Race Recap – Pioneer Power Sprint Tri

Today I raced my first triathlon and the universe, again, is giggling because I said many, many times that I would NEVER, under any circumstances, do a triathlon.  When will I learn??

Taylor and I spent the night with one of her college volleyball buddies (THANK YOU, Erica!!) so that we wouldn’t have to leave our house at 4:15 AM to get to the race site.  I didn’t sleep well – not because I was in a different environment, but because I ended up with a lot of race jitters last night.  We got ready in record time and headed out to the transition area.  On the way, I stopped to get coffee but it was so close to TWU that I was able to take a total 2 sips before we were there and unloading all our gear.  Carrying it with me wasn’t an option – my hands were full.  I decided it wasn’t anything I could change so just move on and not waste any energy fretting about it. Little did I know this would become the Theme of the Day.  #keepmovingforward

Swimming Sucks

Let’s just get to the point.  The swim didn’t go the way I hoped it would.  I jumped in the water and realized near the end of the first lap that I FORGOT TO TURN MY WATCH ON!!!  Next, I started feeling out of breath because I hadn’t had a chance to warm-up.  Then, I went into minor panic because I knew the guy behind me would be much faster than me which, of course, made the breathing harder.  I got to then end of 50 yards and he was right behind me so I waved him to go in front of me.  I almost went into full panic mode during the 3rd lap and decided to start swimming backstroke at that point.  What happened next?  MY HEART RATE MONITOR FELL OFF IN THE POOL.  I use MioLink, which is worn on the wrist.  It’s great, except when it comes off in the pool during competition.  I didn’t even consider trying to retrieve it.  I knew that there were a ton of people in the pool; I was in the deep end; it might take me more than one attempt to get it and I didn’t want to waste any more time.  So, I backstroked.  My mind was completely and totally in the zone of making a plan for how to deal with the rest of the race without a heart rate monitor and….BUMP….I ran into the end of the lane.  (Go ahead and laugh…I can barely type right now.  Hilarious!!)  By this point I was 150 yards into the 200 yard swim and I was calm and collected, but I also was not trying to break any swim records.  I had decided to go easy at this point because swimming was such a minute portion of the race.  Two minutes probably wouldn’t help me or hurt me in the end.  I considered moving back to freestyle to finish it up, but that caused anxiety so I decided to finish it out and leave that swim in the pool.  I’m really proud to say that I did actually leave it there.  I didn’t carry any of that stress with me in the next phases of the race. #keepmovingforward

Swim time came in at an embarrassing 5:38.

Surprising Myself on the Bike

Transition went well.  I’m sure that I can cut some time here or there but most of the time spent was travelling to and from transition.  I hopped on the bike and was off for the 16 mile ride, having honestly put the swim in my rear view mirror.  I had spent quite a lot of time fretting over this bike during the past couple of weeks.  I mapped the route on Garmin and realized that it was more hilly (on the PC, at least) than I had anticipated.  OK….no, I hadn’t really even thought about it until it occurred to me that Denton is rather hilly.  Regardless, I had wasted time fretting because I was afraid I wouldn’t be strong enough on the bike.  I just hoped that I could get the ride done in an hour’s time.

The bike started out well.  I felt surprisingly strong and the terrain was in my favor to get some good rhythm and speed going before hitting the first serious hill.  It wasn’t too difficult at this point, but I wanted to make sure that I didn’t use ALL my energy on the first half of the bike to be left with misery for the rest of the race.  However, I continued to feel strong – not as strong with a killer headwind on the way back, but still strong.  I passed a ton of people.  Two guys passed me not far out of transition, but I am almost 100% certain that I overtook one of them before the bike leg was done.

The problem on the bike was fueling.  I took rocket fuel and water with me on the bike.  I had the rocket fuel in the bottle cage between my aero bars, but it kept spitting and the OCD took over.  I couldn’t handle it!  So I tried to switch the bottles (yes, I even realized how dumb it was at the time but continued on course) but since I don’t have three hands ended up dropping the bottle with water.  Again, decided that I was NOT going to dwell on it as there was nothing that I could do now except manage the situation.  I moved the rocket fuel to my other bottle cage and kept rolling.  My intention was to drink every ten minutes.  I *may* have managed every 20-25.  #FAIL #keepmovingforward

All in all, though, I was happy.  I averaged 17.4 on the bike with a time of 55:35.

