Thursday, August 25, 2011

Unsupervised Shopping Part 1

Just writing the title makes me giddy! As much as an inconvenience the Chicago Triathlon is, the Multisport Expo is the best. All 8000+ athletes must visit the expo to pick up their packet, and this provides another opportunity for some unsupervised shopping. Fortunate for me, I get to pick up even more goodies and end of season gotta have deals, more Spinervals DVDs, another pair of triathlon shorts I have to have. This is unfortunate for my pocket book, but hey! I've got all year to make money and only one opportunity a year to be amongst friends and vendors who've seen me at my best and worst. I have a belief that if I were to actually sign up and train for an Ironman I would bring our country out of a recession.

Here's what happens when you have a multisport expo and the average summer temps were in the 70s: very cool Lake Michigan temps and the need to try on neoprene swim caps too small because they're sold out. As you can tell, it's sucking the life out of me because I have a big melon. Please note, I'm wearing a fleece sweatshirt IN AUGUST. This was 2009. Brr! But the point is, we had fun at the expo.

Because there are 8000+ athletes visiting the multisport expo, there's limited space to try on the must have, most awesome clothes of all time (for this instant because in another few weeks said item will be replaced with a new must have, most awesome item of all time). This leaves me dressing down to my birthday suit to try on clothes with nothing but a nylon tent standing between me and all others. (It's especially fun when I try on a top and my shirts start flying over my head and all you can see is my head popped up over the tent. I think I've found a new genre for the adult film industry. "Triathletes Gone Wild.")

Bottom line, here's what I can't wait to do this Saturday:
  • Pick up my bib (#1168! Track me by downloading the athlete tracking app)
  • Participate in another round of #unsupervisedshopping (love you, Kevin!). Shopping list includes: Spinervals DVDs (for a less boring off-season training on my bike trainer), badass running socks, and the ever exciting must have, most awesome item of all time
  • Be amongst other dedicated and passionate endurance athletes
  • Plan my fall racing calendar
  • Food and drink samples! (Think there'll be Twix bars there?)
I better get some rest, it's going to be a busy expo! (Oh yeah, I'm racing on Sunday, right? Until then...

I'm No Ironman, But I Still Tri

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Got Banged... Bangs Lake

Got your attention, no? Good gosh, folks. This is about triathlons.

L to R: Ellen, Lisa, Me
I started the racing weekend off at the Fleet Feet Elvis is Alive 5k and that was a hoot! Great weather, awesome company, and fantastic outfits. I convinced Ellen to run with me, and recruited Lisa to join us! She was a total badass and paced us the whole time. Ellen said, "I'd love to beat 35 minutes!" Much to our surprise, we finished at 33:42. Thank you, Lisa. Just what I needed. That's a recent PR for me. Whoa.

Friday night I slept quite a bit, clocking about 9-10 hours. I hopped over to Running Away Multisport to pick up my packet. Packet pickup was super; RAM Racing has the best swag bags. The sprint race swag included: triathlon bag, towel, water bottle, hat, drawstring bag and an American Apparel zip up. (Again, I am still undecided: do I race for the achievement or for the swag?)

Coach Anne (right) and Me
I didn't get as much sleep Saturday night as I had planned, but I was mentally prepared and ready for a new course. The alarm went off at 3:50am, I was on the road by 4:15am, and at the race site just before 5:00am. I was very pleased with the transition area set up, and was fortunate to have decent space to set up my transition area. I love women only races; the attitude is much happier. (Take a hint, boys.) I was a few spots over from Coach Anne and kept running into familiar faces. (I love race morning!) I ran to the water to check the temperature and decided to ditch the wetsuit.* I caught the shuttle bus to the swim start. Funny enough, the water temperature was warmer than the outside air temperature. It was quite bizarre feeling cool after getting wet in a triathlon situation. (Although this race could have been a bit more pleasant with the wetsuit because of all the friggin seaweed. Ick Factor: 10)

My wave was first. Yahoo! The sun provided a nice blinding sensation and I couldn't find the buoys (of which there weren't enough). Every time I felt that I was back on course I really wasn't. The ridiculous seaweed at the end really threw me off and in turn got me very worked up. This was somewhat of a domino effect after that leading up to the bike. My first transition was a total tea party. 4 minutes. This included a pretty decent run from the swim. But still, I was molasses.

The bike course was to be expected, rolling hills and open roads. I was happy because most athletes hadn't started their bike yet so it was just the other women and me.

