Monday, May 19, 2014

XTERRA Rosaryville Trail 5K

So, I'm sitting at my desk, basically just finished writing the race report for the Kinetic relay and thinking about my busy couple months ahead, already filled with activities, when I get this email in my inbox:

- May is already packed with events.. in fact, I literally *just* finished writing the Kinetic race report, and have a lake swim and a triathlon in the next 2 weeks, not to mention the Rev3 race in June...
 ... I have not been cleared to run yet thanks to my back injury (and quite frankly, my foot still hurts a lot also)
 ... My alarm clock has gone off before 7am each morning of the past weekend, is set the same for Sunday both mornings of the following weekend as well.. this Saturday is the ONE day I could sleep in and have a lazy morning

So naturally, I hit reply and say "Count me in!" -- seriously, I think I have a problem :-)

Thursday I complete my first double workout in awhile {.. pause to celebrate THAT accomplishment!!! ..}, morning swim which was a little OFF, but otherwise no biggie, and then about a half hour on the bike trainer in the evening.  My back felt a little sore on the trainer, so I iced it immediately after as a precaution... didn't work.  I could feel it slowly getting worse and worse as the night went on. 

By Friday morning, I was in serious pain.  It didn't completely lock up on me [yet] as it does after lying on the ground, but it was close.. could not stand or sit stand up straight.  I left work early and decided to go get a massage thinking maybe that would help... nope!  worse.  Jon had to literally come help me get out of the jeep, fed me Vicodin and wine, and put ice on my back.  I was beginning to wonder how I was going to do a 5K the next morning...

I realize that most sane people would have passed on doing a race at this point, but I am stubborn.  When I woke up, my back still hurt, but I was at the point of thinking that maybe a little movement would be good to loosen it up.  I planned on walking the whole thing anyway.  So, I got up, got dressed, made some iced tea and was on my way to Jessie's house.  Let's do this thing!!
Jessie, me and Lizzie... ready to roll!
This race was super small... like seriously we could count the people there on 2 hands!  I knew I was going to walk the entire thing, but of course I tried to run a little (I told you I was stubborn!).  I didn't get 10 feet, the pain was too much.. so fine, walk. 

About half mile in, a girl passed me (wait.. I wasn't last??) and commented that I was walking faster than she was running.  I caught up to her in another half mile and she had decided that walking was just as good and we got to talking.  She was going a bit slower than me, and at first, I found myself getting angry, thinking back to the Mount Desert Island marathon, I can't believe I am letting myself get held back again...

Then reality set in.. I am injured, like *really* injured.  This is just a 5K, not a marathon.  What is wrong with me?!  So Darlene and I walked and talked together for the last 2+ miles of the race, and I must admit it was nice having someone around... she was super nice, doing her first event ever, and I educated her on Deb's and my favorite motto, which she loved (and made her feel better for being so slow):
[dead f'ing last] beats [did not finish] beats [did not start]
We finally came to an opening to see Jessie and Lizzie waiting and cheering, and they hung out with us for the final stretch.  We turned the corner and [against better judgement] ran across the finish line!
Removing the timing chips.. about the moment that Lizze glanced down at her shoes, "Dude!!  You cut my LACES!!!"
All in all, a great morning, amazing weather, beautiful trails and scenery, great company....  Lizzie's first ever trail run and Jessie ended up with 1st place in her age group!!!  Looking forward to more trail runs this summer with these ladies (and hopefully I will be able to run one of these days!).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kinetic Sprint Relay [Swim]

My first Team Z event!!

I'll tell you, I did NOT want to get out of bed when my alarm went off at 6:00, despite the fact that a) I had gone to bed at a WAY reasonable hour for a Saturday night, and b) this was actually a later-than-normal race start which ordinarily would've required a 5:00 or earlier alarm to drive to the race site morning of.  I felt better though once I got some iced tea in me and started the drive down to Lake Anna.  As I started passing other vehicles with their bikes on racks, I started wishing I had my bike with me so that they knew I was headed the same place - hard to explain, but I love that feeling of camaraderie when traveling to events. I even used to make sure I was wearing Virginia Tech attire when going with Jon to away football games, just for the random rest area stops, so I could feel part of that family.  But I digress...

