Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Triathlons are fun

Somehow, I managed to be smiling in all of my race pics from Sunday. Granted, I knew where the photographers were, so I did make an effort to look like I was having fun when I came up on them. But I usually end up with a few where I look like I'm in excruciating pain. Not this time! Guess I actually WAS having fun!

Happy to be out of the water

Happy to be on the bike

Happy to be running

Happy to be done!

And thanks to Bryce for figuring out some sort of magic internet voo doo and saving my pics off without the watermark.

Monday, June 29, 2009

HyVee Tri race recap

First off, this race was AMAZING. It was probably the most fun I have ever had at a race. The organization was superb, the course was fantastic, and the race village was huge. Secondly, I am an idiot and didnt know that my Garmin has a "multisport" function that lets you switch easily between biking and running without having to reset it, so I didnt wear it on the bike. Seems like I keep learning stuff about it's functions AFTER a race. Oh well, now I'll know for next time.

Bryce and I rolled into Des Moines around 3 on Saturday and headed straight to this sports bar, Legends, to meet up with his friends Dutch and Tony (who also goes by Skinny or Big Gay Toni, depending on who you ask) who were also racing. Tony's girlfriend Katie was there too, as well as his parents. We hung out there for a bit, and then went over to the MANDATORY race briefing that was being held at a school not far from the race site. Usually the "mandatory" race briefings aren't ACTUALLY mandatory, but this one was. You had to attend before they would let you pick up your packet. Lame.

Anyway, lets get on to the first cool thing about this race. They give you the greatest schwag bag ever. You get a bike jersey (and not a crappy one, a really nice one that is actually in your size), a good Headsweats hat, and a nice back pack that is absolutely stuffed with goodies. I havent even gone through it yet to see what all is in there. IMNA needs to take a lesson from the HyVee folks, because you really should get a goodie bag of this caliber for doing an IM. I mean, this wasnt even a half, and it totally trumped anything else I've ever gotten.

So after that, we headed back over to Legends for some dinner. Tim had joined us by this point, and some of his buddies from Columbia came and met up with us for a bit. The Columbia guys are FAST, and rolled up in a truck with about 20K worth of bikes on the back of it. Jealous! I think they all ended up placing in their AG, or something crazy like that.

After dinner we headed down to the race site to drop off our bikes and check things out. This was my first chance to see how amazing the venue was. I think the thing that impressed me the most was the finish area. It was HUGE!! They had these huge grandstands set up on 3 sides of it, two separate enormous video screens set up so that everyone on the whole site could watch the finish line, and even just the lead up to the finish was so cool. Really made me look forward to finishing!

The way the site was laid out, the road that the runners came in on to finish created sort of an "island" in the middle of the site. It was cut off from the other side of the site with the TA and lake and all, but in that middle "island" is where they had all the tents with vendors and food and entertainment and such. So to get to it, they had 3 or 4 huge pedestrian bridges set up that crossed the run course at various points, connecting the two sides of the site. It was really neat. And I would have pictures of it, but I got there and realized my camera was dead. Damn!

Got our bikes checked in, checked out the site, checked out the swim start, and then headed back to where we were staying since it was about bed time. We were staying with Bryce's friend Stu's dad. He and his wife were nice enough to let us crash at their house even though Stu wasnt up there to race. Was in bed by shortly after 10 with my alarm set for bright and early at 3:45.

My one complaint about this race is the parking situation. There was minimal parking on the race site, so they had other various locations set up with shuttles to take people in. The weird thing was, they had the volunteer and spectator parking areas WAY closer to the race site than the athlete parking areas. The athletes were supposed to park about 5 miles away at some mall! Which would have been OK for getting TO the race, but afterwards you'd have your bike, and you couldnt take a bike on the shuttle. Which meant that you'd have to ride back to the mall. Which again, isnt that big of a deal, but sort of annoying. Lucky for us, Stu's dad offered to drop us off in the morning. His house was actually a lot closesr to the race site than the mall, so we'd have a shorter ride back. Plus we wouldnt have to wait around for a shuttle to get us down there.

