Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Choices



On Saturday my husband and I took our son Alex to the New York State Fair. Alex LOVES animals, so the first, and pretty much ONLY, thing he wanted to do was go through all the animal barns. Buildings were full of horses, cows, goats, sheep, chickens, llamas, pigs, etc. and we walked up and down every single aisle. While we were walking through the buildings, I saw many families taking care of these animals. They came from all over the state to show their animals in the hopes that they would receive a blue ribbon or some other award. As I watched these families, I really paid attention to the children and wondered what they thought about the whole thing. Did they really want to be there? Did they love taking care of the animals or did they do it just because mom and dad told them to? Were they secretly wishing they could be somewhere else doing something else? Would this be something they do (or EXPECTED to do) for the rest of their lives?

As these questions entered my mind, I wondered if I would be able to do this. Not necessarily farming, but would I be able to live a life that was chosen for me. These families may have been in farming for generation after generation, so the futures of these families may have been determined hundreds of years ago for all I know. Could I do this? Probably not!

I highly doubt that one of the moms there would be able to take the time to train for and complete her first triathlon. If I were in this situation, I would probably go crazy. It made me sad to think there there were many people in those barns that would never be able to make choices like I can. This gave me some motivation to go after some things that have been spinning around in my mind. Unlike these people, I can actually attempt some of these things. So why not go for it?!?!?! Having choices in life is great!

TTFN!

PS...This is one thing that I didn't choose at the Fair!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Race Report: Willow Bay 5k Run and Fitness Walk for Women



Pre-Race:
The 5K started at 9:00 AM, so I set my alarm for 6:30 AM. Since my son, the human alarm clock, wasn't here to help me get up, I hit the snooze alarm a couple of times and got up at 7:10 AM. CRAP! I wanted to make sure I had breakfast in me by 7:00 AM. I know 10 minutes doesn't seem like a lot, but I tend to get stomach cramps if I eat too close to running, so I was nervous about how I would do.

I got to Onondaga Lake Park/Willow Bay around 8:20 AM which was good. I jogged around a little bit to warm up and ended up seeing some people from the YMCA. We noticed everyone gathering toward the Start/Finish line, so we started to make our way over.

Race:
Our group from the Y was chatting and we ended up near the back of the pack. When the gun sounded, I wasn't too worried because it was a chip timed race and I figured we'd be OK and our time wouldn't start until we crossed the Start line. It was pretty congested at the beginning and I bobbed and weaved my way around some slower people and eventually found my groove. When I reached the 1 mile point, a gentleman was calling out our times. I can't remember exactly what he said, but it started with a 10. I was so excited that I was running a sub-11 minute race. OK...now I just have to keep it up.

When we reached the half-way point, once again I heard my time, but can't remember exactly. It was somewhere around 15 minutes. Cool! I might be able to do this in around 31 minutes! All this time I continued to remind myself that whatever time he was calling, I would be able to deduct about 15 seconds for the delay in my start.

Toward the end of the race, I had another woman running near me that I was determined to beat. Unfortunately, I think she had the same idea about me and eventually pulled away. When I crossed the finish line, the clock said 32:something. My PR was 32:44 from July's Save the River 5K in Clayton, so I knew I would have a new PR today.



Post-Race:
After getting some water, food, and a chair massage, I headed home to rest for the remainder of the day and wait for the official results to be posted on the Syracuse Chargers website. It took awhile, but eventually I found my official time: 32:49. WHAT?!?!?! There's no way that could be correct!!!! I know I could deduct at least 15 seconds from that time because that's about how long it took me to cross the Start line. Apparently they didn't deduct the time and now I'm really ticked off because of it. I know in my mind that I ran at worse 32:34, but can I "legally" consider that my new PR? I really wish I had brought my watch with me so I could time it myself, but can I even consider that my official time? Needless to say, I'm NOT HAPPY!!!!!

