Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow!!!

Today I said, and I quote, "I am going to eat my face if it doesn't stop snowing soon."

I have barely been able to train although I've been lucky enough to be able to get out of the house every day at least a little. For those who aren't from here, you should know that it almost never snows in Seattle so this city is woefully ill equipped for any kind of inclement weather.

Last night Lucy, Brandon, and I got out of the house and went to the awesome Triumph Multisport holiday party which ended in a bunch of us, drunk, trying to sled down a street on garbage bags. Long story short, we failed.

The other fun thing that's gotten me out of the house is Fry T. Dog who has gotten his first taste of snow.

He didn't like it at first and wanted to be picked up.




but after a few minutes he was a little snow bunny.






He even made a new friend!



So yea, the snow kind of sucks but we are making the best of it.

Also, I'm sick. Booooo.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Clearwater

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to finally write this race report. I guess I have been thinking a lot about this race and whether I was really pleased with my performance.

Being as my first IM was just last August, and was the focus of my season, by the time Clearwater rolled around I was took a pretty apathetic approach to the whole race. Don't get me wrong, I was psyched to be there but I also wasn't stressing myself out over my performance and training.

My Clearwater adventure began on Tuesday November 4 when me and my bike, Lucy (not to be confused with my sister Lucy) packed ourselves up and headed to a red eye flight to Orlando. As you can see, I also painted my toenails.


I had decided to fly into Orlando instead of Tampa because Alaska Air flies direct into Orlando and charges $50 each way to bring a bike as opposed to the $175 each way that Delta would have charged me. It was worth the extra drive to fly into Orlando to save $250 on bike shipping.

In the days leading up to the race I just tried to work out a little each day to acclimate to the weather. Training in 45 degree rainy and hilly seattle for the last several months hadn't really prepared me for 80 degree humid weather (and a dead flat course).

I swam a few times to get used to swimming in salt water. Even though the added buoyancy is fun, I still think it's gross.

Friday morning Brandon arrived and we checked into our hotel (I had been staying with my friend's lovely parents in Seminole since Wednesday) and went out for a nice pasta/beer dinner. By the time we went to bed, I still wasn't really feeling nervous, more just ready to give the race a go and be done with triathlon for the season.

Race Morning

Race morning was hectic. Of course I was running about 30 minutes late. Rather than having pen marking, they were using stamps to do our body marking which looked really pro.

I had already racked my bike the day before so all I had to do was get my nutrition set up and put air in my tires. I got all my nutrition on really quickly but was unable to get my front tire to take in any air. I run a 404 on the front with a valve extender rather than a long valve stem and even though I poked something through the extender I couldn't get the valve to open up. At this point I had about 10 minutes before they were closing transition so I took my wheel off and ran over to a bike tech who was so nice. she had me leave my wheel with her while I went back to my bike to finish setting up. She brought my wheel back to me like 3 minutes later and helped me top off my rear tire as well since putting air into a Renn 575 is a pain in the ass with only one person.

I quickly exited transition just as it was closing at around 6:30 and went to wait for my wave start. The pro men went off at 6:45 quickly followed by the pro women. My wave (18-29 & 40-44 women) wasn't going off until 7:50 so I had a bit of a wait. I hung with Brandon and Erica and gave my legs a quick shave since I'd forgotten to do that for like ... the last two weeks.

At around 7:20 I suited up and went for a quick warm-up swim before getting into the corral with my wave.

SWIM


This was seriously the roughest swim start I have ever had. I should have started closer to the front but everyone wanted to be up front so I had no choice. We did a beach start but the problem was that the water was about knee-deep for like the first 50 meters. Half of us were swimming and the other half were still trying to high step through the water.

By the time we were all swimming it was a serious boxing match. I tried to get myself into a good position slightly behind and kind of between two strong-looking swimmers. Unfortunately, some really rude lady wanted to be where I was and no amount of kicking or moving would get her off of me. She was clawing at me and trying to dunk my head under water. totally totally unnecessary but whatever. I decided I didn't want to fight her so I moved out of the way and ended up sprinting past the two women I had been trying to draft to find some more feet.

By about half way to the turnaround I was in a nice little pack and was having not too much body contact. I made the first turn and then the second and somehow managed to lose my pack. Whatever.

Coming back in was a little hard because we were kind of swimming into the sun. I looked for feet to sit on but was a few meters from anyone. Pretty soon thereafter I was also catching dudes in the wave ahead of mine so I had to be careful to make sure I wasn't sitting on slow feet.

A small note on my mental state. After my tough start to the swim I was feeling pretty upset and like I didn't even want to race. Maybe I have unrealistic expectations about this sport wherein I expect everyone to be as nice and civil as possible. I don't want to change my attitude but I also don't want to be naive about how over-competitive a lot of triathletes are.

After what felt like a pretty slow swim I came out of the water in what felt like about 35 minutes, luckily, I was a bit off.

Swim: 31:30 1:39/100m

T1





T1 starts with a 100m long run through sugar-like sand and a tunnel of showers. I stripped down the top of my wetsuit and opted to utilize the wetsuit strippers. When I sat down to have my suit stripped I sat down a little too hard and knew I would have a glorious ass bruise by the next day.

I ran through the transition bag racks and grabbed my bag without a problem. All I had in there was my race belt, two gels, and a small pill bottle with sport legs and Imodium (I was not going to have another run like IMC).

I got through the change tent quickly, grabbed my bike, and ran out.

