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!

 

 

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!

 

I just found the race results! 🙂

http://www.bulldogaquatics.com/EventShow.jsp?returnPage=%2FEventsPast.jsp&id=134577&team=labac

Triston came in 8th overall in the boys 7-10 age group with a time of 26:17

I came in 5th in the female’s with a time of 46:04 (A 60 year old lady beat me by 9:03 min)

Scott came in 14th overall in the male division with a time of 45:13….. 91 seconds ahead of me….I am still shaking my head on that one….

So proud of all of us! 😀

I am sad to say that the training hasn’t been going so well… as in its been non-existence for the last 3 weeks. Scott has been traveling a lot and I am taking a 3 week music appreciation class and a 12 week management class and it has me snowed under. But, with that said…the 3 week class is almost over and it’s time to start back with the program. I don’t even want to think of how little time we have before August 7!

Even though we haven’t been training, my boys and I participated in the Dog Paddle Tri here in Ruston last Saturday. The night before the event Scott and Conner decided to enter as well! I was glad. I was hoping that Scott would do it just to get a taste of how a tri works. I was able to help the boys in transition and by the time it was my turn, I was a little pooped.

Andrew won 2nd place in his age group (5-6).  Scott, Triston & I finished but I don’t know what place. (Conner got sick on the bike portion but he said he wants to actually train for another tri!) I had a personal best in the pool….4:48 for 200m! I was pumped because when I was training I never could break the 5:35 time. As I was about to mount my bike, I heard yelling…and not the good kind…it was “your chain is off!” So I had to fix my chain and then head out. This cost me some time. The hills killed me. I have to just go out and practice riding up and down hills. By the time the run came around, I was beat. And this was just a 1 mile run. I walked 3 ½ of the 4 laps. I never could catch my breath.

Now I need to insert here that the temp was around 100 and heat index was around 104 that day. I was able to run in to the finish line and I was very thankful to be done! Scott came in not long after I did. Neither one of us were able to catch our breath on the run. It was sweltering! I thought for sure that I had beat him this time….but no….he beat me by a minute or so….the same amount of time it took me to put my chain back on!

So yesterday evening I went to the track with a girlfriend and we walked 2 miles with running the straights near the end, and then walked the stairs 7 times. My shins are cussing me today. But it felt GREAT to do something again. Just what I needed to jump start me. Next week it’s back to the grind! I don’t feel like I will be totally prepared for River Cities but I am looking forward to having fun!

On Sunday May 1, 2011 I became a Tri Athlete! It was a wonderful experience! One I can’t wait to repeat! It was the all-girl  Rocketchix Tri in Baton Rouge on the LSU campus. It was a 350 meter swim, 5 mile bike, 2 mile run. It was originally a 12 mile bike ride but due to the Mississippi River rising to almost historical records and some of the levy’s leaking they had to cut the bike ride down to 5 miles. (at the end I was good with this 😉 ) You can see the results here, http://www.rrptiming.com/2011RocketChix1Results

My time was 1:01:22. I was 23rd in my age group & 158th overall.

Swim: 12:30.53 (3:34 sec/100m) T1: 1:59.77 Bike: 21:56.00 (13.7mph)

T2: 1:04.22 Run: 23:51 (11:55mph)

We started out with a 350 meter swim at the natatorium. It was a self-seeding race and 2 out of the 5 in our group and I placed ourselves at the back of the 10 minute group. I should have gone to the 12 minute group. We were in line almost an hour before we got into the pool. Once I was able to jump in the freezing water I had about 20 seconds before I started my time. I couldn’t catch my breath; I panicked and looked like a flounder in the water. I was SO mad at myself! I couldn’t get in a rhythm until the last two laps. When I finally calmed down I was able to swim the last two laps. Scott and Crystal were at the end of the pool trying to tell me to calm down….but it wasn’t working….I was NOT a happy camper. Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do. Thankfully, Scott and I start swimming lessons on Wednesday night.

After getting out of the pool, I ran to the Transition Area, put on my socks (complete with grass on my feet and one sock was on sideways), geared up and headed out to the mount line. This was the second time I had been on my bike since I got it. I LOVED the bike ride! I passed up quite a few ladies and rocked the bike ride! I still have a lot of work to do with the biking! Tonya, I love your idea to meet up with the Tri Club in Shreveport when they aren’t racing!

