Monday, April 28, 2014

The lessons

Official Results were posted this morning for yesterday's race:

I was 197th out of 211 finishers! Last place in my age group. I'm OK with that, really! I knew that I would be one of the last finishers when I checked out the results from the last couple of years. I had secretly hoped to come in under 4 hours, and I did so! :) Yay, me!

So, I promised I would talk about some of the lessons I learned during my first Olympic Distance Triathlon, and here they are, in no particular order! Some of these may be abundantly clear, and some may be related only to this race, but regardless, they are lessons and all such things are important as one grows as an athlete! :)

1. The wetsuit feels very constricting at first, but that goes away. Do not panic. Just keep swimming and keeping the heart rate under control. Make sure to practice in the wetsuit often.

2. I need to practice more cycling after swimming. My legs felt dead upon getting out of the water. I had not felt that during my sprint triathlons so I was unprepared for it. This swim was 2.5 times as far as my longest sprint tri swim. That is a huge difference.

3. I need to determine what happened during the run. Was it the warmer temps that caused me problems? Was it my nutrition/hydration during the bike? Was it my nutrition/hydration before the race? Not that it was "BAD" because I felt great coming off the bike - no typical weird feeling. I just had no speed left in me.

4. I need to get better control over my mind during the race. Lots of negative thoughts ran through my head and finally got the best of me in the run when I realized I had no speed. Mental Toughness is going to be a requirement for the time I will spend during the Half Ironman. If I don't get control of that, it will be a miserable experience. And I don't want that. My performance was just fine but my brain kept acting like I was failing miserably. Stupid.

5. Is there a way to get more effective in transition? I think there is always room for that.

6. So glad I practiced breathing on one side! I needed it when the water got choppy due to the sprint course joined up with the Oly course.

7. Stop expecting a huge celebration at the finish. Triathlon is more laid-back.

8. Bring my own recovery food IN my tri bag so I can start eating while I put my stuff away. In case there is nothing provided that I will eat, or in case it's all gone.

9. More hill training on the bike!

I'm sure there are more and I will continue to add to this list as they come to mind! Augusta 70.3 is FIVE MONTHS from today!!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Race Report: West Point Lake Olympic distance triathlon

I am so very tired from today's race and the 2 hour drive home afterward, but I really don't want to lose what I'm feeling or forget any of the details. So I am going to start typing and hope this makes sense!

West Point Lake park - absolutely a gorgeous place!

I drove down yesterday afternoon so I wouldn't have to leave my house at 3:30 in the morning! I am SO glad I did that. My friend BJ joined me so we could split the room cost. She and I went out for dinner and had pizza at this charming little place that was really out of the way and looked like a dive but tasted delicious! Afterward, we drove out to the venue to make sure we knew how to find it. This was one of the best decisions we made because this morning driving out there in the dark it was hard to find and I'd already been there!

I couldn't get my GPS to pull up the address - this is what the map showed when we pulled up! LOL
We walked around the transition area and checked out the swim start and finish.

Empty transition - it would be rocking in less than 12 hours!

Swim finish - always happy when it's not a huge hike up a hill!

This is the last half of the swim course. Wow, it's so beautiful! The picture doesn't even do it justice!
I have to admit that I was freaked out when I saw the buoys and how far away they are! The course started on the OTHER side of the cove.

Yes, this is really as far as it looks. It was FREAKY!
We went back to the hotel room and hit the bed early.

Flat Niffercoo

Mike the Bike spent the night with me! ;)
I slept about as good as could be expected for the night before a big race. It came in 90 minutes spurts - and then I woke up for good at 3:30. The alarm was set for 4 AM, so there was no point in trying to fall back asleep. I spent the time talking to God and going over my race strategy.

We got dressed and packed up all of our stuff to head out to the lake. We ate breakfast in the lobby of the hotel. Since we'd be finishing after check-out time, we went ahead and checked out of the hotel before we left for the race. It was so dark at 5AM when we left. Transition opened at 5:30 and we both wanted to be there right when it opened. Going out to the middle of nowhere where the lake is just got darker and darker. And then we had to walk a good distance from the parking area to transition. BJ has a hat that has a light on it. I have my visor light, but the battery is dead. From now on, my triathlon packing list will include this light.