T1: 3:19

BIKE


So ... the infamous Clearwater bike. I have to say, I was nervous about this bike. I'm so much stronger on hills and this bike is pretty much dead flat.

Things started not so smooth as I nearly did a header off the bike trying to get my feet into my shoes. This was lame since I'd spent 20 minutes the Thursday before practicing getting in and out of my shoes when they're attached to the pedals. After a couple of tries I managed to get both feet in and secured and was on my way.

Immediately I was passing girls from my AG on the bike. I was thinking "oh, maybe I'll be okay at this flat stuff."

I stuck to my nutrition plan and was alternating drinking from a water bottle and my nutrition bottle. I also was doing a caffeinated gel every 40-45 minutes. I was steadily picking off girls on the bike until about mile 20. That's when the first pack passed me carrying a girl that I had passed like she was standing still 15 miles earlier. Little by little, more and more draft packs continued to pass me, each carrying a girl or two that I recognized from earlier in the bike.

I have to admit, I definitely toyed with the idea of hopping into one of the packs to pick up a couple of extra minutes on the bike and save my legs a little for the run. The fact of the matter though, is that even on my best possible day, I'm not going to run any faster than about 1:45 off of the bike. Even if I threw down a stupidly fast bike, there is no way that I could hold on to any girl who is going be running 1:30 or under. Also, I came to Clearwater just to experience racing against a really fast group of people and to see if I could finally get under 5:00. I knew I could get my PR here, I wanted to do it on my own legs.

So I let the packs pass. I'm sure I got some advantage as they passed me but I made a conscious effort not to draft and to just keep my own pace and race my own race. As the race went on, even though I wanted to just race my race, I grew more and more disheartened to the point that I thought about dropping out at T2. I went into the race knowing it would be a draft fest but I wasn't prepared for how bad it would make me feel to see such blatantly poor sportsmanship.

As I hit the last aid station at around mile 40-something I popped my sport legs and my Imodium even though I wasn't sure that I was going to finish.

Bike: 2:24:39 23.23 mph

T2


I came into transition and handed my bike off to a bike catcher. I had gone balls out on the bike ... a little too balls out, and my legs were definitely paying for it. Also, my back hurt from spending almost the entire 56 miles in the aero position (unlike some people who were able to sit up for their whole ride). I shuffled through the change tent and headed out on my run.

I honestly still felt like I wanted to drop out just because I wasn't having as much fun as I usually do but I made a pact with myself to do at least one loop of the run and then reevaluate.

T2: 3:02 (definitely taking my time here)

RUN



As I was heading out on my run I took a glance at the clock, 4:07:xx. Since I had started 1:05:00 behind the first wave that meant I was about 3:02 into my race meaning I just needed to run 1:57:xx to break 5 hours. A friend of mine had told me that I would probably run 5 to 8 minutes slower than Lake Stevens just because I would probably go too hard on the bike (he knows me so well). I had run 1:48:xx at Lake Stevens so I was thinking I would probably run 1:55:xx here, barely making it in under 5 hours. Yes, slow runner, I know.

I saw Brandon on the run out and he let me know I was doing well. At that point, I decided that I was going to finish. My whole family (including Brandon) has been so supportive of me in my racing and I wasn't going to drop out just because I was feeling a little sad. My dad had let me use his frequent flier miles to get my ticket and Brandon had paid out of pocket to come out and support me, dropping out for anything short of an emergency felt like it would have been the most selfish thing in the world.

The first loop was uneventful. I grabbed iced sponges at every aid station and stuck one down the front of my shirt and one on the back of my neck. I drank water at every station and Gatorade at every other station. I also ate a couple of gels, maybe 2 or 3. After the first loop I grabbed a quick glance at the clock and saw that I had finished that loop in about 54:00, nice. Brandon yelled I had an hour to make it under 5:00:00. Actually, I had like an hour and four minutes. In my head I was thinking "dang, I could run 10 minute miles and still make it." I was actually tempted to slow down and just cruise to the finish but instead I just kept up my pace.


The second loop I was starting to get a little tired. I did, however, have one funny encounter. Around mile 10 at an aid station I shouted to a volunteer that I wanted 2 iced sponges (the volunteers said they appreciate me telling them how many I wanted ahead of time) and right as I was going to grab them some a-hole from the wave behind mine (45-49 men) ran between me and the volunteer, shoving me out of the way and tried to grab the sponges. I was like "what the #&*# dude?!?" and he flipped me off and shouted something back at me in German. Then another dude made some derogatory remark about Europeans being rude. So much hate on the course! I kind of wanted to find the guy afterward and just be like "dude, mile 10, ain't either of us winning this thing, chill out." I laughed the whole thing off and continued on my way.

Finally, 1 mile from the finish I started to have fun. the crowds were so nice and I knew I was going to meet my sub-5 hour goal. As I approached the finish like I saw 5:56:xx up on the clock meaning I was going to finish well under my goal. Awesome.




Run: 1:49:17 8:20/mile

Total: 4:51:47
26/52 25-29 women
92/~360 amateur women

AFTERTHOUGHTS


I am definitely pleased with my performance. I had my fastest swim by nearly 3 minutes, a stupidly fast bike (but so did everyone), and a run that wasn't as slow as I expected it to be. I achieved both of my goals by finishing in the top half of my AG and breaking 5 hours.

