Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Lately a lot of things that all had their perfect little planned and scheduled places in the puzzle of my triathlon-obsessed life have been bounced up off the table and are hanging in the air (more on that later). So as I wait for the pieces to land I took advantage of the opportunity to break from the norm and caught The Swell Season at the Overture Center.

If you get a chance to see these guys you should absolutely take it. Unless you have a heart of cold and incorrigible granite, it will move you. And you may contemplate your life in refreshing ways that do not involve open water swimming.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Which leg is going to fall off first?

Injury update:

Left knee, used to cause tear-inducing pain when biking anything remotely resembling a hill -- got bike re-fitted by someone who actually knows something after attempting to make some adjustments myself and the pain is noticeably diminished. Hasn't disappeared, but significantly better. So nice.

Right hip, used to be annoying on runs and bother me for a few days to a week after -- pain has now progressed down leg and is causing pain in upper hamstring down the back of my leg and major pain in quad around the front of my leg. Odd, and becoming quite annoying. I thought it would go away. Got somewhat better late in the week after the half marathon (though I was under the influence of mass quantities of Ibuprofen and that may have impaired my judgement) then got bad again after the sprint tri. I haven't run in 6 days and its still pretty painful. Tried massage -- unaffected.

So ya, I'd put bets on the right leg falling off first. Unless there are man-eating fish in the Verona quarry or Lake Stevens....in which case, I guess any of my limbs are fair game.

And yes, I'm sure thinking about the man-eating fish potential is really going to help my mental game with regard to swimming. Yup, sure of it.

Other incidental injuries....

Bee sting is still red and kind-of itchy. Looks like big ugly zit on the side of my neck. Not very attractive.

And I'm sporting some awesome leg bruises after last weekends race. I have no idea where they come from but if I were going to throw out some accusations I think the most likely culprit is my bike pedals. They're sneaky little snipers.

So ya, I'm feeling like hot stuff these days. Limping around in pain with my bruised up legs and my inflamed neck. H-O-T. I don't know why more people don't get into this triathlon thing?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lake Mills: First Tri of the Season

Sunday morning I was up at 4:15am. Race day.

I hate race day. It reminds me how much I hate racing (something I wish I would remember that when I'm getting suckered into registering for this stuff!). I believe those were my first coherent words mumbled before sunrise this morning too. "I forgot how much I hate racing." I don't get excited about finding out just how slow I am compared to my peers.

My body also hates race day....mostly because it means getting up obscenely early and getting up that early makes me physically ill. I'm sure its the nerve/early combo. But it sucks either way. Its like a bad hangover without the fun drinking part.

And I know I am supposed to eat a nice healthy breakfast, but trying to get my body to digest food in the middle of its full on protest about these unreasonable working conditions just isn't happening. I did manage a couple bites of PB&J, and a banana. I considered that a success.

Met up with Erin (yet another freakishly fast friend) at the start. Secured my spot in transition and laid out all my little goodies; helmet, sunglasses, socks, bike shoes, number belt, shirt, running shoes, running hat, extra towel, extra water bottle, and one water bottle for the bike.
Whew...didn't forget anything.

Grab my wetsuit, swim cap, and goggles and head for the porta-let line. Shockingly fast. Always a plus. Almost no time to contemplate why I ever thought racing was a good idea.

Then we head for the water. Ahhh the water....the 62 freakin' degree water. I know I have to get in before the race because swimming in open water flips some freak-out panic switch in my brain already and this will only be amplified by the shock of that cold water. So in a very weak attempt to desensitize my body I slipped into my wetsuit (not nearly as elegantly as I just made it sound) and headed for the swim area.

If "desensitize" means "numb"...well, then the pre-race swim was a success. Too bad it didn't really help my swimming. I don't know why I've got such a mental block about swimming in open water but I have got to get over it already. Its got nothing to do with physical training though so I'm not really sure how to attack the issue....but I think this might warrant a whole blog post on its own....

Moving on then, so I didn't die on the swim but it did take me nearly 13 very long minutes to breaststroke my way around the buoys for 1/4 mile. Yes, you read that right. 13 minutes. I named it "The Slowest Triathlete" for a reason. You didn't just think I was being funny did you?