Now, it might seem a little silly to go through all this effort (early wake up time, long drive) for only a 750m swim, which I was doing as part of a relay, but I really wanted to see what it was like to be part of the team (without having to do the whole thing, especially considering I'd been on a bike all of 3 times in the past few months, and no running).  I knew I'd made the right decision as I parked the jeep and started walking towards the lake.  As soon as any Team Z member spotted my bright green top, they were super friendly, going out of their way to say hello.  Don't get me wrong, in my experience most triathletes are super nice, but this was just above and beyond.  And for someone who thrives on that feeling part of something, it was awesome.  Of course, I get up to the check in area and realize I didn't bring my wallet down with me, so it was a trek back to the jeep - d'oh!

I got my packet and walked over to the Team Z tents and suddenly hear someone call my name... Jennifer Medina was there!!  Oh how totally and pleasantly random!!  I grew up with the Medina's... I know Jennifer from diving, and worked really hard with her one year to try to organize a trip out to US Diving Olympic trials one year... 1992??  We were unsuccessful in making the trip, but ended up creating a life friendship.  Her sister, Allison, and I became super close over the years.  As what happens with many relationships, we lost touch over the years.  Gosh, it must be over 10 or 15 years since I've seen Jennifer last.  How awesome to see her as my first friendly team face!
Go Jen Go!! :-)
I sat down and started catching up with Jennifer, and my relay teammate, Thierry, came over to introduce himself and discuss race logistics -- this was to be his first race ever!  [side bar: doing relays is a great way to meet new people on the team, apparently!]  As we are talking, one of my swim lanemates (is that a word?), Hillary, came over to say hello, and then a little later I ran into my [assigned] mentor, Maureen.  I no longer felt like a completely new person walking into a huge situation!  Thierry and I ended up walking over to the transition area together to do our final preparations and get ready to start.

It's been so long since I've been in a triathlon, I really forgot how nice triathletes are.  I stopped on the grass to put on my wetsuit (and it fit, thank goodness!  Except.. there's a small tear in the right leg, and truth be told it's a little tight.. nothing about 5-10 lbs won't fix), and some random guy came over and offered to help zip me up... then I head down to test out the water and immediately get into a conversation with another woman who is racing... back up on the beach, I strike up a conversation with yet another woman, also doing a relay.  I've missed this atmosphere.
The oh-so-flattering wetsuit photo...
Anyway, the swim starts and as soon as I get horizontal, I realize just how much my wetsuit is squeezing my boobs -- sooo uncomfortable!!  I wondered how I was going to be able to complete the swim like this?  Obviously I couldn't quit though... Thierry was waiting on me!  So off I went, and honestly, other than the tight wetsuit, the swim went pretty well.  The buoys came up pretty quickly one after the other.  There were a few a$$hole swimmers along the way... you really only need to kick someone or swim on top of someone once, and then you change your path.. the continued abuse in the water was super annoying!  Before I knew it though, I was on the home stretch.. stood up and for the first time ever ran out of the water.. and I kept running up the beach, down the sidewalk and up the hill to transition.. holy crap that was a long run!!  Luckily Thierry's bike was in the first row, and I quickly passed the timing chip off to him and he was off!
I used my Garmin for the first time in open water... a little shaky on the first leg, but then I straighten out a bit; definitely a straight-shot on that last line (which is where I thought I was way off.. weird).  The (1) is when I hit the lap button as I stood up on the beach to run to transition
I have tried to run part of the way from the swim to transition in the past, but never have run the entire way (except for maybe the only one other relay I've done, and there was a whole 5 feet to get there).  I really thought I was going to die.  I couldn't do anything but sit on the ground.. still in the wetsuit that was super uncomfortable.  I have never been that tired and out of breath after a 750 meter swim.  Correction:  I have never been that exhausted after ANY swim!  Logically, I realize it was the sprint from the water up to the transition area that had me feeling like death, but I was suddenly filled with thoughts of self-doubt - how in the world am I going to do a full triathlon if I can't even stand myself up to pull off my wetsuit?  And I think I'm doing a half-iron distance aqua-bike??  Surely I am in trouble.  And then, with a glance at my watch, how did it take me so long?? 
Finally, I was able to pull myself out of this funk (and really, the swim itself was pretty decent, less the time...I'm blaming the smashed boobs!!), get out of my wetsuit and sat on the lawn for a bit cheering on the other swimmers running up to transition.  Eventually, I put on some shorts and made my way over to the Team Z area.  I decided to go for a walk just to get in a little extra workout, but about half mile in, I realized I wanted to be back where all the action is (and hey, 1 miles > 0 miles) so I headed back up to the transition area just in time to see Thierry start his run.  From there, I went back to the tents and settled into a chair to start watching the finishers.  A few hours later, and after a famous Team Z bbq lunch, I was ready to head out.  The ride home took FOREVER (stupid 95 traffic on the weekends) but I finally got home, showered and rested up.. first day of a new job was on Monday - eeks!  All in all, a good day.

