Monday, June 23, 2008

SummiTriathlon Race Report

Only my third triathlon ever.

I rarely do a race report, but since this was my best race in a long time....

Early morning-Munroe Falls Lake

Woke up at 4:00 am after a restless night of sleep and two previous crappy nights of sleep the days before. I strained my back working a Lebron James VIP event at my work (to much to explain), and I was worried that once again my race would turn to shite. I ate a breakfast of one bagel with jelly (trying to cut out dairy before races due to GI issues), blueberry pomegranate juice and a banana (and of course a few vitamin Is for my back). I was already packed for the race, so I just double checked everything to make sure I had it all. P was hardly nervous and joked with me about my pre-race jitters. We headed out to Munroe Falls to get there at exactly 6:00 am sharp to pick up our packet and rack our bikes. This is an early start because the park opens at 10:00 am and CHAMP racing had only until 9:45 to get everything wrapped up. We picked out a prime location for our bikes and saved some spots for our friends. This was Brandon and P's first tri last year and both were participating this year much stronger and focused. This was also the first race of our friend Todd and P's dad, and we wanted to make them feel as comfortable as possible, so we all lined up on the same rack. It was a cool morning, and I wanted to get out and warm up in the water a bit. CHAMP had race waves a little different than other places, first were the elites at 7:06, then the women 40-U at 7:13, then women 40-up at 7:18, then the men. So my wave was the second one up and I hurried into the water at 7:00 am to do a few laps before the start.
Trying to get used the chill

It was an in water start with a 200 y swim out and then duck under a lane line and swim back. At 7:13 the buzzer went off and about 30 women and I were off. I am still in need of some tri swimming practice because I got blocked in and couldn't move out of the group. I was frustrated because I could have gone faster but I was at the mercy of the group, women were kicking me all around and I had to keep looking up to see if I could get past anyone. It did start to thin out at the end of the first 200 yards and I was able to get past some women and hit my stride for the second 200 y. I am sure I had a negative split for the way back because it too what seemed like 2:00 minutes less.

Swim Time: 8:59

Me in T1

This was one of my best first transitions, I rolled up my socks before the race so I could just roll them onto my feet, which kept a lot of that wet feet sticky issues at bay. I quickly laced up my shoes, downed a hammer gel, and strapped on my helmet. The only issue I had was P's suggestion of resting the bike on the brakes instead of the seat caused me to not be able to get the bike off the rack for a bit, a few choice words later, I was finally able to get the bike off and was ready.

T1 time: 2:25 (not bad considering bike issues)

Running back to rack my bike

I followed a group of women on my bike, we must have all missed the turn for the exit because somehow we ended up following the run route instead. After looping around the gatehouse twice we all broke through the main entrance to the park. I was at this point in the lead and instead of hopping off my bike to go through the sand trail I tried to bike through it. Just so all of you know road bikes aren't mtn. bikes and I quickly fell off my bike. The 8 other women around me and I were all a bit pissed (it turned out we did a mile extra getting lost), but we quickly caught up to the group on the road. It would have been funny if it hadn't added so much time. Somehow I missed seeing a bunch of people pass me on the bike. I was so wound up that I mashed the pedals and pushed out a fairly good 12 mi (instead of 11 mi) time. I passed a lot of women (some on expensive tri bikes) which just got me more excited as I made my way through the bike course. Todd came by me looking strong and I encouraged him to keep moving, he was making good time on his first tri.

Bike time: 41.12
Bike Computer Mileage: 11.98
Avg Speed: 16.8

Todd and I in T2

Since I do not have clipless pedals yet, T2 was rather smooth. All I had to do was take my helmet off, drink some gatorade, clip race belt, and I was done.