Status Quo Run

**Disclaimer** My brain knows that I am still building my endurance speed from when I was out with my psoas.  It’s hard to get my heart to understand.

I wanted 8:30 miles on the run.  I’m not sure if that was ambitious or in line with what I could do in an event like this.  Doesn’t really matter because that’s what my heart wanted.  But then came the hiccup of the lost heart rate monitor.  I am so dependent on running by heart rate.  Yes, I can tell when it gets high, but I generally don’t realize it soon enough.  Especially in a race situation.  So this was definitely something I had to overcome.

I came into transition and drank too much rocket fuel – I knew better but wanted to get some fluids in me and did I have an extra bottle of water handy? NO.  I quickly threw my run shoes and visor on and ran out to the run.  There was a skinny red-head that came out of transition right ahead of me and without even noticing, I just kept the distance between us.  I looked down and was running a sub-8 pace and realized that my current level of fitness wouldn’t hold up to that.  I could also tell that my heart rate was probably going through the roof.  So I slowed down, but the first mile came in at 8:20.  The next mile was tough.  I was getting tired.  I was getting hot.  My stomach was mildly upset from the rocket fuel.  I stopped worrying about the red-head and decided to run what I needed to run.  Mile 2 came in at 9:18.  Mile 2 was tough but mile 3 was torture.  So much uphill. In the heat.  EVIL.  But I was close so I kept chipping away and ended up with 9:16 on that mile.

Run time came in at an OK 27:59.  Not what I wanted, but I may have been a little unrealistic on that front.

Total Time: (200 yd swim, 16.1 bike, 3.1 run): 1:34:25

Making the Podium

When I finished the race, I went back to get my phone from transition and immediately went to Pioneer Hall to see if anyone was left at the pool.  A race volunteer found one of the pool employees and had him come over so that we could look.  Sure enough, my HRM was at the bottom of the pool AND the pool guy just jumped in and retrieved it for me!

The HRM retrieval took some time and by the time I left Pioneer Hall, I ran into Taylor who had finished and had been looking for me.  She did really well and came in exactly 10 minutes after I did!  I am really proud of her and it was such fun having her company for this race!

We went to check our times and realized that: Houston – we have a problem.  I was listed in the 20-24 age group and Taylor was listed in 55-59.  Apparently the race import completely changed many people’s ages.  We hung around just to see if either of us placed and the next list showed me 2nd in my age group.  I was still a little hesitant, though, because I knew that they were still trying to get it all fixed.  Finally, the awards were announced and I did actually take 2nd place in my age group!!  Knowing that I actually placed in my first try at triathlon lifted my spirits and helped me let go of the run over which I was still somewhat upset.img_0666

No worries, because I’m pleased as punch with my performance as I sit here this evening.  I am celebrating today, but tomorrow it is back to work!!img_0672

Next Time…

I definitely went into this race with the mindset that it would be a learning experience and it was just that.

I learned that I handled transitions better than I expected and I felt like I was prepared with most of what I needed for the day.

Things that need improvement:

  • Heart Rate Monitor:  I’ve already been wondering if my HRM will have the battery life to last at Galveston 70.3.  After losing it in the pool today, I’m almost completely convinced I need to go back to the chest strap in these types of race situations.
  • EXTRA WATER at transition.
  • No icky, sticky drinks in aero bottle cage
  • Manage run more efficiently – hold back a little more in the beginning (which will be easier with HRM).
  • Hire a swim psychologist (joking…kind of)
  • COFFEE

I need to shout-out to all my friends that took the time out of their busy schedules to send me well wishes.  There are simply too many to name – and that means I AM BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE!

Love you guys!!

Jen

Advertisements

Endless Summer….NOT

Well, here I am, on my LAST day of summer vacation – I must return to work on Monday. <insert sobs here>  Honestly, the summer has flown by and I don’t really have much to show for it.

Ending the volleyball season with a bang 

The first part of the summer was spent shuttling Alli back and forth to practices as her team made final preparations for Nationals.  The last week of June, we all made our way to Indy for our last tournament as 11 year olds, hoping to bring home the gold!!

We were to start play on Tuesday, June 28 but our coach flew in 2 days early (on Sunday) to sight-see and get the team checked in.  When he arrived, however, he started feeling badly – so badly that he went to the ER.  He ended up having an emergency appendectomy on Sunday evening!

