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:

* 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! ;)

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

* 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

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

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

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

* 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

1) Speed

Game Plan
1) Good question!

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

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.

* 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

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...

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

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.

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.

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.

*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. 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.

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!


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.


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!