T2 time: 39 s

First steps of run

Felt a bit wobbly on the run at first but made myself keep running (even though it was slow). I was glad that I could catch my breath enough to keep that steady slow pace that I am known for. The first 1.55 mi loop was just trying to get my legs to work, I felt that nagging calf knot that has been showing up lately during runs. I stopped for a second to stretch that calf, knowing that it would just get worse if I didn't. I think that moment saved my race, as I was able to continue without feeling like the cramp would set in again. The second lap was faster than the first because my legs began to understand what I was trying to do to them. It was my first time EVER feeling pretty good on the run during a triathlon. This made me so happy and I was running on pure adrenaline at this point. Another women tried to pass me on the last bit, right before the finish, but I kicked up my pace to finish strong and get my Second Place AG Award (yay, I have never received an award in a tri). I was ecstatic.
Last kick to keep off lady behind me

Run Time: 30:00

Overall Time: 1:23:17 (good enough for 2nd AG)

(L-R) Todd, Paul, Me (clutching my AG Award), Brandon

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Catching Up

I realize that I have been slacking on my blog. It seems that it is the last thing I think of when working two jobs and just trying to keep training up. I am sure people are rarely reading it these days anyway, but here is an update on my life in the past month.

Well I have two jobs but not a full-time one yet. I am still working part time at the University of Akron as an Outdoor Adventure Recreation Specialist- in fact I am applying at the Student Rec for a full-time job (wish me luck). I have made it through a phone interview that has now turned into a full day on campus interview. It is down to me and a few others. Nervous excitement is the word that I am using...I have put a lot of hope into getting this job, but I know that may be "putting my eggs into one basket" as the saying goes. I am trying to push that hope to the side and think more logically about it all, but I am a dreamer so the likeliness of that is slim.

My other job is at Cleveland Metroparks, as the Institute of the Great Outdoors Seasonal (very similar to my job at Akron). I really like the job, but there are no full-time positions to try for and the drive up there stinks (especially with rising gas prices). In someways it feels like I am stuck permanently as the great part-time employee that people do not want to get rid of because I work hard and I am paid cheap but I hope that my hard work will pay off at some point. I know P would appreciate some help with the bills, we are very tight now and a full time job would allow some of that stress to leave him. He was amazing to support me through my undergrad, I just want that undergrad to pay off at some point, for him more than me.

Training has been going well, I feel like I my body is getting back to healthy after the long recovery from the torn meniscus. We are swimming, biking, running, hiking, paddling, etc to better health. At times I feel the irony of life that I enjoy too many pursuits so that I will never be good at just one thing. I cannot sacrifice one thing that I do for another, and that has been my choice. I would be sad to give up just one of them, in fact I find myself taking on even more sports (how many can you do before it becomes too much...we will see).

As for races I have had a season of disappointments. I find that maybe one out of seven turns out OK. Between GI issues, side cramps, and muscle tightness, I just have not been feeling like my old self. It has been frustrating, I am 27 years of age, is my body already deteriorating? I stretch and rest and try hard, why do I feel like my body is giving out on me? Plus the last week of heat almost killed me, I was struggling to breathe and my legs have felt tired. I am not sure what to do about all of that. Hopefully time will start to see some changes.

On a side note, I have decided after two marathon trainings that had to end in injury, that I am training for the Akron Marathon with my dad. For those of you who do not know, he has Leukemia (CLL) now for 3+ years. In that time he has run 5 marathons, 6 half-marathons, and numerous small races. He is not "fast" but he is steady and his mind is tough. I think God is telling me that my first marathon should be with him...maybe that is why my marathon training has never worked out, I needed to experience this with him first. So I will be running the Akron with my father because he is my inspiration. BTW, who runs their first marathon for time anyway? I want him there to pull me along in those last tough miles.

My life is fairly good, P and I had our four year wedding anniversary a couple weeks ago. I feel blessed to be with someone who loves me so much. He has always made me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world and that has not changed. I now get when people say that you fall more in love with the one you are with. I told him the other day that I love him more than the day that we married, I think that is because in every rough patch we have made it through, we have become even closer because our understanding of each other has only grown. I am thankful that he is in my life.