Thursday, June 18, 2015

Taper time

10 days until Ironman Coeur d’Alene!  Oh my gosh.  Tomorrow is single digits, WHAT?! Seriously, how did that happen?


I’m not even going to go into the whole “am I ready?!” thing.  I feel like I could go both ways.  Yes, I know I’m ready and I know logically that I’ll finish no matter what and it'll be fine and I can do it and am ready.  But at the same time, oh my gosh, there is soooo much more I should have and could have done!  Etc etc etc.  So, not going to focus on that because it’s kind of a moot point by now!


So, what else is there?  Well, my knee, for one.  I ran last week (Wednesday) and I felt great, loving everything..then a couple hours later I noticed my knee hurt.  And it wasn’t the usual dull pain that sometimes happens and is fine; this was a sharp pain down the side of my knee and leg.  I tried to pretend it was nothing.  Was definitely still hurting the next morning, and I knew something was different..and wrong.  Immediately told my coach (instead of waiting it out, and pretending it was ok), scheduled some appointments, etc etc.  I was told to not do ANYTHING for three days, except swim if I really wanted to do something (go figure..and yes, I did swim, because that’s how desperate I was to do something!).  It was a huge bummer; last weekend was really my last big weekend of training, with the biggest brick workout, and while I know that it wasn't physically necessary, it would have been a really big confidence/mental boost to do it.  Instead I did nothing.  I also cut my “long” run short, and skipped another decent ride.


But the good news is that taking time off seemed to help, and that, combined with chiro/ART, ice, and only a couple doses of ibuprofen, and it’s feeling awesome now.  I actually can’t even really feel it at all.  My leg is all taped up, and I might leave it that way just to make myself feel better but… overall, crisis averted!  (Monty said my IT band was basically wedged into the other muscle – forget what it’s called – and the muscle was tight meaning everything was just all locked up and straining.  Makes sense.  He also said that’s common if you are tired, are training a lot, and start compounding different activities.  Let’s see—peak week of ironman training?  Check, check, and CHECK!  But the good news is that nothing was inflamed, nothing was really damaged, and he saw no reason to not train on it, as long as it wasn’t really bad.  Then he spent the next 30 minutes shoving his thumb into my muscles to get things to loosen up.  OUCH.)


Anyway, I am super glad that is all out of the way.  I will be rolling and stretching like crazy to keep it that way, but at least it’s pretty much “better” already.


Aside from that, the rest of taper is..well..taper-ish.  It actually doesn’t feel like much of a taper, based on my workouts; my overall totals for this week will be less, but that mostly comes from less big stuff this weekend, and one shorter day during the week.  The rest of my workouts have been pretty long (albeit less intense).  Oh well.  I am so tired all the time though, so I know my body knows it’s tapering and that it’s working on recovery.  So tired.  So, so tired.


I am also in a bit of a haze, kind of like that post-long-workout fogginess…but all the time.  Honestly, words are hard sometimes.  I’ve found myself multiple times this past week, in the middle of a conversation, suddenly stopping mid-sentence because I just can’t figure out what word I’m trying to say!  Not just “I forgot the word” but like…stumbling to a stop and just STUCK because I can’t even figure out what to say to articulate things.  So weird, but…it’s normal.  Taper, taper, taper.


I’m also slow (biking, running..and swimming, but I always am slow swimming), but trying not to stress that.  It’ll come on race day.  And if not, well, then I don’t deserve to go any faster anyway, so no fair whining about it!


People are starting to ask more questions suddenly; everyone at work seems to know I’m doing an ironman (I’ve had people I barely know stop me in the hallway and say something about it).  They’ve been asking about it all year, but now that it’s so close people keep asking if I’m excited, ready, etc.  It’s hard to answer, sometimes ;)  But they also set up a lunch outing for me next week, in honor of the fact that I'm leaving to go do a really stupid-long thing, so that’s super sweet and means a lot.  Although on the other hand, that also adds a little more pressure because now I know they will ALL want to hear all about it and are thinking I’m going to do really well, and what if I let everyone down?!


But, no.  Don’t stress it, Rosanne.  Race day will come, and what will happen will happen.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sherpa duty!

A different kind or race experience: spectating!


I guess I’ve been a spectator at a sprint, once last year, but by all accounts this was the first real Sherpa-duty work I’ve done!  Including traveling Friday, pre-race activities Saturday, race and travel home on Sunday.


And it was a blast!


I kind of thought it might be a little more “difficult” being a spectator (in terms of “ugh I wish I were racing!”) but I know my plan and my schedule and it felt right and honestly didn't bug me that much.  Until afterwards; then I was just jealous of everyone in that amazing post-race bliss.  I was jealous of that ;)


Anyway, Mac did the Victoria 70.3, and it was amazing.


Friday: travel.  Drive up to the border.  Cross.  Drive to the ferry.  Wait for the ferry.  Take the ferry.  Get off the ferry and get to the hotel.  All told, it was like a 6 hour trip, I think?  But at least it was slightly broken up with the ferry, and all.  Plus, that night we found the best Italian place ever!  It was a little hole-in-the-wall place, but it had good yelp reviews and it was JAM-PACKED so we knew it had to be good.  Like, I could barely move my chair three inches back, before hitting the guy at the table next to us.