Of course, the girls were beside themselves with worry.  They LOVE Josh and wanted him to be OK.  And they depend on him during games to keep them on track and motivated.  Everyone was nervous because we just didn’t know what to expect or how the girls would perform without him on the sideline as he was not cleared to come to the gym on Tuesday.

Our assistant, Courtney (who is a very good, knowledgeable coach on her own), stepped up and led the girls to a 2-1 finish in our first round of games.  The one loss of the day actually put us in a better position going into Wednesday – we were in a pool with much easier teams AND going 3-0 would guarantee us no less than 3rd place.  Josh was back on Wednesday, albeit subdued, and the girls took care of business by beating everyone in 2 sets.

Thursday was bracket day….we were in the gold bracket and only needed to win one game to make it to the finals.  We knew that any team we faced at this point would be tough, but any team we faced could be beaten as well.  The girls came out swinging – I have never seen them play so well and with so much intensity and heart.  The team we were against was a very talented team that received serve very well – a sound passing team is always harder to get out of system.  We lost the first set with a close score of 24-26 but rallied tough and kept them on their heels in set 2 for a 25-17 win which forced a tiebreaker set.  Set 3 looked to be all in our favor until the momentum changed and we ended up with a heartbreaking 13-15 loss.  The fact that the girls were to get a 3rd place medal wasn’t much consolation at this point.  They fought with everything they had but just came up short.  The other team played fearlessly and we ended up playing it too safe after the momentum changed.  It was a hard pill to swallow.  They all wanted to play on the championship court and they all wanted that GOLD medal!  True competitors, through and through!

Parents had a hard time accepting the loss as well.  We all knew that our girls had the ability to win – it just didn’t happen that game.  And the reality was that any of the final four teams could have beaten any of the other final four teams….depending on each game.  The fact that we placed 3rd in the country isn’t anything to be ashamed of.  So many teams never make it to Nationals.  So many teams that make it to Nationals never even medal.  This was an amazing experience and quite an accomplishment for our girls!

I have to say, I have NEVER been more proud of Alli.  She is a talented setter, but has struggled with defense (LONG STORY which I will not bore you with here).  She has blossomed and improved beyond my wildest dreams under Josh & Courtney’s coaching this year.  Her defense at Nationals was RED HOT!  I have NEVER seen her play so well and so consistently.  So proud!!img_9968

img_0006

img_0007

Summer FINALLY started

I counted the end of volleyball as my official start of summer.  The season was so exhausting – club volleyball at any level is quite a commitment, but being on a national team that has a post-season requires even more.  I think it was less the volleyball and more the driving one-hour each way to practice that wore me and Alli completely out!  We were ready for a break, for sure.  The only drawback of the end of volleyball was that I had to intentionally make time to go swim, as I had been using Alli’s practice time to do those workouts.

It still seems as if I have been busy and had no time to check anything off the summer project lists, but I have NO idea what I have been doing.  I have enjoyed having the ability to workout at whatever time I chose during my day.  I have been getting my workouts done…..beyond that?  Not much.  LOL

Always up for a new challenge

I have started experimenting with meal prep.  Marathon training officially starts Monday, after I complete my first sprint triathlon!  I MUST get better at what I eat for lunches at work.  I never eat poorly, but I want to be more prepared and have more nutritious food handy.  I have a good handle on my training  and I know that Brent will have me as fit as I can possibly be to be ready for these upcoming races.  At this point, I feel that getting myself to the next level of nutrition will be the best way to enhance my training and performance.  I love how my journey is always evolving and presenting new challenges to overcome!

When I first started this journey 5 years ago, I started by counting calories.  I would drink half a soda instead of a whole, to cut calories.  Then I realized I didn’t like sodas anymore and cut them out all together.  The next things that I cut were chips and fried foods.  Along the way, I began to look at food differently – as fuel for my body instead of just calories to be counted.  That’s when I began to try to pay more attention to eating food that would nourish my body instead of eating something that was nutritionally void.  And now, I am moving forward again.  I am trying to focus on getting a better balance of nutrients and macros (I’ve been pretty heavy on the carbs! LOL) because I feel that will give me biggest advantage for  performance.