So I exit the water steamin' mad. Mad that I let my head mess with my race yet again. Mad that now I'm so much more tired than I need to be after a quarter mile swim (uncontrolled breathing and the breast stroke really take it out of you). And I'm even more mad that once again I am nearly LAST in my wave to exit the water.

Well maybe all this anger really worked in my advantage because I was a woman on a mission when I hit the bike course (right after my painfully long transition where I had to try to put on the long sleeve dri-fit I thought seemed like a good idea....ya, notsomuch when you're all wet).

Anger is not really an emotion I latch onto very often. I'm a pretty easy going girl. So this new found anger was a bit of a shock. Even more shocking was the fact that it morphed into a competitiveness I have never felt before. I was really on a mission to pass people. And the inner monologue in my head was not very nice about it. Again, totally out of character for me.

Well whatever hallucinogenic organisms I ingested during the swim that caused this new competitive nature sure paid off. I had a great bike leg. Averaging over 17mph (fast for me) over the 15 miles of fun little rollers.

I set myself up with a few goals and managed to accomplish them, for the most part:

1. Catch the two chatty-pants ladies in transition who were lolly-gagging around like they were just finishing up senior lap swim mid-day at the local pool and were off to do their gardening. These ladies were NOT finishing ahead of me. (managed to do that and then some....passing all but two women in my wave and registering the third fastest bike time. not bad.)

2. Not let Erin pass me until the run. She's a speedster and started a few waves behind me in the swim. I knew she'd pass me eventually, but I wanted to hold her off as long as possible. (she did pass me but only with less than a mile left in the bike. again, not bad)

3. Stay in aero as much as possible. I seem to train on very hilly courses so I don't get to use the aero bars that much. I wanted to get as much time holding that position as possible. (managed to stay in aero for nearly the entire ride, minus corners and one of the hills)

So I was feeling pretty proud of my effort on the bike as I headed in to transition to the run. But the run was a different story. As I turned onto the flat, gravel, out and back trail (runs really don't come much easier than this) I felt like I was running in jello. For the effort I was expending my legs sure weren't moving that fast.

My goal for the run became, just get through it. If someone from your wave passes you then hang with them.

Hmmm....good theory. But when the next woman in my wave finally caught and passed me I had nothing left. No hammers to be found for dropping. I just watched her go. Under a mile left in a measly three mile run and I couldn't find it in my legs to stick with her.

So that was a bit of a downer. But overall I felt pretty good about the race. I gave it a good effort (aside from the swim....grrrr, swimming) and it was good to get a little race day practice in before the big show at Lake Stevens.

I've got one more tri schedule before the 70.3 so hopefully I can get my head on straight about swimming somewhere in there.....we'll see.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

tri girl vs nature

So after the half marathon last weekend, pretty much all I think about is eating and sleeping. Either of which I will happily do at any given moment. With sleep being the hardest to actually indulge in to the extent it seems I would like to.

The weather must have sensed I was feeling a little sluggish lately so it perked up and provided me with two beautiful sunny 70-degree days. I met up with Chrissy (another of my freakishly fast friends) for a nice little ride Saturday. She was fresh off a 3:30 marathon so I figured she'd be easier to keep up with.

We covered 40 beautiful country miles in some crazy wind (like 25mph, and I'm not exaggerating -- big thanks to you mother nature...ever hear of 'recovery time'?). I probably should have gone out and added on 10 more miles, but I kind-of figured the wind added enough of an extra challenge for the day. And my legs were screaming for mercy up the last big hill (did I mention this was not exactly a flat ride either) so I called 40 a done day. Besides, I had a bee sting to attend to. ;) I hate it when those little buggers crash into you. I am not a windshield. It hurts. There's nature, showin' me who's boss again.

So I let mother nature take this round seeing as how I was still feelin' the half mary in the legs and I figured I might need to leave something in the tank for the first tri of the season Sunday morning.

That would be mother nature 2, tri girl -10 (for those 10 miles of road not covered). Just in case you're keeping score.....