Saturday: I was allowed to try running, if my knee felt ok.  After 2 days off, I was itching to get moving again, and it was feeling decent, so we decided that we would head over to the race venue in the morning, and I could run the course (trail around the lake) while Mac did the pre-race stuff.  It actually worked out perfectly—we had to park at one end of the lake, so Mac rode her bike a couple miles to transition, Allen took the shuttle, and I ran the trail...and we all met up at transition.  This was the perfect way for me to “test” my knee a bit, but would allow me to easily stop after a short distance if it hurt (and I could continue on easily too if it was good).  Ended up being a 2.67 mile run to transition, and feeling great!  I could still feel it a bit, but it didn’t particularly feel any worse running then when I wasn’t running, so I decided I could try for a full loop.  After finding them and letting them know my plan (only problem with a Canada race was no cell phone use!), I set out for one full 10k loop.  And it still felt good.  I was supposed to run for 2 hours, but in all I ended up just running 1:15.  I felt kind of bad about it, but I knew it was way more important to stop while I still felt good, and not risk it and be forced to stop because it hurt.  It was a good run, I felt good knowing I was still capable of running (you know, a whole two days of no workouts will do that), and it was a gorgeous course, and just a really fun trail to run!  I was pretty jealous they all got to run it (2 loops) the next day!  It was probably a good call to stop at 1:15, because after all the walking for the rest of the day, it was starting to make itself known a bit more.


Met back up and told them I was calling it, and we walked around a little (bought a new pair of zoot tri shorts at a great expo price, score!), and headed back to the hotel.  Wandered Victoria and ate food and wandered some more.  We wanted to go to the same Italian place for dinner, since it was just that delicious, but of course it was even more crazy-packed with triathletes and we couldn’t even get inside to get our name on the list sooooo we went somewhere else instead.  Then it was time to head back to the hotel, give Mac time to prep her stuff for the next day, and finally sleep!


Sunday: early race-day morning!  I wasn’t up quite as easily as if I were racing, haha… in fact, I didn’t even hear the alarm clock and Allen had to wake me up while Mac was in the shower.  But, whatever, and we were out the door at 4am, just as planned!  At this point, I knew I needed to just let Mac do her thing, and I think I may have annoyed her with a little too much joking and nagging ;) oops.  Waiting patiently outside of transition was weird.  On the other hand, it was really, really nice to not have to stress out about all the bathroom lines!  They had a serious shortage, and I was very thankful I could just wait until the race started and not freak out about standing in lines to go to the bathroom a million times before racing.


After everything was ready, etc etc etc etc…swim time!  Helped Mac get tri-glide-d up, gave her hugs, wished her a great race, and she headed to the beach.  She also handed over her phone, since she had international data on, and I was in charge of photos, texting the framily, and posting to her facebook real-time :)


Her wave started just on time, at 6:15am.  I couldn’t see her, of course, but know roughly where she would be swimming so I pretended I knew which one was her ;)  I also started the timer on my phone, and figured I could just lap it for each leg/transition, so I could keep track of (roughly) her total time as well as where she was for each leg.  That ended up working really, really well, especially since I knew roughly how long things should take her, so we were able to know when to go look for her, etc.


We hung out at the swim exit, and holy cow some of those people are crazy-fast swimmers!!!  The first guy out of the water, I think was actually in the second swim wave.  CRAZY!  Alycia was also racing, and she is not only an incredible athlete and super-fast overall, but she was a collegiate swimmer so she’s even more ridiculously fast swimming.  She swam 1.2 miles in 28 minutes!  And not only that, but she was FOURTH out of the water in her age group (which is also my age group)!  Holy cow.  I think that's was when I realized I was glad I wasn’t racing—these girls would have totally blown me out of the water (literally and figuratively, on the rest of the course).  I was seriously impressed by everyone out there!


Anyway, Mac was out of the water right when we were expecting her, with a solid swim time!  Cheered, snapped a couple quick photos (although that’s always hard at the swim out), then ran as fast we could to try to catch her again!  Allen ran to transition to catch her as she was getting her bike, and I ran ahead, up the street a bit to try to catch her at the start of the course.  Perfect timing, I got about a block out from the mounting line, and quickly spotted her neon yellow helmet getting on the bike.  Got some good photos, and told her to have a great ride!  (I think she said something about “yaaay, bike!”)


Found Allen.  We had a little time to wait before trying to catch her after her first lap.  Grabbed some food (a very sad waffle and eggs), but were told the coffee wasn’t ready, and it would be another 30 minutes.  What??  Ate, used the restroom, got back in line.  And waited forever.  At this point, I was getting antsy—she was probably going to finish her first loop in about 20 minutes, but we had a couple miles to walk to get to where the loop would pass.  Finally I went and asked the people, and nope, “we ran out of coffee and are brewing another batch, it’ll take about an hour” uhhh yeah, not gonna wait in the line for nothing!   (side note: what kind of coffee pot takes ONE HOUR to brew?!  Did they not know people would want coffee??)


Anyway, we bailed on that, and started walking.  I didn’t actually know how long it was, just had seen it on the map and was worried it was longer than I thought, and really did not want to miss her!  Finally, I decided to just run it.  Hahahaha, I kept getting really funny looks, but whatever.  I’m a runner.  Just wearing my flats and all…  Oh well.  Those shoes were not meant for running in, and it was more of a slow jog, but it was way faster than walking!   Turned out that it was a lot further than I thought, so I’m really glad I ran!  Allen walked, and he ended up making it a couple minutes before she showed up so walking would have been fine, but I would have been really stressed out so I’m glad I got there early :)


Again, it was easy to see her bright yellow helmet coming a while off; I made a mental note that I either needed to borrow Allen’s helmet (if it fits) or Mac’s helmet, for IMCDA.  Soooo nice to be able to recognize her from a ways off!  I waved my arms, hoping she would see it was me (since I was also wearing neon yellow sleeves still at that point), and tried to take photos as she rode by but I was also busy yelling at her so my photos weren’t great.  Oh well.  She told us later she was so happy and surprised to see us there, not expecting us to be on the bike course, so that was good!  She looked awesome, riding strong and making great time, ahead of schedule.  Yay!