Transition set up went smoothly. We hit the bathroom (not the porta potty lol) and tried to exchange my shirt for a bigger size. These are supposed to be Ladies Cut but these are more like Juniors. I was told to come back after the race, but by the time I finished, there were no more in my size. So I will wear the teeny tiny shirt! At home. ;)

Transition - and yes, other folks did show up next to me! LOL
Hit the potty one more time, and then it was Wetsuit time! I got my can of Trislide and getting my wetsuit on was much, much easier. I also think it just helps to do it over and over. And maybe the wetsuit starts to stretch out a little bit, too? Anyway, it was on, and I was ready to head over to the start!

Yes, this is how you look awesome so early in the morning! All it takes is a wetsuit!

BJ and I are rocking the wetsuits and green caps!
They were announcing a water temperature of 59 which seemed impossible because they said on Monday the water temp was 64. It was warm and sunny all week - how could the temp drop by that much? I was concerned about my goggles leaking like they did on Thursday's workout, so I decided to brave the "very cold water" to test them out. I tentatively placed a foot in the water - and it felt great! A little cool, yes - but nothing like the day we did OWS practice at Lake Lanier! I went out futher, did a goggle test, got my arms wet, and then came back out for the meeting. And then... it was time to start!

2 people went at a time every 5 seconds. I like this sort of start! We lined up according to race number which indicated our projected swim time. If people are honest about their abilities, this works out great! I got in the water right before BJ and waded out until I could swim. My goggles started to leak right away so I stood back up and fixed them and tried again. I did my best to remember to relax and not get my heart rate up. The water felt good so that wasn't a problem. But my chest was feeling constricted and that was a bit unnerving. I knew this was a common occurrence but my mind was having a field day with me today. And what was the first thought that popped into my head? How can I do a Half Ironman if I can't even do this distance?? I had barely even made it to the 2nd buoy! @@

By the 3rd buoy, my chest was feeling much better and I was getting into a rhythm. The water was a bit choppier here, and I was swallowing some water, so I started breathing only on one side (away from the waves). I am so glad I've been practicing this in the pool! This one guy kept cutting me off and he was so annoying. I'd just get into a good rhythm and he'd cross over in front of me again. And then towards the end of the swim, we joined up with the sprint distance folks (who started later than we did). That was HORRIBLE! Tired, slow Oly folks were joining in with fast Sprint folks and the water was horribly choppy. I was not a happy camper. I finally made it to the shore and was so proud of myself. I stood up and was very wobbly. I wasn't expecting that!

The pavement hurt on my bare feet but I got back to my transition area, dried off my feet (which weren't dirty at all so didn't need to be rinsed first), and put on my toe socks. I was afraid this would be hard because the toes and wet feet, but it wasn't! I had a pretty fast transition - my fastest ever T1!

Because of the wobbly swim legs, the bike started out harder than I expected. I was afraid I was going to be cold, with the wind and the wet body, but I wasn't (which should have told me what I was in for on the run LOL). The course was listed as "rolling hills" and they weren't kidding. These hills were steeper but shorter than the ones I am used to. It was a beautiful course, though, especially at the turn around/water bottle exchange at Glass Bridge Park. I looked for pictures but couldn't find any. Trust me, it's gorgeous there! BJ and I kept pace with each other pretty much like we do on a group ride. She was very, very strong out there! My Garmin tells me I set a 40K record pace of 14.6 mph! So if that's why the bike seemed hard, I will take it! On the way back to the transition area, a guy who was leaving with his bike (because he was finished) took the time to encourage me. Which was nice. Coming from someone who is finished and leaving before I'm done with the bike! LOL

Fastest T2 time here! That's very encouraging!  Nothing remarkable happened here!

More encouragement from other athletes during the run, more than I've ever seen before. It was fantastic! But my mind was having a FIELD DAY with me. BJ was right ahead of me and we do different intervals so I'd pass her while she walked and she'd pass me when I walked. After nearly 2 miles of this, when I came up on her again, I started talking to her and doing her intervals. This helped distract me from my crazy mind and I asked her if I could stay with her. I don't know how I didn't realize this since I did look at the course map, but we ran on the dam that forms the lake.

Simply beautiful, but do you see any shade?? Yeah, me either. And it was HOT. Much hotter than I have been training in. And I was just running out of steam. BJ and I just kept plugging away and having her company really made the miles go so fast! I'm so thankful that she didn't mind me hanging out with her.