Next Time:
* Start closer to the front to get a better time
* Bring your watch so you can time it yourself...and learn how to use the stop watch feature before the race
* Keep pushing: you know deep down that this was a good effort (actually, your BEST effort!) and it will keep getting better with each 5K you do

Not sure when my next 5K will be, but I'll be sure to continue to push hard. I am going to try to do at least one 5K a month between now and the spring. Who knows, maybe I'll even throw in a 10K...maybe not! I grabbed a bunch of race flyers both at Fleet Feet and at yesterday's race, so I have a lot to pick from. I want to find out from some training partners when they will be racing so I have someone to race with. However, I was happy to have the Y girls there yesterday and I even made a new Facebook friend with one of them!

TTFN!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Iron Girl Dissection...Three G's Style!

Now that I've had a little more than a week to be proud of my inaugural triathlon, it's time to push up my sleeves and dissect it. Going into the event, my number one goal was to finish and my number two goal was to finish it in less than two hours. I was able to accomplish both, so you may be asking yourself why I want to pick it apart. I am happy that I was able to accomplish both, but, as usual, I underestimated my abilities and set the bar too low. Years of failing one thing or another have convinced me that I'm incapable of doing certain things. There's so many things that I want to do with my life such as start a part time craft business that sells women's sport themed items. By the way, by putting this dream out here in my blog for someone to read, I might be more likely to do it. Today I came across a good quote:

"It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else." - Erma Bombeck

Anyway, I always doubt myself and come up with excuses. It doesn't help that some people in my life doubt me too. My mom said that she and some family members went to look up my name on the finishers list in the newspaper and started looking from the bottom of the list. Thanks for having faith in me! Finishing Iron Girl did help a lot in giving me some self esteem back and hopefully it helped others believe in me too. However, I still have that little voice in my head whispering negative things in my ear. At the beginning of my 12 weeks with coach Kelly, she had us come up with three negative thoughts and we had to switch them around to positive thoughts. I definitely need to do this again and do it often...probably DAILY!

So, in the spirit of doing something positive while picking apart my race, I'm going to do it Three G's style. If you're new, the Three G's stand for Gratitude / Goals / Game plan. I am going to take each part of my race and list the Three G's that go with it. Ready? Here we go!

PRERACE
Gratitude:
* Got a good night's sleep Thursday
* Friday night's dinner and Saturday's breakfast agreed with my stomach
* Arrived in plenty of time and was able to get ready in a relaxed atmosphere
* A stranger loaned me her bike pump even though she really wanted to get it into her car
* Beautiful sunrise and weather
* Friends to experience this with which helped calm my nerves

Goals:
1) Sleep better the night before
2) Get a better bike pump that can be used on both types of valves and has a pressure gauge
3) Wear something better on my feet to protect them from the cold

Game Plan:
1A) Keep doing races and hope it gets easier with each one
1B) Calming yoga the night before
1C) Calming music and/or nature noises to fall asleep to
1D) Relaxing bath
2) Already done!
3) Crocs? Old sneakers?

SWIM (11:01, Pace 1:51, 44th of 139 in age group)
Gratitude:
* Finished in the top third of my age group
* Didn't get run over too much
* Stayed calm
* Drills (even though I didn't like them!) helped and I remembered them throughout the swim

Goals:
1) Speed: next year <10 min
2) Push harder

Game Plan:
1) More speed drills during the off-season
2) Remind myself that this year I had plenty left in the tank so I know I can go harder

T1 (3:34)
Gratitude:
* I didn't forget any of my equipment

Goals:
1) Keep sunglasses and socks dry
2) If a lens falls out of my sunglasses, be able to pop it back in quickly
3) Dry my feet entirely, but quickly
4) 2:30 next year

Game Plan:
1) Cover so they don't collect moisture
2) Practice
3) Practice
4) Practice!

