Monday, June 25, 2012

19 Miles of Awesome: 2012 Version

Ah yes, the 2012 Twin Lakes Sprint Triathlon was yesterday, the second year in a row I've participated. Also the second year in a row I haven't done an open water swim prior to the race or hardly any outdoor rides. Oops! :) After figuring out why the Garmin 305 wasn't syncing to my PC, I have results, soreness and uploaded courses. Here's last year's recap, and I bring you to this year's recap below. The details: 700 m swim, 14.5 mi bike (although my watch read otherwise) and 4.5 mi run.

  • Weather: mid to low 60s to begin with. Swim start brought us a beautiful, yet blinding, sunrise.
  • Swim: At first I thought I would use the wetsuit, but I waited too long to put it on to be comfortable and many others weren't using theirs, so I went back to transition to leave it behind. I have a full-length wetsuit so it keeps me very warm. The water was very refreshing! Ahhh. My new goggles worked like a charm! They improved their sighting buoys this year to include more orange thingies (dyed milk gallons?) so that helped tremendously. I kept swimming throughout and felt good, albeit slow.
  • T1: Annoyingly slow. The field was so muddy so my feet were just covered in mud. That docked a lot of time unfortunately, but I said that I'd rather spend the extra time feeling better than paying for it later. I don't race for speed so I might as well have happy feet.
  • Bike: Slow also, but my right hip didn't cause any pain so I was very thankful for that. With every turn my heart stopped for a second, but as soon as I got out of it I felt confident and proud. The course, per usual, went through scenic and ritzy Inverness. This probably added some time because I was enjoying the mansions and estates. 
  • T2: Fast, I guess? Throughout the bike I was thinking, "Ok, I'd really just like to run now." As soon as T2 started I kept thinking, "Eh, we can go back to biking now. My ankle is probably going to act up." Anyway, I set up my station well enough so I just grabbed my hat, music, race belt and shoes. I was off!
  • Run: S...L...O...W... but consistent. I was hoping and keeping my fingers crossed that the ankle pain wouldn't rear its ugly head. Wishful thinking. It came on earlier than expected. Usually in a tri it will pick up near mile 2, but this race was all, "Let's be annoying around mile 1.25." Whatever, nothing I could do and stopping to stretch doesn't help, so I kept on keeping on. I walked through the second water station but kept right at it. I broke it up into two 2.25 mi runs, totaling 4.5 miles. I found some great tunes that gave me the boost I needed. The miles chipped away and I finished strong but somewhat out of breath. My speed wasn't great but my endurance was so that's all I cared about.

2012 Overall - 2:12:31
Swim: 17:00
T1: 3:16
Bike: 57:13
T2: 1:39
Run: 53:26

Run Pace: 11:51

2011 Overall - 2:18:11
Swim: 16:30
T1: 4:26
Bike: 59:22
T2: 1:47
Run: 56:08

Run Pace: 12:28/mi

Moral of the story for yesterday's race is as follows:
  1. Arriving early (5:00 a.m. for a 6:36 a.m. start time) is key. See transition area picture. Look at all this space!
  2. I shaved 6 minutes off my 2011 time!
  3. My endurance is way up but speed is roughly the same.
  4. Finishing the day with an Epsom salt bath, followed by a dinner of beer, cheese curds and a chicken wrap is yummy. See pizza picture below.
  5. Next time I'll try a few ibuprofen right before the race. Maybe that will keep the ankle pain at bay.
Anyway, I'm one happy camper. That's all. Next major race: Glenview Sprint Triathlon on July 29.

I'm No Ironman, but I Still Tri.

Swim Course:

Bike Course:

Run Course:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Behind and Somewhat (Mostly) Injured

It's been about 8 months since a post, it's about time to write yes?