We finally come back to the Finish line and I am looking for the photographers but I see none. In fact, I see NOBODY at the finish. There is a clock, but that is it. When we went out on our run, I could hear someone announcing names as people were crossing the finish line. And there was lots of cheering and excitement. We crossed WELL within the time limits and there was not a soul there. I was NOT a happy camper. It makes me even more glad that I crossed the finish with BJ because she was excited for me to be finishing my first Oly. I'm sorry, but it is NOT COOL to close down the finish line festivities before all finishers have crossed. Typical course cut offs for this company are 4.5 hours for Oly. We were finishing right around 3:36 according to my Garmin - 3:45 according to the official clock.

Oly Tri finisher!!
I have to admit to being a little down at first when I left. There were no medals, and I knew that. But I was really expected there to be a finish line picture of me, and folks there to cheer and be happy for me. Instead, I felt like they thought were were just slow losers.

I had to leave right away to make the 2 hour drive home so my mom could go back home in time for work tomorrow. The drive home helped! Thankfully, my mind actually worked me into a better attitude for a change. Shocking! And when I got home, look what was waiting for me:

My funny 12 year old made me a sign! She cracks me up!

Chocolate. Cake. Enough said!

My mom bought me a new medal holder since my other one is full to overflowing! Hubby will have to hang it tomorrow!

So there is the race report. I may remember more things later but now it's dinner time and I'm really, really hungry! LOL I am so very glad that I did this race early in the season. SO many wonderful lessons learned (will outline them in a post tomorrow) and such a valuable experience for me as I get ready to focus on Augusta. Which is 5 months from tomorrow! WOW!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Here I go!!!

Heading out for my first Olympic distance triathlon! I am not taking my laptop, so the only way I'll be able to update is via my Facebook page! If you do not already "like" that page, here is the link to check it out:

Running Through the Castle Facebook Page

I'm very excited and can't wait for this experience! Wish me luck! :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

These feet

See these feet? I am so proud of them. They ran 13 miles this morning. Yes, they've done that before. But today, they had to overcome a lot to get to that point.

The rest of the body they are attached to had a rough night last night. Sleep was easy to come by, but restless. In fact, the husband woke us up saying we were having a nightmare. I remember there being a nightmare but don't remember what it was about. I had that "nightmare" feeling for most of the day.

It has been such a busy week. I have had practically zero down time, and for me, that is not a good thing. I wanted nothing more than to stay in bed on this cloudy with a chance of rain day and just do nothing. Alas, my daughter had her outside-of-the-home classes today. And they are right next to the park. So I had to get up, and I was going to be right there.

Still, motivation was lacking. This is an unusual problem for me. I don't typically have this problem. It was a strange feeling.

I got to the park and told myself that I would do at least 9 miles. That would be 150% of the distance of the run for the tri next weekend. My coach uses that rule. :) And I was determined to keep my pace at an EASY level. I have got to get my long run pace under control. I read on Strength last night about how the 'easy' level should feel almost too slow. So I was shooting for that - too slow. With the huge lack of motivation I was having, going slow was a piece of cake.

Somewhere around mile 4, as usual, the physical aspect of the run got better. Then I was doing a walk break and a lady that I had passed (twice - one of the bad things about intervals, sometimes I pass someone and then they pass me when I walk, and then I pass them again - makes me feel bad) caught up to me and started up a conversation. She is coming back from a knee injury, so I offered her some encouragement and suggestions to start implementing walk breaks. She asked if I am a Marathoner - she said she was watching me from behind and my stride is so beautiful and it looks effortless. I was very flattered! Sort of made it easier to run after that! LOL

So mile 9 came around and I was feeling good and full of motivation, so I kept going. And before long (well, actually it was long - very long - one of the downsides of the "easy" pacing thing LOL) I was at 13.

And that's why I'm proud of my feet. Because they didn't give up. :)

On a sad note, the feet will be requiring new shoes after the triathlon next weekend. I love the color of these shoes, and the fit, but they aren't made anymore. Serious sadness. So I get to make a visit to my local running store soon to try to find some new shoes that will carry me through the Half Ironman! (Well, they will carry me through August, at least - then I'll need another new pair for the 70.3, but you know what I mean!)

Hope everyone has a blessed Easter Weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

And now we shall taper!

My first Olympic distance triathlon is 11 days away! Today I did my last BIG brick workout - 25 mile bike followed by 5 mile run. The weather was a bit cool and windy but I took that as a challenge. This could be the exact weather I'm racing in! Also, I needed to test out what I'm planning to wear since my Witness Through Fitness kit won't be in until early May. (I'm going to wear my Team Tough Chik tri top from last year!)