BIKE (1:03:17, mph 17.7)
Gratitude:
* A Specialized Ruby loaner from the Bike Loft valued at $5,000
* I didn't get a flat tire
* Police stopping traffic
* The guy ringing the cow bell at the park entrance; this put a smile on my face and made me feel like I was riding in the Tour de France!
* I was able to unclip before the dismount line without falling flat on my face

Goals:
1) Buy a road bike
2) Hydrate more
3) Keep my feet from completely going numb
4) More confidence to go faster
5) <1:00:00

Game Plan:
1) Get a job and/or hit the lottery
2) Practice getting the bottle out of the cage
3A) Keep socks dry during the swim
3B) Non-cotton socks
4) Practice
5) Practice

T2 (1:58)
Gratitude:
* I didn't forget any equipment
* I didn't forget to put my bib on
* Alex and Dan to cheer me on

Goals:
1) Dry socks
2) Do it faster...around 1:00

Game Plan
1A) Have a 2nd pair available
1B) Non-cotton
2) Practice

RUN: (35:35, Pace 11:28)
Gratitude:
* Weather was still beautiful
* It was along the shore
* "House shopping" for waterfront property during the run kept my mind off of it
* Fans cheering us on my name or bib number
* Neighbors providing water

Goals:
1) Speed
2) Speed
3) MORE SPEED!!! 31:00 next year

Game Plan:
1) Practice
2) Practice
3) MORE PRACTICE!!! Going to participate in the YMCA running program

OVERALL: (1:55:26)
Gratitude:
* I finished!
* I finished in under 2 hours
* My foot injury wasn't an issue
* My hip problem wasn't an issue
* Alex and Dan were there to support me
* I met a ton of amazing people during my training
* Coach Kelly's guidance
* Gained some confidence in myself
* Lost 20 pounds and at least 12 inches
* Inspired others to tri next year
* Inspired myself to do more tri's next year

Goals:
1) Finish at least 3 sprint tri's next year
2) Finish Iron Girl around 1:45:00
3) Stay healthy
4) Lose another 10 pounds

Game Plan
1) Continue to work with Kelly and participate in more YMCA triathlon programs
2) Continue to work with Kelly and participate in more YMCA triathlon programs
3) Eat healthy, so some weight lifting, and a whole lot of luck
4) Veggies, complex carbs, non-processed foods, avoid bread

Well, that's about it. I'm hoping that my new coaching sessions will start in the next day or two so I can have some direction because I'm currently at a loss what to do now. Sad isn't it! Well, I'll check back in then.

TTFN!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Iron Girl Syracuse Re-Cap



I had two big things happen yesterday:
9:05 AM - finished my first triathlon
7:00 PM - I attended my 25th class reunion

At the reunion, we watched a video of our Senior Variety Show. The opening number was the upbeat and happy "I'm So Excited" from the Pointer Sisters and the closing number was the mellow and emotional "Looks Like We Made It" from Barry Manilow. I noticed that either song could apply to my feelings after finishing Iron Girl because I was "so excited" and was happy that we all "made it."

The story of Iron Girl race day actually starts on Wednesday...

Wednesday:
Since I was tapering for the race, I decided not to participate in Wednesday's CNY Triathlon training at Oneida Shores, but volunteered instead. Right before the swim, club president Sam announced that Bike Loft had some Specialized road bike demos that could be used for free for the race. Yes, I said FOR FREE! One one hand, I wanted to stick with a familiar bike. On the other, I wanted to be fast. Familiar VS Fast...hmmmmm...I chose FAST!

Thursday:
The benefit of being unemployed is that you can go sit in front of a bike shop for 1 1/2 hours to wait for a free bike. After dropping Alex off at summer camp, I drove by the Bike Loft to see if anyone was there yet. I was mad to see that someone beat me there, but it ended up being my friend Shioban. So, we spread out a blanket and waited for the store to open. By the end of the day, Shioban, our friend Erin, and I all ended up with Specialized Rubys ranging in price from $2,200 to $8,000. I know what I want for Christmas!

