Friday, December 30, 2011

Time to Clean Out My Head

I've got a lot going on in my head right now. I'm feeling kind of down. In fact, I've felt kind of down the last 3 months. A perfect storm has stirred up a lot...

October, Where Did You Go?
October is my absolute favorite month. Although I love summer, there is nothing like the Fall in Central New York. I love the cooler weather and "sweater weather." I especially love running in the cooler weather. I love the changing color of the leaves. I love that my birthday and my son's birthday are both in October...I really hoped for an October baby and he snuck in there on Halloween. I love October so much, that I convinced my husband to get married during that month.

This October, however, was full of stress. I was the Volunteer Director for the inaugural Empire State Marathon on October 16 and, although it was great to be a part of this wonderful event, it took a lot out of me. The weeks leading up to the race were incredibly crazy and, once the race was done, it took a couple weeks for me to recover. So, basically, I didn't get to enjoy October this year.

Oh How I Hate the Dark and the Cold
And with the Fall months comes increased darkness. And with increased darkness comes decreased motivation (AKA I think I'll hit my snooze button this morning) I often wonder if I have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder...at least I think that's what it stands for!) because my snooze button has gotten a workout lately.

Although we haven't had a lot of snow so far for Syracuse standards, it has been cold. I like snow, but I hate the cold that comes with it. My trick is usually to wear my workout clothes to bed so I can 1) get a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning and 2) be already dressed so I don't have to freeze while getting out of my warm pj's and getting into my cold workout clothes...my workout clothes ARE my warm pj's! For some reason, I just haven't been doing this.

On the Injured Reserve
Then there's my foot. I can't remember exactly when it started hurting, but I think I may have plantar faciaitis. I haven't gotten it officially diagnosed because 1) I don't have the time to take from work to go to the doctor and 2) I am afraid he will tell me to stop running. This happened last year with my stress fracture and I'm not willing to do it again. When I start my run, usually the first mile or so is very painful, but then it eases up and I can finish without a problem. The real pain starts during the day and increases as the day goes on. I bought a Strassburg sock and it surprisingly has helped.

I've been reading that some people get shots to ease the pain, so maybe that's what I'll have to so. I've also read about people suffering through this for months. Ugg...

It's the Holiday Season
Lately the holiday season has been crap. With the exception of my father-in-laws gift and my own gifts, I did all of the shopping for both sides of the family and I sent out all our cards. My mom has resorted to just giving money and I'm beginning to believe that it might just be a good idea. Alex is only 7 and I really want to enjoy Christmas while he still believes.

And with the holiday season comes the holiday weight gain. According to my scale, it looks like I gained 3 pounds which is a lot less than I feel like I gained. My muffin top is getting huge again. Problem is, I know I'm eating crap but I just keep doing it. My husband (AKA Santa) got me a bag of dark chocolate covered pretzels. With a little help from Alex (emphasis on LITTLE) we ate the whole bag today. After I ate the bag, I saw there were 6 servings in the bag. Great! I threw the bag away yet, after he got home from work, my husband made sure that he made a comment wondering who ate the 6 serving bag of pretzels. He is still wondering why I got mad and that I'm still not talking to him.

Dreams on Hold for Another Year
I get sad this time of year because once again I haven't gotten my crafty things business rolling. I'm not looking to make millions doing this, but I want to do more and be more serious about it. I think I get reminded of my failure here this time of year because 1) everyone looks back at what they did and didn't accomplish during the past year and 2) this is the time of year I do craft shows and for the last few years I've had the same exact stuff. No wonder nobody buys it...they saw it last year too!

There is Actually Some Good Stuff to Talk About!

With this dark cloud hanging over my head, there is some blue sky trying to peak through:

1) I decided to stick with Coach Kelly and join her at T2 Multisport. I officially start with her on January 1 and I'm really excited because...

2) I'm just about ready to register for the Syracuse 70.3. I discovered that the registration fee goes up in January, so if I'm going to do it, I'm registering now. I saw this quote yesterday:



Since the 70.3 scares the crap out of me, I think I'm OK with the size of this dream!

3) This month I joined Team Tough Chik.



Its a group of women from all over the country and a few outside of the US who run/cycle/do tris and are all around tough. We get our team gear in March which I'm super excited about. This is what the package I ordered will look like:



4) I registered for my first half marathon: the Lake Effect Half Marathon on February 25. I figured this would be a good way for me to keep motivated during the next couple months. So far it really hasn't motivated me...hmm...

5) I received the P90X order I placed through Amazon and I can't wait to start it.

6) Although my crafty thing business isn't quite where I want it, I have made strides in getting my craft room organized. I had a little setback last week because a lot of junk got thrown in the room for our Christmas morning brunch (that's how I clean the house when company is coming!) I have three more days off before heading back to work, so hopefully I can get back on track.



So thank you all for listening to me whine a little. I know once life gets back to normal in a couple days I'll get back on track. I'm hoping to get out tomorrow for a long run, so that should clear my head...amazing how life looks better after a run.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Tri Future

COACHING CROSSROADS

I'm in a weird place right now. About a month ago I declared my intention to register for the Syracuse 70.3. I made this declaration after riding the hilliest part of the bike course. I hate hills, so I needed proof that these hills would not get in my way of finishing the race. I wouldn't be concerned with my time...well, I would be concerned if I didn't finish in under the time limit of 8 hours (I think that's the time limit)...I would just be concerned with finishing. The hills are at the beginning of the bike, so I was concerned that they would derail me early. But, I proved that I could do it without walking, so I pretty much convinced myself that I could do it.

I got into a funk right around that time and Coach Kelly gave me a call to give me a pep talk and some motivation. Although not officially advertised yet, she told me about a triathlon boot camp weekend that was going to be offered on the 70.3. Knowing I could get some intense training during that weekend, I was convinced even more that I could do it.

However, a week later I was informed that Coach Kelly wasn't going to coach through the YMCA any longer. Although I know it was a business decision, it took the wind out of my sails. If I am going to do the 70.3, I need a coach. So, the question became, do I go with Kelly to her new coaching organization (T2 Multisport) or do I stay with the Y and an unknown coach. Money is always an issue for me and T2 would be more expensive. But, I'm thinking I need to stay with Kelly because she gets me and this is not the time to try to get someone new to "get me." So, right now I'm trying to figure everything out. Coach Kelly, if you're reading this, I hope to get this figured out soon! :)

2012 RACE SCHEDULE

This is the time of year to start planning my race schedule. This will all be tied in with my coaching decision. But, as of right now, here is what I would like to do:

JANUARY:
Chilly Chili 5K: Last year it was -7* out for this race and the next day the stress fracture in my right foot showed its ugly head.

FEBRUARY:
Lake Effect Half Marathon: This will be my first half. I registered for this yesterday and hopefully will give me some motivation to get up off my butt and start training again

MARCH:
Tipp Hill Shamrock 4 Mile Run: I had to walk this last year because I was getting over my stress fracture, so I'm looking forward to running it this year.

APRIL:
Not sure, but maybe the Duathlon at Green Lakes

MAY:
Mountain Goat 10 Mile Run: Due to lack of time training last year because of my stress fracture, I had to walk the hills. This year I plan on running the entire time.