Quite a lot has happened in 8 months, most importantly I'm getting married! In December my then boyfriend proposed to me over a surprise weekend in Las Vegas. We're tying the knot later this year and needless to say, it's been a busy 8 months. Since the Corn Maze 5k in OCTOBER I've accomplished the following:
  • Continued yoga practice at CorePower Yoga
  • Tailgate 5k with Leigh Ann, Gail and her friends (so fun)
  • Hot Chocolate 5k with Lori
  • New license plate!
  • Running biomechanics clinic with Janet Leet of SUB5
  • Engaged in Vegas!
  • Lululemon Warehouse Sale in January 2012 with Sarah (#unsupervisedshopping)
  • Continued #unsupervisedshopping
  • The Color Run 5k (Go look at my videos!) although we walked to stay colorful
  • SELF Workout in the Park with Dolvette of the Biggest Loser!
  • Signed up for:
    • Glo Run 5k (this Saturday night!)
    • Twin Lakes Sprint Triathlon - June 24
    • Glenview Sprint Triathlon - July 29
    • Danskin Women's Triathlon - August 26
    • Hell Run - September 1

So between wedding plans, starting a new business with my fiance, continuing my full-time job (which I love), and sticking with my endurance and yoga practice, it's been busy.

Reward for running
My calf/ankle injury is still here and isn't going away. I was fitted for new shoes in December, and while running in the winter it didn't bother me, but it came back with a vengence in March. It's STILL here and one round of physical therapy hasn't helped. Went to Athletico yesterday and they said I should meet with a running specialist.

Ask me how many times I've been in the pool this year? Twice. How many open water swims? Zero. How many times on the bike? 4-5. How many outdoor rides this year? Zero. So between this and my running pain, next week's triathlon should be interesting, as it was last year. Although, I just reread it and my words gave me a new perspective on this awful pain. I race because I love it, and if I'm slow I'm out there enjoying my hobby. I can't find a picture of it, but my new license plate reads TRI IT. Double meaning too; meaning I encourage people to always try things with me, and of course, triathlons.

IL residents have a nack for vanity license plates, and ever since I could figure it out I've always wanted one. This year we made it happen! I'm a sucker for it but it's very true to me.

Thanks for reading. Up next: Glo Run 5k and next weekend's triathlon.

I'm No Ironman but I Still Tri

Alumni Tailtage 5k

Flattering, I know. But the bus speaks the truth.
F'in freezing but full! The amount of chocolate
and sugar actually made me a bit sick.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sweating to a New Beat (and a Corn Maze)

Not but a few minutes ago did I finally publish my Chicago Triathlon race report. "Pam, wasn't that months ago?" Yeah yeah yeah.

I brushed off that race and have moved onto new things this off-season. Since my fifth triathlon season has wrapped up I've gotten involved with two new-ish and awesome hobbies, both coincidentally from Groupon: group running and hot yoga. Back in May I purchased a one-year membership the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA - the largest running organization in the area) and in August I purchased a one-month unlimited membership to CorePower Yoga. I've taken my passion for fitness to a whole new level.

I'd like to take a moment and interrupt this portion of the blog to bring you this week's seasonal race: The Corn Maze 5k! It was so corny!!!! I jogged with a good friend Lori and we took our time and I actually documented it the whole way from my phone. Here we are!

Okay, back to business.
Group training isn't new to me but there weren't any organized running clubs or groups near home that were convenient. So, I decided that I was going to make my own fun. I emailed CARA and asked if there was anything in my immediate area. They responded and said there wasn't anything official or organized but if I wanted to host a weekly fun run they'd allow me to do so. They'd promote it and somewhat co-manage it. Shortly after I received another friendly email saying that there was another young woman in my town who also asked the same thing who also wanted to join a weekly fun run. It was great timing actually! We met up before the first fun run and actually have quite a lot in common. I was happy to have a new friend and listen to her marathon experiences while I spilled the beans on triathlons. We began our first weekly fun run not far from home and with some great weather. There were about 8 women total and we ran about 3 miles. It's truly amazing the people you meet when running brings you together. Since then I've twisted my ankle a few times, pushed my pace a bit and conquered a few longer distances (4 miles is "longer" for me). I'm not sure how much longer we'll be able to meet since it's stupid dark by 6-6:30pm but at least we all got out there and have supported each other.