Friday:
Met Shioban and Erin at the Genesee Grande to check in and shop at the Expo.



After, we headed out to Oneida Shores to pick up, test ride, and rack the bikes.



I said good night to Dorothy (I named my bike that because she wore ruby slippers in the "Wizard of Oz.") and headed home to relax and get some sleep...yeah right! I didn't sleep a wink. Ugggg!

Saturday:
I got up around 4:30 AM and headed out around 5:00 AM. At 6:30 AM they directed us out of transition and to the beach. I thought to myself, "What the hell am I doing here?!?!? I don't belong here!!!!" Well, I WAS there and it was too late to turn back. (Actually, I probably could have turned back and ran like hell out of there, but they wouldn't have let me in transition anyway, so I might as well just do the race!) From here, I will break down the day by discipline...

Swim:
They played the National Anthem and we hear the 50+ age group get the 2 minutes to go call then out they go. Then the 45-49 age group heads out. Holy crap, we're next! I hear our 1 minute to go call. GO! My game plan was to start 1/3 back and to the left to avoid as many people as possible, but it didn't help much. Actually, after turning at the first buoy, it wasn't too bad. When I got out of the water I looked at my watch and it was around 10 minutes. Cool! The actual time was 11:01 with a rate of 1:51. (I looked at the results later and calculated that I was 44th fastest in my age group which had 139 people total.)

T1:
I wasn't happy with the distance we had to run to our transition spot. That was worse than the swim. My wetsuit came off with no problems. I went to put my socks on and they felt cold and damp from the morning air and my wet feet. Put my sun glasses on and discovered they had fogged up from the dampness. When I went to wipe them, a lens popped out. Great! Struggled with that for a minute which gave me a bad time of 3:34. Helmet on, grabbed Dorthy, and away we went.

Bike:
I loved Dorothy right away because I felt really fast. I gotta get me one of these! It seemed to take forever to get to the 5 mile sign, but the other signs seemed to come quicker after that. Once back in the park, I had trouble getting unclipped before the dismount sign, but I was able to without falling or injuring myself. It was about 8:30 at that point and I knew Dan and Alex MIGHT be there, but I hadn't seen them yet. Was hoping I would. My bike time ended up to be 1:03:17 (Rate 17.7 for 79th fastest in my age group) which was disappointing. I wanted to get under 1 hour with Dorothy, so I wasn't pleased. I'll admit I was a bit timid on her since I hadn't riden her much. With some extra training I'm sure I would have done MUCH better.

T2:
Running to my spot, I couldn't feel my feet at all. During training, I had numb toes once in awhile, but this was at its worst. When I got to my spot, I took off my shoes and also my socks to check my feet. They were pure white. When I was young, I had frostbite which makes my feet very sensitive to cold. I had to decide: do I put the cold, wet socks back on or do I run with no socks and possibly get blisters? I opted for the cold, wet feet. This transition was 1:58 which again was disappointing.

Run:
As best as I could with my numb feet, I headed out the chute for the run. All of a sudden, I hear Alex cheering for me. I look up and Alex and Dan are right there in front of me waving signs and yelling. I was SO HAPPY to see them. I got a bit choked up which helped me forget about my feet for a bit. I blew them kisses and headed out. I CAN DO THIS!!! As I shuffled along, I was getting passed by EVERYONE. I know I would have done better with feeling in my feet, but for now I have to do what I can. I figured if all I can do is shuffle, then shuffle it is. One thing that wasn't an option in my mind was walking. Like the bike, the 1 mile marker seemed forever to appear, but the turnaround and 2 mile marker came quick. I loved how the people along the street were cheering you on yelling, "Go 360!" or "Go Deborah!" The 2 mile marker was a sweet sight and then I could see the finish arch in the distance. Soon, I could hear the announcer. Oh my gosh, I'm almost there! Into the park gate, along the sand, and down the final chute I go. Dan and Alex are once again cheering me along. I went over to them to slap their hands then down the final stretch. I always sprint hard at the end, but this time, my feet were flying like never before. I pump my hands overhead as I cross the finish line. It's over! My run time was 35:35 (Rate 11:28, 108th fastest in my age group...not happy!)

