Sunday, November 6, 2011

What's Next

  I've taken a pretty decent sized break from this blog, and unfortunately from training.  It wasn't really on purpose.  I took about two weeks off after Augusta to recoup and rest.  I was pretty burnt out after 5 months of training.
  But then I caught a cold and I've been fighting that for the past two weeks.  That hasn't been fun AT ALL and I haven't been able to train.  I feel like my 5 months of training have completely gone down the tubes.
   Not that I'm feeling better, it's time for me to get off my ass and training again.  I know I have several goals for next season.  1) PR in the Half-Marathon.  My PR is 2:13 so anything better than that would be fantastic.  I would LOVE to break 2:00.  Would. LOVE. To.  My goal race for that is the Tom King Half in March.  It's completely flat and would be a good course for it.  Kicker is that it's on a greenway so the potential to get caught up in traffic is likely.  But still going for it.  
   Also on the list- the Birmingham Half as a warm-up in February and the Rock&Roll Half in DC as a "fun race."  It's the week after Tom King so I won't be in any shape to run it.  But it's in my hometown so I'm really looking forward to it.
   As far as tris - I'm thinking about the New Orleans 70.3 in April.  Might be too much with all of the Halfs, but we'll see.  Definitely going to hit either REV 3 in Knoxville and/or Memphis in May triathlons.
    I'm doing something really crazy tomorrow and registering for the lottery for the NYC marathon.  I have no desire to run a marathon EVER - but would LOVE to run NYC.  So I figure, what the heck?!  Enter the lottery and see what happens!  :-)
   Training starts tomorrow!!  See you on the roads!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Augusta 70.3 - Race Report

   After five months of training, it was hard to believe the race was finally here!!  The weekend started bright and early Friday morning when we met up with my friend Holland for the drive down to Augusta.  We wanted to check in Friday so we could just relax Saturday and figure out what the heck we were doing on race day Sunday.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  Traffic was bad so we didn't make the 6:00 check-in deadline.
  Check-in didn't open on Saturday until 11:00 so we got there about 10:30 hoping to beat the line.  About 300 other people apparently had the same idea because the line wrapped about 3/4 around the Marriott convention center floor.  Fortunately, the line moved fast and we were able to talk to a few athletes who had done the race previously, and we had a lot of our newbie questions answered (like when do we put on our wetsuits?  And what do we do with them when we're done?  Ahh - the innocence of inexperience.)
  Check-in went fine.  We learned that over 3,200 people had registered for the race, making it the largest Half-Ironman ever.  Which made me feel pretty good because I figured with that many people, I wouldn't finish dead last!!
   After check-in was the expo.  Ironman stuff was, obviously, everywhere.  They're brilliant marketers, those IM people.  When you first walked in, you saw a poster with the IM logo on it.  Pretty basic poster. Nothing too special.  But then you looked closer and you could see that all of the competitor's names were in the logo!!  How awesome is that?!!  So, of course I had to get it.  BUT THEN - I saw the T-SHIRT that had all of our names on it.  Of course, this was $15 more than the poster.  But I had to get it anyway.  I did put the poster back though.  :-)

   After that, we went down to the dock to check out the water and then went to go set up our bikes.  Every wonder what 3,200 bikes looks like?
Well - there you go.

   After a good dinner, all that was left to do was to get a good night's rest.  I actually thought that was going to happen until I woke up at 3:00 am FREAKING OUT.  Seriously.  Total freak out.  Didn't ever go back to sleep either.   I wasn't too worried about it though.  I had so much adrenaline going that my lack of sleep wasn't going to hurt my race at all.
   The alarm finally rang and we packed up and headed down to the race.  

Let's go racing!!

   Augusta has a set-up where the transition is a mile away from swim start.  So Dudley dropped us off at transition where we set up all of our stuff.  Most of the women setting up around me were first-time 70.3ers as well.  It was great to talk to them and realize we were all pretty much in the same boat - as in clueless.
   Next thing we knew, we were on the bus heading down to the swim start.   The weather was scheduled to be over 90 that day, but it was in the 70s at that point.  Fortunately, it was swim-suit legal with the water temperature being around 72.  One of the things I'll remember from the start of the race was how the women were acting prior to the race.  The men all went first so for a while there were about 1,500 women waiting to start racing.  The song "I Love Rock & Roll" came on and women just went nuts dancing, cheering and clapping to the music.  For some reason, I don't think the men did that prior to their race.  :-)

All ready to go!!  

  This was my first wave start so I was a little intimidated.  I've heard horror stories of people getting kicked, pushed and dunked underwater at wave starts.  Being one of about 200 women in my group at the start didn't help my anxiety either.  But I had already made a mental plan of my race to just take it easy for the swim and the bike portions of the race, so when it was time, I just eased into the water and treaded water until the start went off.   Then once the airhorn blew, I paused about 30 seconds to let the thrashing of the water subside.  No need for me to get hit and panic right at the beginning.  Then I started to swim.  The wetsuit helped my confidence greatly.  It's so buoyant!  Plus, the swim was down-river so the current was with us.  I just got in my groove and swam.  I didn't push myself, but I noticed I was starting to see swim caps from the groups that went before me, so I was happy about that.  
  I swam off course a little and got covered in what can best be described as seaweed.  But we were in a river so does that make it riverweed?  Anyway, there was a ton of it.  I'm happy to report I didn't suffer from the freakouts like I did in Chattanooga.  I just kept doing my thing until I saw the exit buoys.   I was definitely ready to get out of the water though.

   Next up was the ride.  Again, sticking with my plan, I was just going to cruise this part.  I'd been told by many people who had a lot more experience than me to ignore the instinct to hammer at the beginning of the ride.  Sure, I'd get passed, but I'd catch them at the end.  And that's exactly what happened.  At the beginning, I felt like I was getting passed by everyone!  But I just kept reminding myself that I still had a half-marathon to go after this ride so I needed to chill and enjoy the ride.  And I did.  Fortunately, I didn't have any mechanicals or other mishaps.  I just rode at a pretty even pace for 56 miles.  Other than a mild headache, it felt really good too.  I even remember thinking "I could do this all day!  I don't know why people think Half-Ironmans are so tough!"  Famous last words...

Coming into transition.  Hi Dudley!!  
So I come into T2, rack my bike and get ready to run.  I have a plan for the run as well.  Start out at about an 11:30 pace for the first three miles, then bump up my time 30 seconds every three miles after that.  If I did that, I'd end with a 10:00 pace.  Unfortunately, for the first time, my plan had a wrench thrown in it.  I could tell almost immediately that something wasn't going "right" with my run.  It wasn't my legs, though they were tired, they weren't cramping or anything.  But that headache I had in my ride was getting worse and I just didn't feel good.  I immediately changed plans to a nine-minute run / one-minute walk routine to try to get into a groove.  That never happened though.  I went from not feeling "right" to flat-out feeling sick.  I thought maybe I was dehydrated as at this point it was over 90 degrees and about 95 percent humidity.  So the first rest area I hit, I took some Ironman energy drink and poured water over my head.  Didn't help.  I then just felt full and sick.  So my plan then changed to run as far as I can until I feel sick, then walk.  Once that went away, start running again.