Everything went really well on the workout. The park was pretty much empty so I was able to really keep my speed up on the bike. Then the run went surprisingly well. I was planning to run straight through like I have been trying to do on Brick days, but after a mile, I wasn't really feeling it. So I switched to my 4/1 intervals. Imagine my surprise when I finished and my overall pace was 9:59! There is something magical about those intervals, I tell you!

So now it's time to taper a little bit so I can have fresh legs and arms on race day. I still plan to do a fairly long swim tomorrow and a decently long run on Friday followed by a moderately long ride on Saturday, but definitely not my regular distances. I will build back up again after the race is over. While I'm not extremely concerned about my race time, I do want to set myself up to have a strong performance. So that means backing off the base-building a little bit! I don't suspect I will lose much if any of the endurance I have built up! :)

April sure has been a busy month for me! And I've only got 4.5 weeks until the dance recital! (And then it will be time to officially begin training for Augusta 70.3!! WOOHOO!)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Strong Swimmer?? Me?!

Today after church, I met BJ at the lake so we could get in an open water swim practice. She and I are both doing an Olympic distance triathlon 2 weeks from today. We were meeting this amazing friend of BJ's who is an Ironman. Like the real deal, full Ironman. And did I mention she's 68 years old? Yesterday she did the full century ride. Today, she was paddling in a kayak while we swim. Just because she's so nice like that! And obviously very, very strong!

So we got to the lake and put on our wetsuits. BJ brought Trislide and it really helped a lot. I definitely need to get some of my own. I didn't use much of hers so as not to use it up, but I think I could have put it on a couple of other places and it would have helped with the mild chafing. Also, it went on and off easier in the places where I used it. Today it only took me about 5 minutes to get that thing on! Good progress! LOL

We get into the water and it's very, very cold. I thought I'd be better prepared for it this time, but it was still pretty cold! The plan was to swim out to a buoy (we were in a cove) then over to another buoy, and then back to shore. This route is 1/4 mile. I wore my new Garmin 310XT to keep track of the time. I had heard that the GPS is not very accurate even during OWS, but that didn't matter to me. I could keep track of "laps" like I do at the pool. I have heard that you can put the watch inside your swim cap and that helps the GPS, but there is too much hair in my swim cap to have room for anything else! :)

Garmin's map of my route! Don't you love it when I swam up on the shore? :D

You can sort of see how it was the basic route, though it added a lot - almost doubled our workout. It doesn't bother me, though. I'm still digging the watch!

I did really well with spotting on the way out to the buoys and around them, but coming back to shore was hysterical. I kept going way, way off to the right. I was trying to spot BJs pink bag on the shore and just couldn't see it. Thank goodness the buoys during a tri are nice and big! :)

The first lap felt like forEVER. Literally, I got back to the shore and thought I'd surely been swimming 30 minutes or more (I didn't yet know the distance LOL). But the second and third laps went much, much better!

And here is the best part... my new Ironman friend called me a "Strong Swimmer"! Me!! I was beyond excited and tried my best not to be giddy and look like a complete dork! It's quite an honor when an Ironman tells you you are a strong swimmer. Or at least it is to me! :D I mean, I felt strong (after that first lap) so for her to tell me that I'm strong just reinforced it!

My first Olympic distance tri is two weeks from today. I may have already mentioned that! I am really, really getting excited! I'm starting to think the hardest part is going to be getting up super early to make the long drive down there! LOL

One final picture from my Garmin's report of this swim - notice about halfway down, where it shows my "Max Speed"? Who knew I could swim 48 mph!!! LOL
Might be easier to SWIM down to the race at those speeds! :)
Hope all of your workouts this week leave you feeling strong, too!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Race/Ride Report: 2014 Tony Serrano Century Ride

Ok, so technically speaking it isn't a "race" so I can't call it a race report, but it was a special event and a milestone, so I'm going to do it! Because it's my blog! :)

Lots of anxiety this morning. When the alarm went off, I actually said a cuss word. That's so unlike me! But I got up and got moving anyway. Because that's what I do! I got the car packed up and the bike on the back and left around 7 AM and arrived at 7:40 (stopped by the bank to get some cash).