My total time was 1:55:26 which achieved my goal of less than 2 hours. I found out the average time was 1:55:07. At first, I said to myself that I'm pretty average, but then I rephrased that as I'm an average Iron Girl. The average person in general can't do that, which makes me very proud.

After looking around for them, I was reunited with my boys and got congratulatory hugs, kisses, and high 5s. After eating, congratulating my friends, returning Dorothy to Kansas, I headed home. What I did was pretty cool and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.

In a few days, I'll blog about what I want to do to improve next year. For now, I'm going to enjoy my victory of finishing.

TTFN! (364 days until Iron Girl 2011?)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Is God Trying to Tell Me Something?!?!?!?!

I am beginning to think that God doesn't want me to do Iron Girl on Saturday.

During my first outdoor ride with my new clipless pedals, I tipped over in the middle of the Morgan Road/Route 31 intersection while at a red light. Inexperience on my part...no big deal, learned my lesson!

During my first ride on the actual Iron Girl course, a piece of glass punctured my tube and got a flat tire. Another good lesson to watch out for glass on the side of the road.

However, last week, being SO CLOSE to race day, was a bit much. In my last blog, I wrote about my foot which is now a lovely combination of shades of purple, blue, green, etc. I'm told those blocks won't be there the day of Iron Girl, so that won't be an issue. But what happened on Saturday almost put me over the edge.

I headed out on my last Iron Girl pre-ride. I was about 15 minutes into my ride and noticed that my left foot was jiggling a bit. I was thinking that my cycling shoe was jiggling on the pedal. That pedal had been creaking a lot, so a girl from Syracuse Bicycle told me to give it a shot of WD40 and that should do the trick. I started to think that maybe I had gotten some on the pedal and made the shoe loose. So, I told myself to remember to wipe it down a bit once I returned home. A little while later, my foot felt like it was jiggling way too much. Much to my surprise, this is what happened to my bike:



The crank became unattached from the bike and I had the pedal and crank dangling from my foot. Somehow, I was able to stop without wiping out. Unfortunately there was no way I could ride the bike back, so I called my husband and started crying. Why do these things keep happening to me and so close to the race?!?!?!

Once I calmed down, I went into problem solving mode. Luckily, the spot where it happened wasn't too far from where the course looped back around, so I knew a lot of bikers would be coming back my way. I was hoping and praying that someone from Syracuse Bicycle would be coming by to help me. I didn't get that lucky, but I did have some people come back to pick me up and walk with me while I was waiting for them. (I will list everyone who helped me down below!)

Once I had gotten back to my van, I went straight to the Bike Loft for some help. Trying to have a sense of humor about the whole thing, I walked in with the crank and pedal in my hand and said, "I'm no bike mechanic, but I'm thinking I can go a lot faster if this is attached to the bike." The gentleman laughed and commended me for being so observant. Luckily he was able to fix it on the spot.

So, I want to list everyone who helped me out:
* Liisa and Natalie (sorry, don't have last names!) for stopping to check on me when I first broke down (the bike broke down and I broke down in tears!)
* Richelle and Greg Wedyck for coming to get me in their truck. A bonus shout out to Greg who took a tumble on his way back and had a bloody leg to show for it.
* Michelle Michlovitch for walking with me and keeping me company while I waited for my ride
* The gentleman at Bike Loft for being so nice and speedy

With only 5 days to go, I'm hoping I can keep it all together to make it to the finish line. Lots of prayers will be said in the next few days to help guarantee that I do in fact finish. Wish me luck!

TTFN!