Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Still here

I know I haven't posted much - it's because I haven't been training much. I realized that a 10k a week from now is out of reach - I've only been doing 3-ish miles each run. I went swimming yesterday but the pond was choppy - I got a huge mouthful of water after only 2 laps and, I confess, I quit.

I did finally get my clipless pedals today, and after some tinkering with them (I figured out how, myself) I was able to easily clip in and go. Of course I was riding with my 8 year old so "go" means no more than 9-10 mph, for only a few miles! But it helped me get used to them.

I sat on a road bike in a shop the other day and was amazed at how different the leg position was - I think I'd get so much more power on one. But it's not in the cards, for now! So: this week it's intensive rehearsal for our show (Gilbert & Sullivan's Iolanthe) next weekend - my workout opportunities will be limited but I'll be dancing for hours every night! I think my next (and probably last) race will be the Bear Mountain Sprint on September 23. It will be a stretch - half-mile swim, 13 mile bike and 4 mile run. But I hope to really train for at least a few weeks leading up to it!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Event photos

Just got the Brightroom photos of the Nutmeg sprint. I didn't ask anyone to take pictures of me, and I was there alone, so this is all there is to prove it!
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
What's next? A couple of 10K opportunities, and another sprint in mid-September. I'm getting clipless pedals, too - that's the next chance I have to improve my speed!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Do you ever look at other people doing something fun and say, "gee, I wish I were the kind of person who could do something like that?" I certainly never thought I could be the kind of person who could be a triathlete. Another thing I never thought would happen to me was to own a boat. I have friends who canoe and kayak, but that always seemed the kind of fun that other people could have, but not me. Well, not any more: I am now the proud owner of a kayak! I got it for a great price, and will be bringing it home in about an hour, and hopefully debuting it on our town pond not long after that! I'd been needing to add an upper body workout to my routine, but I'm much more excited about finding a new activity to do with my daughters, neither of whom has ever been a little boat like this. Can't you just see it - sneaking out at dawn for a paddle, and coming home in time for breakfast! It's so cute - bright green, impossible to capsize - perfect for beginners and children!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Thank you, Lbtepa!

I'd been dithering since my last (first) triathlon about when I'd ever do another - I have been so phobic about the swim. I've trained pretty steadily in the pool, taken a TI workshop and really practiced the technique. But I just never got around to getting back in a lake. Meanwhile my biking and running numbers have been declining, mostly due to crazy summer schedule. But LBtepa told me, just do it, don't wait, so I committed in my mind to the one I've been saying for months was my next one (but I hadn't believed it) the Nutmeg State Sprint at Lake Waramaug. It's a .5 swim (longer than Pawling), 9 mile bike, 3.1 run.

I confessed my anxiety to a friend a few days ago. She's a natural healer and accupuncturist, and she offered to teach me a technique to help overcome my fear called Emotional Freedom Technique (or EFT.) It entails coming up with a sentence that described your fear in stark terms, and your wish: i.e., "Even though I am afraid I will panic and drown, I choose to swim with ease and calm." You say this over and over while tapping certain meridians on your head, face and body. There's another part that involves eye-rolling, counting to 5 and humming a snippet of a song, I kid you not. And I kid you not, I did this over and over again for the last two days!

The race started at 7am, and was about a half-hour from home. I hadn't preregistered so wanted to arrive early, so set the alarm for 4:40. My husband was extremely skeptical, knowing how very not a morning person I am. But I was out the door at 5:05 and was the first one to pull into the parking lot. (Then it was a 20 minute walk over a very tall hill to the site.)

After yesterday's all-day torrential rains, today was very chilly but absolutely lovely. The steam was rising over the lake, everyone was super-friendly, and the field was a perfect size - just over 100 athletes, almost ALL of whom looked extremely buff and experienced. (Unlike Pawling where there were many more shapes and sizes.)