Headed back to transition, and decided to just wait and watch from there for the next 40-ish minutes.  We missed Alycia’s first loop, since her wave started ahead of Mac (and she is also speedy-quick), but figured we could see her bike in.  Finally did see her, although the first few females were way ahead.  I’ve never actually watched Alycia race, only seen her results, so wasn’t really sure if I should be worried—it was also super confusing because by now the people racing the sprint were coming in, and relays, etc, so there were lots of people but you didn’t really know who was in what race.  Anyway, we finally saw her—but we noticed her first when we saw someone taking their feet out of their shoes SUPER early, and trying to stretch out their leg, etc.  I think Allen and I both made comments about “geez what is that person doing!  Don’t get out of your shoes yet!  Are they ok??”…and then we realized it was Alycia!!  :-\  She didn’t look super great, slowly coasting down to transition and not exactly smiling… I was hoping she was just stretching and getting ready to run, and that she was having a good race.  I reminded myself that I haven’t seen her race, so maybe this was normal :)


And then, after waiting a little more, there was Mac!  Still ahead of schedule!  Right where I would have expected her on a really good day, so that was awesome!  More cheering, more photos, then I booked it over to the start of the run.  And this time, it was her neon yellow hat that made her stand out!  Second mental note: forget the plan to just wear sunglasses on the run, and get a yellow hat to wear!  I was lined up to get a good running shot, but she saw us and held out her sunglasses, and I knew I needed to grab them.  So I got a couple photos of her looking super focused on handing off the glasses, then carefully reached out and safely grabbed them from her.  (Managed to drop my phone, but gosh darnit those sunglasses were safe!)


We decided to just stay in the area, and hung out a bit.  Two 10k (ish, they added a little out and back to make it the full 21.1km total) loops, so I knew we had some time.  Doodeedoo.  Again, I was super happy with how it was working out to keep track of her time on my phone.  Yes, we could have stopped and looked at the time and did the calculations, but keeping track with the phone’s stopwatch (with the different laps) was so handy because then you could see exactly how long it had been, etc etc, as well as keep track of total race time.  It worked great!


Soon, they were talking about the first finisher getting close, so we went and watched that.  The guy that won it finished in like 4:09.  Ridiculous!  The crazy part is that we saw Jack (a local 18-year-old, who is so fast it shouldn't be allowed) finish first off the bike, and then this other guy obviously had an amazing run, and ended up finishing like 13 minutes ahead of him, or something ridiculous!  So crazy.


When it got closer to the time for her to finish her first loop, we decided to walk a bit and find a better spot, but since it was just a little trail around the lake, there really wasn’t any space to walk up and camp out on the course.  So, we just moved a little up course and found a little spot before it really got back into the woods (right next to where one of the photographers was haha), and waited and cheered for a bit.  By this point, we also saw a few other people we knew and got to cheer for them, as well as lots we didn’t know—the run is when you always start cheering for people you don’t even know, because they are getting so close!  Love that part.  Saw a handful of Project 13 people (my coach started that team) so I would cheer for them even though I didn’t know them (“yeah, Project 13, looking good!”).  I got lots of funny looks, as they tried to figure out who I was haha.  Oh well :)  Same for the Ironheart kits.


Soon enough, we saw that little yellow hat again, bobbing up and down towards us (did I mention how handy that was?!), and YES, TIME TO YELL!  I had tried to just be nice and motivational until this point, but now it was one measly 10k to go, and I was allowed to give her a hard time.  After all, her coach had told her to give it an “honest hard effort” (which became the theme for the trip) so I promptly reminded her of that, plus a few “GO HARDER, GO GO GO GO!” for good measure as she ran off.  To which she casually flipped me off (all in good fun!), and I had to yell "love you!!" as she ran off.  I was cracking up.  The other spectators around me were a little taken aback, “geez, really? You’re yelling at her that much to go harder??  She obviously didn’t like that” to which I assured them that she does the same to me, and it’s all good!  :)  We were both laughing about it.


Turns out she really did keep that steady pace so I think it paid off and was worth it ;)


Headed back and laid in the sun for a bit.  I kind of forgot Alycia should be finishing soon, which is too bad because I just heard “blahblahblah…ALYCIA HILL, finishing first in the 25 to 29 age group!”  So I jumped up, ran to the finish, and saw her as a volunteer tried to hold her up while she stood, gasping for air, dumping an entire bottle of water on her head...and promptly flop on the ground, sprawled out, refusing to answer anyone’s questions, and dumping another bottle.  I yelled at her and waved and I’m not sure if she realized it was me or not, but it was still pretty impressive.  That’s when I realized—I need to race like that.  That is some hardcore dedication and laser focus right there.  I clearly do not race hard enough!  She was up soon enough, smiling and congratulating the 2nd place girl, who I later found out finished a mere 6 seconds behind her!  No wonder she was running so hard!  Nico texted, and said she also finished 3rd place overall (2nd amateur)!  Geez!  So, apparently her off-the-bike look was totally normal :)


Soon it was getting close to when Mac should be finishing, since I knew she would keep holding that strong pace.  Got a spot at the finish line, and an older guy next to me asked who I was waiting for, etc.  I told him it was a friend, and he asked if it was her first time doing one of these…to which I laughed and replied no, not at all!  :)  He was impressed when I rattled off her triathlon resume.