I didn’t wreck coming into the dismount line! Yea! (I have heard horror stories about the mount and dismount line!) I ran my bike into the transition area, racked my bike up and headed out to the run. By this time I was wearing down. I tried to run but ended up walking, running, walking running, all the while trying to catch my breath. I was constantly wheezing. Near the end, I got into a slow rhythm and jogged in….at least ¼ of a mile. Sheila Taormina, was near the finish line, high fiving everyone as they passed by. She had been in Baton Rouge during the week hosting swim clinics.

I just jogged across the finish line…it was all I could do….but I did it! I wanted to cry when I finished….it was so very emotional to finish the race!! My goal was to finish this race….now my goal it to get MUCH better. I am glad I did this Tri before the River Cities Tri. It was a wonderful experience.

There were 5 that went down for the Tri. Katy came in 3rd in her age group, 16th overall; she has done 2 Tri’s this year and is taking a Tri class at ULM. Kalee came in 6th in her age group, 36 overall in the Fat Tire division, and she had only been in the pool once! Oh to be young again….. Cindy came in 9th in her age group, 170th overall, and she hasn’t been in the pool in 3 years and she is a cyclist. I came in 23rd in my group and 158th overall. I want to do MUCH better next time.

I am SO pumped!! Let’s do this!

Congrats to us ALL for running AND placing in our age groups! YEA!! It was such a beautiful (although a little chilly) day for a run and I am so proud of ALL of us for doing it! I think I am still on cloud 9! 😀 Check out the results!

http://www.sportspectrumusa.com/files/ParkinsonResults11.pdf

(Insert from Tonya: Congrats to YOU, Tammy, for placing first in your age group!)

Congrats to Tonya & Billy for running the entire 5K!! Scott and I beat our time by 5 minutes and we still had to walk a little. I will be glad when we are well and are able to really see what we can do! Ian did great for his first race and hopefully he will continue running!

Scott and I along with two other friends went on a 6 mile bike ride yesterday…complete with mountains….yes, they were mountains, not hills….of this I am positive. Katy (who has 2 Triathlon Sprint’s under her belt) and Kalee (a newbie to riding) were on a road bike and a hybrid bike and they made biking look like they were gliding along glass. Scott and I were huffing and puffing, bouncing all over the place on our mountain bikes. I couldn’t get my gears to change half of the time and the borrowed bike Scott was on may have been just be a bit short for him. As Scott put it, it was yet another wake up call for us. I like to think of it as double the work out on a mountain bike…..and maybe when we get road bikes we will feel like we are on glass too. 😉 I also want padded bike shorts….it’s a must.

I have also signed up for a Tri Sprint Short in Baton Rouge on May 1! Yikes! Only 2 weeks to really ride and swim. It’s an all girl Tri and there are 4 of us doing it. Check it out at http://www.rocketchix.com/index.html. Once again…my goal is to finish!

Tonya, it was so nice to finally meet you and I look forward to coming to Dallas to do a run or a bike ride! Let us know what you find!

Last Saturday Scott and I completed our first 5K! Now, it was not your normal 5K……..no, it was a Cross Country 5K. The terrain was brutal but we finished it! We both came in at 40:?? (I could only see 40 minutes as I panted past the time clock). If it hadn’t been for the rough terrain (causing leg cramps) Scott would have finished way ahead of me. We finished 59th & 60th but we weren’t the last to finish! (thankfully). It was good for both of us to see where we are and how much farther we need to go before August 7th! We both hope to improve our time this week at the Parkinson’s Power 5K with Tonya!

We also started swimming this week. WOW. What a workout!

Now to learn a new way to breathe…and just when I was getting my breathing down for running!

We swam 5 – 30m laps with a little rest in between. I have no idea how I am going to swim a 1/2 mile in open water. I was exhausted on the last (few) laps! I was also all over the pool (having broke the strap on my goggles before getting in the pool I was swimming blind) and ran into Scott a few times. Opps!

We are swimming again tonight and will be working on kicking and breathing. I discovered just how uncoordinated I am!

Last night I took my boys to the park and finished week 7 day 3 of Couch to 5K. I was slow but I ran the entire 25 minutes (not sure of the distance) with out stopping! I was SO excited and amazed that I could do that. C25K really does work! It was mostly a flat run but hills will be added on Thursday night’s run, so we will see how it goes then.

Biking is the next step. A neighbor let Scott borrow his bike this week and we are thinking about riding in The Tour of Piney Hills, 10 mile ride on May 7th. http://www.tourofpineyhills.com/ I am looking forward to biking. I do believe it will be my favorite out of everything.