We arrived before 5:00, got our chips, got body marked, and TA areas set up. As I was setting mine up, I realized that I had forgotten my swim cap. Damn! I knew they would have extras somewhere, so I set about trying to find them. It seriously took me about 45 minutes to track them down, because every volunteer I asked told me something different, so I spent a good deal of time walking around trying to find a damn swim cap. Finally I found them in a crate RIGHT next to the swim start. By that time, I had just enough time to jump in the water and test the temp before the first wave went off. They had told us that the water temp was 86, which is HOT! It appeared to have cooled off a bit though, and was actually pretty comfortable. Still not wetsuit legal, but not boiling either.

The first swim wave went off at 6, and then another one went off every 4 minutes. Mine went off at 6:24, and the time seemed to pass pretty quickly while I was waiting for it. There were a lot of people in each wave, and I had a hard time finding some open water to work with. It was very crowded the first 300m or so, and I was getting kind of frustrated. Also, my goggles fogged up pretty quick, and they had the buoys spaced really far apart, so I was having a hard time sighting. I kept having to sight about every other stroke, and that was really slowing me down too. Finally I was able to get some open water, but I was still going pretty slow because of my sighting issue. I should have just taken the time to stop and take my goggles off and rinse them out. Oh well.

It was a clock-wise loop, and after we turned to head back to shore, we were pretty much straight into the rising sun. Which was making it even HARDER for me to sight. Fantastic. Also, somewhere in here, I was just swimming along, minding my own business, when my hand came down right onto some dude's package. I dont know if he was backstroking or what, but it was definitely package! Ha! So I finally made it back to shore, not really sure what my time was since I wasnt wearing a watch, but just happy to be out of the water.

When I got to the TA, I was happy to see that there were still quite a few bikes left. Even though I was in one of the middle waves, I was sort of worried that I would be at the very tail end of people heading out on the bike since my swim was so slow. But I wasnt, so that was good. I feel like I had a pretty quick transition, just pulled on my helmet and socks and shoes and was off. We had a short ride through the park, before pulling out onto the main road for the course, which was a simple out and back.

This course was completely flat, with just a couple of small hills before the turn around. On the way out, we had a slight headwind, which I only really noticed because I felt like I was working really hard and not going very fast for my effort. I got to the turn around, which kind of scared me a little bit after falling over and landing on my face at the one during IMFL, but this one was a little wider and I maneuvered it just fine.

The ride back in was FUN! I did drop my chain one one of the hills here, which usually freaks me out, but I just stayed calm and clicked back up a gear, and caught it right back. Now we had a tailwind, and I was able to keep my speed at over 20mph the entire way back. I was passing quite a few people, which felt great. There was one chick who was going just a TINY bit slower than me, but every time I would try to pass her, she moved over and blocked me. Granted, there were a few people right in front of her, so I couldnt tell if she was doing it on purpose or doing it because she was thinking about trying to pass them. But it was pissing me off, and I knew I needed to get around her. So finally I just punched it up a notch and got by.

Coming back into TA I was just having a great time and feeling realy good about my bike. Since I decided so late in the game to actually do this race, I'd only gotten in 3 rides, none of which were 25 miles long. My goal had been to average 16mph, and I ended up averaging 17.3. So I was very happy with that! When I got back to my rack, the two people on either side of me had racked really wonky, so it took me a minute to get my bike on. Then I just switched out my shoes, grabbed my race belt and the Garmin, and headed off.

