cycling


Much to our disappointment, Scott and I had to pull out of the River Cities Tri. We just were not physically ready to take that on after not having worked out in two months. We went on a 20 mile bike ride the day before the tri and I got sick, not eating healthy will do that to you, and was worn down till the following Monday. It really showed me how much I had lost by not working out for 2 months.

Watching Tonya start and finish each event was so inspiring and got us excited for next year….Scott was looking for a tri for us to do in the fall even before we left Cypress Lake! We are SO proud of Tonya! She was happy throughout the entire event and an encouragement to all! I can’t wait to race with her next year!

So after returning from the tri we were really pumped but knew we needed to start out slowly with our workouts and needed to start eating healthier. I have once again quit drinking Diet Coke. I still LOVE Diet Coke but don’t have a taste for it right now….get back with me in the winter tho….it pairs so well with Crown.  hehe

Anyway…..I do feel better by not drinking it and in turn it makes me want to exercise more. We have been riding on Saturdays with our group and it has been a blast. We do at least 20-30 miles each Saturday, with the group doing 40 miles last weekend but Scott’s knee was really bothering him so we turned around at 16.5 miles. I ordered Rock Tape for Scott after you sent the link, Tonya! So hopefully it will help out.

On Tuesday nights we are taking a spin class. It is one hour of pure HELL. We are taking it at my church so I can just give the instructor go to hell looks and nothing else. I truly do NOT like spin. I am working on eating properly on spin days so I don’t pass out. Yes, I have seen black spots (twice in one class) in my peripheral vision and just barely brought myself out of it. That night after class I laid down on the floor for a good 5 minutes. It takes me an entire day to recover. BUT…..on a higher note…..it is helping me out with my cycling. So I am going to stick with it and go on Thursday nights when they offer it in the winter.

My son, Triston, has joined his schools cross country team so this is propelling us to get out and run again! We have started the couch to 5K program again with my boys and Scott’s kids when they are at his house! I like running with Andrew (6) because we can run slow. Hehe. But I step up to the plate and TRY to keep up with Scott and his LONG legs when the boys head to the house.

I am ready to find some time to add swimming back into the mix. I truly miss it. It’s my favorite 30 minutes in a day. Of course school is going to start back for me next Friday, and it’s going to be tough to work out but I don’t want to lose any that has been gained in the last month.

Tomorrow we are going on a 30 mile ride with our group. There will be some “few long, sustaining hills” as our group leader put it, along with wind gusts, as Tropical Storm Lee rides in to visit us. So wish us luck! We will need it!! 

The culmination of this blog happened this past Sunday with the 31st annual River Cities Triathlon.

I was disappointed that Scott, Tammy and Gwen weren’t going to be racing with me but did have other friends who would be. I’m still amazed that I can do a triathlon that has over 1000 participants and STILL run into people I know. So very cool!

Scott and Tammy did take me out to a nice pasta dinner on Saturday night as well as show up bright and early on Sunday morning to cheer me on. Between them, my mom, my kids and my boyfriend, I had an awesome cheering section throughout the various points of the tri.

Me & my momma

 

Part of my cheering section

 

I woke up Sunday morning with an upset stomach but thankfully, that feeling quickly disappeared among the loud upbeat music and high energy of the other athletes at the park.

 

 

I did get in the water for a short pre-race swim – which I highly recommend. I’ve done that the past few tris and have found it really helps me to wash away some of the nervousness of the swim. This time, my kids enjoyed swimming with me too.

Soon it was time to go. The cannon blew LOUDLY and off we went!

 

Go go go!!

 

The first thing I noticed was how I wanted to be IN the pack of swimmers instead of behind them. The race announcer said something about drafting and how it saves energy so I wanted to try it. I was proud of myself for not being scared of being kicked, shoved or, as it happened, swam over! Literally, a few over zealous swimmers swam right over the top of me!

As my norm, I panicked in places (read: swam on my back) on the way out to the first buoy but as I made the turn, I found some calm and trudged on through to the end. I actually shaved 4 minutes off of my previous River Cities swim time!

Swim: 30:31.3 (pace 3:28) vs. previous 34:47  (pace 4:21)

 

Ready to ride

 

Out of the water, I ran up the beach and to the transition area. Note to self: ALWAYS remember to bring a towel to transition. I’d forgotten one but thankfully, my friend Jenn had an extra one for me to borrow. Even still, trying to slip into cycling gloves and socks while still dripping wet is quite the challenge.  I appreciate Scott and Tammy being there to encourage me during my transition.