Saw another few people I know finish, and then—you guessed it—that yellow hat was visible behind a row of spectators, rounding the corner to the finish line!  Yeah!!  I paid attention to try to actually get good photos at the finish, as well as scream as much as I could as she came down the chute in an awesome 5:18.  Huge PR, and she looked AWESOME all day!


Ran to the other side of the finish line.  Snagged a couple photos from behind the race, and then met up with her and got a big sweaty hug.  I am always sooo gross and feel so bad when Allen wants to hug me after a race, and of course she did the same to me (“I’m so gross!!”) but suddenly I understood why Allen hugs me anyway—I didn’t care at all!  Soo proud of that girl and happy for her awesome race.


We waited a bit, sat, looked for food, etc.  Finally they had results posted, she finished 10th in her age group!  Crazy fast people.  After finally getting all our stuff loaded (logistics were kind of a nightmare), we headed to find some food ASAP!  I am a big fan of the food aspect of Sherpa-ing.  :)


All in all, it was a great weekend!  So much fun to watch a lot of familiar faces racing, and especially watching Mac kick ass like that!  Her training has been paying off, and I’m so happy we got to go cheer her on in person.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Issaquah Sprint Triathlon - 2015

Ok, guess it’s time for a race report ;) (as totally dorky as it sounds), because guess what!  Tri season is officially underway again!!!!


A sprint is a lot different than what I’m really training for.  It’s literally the distances of my warm-ups these day.  This one in particular was a ¼ mile swim (440 yards, if you’re like me and have no sense of swimming in miles), 14 mile bike (although everyone seems to have recorded closer to 15 miles; my garmin said 14.9), and a 5k run.  So yeah, literally my normal warm-ups!


At the risk of sounding totally full of myself, I’ll get this out of the way now: I have won my age group in every single triathlon I have ever done, with the exception of AG National Championships (and an xterra but that doesn’t feel like it counts because of the whole mountain biking and trail running part).  I don’t say that to brag; I kind of can’t wait to not get 1st AG, because then the pressure is off.  Not that I really feel pressure, in the sense that I’m trying to keep the streak alive, but pressure knowing that there is a streak in the first place.  So much of it really has to do with who else shows up at the race, so it’s kind of a silly thing to even worry about.  But, going into it, I knew that there was a very, very good chance that I would not place first.  It was kind of a relief, but still, you’re never really looking forward to not being on top ;)  But this race was for fun.  This was race just for me to do something with the word “triathlon” before CDA.  This race was to feel things out, test my kit in a race, and remember how to pack for these things :) And, again, it’s totally different than an ironman (especially the run, knowing I will NOT be running all-out haha).


ANYWAY!  Enough prefaces.  Just putting that out there.


Katie was doing this as her first triathlon, which was super exciting!  I think I was just as excited for her as she was (if not more).  We picked her up and headed over, with the intention of getting there about 1:15 early, and just 0:15 after transition opened.  Well after all was said and done (and after making the long walk from the parking lot to transition) it was even later, and there were plenty of people already there in transition...but they did at least have the racks sorted by number so we both got spots on our racks just one bike in, which is better than nothing (note: when I went back right before transition closed, to grab my wetsuit, some guy that had JUST shown up was there, with his whole family, including his dog, and shoved ALL the bikes over so that he could have the end spot.  So I guess my bike was 3rd.  Oh, and someone’s helmet had fallen off their bike and was on top of my stuff, and the bikes were all askew, and my bars were tangled.  You know, no big.  Show up 10 minutes before the race, and just shove stuff over.  Grrrrrrrrrrr).


Anyway, after getting set up and helping Katie make sure she was set up too, we made a few bathroom stops, looked at the lake, I stuck my toe in and realized the water was SUPER warm (seriously, what is it with the weather this year?  I am NOT complaining, but the water was seriously warmer than the air), etc etc etc…. I started the wetsuit struggle.  I hate getting into my wetsuit.  It’s so awkward.  I’m so slow.  It’s a workout in itself.  And it REALLY stresses me out.  I get so, so, SO flustered getting my wetsuit on, which I guess is why I need to do it with TONS of time to spare (which I was doing).  After a few minutes of whining and getting antsy and freaking out about it, I was good to go.  By this time, Mel had showed up (and Mac had showed up earlier, too) so we had a good little group of support, which was AWESOME!  :)


Unfortunately, the race was delayed I think 20 minutes; something about getting all the police officers situated on the bike course.  Tick, tock… I wanted to be done with the swim by now, not standing around waiting…. But at least I had my little crew around to hang out with, and pass the time with photos of course!


Anyway, finally it was time to go.  Luckily, we were in the third wave—first was the “elite” group (self-appointed; I honestly could have been in the group based on expected times, but I would have been wayyyy behind in the swim and didn’t want to swim with them haha also, talk about pressure to perform!), but that group was pretty small.  Then I think it was a small group of men.  Then us!  They actually combined a few age groups since they were small, so it ended up being I think Women 34 and under.  Anyway, it was still a pretty small group, maybe 20-30?  Actually I have no idea.  But it didn't feel like a ton.  A few last hugs and good lucks to Katie, and we trudged in the water….and…go!


