlon

My third triathlon was last week!  It was the substitute race due to one last month being cancelled.  As I said in last week's post - I wasn't too psyched about the weather.  But all week was much better than forecast..warmer and sunnier.  The night before, the forecast said PM showers.  "Great!", I thought, "that will work out great for tomorrow morning's tri!".

The next morning I woke up at 6ish to the light pitter patter of rain on my roof.  I nervously checked the radar and there was rain right over the area, but it looked like it would move out in the next couple of hours, in time enough for the 9am tri start.  (Obviously I could tell this from the radar, being a meteorologist and all...*thick sarcasm*)  I went to the bathroom to get ready and as I popped in my contacts, it started - nearly a monsoon!  I knew it would pass, so I finished getting ready and went to load my bike on my car.  Still a monsoon :/

View from my front door:  Rainy and dark :/

I take the interstate most of the way to the tri - with a speed limit of 70.  Oh, and construction.  And my window's fogging up (because I drive a '99 and it has issues).  And let's not forget the "special" window in the back that slides down on its own, pelting my back seat with rain too.  It was one of the scariest experiences ever!  I was running late, so I was pushing it to begin with, but there were semis and other nervous/break tapping drivers.  There was a song on the radio during that time with the lyric "If you don't know what to say, just say Jesus".  I was all "JESUSJESUSJESUSJESUSJESUSJESUSJESUSJESUSJESUS"!  :)  Or "Jesus take the wheel" would have been an apt choice, as well.  I missed the freaking exit and was panicking because I was not pre-registered.  They were supposed to automatically transfer the entries from the cancelled tri to this one, but when I checked the list for my name the day before - no dice!  I called and they told me just to show up.  They said that the onsite registration was an hour long, and I got there 10 minutes late, so I parked my car - "special" window still down, and high tailed it to the pavillion.  I explained my situation to the race director's wife and she was very apologetic.  They had also run out of triathlon t-shirts, so they gave me one for the adventure race (canoe/kayak, trail run, canoe/kayak) that was going on a little ways down the lake.  LOL

I got back to my car, jimmied the window back up, and by that time, my entire sweatshirt was drenched.  I had my swimsuit on underneath, so I just stripped down, right there in the parking lot, standing in the middle of a giant mud puddle.  I took a pic of myself standing there with my sub par phone...

Water, water everywhere

 I went to take my stuff to transition...the bike racks/spots went up to number 144...I was number 145.  The last two rows near the highest numbers were jam packed too.  Not a spot to be found.  Curiously, the numbers 1-16 had been given out to adventure racers who did not need bike racks.  So I mosied on up the front and placed my bike by itself on a rack!  I got plenty of room and by the start of the race, there were only 2 other bikes on the rack.  It was great!  I found the port-a-potty (the ones brought in just for the race, not the ones there at the beach all summer - important difference!) and as I was standing in line, this gentlemen, maybe 48-50 years of age asked me for help w/his wet suit.  He had the back all whopper-jawed and I had to fix it and pull it tighter so it would zip.  It was hilarious.  I did all but say "suck it in!".  How quickly you make friends when you need to get in your wet suit!  The water temp was 71 degrees, and I had debated about trying to rent one, but I decided to go without.  There were 5-10 other people w/o wetsuits too.  I wandered on over to the pre-race meeting and saw that nearly 40-50 people were crammed under the pavilion.  Really?  The majority of these people were in wet suits!  We were going to be in the water shortly!  Made me chuckle.  All that excitement - and the tri had not even begun!

We made our way down to the beach.  It was probably around 65 degrees air temp with warm rain, so it wasn't that bad because I had been running around from my car to transition etc.  But standing there waiting my turn to enter the water, it got a little chilly!

Someone was trying to be artsy!  Mine are the non-wetsuit, very pale legs!

Before I knew it, I was off!  I was nervous because my "race goggles" were in the car.  I had grabbed my favorite practice goggles, which fog up terribly and have no reflective layer.  Well, overcast is amazing for sighting while swimming, and they didn't fog up that much, so it was pretty wonderful.  71 degrees can be freezing if you are just hanging out in the water, but as far as a race temp - I thought it was perfect!  Cold, but not chilly.  I passed a couple of guys on the swim, but had no idea of my time because I forgot my watch (sense a theme?).  The timing mats seemed farther up the beach this time.  I jogged until I crossed them and walked a bit.  As I got passed by one person, I decided I felt good enough to jog up to my bike.  It was still lightly raining at this point, so I had a couple of decisions to make.  Socks with my bike shoes?  Why not, I was just going to struggle with them later.  Shirt with race bib on it or no shirt (still have swim suit on btw)?  I forgot my race belt, so the bib went with the shirt.  I put that on and told myself that if I needed a new shirt by the time I got done with the bike, I could put on my newly acquired adventure race shirt (not thinking that it didn't have my bib on it!).