Me.  Concentrating on just putting one foot in front of the other.

   That plan worked until Mile 4, when I actually threw up.  I've heard of people throwing up in races, but they usually make it sound like they're bad-asses pushing their bodies to the limit until they hurl.  I'm not that much of a bad-ass.  Nope.  I think mine was a heat-related illness.  It was kind of funny because I kept thinking "surely I'm not going to throw up.  I'm not going fast!"  But sure enough, I did.  
   I was hoping I would feel better afterwards, but I didn't really.  Have you ever tried to run after puking?  It's not easy.  I could walk fine, but every time I tried to run, I would feel nauseous, so I'd have to stop.  I continued with my "run until I feel sick" plan, at some points only running for about 30 seconds before having to walk, until mile 11.5 when I got sick again.  Bad.  To the extent that runners asked me if I needed medial attention.  I just pushed them off.  Are you kidding?  I've been puking for the last 11.5 miles!  You think medics are going to let me to continue?  NO WAY was I not going to finish this race.
   Fortunately, once I puked that last time, I felt a little better.  Not great, but better.  I could actually run a bit longer than 30 seconds at a time.  After what seemed like an eternity, I turned the corner to the finish line.  People were lining the finishing chute clapping and yelling.  It was very cool.  I was a complete dork and threw up my hands like I won the whole damn thing.  I didn't care though.  I was SO happy to be finished.  Not just because I felt like crap, but because this had been a five-month goal achieved.  It felt pretty freakin' cool.

   So there you have it.  I was a 1/2 hour past the time I'd hoped for my finish because of my illness, but I still think that's OK.  I'm bummed because had I known I was going to be sick for the run, I would have killed myself in the swim and bike.  Maybe I could have still made my time goal of 6:15.   Who knows?  I'm thrilled I finished and, overall, very happy with the experience.   And the good news is that I wasn't sore AT ALL the next day, which leads me to believe that my conditioning was there - that it was definitely the heat that got to me.  I'm already looking forward to next year to so I can beat my time!!   Good news is that it shouldn't be that hard!!   

Augusta 70.3 times:
Swim: 30.09   71st out of 180 who finished (over 30 dropped out)
TI: 5:25
Bike: 2:59:09  63rd
T2: 2:39
Run:  3:06:02  136th!!  (Oh well - I at least finished!!!)  
Total time: 6:43:34

Thank you to my ever supporting husband Dudley and to Holland for talking me into this craziness!!   Also thanks to my parents and all of my friends for their support and well-wishes!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Six Days Away!

My Half-Ironman is only six days away!!  To say that I'm freaking out is putting it mildly.  It's actually equal parts of excitement and terror.  Looks like I'll be finding out if all of those hours of training actually did anything!!  Here's hoping!!


Just wanted to mention a couple of cool exercise-related things that inspired me over the past weeks:
  1. While racing the Franklin Classic 5k, I noticed a man with two prosthetic legs participating.  While this is inspiring in and of itself, there is more to the story.  You see, the day of the race was cold and rainy - which was perfect running weather for me, but this also made the road very slick in parts, especially where the road was painted with road markings.  I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.  After a race a slipping almost the entire way, the gentleman fell about two blocks from the finish line causing one of his prosthetic legs to come off.  Rather than quitting the race right there, the man crossed the finish line while being pushed in a wheelchair by one of his friends.  Everyone standing in the finish line area clapped and cheered for this man as he crossed the line.  I'm sure I was probably crying too.  It was pretty emotional and inspiring.
  2. Several of my friends who I coached in the East Nasty Potato-to-Tomato training program have all signed up to run their first Half-Marathon together!  I'm so happy and proud of them.  They're a group of awesome ladies who, if you had told them at this time last year they were going to be all running a Half-Marathon together, would have laughed in your face.  I'm so excited they're taking this journey together.
  3. I got to run with my friend Roy last Wednesday.  To put it mildly - Roy's year has sucked.  He's had to deal with the death of his beloved father, as well as coming back from a heart attack.  I'd still be hiding under the covers if I were him, but Roy's out there running again.  He's much tougher than I am.
  4. My Dad told me this past week that he's planning ahead to when he's 80, which is in four years, because USA Cycling has an 80+ division for their road races.  He's already thinking about what kind of bike he's going to get.  Here I am just trying to get through the next week, and my Dad is planning four years out.  He's awesome.
What inspires you?

    Monday, September 12, 2011


       I can't believe it, but I'm at the point in my training where I'm tapering.  For those who have never trained for an endurance event previously, "taper" is the part of the workout schedule when you recover for 1-2 weeks prior to the race.  In my case, two weeks.  I still have to train, but the hours won't be as long.
       And I have to say, it wasn't a day too soon because I am SPENT.  This past week was very high mileage, ending with a 66-mile bike ride on Saturday and an 11-mile run on Sunday.  For the first time in a very long time - I'm sore.  I'm not sure if that means I haven't been training hard enough or if I just overdid it this weekend.  I'll be fine tomorrow, but I'm SO GLAD I'm tapering and don't have a scheduled workout today.
       Of course, this means that my race is only a mere two weeks away so that has me freaked out.  But that's a post for another day!

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Ode to a Honey Stinger Waffle

    Oh Honey Stinger Waffle
    You are so not awful.
    But this poem is so I'll stop.