I’m also excited to have been invited to a Wildtree meal prep party.  This will help me in having more nutritious family meals ready to cook and will hopefully help alleviate some of the stress that comes with the full-blown schedule.  Anything I can do to make sure that I am not tempted to take short cuts will pay off in the long run.

And now, I must go and do my last bike workout before the triathlon on Sunday!

Happy Friday!!

Jen

Summer Training Update

I’ve got to be honest…I haven’t posted a training update in quite some time because I felt like a broken record.  I mean, there are only so many things one can say and so many pictures one can post about their training.  So, I took a hiatus.

But lots of things are going on and I feel I have something new to say! 🙂  So here is a long overdue training update:

Let’s start with swimming – tris do

Swimming.  When I look back to the time I started in February, I can hardly believe it.  Don’t get me wrong……I am not the best swimmer…YET.  I can’t even believe that I was afraid to swim 200 yards in the tri that is coming up NEXT WEEKEND.  I am now doing actual workouts in the pool, including some speed workouts.  I NEVER thought that I would be able to do that!  I have gained so much confidence in the pool.  I feel so empowered because I stuck with it through the SUCK even though I wanted to do ANYTHING except swim!  I have transformed from thinking I could never swim 200 yards in a triathlon to believing that I can (and will) swim 2.4 (eventually) in an IRONMAN.  The feeling of conquering another demon is indescribable!img_9513

The challenges of the bike

First, I’ll share the saga of trying to secure a tri bike.  I had decided to try to find a used one so that I wouldn’t appear like I had completely lost my mind in the eyes of my family.  Plus, I mean, what if I don’t actually like triathlons and decide to get out of it??  It was a real struggle to decide what to do.  In May, I found one on eBay, won the auction and was on my way to transitioning into the time trial bike world.  The bike arrived and I took it to the bike shop to be assembled.  The guy from the shop had offered to look it over to make sure that all was OK in case of any damage.  When he started the build, he texted me to tell me that the derailleur and rear dropout were damaged.  He told me that he wouldn’t repair the dropout – that repaired it would still be weak and prone to break at anytime.  I started a claim with eBay and the seller started a claim with FedEx.  FedEx *supposedly* had ten business days to get to work on the claim.  Ten business days came and went and I contacted the seller, who in turn contacted FedEx, who in turn said they had send the original requests for info to eBay <FACE PALM>.  Things moved pretty quickly the next few days…I sent the seller info for the claim as requested by FedEx and then heard nothing for a couple weeks.  I finally asked eBay to step in, as things didn’t seem to be moving with the FedEx claim and honestly, that is the seller’s deal.  He was ultimately responsible for the bike arriving safely, whether he got a reimbursement from FedEx or not.  eBay instructed the seller to send me a return label for the bike and arrange for pick-up.  After that, the seller had 3 days to refund my money.  When I realized that I would actually be getting a refund (YAY!!), I started looking for bikes again.

I ended up finding a bike in Dallas and actually went to look at it the day after the bike was picked up by FedEx.  My good friend, Josh, told me in no uncertain terms that I WOULD NOT be going alone and that I would be picking him up on my way.  LOL  I mean, everyone needs a friend that could double as a bodyguard, right?!?  Seriously though, I really appreciate his concern and his friendship even more!

He is seriously one of my BEST friends!

He is seriously one of my BEST friends!

I checked values online just to make sure the price was in line with what the seller was asking (and they were) and Josh and I were off for an adventure!  I loved the bike, of course, and the fact that he offered Zipp wheels as part of the deal pretty much made it hard to turn down!  If there was any doubt about how the bike had been cared for, it was all removed when the guy practically refused to leave it with me.  He was clearly VERY attached to it and hated to sell it.  At one point, I thought he might be about to cry.img_0152

Since getting the bike, I took it to a tri shop to have it fitted.  However, while I was there I learned that the front wheel was recalled and the tri shop took care of sending it in for repair.  I feel lucky that it was caught, actually, because apparently Zipp had just issued the recall.  Soooooo, that is going to take another 3-4 weeks to get back so I’ll be racing with regular wheels next weekend.  LOL

Other than that, things are going OK on the bike.  I think I have transitioned to tri bike fairly well, but I still don’t feel that confident about what I’ll be able to do come race day.  I’m trying not to focus on that….I’ll do the best I can and learn from it so that next time will be better.