JUNE:
Syracuse 70.3????: Still up in the air and will depend on my coaching situation. At the very least, I will participate in the relay.

Corporate Challenge 3.5 Mile Run: Depending on if I do the 70.3 and how close the two races are to each other, I may do this with my co-workers. I have to redeem myself from a disappointing performance in this year's race.

JULY:
Musselman Half Iron????: Again, up in the air...if I do a half, I will do Syracuse or this, but not both.

Boilermaker 15K: Want to improve on last year's time

AUGUST:
Iron Girl Syracuse Sprint Tri: Want to improve on last year's time...and this year I WILL beat Coach Kelly to Route 11! (Not sure about Coach, but I move to an older age group this year, so that may give me an extra 5 minutes!)

SEPTEMBER:
Not sure, but maybe the ARC Half Marathon

OCTOBER:
If I work for the Empire State Marathon again, I will pretty much be out of commission this month. If not, then maybe I'll do the half.

NOVEMBER:
Jingle Bell Run 5K: Fun way to get in the spirit of the holidays

DECEMBER:
It's a Wonderful Run 5K: I ran it last year and it was OK. Sounds like I missed a lot of fun with friends this year, so I may go back.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

So Unmotivated...

I'm in a funk. Not sure why, but I'm definitely there. I get into these funks every once in awhile. Not sure if there is a pattern to what causes it. Not sure if they happen at the same time of year. I just looked at my Training Peaks calendar from last year to see if it happened this time of year. I noticed that I did start slacking off in late November through December, but I supposed that is to be expected that time of year. So what is causing it now?

Well, the month of October was a complete bust. With the Empire State Marathon on October 16, the first half of October was spent working on that.

After the marathon, it took me a few days to recover. After staying up until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, I needed to catch up on some sleep.

Then there were the aches and pains. First my left calf, then my right foot. Because of the foot, I had to give up real running and replace it with aqua jogging. There were a few really nice days that I just wanted to be outside running, but the body had other ideas.

Then there were the four birthday parties for Alex. One for the family, one at home on the actual birthday (oh yeah, trick-or-treating that night too!), one at school for his class, and one back at home with his friends. Did I ever get this many parties as a kid?

Then there is daylight savings time. This darkness if for the birds!

So, I guess what I have right now is a perfect storm that is sucking the life out of me. So how do I get it back?

Last Sunday I went to test out part of the Ironman 70.3 course...the hilly part, the part I'm most scared of, the part that will decide if I do this thing or not. I met Mary M, my cousin Jen, her hubby Ben, Ben's brother Chris, and Jen & Ben's friend Doug who happens to be an experienced triathlete. We headed out on the course to tackle the first few hilly miles. It took us about 2 hours to ride 13 miles, but I'm happy to say I rode the whole time and didn't have to walk. I'm still not 100% sure if I'm doing the race or not, but it definitely didn't convince me NOT to do the race.

After the ride on Sunday I had a brief rush of motivation again. I think it was because I was back training with other people rather than being home alone. I really think the injury to my foot is taking its toll on me. Because of the injury, I haven't been going to the long runs on Saturday's or my run group on Wednesday mornings. I think being isolated from my training peeps is making me kind of depressed. Maybe a spin class will help snap me out of it.

Coach Kelly has also suggested a get-together for a pep talk...maybe that will help.

Well, I better get to bed. Coach has a trainer ride on the schedule for me tomorrow. I have a training class at work so that means I have to leave for work earlier which also means I have to get up earlier. I'm so looking forward to stumbling around in the pitch black to get on my trainer in the morning. :(

Friday, September 23, 2011

I Think I Might Just Be Able To Do This!!!!!



Last Sunday was the 2nd Annual Ironman Syracuse 70.3. Last year I was unemployed and volunteered a lot. This year I was able to volunteer at the Information Booth both Saturday afternoon at the Expo and Sunday morning at the race site. Last year for the race itself, I volunteered at the water stop at mile 12 on the run. It was pretty cool to see everyone run by, but this year I wanted to be at Jamesville Beach. Unlike last year, the Start and Finish lines were both at the park. So, by volunteering at the park, I could see the start, some swimming, some transitions, some biking, some running, and the finish...basically, I got to see it all. And by working the morning shift, I could be there to enjoy the finish.

I never once thought about participating in this year's event. Let me take that back, I actually gave some thought to participating on a relay team. I had no desire to do the bike portion, but I would be OK with the swim or the run. I never asked anyone if they wanted to join me, but if the opportunity came up, I would have considered it. Since the opportunity never did come up, I figured a relay would be possible next year.

But something happened on Sunday: something convinced me that I could do the entire thing next year. Do I expect to set a course record?!?!? Far from it!!! I just think I can finish...maybe around 7 hours.

But it's that darn bike course. I will definitely have to give that bike course a ride this fall before I decide for sure. It's the fear of the unknown and if I can get on that course and know what I'm in for, it might just not be too bad.

After I watched some people cross the finish line, I decided to pack up and head out. When I got to my vehicle, I saw that some people put some flyers under everyone's wipers. But something else was there too: a 70.3 Euro sticker for the rear window. I envy people who have them on their vehicles. I'm definitely holding onto mine because, who knows...maybe on June 24, 2012 I can actually put one on my vehicle.

Hmmm.......

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Memories of 9/11

I'm sitting here at my computer listening to my husband and son play catch with the football in the backyard while our dog tries to steal the ball from them. Ten years ago I questioned whether I would hear sounds like this in my life.

The events of 9/11 actually started months before for me. In November 2000, Dan and I got engaged and our wedding was set for October 13, 2001. I was in the middle of planning the biggest event of my life. During the first week of August 2001, I was laid off from my job at a telecommunications company Telergy (I was a Corporate Trainer) and then a few weeks later I started taking a class at SUNY Cortland starting down the path of a career in Sports Management. On September 11, I still hadn't found a job. Needless to say, life wasn't normal for me.

Prior to my job at Telergy, I worked at IKON Office Solutions (the company where Dan and I met and where Dan still worked at the time) as a trainer. When I lost my job, IKON didn't have any openings, but they were able to use me as a contractor when they needed an instructor. The evening of September 11, I was scheduled to teach an Advanced class in Microsoft Word. I didn't teach Advanced classes very often, so I wanted to make sure I reviewed the material and was ready to teach. Because of this, I had the TV off and was prepping on the computer.

Around 9:00 AM the phone rang it was Dan. He said to turn on the TV because something happened at the World Trade Center. I hung up, turned on the TV, and couldn't believe what I was seeing. I called him back to fill him in. Awhile later, I called him back and told him the Pentagon had been hit. Awhile later, I called him back and told him other planes had been hijacked. Awhile later, I called him back and told him a hijacked plane crashed in PA. Awhile later, I called him back and told him the first tower collapsed. Awhile later, I called him back to tell him the second tower collapsed...but he didn't answer. By now, his company set up a TV for the employees to watch coverage and I was alone to deal with it. All I could do was sit in my living room and sob.

The apartment we lived in was in the village of Liverpool and planes that were landing at the airport frequently flew right over our building. Soon all air travel was cancelled...and the silence in the air was creepy. The silence occasionally was broken by the sound of the fighter jets taking off and landing. I hated that sound. Why were they up? Please tell me its only to patrol the air!