I'm still bummed about how much cheating there is at this race. Clearwater drafting discussion is such a dead horse but it doesn't make it any less of a bummer for people who really want to race clean. My AG ended up being the fastest women's AG at the race. I would have placed higher in both the 30-34 and the 35-39 AGs even though they were much larger and are usually a bit faster. I think this is due, in large part, to the fact that my AG started directly in front of the 45-49 men and the 18-29 men. Last year, my AG didn't start in front of those groups of men and surprise surprise, the bike splits and overall finish times were significantly slower! freaky! In fact, the girl who won my AG last year, wouldn't have even been in the top 10 this year with the same time.

I know that as Clearwater gains popularity, it's going to get faster and more competitive but this was just ridiculous.

Also, I want to be clear that I'm not complaining because I feel cheated out of a place or something. I knew, given my slow run, that I wasn't a contender, but it still would have been nice to actually know where I, as well as everyone else, stood.

One final little note, I did have one really nice thing brighten my day after the race. I got to see my high school buddy and training partner Timothy who is now a super-fast pro triathlete. We hadn't seen each other in 10 years so it was really nice to catch up. I was also thrilled for myself that he beat me by less than an hour (finishing 59:57 ahead of me).


So peace out to the 2008 triathlon season. It's definitely been a good one. I won't be racing much next year because of the bar exam but I'll still try to squeeze a few in.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In happier news ...

After my last post, I was feeling a little negative and aggro, not something I like to be.

So, I would just like to report that I have a new running buddy. He's everything I could ask for. Energetic, friendly, tireless, and can run in a straight line ... sort of.




His name is Fry, named for:


He can already run 3.5 miles with me and usually only has to stop and poop once, which is sometimes less than me.

He can also be used for crucial cuddle therapy ...


... and his snaggle tooth is not only aerodynamic but also makes a killer can opener.

So even when life isn't all hugs and flowers, I'm psyched that I have both of these dudes to come home to every night.

video

Monday, October 13, 2008

Flipping the &%$# out

*I edited out the bad words.

Yesterday, my sister and I were going over to my dad's for his birthday and we had about 45 minutes before our ferry left (he lives on an island) so we decided to go for a run while we waited since I had run to the ferry and she had her running stuff with her.

We set out running along the downtown Seattle waterfront. We cannot run ONE *$&^ING BLOCK without some *##hole harassing us, honking at us or even grabbing at us. We were kind of joking about it but it was really starting to bug both of us.

So we get back to the ferry terminal and we're waiting to cross the road back to the terminal and this guy gets right up next to us and was like "how far did you run" we ignored him and crossed the road. He starts following us and asks again "how far did you run." we ask him to leave us alone and he kind of gets right up in our faces and is like "oh, I guess it wasn't that far then." My sister then snapped at him "you know, we really don't feel like being hit on right now." Then, right as she's saying that these two other dudes descend on us and start harassing us and grabbing at my arm. We continue to walk away and then the guy who grabbed at me said something else, I wish I could remember what it was but it was *@&%ing lewd and degrading.

I snapped, I totally (*@%ing snapped and charged the guy with closed fists until I was about 2 inches from his face and yelled at him for about 30 seconds while he was kind of cowering in the corner of the hallway we were in that goes up into the ferry terminal. I told him that I am so *&%@ing sick of *#&%ing dumb *&@holes thinking that they can say whatever the *&#$ they want to me and try to cut me down and degrade me just to make them and their ____________ feel bigger. I told him to stay the *&@$ away from me and my sister and to *(#& the *&#@ off. I don't think I've ever used more foul language in my life.

After I yelled at him I turned around and walked away with my sister. The best part, while I was flipping out on the dude, the other dude who had been bugging us about how far we had ran tried to hit on my sister AGAIN.

Even though I was proud of myself for standing up to this jerk, I spent the rest of the night feeling totally small.

In conclusion, FTW

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Black Diamond Sprint

I was a little nervous going into this race three weeks off of Ironman Canada. My left hip flexor has been bothering me and I haven't been feeling terribly motivated (despite Clearwater looming overhead). that said, I do this race every year and decided f it, I'm going to just go and have fun. I even ordered myself a new "fun" outfit to wear in the race to ensure that I didn't take myself too seriously.

I had also noticed that several very fast ladies, including Karin Gardner, Patty Swedberg, Ann Ciaverella, and Anne Jensen, who have beaten me in the past were signed up. This made me a little nervous because hey, I kind of would like to win this race some day, but also took the pressure off a little bit since I knew I was probably not in a place to beat these ladies right now.

Race morning, we got there around 7:00 AM. The race didn't start until 9:00, but I had two buddies with me who had never raced before as well as my mom doing the duathlon and my little sister, Lucy, doing her first olympic triathlon. My mom and Lucy were fine on their own but I wanted to make sure that I could answer any questions for my first-timer buddies.

Everyone was set up with plenty of time to spare and we headed down to the lake for the start.

SWIM

The swim was a diamond-shaped loop in Deep Lake. Usually, this is one of the coldest swims of the year. In 2005 the water was in the low 50's. This year, however, given the warm weather we have been having, the lake was really comfortable.

I went out hard in the swim to get away from any over-enthusiastic people who would just fade in the first 200m. I sat on Anne Jensen's feet for as long as I could until she pulled away from me around the first buoy when we started catching some of the slowest male swimmers who had started 5 minutes ahead of us. From here, it was a game of keep pace/dodge slower dudes.

I've been working on swimming hard for these shorter races since I tend to just have one gear when it comes to swimming. By the last 200 meters, I was swimming shoulder to shoulder with another lady until some dude backstroked perpendicular to my path (dude! come on!). I swam over his legs which I think kind of bothered him, oh well.