       OK, so I suck as a poet, but as anyone TRIED these things? They're awesome! Granted, it could be that I'm so burnt out of every other kind of energy / protein bar that cardboard would taste good, but I'm pretty sure it's more than that. Seriously - Honey Stinger Waffles are G.O.O.D!!
       What makes them different? Mainly texture and density. They're more like a wafer than a bar. Sometimes, when eating another brand of bar while racing/working out, I take one bite and almost can't swallow it because it's just so dense. Not good when you're in the middle of a race and HAVE to eat. The Honey Stinger Waffles? Light and thin! You can eat the entire thing without feeling sick for the next half-hour. Plus, because they're thin, it's easy to carry several of them in your jersey pocket, bento box, whatever. Very portable and, another benefit, because they're a waffle they don't melt!!
       And the taste?  I've only seen two flavors at local stores - Vanilla and Honey, but I've had both and they were both pretty dang tasty. There is also a Strawberry flavor, which is available on their website.  Here's something else that is cool - the Waffles are certified organic so no crazy chemicals were used to create the product! Considering I'm addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper, it's obvious I don't pay that much attention to things like that, but it's still pretty cool.
       After discovering I loved the Waffles so much, I ventured out and tried Honey Stingers' Organic Energy Chews (cherry flavor). And guess what? They're JUST AS GOOD! Seriously - like candy.
       I know what you're thinking. Sure, they taste good, but do they do the job when you're in the middle of a run / ride / race?  As far as I can tell, they do. Though I haven't eaten them in a race yet, I've used them on several 40 + mile rides and was surprised how far that little wafer and a few chews could take me. These will definitely be my go-to energy food from now on.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Race Report- The Race That Wasn't - Fall Creek Falls

       So I was supposed to race Tri Fall Creek Falls last Sunday.  It's an Olympic distance race in one of Tennessee's beautiful state parks - Fall Creek Falls.  This was supposed to be my last warm-up race prior to the Augusta Half-Ironman.  But unfortunately, it got rained out.  And when I mean rained out, I mean crazy lightening, no visibility, scared to even drive kind of weather.   So the race directors made the right call by canceling.
      Of course, we didn't know the race was going to be rained out when we woke up that day.  It was actually a perfect day for racing about a 1/2 hour prior to the start time.  A little cool and overcast.  In fact, it wasn't even raining when the race was supposed to start.  I had JUST gotten in the water to warm up when they called us all out because of lightening.  When lightening is sighted, the race directors have to postpone the race for at least a half-hour.  It was obvious that the storm was getting closer and closer so Dudley and I went back up the hill to the car to wait it out.  Since the lightening was going to postpone the race for a while, the race director thought about changing the race from a triathlon to a duathlon; substituting the swim with a two-mile run.  Though I would have raced it, I wasn't really interested in that because the main reason I wanted to do the race was for the swim.
       But then all hell broke loose.  Seriously.  CRAZY CRAZY rain.  I had already gotten my bike and gear out of the transition area because I didn't want to be hanging around a bunch of metal racks in the middle of a field during a lightening storm.  Once the storm really hit, I decided to turn in my timing chip because even if they did decide to hold a duathlon, I thought the course would be too dangerous / slick to race.  Call me wimpy but I don't want to get hurt doing something stupid a month out from Augusta.  Turns out, I wasn't the only one who thought it was too dangerous to race.  The Park Service did too and they cancelled the race.
       So - this is the race report of the race that wasn't.  It would have been nice to race, but there wasn't any way we could have with that weather.  Of course, it was perfect about an hour or so later.  Oh well.  What can you do?  Next up - Augusta!!

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    A Good Week

      I have to do a little bragging this week as it's been a good one.  First off - I have to give some love to the East Nasty Potato to Tomato 5k participants who raced the Tomato 5k this past weekend.  We had a HUGE group of participants in the program this time and they did GREAT.  It was a hard, hilly course but they did it.  I'm so proud I was a part of helping them achieve their goal!

    East Nasty For Life!!  

       I actually didn't run the race.  I was planning on it, but two things kind of took precedence.  One - I sang the National Anthem immediately prior to the race and I was still a little too shaky from nerves to run and Two - I wanted to take photos of all of the East Nasties as they crossed the line.  (Check out the East Nasty Facebook page if you want to see them.)

    Singing the National Anthem

       But another reason why its been a good week is that I'm seeing progress with my training.  For the first time ever, I ran three consecutive sub 9-minute miles during mile repeats last Tuesday.  YAY ME!  I'm not a crazy fast runner so these times are excellent for me.   I also, for the first time, swam 3,000 meters.  Let me repeat that.  3,000 METERS!  Do you know how far that is?  Yes, I know - 3,000 meters, but it's 200 meters short of two miles!  That just blows my mind.  I doubt I'll ever swim that far in a race (as I have no plans on doing a full Ironman), but swimming that distance was a great mental boost.  Granted, I have no idea how this will translate to my tris.  Probably not too much for the races this season, but if I keep it up, I bet I'll see a huge difference in times next season.
       Next up - the Fall Creek Falls Olympic tri this Sunday.  Not expecting too much as I'm still continuing my HIM training rather than tapering for the week so I'll be tired on race day.  But if I do better than I did in Chattanooga - I'll be happy.

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    I Must Be Crazy

       So I've had a couple of interesting workouts recently.  Some of the questioning my sanity, "what the hell am I doing out here" type of workouts.  Now that the race is a mere 50 days away, the workouts are getting longer and harder.  And they're kicking my butt.
       Over the past few weeks I've been getting up before 5:00am on Saturdays so I can be riding by 6:00am.  I've gotten stuck in a horrible rainstorm 20 miles away from my car.  I've run in 98 degree weather with 110 degree heat index.  I've gotten on my indoor trainer at 10:00pm because that was the only time I could ride that day.  And today I started my 8-mile run KNOWING I was running into a rainstorm, possibly a really bad one.
       But I've done them all.  Some of the workouts haven't been pretty.  Some of them have been slow (OK - most have been slow).  But at the end of the day, I can look at my workout log and check off the workouts as "Done" and there's something to be said for that.  Of course, I'm not sure what that is yet...  Hopefully, I'll figure it out by the time I hit the finish line in Augusta.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Race Report - Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon

       I participated in my first Olympic triathlon (1,500 meter swim / 40k bike / 10k run) this weekend - the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon.  My plan at the beginning of the season was to race at least two Olympic tris prior to my Half-Ironman, figuring I could use the experience.  Two options for me to race were the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon and the Music City Triathlon being held on July 23.  (While I toyed with the idea of doing both, I decided that a race in July and a race in August would probably be a better plan.)  I chose Chattanooga because, honestly, I thought it would be the easier of the two. According to previous race reports, the bike in Chattanooga was difficult and hilly, but the swim was point-to-point with the current and the run was generally flat.  Compare that to a swim against the current in the Cumberland and a run up the pedestrian bridge in Nashville and the decision was easy - Chattanooga.