I remember laying in bed that night wondering what was in store for the country. Were we going to be invaded? Were we going to die? Would I make it to my wedding? Looking back these seem like weird questions, but at that time, who knew?!?!?!

A short time ago, I went out for a short run as part of Team Red White & Blue's Moving Tribute to those fallen in the events of 9/11. During my run I thought about the events of that day and the fact that I'm able to run where people in some countries (especially women) don't have that right. So, although it was a short run and something very small in the grand scheme of things, I'm glad I could do my part to help remember.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Iron Girl Syracuse 2011 Race Report



Iron Girl 2011 has come and gone. I can't believe I did my first triathlon a year ago and now I have 3 under my belt with one more to go this summer. The main goal for last year's Iron Girl was to finish and the icing on the cake was to finish in less than 2 hours. I'm happy to say I achieved both. This year was different because I put a lot of pressure on myself to really improve...and the pressure got to me race moring. But, before the race, we have to have some fun at the Expo.

Since last year was my first triathlon ever, Dan and Alex came to the race to cheer me on. Since this year I was a "seasoned veteran," they decided to head up north for the weekend. On one hand it was great because I could just focus on the race and getting ready and on race morning I could turn on as many lights as I needed and didn't have to worry about being quiet. On the other hand it wasn't so great because I don't sleep as well when I'm home alone, so I had trouble sleeping both Saturday and Friday nights.

RACE EVE

Another nice thing about having them away was on Saturday morning, I could head to Expo as early as I wanted. The Expo started at 11:00 AM, but I really wanted a good place in line, so I was at Oneida Shores around 9:45 AM. There were only a couple people there, but soon a lot of participants started showing. I was happy that a few of my training buddies showed up early and we were able to wait in line together which helped pass the time more quickly.

We first checked in and got our number: #717 for me. Then we headed to the next table to get our packets with our bib number and race cap. I was a little bummed that I got a green cap again. Someone said, "it's just a cap," but not really. It's more like a combo souvenier and badge of honor. You don't buy the same t-shirt when you go on vacation year after year, do you? So, why would I want the same swim cap color year after year? Plus, its nice to have to wear at the pool and others will know that you are an Iron Girl. Yeah, it's just a swim cap, but it's a pretty cool swim cap.

After we got our numbers, we got our bikes to rack them. At this time we also got our timing chip...VERY important not to lose that!! The transition area was in the parking lot this year where last year it was in the grassy area. Not thrilled that we would have to run on the pavement in our bare feet in T1. So, the question was, do we rack our bikes so that we have less distance to run in our bare feet or do we go to the other end near both the bike and run exit? I decided to go near the exit. I chose a spot next to the first set of legs so I could have that little extra space for my gear. It ended up being a pretty good spot.

After racking our bikes, I wandered around the Expo with Erika. There weren't many tents and only a few had merchandise to buy. Two were Fleet Feet and Syracuse Bicycle, so I felt no need to buy anything there since I could go there any day. I did end up buying a t-shirt and sweatshirt at the Iron Girl tent.

We also stopped by the Athleta tent. They weren't selling anything, but they had a lot of nice stuff on display that we could purchase from their catalog. I love their stuff, but it's way too expensive. My friend Shioban who is injured and coudn't race was helping out at the tent, so we chatted with her awhile and hoped she could pull some strings to help us win the $500 gift certificate they were giving out...no such luck though!



After the Expo, I headed home to relax, have some pasta, and try to get some sleep. But, like last year, sleep just wasn't happening and I was awake 10 minutes before the 4:00 AM alarm was to go off.

RACE MORNING

I got up a little before 4:00 AM and headed to the kitchen to have a breakfast of a plain bagel toasted with PBJ and my home-made iced mocha. I wanted to try to eat a banana too, but I got full. At the Green Lakes Tri, my stomach started growling just before the swim and I was nervous about eating enough. It ended up to be OK for this race. Kelly's fueling plan was to have me start drinking a bottle of Gatorade from breakfast until the start of the race, so I started sipping that too. I got all my gear in the car and was on the road before 4:45 AM.

Traffic wasn't too bad when I got to the park luckily. Unfortunately I had to park quite a ways from transition. Didn't like having to walk all that way with my gear and disliked it even more when I had to walk back later with my bike. Oh well.

Not long after getting into transition, I saw Coach Kelly and she snapped this picture of me.



Because of the pressure I put on myself, I started getting teary eyed while talking with Kelly. I wanted to badly to see improvement in all the areas I've been working on for the last year. I think I was worried that I wouldn't live up to my expectations. I think I needed that little cry and talk with Kelly because I felt so much better after that.

Before we all headed out to the beach, the girls from the Y posed for a couple of pictures. It was so great to have all these women cheering each other on.





Next thing I know we are at the beach. No turning back now. I went back and forth trying to decide if I should wear my wetsuit or not. Last year I wore it, but this year I went without. Not sure if that was the best idea, but at this point, transition was closed and I had to live with my decision.



I was in the 5th of 9 waves. The 4th wave was just about to head out when my friend Shioban snapped this photo of me. I really know how to rock a swim cap, don't I?



RACE TIME!

SWIM
Last year I started just about in the middle of the group. I found myself really dodging people swimming slow and/or walking out as far as they could. This year I decided to start toward the front to avoid that. The countdown started...5-4-3-2-1-We're off!



Until I got to the first turn, I was in a mess. I think swimming without my wetsuit hurt my speed and I found myself dodging people again. Once I made the first turn, I lost the crowd and was able to find a good rhythm. After making the second turn and heading for home, I actually found myself passing people from the wave in front of me. I was pleased with my swim at first...then I stood up on the beach and who was standing next to me but Coach Kelly from the wave behind me. Seriously?!?! I was hoping to beat her to Route 11 on the bike...looks like that wasn't going to be happening! Oh well.

Swim time 18:17. The jury is still out on how far the course was exactly. It was supposed to be 600m like last year. But EVERYONE who did it last year had a slower time this year. My time last year was 11:01. How on earth can I be 7:16 slower?!?! Either last year was too short and/or this year was too long. People I talked to with Garmins said they registered about 800m this year. Hmmmm.....

T1
Transition was farther from the swim than last year, but I'm happy to report I improved from 3:34 last year to 3:09 this year. Woo hoo!

BIKE
Last year I had the loaner bike from Bike Loft, but this year I took the plunge and purchased my own road bike, a Trek Lexa. And I finally found a name for her: Astrid. That is the name of the girl Viking in "How to Train Your Dragon." The character is a tough chick, so I thought it was fitting. I really wanted to improve on the bike and I did: 1:00:47 this year from 1:03:17 last year.







RUN
This is where I really put the pressure on myself to improve. Last year I was very disappointed with my 35:35 run time. It was my Iron Girl time that prompted me to join the Kevin Colling run group at the Y. I just HAD to get better in this area. My legs felt heavy at first, but they quickly came around. I found a steady rhythm and next thing I know I'm at the halfway point turning around. And, like last year, the one mile to go sign was a sight for sore eyes. Just as I entered the park, I was greeted by Erika and Laura cheering all the Y girls on. I sprinted to the finish: 31:07 was my time. Woo hoo!!!!! Not only did I improve, but it was a 5K PR. Not just a triathlon 5K PR, but a 5K PR. I couldn't be happier!!!