I continued to mutter my affirmations and surreptitiously tap a bit, and also to remind myself that it was OK if I got anxious, I knew I could do it and I'd get over it. But still, I was fearful. And cold. Luckily the water was much warmer than the air! I'd eaten carefully so I knew I wouldn't have stomach issues in the water, and by 7 (ish) I was as ready as I could possibly be. The men went off first, and 5 minutes later we were off too. I immediately let everyone get ahead, and let myself paddle and breast stroke to get comfortable - all part of the plan. There was one couple that was swimming together and who had clearly planned from the start to go VERY slow - he was doggy paddling and she was backstroking. I pulled ahead of them and headed out to those far, far buoys. But I got nervous, wobbly, kept stopping and looking around for the boats. I made it known to the nice ladies in the kayaks that I hoped they'd stay close, and they did. I left one behind, who stayed with the couple and when I reached the next one I completely froze - shouted out that I wanted to go in. She came and let me grab on, at which point I thought it was all over- the USAT regs said that you'd be disqualified for that. But she offered to let me continue, and another woman came and paddled alongside me, no more than 10 feet away. And we continued like that all the way around - I chatted withe her every time I needed a break, but never held on again - I DID IT! Swim time: 29:20, which is actually not bad considering the stopping and starting - once I was swimming for real I moved along at a decent clip (for me.)

It was a long slog to transition, and evidently I need to work on those skills as well, since I was 110th for T1! Getting clipless pedals would help - then I could just slip into my shoes. I'll have to think about what else I could do! As I was leaving for the bike, the first rider was just coming in on his fancy tri bike, shouting "GET OUT OF MY WAY!!!" when nobody was actually in his way. A rare moment of bad vibes in a really nice day.

The bike was so pretty - the first 6 miles were right at the shoreline of the lake. I was all alone, and having a lovely time. Suddenly at Mile 6 I hit the wall. Not bonking, an uphill climb I couldn't believe! I NEVER walk when I bike anymore - but this time there was no way I was riding up it. At that point the male half of the slow swim couple struggled by me (but his companion still hadn't passed me.) Another steep uphill at mile 8 also stopped me for a while. At one point I passed a woman who'd had a flat, but otherwise never saw another soul. For a while I was concerned that by the time I got back, they wouldn't let me go out on the run - they'd said they would close the course at 2 hours and there was no way I'd finish that fast.

But nobody said anything (most were probably already eating breakfast by then!) and I wobbled back out and up Strawberry Hill- an insanely steep, insanely long hill. I was walking up, wondering why on earth anyone would choose this path for the course, when a woman ran up alongside me. She was looking for her boyfriend and decided to run with me while she looked. She was on a relay team and had long since finished, and when the boyfriend didn't appear, she just ran with me the whole way. What a blessing - she kept me distracted, paced me, and encouraged me. She disappeared just as I headed into the home stretch - don't know if she found the boyfriend or was a figment of my imagination, but wherever she is, I thank her!

People were already leaving by the time I came in, but everyone gave me big smiles and encouragement. My friend in the kayak came up and said hi - she's been driving the "sad car" that was supposed to scoop up the last stragglers but she said she held them off and convinced them to let me and the remaining few finish. The woman who'd finished behind me in the swim caught me at the run's turnaround and finished almost 3 minutes ahead, and the woman with the flat tire almost caught me (she did a 28 minute run, compared to my 40+) but not quite, so I was second-to-last (with one other DNF, evidently whoever that was, it's a shame, because she'd had a really fast swim!)

I finished feeling strong and comfortable - not ready to cry or collapse like the first one. It helped that it was very cool, not blisteringly hot like Pawling.
I'm consistent: I was 116th (out of 118 competitors) in all three parts. (So why did I finish 105th out of 106 total finishers - I don't get it! Maybe that counts the relay people too who weren't counted in the 106.)