Since I didn't have a clue what I was supposed to do, I asked the guy next to me. He directed me down the alley and around the building. I got my wristband, which was the access to the goodies at the rest stops. Then while I was picking up a cue sheet, a man told me to put one of the sticker dots that matches my route (green = 62 miler) on my wristband so that when I forget which color arrows on the road to follow, I can look at my wristband. I did so, but thought to myself that I wasn't so stupid as to forget which color to follow! [Tidbit of info: I DID forget, right around mile 35! So glad for the dot at that point! LOL]

At this moment, before the ride started, I questioned my sanity!
I got everything ready to go, and headed to the start. As I was passing by on my bike, my FB friend and Tough Chik team mate Karen said hello to me! I stopped and talked to her for a bit and that really helped to settle my nerves! I saw her once on the course as she flew by me, and that was it!

I found my friend BJ, who I was planning to ride with, and met her husband. We saw our friend who is training for Ironman Chattanooga and was going to be doing the 100 miler. We also saw some Witness Through Fitness folks! I cannot wait to get my team jersey so I can represent at these events!

Everyone gathered at the start line and I've never seen so many bikes in one place in all my life!
Official start line!

I thought this was so many bikes... there were SO many more yet to come!

BJ and I waiting to start!
The ride started on time and we were all led by police escort on a mass start through the town of Monroe. That was so cool, but I was a bit (LOT) intimidated by it! I've never ridden with so many bikes so close to me. I still feel so wobbly, but I made it through!

BJ and I rode together for the whole race. She and I are pretty similar in pacing, and it made the time pass by so quickly! Before long, we were at the first rest stop. Despite the fact that I'd been told this race is famous for its rest stops/food, I was unprepared for what I saw!

Rest stop signs! :)

More rest stop signs!

Bikes everywhere!!

The entrance to Rest Stop #1
The line for the amazing homemade food!
After rest stop #1, it was hard to get the legs moving again. And my left hamstring started acting up. It was so strange because it hadn't bothered me at all before that point. I wasn't exactly sure what was going on. But I just kept pedaling! :)

Rest Stop #2 wasn't very far away! It wasn't quite as busy as the first one, probably because the field was starting to spread out by that point. I hit the porta-potty and then got some yummy goodies!

Yes, those are homemade cookies!

But there are also strawberries and bananas! Look at all this food?!?

And there was hummus, and wraps, and veggies! Everything you could possibly need to fuel your ride! And all so delicious!
We got back on our bikes and took off. And my hamstring was magically fine and never bothered me again! So strange!

This section was incredibly hilly. Not huge hills, but just hills that went on forever and ever and ever! Up until this point we had been averaging pretty close to 15mph (and my Garmin recorded a 20mph mile!!), but those hills really slowed us down.

As I was going up one of these crazy long hills, a vehicle pulled up next to me. It was the SAG van. He asked me if I was OK, and if I was doing the 62 or 100. I said I was fine and I was doing the 62, and he said that was great and that the next rest stop was less than 4 miles away. Then he moved on. I was REALLY freaked out. I was feeling fine, actually feeling sort of strong on this hill. Did I look bad? Was he going to pull me from the course? I found out later that he had stopped and checked on everyone, so that made me feel better. But in the moment it was very unnerving!

We got to the Rest Stop #3 and it was very welcome after all of the hills! This was the last rest stop for the metric century folks, and we had less than 10 miles to go!

Even fewer people... we are bringing up the rear with style and class!

Brownies! Don't you wish you had done this ride now??

Peanut butter/Granola balls. These are little drops of heaven!

10 miles to go and feeling great!

The rest of the miles were on busier roads so we rode single file and kept our concentration focused on the roads. But the time went by quickly! I was really feeling great, but I was also really ready to be done. I think I could physically do a century (100 miles) with the proper training, but I'd have to do it with a friend so I wouldn't be incredibly bored! LOL

We crossed the finish line and I put my bike up and went to get my race swag!

Water bottle, "Jersey Bin", and tee shirt! (I paid extra to get the shirt, because I had chosen the bottle/bin option!)

Lunch was provided with our registration ($35 registration, by the way... pay attention Race Directors! LOL) but it was pre-made wraps with stuff on them that I won't eat. Which is OK! But I hadn't really prepared and I was SO hungry! I ate my peanut butter sandwich that I had made for my racing fuel but didn't end up needing. That took the edge off, but I still texted my husband and told him that I was going to need some red meat as soon as I got home! :D He did so and grilled me an awesome hamburger. YUM!