Ok, so.  Swimming.  I had really hoped it would be fine.  I mean it was a 440 yard swim for goodness sake, I KNOW I can swim that no problem, I KNOW I can even push it hard for that long.  I’ve done it a million times.  But suddenly there were people, and even with a small group there was some jostling…  Honestly, nothing bad at all, I got clawed a few times but whatever, it wasn't awful...but suddenly I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t get a full breath, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t do anything!  I felt like my wetsuit and everything was just closing up.  After a lot of gasping and trying really, really hard to get my breathing controlled (I kept trying to force myself to put my head in and breathe, and hold it, and force myself to get back to my regular patter, but I could NOT), I kind of just stopped and treaded water for a minute.  I just could not figure it out.  I got moving again, and it never really got better, I  kept having to breathe every stroke which I never, ever have to do, but I just felt like I couldn’t breathe without doing that….it felt like forever.  I was 100 yards in and thinking “how in the world can I do this for 2.4 miles, if I can’t even handle a quarter mile!  With like, hardly any people!  This is nothing!  There is no way I can do an ironman.  No way.”  I still feel that way but…..whatever.


Anyway, I finally made it.  I felt the awful the whole to and was panicking, but I started swimming through some tall grass and finally realized it was about knee-high water, and I got the heck out of there!  I always make awful faces at Allen (and Mac and Mel, this time.  Oh, and my coach was there too, I’m sure he appreciated seeing just how thrilled I was).  I think I yelled something about “yeah, finally, that’s enough of that!!” back to them, as I focused on getting the wetsuit off (and over my garmin)..which is when I hit the button to start my transition time, and realized I did the swim in 7-something minutes?!  I was sitting there thinking I should be able to hit 8 minutes as long as I swam strong.  After feeling so awful and dying and stopping, I was convinced I took wayyyyy longer.  So, I guess that was good.  Maybe I was just going wayyyy to hard at the beginning, even though I was trying not to?  (I also later realized I forgot to use my inhaler, which I always do before swimming in open water.  Otherwise, I can't breathe and start panicking.  Hmm, coincidence?)


Transition was fine.  I felt like I was in and out quickly, but I had one of the slower transition times, at like 1:30 or something.  Oh well.  And I didn’t even have to sit down to put my shoes on! I think that’s a first ;)


I ran out, and hopped on the bike—and it made a noise.  What the heck is that?!  It sounded like the rear wheel or brakes or something, I kept looking down and trying to tell what it was.  Finally I tried messing with the paper number on the top tube and it stopped, so I decided it must have been something with that, and off I went!  Whew, crisis averted.  I had a few seconds of serious panic, thinking my bike had a problem.


Luckily, I’ve essentially ridden the course a billion times (slight exaggeration).  I know that road like the back of my hand, except the mile or two getting to the main road (weaving through the park, etc).  So that part was a little annoying, and also very lonely because I didn’t see ANY bikes and just seemed weird, like was I in the right place?  But soon enough I was on east lake samm and in the thick of things.  I kept checking people’s age, trying to figure out where I was, but never really saw any girls in my age group—passed a couple, but I was expecting to pass more.  There were a lot of other people that must have been doing the relay, or something?  So I did pass a ton of people, just was expecting to see more in my Age Group.  Not really sure.  I think I got passed only 2 or 3 times, and they were all super speedy guys so I’m not too worried ;)


Anyway, I wasn’t entirely sure where the turn-around was (thought it was at a certain intersection but also thought that was a little far, so was kind of waiting for it…) and was just heading up the slight incline towards Inglewood (which I knew had to be the turn-around)…downshifted and…my chain fell off.  Dangit!!!  Quickly pulled over (after someone said something to me about it, like no duh, I know that it fell off, it was pretty obvious when I tried to pedal) and the dumb thing was stuck!  It had wedged itself somehow and I couldn’t get it unstuck.  In hindsight, this was nothing compared to happen the next day :) but at the time it was super frustrating.  I felt like I was there forever, but honestly it was probably just a minute or maybe two minutes.  Finally I took a chance and just YANKED on the thing, and ta-da!  It was free.  Got it on easily after that, looked down at my hands and realized it was COVERED in grease.  Yes, I know, I need to clean my chain more.  I just did! Apparently not enough.  My  hands were BLACK.  Aside from just being gross and not wanting to get my bars super dirty, they were all slick and slimy so I knew I had to get some off.  Of course, there wasn’t really any leaves or grass next to me to wipe them off on, and my kit was mostly blue and I didn’t want to turn in black, so…I wiped my hands all over my quads.  I mean, you gotta do what you gotta do!  My hands were still dirty but at least it wasn’t such a thick layer, so I hopped on my bike (and said sorry to my pretty blue bar tape that was about to turn grey), and off I went!


Side note, I was happy at how many people asked if I was ok while I was dealing with everything.  I guess they could have just called for help at the turn-around (which ended up being like, 100 feet away), but it was still very nice for them to offer, even though I was totally fine.


It was frustrating, having to slowly catch back up and re-pass people.  But I did it, and now that I was on the return trip, I really could pedal it hard; I feel like there is more downhill on the way back, especially coasting back to the park, so I hammered it as hard as I could!  Plus, that's only 7 miles to go, so who cares how hard you go!  I also saw Katie heading out on my way back on, and we waved ecstatically and yelled across the street at each other and everyone around us thought we were nuts.  :) But that’s ok!  So fun seeing friends on course!!