Run, Jen, Run!

Running has been going very well.  I think I can safely say that the psoas issue has been put to bed.  When I first returned to running mid-May, in my mere 3 weeks off the weather had gotten very warm.  Throw in the psoas that was still a quite angry and it was a recipe for feeling very inadequate.  It was a struggle, physically and mentally.  There were days that I went out, ran a less-than-stellar run (by my assessment, anyway) and questioned my sanity for trying to qualify for Boston.  I allowed quite a bit of negative self-talk for a while.  I know how detrimental that negative self-talk can be and I finally had enough and stopped it.  I had to reassess and re-prioritize my expectations.  Seriously, I had already expected to be slower during the summer heat…..why was this such a surprise??  In any case, when I stopped the negativity going on in my brain, my fitness started responding.  Maybe it was absence of negativity.  Maybe it was just that I was finally getting acclimated to the heat.  Regardless, I can tell my fitness is improving and I never even know my psoas is there!!  Speed work is even starting to creep back to a satisfactory level.

This pic doesn't do the heat justice.

This pic doesn’t do the heat justice.

Cue the races

Pioneer Power Sprint Tri

Next weekend, I will be racing in my very first triathlon!  I am so excited and incredibly nervous at the same time.  This will be a sprint tri: 200 yard pool swim, 16.1 (hilly) bike, 3.1 run.  I can’t believe I was so afraid of the swim in the beginning.  Now I’m scared to death that I’m going to bomb the bike!  LOL

Seriously though, I am going in looking at this as a learning experience, so I’ll be happy with whatever the outcome is.  A neat twist is that this tri is held at Texas Woman’s University (Taylor’s undergrad alma mater) and she is racing it with me.  I am looking very forward to this mother-daughter race!

Hottest Half

This race is on August 14.  In Texas.  I know….I’m stupid.  In my defense, Brent told me to pick a half marathon in August as a warm-up for my next marathon….which I’ll talk about next!  My goal in this race is: NOT TO DIE.

Rochester Marathon (NY edition)

Way back when I was scheduled to do the 50 miler in November, Brent told me to find a hilly marathon in late September/early October as a warm up.  I ended up picking Rochester Marathon when I realized that a) it was in September; b) it was HILLY and c) my friend Jenn would be running it as her first marathon.  It was perfect!!!  The best thing is that I would be there with Jenn as she accomplished this big goal.

As the idea of trying to qualify for Boston tugged at my heartstrings more and more, I realized that there was no way I could train for the 50 miler and truly give my best to a BQ attempt.  I backed out of that race, but there was no way that I would back out of this marathon with my Sole Sister!  As soon as the triathlon is done, marathon training officially begins and I could not be more excited!!  I would LOVE to BQ at this race, but given the psoas setback and the fact that a BQ would have been a long shot in the first place due to the hills, I’m going to use it as a gauge of where I am and where I need to go.

Ragnar Hill Country Ultra

Who can say no to Ragnar and an Ultra??  This race is in October, so I should still have plenty of time to work on speed for my official BQ attempt at Houston Marathon in January.  This will be my first soiree with the trails and I. AM. PUMPED!  Plus, I get to run 31 miles with 3 other crazy Renegades….doesn’t get much better!

Beer Fit Beer Mile

Ok….this is just a bucket list item.  I’m running the Beer Mile in Dallas in November.  I may need to train for this, though, by DRINKING MORE BEER!

Dallas Marathon – Half

Oh my goodness, it pains me to type that.  I realllyyyyyyy want to run the full.  But, this is just a warm-up for the BQ attempt at Houston, so the half will have to do this year!

Houston Chevron Marathon

Even though this is still a long way away, this is going to be THE race of the year for me, obviously.  This will *hopefully* be the BQ race.  I am prepared to pour my heart and soul and body into training for this race and I plan to leave it ALL on the course.  Whatever happens will happen.  I actually do believe that I can run a 3:45, but I also know that anything can happen on any given race day.  So I am mentally preparing to do everything I can and I’ll be OK if the end result isn’t what I wanted.

IRONMAN Texas 70.3

Yes, you read that right.  I signed up for Galveston last week….the day that registration opened.  The fact that there isn’t a deferral option or refund policy is probably good – it will keep me from trying to find excuses to get out of it.