UPDATE: Official time for this swim is 17:12, which is not bad at all!!  That's a 2:18/100m pace.  I wonder why I thought I was so slow...maybe I forgot to stop my watch when I got out of the water? 

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Every few months I find myself saying "this it is, I'm going to buckle down and become ____" ---  fill in the blank with just about anything you can think of... faster, thinner, healthier, a runner, a cyclist.... 

Let's talk about what happened yesterday...
  • bacon, egg & cheese croissant sandwich.... as if I didn't know I was going out for a big lunch.
  • Sakura Japanese Steak House for my farewell luncheon.  My choice of location.  Yes please, I'll have the fried rice... and a sushi roll... maybe some steak... ooh, look at all that butter and oil you are using, I should eat every. last. bite.  (and I did)
  • I come home from work feeling guilty about lunch and put on my running clothes to go out for a walk but quickly change my mind and change into my pajamas... and proceeded to eat the 3 slices of left over pizza from the night before as an afternoon SNACK!!  I mean, it's thin crust, so it can't be that bad, right?!!  Wrong.
  • Meatball Parmigiana sandwich from Paisanos for dinner.  With fries.  Jon suggested ordering in dinner, and who am I to argue?!  At this point, the day was a wash, so why not just pile it on.... [I think Jon suggested this.. my next-day memory says that Jon suggested this, but quite frankly, it could've been me?]
  • Feeling gross, I go upstairs to prepare my swim stuff and get into bed... until Jon comes and suggests that we go out to Sweet Frog.  Need I say more????  [again, full disclosure: I originally suggested Sweet Frog to Jon, but my idea included WALKING there and back... Jon vetoed that quickly, and I was ready to give up on the treat until he brought it up again later]
  • My alarm goes off at 4:30 this morning and needless to say I am not feeling well.... skipping swimming.
I'm calling yesterday rock bottom.

So here I am again at the oh-so-familiar starting block.

Once again, I am here, vowing to myself never again.   Realistically, I know there will be bad days, maybe even days as bad as yesterday (though I hope not!).  I also know that if I ever want to become an ironman, I need to get this under control... more good days than bad days.  It might be time that I enlist the help of a nutritionist?

But wait.. let's not get too negative too quickly.  Yes, nutrition is a big fat fail, and I need to work on that, but since joining Team Z in March, look at my workout volume:
The sports minutes is anything from hiking or walking to yoga and physical therapy

Then compare that to my all-of-2013 numbers (tri-sports only):
In only 4 months, I'm already over half, and way more balanced!
I am heading in the right direction, no doubt.  I have been getting my butt up at 4:30 pretty consistently to make it to swim workouts (except for this morning of course)... I even got new fins for those dreaded kick sets:
So, the conclusion here:  yesterday was a nutrition disaster.  It's documented.  Today is a new day.  Onwards and upwards!!