I also kept having to wipe my nose but didn't want to with greasy hands.  I tried to be careful but I think I still got it on my face.  So, I had black legs and a dirty face.  I'm sure I was a sight to behold...


I did get kind of stuck behind a couple people in the narrow lanes back to the park, but got around them reasonably quickly.  I was disappointed to miss my 40:00 goal but I knew that with the chain issue, I could probably subtract two minutes (ok that might be generous) and be close, so..whatever.  I also reminded myself this is not really a big deal ;)


I got back to transition, dismounted, and Mac, Mel and Allen were all there cheering!  So much fun.  I think I yelled to Mac something about my chain so she would know why I took so long (haha, yes that was my biggest concern) and then Allen saw me and was all worried asking what happened, thinking I had crashed.  “My chain came off, I’m fine!!” I yelled, and ran in to rack my bike.


Luckily, my T2 was pretty blazing quick.  Throw bike on rack, throw off helmet, sit down, rip off shoes, put on socks then put on shoes, grab race belt, get up, run out and get belt clipped on somewhere along the way.  I saw my coach and his team right at the run out, and they all cheered and yelled for me, I think he said something about “what happened!?” and laughed at my legs all black from the grease, and again I had to yell something back about my chain so that people would quit thinking I was that slow on the bike ;)


I got confused running out, they had a couple other courses set up and I kinda started going the wrong way, but was quickly led back on track by the volunteers.  As per usual, I was flying.  I looked down and my garmin said 5:15.  I know it was still getting itself calibrated, I think it ended up saying my fastest was like 5:25, but still, I realized I was running WAYYYY too hard.  I tried to slow it down and get it under control, and rounded the last corner past spectators (more cheers from the crew, and Mac telling me to go kill it), and was onto the trails.


Let me be clear: when they describe the run course as “cross-country-like trails,” I was thinking more of watershed trails.  Or hiking trails.  Or something resembling a "trail," preferably with dirt.  This was just spaces in the grass and trees that had slightly shorter grass so you could kind of tell where to go.  It was HARD to run in!!!!  Soon I didn’t have to worry about slowing myself down, because this was hard and it sucked and why am I running soooooo slow!!  Pick it up, Kelley!!   I was supposed to be running a 7:00 pace, but I was 7:30 and creeping up.  I know part of it was not being fully rested, training, etc etc…but a BIG part of it was the course, I am positive about that.  It was super uneven and I didn’t want to trip and twist my ankle and get hurt (how stupid would that be), so I ran as hard and fast as I could but knew it would be slower than I wanted.  It also just felt hard.  I think I hit mile 1, and realized I still had 2.1 miles to go and I was not happy.  Usually I love the run, it’s my favorite when I’m racing, but I just wanted this to be done.


It was also a really weird course, with one tiny little loop, then one long out and back, then halfway on the “back” it had one more little out and back.  So you had no idea where you were, or where anyone else was, and you could miss people, too (I never saw Katie, she must have been on one of the loops or out and backs while I was in another one).  After the first little loop you ran back near the transition area, so Mac was standing there at the side and yelled at me “COME ON, PUSH IT ROSANNE, she’s right in front of you, you can go harder than that!!”  hahahaha of course.  She knows  she's one of the few people that can give me crap and tell me to go harder, even though I’m already running has hard as I can; I kinda of laughed at that.  Can’t wait to yell at her in her race this weekend and tell HER to go faster!  ;)


Oh, and it was also really narrow!  Even running single file was pretty tight in some spots, since you had people running in both directions, so it was hard to pass if there was oncoming traffic (also hard because you didn’t know if you were going to accelerate into a ditch).


Ok, enough complaining.  But I didn’t like the run course :P


Anyway, finally I knew I was really, really close, and the volunteers directed me out of the trails area and back to the main area.  One last stretch before rounding the corner to the finish line, saw Mac again taking pictures and yelling at me to hurry up, and went as strong as I could to the line.  This time I also tried to make sure I wasn’t staring at my watch the whole time, which I have a habit of doing!  Happily finished, stopped and got my chip taken off, got a medal and some water etc, and wandered around to find my crew!


Overall, it was a great race, even though I was whining in my head about it a lot.  Also really short!!  It felt so weird to already be done!  My garmin said 1:17-something, although I wasn't sure if it had auto-paused on the bike when it stopped (I think it did, I heard it beep but didn't know if it paused the total elapsed time).  Anyway, we hovered and waited for Katie to finish, and Shawn came over to find me too.  I think his first words were “come on, I think you could have been a little faster….” Haha, thanks coach!  Anyway, he was happy for me, and then he instructed me to take it easy the rest of the day (and eat, which I gladly agreed to do) and just ride easy on my long bike the next day.  Perfect!   Then Katie finished so we cheered her, then found her at the finish line.  I think the first thing she said was that it sucked, and she was never doing another triathlon again, but my the car ride home she was already talking about "well maybe one with a better run course..." etc etc.  ;)


All in all, a good day.  I realized later that I still won my age group (although was a little unsure because the results they had printed were kind of confusing), but we had a very busy day ahead of us (Duthie and Katie’s graduation!) so I wasn’t about to wait around another 2 hours for awards.  Once the results were officially posted online, it was confirmed, but oh well!  I guess I’ll have to experience my not-1st-in-AG some other time.  That sounds super cocky, but it’s not meant to me.  I raced it hard and gave it what I had, but I was obviously not 100% in it and not super invested, and I really wasn't expecting it especially after having to stop on the bike; mostly, I was really happy to have a successful, fun race, and remind myself what an actual triathlon is like!!  Now it’s time to carry that momentum to CDA.


