Monday, June 20, 2016

Luray Swim Fest

I should start this off by saying that I had no business participating in a swim event!  At some point over the winter, Dawn sent out an email advertisement for this event and suggested that we do it.  It also turned into a Team Z event.  I was despite the fact I haven't swum consistently since Ironman, I went ahead and signed up for the 2250m swim, the longest single option they offered (you could also sign up for multiple events for a max total of 4500m, but that's just crazy!).  As the day drew nearer though, it became clear that 2250m was a bit optimistic for me.  I finally came to my senses and emailed the race director who was super helpful and switched me back to the 1500m.  Much more doable.  I hope.
Me, Dani, Dawn and Beth
It's been awhile since I've set my alarm for 4:20am...on a Saturday morning!  Yikes!  I pulled myself out of bed, grabbed my pre-packed bag and headed out.  There is NOTHING open at 4:50am, no McDonalds, no Starbucks.. luckily I found a 24-Hour CVS and was able to get some iced tea.  I arrived at Beth's house right at 5:15 and the 4 of us piled in her Jeep and made the drive down to Luray.  We pulled into Lake Arrowhead with plenty of time to get checked in, buy a towel (purple!) and hang out at the Team Z shelter for a bit before we had to get ready for the swim.  It turned out that 3 of my carpool crew had decided to drop down to the 1500m event, so it wasn't just me. Yay!
I'd packed my wetsuit but had zero intention of actually using it unless somehow a random mid-June freeze dipped the water temperatures below 70 degrees.  I had no interest in trying to stuff my body into my wetsuit.  None at all.  Luckily, the posted water temperature was 76 and I knew I would be just fine.  Coach Alexis snapped this pre-race photo of me just before it was time to get in and warm up.  The water felt amazing!  I got in a few strokes and was ready to go!
I didn't really have those pre-race jitters like I usually do before an event.  This was more like a curiosity of how 1500m was going to feel with very minimal training.  The last time I was in a pool was about 3 weeks ago, I swam for about 15 minutes, got frustrated, sat in the hot tub and promptly threw my cap, goggles and swimsuit into the garbage can.  This was gonna be interesting.  I got going though and found my groove pretty early on.  With the exception of having to stop a billion times to adjust my leaking goggles, I felt OK, but was questioning how long that was going to last, especially on the 2nd loop.  On the last leg of the first lap, I thought I caught a glimpse of Beth off the back of my right leg.  We were finishing up that first 750m and I noticed a kayaker right in my path.. what the hell, move out of my way!  Oh wait.. the kayaker was hanging out next to a roped off area.. I can't swim that way.. oops!  Will I ever learn to swim in a straight line???  Changing course, I walked up the ramp and headed out to start the 2nd half, and it was confirmed that Beth was right behind me as the announcer yelled her name right after mine.
This is actually the 2250m event swimming - they had to do 3 laps!
Very pleased with my decision to switch to the 1500m!
I still felt pretty decent as I started the 2nd loop and wondered if I could keep pace with Beth.  I didn't care how I finished in relation to her, but it was cool to have someone you know with you.  And who knows, maybe she's better at pacing than I am.  What she is definitely better at is hugging the buoys!  I glanced over and didn't see her.. where's Beth?  Oh wait, there she is... 20 feet to my right, where I should be!  Ugh!  I got myself back on course and we did manage to stay together most of the time.  She later told me that I dropped her on the last leg and we aren't sure if she slowed down or I sped up.  I was feeling it in my legs a little so maybe I was so ready to be done that I actually started kicking??  That would be a first :)  At any rate, we still finished within a minute of each other, and I was happy to be done, that I survived!
I hadn't worn ear plugs and didn't take any ginger pills, so I wasn't surprised I had that dizzy, death feeling when I finished.  I got my medal and some water and wandered over to the grass where Dani was hanging out before her event.  It's a very weird feeling where you think you are going to pass out, but it only lasts a few minutes and then I feel completely fine again.  Strange!  What I don't understand is how these goggles - the same brandI have trained and raced in for years (and this particular pair is practically brand new as I bought them for Ironman and they worked perfectly) were suddenly leaking so much, causing me to stop every few hundred meters?  No way my face changed shape that drastically, right?
Dawn, Beth and I watched the start of the 2250m event and then made our way back to the Team Z shelter.  Dawn headed out for a run, while Beth and I took a short stroll around the lake with our teammate, Wendy.  We watched the awards, got some food and set out for the drive home.  Fun day!  I'm definitely glad I decided to carpool with these ladies.. if I had been on my own, chances are I'd have skipped it.  Sore arms on Sunday were the only [expected] after-effects... no chaffing!  I'm looking forward to getting back in the swing of things with the team.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Celebrate Fairfax 5K

A couple months ago, my friend, Sarah, told me she'd like to try a 5K.  She's never run more than a mile in her life, but after coming to support me at Ironman last fall, felt inspired.  Awesome!  So, we looked at our schedules and decided to do the Celebrate Fairfax 5K.
We agreed to meet at 7:15 to pick up our packets and get ready for the 8am start.  I should've been a little more thourough in reading the race instructions because first I drove to the wrong site - I assumed the race started and ended at Fairfax Corner, but nope!  It was all at the Fairfax Government Center.  Oops!  Then, because of the festival that's going on all weekend, there was no parking allowed at the race site.  Instead, we had to park at least half mile away.  All of this was very clearly indicated in the pre-race communication email that was sent out, if only I would've read that!  But alas, we both got to the race site with plenty of time to spare to grab our race packets, use the bathroom and take a few pre-race pictures.
As the race started, Sarah told me she wanted to aim to keep around a 12-13 min per mile pace.  I told her I would stay with her, but not to feel like she had to stay with me if she wanted to go ahead.  We ran the first mile and a half (maybe a little less) together right around a 11:50 pace, and then we got to a long uphill that I decided to walk.  I sent her ahead and she later told me she was able to hold that pace for the entire race, stopping only to walk a small amount at the final hill.
Meanwhile, I fell into my normal "run when I can, walk when I want to" rhythm and felt pretty decent except for the super hot sun that was already burning down.  There were very few areas of shade on the course.  I haven't been training much, esp since my pain management doctor told me I need to ease off the running for a bit, so I forgave myself for letting my pace slip to 14 min miles towards the end.  
I did find some energy as I approached the finish line and was challenged by the girl next to me in that photo to really push it at the end.  I immediately grabbed some cold water and headed to the shade to rest for a minute.  Other than the heat, it was a great event and Sarah did awesome!  In fact, I think she's hooked and is already asking when we can do another
We sat for a min and then made the long walk back to our cars and drove over to Silver Diner for breakfast. Then it was home for a shower and nap!