There's a pace that I've had to maintain when running in a group and I've really enjoyed it. Before I know it I'm maintaining a pace that I couldn't do by myself and I'm proud of what I've accomplished. I don't run often anymore but the minimum once per week with the CARA ladies keeps me going.

On October 1 I turned in my Groupon for the one-month unlimited class at CorePower Yoga. Prior to that I took advantage of a free week and wasn't so sure how I was going to feel about hot yoga. (Here's a hint: it was hard, sweaty and challenging.) I've always enjoyed yoga just haven't found the right studio to join. Since then I've been totally hooked. The classes I attend are minimum 100 degrees with 40% humidity. (Here's another hint: I'm sweating when I'm lying on the mat.) Since joining and attending 3-5 classes per week I don't know if I could do anything BUT hot yoga. If I'm not dripping wet when I leave then the class wasn't a success. I can tell that I've worked hard and I've accomplished so much. With hot yoga comes added strength and flexibility and I can see this during my strength workouts in the evenings. My 6am yoga classes energize me and I actually look forward to getting up at 5:20am. Combine that with strength training some evenings I'm slowly losing inches and adding strength.

Bottom line, since the triathlon season has wrapped up I've kept myself ever so busy trying new things and exploring strengths I didn't know I had. I'm very happy I've come across these things even though the monthly membership to the yoga studio will probably cost me a small fortune.

And with my final note I will temporarily transition from my regular motto to...


Learning from the Unexpected

I have been avoiding an update from the Chicago Triathlon. It's been nearly two months since it happened, and I think I'm going to let this one go. I don't have much to report on that I'm proud of, not that I didn't try hard, but the unexpected circumstances really drove my attitude into the ground and destroyed any chance I had of doing well (mentally).

The temperature was nice, but possibly due to Hurricane Irene the water in the harbor was insanely choppy and incredibly hard to manage. People were giving up just as the swim began and it was hard to keep my head in the game. The water was so choppy that the water was all stirred up so even with the minimal visibility under water it was all lost with the water conditions. I couldn't see the swimmers ahead of me, and in turn kept getting kicked in the ribs. Normally I could avoid this if I could see the swimmers, but alas, it happened. I tried to play this game where I wouldn't allow negative thoughts into my head, but it wasn't happening. I checked my time when I excited the water, it was a few minutes slower than I had hoped. I was so exhausted from the swim that the long transition distance seemed like an eternity.

The conditions on the bike weren't any better. I felt like I was going to get knocked off my bike from the gusts on Lake Shore Drive. I don't train in these conditions so I was scared. I knew going northbound the wind is always harder than southbound, but good grief...

Long story short, here's the three disciplines:
After going back and looking at my posts from DailyMile it seems like the run helped my time but it still wasn't what I hoped for.

Since it has been nearly two months I'm going to officially let this one go. I'm in a better place about it and there's no sense hashing it out online. This post has been in draft mode since the race and I'm putting it to bed.

I've learned over the past five seasons that to a degree there is a lot I can't control. Not every race is going to be good. I put each season and all my races up on a pedestal and expect to have a total blast at all of them. I cram in so much and expect so much. Hey, four out of five races isn't bad and it was a big season for me. I'm proud that they're all sprint distance races but I'm not any less proud than longer distance racers. If I'm smiling and feeling good that's all I care about.

I'm 95% sure I'm going to spectate the Chicago Triathlon next year and maybe try another race sometime in September. But who knows... there's always that email in December or January luring me back in with their $10 off discount (by the way, the race registration fee is more than the Chicago Marathon, so even with my USAT discount it's nearly $160). Another reason to chalk it up and let others enjoy the course.

I'm No Ironman, But I Still Tri.