Because, you know….18 days.  Gulp.

Official times:

Swim 00:07:49
T1 00:01:31
Bike 00:44:19
T2 00:00:57
Run 00:23:29
Total 01:18:04

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bikes and Nutrition

25 days to go.  Less than 4 weeks.  I can officially say the what-am-I-doing-ahhhhhh phase is underway.


It’s not that I’m particularly scared, or anxious, or happy or sad or excited or anything.  It’s more an overwhelming “this is happening” feeling and a lot of short tempers and anxiety and obsessing and nervous excitement.  After some drama earlier in the week, I might be more or less worried, I'm not sure…but regardless, it’s certainly the #1 thing on my brain (even if it’s just running in the background).  I don’t know how to explain it.  It’s just there.


After a pretty standard week, I did a 5.5 hour ride with my coach.  This was great, because 1) I think I’m actually stressing out the most about the bike, so it feels like I need to be riding more, so it was "good" even though it wasn't, and 2) my coach got to actually see me ride.  It was an easy ride, a few hills, a few efforts, but nothing intense, just rolling saddle time.  I was kinda beat by the end (actually, by about 2 hours in) which I’m glad my coach saw, since that’s my biggest concern.  I keep totally losing my energy on the bike, and while part of it is probably nutrition-related (while riding), it kind of feels like “more.”  He seems to agree, saying he isn’t worried about me at all but could tell I was feeling kind of flat.  He thought it was probably just lactic build-up, for one, and told me to do a few more spinning-out drills throughout the week to keep my legs feeling more fresh.  More importantly, he mentioned nutrition…but of the “normal food” variety.  As in, I just really don’t eat enough carbs in general.


To be clear, I eat tons of carbs.  I certainly do not try to restrict them!  But especially before big training days, I focus on foods with protein, and foods that will go easy on my stomach.  Actually in general that’s mostly what I focus on, and truthfully I end up with lots of veggies and chicken.  Which is great!  And I do eat a good amount of carbs.  But, I think he has a point—and for everything I’m doing, I really don’t think I’m replenishing the stores enough.  So, I am definitely going to try to up the carbs a bit—not a ton, not gorging myself on pasta every day :) But, I will be more mindful of making sure I’m keeping those levels up, too.  Just topping off the reserves.  Hopefully that, plus forcing myself to eat even more (Mac suggested supplementing with almond butter, which I think will be a good thing to try, since I seem to just feel HUNGRY after a while and need something more “substantial” to digest besides the EFS which I’m trying now—more on that later) will help.


The next day, I was..tired.  Sore.  Etc.  I know I need it, though.  Shawn said I could either do my brick or run, so I chose to do my brick—longer, but I just did not feel like doing a tough run (plus Allen was gone at training so I had more time to do stuff).


Barely 90 minutes in, and I was feeling pretty done, even though I was really just spinning super easy.  I know that’s not a lack of fitness, I know my legs are stronger than that, which just makes me believe it may have more to do with outside-of-training nutrition, than anything else.  I found myself making excuses and thinking of how to take it even easier, and no hills, etc etc…and then told myself that if I was thinking that, then it absolutely meant I NEEDED to do a hill!  Toughen up, Rosanne!  So I did the long roundabout hill.  Stupid thing is long, not super steep, I think it’s around 8% average?  Just feels like forever.  So I spun my way up it, looped around Beaver Lake, and headed back.


So the EFS liquid shots I’m trying—only one trial so far, and even though I was zapped so soon, I think I like it.  I did get that hungry feeling (I also need to just eat more before starting, lets be honest), but I think adding in some almond butter too will help.  Overall, though: 1) still very sweet, but a different kind of sweet than gu.  Gu is kind of hard for me on the bike, that gooey sickly-sweet is just hard for me to swallow (literally).  The taste is totally fine for me on the run, and I’m not changing that routine at all, but on the bike, I preferred this taste, even though it was still very sweet.  2) thinner than gu.  Basically the same logic as point #1.  Having it in the little flask and just swallowing a couple mouthfuls was much easier than choking down the gu and trying to squeeze it out of the packets.  Plus, then i didn't have sticky hands which drives me NUTS on the bike.  The consistency also sat well in my stomach.  3) Most importantly, even though my overall energy fizzled, it still felt pretty…steady?  That is, there were no big ups and downs.  My blood sugar felt pretty well maintained, although it was definitely a downward trend ;)  But I had no big highs and lows, so I think it did regulate it better.


