Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tri 4 Love 2013

She believed she could, so she did.

So I can officially call myself a triathlete!!! Woot woot!!!!

After my last post I was ready to finally get going with race day. Friday night I made sure to get a good night's rest since I've heard from several sources that the more important night of sleep is not the night before a race, but two nights before. I woke up kind of early on Saturday but I just lounged around and took it easy all day until Penn State played at 6. I made sure to hydrate all day long, napped in the afternoon, and made some short ribs to have over pasta for the pre race dinner. Penn State lost, so I went right to bed after the game. I fell asleep surprisingly fast considering the nerves were starting to kick in.

Race day started AWFULLY early. I woke up at about 2:45 and knew I wouldn't be able to fall back asleep. I stayed in bed until my alarm went off at 4:30. I popped right out of bed and put on my swim suit and tri shorts. Everything else had been packed the night before.

I had a banana with some peanut butter and a small glass of milk and headed out the door.

I had to park a little bit away from the race site, so I hopped on my bike, with my bag of gear on my back and headlamp to light my way, to ride a couple minutes to the race.

It really hit me what was about to happen when I got through the final check in where they marked my bib number on my arms and my age on my leg. I found PJ and started to get my transition area set up. I had a pile for the bike portion and a pile for the run. The advice I received was "just keep putting things on until your pile is gone".

Eventually it was time to head into the community center for the swim. Cue the scary music, THIS IS GETTING REAL. After one last bathroom break and a quick dip in the pool to make sure the water wouldn't be ice cold and shocking, it was time to line up. We had put our expected swim time on our registration, so the numbers were in that order so we wouldn't bunch up on each other.

Then it was time to start. We started at one corner of the pool and snaked our way up and down each lane until we reached the last corner of the pool. One person went off at a time with 15 seconds between each person. About 4 1/2 minutes after the first person started, I was up.

When I was given the go ahead I leaped into the pool and got started. I got a mouth and nose full of water when I jumped in and was a little panicked that it had all started, it took me about 4 laps to settle down. About 8 minutes later I had reached the end and climbed out the ladder. It was out the closest door and out to the transition area to get ready for the bike.

I had adrenaline racing through me when I got out of the pool and I half jogged/walked to the field where my bike was waiting. I was soaking wet and just tried my best to get everything together. Getting the socks on was probably the hardest part. Once I got everything on, it was time to run my bike out to the course. This probably took me 5 minutes. Definitely something I can improve on.

I was on my bike and ready to hit the trail where it was an out and back for a total of 15 miles. I thankfully got clipped in pretty easily. It took me a couple miles to pull my thoughts past the swim and first transition and to focus on the bike. When I got to the first intersection I was nervous the cops wouldn't be able to stop traffic, so I unclipped from the pedals and was ready to stop. After a couple intersections I realized the cops would handle the cars and I'd be able to cruise right through.

Since I had a bit of a head start thanks to the swim, I knew the majority of the racers were behind me. I got passed every couple of minutes, but was mostly by myself. I got to the turnaround and started thinking about conserving my legs for the run. I had started thinking about the 5k to still left to run after I made it back to the community center. There may have been a string of 4 letter words at that point cursing everyone who had talked me into signing up for this. The last quarter of the ride was almost all uphill, so conserving proved to be harder than expected. I finished the bike in about 1:05. Next year I want to get that under an hour.

This is where things got a little dicey. As I came cruising off the trail and into the transition area I couldn't get my right shoe unclipped from the pedal. My cleat had come loose and no matter how much I turned my foot, that sucker wasn't coming out. When I got to the dismount line I stopped next to a car so I could lean against it to undo my shoe and pull my foot out. I ran across the grass with one shoe on and one still on my bike. Luckily I had another pair of socks to put on since that pair was soaked. Again, socks were not an easy task and took way too much time. I had also planned to switch shirts and put on a dry one, but in the chaos of it all, I just left on what I had. Note for next year, don't wear cotton, it holds onto all the water from my suit and never dried. I had my mom and sister there cheering me on through the end of my bike and this transition. Too bad for them I'm not the quickest runner, so they still had a while to wait for me to finish.

I grabbed some water from the aide station and hit the run course. Only 5k left between me and the finish line. My legs were completely numb from the knees down from the chilly morning (it was about 50 degrees when we started) and the bike ride. I tried jogging but had to slow it down to a walk for a few minutes to get myself together. There was a no headphones rule so all I had to get me through the run was my own thoughts. I ran as much as I could and walked when I needed to. I tried to keep it to only walking the uphills and running the flats and downhills.