OVERALL

My final finishing time was 1:54:57 which was only 31 seconds better than last year's time of 1:55:26. If it wasn't for that darn swim, I would have done a ton better. You have to figure that I lost 7:16 on the swim, so I gained it by improving on all the other 4 times, so I'm happy with that. So, I achieved my goal of doing better. Not only that, but I also achieved my goal of finishing in the top half of my age group and I also finished in the top half overall. These two goals were things I couldn't really control because I could only control my own finishing time, but not the time of everyone else...pretty cool!

Here are some pictures of the girls with their medals:









PARTY TIME!

After the race, we went home to clean up then some of us went over to Mary M's house for a post-race celebration. We had a great time comparing stories from the day and celebrating our individual achievements. My friend Shawn put it best when she said one of the things she loves about racing is that each person has their own definition of rocking it. For one person, it's placing in their age group. For another person, it's improving over last year's time. And for another, it's just plain old finishing. Regardless, we all rocked it in our own special way.



I'll post again soon with my 3G's of the Iron Girl. Until then...TTFN!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Let the Iron Girl Taper Week Begin!

Today is Taper Week Eve and is the last "hard" day before taper week begins. All my hard work will slow down for the next week in preparation for next Sunday's Iron Girl sprint triathlon. I can't believe it's been a year since I ran my first. In some ways I feel that I've made a lot of progress, but I also feel like I've slipped a little. I guess the results next week will tell.

Yesterday was the last Iron Girl course ride. On Wednesday at CNY Tri practice, Coach Kelly had me ride in zones. I was to ride in zone 2 for the first loop, zone 3 for the second loop, then finish back in zone 2. I felt like I was going so slow. We talked yesterday and decided that my zones probably need some adjusting since they were set last Aug or Sep. For yesterday's ride, I really wanted to ride by feel to simulate the race. I was disappointed to finish the ride in about the same amount of time I finished it in last year's race. Really?!?!?! I was hoping for so much better. Hopefully the excitement of the race will give me a shot of adrenaline and help me go faster next Sunday.

As for yesterday's run, I was very pleased with how well I did. I can't remember exactly the time or the distance, but my pace was 10:05 which is one second faster than my current 5K PR pace. This really gives me hope since I ran that pace AFTER riding the bike course. I'm thinking the run and transitions will help me improve overall over last year's time.

Today I went for my last long run. I started at the Good Dog Park at Onondaga Lake Park and headed to the other end of the park. Since today was Parkway Sunday, the Parkway was closed to traffic, so I was able to stretch my run out to almost the train bridge. I turned around at the 45 minute mark and started to head back to the car. At about the hour mark, my left foot started to feel a little bit sore. I hoped it would go away, but it didn't. Not wanting to get re-injured before the race, I decided to call it a day at about the 1:16:00 mark.

I walked the rest of the way and enjoyed the nice weather and the scenery. Not as nice as pictures taken by Bree Wee in Hawaii for her blog, but nice for CNY...





Got some good news about race day this morning. My good friend "Flo" came to visit this morning which means she won't be here on race day...woo hoo!

TTFN!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Ran the Boilermaker?!?!?!



(Most pictures courtesy of www.brightroom.com)

Yes, I RAN THE BOILERMAKER!

I still can't believe it when I say it. Last year at this time, I was training for my first Iron Girl triathlon. One day, coach Kelly assigned us a 60 minute run. I had never run that long before and, at the end, I thought I was going to throw up. A neighbor of my in-laws up in Alex Bay would occasionally go out for 7 mile runs and I thought he was completely insane. He did it to get ready for the Boilermaker. At that time, 3 miles or so was a typical run for me, so anyone who could run 7 miles was a super-athlete in my eyes.

Once Iron Girl was complete, I was determined to get my running improved because that was the worst of the three disciplines. I signed up for the running group at the Y headed by Kevin Collins and I started my journey of running. By January, I was running up to 105 minutes and over 8 miles. I was now one of the crazy ones. Problem is, my foot didn't like how quickly I was increasing the duration and distance, and it told me so in the form of a stress fracture.

Once I healed, I was determined to get back up to the distance and duration I left off at and signed up for the 10 mile Mountain Goat run on May 1. Because I didn't have a lot of time to get back into training, I had to walk part of the race. I was happy that I finished, but I wanted to run the whole thing. The Boilermaker would be the next race that I could prove myself. So, less than two days before the registration got closed out...13,000 runners registered for the 15K...I got out my trusty credit card and registered. I was going to be a super-athlete!!!

The Day Before
Since the race was in Utica, I had no desire to drive there to pick up my packet, drive home, then drive back race morning. So, I had a couple friends from the Y pick up my packet. After riding the Iron Girl bike course, I stopped at the Y to pick up my packet. For the first time, my bib number had 5 digits on it which made the race a little more overwhelming thinking there would be 13,000 people in the race.



The Morning Of
Since the race started at 8:00 AM and the shuttle busses stopped running at 7:00 AM, we had to get on the road early. About 9 of us met at the Y and made a convoy of cars heading to Utica. Erika decorated her vehicle to show we were Boilermaker bound:



As we were driving down the main street in Utica, we passed a Boilermaker countdown. I couldn't believe the time was near:



We parked the cars, got our sunscreen on, got our hydration set, then off to the shuttle bus we went. The Boilermaker is a point to point race, so you parked at either the start or finish line then shuttled to the other end. The runners on our bus almost had their day cut short because we almost rear ended another shuttle bus in front of us. It was way too close for comfort!

We got to the start line a little before 7:00, so we wandered around, visited the porta potties a couple times, found other Y friends while waiting for the 8:00 start. Next thing I know, they're telling us to start lining up. All the runners were supposed to start on Culver, but there were so many, that we had to bend around the corner.



The Start
I jokingly said that there would be so many people that the winners would probably finish before I even reached the Start line. I overexaggerated...but not by much! The winner finished around 43 minutes and it took me almost 10 minutes from when the gun sounded to when I actually crossed the Start line. Right after the start, they had one of the Brightroom photographers stationed on a fire truck ladder above the crowd. I really hoped that I could get a good picture of me from that view, but I couldn't be ID'd, so here is another shot of a bunch of strangers:



The Fun
I have to say, there were plenty of things to distract you during the race. Lots of people were dressed in interesting ways. There were the two girls with tutu's and ribbons wrapped around their legs. There was the guy with the huge beard dressed like Forrest Gump. There were a couple people who carried an American flag on a pole the whole race. Then there were the two women with neon green tops and neon green plaid VERY short shorts on...these ladies were up in age and had NO BUSINESS wearing those shorts!!!

Then there was the music. Plenty of bands and DJs along the route. The best was right within the first mile when a DJ was playing "Sweet Caroline" from Neil Diamond. It got to the point where the song went "Sweet Caroline" then EVERYONE chimed in with "BA BA BA"..."SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!" That was pretty cool!

The volunteers rocked! Water, ice, popsicles, you name it. Awesome job by the folks of Utica.

Down to Business
Coach Kelly and I devised a plan to run zone 2 for the first 10K, then hard as I could the last 5K. I kind of did it.