      The race was held on Sunday so Dudley and I went to Chattanooga Saturday to pick up my race packet and check out the expo.  This race, like all other tris in which I have participated so far, seeded racers by their estimated swim time.  As I'd never raced 1,500 meters previously, I guessed at my time - 25 minutes.  (A little fast for me, but possibly doable on a good day.)  So I was really surprised when I picked up my race number and saw I was 1,222.  That meant I was almost last and would probably start about an hour and a half after the race started.  Not cool.  At first, I was confused because, while I knew some people can do that distance in 15 minutes, surely not EVERYONE in the race was faster than me.  Turns out, I had signed up after the deadline to be seeded with the rest of the racers, so the organizers put me in the back.  (Note to self - pay attention to those deadlines and don't ever do that again.)
       After catching up with fellow racers Rae and Holland (from the Mach Tenn tri), Dudley and I headed back to the hotel for a good night's rest.  Unfortunately, I had crazy anxiety about this race and sleep didn't come easily.  When I finally did sleep - I had a crazy dream that the tri organizers had added a new talent category to the tri.  Sad thing was, I had no idea what I was going to do!  And I'm a singer!!  So I even had added anxiety in my dream!  Needless to say - I wasn't rested when that 5:00 am alarm rang.  Oh well.  I generally don't sleep well prior to a race so I wasn't too worried about it.
       So we headed down to the transition area and get things set up.  One thing I learned during this race - I carry too much crap.  Two very experienced racers next to me only had their shoes (running and cycling) and their bike helmets.  All of their hydration and nutrition were already on the bike.  Me?  I had crap everywhere.  Shoes (running and cycling), socks, Clif bars, Honey Stinger waffles, running water bottle, sunglasses, running hat, towel...the list goes on.  Heck!  I even brought a bucket to sit on!  Well, it was a dual purpose - something to carry all my stuff and something to sit on.  Point being - I definitely have to work on that.
    My Ernie's Bait Camp bucket. The bucket belongs to hubby. I have no idea where Ernie's Bait Camp is.

       Being that this was a point-to-point swim, we had to get on shuttles to get to the swim start.  I felt a small twang of panic when we passed the 1-mile marker for the run.  How far was this swim that we were passing the 1-mile mark?!  I mean, I know 1,500 meters is ALMOST a mile, but seeing that sign kind of freaked me out.  Once off the bus, I tried to stay calm.  While I was only in the staging area for about 15 minutes before the race started, I had to hang out for at least another hour (I lost track of time after that) before my start.  It was REALLY hot.  Fortunately, the race organizers had water and Gatorade out there for all of us.  I was nervous, but nothing too bad by this time.  I mainly just tried to stay cool until my number was finally called to the dock where the race officially started.
       Finally - my time arrived.  There really weren't that many of us left at this point - only about 150 people.  We lined up single file and headed down the stairs to the water.  And this where where I started to officially lose my mind.  Looking down the river, I quickly realized I COULDN'T SEE THE FINISH!  I mean, think about this.  You're getting into a river with God-knows-what in it and going to swim until when?  YOU DON'T KNOW BECAUSE YOU CAN'T SEE THE FINISH!  As I'm not one for hysterics, I just tried to stay calm.  But this is all so new to me that it's hard to control the rational emotion that getting into that water was a really stupid thing to do.
       But I did.  Couldn't make a fool of myself by running back up the stairs, right?  So I got in.  And I swam.  And swam.  And swam.  And really didn't feel like I was getting anywhere.   Have you ever seen that commercial where swimmers dive into a pool full of caramel?  (If not, click here:  THAT'S how I felt when I was trying to swim.  So then I started thinking "I'm exhausted.  I'm never going to make it to the finish.  WHERE is the finish?  I should just grab a kayak."  While I never felt like I was going to drown, I just didn't feel strong enough to make it to the end.  TOTALLY FREAKED ME OUT!
      Fortunately, after about 10 minutes, I calmed down and just tried to remember anything my swim coach Helen told me since any technique I'd been taught had gone out the window.  Reach - Rotate - Relax.  Reach - Rotate - Relax.  That pretty much became my mantra for the remainder of the swim.  The good news is that I did NOT have to grab on to a kayak.  The bad news is that my swim time was 32 minutes. Oh well.  I survived and there is something to be said about that.
    Me trying not to drown... 

       I got out of the water and then had to run up some stairs to the first transition.  Normally at this point, I'm all excited because I get to ride - my best event.   But it was a real punch in the gut was to get to transition and to see almost everyone's bike gone but mine.  I knew I started later than all of the other racers, but it still really made me feel, well - like I didn't deserve to be there.  Plus, that swim was just so draining, I honestly didn't know how I was going to get through two more events.  I was exhausted, plus I got a headache, which is rare for me.
    Me with empty bike racks behind...

       I did the best I could, but again, being seeded close to the end got to me.  I was so far back that I was mainly seeded with the relay teams.  Generally speaking, relays are filled with people who only participate in one event in which they're strong.  So, if by some chance I beat a relay swimmer out of the water, I was most likely going to be passed by their rider doing the bike leg.  And I did.  I'd be riding along and all of a sudden this flash on a $10,000 tri bike would fly by.  Pretty discouraging considering I'm usually the one passing people on this leg.  I know this is going to sound pathetic, but I was on the verge of tears on more than on occasion during the bike.  This was usually the easy part for me and it was just SO HARD!  I don't know if it was the hills (it was HILLY) or the heat or defeated mental status - probably all three, but I remember thinking "This is the hardest thing I have ever done."
       Finally - it was time to run.  I grabbed my hat and sunglasses, and shoved a Clif bar in my mouth and off I went.
    Nom Nom Nom... Clif Bar!

       Like the rest of the race, the run was hard.  Worse probably because you really feel the heat when running.  Again, my body just didn't want to do what I wanted.  While I'm normally not a fast runner, I've learned can usually run my standard pace the first two miles of a tri.  Not this time.  I was a good minute slower than my usual race pace at first and only got slower.  And I hurt.  A LOT.  I honestly almost cussed out my sweet husband when he came running up and tried to encourage me.  Granted, he was giving me tough love and I REALLY just wanted a hug, but still - I shouldn't ever want to cuss out my husband.  Especially since he's been so incredibly supportive of my new tri lifestyle.

    Smiling on the outside...crying on the inside

       During my run, I questioned myself as to why I was doing these races and wondered how I was ever going to get through Augusta.  Again, I got passed by all of these relay runners on fresh legs.  It was really, really discouraging.  Since the route was out and back - I got to see most of the runners on their way to the finish.  That was hard too because I wanted to be on my way to the finish!  I was in so much pain that I didn't even try to "just run to the next mile marker" like I usually do.  No.  It was run for 5 minutes, walk for 1 and repeat.  After a while though, I started using any excuse to walk.  Water station? I'm walking.  Misting station?  Walking.  Hill?  Walking.  I think I walked more the second half of the course than I ran.   
       But finally and painfully, the end was there.  We had a great downhill to the finish so I was able to run the final 3/4 of a mile.  It pretty much took everything I had to do it, but I made it to the finish.  Surprisingly, I didn't burst in to tears at the end.  I honestly thought I would.  But all I wanted to do was grab a ice towel, find some shade and sit.  Dudley was funny because the camera did something weird and he missed me crossing the finish line.  He actually asked me to run through the finish line again for a photo!  No. Freaking. Way.  I was done.
    Me on the GOOD side of the finish line getting my timing chip removed.