I came out of the water right behind Ann C. and ran up the steep little hill into transition.





Swim: 12:44 1:27/100 yards

T1


T1 went surprisingly smoothly for me (I usually have notoriously bad transitions at this race). I got kind of stuck behind a big slow-ish dude on the run out although I doubt that cost me more than 5 seconds.

T1: 2:02

BIKE


The bike was great. It's a straight rolling out and back. I think it's 11.4 miles but I'm not entirely sure.

I started out hard with the goal of going balls out for the entire ride (since I knew my run was going to be a little slow). Immediately I was passing dudes and by about mile 3 I was able to pick off Ann C. although she was riding really well so I knew I wouldn't put more than maybe :30 into her on the bike. At around mile 4 I passed a dude who said "go get them girl!" so I knew there were at least 2 more women ahead of me.

By mile 5 I had passed two women and at the turn around I realized I was the first woman. I hammered it back into transition and even managed to get my feet out of my shoes before the dismount.

*I also wanted to add in a little note here. Dudes, it's okay to be passed by a girl on a bike. If a girl passes you, let her complete the pass. If need be, you can pass her back later but them's the rules. I really don't appreciate when I get yelled and cussed at by some dude who starts pacing me when I'm half-way through a pass and I ask him to please back off.

Bike: 30:07 22.71 mph

T2


T2 was again fast and uneventful. Since my shoes were still attached to my bike I was able to just rack it, throw on my running shoes and run out while putting on my visor and race belt.

Right as I was running out I saw Ann C. racking her bike and another lady not far behind, so I knew I wouldn't hold onto the lead for long. I also knew that there were some other speedy ladies not far behind her who could likely out-run me.

T2: 1:12

RUN


The run is 2 laps on a rolling trail around Deep Lake. That said, this is NOT a fast run. The path is well-maintained but there are a lot of roots and fast and steep ups and downs.

Since the run is only 2.8 miles and since I didn't feel like I had anything to lose, I decided to again, just go balls out for as long as I could.

As predicted, Ann C. passed me like I was standing still about 1 mile into the run. I figured the speedy Ms. Anne J. would not be far behind. From here on out, it was just a game of don't let too many women pass me.

After the first lap I was just like "this sucks!" and I didn't want to run hard anymore. But I'm stubborn and probably more competitive than I'd like to admit so I kept running hard even though my left hip flexor as well as my adductor were really tight and screaming at me.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, I came around the final bend and saw the finish line. I took a quick look behind me to make sure I wasn't about to be run down in the last 100 meters and then ran it in.

Yes, this is in fact a picture of me running, look closely, it's kind of like a game of where's waldo.



Run: 20:45 7:25/mile

OVERALL RESULTS
Total Time: 1:06:50
11/211 Finishers
2/104 Women
1/18 25-29 Women


All in all I was really happy with this race. I didn't expect to be able to hold off 3 of those 4 fast ladies and I certainly didn't expect to be able to run as well as I did.

Even though I didn't win, there were a lot of big positives about this race:

- I went there to just have fun and I did
- I actually threw down the third-fastest female run split (not counting the woman who supposedly went 19:00 but, who looking at her other splits, probably only did one lap)
- I had the fastest female bike and the 8th fastest overall bike
- I had good transitions
- I didn't take myself too seriously as evidenced by the constant smile on my face and my outfit as seen below.





Because I am NOT A WIENER!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Memories

In the last week, since finishing my first ironman, I've reflected a little on the last 4 years since I started racing triathlons. It's strange to think about who I was just 4 short years ago. I'm pretty sure that most of my current friends and colleagues wouldn't recognize me so I thought I would share a little bit how triathlon has changed my life.

up until early 2004 I was on a bad track. I had dropped out of college in my last semester at Boston College and had been in a downward spiral ever since. I was a bit of a ... party person/bar person. Not only was I a problem drinker and occasional drug user, I was also a smoker. So gross and so weird to think about. I had also gone from about 135 lbs to closer to 185 in just 2 short years.

I found these pictures of myself on my friend matt's flickr page. It's weird for me to be sharing this but I thought posting these could be a somewhat cathartic exercise.





In the first picture, my right eye is almost shut, an indication of exactly how drunk I was.

In early 2004 my parents, for chanukah, bought me a membership to a gym where I had the good fortune to meet the lovely Teresa Nelson who got me to join a beginner's triathlon training group. I had never run before but had a background in swimming and cycling.

In June, 2004, one month after quitting smoking, I did my first triathlon. The Vancouver Women's Triathlon in Vancouver, WA.







By this first triathlon, I had dropped nearly 30 lbs and somehow managed to win my age group. I was totally hooked.

It may sound silly, but after realizing that I could finish a triathlon with some modicum of skill, I felt like I could do anything. I managed to finally finish my BA and got myself into law school. I extricated myself from the destructive social circles that I was running with and either made new friends or reconciled healthy old friendships.

I think the reason that this sport means so much to me is that it changed my life. Triathlon has played a huge role in making me who I am today. I don't think I would be in law school right now let alone have even graduated college had I not become a triathlete. I would have never quit smoking and I wouldn't have gotten my drinking under control.

I love winning and placing in races, but even more I love every minute of every race I do. Even the ones that are the most physically and mentally challenging.