The first 5K went pretty well, but just as I reached that distance and we were just about to head into the golf course with a long gradual hill, my legs started to feel heavy. NOOOOO!!! I can't feel like crap yet! Our other plan was to have a Shot Blok every 1-2 miles. About halfway up the hill around the 4 mile mark, a Shot Blok must have kicked in because I started to feel a lot better again. The hill in the golf course was very long, but nowhere near the steepness of those on the Mountain Goat. When I got to the top and started down, I made sure I took advantage and cruised.

When I got to the halfway point, I still felt good. My breathing and heart rate were always under control. My legs came and went constantly. Not sure if that's a fueling thing, but I'll have to figure it out and work on it.

Not sure at what point this picture was taken.



When I got to the 10K point, I tried to kick it into another gear. Sometimes I could and sometimes I was just thinking all I wanted to do was finish. When I reached the 9 mile mark with 0.3 miles to go, I once again tried to dig deep, but it really wasn't happening. I finally saw the finish line and did what I could.

Here are some scenes from the finish:







So here is how I faired:
Times:
5K Split 34:35
10K Split 1:09:19 (34:44 for 2nd 5K)
Finish 1:42:13 (32:54 for 3rd 5K...fastest, yet not by a lot)

Places:
Overall 8808 out of 11074
Women 3736 out of 5079
Age Group 430 out of 591

Definitely happy that I have my first under my belt and definitely want to work hard in the next year to better that time. I would LOVE to get under 1:30:00. My goal this year was under 1:45:00, so I'm proud of that.

After Party
Not that I felt much like partying, but we stuck around for some food, a little beer, and some good company from good friends from the Y









I'm super glad I did this race and I discovered the super-athlete in me. Have lots of room for improvement, but I definitely proved a lot to myself and others.

TTFN!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

4th of July...a little late



I'm about a week behind on my blogging. My company had their annual golf tournament yesterday and I was in charge of organizing it. I've been so wrapped up in that, that I forgot to write about 4th of July. A couple days ago I ran my first 15K, but that report will have to wait a bit.

Family Fun
Before I write about all the training I was able to get in, I'll tell you about the family fun we had. The weather we had for the three day holiday weekend can be summed up in one word: Perfect! Temps in the 80's, no rain during the day, and barely a cloud in the sky. Every morning I would get my training done then we headed to the water's edge for the rest of the day.


At first Alex was timid to jump in the water. But, once he got the hang of it, he LOVED it!


Alex had a few cousins up at the River with us. Here Alex and his cousin Ella are relaxing by the water after having some fun swimming.

Training
One thing I was really looking forward to was training. I enjoy training up at the River because I'm not on a schedule and I can do it whenever I please and pretty much for as long as I please.

On Saturday, I got up and drove my bike to Clayton so I could ride the River Rat bike course. According to my Garmin, I rode 15.83 miles in just under an hour. I hadn't been sure if I was really going to register for the River Rat race in August, but after riding the course for the second time, I'm pretty sure that I am going to do it. The only thing that could hold me back is an injury...knock on wood! The race is three weeks after Iron Girl, so that will give me plenty of time to recover, train a bit more, and be ready. Last year was the inagual race and I checked the times of women in my age group. If I raced last year, I think I could have placed or come pretty close. Hmmmm....maybe a goal for this year's race? Anyway, the ride was great and I even stopped for a few minutes to view some fish in the pond next to the Frontenac Springs Bottling Company.

On Sunday, I had a 90 min long run scheduled. Usually for my runs, I head out on Route 12, run half way, then turn around and come back. The run is very boring and there is little scenery. Since I was going to run for so long, I wanted to mix it up and go somewhere I could have something enjoyable to look at. I first thought about driving over the bridge to Wellesely Island, but I really didn't feel like getting in the car, paying money to drive over the bridge, have to find somewhere to park, then run 90 min.

Eventually, I decided to run Route 12, but to make it more enjoyable, I would go down some side streets toward the water. I really wish I pulled my camera out more because I really had some nice views. The first side street I went down went around the land that creates Swan Bay. Every time we go down by the water I see the other side of the bay, but I've never known how to get there...now I do! the second side street I went down was equally as pretty. There was a hotel down there called the Channel View that I had never known about...until now! Here is a picture of the view of the channel near the motel:



I started heading back home from here. On the way, I passed some longhorns that Alex loves:



I also saw what we call the Oreo Cookie cows:



When I was done, I had run 7.57 miles in just a touch over 90 min. This would be my last long run before Boilermaker.

Monday I had two workouts: an open water swim and an easy bike ride. For the open water swim, I had Dan and Alex escort me in the kayak. I have an app on my phone that measures workouts, so I had Dan carry it in the kayak with him to see if it could measure my swim. When you're done it shows a red line showing you where you went. The red line on my swim zig zagged all over the place and said I swam 1.5 miles. I would love to believe it, but I don't think so. Later I looked at a map and it looked more like I did just over a mile which is still pretty good in my mind for a 30 min swim.

For my easy bike ride, I rode down Route 12 to the village of Alex Bay and back, making a side trip down one of the side streets I ran down on Sunday. I ended up riding 10.41 miles in 48:06. I think I might have gone a little harder than I should have. I don't have my bike HR zones memorized, so I was just winging it.

Unfortunately we had to head home that night. Back to the reality of squeezing in training early in the morning and around everyone else's schedules. I will miss him dearly, but Alex is heading up to the River to stay with my in-laws for a few days starting tomorrow, so my training schedule can be a bit more flexible which I'll enjoy.

Next post should be soon and it will be about my adventures as a Boilermaker virgin.

TTFN!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Green Lakes Triathlon and the 3 G's

I fibbed two posts ago when I said my next post was going to be Green Lakes 3 G's recap. I had to squeeze the Corporate Challenge in there. So, here I am now with the recap of Green Lakes and my 3 G's. Some of you may remember my Iron Girl 3 G's post from last year. For those of you not familiar with the 3 G's, they stand for Gratitude-Goals-Game Plan. I'm going to go through each phase of the triathlon and state things I'm grateful for, some goals for next time, and a game plan for how I want to get there. So, here we go:

PRE RACE
Gratitude
* My dinner the night before the race sat well: shrimp skewers, salt potatoes, cole slaw, and a small beer from JD's formerly known as Dougs. I think I had this dinner before Iron Girl last year too!
* I slept GREAT the night before
* The rain stopped just as I was getting to Green Lakes
* All my clothes and equipment were clean and easy to find making packing a breeze
* All bathroom issues were resolved at home before I left...if you know what I mean! ;)

Goals
1) Go to bed even earlier than I did
2) Use more visualization
3) Eat something closer to the start of the race so I don't feel hungry while waiting to start the swim

Game Plan
1a) Start packing/gathering things two days before the race and not the night before
1b) Get in bed 8 hours before you're getting up. Even if you're reading, just relax
2) Plan visualization into your off day
3) Pack 1/2 PB&J sandwich to eat about 1/2 hour before your swim wave starts

SWIM
Gratitude
* The water felt like bath water at 72*
* I had a steady freestyle stroke the entire swim
* Although my time registered 18:10, I actually got out of the water around 16:40
* My goggles didn't fog up on me...thank you Shawn for the drops!
* I didn't get run over too much by the men
* My right shoulder didn't give me any problems