       I have to say, though this race was really hard for me, the Team Magic crew did a GREAT job.  It was well-organized with a ton of volunteers.  They really tried their best to keep us cool: water stations o'plenty, a misting station, ice cold towels - it was great.  Thanks to everyone who helped make the race possible.
       As for my future plans, well, I took two days off to recover.  I guess recovering is too strong as I'm not sore at all.  I just needed to regain my focus.  This race really took a lot out of me mentally.  While I knew I wasn't 100% ready for this race, I didn't think it would just kill me like it did.  Some of that is my fitness level, but there were other factors as well - heat and mental toughness being two.  I realized that while I wasn't as fit or mentally tough as I thought (I mean, crying in a race? Come on!), I did actually complete the race.  I didn't drop out and I really, really wanted to.  Especially in the swim.  That should count for something.  I'm still a little discouraged, but think in a week or two I'll be able to look back and think I did something pretty cool.  Maybe sooner as this morning, I signed up for the Fall Creek Falls Olympic tri on August 21.  Training starts tonight.

    Courage doesn't alway roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow." - Mary Anne Radmacher

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Why I Love the Tour - Reason #856

      As I've mentioned, it's July and the Tour de France is on.  To say I'm addicted to the Tour is an understatement.  I watch / read everything I can about it.  This year's Tour is particularly interesting in that there have been MAJOR wrecks almost daily that have taken out several major contenders including Bradley Wiggins and Chris Horner.  In fact, many announcers / reporters have changed the name from the Tour de France to the Tour de Crash.

       Yesterday's stage was no exception to the carnage as Alexander Vinokourov, Jurgen Van Den Broeck and David Zabriskie all suffered Tour-ending injuries during a high-speed crash on a decent.  Of course, in reference to the title, the wrecks are NOT the reason I love cycling.  No, I love this sport because of what happened AFTER the wreck.

       You see, prior to this crash, the peloton was chasing down a group of 5 riders (called the breakaway).  One of these riders - Thomas Voeckler - was only a 1.5 minutes behind the current Tour leader - Thor Hushovd - for the overall race lead.  So if he finished 1.5 + minutes ahead of Thor, he would be the new leader of the Tour.  This is important - remember this.

       When the wreck happened, not only did two of the main contenders (Vinokourov and Van Den Broeck) have to abandon the Tour, but several others either fell or got caught up in the ensuing mess and got left behind the peloton.  Plus, several of the injured riders' teammates stayed behind with their team leaders to pace them back to the peloton (a practice common in cycling).  The result being a split in the main peloton with main contenders in both groups.

       Now here is the best part - due to the extent of the wreck and that several of the race favorites were involved, the riders in the main peloton, including the current leader Thor Hushovd, decided to slow the peloton down until the extent of the injuries could be assessed and the lagging riders could catch up.  That's right.  Rather than taking advantage of their competitors' bad luck and charging full-ahead, the peloton slowed down!  Remember - there is a breakaway ahead with a rider who would almost definitely take the Tour lead by this action.  But Thor Hushovd was right there in the front row of the peloton, taking control and slowing it down knowing his race lead was slipping away.  And it did.  Thor lost the Yellow Jersey yesterday.

       So let me ask you - in what other sport do athletes not take advantage of their rival's misfortune?  Crashes are a part of the sport.  They happen all of the time.  Why not take advantage?  Because that's just not the right thing to do.  The riders (with the exception of last year's winner Alberto Contador)  believe the Tour shouldn't be decided by another riders' misfortune.  And while the peloton can't wait for every rider every time, when the Tour is on the line, history has shown the riders will wait.  And that's what I love.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Viva le Tour! A Primer of The Tour de France.

       Finally!  It's July!  And for me that not only means summer and the celebration of the Fourth, but also possibly my favorite sporting event of the year - The Tour de France!
       For those of you who have never heard of Lance Armstrong, here is a little Tour primer.  The Tour is a three-week bike race around France.  No, it's not a consecutive circle around the country, but distinct stages that take place throughout different cities.  Sometimes the riders leave from the city they raced into the previous day, sometimes they don't.  It just depends on how the race organizers set up the race.
       There are 22 teams in the Tour, each with 9 riders.  Every team is made of different specialists including sprinters, climbers, an all-arounder (also known as a general classification rider, or GC), and various other helpers called domestiques.  The GC rider is a team's main rider and the one who has the best chance to win the famed maillot jaune (yellow jersey) in Paris, which is given to the man who completes the Tour de France in the least amount of time.  All other team members ride in support of their GC guy.  Riding "in support" could mean anything from getting water bottles to surrounding their rider to protect him from crashes to thrashing their legs while leading their GC rider up a mountain pass.   This is why cycling is considered a team sport.  Even the best GC rider wouldn't be able to win the Tour without a strong team helping him along the way.  
       While the teams do ride in support of their GC rider, that doesn't mean there aren't other accolades for the other riders.  The sprinters target certain stages with flat finishes where they can win that day's stage.  The same goes for the climbers, as there are trips through both the Pyrenees and Alps.  As with the best GC rider, the best sprinter and climber will also receive special jerseys at the end of the Tour (along with bonus money).  
      So the viewers at home know who is leading the race on any given day, and also for the benefit of the jersey sponsors, the person leading a specific category will wear the jersey while racing.  For example, Thor Hushvold is the current wearer of the yellow jersey.  But if he loses too much time today, he'll have to give to whoever is leading after today.  (Yes, there is more than one jersey - it's not like the Stanley Cup.  They create new jerseys daily.)
       There are also two races against the clock, known as time trials (TT).  The individual time trial is exactly that, one man going as fast as he can for the length of the course.  This year's Tour also featured a team time trial (TTT), which in my opinion is one of the most beautiful things in sports.  All nine men working together as a unit to finish the course in the least amount of time.  When done properly, it's a really cool site to see.  
       So far this year, the Americans are doing REALLY well.  Granted, we're only three days into the Tour, but the American team Garmin-Cervelo won the TTT on the second day, and American sprinter Tyler Farrar (from team Garmin-Cervelo) won yesterday's stage on the 4th of July.  Pretty cool, I think!  
       If you've never checked it out, try to watch some of the Tour this year.  There is a lot more to American cycling than Lance.  We have 10 Americans riding this year, which ties the record for most Americans riding in a Tour.  There are also four VERY strong American-based teams.  The Tour is on Versus pretty much 24/7 over the next three weeks, plus some on NBC as well.  Take a look! 