From year to year and race to race, whether I win or lose, knowing that I can finish these races with a smile on my face is why I will stay in this sport for as long as I am able.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ironman Canada

I don't even know how to begin this race report. I guess I should really start by saying that I never ever thought I would attempt an ironman. When I started racing triathlon in 2004, my goal was simply to finish a half ironman and call it good. I guess I got swept up in the madness last year after watching the 2007 race (not really a surprise) and signed myself up for 2008.

Leading up to this race, I had been plagued by injuries. I injured my hamstring in March which kept me from running for 2 or 3 weeks and then injured my foot in May which kept me from running for another 6 weeks. Needless to say, I went into this race a bit undertrained on my run. I have never run a marathon and my longest pre-race run was 16.5 miles ... last March. In the months leading up to the race, I had two runs that were longer than 13.1 miles.

PRE-RACE

My boyfriend Brandon and I headed up to Penticton on the Wednesday before the race. On the way up, we hooked up with my training partner, Gerry, in Chelan and then caravaned up to the border. After crossing the border, we stopped to take some pictures of me and Gerry looking tough in front of Richter Pass.



We continued on to Penticton and got all checked in at our lovely little studio in Summerland. The problem was, I was feeling really out of sorts. Not just nerves, but really really dizzy and nauseous. I made the executive decision to go see a doctor at the walk-in clinic in Summerland. She checked my ears, BP, temperature, etc. and said nothing was wrong. Then she had me lay on my back and turned my head quickly from side to side. This gave me the spins and made me feel like I had to throw up. She told me that I had "benign positional vertigo" and that I shouldn't do any strenuous activity for a couple of weeks until it goes away. I told her I was still going to race IMC and she just told me to take an extra minute in transition to get my bearings and make sure I'm not going to fall over.

The next few days leading up to the race, Gerry and I went swimming every morning. I would feel dizzy when I came out of the water but as long as I chilled for a minute and focused on a point, I was able to get moving again pretty quickly.

I tried to stay relaxed in these days, even taking a small hike up to the top of a mountain with Brandon. Here's me looking thrilled about going hiking.



RACE MORNING

Race morning I was up at 4:00 AM and we were on the road to Penticton by 5:00 (Summerland's about a 10 minute drive from Penticton). Brandon dropped me off near the transition area and I grabbed my stuff and headed out.

About 30 seconds after Brandon drove off, I realized that I had forgotten all of my nutrition in the back of the car. Brandon didn't have his phone on and I didn't know how I was going to find him. I went into full on panic mode and walked over to the beach to see if he was standing near where I knew my dad was going to be. He wasn't there. There were, however, some really nice spectators who saw me in a complete tizzy and asked what they could do to help. I told them what had happened and described Brandon to them. They told me that they would look for him and to stay calm. Amazingly, they found Brandon and sent him back to the car to get my bottles. When I came back to look for him again, he was just arriving with my bottles. He walked me back to the transition entrance and I went on my way.

I was a little short on time at this point so I quickly dropped off my special needs and finished getting everything ready before heading out to the beach.

SWIM



On the beach, I was looking for Gerry but I couldn't find him. My plan had been to start with him and maybe sit on his feet for the first few hundred meters (not that there weren't 2200 other feet to sit on). I had also wanted to wish him luck and give him a hug before the race started. When it got down to 5 minutes before start time I knew that finding him was a lost cause so I just positioned myself way to the outside of the crowd about 3 rows back from the front.

Finally, the cannon went off and I was able to start swimming within 10 seconds. Amazingly, I had very little body contact. I mean, there were people everywhere, but I didn't get punched or kicked or beat up at all.

I didn't bother sighting much for the first 800 meters or so, I just kind of went with the crowd. Once it thinned out a little, I made sure I was on course (I was) and just kept concentrating on my rhythm and breathing.

Then, something amazing happened. I was swimming along and I looked to my right and there was Gerry! Swimming right next to me! I couldn't believe that after not being able to find him on the beach, I ended up swimming right next to him! I gave him a little smack on the head and he said something to me (I can't remember what). We then swam together for almost the entire rest of the swim.

The swim was much easier than I thought and when I came out of the water I was surprised how good I felt. I was also surprised that I managed to come out around the same time as Gerry since I had expected him to out-swim me by a good 5 minutes.

2.4 mile swim: 1:04:48/1:42 per 100m

T1


I came out of the water a little dizzy but not too bad. I took off the top of my wetsuit and laid down for the wetsuit strippers. On the strippers' first attempt my suit got caught on my butt. I was like "yeah I got some booty!" which they thought was funny. The second try, it came right off.

I ran and grabbed my swim to bike bag and went into the changing tent.

My new buddy Michelle was working the change tent and was a total saint. She helped me load up all my pockets with food (I had decided to forgo the bento box) and got my shoes on and got me out the door. On my way out to my bike I got slathered in sunscreen and was then on my way.

T1: 4:07

BIKE


I cannot describe how much I loved the bike. The crowds were amazing, the course was amazing, and my family was amazing.

The bike starts out fairly flat until you hit the first climb at McClean Creek Drive. I couldn't wait to get there since I knew I would see my family. Brandon and I had gone out to McClean Creek the day before to write some encouraging notes on the road, but they had rubbed off by the time I got there.

(I was #1831 and Gerry was #180)





McClean Creek is the steepest climb in the race but there was so much energy in the air, it seemed like a walk in the park. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face when I saw my family.

My dad is on the left here.