Goals
1) Strengthen my shoulders
2) Breathe on both sides
3) Realize swim time stops when you cross sthe timing mat, not when you exit the water necessarily

Game Plan
1a) Work more weight training sessions back into my training routine
1b) Find specific exercises for swim/bike/run
2) Practice breathing on both sides in the pool
3) Run faster from the shore to the timing mat and practice this during the Wednesday night session at Oneida Shores

T1
Gratitude
* Wetsuit came off easily
* My neighbors were already gone from earlier waves, so I had lots of room to maneuver

Goals
1) Don't waste time getting a drink now
2) Don't waste time putting a top on
3) Get into your shoes faster

Game Plan
1a) Get a water bottle holder on your bike
1b) Fill the bottle with Gatorade or have a gummy with water
2) Wear your tri suit or the CNY Tri top over a bra and wear it under your wetsuit
3) Practice biking without socks

BIKE
Gratitude
* No flat tires
* I made it up the hills without having to walk
* Roads weren't too wet to make them slippery from the rain
* Police to hold off traffic at out two left turns
* Didn't fall like 3 of my friends did
* No rain during the race

Goals
1) Speed

Game Plan
1) Good question!

T2
Gratitude
* Warm dry socks for the run
* Remembering my bib for the run

Goals
1) Don't waste time getting a drink now
2) change shoes faster

Game Plan
1) Have your fuel belt ready and pin your number to it
2) Practice running without socks and consider doing that.

RUN
Gratitude
* Left hip and foot felt good
* Because of my warm socks, the feeling in my feet came back quickly
* Y friends to cheer me on at the finish

Goals
1) Be aware of your pace so you know how hard you need to push

Game Plan
1) Wear a watch. I have my old watch and my nice Garmin. My old watch is waterproof, so I can wear it during the swim and won't have to put it on in T1. My Garmin is not waterproof, but it will give me my pace. Will have to do some thinking on this one...

OVERALL
Gratitude
* Came in under my 1:45:00 goal
* Perfect weather with overcast skies
* Plenty of Y friends to share the experience with
* Great volunteers

Goals
1) Faster

Game Plan
1) Use all of the above plans

I've got some work to do before Iron Girl...TTFN!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Corporate Challenge Race Report


Ten years...where have they gone? Ten years ago this summer I ran my first race: the 2001 Chase Corporate Challenge in Syracuse. Yesterday I ran the same race for the second time. Over the last ten years, I haven't worked for a company that has participated. A couple months ago I brought up the idea at our weekly Monday meeting and everyone agreed that we should participate. So, I designated myself as team Captain and started the process of getting MACNY registered.

PACKET PICK UP
Last Friday we were allowed to get out shirts and bibs for our team at Carousel Mall. I arrived at the tent outside the mall and they said I had to go inside to get our packets. I went inside and the lady informed me that I owed them money. I was under the impression we would get invoiced...rookie mistake! She made me go back outside to get the OK from the Race Director, so back to the tent I went. I made a pinky promise that I would go online and charge our entry fee as soon as I got back to the office, so I was sent back inside. Finally got the envelope with our bibs, then back out to the tent for our t-shirts. With t-shirts in hand, I finally was able to head back to work. That was a lot of work.



PRE RACE
This race (including the one I did in 2001) used to be held in August. But, because of heat and humidity that time of year, they decided to move it to June. It didn't help much this year because it was hot (mid to high 80s) and humid all day. I tried my best to hydrate all day by drinking lots (about 4 bottles) of water. I was really hoping for a PR so I didn't want hydration to be a factor.

About a half hour before the race, I decided I needed to go to the bathroom. I saw some porta potties from a distance that looked available, so I headed over. Once I got there, I discovered quite a long line. I waited in it awhile, but with only 9 minutes until race time, I decided that I would just have to hold it. I hoped it wouldn't bother me.

RACE TIME
*Let me start this section by stating that I thought this race was a 5K. All of my race decisions were based on this incorrect assumption.

Since this race was so big (almost 7,000 participants), they had signs at the start so people could line up according to their predicted pace. I was really hoping to PR this race since its flat. My PR for a 5K is a 10:06 mile. I decided to line up with the 9 minute milers. I figured they could help pace my way to a PR. The horn blew and by the time I reached the start line, about 1 minute had gone by.

I started running a bit and immediately my mouth felt like cotton. Crap! Maybe I didn't drink enough. I thought about wearing my fuel belt, but I decided not to...who needs a fuel belt for a 5K?!?! Ha! Not I!!! Besides, they'll have water on the course. (I've got to stop listening to that little voice in my head because it can really be an idiot sometimes!)

Occasionally I would look at my watch and every time I looked my pace was under 10 min. OK...so far so good. When I got to the 1 mile sign there was a guy yelling out times and he yelled out something around 10:45 which would be around 9:45 for me. Wow! I'm right on pace! Somewhere around this point was the first water which helped a lot.

During the second mile, I could feel the heat getting to me and I know I slowed down. I glanced at my watch and saw 10:?? as my pace. I told myself to go a little easier this mile then push it again the last 1.1 mile. But, just before the turn around point, I started to feel a little light headed and dizzy. I really started to get nervous that I would have to walk the rest of the way.

At the half way point, the person yelling out times said something like 18:??. Again, assuming this was a 5K, my final time would be around 35:??. There was another water stop right after the turn around point. Feeling bummed that I blew my PR, I walked a little while I grabbed water.

Not far after that water stop was the 2 mile point. The time yelled out was 20:?? which for me would be 19:??. Wait a minute?!?! I'm still running a sub 10-min mile?!?! I was completely confused at this point, so thinking I had 1.1 miles to go, I tried to pick it up again.

I don't remember if anyone was yelling out at the 3 mile point. All I thought was that I had 0.1 miles to go, so I picked it up. But that 0.1 miles seemed to go on forever. Where the heck is that finish line?!?! At this point my watch said something like 32:00, so there was no way I could PR this 5K. Feeling disappointed in myself, I slowed to walk for a few seconds. But, I decided that a slow jog was better than walking, so I did what I could to make it to the finish.

My watch read 35:39 which for a 5K was slow for me. After having such high hopes, I was really disappointed that I didn't make the most of my training with Kevin.

POST RACE
It takes a little while for my watch to reset and, once it does, it shows my distance. Once I got back to our company tent, I looked at my watch. The distance read 3.51 miles. Wait a minute!!! Where the heck did those exra 0.41 miles come from?!?!? Maybe I had a PR pace after all!!!

After some calculations, I discovered my pace was 10:10...4 seconds off my PR pace from October's LaFayette Apple Run. If I hadn't given up at the mile 2 water stop and in the home stretch, I'm sure I could have PR'd this race.

So, I've got lots of emotions about this race. Happy that this is my best pace since October and my injury this winter and happy knowing that I probably could have PR'd if I had the correct information in my head.

Disappointed that I didn't have the correct race distance (not sure if that's my fault or the information the race gave out) and that I gave up. Have lots to think about and fix before the next race.

My next running race is the Boilermaker 15K (9.3 miles) on July 10...automatice PR on this one since I've never run this distance before. My next 5K is the Save the River Run in Clayton at the end of July. Maybe I can PR this one...I'll definitely bring my fuel belt!