Took this shot from the fb page to show you all how wet it and dreary it started out!

I did that, grabbed my found Vega gel, and sunglasses (which was also a debate - I would need them both if it became sunny or if it was raining harder and water was blowing into my eyes).  I shoved the above mentioned things into the chest of my swimsuit and I made my way to the road!  I clipped in easily and was off!  The first thing I noticed was that I was very wet still.  My bike was spraying some water up from the road.  If I stopped pedaling, my shoes both filled with water.  It was weird and gross.  I put my sunglasses on when the wind and the rain picked up.  Despite that, I felt pretty good.  I was getting passed like crazy, but that is to be expected.  The course was different that I remembered, in the sense that the parts that I remembered being hard were relatively easy and there were others that I did not remember that were hard.  At mile 7, I decided to take the gel.  I opened it, took a little bit and instantly regretted the decision.  Was that how it was supposed to taste?  Was it expired?  Yeah, I'm an idiot for picking it up off the ground!  I really wanted to throw it to the side of the road, but we had been warned about penalties for littering and I didn't want to test my luck!  I stuck it back into my swimsuit (which, in the end, warranted me some weird chafe marks on my chest!).  The bike felt like it was taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  Near mile 9, it stopped raining and cleared up a bit.  The leaves were just starting to change and I passed the far end of the lake and saw several cranes sitting peacefully by.  I love moments like that!  If only I wasn't huffing and puffing on my bike!

The majority of people were on the 5K course, which is the last 1.5 miles of the bike.  It was weird riding by and being like "hey, i'm still on my bike and you're almost done!".  I got back to transition, safely unclipping, and a guy who was done and collecting his stuff from transition said "good job" to me.  I thanked him and asked him if he felt up to another run.  There was an awkward pause and he started laughing.  Then I was like "oh, I should laugh too", although I was mostly serious!  I grabbed my running shoes, which were squishy because I had not covered them up when I left transition, grabbed a gel I knew was good, and hit the road.

I told myself I didn't care if I walked the entire way, just to finish.  Well, I'm a little more hard headed than that, so I did a walk/run combo (naturally), where I ran until I kind of didn't feel like it anymore :)  It is an out and back, so the runners on the way back were very encouraging.  I knew there was a woman just behind me in transition, a man shortly behind her and then I saw a man later, still on his bike.  Just felt glad at that point that I wasn't alone!  There was water at the mile marker and I grabbed 2 cups as there was not one at the turnaround (which is open, not shaded like the rest of the course).  I finally tossed that stupid gel that had been in my upper swimsuit for so long!  After the turn around, I saw the woman shortly behind me.  When she got closer, she started saying things like "Let's go 145!  Don't let me pass you!".  And because I am lacking in social graces, I said "Nah, I'm good".  LOL  She did encourage me to run a whole lot more than I initially would have, but it was getting to the point where it was a little annoying!  She passed me a little before we were back at the water stop at with 1 mile left to go.  I can never really pick up the pace to a sprint when I'm running, but I did my best climbing that dreaded hill at the end and running into the finisher's chute.

There is the same lady at every race I have been to that hands out the medals and she is so sweet.  I'm always glad to see her face because it means I am done!  I had no idea what my time was, although I knew it was probably slower than my first tri there.  I scooped up my soggy transition items and flung them into my backseat.  By this time, of course, it was warm and sunny out!  I hung around a little bit, drinking my camelbak elixir and water.  I saw they had set up the food at the far pavilion, so I walked out there and got some food.  They were doing age group awards at the same time, so I probably missed getting second in my age group (out of 2!).  Oh well, the awards are glass mugs that have a plastic decal/sticker of the event on it.  Not that exciting.

I grabbed 2 cookies and one of the ladies asked me if I wanted apple cider.  I didn't particularly want it, but that stuff is like $6/gallon!  Heck yes, bring on the cider!   I grabbed a banana for later and as I was talking to a tri buddy, I kept getting swarmed by bees *slight exaggeration*.  I realized when I got to the car that the banana had this crack in it and was actually rotten.  Ugh!  They posted the results for the slow people :) a little later, so I saw my time - 3 mins slower this time.  4 mins slower on the bike alone.  That was frustrating.  Slower on the swim too, but good enough for 2nd fastest woman.  The run was faster than my first, but not by much.  It cracks me up that in the 3 triathlons I have done this summer, all my 5Ks at the end have been within 26 seconds of each other.  Glad I can be consistent!

So there it is, wet & wild triathlon.  3rd one of the year.  Last one of the season.  Can't really believe I have come so far this year alone.  I did NOT think I would be doing any big triathlons this year and would have been satisfied with the Super tri in February.  Let me just say - I can't wait for the next tri season to start!!!