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011


        Eleanor Roosevelt said "Do one thing every day that scares you."  Well, in that mindset, I just signed up for the Chattanooga Waterfront triathlon - which is in about 11 days.  It's an Olympic tri - 1,500 meter swim / 26 mile bike / 6.2 mile run - the longest I've every attempted.   Again, as with seemingly all of the tris I've done this year, I'm not exactly prepared.  Yes, I've been training, but my training schedule is completely geared towards the Half-Ironman at the end of September.  Anything before that is iffy in regards to my level of fitness / preparedness.  But what the heck, right?  Life is all about experiencing new things!  So off to Chattanooga I go!

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    I Refuse to Believe These Things Work...

      It's officially summer, which is good in many respects, but not so good in regards to my local pool.  I belong to the local YMCA, which is extremely child-friendly.  That's great.  I'm all for kids leading an active, healthy life-style.
       However, what I am not a fan of is all of the swim teams / swim lessons that are now taking place during the most popular swim times for adults and therefore closing some, if not all of the lanes.  I understand why - working parents can only get there at certain times, but it still doesn't make me happy that I pay money to swim in a pool that I can't use when I want.
       But that actually is the secondary point of this post.  What REALLY gets me is that frequently I swim at the same time as an infant / toddler swim lesson.  Now I'm all for kids knowing how to swim, but you can probably see where I'm going here.  Infant / toddler = swim diapers.  Now COME ON!  I don't care how WHAT the diaper companies say - you can't tell me swim diapers work.  Nope.  Refuse to believe it.  How is this at all sanitary?  I'm not allowed to pee in the pool!  Why are what are basically super-sized, pee sponges allowed?
       I know, I know... I've heard the excuses - there is chlorine and that kills everything, urine is sterile, open water is worse, blah blah blah.  I. Don't. Care.  Plus, it's hard to think about urine being sterile when you're swimming laps next to the lessons and feel a sudden sensation of warm water (it's happened).  It TOTALLY SKEEVES me out!
       What gets me more is that we have another, larger outdoor pool at the Y that is a water park / lap pool.  Do the lessons out there!  You know other kids are already peeing in that pool!  Why contaminate both?
    Am I the only one who feels this way?  Again, for the record, I'm not anti-kid and I'm FOR kids learning how to swim and knowing how to be safe in the water.  But am I asking too much for one of the pools to be a pee-free zone?  I don't think so.

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Mach Tenn Tri Race Recap

       On June 4th, I raced in the Mach Tenn tri - 1,000m swim / 16-mile bike/ 4-mile run.  This was, by far, the farthest swim and run I'd attempted in a race, so I was a little intimidated.  But I had signed up for the thing, and I'm too cheap to bail, so off we went to Tullahoma at 5:30am on the first day of my vacation (I know, crazy, right?).
       Upon arriving at the Arnold Air Force base, where the event was being held, I realized quickly this was unlike any of the previous tris I had raced.  Rather than being put on by a big promoter like Team Magic, this race was a put on by a local running club - Mach Tenn.  This gave the race a bit more of a home-town feel, which was awesome.  The race also leaned to the more experienced triathlete.  I want to say the Ramblin' Rose was probably 90% beginner (participating in less than three tris), while the Mach Tenn was probably only 10%.  That's strictly a guess, but judging by the bikes and athletic ability of most of the racers, I doubt I'm far off.  These guys and gals just looked FAST.  
    Holland, Rae and me - all smiles before the race.

       After checking in, setting up my transition area and hooking up with my friends and follow racers Holland and Rae, we headed down to the water to await the start of the race.  My immediate thought was "WHAT am I DOING here?"  I was quite intimidated by how far 1,000 meters looks in one stretch.  Yes, I'd been swimming 1,000 meters, but that was in a 25 meter pool.  When I first saw the buoys which marked the course, I was like "I have to swim ALL THE WAY DOWN THERE?  And then SWIM BACK?"   It was definitely the scariest part of the race for me.  I'd never done an open water swim - heck - I'm hardly around open water even in a boat!  I admit, I was so scared of the swim that, while driving to the race I had a 30-second vision of Dudley having to drive back to Nashville by himself because I drowned.  Nice, huh? 
      Anyway, we headed down to the water and I had the chance to swim for about 5 minutes before the race stared.  The water was almost 82 degrees - it was like swimming in a bath.  Very weird.  The swim of this tri was like the pool-races I'd done: a time-trial start, meaning that #1 gets into the water first and then 6-seconds later #2 jumps in.  I was number 382 so I had about a 1/2 hour wait before getting into the water.  I started chatting with a few other races near me - one of them being a 10-year-old racing his first tri.  Great...I just KNEW I was going to get beat by the 10-year-old.  I also stepped on a fish spine, which HURTS for those who have never had the misfortune of doing this.  Fortunately, it didn't puncture the skin.  One point for pool swims - you don't step on fish spines.
       Slowly I made my way to the starting line.  Pretty basic set-up.  You get to the line and someone taps you on the back and says "Go."  And so I went.  It was VERY cool to hear a VERY loud "GO EAST NASTY" when I was entering the water.  I have no idea who said it, but it was several people and very loud.  I really appreciated the support because I was freaking out internally.    
    The Starting Line
    Me giving the East Nasty sign when getting in the water.  Note the tiny 10-year old in the background.

    There I go!  No rails or pool edges to hang on to!  And definitely no black line to follow!

       My swim went MUCH better than I thought.  Well, considering survival was my main goal, I didn't have a high expectations with regards to time.  Being that it was a time-trial start, I didn't have to go through the battle for position that takes place with many open water swims.  I was thankful for that.  I did run into some traffic on the course.  I think, for the most part, it was me catching people.  It was hard to tell because I really couldn't see anything other than brown water and the occasional swim cap.  Every once in a while, I'd look up to see where the buoys were and make sure I was on course.  The only time I had trouble was after the turn-around.  My goggles had fogged a little, which was no big deal when the sun was behind me.  But after I hit the turn-around, the sun was in my eyes and glared off the water.  I could barely see 10 feet in front of me.  I just tried to follow the swimmer in front of me the best I could and prayed they knew where they were going.  Before too long though, I saw the dock where the finish line was.  I made a bee-line for the dock, but kept getting kicked or swatted by an arm all the way up to the beach.  Who was it?  The freakin' 10-year-old!!  The kid started almost a minute after me and BEAT me to the line!  But at the time, I didn't care.  I was happy to be done with the swim.
    Me getting schooled by a 10-year-old

    Coming out of the water

      I was happy when the bike portion started, as that's generally my strongest event and where I can gain time.  The course was great.  Rolling hills, but nothing too hard.  At this point, I was REALLY enjoying the race.  It had gone from "What am I doing here?" at the beginning of the swim to "This is awesome!"   The heat had kicked in, but between being wet from the swim and the breeze generated from the ride, I really didn't feel it.  I passed the 10-year-old almost immediately.  Eat my dust, kid!!  (BTW - I'm kidding.  I'm not taking joy in beating a 10-year-old!  He was really cute when I passed him by saying "Great job, Lady!").  Though the ride was listed as 16-miles, I actually think it was more like 16.5 as  I passed 16-mile marker somewhere on the road.  False advertising if you ask me.  I had one small mechanical issue - dropped chain - but I was able to fix it without getting off my bike so I didn't lose too much time.  