The run was the part I was least worried about, since a 10K is cake, but this is where my lack of training really hit me. It was pretty apparent that I hadn't done any bricks, and my legs felt like lead. About the first mile of the run course was inside the park, which was nice because there were so many spectators. Once we got out of the park, there was a pretty decent hill, which I decided to walk up instead of expending too much energy running it with my heavy legs. Of course, this is where I saw Tim, as he was flying down the hill going the other direction. At the top of the hill was an aid station, and then a nice downhill, before we turned and had to make our way up another gradual incline. About half a mile after I turned around, I saw Bryce going the other wasy, and of course I was walking, AGAIN. Seems like I only see people I know when I'm walking.

After I got up the last hill and hit the aid station, I FINALLY started feeling really good, and was able to run the last mile or so at a pretty good pace. Coming into the finish was as cool as I had imagined, they just really made a big production out of it. I got my medal and a water, and then headed off to find a place to rest in the shade for a few minutes before looking for everyone. Really, the only part of the race that I'm disappointed with is my run, I know it could have been a lot faster. But I'm happy with the rest of it, my main goal was to have fun, and I did. My splits ended up being:
Swim (1500m): 43:42
T1: 2:10
Bike (40k): 1:26:26
T2: 2:00
Run (10k): 1:13:17
Overall: 3:27:34

After I cooled off a bit, I crossed one of the pedestrian bridges into the middle of the action, and went straight to the beer tent. I knew that's where they would all be hanging out! I found Tim and his Columbia friends there, so I grabbed a beer and joined them. Bryce joined us shortly thereafter, and we just stayed there for a while in the shade enjoying some beverages. We knew Dutch would be finishing sometime soon, so we went to watch for him, and then straight back to the shade and beers after he came through. I can't remember exactly how long we stayed there, but I think it was about noon when we left.

Tim had been lucky enough to grab a close parking spot, so he offered to drive Bryce and I back so we didnt have to ride. Definitely nice to have a ride. We got showered up and headed back to KC, and I was home by about 5:30.

So I would absolutely recommend this race to anyone, I really dont think I've ever had a better experience. IM was close, but I think this was actually better, in terms of just the overall event, and I didn't think I would ever be able to say that. I will definitely be back next year. If all races were this cool, I'd race every weekend! :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Triathlete stew

The website for the HyVee Triathlon has posted the current water temp for the reservoir we'll be swimming in. As of yesterday, it was 83 degrees. Yes, that's the water temperature. They also made a note that as of that reading, it is not a wetsuit legal swim. Ha. Ha ha! Wear a wetsuit in 83 degree water? Are you kidding me?? I will be shocked if I see ANYBODY wearing a wetsuit on Sunday. Even a shortjohn would be so hot. I might get heat stroke by the time I finish the swim anyway, no way am I adding a layer of neoprene. Swimming is supposed to be a little bit refreshing, this will not be.

It has really been too hot to do much of anything outside the past few days. I had actually planned on going out to SMP last night and getting in one last swim in the lake, but I ended up needing to drive out to Harrisonville to pick up a couple of bostons that MABTR was taking into rescue. A "breeder" down in Joplin had them living in crates outside. The small, short muzzled breeds are especially susceptible to heat, so they should not have been out there. Poor guys panted the whole 45 minute drive back to my house. They sure were friendly little suckers for having been cooped up in crates their whole life! They were stinky as heck, so they both got a bath, and then got to spend the night down in the nice cool basement. If we didnt already have 3 dogs, I would have just kept them both!

On Sunday I got out for a semi-long ride, but still cut it a bit short because it was just so hot. I went out south to my favorite stretch of straight, rolling pavement, and got in about 18 miles. I was planning on 25, but dang! Being out there in the blazing sun really takes it out of you when you arent acclimated to the heat yet. We've had a fair number of days in the 80's so far, but lately it's been in the mid-90's with a heat index of over 100. Hopefully it cools down a LITTLE bit for this Sunday.