Everyone participating in the race was so up beat. Every single person I saw heading back towards the finish line was so encouraging. Everyone was saying to each other "You're doing great" "looking strong" "Killing it". Definitely helped me keep going until I got to the turn around to head back. Once I got to the volunteer at the turnaround point it was just over a mile until I was done. I tried to pick up my pace and run more than walk. Once I could see the finish line it was time to start grinning and no more walking anymore with everyone watching me come in.

I cruised to the finish line to end this crazy journey of not just a swim, not just a bike race, but a swim, bike and 5k too. Seriously, who decided that was a good idea?

Thank GOD it was over. Two hours and eleven minutes after I jumped in the pool, I was done.

When does registration for next year open?

I think this was the perfect race for my first triathlon. The pool swim was a little less chaotic than an open water swim, the bike was on a familiar trail that I've rode on tons of times, and the volunteers were amazing. The race was in honor of a local girl, Taylor Love, who has been conquering pediatric cancer since she was 18 months old. Check out her story here. Everyone was out to support her, so the energy was so positive and uplifting the whole day. I was so happy to have participated this year.

I can't wait to do this race again and to try out other local sprint triathlons next spring. And just 12 days into my 30th year, I get to cross something off of my 30 while 30 list

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Trying a Tri

I'm 2 days out from RACE DAY.

I'm just trying to accept that there is nothing else I can do to prepare for my first triathlon.

My good friend PJ started riding a few years ago and got into triathlons. He's gone from sprint distance, local races, to multiple races in one weekend, including a 1/2 Ironman. He's hardcore and totally inspiring.

He finally talked me into a local race, a sprint distance in my home town.

When I started looking into the race, I did what every slow poke does, I looked at last year's results to see if I would finish last this year. With my expected times for the swim, bike, run, and transitions, I would finish DEAD LAST. By like 20 minutes. It took several conversations with friends and family to convince me to sign up even though I knew I will most likely come in last. It was a had pill to swallow, but I decided the experience of the race was more important than where I placed.

I put off signing up for several weeks after I started telling people I would do it. I was still scared, hoping I'd get an easy way out, the race filled up, the town was swallowed by a sink hole, I broke my leg. Anything to get me out of it. One of the final nails in the coffin was that I really wanted to include a triathlon in my 30 While 30 list and thought I might as well get it out of the way two weeks after my birthday. 

There have been a lot of factors since signing up that have encouraged me that everyone won't be waiting for me to finish before they can pack up and leave. I think my bike time will be about 10-15 mins faster than anticipated, my run time will be 3-5 mins faster and the transitions will be a couple of minutes faster. Pair this with the fact the swim is in a pool and will be starting one person at a time, I will probably be done with the swim and on my bike before the last swimmer has even jumped in the pool, giving me a 15 minute head start on at least that person.

I've done several longer distance running events that had me following a 12 week training schedule. So when I debated signing up for the triathlon, I made my nice little Excel training schedule, full of swims, rides, runs, and brick (swim/ride, ride/run) workouts.

That was the last time I saw that Excel sheet. Whoops.

SWIM - 400M - I'm pretty confident in my swimming, I swam on a year round team growing up and in high school and continued to swim for workouts in college. I was never fast, but I could keep up in practice and was more of an endurance swimmer. I'm not too worried about the 400M swim.

I've swam exactly 3 times since signing up for the race.

BIKE - 15Miles - This is the leg of the race that makes me the most nervous. I've been going to spin class 3-4 times a week for the past two months. I recently switched from flat pedals to clipless pedals on my bike. This means I'm wearing the velcro shoes that clip into your pedals and I'm stuck in there. I completely fell over the first time trying to clip in, right in my driveway, so embarrassing.The biggest concern is coming to a complete stop, luckily there will be police stopping traffic at all of the road crossings, so hopefully I won't have to stop.

I've done a couple rides outside with the pedals, my biggest concern is that the race is on a bike trail and that at some point, all the fast people are going to have already made it to the turn around point and will approach me in a pack. I'm terrified of being run right off the trail and being clipped in.

Fingers crossed I don't wipe out.


RUN - 5k - I did a 10 mile race in April. I have run twice since then, once was last week when I went outside to run a 5k to remember how far that distance is. YIKES.

However, I'm not too too concerned about this leg of the race either. I know I can stick to my run/walk intervals and will be able to at least finish. On top of spin classes, I've also been doing Body Step classes several times a week, my endurance has DEFINITELY improved.