T2 was a bit speedier and included a pre-run right calf stretch in hopes of achieving a strong run. Well, Plan A worked!

The run course was also hilly, what the heck? This is ILLINOIS. Last I checked Illinois is in the Midwest and should be flat. I went out there with the mentality of trying to be strong and push through, just like I did at the 5k a few days prior.** Not only did I ditch my wetsuit but I left my music behind too. I saw a lot of my friends out on the run course, and found some kind words from my friend Kara too. She said I looked strong and fast, and that was all the music I needed to hear. It was true; I had my fastest 5k during a triathlon in recent years. I finished strong, hydrated and relatively pain free to my friends Katherine and Coach Anne cheering me on.*** Another proud moment for our group of athletes is Coach Anne's victory as the winner of the inaugural She Bangs Sprint Triathlon.

All in all, it was a fantastic day and the weather mostly cooperated. The sun was a nice and warming, and the post-race food of pancakes and French toast were yummy. It's over 24 hours since finishing and I'm still living off the high (or is it the soreness?) giving me the excitement to carry me through my last and final triathlon of the season.

 I am also happy to share that this was my 15th outdoor triathlon. I'd say 15 is a good number to get Bang(s Lake)ed.

I'm No Ironman, But I Still Tri.

When I got home I realized I had brought a part of race back with me. Here's the conversation:

* Any race that doesn't require a wetsuit is a big win in my book.
** My goal in life is to one day vomit post-run, but I don't actually want to get to that point. Vomit is gross.
*** I probably should get faster so I can cheer them on, yes?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Flair and Chuck Norris

Yes, work is getting in the way of training and racing. Therefore now is my opportunity to work harder at this blog. Today's issue: flair and quotes. Here's some of the better flair I've seen today. (I do not hold the copyrights to these images or quotes but want to share them with the community.)

Cafe Press

Cafe Press

And the mother of all quote sites has a special meaning to me. In college I nominated myself to be the Chuck Norris quote reader during my sorority's weekly meetings. Gawd it was fun. Borrowed from this site, I bring you these:
  • Chuck Norris can volunteer at a triathlon and still win it.
  • You know what Chuck Norris puts in his Fuel Belt? Fuel.
  • Chuck Norris didn’t get an Ironman tattoo; Ironman got a tattoo of Chuck Norris.
  • Chuck Norris tested his VO2 max. We all suffocated.
  • Chuck Norris doesn’t need a wetsuit because water gets out of his way.
  • If Chuck Norris got a flat on the bike, he would take yours.
  • Chuck Norris doesn’t need a razor to shave his legs. Just has to flex.
  • A Chuck Norris triathlon is Round, House, Kick.
  • During the post-Ironman interview, Chuck Norris responded with, “What race?”
  • Chuck Norris is allowed to buy “Finisher” merchandise before the race.
  • Chuck Norris doesn't wear a timing chip on his ankle. Once the race is over HE decides what his time should be.
  • Chuck Norris doesn't train for triathlons. Triathlons train for Chuck Norris.
  • Had Chuck Norris been present the day they coined the term "Ironman", our full distance triathlons would be called "Chuck Norris Recovery Days" instead.
And the others...
  • "There are clubs you don't belong to, schools you can't attend, neighborhoods you can't live in, but the trails are always open."
  • "Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, or an hour, or a day or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever." Lance Armstrong
This is my ultimate triathlon quote, and is the signature of my emails:

Swim like there is no bike. Bike like there is no run. Run like you stole something. 

Any other endurance or triathlon quotes to share with the group?

I'm No Ironman, but I Still Tri.

P.S. I couldn't leave the real Chuck Norris facts off this post. Enjoy. Most of these, courtesy of this and this site.

  • Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.
  • They once made a Chuck Norris toilet paper, but it wouldn't take shit from anybody.
  • Chuck Norris can set ants on fire with a magnifying glass. At night.
  • When the boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.
  • Chuck Norris makes onions cry.
  • Death once had a near-Chuck-Norris experience.
  • Chuck Norris can speak French... In Russian.
  • Giraffes were created when Chuck Norris uppercutted a horse.
  • Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.
  • Chuck Norris sleeps with a pillow under his gun.
  • There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Chuck Norris allows to live.
  • Chuck Norris can delete the Recycling Bin.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives and Twix

This week is shaping up to be interesting. I've lost some interest in training, probably due to the fact that I was very physically exhausted last week. This happens every year, right around this time of my training. Okay, fine. I can move on. I also had a crummy workout last night, could barely get through the swim, and was super tight during the run. Blah. A drill we worked on last night was working on our positive and negative thoughts. We would swim towards a location thinking negative thoughts, and on the return we'd only focus on positive thoughts. While it was a great drill, it gave me an excuse to start crabbiness. It was a perfect storm, and I was just downright crabby last night. It's ridiculous, even my new Lululemon purchase arrived today and I'm somewhat apathetic to it. (rolls eyes.)