 

T1: 3:57.2 vs. previous 3:28

 

The bike portion of the tri is a relatively flat 18.2 miles. I really enjoy the biking because it feels like a vacation to me in relation to swimming and running. I felt like I was able to maintain at least an average of 15 mph… sometimes I was up to 21 and others I was down to 10 on a few hills. I seemed strong after ingesting a mini-Clif bar during my transition. I also had a few peanut butter crackers and drank an entire bottle of Gatorade to stay hydrated while riding. Note to self: wear my Camelbak if at all possible during one of these triathlons in 90 plus temperatures. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about reaching down to grab a bottle while cycling.

 

Coming back in after the ride

 

Bike: 1:13:09.8 (pace 14.9) vs. previous 1:12:20 (pace 15.4)

 

My legs were jello after the bike ride but I did my best to rush into transition and get ready for the run. In my head, I was getting excited that I only had 3.2 miles left to the finish line.

 

T2: 3:22 vs. previous 3:22!

 

I didn’t really feel up to running even though I did run out of transition. I ran for about 100 yards and then settled into a comfortable walk. I tried jogging but just didn’t have it in me. Then I came upon my boyfriend and kids who cheered me on. When my youngest daughter joined me for part of the run, it inspired me to push it harder.

 

Looks like a good start

 

She inspired me to try harder

 

I noticed that there were not many who were running at this point in the competition. I had an idea in my head of my time and wanted to beat my last course record so I ran as much as I could, only stopping to walk when they handed out water along the run route.

I passed a few people who were exhausted from the heat or dehydrated. I was proud of myself for still feeling strong. I drank Gatorade at every stop and poured ice into my cap. I ran through sprinklers and grabbed the ice cold towels to stay cool. I had a feeling that I must have done well at staying hydrated since I had to pee during most of the race. I’m guessing you wouldn’t have that feeling if you were dehydrated. (I’d also been drinking at least 8 oz of Gatorade every day all week long and a TON of water too.)

I couldn’t wait to cross that finish line just to stop moving! I didn’t enjoy the final 50 yards being all sand because my ankles were pretty weak by that point but the finish line was a welcome sight.

Even better was being greeted by my family and friends!

 

Run: 36:31.3 (pace 11:47) vs. previous 34:44 (pace 11:13)

 

Finished: red faced but still feeling strong!

 

Total triathlon finish time: 2:27:31.7 vs. previous 2:28:39 <- a full minute off my previous time!

***

I’m still a little body weary from the weekend but pretty excited about the possibility of beating my time again next year! Looking forward to racing with Scott and Tammy for sure! And whomever else we can talk into it.

So, how’d you guys enjoy the tri goodies? A race jacket, socks, t-shirt, technical shirt, and a most excellent triathlon backpack… good stuff, eh?

And what’s that you say about kicking my ass next year? Bring it!

 

 

Well…we are going to see how long we last in the saddle. It’s 97* with a heat index of 110*. It will be our first ride since the Bulldog Tri. We are going to ride with a new group tonight and it’s a No Rider Left Behind ride! I will need that! (hehe) Hopefully it will start to go down in the next 45 minutes. That’s a big HOPE! Scott thinks his helmet warped in the car! Oops! I am seriously hoping for a cool front to come through on Aug 6 weekend.

It’s been super crazy this summer. I thought I would slow down just a tad but that hasn’t happened yet. Scott nor I have ran in weeks. We have walked a good bit (in Seattle, that counts, right?) and I moved from a town house to a little house last weekend, so maybe that will count too? The last time we swam, I actually did better than ever, but I am not up to 800 meters yet. I still want to try the tri tho. I may be last (seriously) but I hope we can do it.

Ok, off to ride down Hwy 167! Thinking positive! We CAN do this!

I completed the Disco Triathlon yesterday.

I had a great attitude going into it. Since it was a last minute decision to register, I was looking at it as more of a rehearsal tri rather than anything I needed to worry about.

I was relatively calm about the swim start. The few open water swim practices I’d done helped me to realize I need to get in the water BEFORE the triathlon start. Several others had the same idea. I went into the water, swam out a bit and swam back to shore. A little panic… and a reminder to practice my new mantra, “Calm”.

The triathlon had a great beach start.

 

Because there were two other long course triathlons and several waves of athletes before my wave, the water was choppy. My newly learned bilateral breathing technique was thrown out the window rather quickly as I struggled to breathe in air rather than yet another wave of water. I did panic slightly and recovered by flipping to my back for backstroke.  I swam freestyle mostly but did swim on my back about 5 times here and there. I never really gave up on freestyle. I just needed a break now and again.

Total swim: 500 yards.

Total swim time: 17:19.9

 

Exiting the water, shaky but ready to ride.

 

There was quite a path between the beach and the transition area. My legs weren’t exactly ready to run but I got there as quick as I could. There were race volunteers rinsing the sand off our feet. That was helpful.