This Saturday I'm getting up to run 12 with RE and then heading up to Des Moines for the main event. Should be a good time. Dan's got the Lenexa BBQ this weekend so can't come. The couple of time's he's missed a race it is a bit weird without my cheering section!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New game plan

OK! Since I have decided at the very last minute to go ahead and do HyVee on the 28th, I have some serious business to get down to. I havent swam in....a while. And I havent ridden in....a while. I feel a bit like a tool for doing a race that I'm not trained for, because I hate it when other people do that. But, I'm fully aware of my limitations, so you wont find me complaining afterwards about a less than stellar performance.

So here's the plan. They have open swim in the lake at SMP on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I am going to go out there this week and next week to swim, and then ride. I'm not a HUGE fan of the monotony of riding in SMP, but I can always just leave the park and ride out west if I feel like it. I dont want to just give up on lifting the next 2 weeks since I was kind of getting into my groove, so I'll still do that on Monday and Wednesday. And I WILL get up and run in the mornings. At least I know I can run a 10k with no problem.

Sunday is Fathers Day, but I am going to plan to get a semi-long ride in. Ideally, I really need to get at least 25 miles. So all that should leave me sitting in an OK position. It will just be fun to go race again!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Did I really say that I didnt feel like doing any tris this year? What the hell was I thinking?! I was in Lawrence yesterday to watch IMKS 70.3 and was SO bummed that I wasnt racing. So bummed that I actually almost started crying a couple of times. It just felt so weird being a spectator. Sad!

However, it WAS fun getting to finally watch one! I've never gotten able to watch since I've always been racing in them. And this was a great race to watch! The way they had the run course set up, it was basically a loop of 3 out-and-backs that the athletes did twice. So we parked ourselves at the 3-way intersection of all those out-and-backs and got to see quite a bit of action. Plus, there were a bunch of big name pros doing the race, so it was cool getting to see them! Chrissie Wellington, Tim DeBoom, Joanna Lawn, Nina Kraft, Luke Bell, etc. Very cool. Aaaaannnnnndddddd, Chrissie Wellington even stuck around after the race and was handing out medals to the finishers, then after that she was over in a tent signing autographs and I got to get my pic taken with her! She seemed so genuinely nice and happy to be there, and was so patient with everyone wanting a picture or autograph. Very nice to see.

I had gone out to Lawrnece on Saturday night to spend the night with Courtney at her friends house and then head over to the race site early on Sunday. It was nice not having to drive all the way in from JoCo! Then Dan and Bryce came over in the morning because we had a couple of other friends racing too. It was cloudy and cool and sprinkling for most of the morning, then by the time people were out on the run course the sun had come out in full force and the temp had jumped up to the high 80's. And of course I got fried, I swear, I'm never prepared with sunscreen. Bad times. Dan had brought Max and Bryce brought Emma, so we also had 2 very hot dogs on our hands. We were able to find some shade out along the run course though, and Max cooled off pretty quick. I wore the ever popular "more cowbell" shirt from IMFL, and it was of course a big hit. I dont know what it is, but people just love that shirt!

So! Since I realized that maybe I DO in fact want to do some tris this summer, I'm going to go ahead and do HyVee in 2 weeks. I signed up months ago, and had planned to ride up to DesMoines with Bryce since he's doing it too and Dan has the Lenexa BBQ that weekend and cant go. I was going to just scrap it, but being at the race yesterday quickly changed my mind. So I guess I need to get on my bike and into the pool a few times here in the next couple of weeks! It's an oly, so I feel like I'll be fine with my MINIMAL swim and bike training. I wont be fast by any stretch of the imagination, but lets be honest, I never am. I'll just go and have fun.

Friday, June 12, 2009

No 70.3 for this one

Ok, so 2 weeks of lifting are done, and I feel good! And I know it's all mental at this point, but I even feel like I already LOOK better. I just dont feel as squishy anymore. The scale has gone down a smidge, which is nice, but honestly that's not even what I really care about. Before I got into all this running/triathlon stuff, I was a total gym rat. Lifted 6 days a week, and I looked like it. Super lean, cut, just looked the way I wanted to. You'd think that running marathons, and I dont know, DOING AN IRONMAN, would keep a person in shape. And it does. Just not the same shape as hitting the weights.