    Coming in from the ride

       Of course, all good things must come to an end, as did my enjoyment of this race when the run started. By this time, it was around 95-degrees.  My clothes had dried and I don't create a breeze when I run so I got HOT.  Plus, the course was hilly.  Those rolling hills I had enjoyed so much when I was riding felt like torture when running.  And because it was an out-and-back course, I had to run them twice.  As a result, I had to walk up a couple, mainly on the way back.  While I'm not happy I had to walk, I'm OK with it.  My calves cramped up so bad going up the hills that walking was really my only option.  But I did run most of it.  It was slow, but I did it.  Again - thanks to those yelling "East Nasty" at the finish!

    YAY!  The finish!  

       Overall, I enjoyed the race a lot.  Yes, the run sucked, but my runs always suck.  I'm going to start training hills in Percy Warner so, hopefully, my run times will improve.  The Mach Tenn people were very friendly and the race was very well-supported.  I was a huge fan of the ice-cold towels we received upon finishing.  There was also a great post-race party with all sorts of food not commonly found at smaller races, including hoe-cakes, pizza and beer.  I didn't partake in the beer and hoe-cakes, but the pizza and Diet Coke really hit the spot.  I'll definitely be back next year.
    Mach Tenn Tri Results:
    Swim: 21:22 (4th in age group)
    T1: 2:37
    Bike: 54:33 (6th in age group)
    T2: 1:39
    Run: 43:40 (9th in age group)
    Total: 2:03:42 (8th in age group)

    Friday, June 3, 2011

    The Wetsuit Chronicles - Part I

      I'm racing the Mach Tenn tri tomorrow.  Well, "racing" is kind of exaggerating really.  I'll really more be swimming, biking and running at a leisurely pace so I don't pass out.  It's the longest tri I've ever attempted: 1,000m swim / 16 mile bike / 4 mile run.  Now I know I can do all of the distances separately, but attempting them at all at one swoop in 95 degree heat has me freaking out a smidge.  But my anxiety about the race isn't the point of this post.  That'll come later in the race recap.  No, this post is about a different type of anxiety altogether: my first experience with a wetsuit.
      You see, the Mach Tenn is open water (not in a pool) and wetsuit legal, meaning you can wear one if you choose as long as the water doesn't get above 84 degrees.  From what I have been told, wetsuits are the way to go in open water as they are very buoyant and really help improve your swim times.  Since I've never done an open water swim either while racing or in practice (not recommended), I was thinking a wetsuit would be beneficial and boost my confidence for my swim.
      Of course, that meant that I had to go get a wetsuit.  Bad news is that these things can run up to $800, but the good news is that you can rent them for $40 from Endurance if you're not ready to buy one.  So off I went to see Deanna down at Endurance and rent a wetsuit.
       Deanna was, as always, very helpful.  She found me the correct size and handed me a bottle of Suit Juice and scooted me off to the dressing room.  What is Suit Juice you might ask?  I know, sounds icky, right?  It's actually an oil that people use to help get wetsuits on.  Deanna said to put some around my ankles and wrists and the suit should just pull right up.  Yeah, right...  Have you ever tried to stuff yourself into a neoprene body suit?  Well, I now have, and it wasn't pretty.
       I did exactly what Deanna said.  I put the Suit Juice on my ankles and wrists.  It started off Ok, I guess.  I stepped into the suit and then tried to pull it up my legs.  Kicker was, you can't pull from the outside because you could damage the suit.  You have to pull from the inside.  So I'm trying to pull it up, but it kept getting caught.  It was tight, but that wasn't really the issue.  It was more like trying to put on a pair of tight jeans after just getting out of the shower.  They just don't want to go on.  That's how this suit was.  It fought me the entire way.  So now I'm working up a sweat while trying to put this thing on, which only makes it WORSE!
       After a few minutes, Deanna yells from outside the dressing room "Are you OK?  Do you need help?"  And apparently, I did.  I was at the point where I had gotten the suit over my legs, hips and front torso, but couldn't get it over my shoulders so I could zip it up in back.  Hoping that my husband and Deanna were the only two in the shop (they were), I sheepishly came out of the dressing room looking for assistance.  The suit was all the way up in the front, which hunched my shoulders forward.  Because I couldn't get my arms all the way in, the suit extended down past my fingers.  I kind of waddled out out like a penguin.  I knew I had to look ridiculous, but whatever - I needed help!  Deanna AND my husband jumped into action to help me get zipped up the rest of the way.  Deanna commented that she'd never seen anyone have so much trouble with a wetsuit before, especially since it was the right size.  Figures.  I'm a freak.      
      So we finally get the dang thing on and it fit fine.  It's a weird feeling having a wetsuit on because you FEEL like you shouldn't be able to move, yet I was completely mobile.  I could spin my arms in complete circles just like I was swimming with no problem.  Great.  Moving on.  I headed back to the dressing room to take the thing off, which fortunately only took about 5 seconds.  Which is good, because I would NEVER use one racing otherwise.
      About 10 minutes later we were out the door with my rented wetsuit and a bottle of Suit Juice.  Deanna said that the bottle should last a really long time.  After my first experience though, I have a feeling I'll be bathing in it prior to putting on that suit again.
      What's ironic about the whole experience is that since renting the suit, Nashville has had a string of 95+ degree days, so the water temperature at the race will probably be too warm to use it.  The water was in the 80's earlier this week, which is more than warm enough to ditch the suit.  Oh well.  Maybe I'll just take it to the Y tonight just to get my rental money out of it.  :-)

    Sunday, May 29, 2011

    GJCC Triathlon - Race Report

      It was another race day for me - the Team Magic GJCC (Gordon Jewish Community Center) Sprint Triathlon.  Yes, for some crazy reason I signed up for a triathlon over Memorial Day Weekend.  One that started at 7am... On a holiday weekend...  We had to get up at 4:30.  I'm sure my husband was thrilled (though he didn't say anything...he's very supportive).  Anyway, off we were at 5:30 so we could get to the race site by 6:00.  