And some more pictures from McClean







This was also the first time I got to see the "Ironman Canada 2008 Go Jess!" t-shirts that my sister had made everyone. I did not, however, get to see the back of them until after the race.



From McClean Creek we continued South almost to the U.S. Border before turning and heading over Richter Pass, a roughly 7 mile climb. Until we hit Richter, I was really holding back. Letting people pass me and just conserving my energy for the hard part of the course.

Again, even though Richter is a long and tough climb, the energy from the crowds made it seem like a little bump in the road. A guy near me kept asking everyone "is this the top of Richter?" I wonder how he did at Yellow Lake!

Just after summiting Richter I caught Gerry on one of the descents. He was having some stomach problems, which is too bad. I wished him luck and pushed on.

After Richter is a series of rollers which were not too bad. It was a little windy but not close to as windy as the last two times I had pre-rode the course.

At around mile 85 I hit the bottom of the last big climb, Yellow Lake. I was excited since I knew that Brandon and my family would be at the top. Climbing the last part of Yellow Lake is like being in the Tour. there are people lining both sides of the street just going crazy. There were people in costumes and drunk people. It was nuts. I saw my dad at the top and he ran alongside me for a minute and let me know that I was the 14th amateur "WHAT?!?" I knew it wouldn't last through the run, but it was pretty cool for the moment.

Unfortunately (I guess), I came through Yellow Lake 45 minutes earlier than I had predicted so Brandon didn't have the camera ready to take a picture of me and my big dumb smile.

After Yellow Lake and a couple other small climbs I took the long descent into town and took some time to stretch my legs out and get ready for the run.

112 mile Bike: 5:34:53/20.07 mph

T2


T2 did not go as smoothly as T1. My volunteer was great but I was just was a little flustered and thinking "@(#&$ I have to run a marathon, I've never run a marathon." I tried to stay calm and just take my time and make sure I didn't forget anything before heading out.

T2: 4:33

RUN/DEATH MARCH/TOUR DE PORTA POTTIES


I knew the run was going to be tough, but really, I had no idea. I started off slow and shuffled through the first 2 or 3 miles. My stomach was feeling really full and I had to pee like every 3 minutes. I didn't want to eat or drink at the aid stations but I made myself do it.

I started by alternating water/coke at each aid station. I also decided to walk the aid stations to make sure I was putting something in my stomach no matter how much I didn't want to.

At the north end of Skaha Lake, around mile 5, I saw my family. I smiled and gave them all high fives. This was the last time I smiled before the finish.



After seeing them, the run got really lonely. There were very few fans and it got really windy. By the turnaround, my stomach was starting to revolt. It also didn't help that it started raining. I continued trying to run as much as I could but I had to stop at every porta potty along the way.

I also was having an increasingly difficult time putting anything into my stomach. I had to try so hard to not get into a negative cycle of self-talk. I wanted, more than once, to just throw in the towel and get a ride back to the start. I pushed on, even though it hurt.

Finally, after what seemed like days, I hit the 23 mile mark. It was all downhill (literally) from there. I hit mile 25 and saw my family. I almost started crying, I couldn't believe, after that run, that I was going to make it. After a 25 mile shuffle/jog, I broke into my regular run pace for the last mile.

Then, the best thing ever happened. I don't wear a watch when I race. I don't even have a cyclometer on my bike. I just race by how I feel. I know it may not be the best thing, but it works for me and keeps me relaxed throughout the day. When I got to the finish, I was expecting to see something over my goal time of 12:00:00. Then I saw, 11:54:xx, THEN I looked closer and saw that it was actually 11:24:xx. HOLY CRAP! I thought my best possible everything went right day would be sub 11:30:00. I couldn't believe it. It was really hard not to start crying.







Run: 4:36:08/10:33 minute mile

TOTAL TIME: 11:24:29

9/67 women 25-29
49th amateur woman


I may have more thoughts on the race at a later time, but for now, I'm just so glad I did it and I'm so glad I toughed it out through that run. I can't wait to do IMCdA in 2010!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Seafair Triathlon

After 5 years of racing the Seafair triathlon, the biggest coed triathlon in WA, I had never been able to crack the top 25 women. Last year, I went off in the elite wave and finished as the second to last elite. it was totally discouraging.

i was not going to race it again this year because I am so frustrated with my history of poor finishes and because I haven't been running at all, but then my little sister said she was going to do it as her first triathlon so i registered for the elite race again, expecting to embarrass myself ... again.

The swim went well, I pushed it harder than usual and finished in a little over 12 minutes for 800 meters. not bad.

the bike is my leg of the race so i just got on and hammered as hard as i could. i passed 4 or 5 of the other elite women in the first couple of miles and picked off another woman at around mile 6. At mile 8, my training partner, who was spectating spotted me and yelled "you're in second, hit it hard!" All I could think was "CRAP CRAP CRAP!" I pushed it back into transition knowing that I was having a good race but that the run is my weakest leg. I came off the bike in a little under 33 minutes for a pace of around 22 mph. Surprisingly, the fastest women's bike of the day.

The run actually felt good. I wanted to finish in the top 10 so I was just thinking "don't let more than 8 girls pass you" ... ha. At around mile 1.5 one girl passed me like I was standing still, good for her, she was running really well. Just after she passed me, we ran up a hill, turned around, and ran back down it. At the turnaround, with a little less than a mile to go, I saw about 5 other women not far behind me. I didn't think I could hold any of them off but I just kept running as fast as I could despite my lack of run training.

Amazingly, no more women passed me and I managed to finish 3rd overall! I even won money! I've never won money!