Now the trick is stringing all three together....

GEAR: Man, this first triathlon has gotten expensive. There were race fees (my mom gifted the entry fee for my birthday, THANKS MOM!!!!!), pedals, shoes, shorts, misc bike gear.

After doing spin classes for several months with my sneakers in the cage on the bike, riding without my feet attached to the bike was so much harder. I was missing out on half of the muscles used to pedal, I was only pushing and not getting any benefit of pulling back up. This convinced me to get the shoes and pedals.

I wanted to simulate as much as I could for race day in my workouts. After one (of three) swims, I went into the locker room and immediately tried to put on my bike gear. I was planning on wearing capris and a tshirt over my swim suit. Well, even after several minutes of drying off, it was almost impossible to get my capris on. Cue me buying tri shorts. I needed shorts I could swim in and just jump on my bike in. Now after the swim I just have socks, shoes, a shirt, gloves, and a helmet to wrangle onto my wet body.

I've had several sleepless nights fretting about race day. I'm mostly nervous just because it is uncharted territory. I've never done a triathlon before and don't know entirely what to expect. Chances are I'm blowing it all way out of proportion, but I won't know until I'm done. Here goes nothin......

Have you done anything lately that absolutely terrifies you? 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

30 while 30

To be the cliché blogger that I am, I created a list of 30 things I want to do while I’m 30. The majority of my goals are fitness related. I started working out more regularly in January and now have a schedule of 6-7 classes a week that I take at the gym. Weight wise, I’m still at the heavier end of the spectrum I’ve ever been, but fitness wise, I’m in best shape that I’ve ever been in. Once I get my diet to match my workouts and the weight will hopefully reflect my fitness. I’ll sub out some of the classes I’ve been taking to start running again and get in some races this year.

Healthier Me:

 1. PR a 5k (Probably a Reston Town Center Race)
 2. PR a 10k
 3. PR a 10 Miler (Broad Street?)
 4. Run 1/2 Marathon (Rock & Roll DC?)
 5. Complete a Triathlon (Tri for Love, September 15)
 6. Complete a mud run
 7. Try every class on the schedule at my gym
 8. Ride entire W&OD Trail from Purcellville to Shirlington
 9. Try CrossFit
10. Lose 30lbs
11. 30 consecutive days off from drinking
12. 30 days of Paleo

Financial Me:

13. Pay off one car
14. No credit card debt
15. Follow all cash plan for one month
16. Make $300 outside of my day job
17. Have 3 month emergency fund
18. Build a wardrobe of 30 essential pieces
19. Donate 30 items of clothing


20. Travel to a new country
21. Take a spur of the moment out of town trip
22. Attend an outdoor concert
23. Volunteer for 30 hours
24. Have professional pics taken
25. Read 30 books

Around the house:

26. Try 30 new recipes
27. Get all recipes and magazine tear sheets pinned
28. Paint powder room
29. Hang pictures in living room and fill empty frames around the house
30. Minimum of 30 blog posts.

Do you make annual goals on your birthday or do you stick to New Year’s Resolutions?


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Next 30 Years...

“I think I’ll take a moment to celebrate my age, the ending of an era, and the turning of a page
-         - Tim McGraw

I distinctly remember seeing Phil Vassar sing this song he had written for his friend Tim McGraw my freshman year of college. At the ripe age of 18 I thought 30 was so far away. Old. I heard the song on the radio about a month ago and when it started, I swore he was going to say “My next 40 years” because I couldn’t imagine that I was as old as my 18 year old self thought 30 was.

“Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears, I’ll do it better in my next 30 years”

Now that I’m here, it’s not old. It’s not scary, it’s just 30. Several times over the past week it really hit that I’m not in my 20’s anymore. Not that the fun is over, but it's a different kind of fun now. Staying in to cook dinner and cuddle up with hubs and the pups for a movie is a good time. Saturday morning bike rides or runs are what I look forward to. Choosing paint colors and finding new recipes are what get me pumped these days.

I’m in such a good place right now. Married to my best friend, have the best two pups in the world, living in house we adore. I don’t know if I expected to be here at 30, but I’m pretty stoked this is my current lot in life.

Not gonna lie, I’m thrilled to see where the next 30 years take me. I have big plans for this coming year, and I know the next 29 after that are just going to get better and better.

To quote Tim one last time,

 “my next 30 years will be the best years of my life”