 

T1 time: 5:07.8

 

Transition 1 from swim to bike.

 

As I expected, I enjoyed the time out on the bike. The ONLY thing I wish I’d done before getting on the bike was go to the bathroom. There were a few trees along the route that looked very enticing…

I tried to stay hydrated throughout the bike ride, consuming a whole bottle of Gatorade. I also ate my usual biking de-bonk treat, peanut butter crackers. I’d only had a few waffles and peanut butter about an hour before the swim and definitely wanted to make sure I continued refueling on calories, carbs and protein.

The bike route was on the shoulder of the road, which in previous experience, was never enjoyable for me. I loathe chip seal and the chance of broken glass. The route also consisted of a few hills… including one in particular that I refused to allow to defeat me. I saw others walk their bikes but I pedaled… my… way… slowly… up…. every… foot… of… that… monster. My bike computer wasn’t working, for some reason, but I imagine my average speed was about 14-15 mph.

 

Total bike distance: 17.6 miles

Total time: 1:15:55.1

 

Returning from the bike ride with jello legs.

 

I wasn’t moving too quickly into the second transition area. My legs were wobbly and I had to go to the restroom badly. After changing into running gear, I ran towards the port-o-potties with all the race volunteers shouting, “You’re going the wrong way! The run out is that way.” I shouted back, “I HAVE TO PEE!!!!”

 

T2 time: 3:46.0

 

The run was all cemented, mostly shaded trails through the park. I was very impressed! They had tables set up along the route handing out ice, water, Powerade, ice cold towels and one even had watermelon! There were also various sprinklers along the path to cool us down.

I know people were finished ahead of me but it seemed like everyone I encountered was worn plumb out. I noticed that I wasn’t running with my usual vigor either. I walked a few times but tried to keep a semi-steady pace. I know I wasn’t lifting my feet as high. I guess I was even shuffling instead of running in some places.

Like, for instance, when I came upon an area in the path that was marked with the sign “Dip”. There was even a race volunteer warning everyone of the dip. And the dip was marked with a big giant X.  Knowing all of that, I still fell into the dip… misjudging how far across it was. I twisted my left ankle, lost my shoe and fell hands first into the concrete. The race volunteer kindly helped me to my feet and then admitted that I wasn’t the first to fall. My legs were very weak.

Finally, rounding a bend, I saw the lake. I knew the finish line was on the beach so that meant I was almost there. Then I heard the disco music and the sound of the announcer calling out names as they crossed the finish line. Almost there…

 

“Run the mile you’re in!”

 

I’d repeated that mantra to myself during the toughest times in the triathlon. Like when I wanted the swim to be over… “no, you can do this. Stay present. Calm.”

And when I was approaching that monster hill on the bike ride, after I taunted myself for not being as great a triathlete as others along the route, “You are doing something that most people don’t do! Don’t go negative! Remember, stay in the few feet ahead of you. Don’t look up at that looming hill. Don’t be in its shadow! You got this!”

And again, as I approached the sounds and sights of the final part of the run, “Don’t look ahead. Run where you are. Stay in this moment! Run the mile you’re in!!!”

It helped keep a smile on my face… even until the end.

 

Peace y'all. Through the finish line!

 

Total run distance: 3.1 miles

Total time: 37:28.9

 

Plus… it never hurts to add another medal to my collection. 🙂

 

Triathlon Finisher!

 

Total triathlon race finish time: 2:19:37.9

 

River Cities… here I come! 3 weeks!

 

Today, I did a triathlon.

This morning I did a 30 minute interval workout on the bike (inside on the trainer). Then I went out for a run. This evening after work, I went to the gym to meet a swim coach and swam for 45 minutes.

All 3 disciplines in one day. That counts, right?  😉

 

After waking this morning, I drank 1/2 a smoothie. This is usually what I have before I run. Then, after the run, I have some sort of protein like an egg sandwich or hard boiled egg with the rest of my smoothie. I don’t know why I thought a 1/2 a smoothie would sustain me today for my first brick workout.

Brick: cycling followed by running.

I thought for certain it’d be no big deal to add 30 more minutes to a morning workout on the same nutrition. Boy was I wrong! By mile 2 of my run, I was done. Kaput. Finito. Bonk.

Note to self: Ya may want to have more food and also? It’s practically boiling outside so you may want to hydrate first too.

 

On another note, this new swim coach that I met with tonight heads up the aquatics department of my gym. She’s a swim fanatic and lives in a bathing suit 14 hours a day. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was sort of afraid.

I’ve been in a panic about this swim thing for a while now. I’m not sure why I’m so terrified of the open water swim in the tri but I’m going to break it down. I have to push through it. I will get control of this. And my new swim coach is going to make sure of it!