The final results were:

800 meter Swim: 12:17
T1: 1:29
12 mile bike: 32:48
T2: 1:13
3.1 mile run: 22:39
FINISH: 1:10:26

3 out of 15 elite women
3 out of 728 total woman

My little sister also did awesome finishing in a little under her goal time of 1:30:00 and throwing down the second fastest bike of her age group ... she must take after her big sister.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

On getting my ass handed to me

I'm going to Clearwater in November! Yay! I'm going to get so beat there but whatever, it should be totally fun.

I'll post a full report about my qualifying race later!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Heart of the Valley Triathlon

I decided to do this race pretty last minute. I was hesitant at first because it was in Corvallis, OR, about 4.5 hours from Seattle, and because it was a pool swim which I've never done before. Also, looking at the results from last year, the bike looked really challenging as the fastest women's bike split was over 40:00 for 12 miles ... eep.

Regardless, I really wanted to get an early-season sprint in and I didn't want to do one of the little races in Elma, so I decided that this was my race.

750 meter swim

I ended up being the first person to go in my lane and both of the people behind be were supposedly faster than me. I decided to heed my swim coach's advice and just chill through the first 200, build for the next 200, and really push it for the last 350.

I started off steady and got passed by the girl who started behind me about 200m in. I managed to stay close to her for the rest of the swim though and we nearly lapped the dude in our lane which was neat since he was kind of arrogant. :)

I came out of the water feeling good. I think I was the third woman in my wave to exit the pool. I exited a little slower than I had anticipated but everyone I talked to said that their swim times were slower than they expected ... weird for a pool swim but whatever.

Swim: 12:42 - 1:33/100 yards

T1

Nice thing about a pool swim, NO WETSUIT!

I had to run the length of the pool into transition but was able to get my gear on and get out of there really smoothly.

T1: 1:27

12 mile bike

I was nervous about the bike for a few reasons. First, last year's results definitely evinced that this was a slow bike. The fastest woman had not gone under 40:00 and only a few people had even broken over 20 mph. Second, it was my first race on a disc wheel with a tri spoke in the front. Third, it was cold out and i had opted to do the entire race in a race bikini so I was nervous about keeping my core warm.

The bike was definitely challenging. It was flat for about 300 meters before you started climbing and once you got about a mile out of transition almost all the roads were cruddy chip seal. I also knew that there were two very fast ladies who had exited the water right behind me so I knew I was probably being chased.

I felt good on the bike in spite of the weather. I tried to chill a little on the hills and keep my butt in the saddle since I didn't want to blow up before my run. I pushed it down the hills and tried to stay off on the shoulder of the road since the pavement was actually a little better in the bike lane. The bike was definitely the hilliest I have ever seen in a sprint tri. There was literally no flat land for the entire thing absent the 300 meters leaving and entering transition.

I passed the one individual girl who had exited the water before me almost immediately (the other girl had been part of a relay). I also passed about 7 or 8 dudes and spent the entire 12 miles chasing one guy which was a good motivator. Coming back into transition there were police stopping traffic and they must have not seen me coming because they almost got me creamed by a car in the middle of the intersection. I had some colorful language for them that I won't repeat here.

I came into transition feeling like I had definitely held back on the bike enough so that I could go for a PR on the run.

12 mile bike: 36:01 - 19.99 mph (slow, I know but the next fastest woman went 38:26 and only 3 women broke 40:00)

T2

Totally uneventful. I was off my bike quickly and into my shoes immediately. I threw on my visor and race belt on the run out.

T2: 0:45

5k run

There were two things on my mind going into this run. One, this was a pancake flat course so I could likely PR. Two, there were two girls who can definitely outrun me somewhere not too far behind me.

Starting the run, I felt good so I just decided "@*^& it! I'm just going to go all out."

Because of all of the waves that had gone off before me and the fact that it was a two loop run, there were a lot of runners on the course so I just started picking people off. I would see someone ahead of me and say to myself "I'm going to get them by the next corner." and I would do just that.

My legs were burning. My lungs were burning. Around mile 2 the arrogant dude from my swim lane passed me. I smiled at him and was like "oh hi! remember me?" he mumbled something about me having a good swim and kept running. He was a really strong runner so I tried to keep him in my sights but that only lasted about another half mile.

At the end of the second loop of the run, you go back towards the swimming pool and finish by doing 3/4 of a lap around a track. I seriously felt like I was dying by the time I hit the track but then I saw my boyfriend, Brandon, running towards me letting me know that I was running way faster than normal. I wanted so so so badly to just slow down and jog it in but I knew that I had less than a minute left and I could see one of those fast girls only about 30 seconds behind me so I just pushed it through the finish. It was definitely the hardest I have ever run.

Run: 21:33 - 6:56/mile

So here's the neat part ... the results

Swim: 12:42 (25/187)
T1: 1:27
Bike: 36:01 (9/186)
T2: 0:45
Run: 21:33 (42/185)
Overall: 1:12:27

12th out of 174 individuals
1ST OVERALL WOMAN!!!!

I couldn't believe it! I won I won I won!

yay!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Feeling Flat

I've been feeling flat for the last few weeks. Unable to complete workouts, feeling sluggish. Constantly thinking that maybe my brake is on when I'm riding my bike.

So last weekend, to add to the misery, my left ear started killing me. I could barely hear out of it and had a rushing sound that wouldn't go away. So Monday morning I went to see my doctor. Ends up I just have an ear infection which he treated with drops.