Honestly, though, I’m pretty darn excited (and freaking nervous)!  The biggest challenge, hands down, will not be the race itself but finding the time to train with club volleyball in full swing.  I’m going to take the Scarlett O’Hara approach and think about that tomorrow (or January, actually 😉

 

I’m so excited about the progress that I’ve been making and all the fun races that I have coming up.  I’m ready to ramp up the marathon miles!!

Happy Friday!

Jen

Too Hot To Handle 15k Race Recap

Yesterday I ran Too Hot To Handle 15k and I didn’t die.

I was signed up to run this race last summer, but ended up with an ankle injury about a week before the race.  I wanted to register for 2016 so that I could actually go and run it (actually, I just wanted the race shirt).

I got up bright and early Sunday morning to head to the race venue.  The race was held at White Rock Lake in Dallas which is about 1:10 from me.  I wanted to get there early as parking in this particular location is limited.  I arrived just after 6am and was so glad that I got an early start.  Parking was already beginning to fill up!  I sat in my car a bit but didn’t stay long because I’m not good at sitting.  This gave me more than enough time to take care of all the pre-race stuff plus I had plenty of time to center myself and get mentally ready, which I desperately needed.  My confidence had taken a hit since training in the heat and rehabbing my psoas.

Finally it was time to head to the start line!  The weather ended up being perfect (for July, anyway)…I actually had chill bumps pre-race.  The temps were in the 70s and the sun was hidden mostly by clouds.  As soon as we started, I felt the sun on my back….of course!  Luckily, that only lasted for a moment.  Another plus was that a good portion of the course was shaded which helped in managing the heat as well.

NOT complaining about getting chilled outside in July!!

NOT complaining about getting chilled outside in July!!

Going into the race I really had no idea what I could manage with my current fitness level.  I was hoping to keep most miles at or below 9:00 pace, or run the race at 1:25 or less.  I eventually decided not to stress over it, run what I could and focus on the mile I was in.

Mile 1 – I went out too fast.  I knew I was going out too fast and I really did try to slow down, but we all know how that goes…  Mile 1 came in at 8:44.   I got my heart rate leveled out and started getting into a groove in mile 2, which came in at 8:54.  Mile 3 was mostly up, and since I was still trying to keep heart rate under control, came in slower at 9:08.  I managed to keep my shirt on through mile 4…I tried to keep it on but I needed a breeze!  LOL  I was still feeling pretty good, keeping a fairly steady pace and my heart rate was still in zone 2.  I stayed right around the 9:00 mark during miles 4-7.  Mile 8 came it at 9:07 –  I was starting to get hot and tired.  Thankfully, the race volunteers were handing out wet, ice-cold towels at the aid stations, which definitely helped me from falling completely off-pace.  Mile 9 came in at 8:51.  My heart rate was in the low part of zone 4 at this point.  I really tried to push the pace those last couple of miles but I just couldn’t get my legs to turnover as fast as I needed/wanted.

The end result was a time of 1:24:39 and 8th out of 56 in my age group; 150/604 overall.  While this wasn’t my best outing, I am very pleased with the results.  I didn’t taper at all for this race and I kept my heart rate in zone 2 for most of the run.  I did manage to get into zone 3, but only hit zone 4 briefly last mile.  For those of you that don’t train by heart rate, this was, for the most part, an easy run.  In any case, it was a much-needed confidence boost!img_0214

I knew that I wouldn’t place in my age group with the time that I had, although I didn’t expect it in any case because Run Project races are usually well attended by really fast runners.  LOL  Because of this reason, I had not planned to stay for awards.  However, I was still in line to get my post-race banana and water when 5k awards started and the announcer mentioned Lakewood Brewery would start serving beer at 10.  (I may have squealed.)  I hiked back to my car to get my driver’s license and still had a 30 minute wait when I got back, but I waited because Lakewood is one of my favorite local breweries. It was sooooo worth it!!

Liked it so much that I bought a 6-pack last night!

Liked it so much that I bought a 6-pack last night!

This week, I felt a lot of anxiety about this race and almost considered not running it.  I was THAT rattled.  I am SO glad that I did!  I haven’t really raced since Rock n Roll Dallas in March and I needed it very badly!  Now my eyes are fixed on July 31, when I’ll be participating in my first triathlon!