Will I do another? If I do I want to go faster - time to start thinking of ways to cut a few minutes off. I think it would be easiest to cut time off the bike: maybe some faster tires...or those clipless pedals. I'm not quite ready to ditch my mountain bike and lay down $800 or more for a road bike - just not in the budget. There are a few more events I am considering, including doing an Oly in Washington DC as a relay with my husband and sister-in-law, in late September (I'd do the bike, she'd swim, and my hubby would run.) We shall see but today I'm basking in my accomplishment!

Oh and is this wierd? My total time was 2:07:22 - about 30 seconds faster than my Pawling tri time. I guess my first goal should be to break 2 hours!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A hurdle overcome

Today I jumped in the lake. And swam. For a half-mile, without touching ground or dock. I didn't go far away from anything solid, not even out to the floating docks which are no more than 25 and maybe 75 yards from the end of the main docks. No, I just went back and forth about 10 feet off the ends of the 2 main docks as if I were swimming laps, but never touched. I did some breast stroke and some random paddling, but mostly genuine, halfway good form freestyle, trying to get in a good TI groove. I never really hit it - my legs dragged -- but I was close. For the first few minutes I felt surges of anxiety about all the weird pond sensations - tickles of seaweed, sudden changes of temperature, little waves, sun in my eyes - but gradually realized I felt strong and calm. So now I know my body is capable of swimming that distance (nice and slow, nice and slow.) I felt a bit wobbly after getting out (and something went up my nose that has caused me to sneeze my head off ever since -- I hope THAT doesn't happen on Saturday!) but I think I could have gotten on my bike after that! And after my 30-mile hilly ride 2 weeks ago, a 9 mile mostly flat spin seems like cake! (We'll see how a 3 mile run seems after that... but I can always walk if I have to.) So I guess I'm STILL planning to do this race! (Somehow I think I'll feel more like a REAL triathlete if I do more than one - like, "oh yeah, had another tri yesterday!" all blasé, as opposed to it being a once-in-a-lifetime fluke thing.

I'm doing it.

I'm really doing another triathlon. Saturday morning, 7am start time, Nutmeg State Sprint. I'm nervous, really nervous, about the swim. (And the fact that my training intensity isn't what it was in the spring when I was planning the Pawling.) Slow and steady, try to finish. (They say they scoop up anyone who hasn't finished in 2 hours - if I don't freak on the swim I should be able to do it in less than that as the bike is only 9 miles, shorter than the last one.) Tonight I go for an open water test.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Running with a friend

A few times when I've been out running I've crossed paths with a woman I know casually from town - her daughter plays with mine occasionally. In the Sharon Classic we ran at about the same pace (she's usually quite a bit faster - about 10 1/2 minute miles - but had her 9 year old son with her.) We kept saying " let's go running sometime" and last week when she called me about something for work I suggested we pick a date and really do it. Turns out she's been a serious athlete - run marathons, swum 4 miles at a stretch - but nowadays a 4 miles run, including walking up hills, is more her speed. We did just about that much, maybe touch more. It felt fine to me - having the company was both distracting from the pain and motivating - there were times I'd have kept walking but she encouraged me to start running again. It was hot, and I don't think we were going even as fast as I usually do. But I did it, instead of what seems to have happened a lot this week, that is, not getting around to doing much of anything. These days I'm not feeling like an "athlete" much less a "triathlete" - it's all because I'm not truly committed in my mind to a next event. There's one on Saturday morning (long swim, still anxious), and another one on Sunday, and one on Thursday the 23rd in the evening, which is a perfect distance (shorter swim) but almost 2 hours away....one in September that's a short swim but long bike (19) and long-ish run (4.5) - hard to imagine I could be ready for that...what to do, with all the other things going one?

PS thanks everyone for the great advice about beating the soreness. I'll restock on the drinks, and make sure i move every day even after a really tough workout. On that note, off to swim.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Still sore!

Five days after my 30 mile bike, my muscles still ache! I've been sort of using it as an excuse not to do anything - but I'm going to swim this morning and see if that loosens them up. Any suggestions about when and whether to start moving again after a killer workout?