BUT

While I was at the doctor I mentioned that I've been feeling flat and weak and that I was barely able to make it through a 7 mile run on Sunday. He decided to do some bloodwork and it ends up that I'm "severely" anemic. Now I don't want to hear any crap about me being vegan because I've had my iron tested every year for the last 11 years and it's always been normal to high. He thinks that I have a bit of a predisposition for anemia as my mother and sister (both of whom eat meat) are anemic and that this probably came up as the result of my increased training.

At first I was really upset about this but then I realized that once I get my iron level back up I'll feel awesome so ... yay!

So I'm on an iron/vitamin C/vitamin D cocktail 3 X day for however long my doc tells me to be.

6 weeks until my first race, I just want to make sure I'm 100%

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Physical Therapy

I had a really good PT appointment yesterday. She did all these tests for pes anserine bursitis and she thinks that i actually have/had tedonitis in my hamstring since the pain was localized above and not below the back of my knee. It's still a little tender but feels so much better. She showed me some really good exercises and stretches (some of which I was already doing and are really helping) and gave me a good plan for easing back into running for the next two weeks.

The neatest part though was watching a video of myself running. I carry one arm higher than the other and I also turn my knees in a little so some of the exercises should correct that.

Also, the video was really cool for a totally non-PT related reason. I know I have a lot of issues with body dysmorphia (meaning, in my case, I always think that I'm much heavier and less muscular than I actually am) and when I saw a video of myself on the treadmill it was almost like I was looking at someone else's body at first. I was like "wow, she's really strong!" before I realized that I was looking at myself. It made me feel really good.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

happiness is ...

okay, so i know i haven't been updating but in all honesty training updates are kind of boring (at least as i write them) so i just kind of bagged doing that

for a general update, I was happy do discover that my normal 1:30:00 ride is actually 29 as opposed to 26 miles so I'm training faster than I thought!

in other news, i have managed to injure my knee but i don't think it's too bad. i have pes anserine bursitis in my left leg. i stayed off it for 10 days and i start PT for it today. i ran 30 minutes easy yesterday and it felt pretty okay but i was definitely stiff afterwards. i think it might be in part related to the fact that i had literally run the soles off of my second pair beloved saucony sinisters.

so now, armed with a new pair of slightly more cushioned shoes (asics gel-nimbus) i am hoping to make a full recovery.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

keep on keepin' on

The last two weeks have been a little bit of a challenge. I had minor surgery on the 1st so I ended up not making my goal hours last week. I should have done 17:30:00 but ended up only doing 14:10:00.

Luckily, this week was an "off" week so I only had 9:55:00 scheduled. It was a little challenging just due to weather and what not but every workout felt pretty damn good.

Swim x 3: 6,700 yds - 2:55:00
Bike x 2: 65.2 miles - 3:35:00
Run x 3: 23.2 miles - 3:32:00

Scheduled Hours: 9:55:00
Actual Hours: 10:02:00

All in all a good week. I feel rested and ready for my impending 15:30:00 week. Taking yesterday completely off from training was definitely a good idea.

onward!

* an afterthought, anyone who actually reads this and cares to look, my training log is here

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

completely complete

So I completed my hours for last week

Swim: 5.2 Miles - 4:00:00
Bike: 113 Miles - 6:35:00
Run: 25.6 Miles - 4:00:00

Total: 14:35:00

This week I have 17:30 scheduled. It's Wednesday and I've completed 6.5 Hours.

My goals for the week are:

Swim: 3 Hours (2 done)
Bike: 10 Hours (I have a century ride scheduled with my team later this week) (3:05 done)
Run: 4.5 Hours (1:30 done)

I am also having surgery on Friday but it's not too major so hopefully it won't get in the way of being able to ride 100 miles on saturday ha ha.

Monday, January 21, 2008

sick

so i fell a little short on my training this week due to having the flu but I still feel like i got a solid week in.

Swim: 2 hours - 4700 yards
Bike: 2.5 hours - 45 miles (some on a trainer)
Run: 3.5 hours - 23.9 miles

Goal: 9:55
Actual: 8:00

This week I have 14:30 scheduled. I already wrote out my week schedule so here's to hoping i can stick with it!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Start Today

My earnest ironman training starts today. I am on an annual training plan (hereinafter ATP) which will afford me the flexibility to fit my workouts in when I can with school and work.

So far I'm off to a good start. After 1.5 years of saying I would, I joined a 7 AM masters swim group at my school and swam this morning at 7:05 (I was late due to a flat tire on the way in). I have really neglected my swimming in the last month so I was psyched that I was bringing in my 100s (yards) comfortably between 1:20 and 1:25.

Anyway, this week's goals:

ATP: 9:55
Swim: ~3 hours
Run: ~3.5 hours
Bike: ~3.5 hours
(lift twice if I can, I need to find out from my coach if this factors into my ATP hours or not)

The swimming will definitely be the most challenging since I hate getting up early but I'm really glad that I paid my money because I know that I will make myself go to anything I have paid for.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Training in Paradise

I just got back from my trip to Tahiti with my family and I wanted to share a few of the pictures, mostly to prove to any naysayers that I did, in fact, train while I was in 90+ degree tropical heat.

me running with my sister, lucy



me running with lucy while lucy yells at me for letting our dad take a picture of our butts.



me running with dad (picture taken by a pissed off lucy)



me doing a hybrid swim/weight/aquajogging workout



recovery