So my overall reaction to my first Metric Century, the Tony Serrano Century Ride? Two Thumbs WAY, WAY up!! I had so much fun! The rest stops were amazing (granted, I don't have anything to compare it to LOL), and the course was really great (with the minor exception of those unending hills - but hills are good for us, right??).

Will I be there next year? Lord willing and the creek don't rise!

Will I do the full century next year? Hmmm..... 

Friday, April 11, 2014

The day before your first Metric Century you should...

1. Rest up, hydrate, eat lots of carbs, plan your fueling strategy, and become familiar with the course.

2. Go to a rock concert, stand on your feet for hours, don't drink any water so you don't have to leave your prime spot on the barricade to use the bathroom, get home at 3 AM, and then proceed to take apart your bike for the first time ever.

I'll let you guess which one is the right answer and which one is the one I did.

Here are a few pictures to help you in your decision-making:

Broken Presta valve = a tire that will not hold air! I shall fix it!

I really, really, really need to clean my chain. This is disgusting, and embarrassing.

Woo-hoo! Gonna change my tire! I have the wheel off... rocking it upside down! I am awesome!
20 minutes later, I still can't even get the tire off the rim. I pulled up a youtube video and it looked so easy! I was on the verge of tears.

I loaded up the tire and drove to the closest bike shop. The kid working there had a really, really hard time getting the tire off so that made me feel better. So I insisted on finishing it myself, and it was SO hard. I don't have the hand strength that I need to make this work easily. Finally, the bike shop owner helped me, and I was on merry way to put the wheel back on the bike.

Except I couldn't. It would not go back on and when I did get it on, it would fall off. And if it stayed on, the chain was in the wrong place. It was horrible - and I started to cry. I would like to think that if I had not been out until 3 AM this morning then I wouldn't have cried.

But I'm not so sure.

And then my son tells me he has to be someplace in 30 minutes. And I cried some more.

So I throw the bike on the rack, put the wheel in the back seat, my son in the front seat and we rush to the bike shop. Son texts his peeps to tell them he will be late. He probably added, "My mom is losing her mind!" He wouldn't have been wrong!

Bike shop kid does not laugh at me at all. He just shows me how to get the wheel back on, and it's just not easy, folks. I'm just saying it - it's NOT easy! Then he tells me where I can clean my very dirty hands. And I do. And then my cadence sensor falls off. And he helps me put it back on.

I did buy a new tube for my saddle bag. I should also make them cookies. Maybe I will do that next week!

Got the son to his meeting. Came home and tested out the bike. Because I am riding my first metric century tomorrow and it would be bad for the bike to fall apart underneath me. Everything seem a little loopy at first but after a few shifting passes on both the front and back, it's back to normal. I put the sensor back where it can actually sense the things it's supposed to sense, because I am now an expert at that, sort of.

And now it's 9 PM and I don't know what to wear. And I only sort of know what to take to eat and drink. And I'm feeling quite a bit of anxiety. I'm hoping it's related to the lack of sleep. That part I can take care of, though, so I'm going to!

Check back tomorrow for my (hopefully) exciting report of my (hopefully) first successful Metric Century bike ride! :) 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My birthday present!

I'm not sure if I posted here or not, but a few weeks ago, my Garmin fell off the trainer - the strap had completely split apart. I attempted to put a new strap on it, and my husband tried, and my Dad tried. Finally, I just decided to ask for a new watch for my birthday! I am really ready to move up to a triathlon watch that I can use in the water.

Now, there is the grand-daddy of triathlon watches out there: the Garmin 910XT. But at the moment, it costs $400. And that's a lot of money for someone like me who doesn't NEED all of the swim data. And I do NEED a few other triathlon-related things, so I decided to ask for the much more reasonable Garmin 310XT.

Here is where I'll note that my mom told me that I didn't have to ask for something triathlon-related for my birthday. I was confused by her statement. ;)

On Thursday, two days before my birthday, this little beauty arrived -

Mom gave me permission to try it out before my birthday, but I decided it would be great to actually use it for the first time ON my birthday for the Half Marathon.

It is very lightweight and comfortable on my wrist. I absolutely LOVE the function where it vibrates for the intervals! I didn't have any annoying beeping going on, and didn't have to worry about getting my intervals confused with anyone else's!