Anyway.  Bike remains my biggest concern, only because I’m worried about getting tired and not being able to run well (which I know I can).  The run is definitely my strength but I need to be able to get there to take advantage of it!  My speed is also a concern on the bike but honestly I just need to focus on feeling good the whole time and not tanking.  I’ve already kind of mentally braced myself for a slower bike time than I had originally hoped for…so weird that “my thing” (the bike) is actually not my thing when I’m racing haha.  Honestly as long as I can have a good, solid run, I’ll consider the bike a success.  :)


And on that note—finished my brick.  Only a 3 hour ride but I was honestly miserable by the end.  Food, legs, neck, stomach, everything...just wasn’t right.  I did not want to start running.  I was sure I would still be miserable.  But I got my shoes on, hit the road and—oh wait.  This isn’t that bad.  I was slower than usual, I didn’t have to slow myself down to  be at a more manageable pace, but I was right around where I’m hoping to run the last 26.2 so….  And I just overall felt better.  My stomach didn’t hurt any more, my neck was ok, I didn’t even feel hungry anymore (although if I were running more than 30 I would have for sure started stuffing gu down my throat, because I’m sure that was all an illusion).  It was hot out, and it kinda “sucked” but it was also “fine.”  I was more than happy to stop when my 30 minutes were up ;) but I also know I could have easily kept on going.  I can run when I have to.  I know that.  I confirmed that.  I’m a whole heck of a lot better at sucking it up and getting through a run, than I am a bike ride!


So that was good.


Until the next day, when I had to do my long run.


2:20 run.  3 mile warm up, 3 mile at “faster than ½ marathon pace”, 1 mile “a minute slower” then repeat that 3 times.  To Rosanne, that meant 3 mile intervals at ~7:15, with ~8:30 recovery.


I started running.  It was a struggle to run 9 minute miles.  It’s ok, I’m just warming up, you’re tired and just need to shake out your legs a bit.


Despite the fact that I only made it up to 8:30/mi during my 3-mile warmup, it was time to start the first interval.


I want to say I hit 7:15, even for a minute.  I really do.  And goodness knows I tried.  But I could not for the life of me hit it, even for a short time.  I managed to get to 7:30, and had ample time to freak out about not being able to run any faster, and then decided fine, I’ll just keep it here.  Except then I slowed down.  And down.  All told, I think the first 3-mile interval ended up hovering around 7:52/mi.


To be clear, I’m not scoffing at that.  But if I can run a half marathon at 7:20 or whatever, then why is it such a struggle to maintain 7:52 for three miles!  Oh geez, little did I know then…


Anyway, I happily slowed down for the next mile.  And grudgingly started the next 3-mile interval.  I think I kind of gave up on that 7:15 and thought fine, I guess my intervals will be at 7:50 and I’ll just have to deal with it.  I mean, at least sub-8:00/mi, right?   They’re just slow intervals.


That second interval crept up to around 8:00/mi.  Thank goodness there was only one more of these stupid intervals to go!  But wait—my 1-mile recovery is really slow.  Like 9+/mi.  that’s really slow, Rosanne.  Like, really slow.  You never run that slow—ever.  What is happening?


Last 3-mile interval.  Time to grit it out and just get it done.  Geez, I tried.  I wanted sooo badly to at least nail the overall theme of the workout, even though I was obviously way off the paces.  But honestly, it was so hard to just barely, barely hang on to an 8:30 pace.  I mean a real struggle.  I mean, I kind of stopped looking at my watch and mostly was just doing everything I could to Keep. Moving. Forward.  Because at that point, all I wanted to do was stop.  I mean, I wanted to stop throughout the entire run, but never so badly as during that last interval.  But I don’t stop, especially not in the middle of an interval!  So I


Final interval came to end and, and THEN I stopped.  I realized I was at 1:55 which meant I still had to run for another 25 minutes.  I made the executive decision right then and there that would I stop running when I hit 2:20, even though I knew I wouldn’t be back to the start yet (since I was running SO much slower on the way back).  And then...I almost started crying.  Legit holding back tears.  I have never wanted to quit so badly on a run; I honestly don’t know if last year’s marathon was that painful, mentally.  At least that was a race, and my first marathon, and I was just going to finish that thing if it killed me.  But this was different.  This was when I realized that here I was, a week after the best, most effortless long run of my life, and now I couldn't hold any pace at all and I didn’t want to move one more step…and 25 minutes sounded like an eternity.  I really haven’t had to fight so hard just to keep running in a long, long time (if ever).


But I sucked it up, told myself the sooner I got going the sooner it would be over, and slowly, slowly, SLOWLY shuffled home.  Like 9:30.  Like usually I laugh and say I can’t even walk that slow.  And when my watch hit 2:20, you better believe I stopped.   And walked all the way back, even slower.  I don’t know how far it was, probably half a mile to a mile.  It was depressing.  But there was no way I was running any more.


So that’s the story of how Rosanne finally got broken on a run.  Somewhere out there, I did realize that I was running on 9.5+ hours of training in the last 48 hours, so maybe that had something to do with it ;)  I also knew that it was way more important for me to mentally get through that, than it was physically.  I wanted to be strong, I wanted to push and keep going…it was rough.  I better not stop like that on June 28, that’s all I can say…But I will also be more rested (well, going into the day) so here's holding on to hope.


Anyway, all things considered it was still a good weekend.  I ended the week at 17+ hours which is terrifying but good I guess????  I have another long ride this weekend to test out more nutrition stuff.  My coach (and everyone else) keeps reminding me that it was all a good thing, and will only make me stronger.  Shawn honestly doesn't seem concerned in the least, which is really comforting, but at the same time, I'm scared I'll let everyone down.  I mean, I know they’re all right, and the last couple peak weeks are meant to do this, and I trust my coach, but still…  :P  The feeling will pass.


In other news, this morning was a 5700yd swim.  Are we done with those yet?!  It felt awful and miserable and SLOW and demoralizing but hey, I guess these last couple of build weeks is all about mental toughness more than anything ;)


Despite how depressing this sounds, and how whiny I am, I still love it.  I am terrified, but also so, so pumped to see what happens later this month!!  :)