TTFN!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Green Lakes Triathlon 2011: The Race Report



Yesterday I ran the Green Lakes Sprint Triathlon for the first time. The race was made up of a half-mile swim, a 20K (12.6 mile) bike ride, and a 5K (3.1 mile) run on the trails around the lakes.

NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Last weekend I did my first and only two open water swims prior to the race. As documented in this post, the Oneida Shores Open Water Swim didn't go too well. Although my swim at Green Lakes the day after was better, I was still nervous about the swim.

In addition, I was nervous about the bike. I had riden the course two times and had to walk part of the hills both times. I wanted to badly to make it up all the hills on two wheels, but questioned whether I had it in me or not.

POSITIVE THINKING
A few weeks ago I went to a seminar put on by Coach Kelly at the Y and I was the only one to attend. The topic was how to train your brain. Although Coach Kelly and I had done the exercises in the past, it was good to do it again.

In addition, last Monday I attended a seminar put on my Lisa Barnes who is also a triathlon coach. I figured it would be good to get a different perspective on things.

With all the negative thinking I had about the swim and bike, I really tried to use Kelly and Lisa's tips to have a more positive attitude going into the race.

RACE DAY EVE
The day before at work I was a bundle of nerves thinking about the race. Once I got out for the day, I was happy that I coudl concentrate on the race. Alex and I headed to Fleet Feet after he got out of school. I was given #265 and was in wave 3 of 4. After karate and dinner, I loaded my bike in the car, packed my bags, then headed to bed. Unlinke Iron Girl Eve, I fell right asleep and slept like a baby.

RACE MORNING
My alarm went off at 5:15 AM and I felt good and rested. I had my iced mocha, PB&J bagel, and was ready to head out just before 6:30. It had rained during the night and while I was getting ready. I was bummed thinking that it would rain during the race, but since it was out of my control I just accepted the fact that it would be a wet race.

PRE-RACE AT THE PARK
God must have been looking down on us because the rain stopped just about the time I got to the park and it didn't rain again while we were there. Thank you!!!

I saw Maria and Erika in the parking lot when I arrived and we headed up to get our timing chips and body marking. George and Jane were there helping out, so it was nice to see some familiar faces. We headed back to get our gear then it was off to set up transition.

Unlike Iron Girl where we were just assigned a row, here we had a specific spot. I got lucky and was right next to the support legs so I had a little extra room to put stuff between me and my neighbor.

More and more familiar faces started to show, so it was nice to have them for some mutual support. I don't know if it was the race itself, the fact it was co-ed, or that most of us were grizzled veterans now, but it didn't have the warm, fuzzy feeling of Iron Girl and I missed that.

We all headed to the beach for the race meeting at 8:00 Am. After the meeting we were allowed to warm up in the water which I took full advantage of because I didn't want a repeat of last week. The 72* water felt like bath water compared to 65* last week. Yee haw!



RACE TIME
At 8:30 AM, the 1st wave was off and 5 min later wave two headed out. I was calm and ready for battle when our gun sounded at 8:40.

SWIM
I tried to stay to the right to avoid traffic as much as possible. I did good about the first helf out then some guy started holding me up. Eventually I had to tread water to let him by, then I was on my way again.

Unlike last week, I did a freestyle stroke the entire way and felt great. When I got out of the water, the clock read 26:30something. Minus 10 minutes, that put me at 16:30something. I was really happy about it until my splits came out online and they had me at 18:10. It took me about 1:30 to get to the stupid timing mat, so that didn't make me very happy.

T1
Today I wasn't terribly concerned with transitions and it showed. I put my bike jersey on, got a drink, took my time with my shoes, etc. This all contributed to a 3:03 time. Gotta work on that before Iron Girl.

BIKE
Coming out of the park there is a small hill that nearly killed me. I was still breathing hard from the swim which made the hill feel like torture. Since this was the smallest of the four hills, I got a little nervous and figured I was doomed. But, I told myself that my breathing would eventually relax and I would rock the remaining three hills.

All during the first half of the bike, I concentrated on calming my breathing and saving my legs for the hills because both would be tested with the hills in the second half of the ride. Hill two also felt tough, but I made it up with the momentum from the downhill right before.

Now for hill three on Pierson Road. Got into the "granny gear" pretty quickly and just tried to stay calm. A couple riders around me gave up and walked, but I stayed calm and pedalled to the top. I felt tired, but good. The big one was next.

The worst thing about this hill is that you can't get any momentum heading into it because there is a sharp right turn into the park and then you're at the hill. Got into the "granny gear" again and just kept telling myself "slow and steady." During last week's ride I almost made it to the top, but gave up not too far from the top. When I got to the same spot I gave up at last week, I just reminded myself that I was almost there. Next thing I knew my pedalling became quicker and easier and I was actually able to switch to harder gears...I MADE IT!!! WOO HOO!!! I just wanted to shout for joy, but I figured people would think I was crazy. Well, I probably have to be to do this stuff anyway, right?

The ride down the hill was a pleasure as I relaxed my legs and flew. My bike computer wasn't working, so I don't know how fast I got up to. As I approached transition, a guy was passing me on the left, so I started to move to the right, but then I heard some lady yelling at me. I didn't think that was very smart of her to pass on my right. She appologized as we were dismounting, but she's got to wake up next time if you ask me.

Time on the bike was 48:04. I really wasn't sure what I wanted to aim for on the ride, so I'll take it!

T2
Learning from Iron Girl, I brought an extra pair of socks to run in. It added time to my transition, but my feet definitely felt better with dry socks on. I'll have to experiment more to see if this is actually worth it or not. Time 1:52.

RUN
The trail run was nice because it was easy on my hip and foot. But it also slowed me down. I was hoping to see improvement, but I knew it would be difficult due to the terrain. About half way through I got a side cramp that forced me to walk a little and stretch. Coming to the finish, I saw some Y friends who cheered me on to the finish. Time was 33:39. Better than Iron Girl, so I'm excited to see what I can do there in August.



OVERALL
My goal was to be under 1:45:00 and I achieved that barely. (Seems like a repeat of Mountain Goat!) My time was 1:44:48, so I'll take it for my fist time doing this race.

Here is how I did compared to the field:
335/383 Overall
123/158 Women
26/31 Age group

I'm pleased, but I do wish I did better. My next post will be the 3G look back on the race.

TTFN!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Less than One Week Until the First Tri of 2011!

Well, this was the last weekend to train before the Green Lakes Triathlon next Saturday. On Saturday morning I was signed up to do the 800 yd swim for the Oneida Shores Open Water Swim. Last year's swim was cancelled due to thunder and lightning, but this year, the sky was beautiful and it looked like a great day for a swim.



First off were the men swimming 1,500 yds then the women swimming the same distance. They put the men and women together for my wave. On Friday I picked up my t-shirt and cap and was told the water temp was in the 70's. I was happy to hear it although I found it hard to believe. Well, I was right because the temp mysteriously went down to 65*. Unlike some of the swimmers, I didn't warm up beforehand. Last year I swam in the lake around this time of year with no warm up, so I figured I wouldn't have a problem. After the 2nd wave went off, my wave waded out into the water. The water was cold, but I still didn't think it would cause me any problems. Three, two, one, GO!