       I had picked up my bib numbers and TriTats (body markings) the day before so all I SHOULD have had to do is set up my transition area because I was supposed to put my TriTats on the night before.  TriTats should have been easy enough, one would think, right?  It's a water tattoo.  Kicker was, I received two sets of instructions and they were different.  One set said I should have three tattoos - two for my arms and one for my right calf - and I only was given two.  My other set said I should just put one on my left calf.  Now, I'm new at the sport and I don't know how much race officials actually care about things like this.  They have always seemed to be pretty specific at previous races.  Plus, I have an innate desire to obey rules, so I really wanted to make sure I was putting my TriTats on correctly.  So I spoke to a few people when I got there and everyone was in the same state of confusion as me.  Note to race organizers - if you have a race that you claim is "beginner-friendly," please make sure you don't give conflicting information, even if it is on something like TriTats.  We don't need the added stress.
      Anyway, once we got the TriTats on (I went with two-arm markings), I set up my transition area.  While still beginner-friendly because of the distance, this race seemed to have a lot more veteran racers in the field when compared to the Ramblin' Rose tri.  At least, the transition area made it seem that way.  That probably had to do more with this being a mixed-gender race rather than an all-female race, but I definitely saw more tri-bikes and less women in full hair and makeup.
       After setting up my area, all I had to do was wait for the start.  Team Magic does a time-trial start so everyone starts the swim individually starting with #1 (numbers are based on estimated swim time).  I was #266 so while the race started at 7:00, I didn't actually get racing until probably 8:00, so I had a good hour to hang the 80+ degree sun.  Fortunately, the water was nice and cold...

    Ooo...that's COLD!!
    I think I couldn't breathe for a second....

       Unfortunately, I didn't feel as good as I did two weeks ago once I started swimming.  Unlike then, I felt fatigued today.  I think all of the training is starting to catch up with me.  Good news though is that I actually swam relatively fast.  I passed several people and don't think I got passed.  I had a really difficult time passing one man, which slowed me down some.  I guess that's probably always going to be an issue in triathlon though.  
    My head behind the man in the yellow cap.  I had already passed the other two swimmers.

     I thought I'd be around 4:30 and I ended up at 4:08 for 200 meters and a walk / wade at the end of the swim.  The wading thing is weird because your instinct is to start trying to run in the water because it's only like 3 feet deep, but I think it's actually faster to try to swim as long as you can.  I think the wading slowed me down too.
    Out of the water!!

      We had to run from the pool down some stairs to the transition area.  The last thing I wanted to do was eat it while running down the wet stairs so I kind of took it easy.  The actual transition went smoothly - socks, bike shoes & helmet on and off I went.  I should probably start racing without socks.  Putting those on take up the most time.  Not a fan of blisters though.  Maybe I'll try this on my next sprint tri.
    Coming out of T1

       This race had a small uphill start and race organizers recommended running up the short hill before getting on your bike.  Do you know how hard it is to run uphill in bike shoes?  Probably should have ignored them and clipped in at the bottom of the hill, but oh well.  Lesson learned.  The ride itself was fine.  About nine-miles.  We actually rode on two of Nashville's busier roads (Hwys 100 & 70), but not many cars were out that early and there were a lot of police out blocking traffic for us (THANK YOU NASHVILLE POLICE!), so we were pretty safe.  I had a feeling that I was going to have a mechanical issue today, which fortunately didn't happen.  The route was much hillier than two weeks ago and we had a head-wind for about three-miles, but nothing too bad.  Again, I was tired but tried to pass as many people as I could because I knew the run was going to kill me.  The last part of the ride was almost a mile of downhill back into the transition area.  The one thing that kind of annoyed me is that they had a volunteer telling people to slow down about 1/2 mile from the finish.  I get it - safety first - but this confused me because I assumed that a volunteer telling me to slow down was the clue that I was to turn at the next intersection - and I wasn't.  Didn't slow me up too terribly much, but every second count in triathlon.

    Coming into T2

       Getting back into the transition area, I noticed something cool.  I think were 4 racks in each transition row.  Each rack held 6 bikes, so each row had 24 bikes in it.  I was the last bike in the last rack (again, you line up by race number), so everyone in my row started the race before I did.  But when I got back to my rack after the ride, what did I see?  Only two bikes.  Which meant that between the swim and bike, I beat everyone but two people in my row back to the transition area even though they started before me  (full disclosure - one guy who beat me back was a good 10 years older than me.  The man could ride!)  Granted, I knew everyone was probably going to pass me in the run, but it was still cool to see.

    Where is everyone?  ;-)

    And she's off!! 

      My run was OK.  I REALLY need to work on my speed.  And running in the heat.  It was probably close to 90 by the time I started running and I definitely felt it.  Dudley yelled at me when I started that I was at 39 minutes at the start of my run.  I really wanted to finish in within an hour so I knew I had 21 minutes to finish my run.  Being that I'm a 10-minute miler, I knew it'd be close because I was so tired.  I got a new Garmin this week so I could rally track my pace.  What I think is amazing is that when I started, I felt like I was crawling, but I was tracking about a 9:30 mile.  Then I realized why - I was going downhill.  It was a slight downhill, but enough to make a difference.  Of course, I had to back UP the hill on the way back.  My time dropped by almost a minute.  I got passed - a lot.  My goal of finishing within an hour was in jeopardy, but at the time I didn't care.  I was hot and hurting.  I just wanted to finish.  But before too long, I saw the turn in for the finish line.  I was was so tired that I couldn't even sprint uphill to the finish.  The announcer was trying to cheer me on, but again, I didn't care.  I just. wanted. to. finish.  Which I did.  

    YAY!  The finish!!

    Being awarded my finishers medal.

       After finishing and getting some water, I felt better.  I met up with Dudley and found a couple of East Nasties, Jim and Louis, who also did the race.  Both of these guys have done Ironman races so they finished WAY before I did.  I can't even imagine finishing an Ironman.  Heck - I'm worried about my race next weekend and that's nothing near an Ironman distance-wise.

    East Nasty represent! 

      Overall, a tough race for how short it was.  I just didn't feel great the entire day.  I'm really not a hot-weather athlete (runner), which is too bad because Nashville gets really hot.  More training in the heat for me, I guess.  Fortunately, my times weren't that bad.  Eighth in my age group.  And even better news - I made my one-hour goal with a time of 59:22.  I had hoped for better placement in my age group, but I guess some races you just have to get though.  They make you stronger, right?
      Thanks to Team Magic for putting on a fun race (although fix that TriTat thing, OK?).  Thanks to the volunteers and Nashville Police who were out there keeping us safe.  And, as always, thanks to my husband for his support (and the great pictures).  I couldn't do this without him.

    Me and Dudley  :-)

    GJCC Triathlon
    200m swim / 8.5 mile bike / 2 mile run
    Swim: 4:08 (3rd in age group)
    T1: 2:08 (terrible!!)
    Bike: 31:30 (4th in age group)
    T2: 1:11(better, but should be under a minute)
    Run: 20:24 (17th in age group - need to work on this!!)
    Total: 59:22