My overall plan is to be running in the morning then lifting after work, but so far I've only managed one morning run. I've found that I have just been so TIRED, not to mention sore, with this new routine. I'm starting to get more adapted to it though, and am not feeling quite as worn down as I was at first. So that's good.

Saturday is the last day of RE for the spring session, then we have a week off before the fall sesion starts. I know, I know, the "fall" session starts in June. But it ends in the fall, so I guess thats why it's called the fall session! My friend Stacey is going to come run with us on Saturday, and is thinking about signing up at mid-session in August to train for the KC half marathon. I hope she does! I have been trying for ever to get someone to sign up, and I may have finall found a victim, er, taker. Anyone else in KC should really consider it as well, I just cant imagine a better way to get your long runs in. So, go sign up. Do it now! www.kcrunnersedge.com

This weekend is the IMKS 70.3 race over in Lawrence. I was all gung ho about signing up for it back in the fall, and was going to sign up for the Steelhead 70.3 as well. But I just sort of petered out on the whole tri thing this year and decided to just run. I dont know what it is, but for some reason having done a full IM now just makes anything shorter seem kind of blah. I know I shouldnt think that way, doing a sprint or oly or half is still a blast. And lord knows I need to work on my speed. But there's still that part of me that thinks "Ironman is just so COOL, anything else is pointless!". Kind of like how anything less than a full marathon now is boring. Geez, I really need a better mindset :)

But anyway, I'll be heading over to Lawrence to watch Court and a few others race it, and maybe that will snap me out of it when I see all the fun I'm missing out on. Because a half really is a fun distance, it's totally doable training-wise, and you're still done before dinner.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hello summer!

So yes, i got a little lazy after OKC and took about 3 weeks off. Eladio is always telling us though that the Kenyans take a MONTH off after a marathon, so what is 3 measley weeks!? Psh! Totally deserved it. I was definitely ready to start running again after that though. The bad thing about the timing of my littl break was that it happened to fall during apparently our only 3 weeks of spring. So once I started again, it was hot. Well, in the 70's, but thats a pretty big jump from where we had been. But still not bad though.

This past Saturday I had a 12 miler and thought I might just have heat stroke. Even though we started at 6:30, so I was done around 9, it was still about 80 by the time I finished. Usually I have a few people to run with, but Saturday everyone in my group was only doing 8. So they turned around at 4 miles, while I still had another 2 to go before I got to head back. I dont mind running by myself, and it was kind of nice to be out on the trail without anyone else around. The first 4 miles were pretty flat, then the last 2 before the turn were HILLY. Long, steep hills. The kind where you're pretty much forced to run on your toes to get up them. Fun times. But at least that part was in the trees and shaded.

On my way back, when I was at about mile 10.5, I passed two older guys going the other direction, not in our group. As they passed me, one of them looks right at me and says "better pace yourself!". WTF?! Pace your damn self, dude. Did I really look that bad? Probably so. I am not one of those girls who looks cute when they are running, I always end up looking like a hot mess. Oh well.

On Memorial Day Dan and I went to the Royals game, and as I was sitting there in my shorts, I looked down and was MORTIFIED by how my legs looked. No wonder my thighs got chafed at OKC, they are a big blubbery mess! Well, relatively speaking, anyway. I need to get those puppies toned up again.

Now, I knew I needed to start doing something else besides running. So in a half-hearted attempt to do something, I (dont laugh) had bought the Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred DVD and was going to do that in the mornings before work. Which I did, for a few days. But dang, it is boring! It's a decent workout, I can definitely give myself a better one on my own. It would definitely be good for beginners though. So anyway, I'm going to start getting up and running in the mornings, and then lifting after work. Works out well, since it's starting to be hot in the afternoons when i get home anyway, and I'm not a big fan of running in the late afternoon heat. So we'll see how this goes!