Trying to shake it off and get excited for my two adventures this week: the Fleet Feet Elvis is Alive 5k tomorrow and the She Bangs Sprint Triathlon on Sunday. I have no idea how I'm going to perform tomorrow night for the 5k, but if I hydrate enough tonight and tomorrow and avoid crappy eating it could turn out well. I'll be running with a few friends so I'm hoping they'll distract me.

The sprint triathlon on Sunday is part of the multisport festival, with the inaugural women's sprint triathlon. I know I'll be amongst great company, just hoping I can shake this stupid attitude before then. I know it's all a part of the little resentment I get around week 10 of my official triathlon training.

Bottom line, I need the next few days to refocus, shape up, and get my head back in the game. Even writing it makes me feel better. If you have a(n) insightful quote/Twix bar/stiff cocktail to spare please send it my way, I'll take it. But please if the stiff cocktail comes with a garnish, a blue cheese stuffed olive will do just fine. A Twix bar in a cocktail is just bizarre.


Thanks for reading. (Now, where's my hidden stash of chocolate?)

I'm No Ironman, but I Still Tri.

P.S. I feel substantially better. Thanks to the "preview" button for lifting my spirits.

Monday, August 1, 2011


I can now count on one whole hand how many times I've completed the Glenview Sprint Triathlon. I've got to say, that's five races each with fantastic stories. Here's last year's story.

Fortunately I don't have a lot to report, other than how fantastic the race was and I still can't believe it's already over. This is one of the two races I plan my summer schedule around and yesterday's race again solidified my passion for the sport. I see this race as my biggest social event of the year. I know so many of the athletes, they expect me to be there and I know I'll see so many of them throughout the course cheering me on.

As you can see, I managed to snag a stellar transition spot, and there was even room next to me for my friend Robin! I arrived at 5:15am, set up, did a quick warm up and headed to the starting line. I always say, if I don't have to bring my wetsuit, the race is going to be a piece of cake.


I got in line with Robin, and we slowly made our way to the front of the line. This is a pool swim with athletes starting every 10 seconds so we got to hang and chat.

The swim begins, and right away I knew I hadn't started my watch. D'OH! I turned the sucker on and started timing. (Now that's a first.) It's a 300 yd swim in an s-pattern, so every lap we must go under the lane dividers. This causes many "tea parties" while the swim volunteers tell us to let others pass. Regardless, my swim pace was right on target.

Green cap (by request, so my pit crew can find me)

I felt great transitioning from the swim to bike, and the tips I learned from our coach this year really shaved time off. I can't believe it. It flew by! Took me a minute to get my bearings and to get on the bike, but I was off! The two five-mile loops were mine!

I didn't feel too bad and tried to keep my cadence between 80-90, but I couldn't maintain that pace. I averaged about 75-77, but I'll take it! I kept visualizing my next steps through transition and WHAM, I made it out alive, pretty speedy too! All I had to do was get through the next three miles and the five-peat would be complete. Easier said than done, but I actually felt pretty darn good. I was properly hydrated, I had enough nutrition and I was ready. I was off to a speedy start so I had to remind myself to sloooow down. My right calf irritation started up and I eventually found a tune that carried me throughout the 5k. It wasn't fast by any means, but I did what I could. The second half was surprisingly easier. I finished strong and wasn't struggling to catch my breath after. I was hot, but not hot enough to feel the need to pass out. (Phew.)


And there you have it, another Glenview Sprint Triathlon in the books. My results are also pretty decent. I am not a fast racer, but I've managed to demolish my previous times, nearly year after year. I guess it pays off to start with higher times, right? Last year I shaved 6 minutes off my 2009 time, and this year I'm proud to say I knocked nearly 2.5 minutes off my 2010 finishing time, meaning I'm damn close to my PR. I give credit to our new coach who gave amazing tips on decreasing transition time.

(Racing made me loopy, so I forgot to upload the course, but that'll change tonight.)

Congrats to my fellow athletes who I train with and see every year, some with amazing finishing times. Thanks to my family for supporting me and for being the best pit crew out there. Love you all.

I'm No Ironman, But I Still Tri

Course Details