She’s awesome. She’s helping me to improve my newly attempted bi-lateral breathing technique. She’s helping with the form of my stroke – which she said looked great! (Yay!) She’s also very positive and uplifting. (She normally teaches children.) I’m thrilled. I can’t wait to see what improvements I make under her instruction.

I’ve also been invited to an open water swim tomorrow evening on a lake nearby. I skipped out on the last one I mentioned due to pure fear. This time, with a little more pool time under my belt and a hearty “You can do this!” from Kelly my new swim coach, I’m going to do it. How else will I get past the open water panic? How else will I beat that battle and find that muscle memory and zen breathing while swimming? How else will I rock that tri?!

Feel the fear and do it anyway!

 

This week’s training:

Monday: 2.5 mile run

Tuesday: 25 minutes in the pool, training with props, 600 meters or so

Thursday: 30 min interval training on bike, 2 mile run, 45 minutes in pool, 400 meters or so

Friday: planned open water swim

Saturday: planned bike ride or upper body strength training by kayaking

 

(What up with my training buddies? How are things going?)

It’s Saturday morning and I should be doing something athletic.

I don’t wanna!!!

This is why I get so envious of the fact that you guys (Tammy & Scott) have each other to motivate for training.

 

I did, however, just change the tire on my bike for the first time ever. It was a very “YAY ME!” moment because I’ve known how to do it, but have never actually done it. I learned some things. And now my bike is cleaned, pumped and waiting patiently by my back door.

I will go ride. I will.

 

 

I also have plans to meet with a triathlon training group tomorrow for an open water swim. Uggggg….. I’m so scared. I haven’t spent enough time in the pool this year to believe I’m ready for open water yet. Because I don’t have anyone to motivate me, there is a devil on my shoulder saying, “You don’t HAVE to go, ya know…”

Oh but I do, don’t I? My goal is to beat my own time, isn’t it? That means I have to go. Period.

*shudder*

 

I also found this great article with swim tips for beginners.

I hope your training is moving along better than mine. We’re almost there! 2 months to go!

 

This past week’s training:

2 mile run on Monday

Swimming on Tuesday

3 mile run on Thursday

Strength training/yoga on Thursday night

I wrote this when I first began cycling in 2008. It’s funny to read now so I thought I’d share. 🙂

Saturday, I went out with a friend to attempt my first long bike ride. She thought that our route was at least 20 miles and that I would do great since I’ve been training and/or spinning much more than her. However she’s done a triathlon and I haven’t!  And she flew past me, as I suspected. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t go faster and why it seemed like so much effort. She thought that I needed to get the cycling shoes with clips – like she had. She also fell 2 times… trying to convince me that it was better to have them and yet difficult to get out of when you’re about to fall. Eesh.

The route we took was the service road of the freeway! It was also chilly and windy. Talk about a scary experience for my first time on the road (other than in my neighborhood). I couldn’t tell when there were cars behind me because they were all around me! I felt like I should have a rear-view mirror. (I have one now!) I nearly began hyperventilating going over a bridge. Wow. I was terrified but I learned quite a bit about shifting and what to do if your bike chain comes off.

When we got back home, I mapped out the route on a website called mapmyride and found that it was only 10 miles??!! My friend also noticed that my rear tire was flat.  I took it to the bike shop to have a few adjustments made after our ride. The bike guy informed me both tires were flat. Well, no wonder I struggled! (I know you’re asking , “How could she not notice that?” Quite honestly, I never thought about it. I promise I’m not normally that clueless. It’s a new learning experience for me, there’s an overwhelming amount of things to think about and my brain is already overwhelmed with the rest of my life.)

I bought some shoes with clips at the bike shop. I sat on my bike on a trainer to try them out. VERY WEIRD! I don’t like being trapped like that!

For those unfamiliar, these bike shoes look like regular shoes but they have a clip on the bottom that snaps into the pedals of the bike. Your pedal stroke is stronger because you are actually working when pulling your foot up and pushing it down. I’ve heard it’s more efficient and you work different muscles in your legs rather than being isolated to the quads. When you lose your balance, however, you can’t simply put your foot down. You have to snap your shoe out of the clips. Otherwise, if the bike’s going down, so are you.

Bike guy had me try cycling around the store while clipped on one side of the bike. I fell. Twice. The second time I crashed into the other bikes on the wall. I was sore and humiliated thinking that everyone was laughing at me but instead they all gave me looks of sympathy. Everyone in the store was reassuring me that it was perfectly normal to fall and that I would probably fall more.

Great. Like a metaphor for life: you’re going to fall but you just have to keep on trying.

Keep me in your prayers, my friends.

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