Yesterday I used it on the trainer for my bike ride and that was also cool. I actually have a "Speed" display! LOL I have 4 display fields set up for running and biking - but I may need to go to fewer fields and have the screens alternate. No, not because I can't see the smaller font with 4 fields. No, that wouldn't be it at all. It confuses my brain to have all the data fields. Yeah, that's it!

Today, I got to test it out in the pool! The first thing I noticed was that, in the water, this thing feels like it's a 200 pound anchor! ROFL I'm not sure what the heck that was all about but it was freaky. A couple of tri-folks who also have this same watch tell me that that feeling will go away in a couple of weeks, so that's good! Since the GPS doesn't work indoors, I did what another tri-friend suggested and hit the lap button at the end of each lap and then I went in after the workout and manually entered my distance (which I could get from the number of laps I completed). This was really cool and it allowed me to see which of the strokes are slowing me down. And now I have some sort of 'standard' by which to judge my swimming. Am I slow? Or am I absolutely, completely, ridiculously slow? (Really? It doesn't matter! It is what it is! As my swim coach told me when I first started: the triathlon isn't won or lost in the swim. I just need to be able to finish before the cut-off time!)

Needless to say, I am very happy with my new toy!! Thank you, Mom! :D

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The day my husband called me stupid

3 weeks from today I have my first Olympic distance triathlon! It has not been a very warm early spring (except for a few days this past week) and the winter was super cold, so the water is really cold. And this is an early triathlon (at least it is in my opinion). It will likely be wetsuit legal, which is great because I can practice for the Half Ironman! :) But there is a problem.

I haven't worn my wetsuit in over a year. Not at all. I haven't even tried it on! And I certainly haven't tried it in the lake.

But that's not all.

The water is COLD. And I am not good in the cold at all. I remember reading on Swim Bike Mom's blog how she hyperventilated and freaked out when she put her face in the cold lake water for the first time. I can so see that happening to me! So I NEED to practice my open water swim, but it's hard to get it done. I can't go out alone because that's not safe, but my husband works early during the week!

So yesterday after the half marathon, when he asked me what else I wanted to do for my birthday, I broke the news to him: I want to try out my Wetsuit. At the lake. And I need him to come watch me for safety. (He was a lifeguard in high school. It doesn't matter how many years ago that was ----> 27). Because he loves me, and it was my birthday, he agreed!

We drove out to the park and I started the huge task of putting on the wetsuit. This, my friends, is a workout unto itself! Luckily, my husband took pictures!

This is going to be fun!! Right?!?!
Trying to get it up to my crotch! LOL 
10 minutes later and it's almost on. I'm glad this part doesn't count toward my total time!

Ta DAH!!!!

It was finally time to hit the water. Some folks were coming up to the parking lot as we were heading down.

"Is she going to get in the WATER???"
My husband took a picture of them and their expressions. This was the first time of many that he called me STUPID during this adventure! LOLOL

At this point, I'm realizing how cold the water truly is!

I'm in the water! The wetsuit truly helps!

Getting my arms wet - that was when I squealed because I was so cold! LOL
At this point my husband told me to stop wasting time and just get it over with! :) He was probably right, but I was picturing myself hyperventilating and freaking out. Luckily, that didn't happen.

I put my face in and while it was very cold, I adapted quickly. Really the only problem I had was that my goggles were leaking, probably due to my hair being up in a different way (2 braids instead of one). Once I got the goggle problem taken care of, I was swimming away!

The wetsuit was very buoyant, which was good and bad. Good that I didn't have to really focus on staying afloat, but bad because I felt weird and it was hard to get my stroke working the way it's supposed to. But I'm sure that will come with more practice. Hopefully I'll be able to get back out to the lake next weekend so get some real practice in. I hope that the buoyancy of the suit will make me faster - I felt really slow and awkward, and I don't have much of a speed cushion in the triathlon's cut off times.

Nice to know that he's watching over me while I swim! LOL

All done and heading back to the shore!

Not sure why, but I LOVE this picture!
Someone thinks I've lost my mind! :D
So I finished a few laps back and forth and then I had to take the wetsuit OFF (which was another workout LOL) and change into some dry clothes for the ride home. I was SO cold! Wow! But my leg muscles actually felt great - I guess it's an alternative to the ice bath!

So I'm feeling much, much, much more confident in my wetsuit and in the triathlon! Yes, it's going to be cold and it will feel awkward, but I can overcome it! That's a great feeling!