I dove into the water...HOLY CRAP THIS WATER IS COLD!!!!! I swam for about a minute in total shock, lifted my head out of the water, and had serious doubts that I would make it. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I'm not sure if it was the shock of the cold water, the tighness of my wetsuit around my neck, my head playing tricks on me, or some combination of the above. I continued on as best as I could, but I wasn't getting any rhythm to my stroke.

Eventually, I made a deal with myself: swim 10 strokes freestyle, then you can swim 10 breastrokes. 10 free/10 breast/10 free/ 10 breast... I was starting to calm down a bit and settled into a rhythm. Almost to the buoy, I increased my freestyle stroke count to 15. When I eventually got to the buoy, I wanted to hug and kiss it, but I just made the turn and headed for dry land. Part way back, I increased my freestyle stroke count to 20. I still wasn't feeling great, but I was doing much better.

I was very happy to get to the point where I could touch. However, the dreaded zebra mussels did a number on my feet:



When I got out of the water, I looked at the clock and it read 30:something. My understanding was that my wave started 6 minutes after the first wave, so I figured I had a finish time of 24:something. If you look at the Yellow Jacket Racing website, my finish time is posted at 21:43. However, they have my bib number wrong. I was number 127, but the website has 128. When I looked at the time for number 128, it is listed at 24:08, so I think they got out timing chips messed up because that sounds more realistic for me.

So, my lesson learned is that I WILL warm up before the tri on Saturday so I can get the shock out of my body BEFORE my wave starts.

Today, I met Shawn, Caroline, and Shioban at Green Lakes to do the bike ride. Last time I did the GL course, my gears jammed and I couldn't get into my easier gears for the hills and I had to walk up. Today I had a fully functioning bike and I was ready to tackle the hills.

I felt great going up the first hill out of the park and on the second hill about halfway through. The next hill was a big one on Pierson. This is one of the hills I had to walk last time. I was about halfway up and was at what I thought was my easiest gear. I was struggling a little then discovered my front gear was still on the big wheel. Woo hoo! I've still got easier gears. I quickly got into the easier ones and made it up the hill, but not without huffing and puffing all the way.

Last, but not least, was THE BIG HILL leading into the park. Last time, I didn't even attempt it. I just hopped off at the bottom and walked the whole way. This time, I was going to go as far as I could. I ALMOST made it to the top, but gave up about 90% there. Now that I know there wasn't much left to go, I think on Saturday I'll be able to make it. Today I didn't have a clue what was left, so I gave into the pain. I have to remember my mantra: "Embrace the Pain!"

After our ride, Shioban had to leave, but Kelly E. joined us for a swim. I was going to gain some confidence that had been shaken yesterday. But, like yesterday, the water was FREEZING! Kelly swam a lap and said it got better a lap in...and she was right. I swam about 10 laps total before having to quit because my right shoulder started bugging me. But, I was happy I got the swim in and I'll be more ready come Saturday.

So, the countdown is on...6 days to go!

TTFN!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend 2011!

Although the weather is pretty iffy this time of year, you've gotta love the unofficial start of the summer. Ever since I started dating Dan, Memorial Day weekend always meant heading to Alexandria Bay to stay with his parents for the weekend. Up until 5 years ago or so, they lived in North Syracuse and had their place up in "the Bay" as their summer camp. However, recently, they live there during the summer and in Florida in the winter.

This year, Dan and Alex had Friday off, so once I got out of work at 3:00, we rushed to get out of town. On Thursday, I checked out the storage space of my new vehicle, a Toyota Rav4, and came to the conclusion that we wouldn't have enough room for Alex, our 95 lb black lab Campbell, our luggage, and my bike. I was very bummed that the bike would probably have to stay home. All day Friday I thought there had to be a way to get it in the space we had. As soon as I got home, I worked my magic and got everything in. Woo hoo! Since I was going to be away, I was going to miss Saturday's training ride at Green Lakes, so I really wanted to bring it with me to get in a ride or two.

Soon we were on our way and soon we ran into rain. Great! I hoped the entire weekend wouldn't be a washout.





The further we drove north, the colder it got. When we left the house the temperature read 70*. By the time we got to my in-laws it was 55*. Great! Rainy AND cold! Just what I want!

Next thing we knew we were getting off our exit. Yeah!



My brother-in-law and his wife have a place next door to my in-laws. They have two little girls and Alex loves to play with them. He brought his portable DVD player up and they had fun watching some movies and playing.



Ever since I've been running more this winter, I've had it in my mind that once I got back up to camp, I was going to run across the Thousand Island Bridge. A neighbor of my in-laws at camp goes out for 7 mile runs and I've always thought he was crazy. But now I'M the crazy one. So, I decided Saturday morning would be the day.

I went to put my Garmin on and noticed the battery died on it. So, I quickly downloaded a free app on my phone called My Tracks so I could determine the distance and I was on my way.



I got to the base of the bridge on the mainland and started making my way up, up, up. I motivated myself with reminders of the Mountain Goat about a month ago. Next thing I know, I'm at the peak heading down toward Welsley Island. There's not much to offer in terms of running paths at the base of the bridge, so I touched the Island and turned to make my way back to the mainland. This next picture is making my way back to the peak on my return trip.



The next picture is taken from the peak facing toward the South West.



This view is facing toward the North East. Not much of a view with all the bridge in the way. But in between you can see Swan Bay where my in-laws live.



Now that Alex is six years old, we decided to treat him to a go-cart ride for the first time at the Alex Bay 500. He was very excited about it...until we sat in the car. Is it going to be loud? Don't go too fast! I only want to go one lap! All his worries ended within 5 seconds and he was squealing with delight.



The weather was pretty good all weekend with the exception of a big thunderstorm that chased us inside for awhile.



We woke up Monday morning to beautiful sunshine and blue skies. I was pretty sure it was going to get pretty hot out, so I decided to do my training early. I went for a bike ride out and back on Route 12 on Sunday. But on Monday, I wanted to ride the bike course of the River Rat Triathlon which will take place in late August. I'm not totally sure I'm going to do the tri, but I wanted to ride the course because of the hills. I knew it would be a good replacement for the missed Green Lakes ride. I drove my bike into the town of Clayton and parked just about where the triathlon will start.



I didn't take any pictures during my ride, but it was a good one with about 4 big hills...great prep for Green Lakes. I was very happy at the end because I really feel good about shifting now. My legs were literally shaking when I was finished. I wanted to make it a brick, so I headed out for what I wanted to be a 5K. Right after I started I was beat. I wasn't even a mile in and all I wanted to do was turn back to my vehicle. But, I shuffled along and ran about 2.5 miles.

The highlight is running across the small bridge to Washington Island. It's a tiny island with a loop that the triathlon run course will go on and also the Save the River 5K which I've run the last two years and plan to run again at the end of July. It's so pretty and there's always such a nice breeze. I just wanted to run back and forth on that little bridge all day.



So, now we're home and back to reality. My training was great this weekend covering 32.5 miles on the bike and about 8.5 miles running. My eating wasn't all that great, but what can you expect on a holiday weekend and when you're eating at someone else's house? At work today we had a catered lunch from Dinosaur BBQ, so my plan is to concentrate on eating better starting tomorrow. My grocery shopping trip to Wegman's this afternoon was successful and full of heathly stuff, so I'm hoping I can get back on track.

TTFN!