Monday, June 23, 2014

Rest, rest, rest

I may have done this a little too well last week.  After doing the River Rampage Triathlon on Saturday, I completely went into hibernation mode. Nothing was scheduled all of last week, there was not one piece of tri or workout clothing that ended up in the laundry. I was tired and my body was worn out. And for the first time, I did not feel guilty. Not one bit. I slept at least 8 hours every night. I think it was Thursday morning before I actually thought about doing triathlon.

In the past 18 months, I have completed 3-5ks, 1-10k, 11-half marathons, 1-marathon, Ragnar Wasatch Back, 11-sprint triathlons, 3-Olympic triathlons, 2-Ironman 70.3s and attempted a full Ironman. I wonder why I'm tired! It's been great fun but I am now ready for a few week break. My next race is not for another 3 weeks.

To make matters worse, my shoulder that's been bugging me since I fell on my bike three months ago has not gotten better. It finally came time to have an MRI. I half hoped that there was something that could be "fixed" but the good news is that my rotator cuff is intact. Bad news is I have signs of early degeneration and arthritis and a lot of inflammation. It's just going to be one of those things that I deal with. I will have good days and bad days and I hope the good outnumber the painful ones.

I had a lot of time to think and reflect during the week but unfortunately this also meant that I had a lot of time to miss my hubby. It's been okay for the most part with him working on the other side of the world because I've stayed so busy but with some downtime, uh oh!

I finally started feeling some energy by Friday. That evening I got my hair done and planned on an early Saturday morning temple session and a trip to the local farmers market. Up before 5 am and downtown by 6:30! I love doing this very early in the morning, it feels like there is so much more day in the day! The rest of my day was spent in my yard which has sorely been lacking love this year. Lots of weeding and trimming.
I'm sure my neighbors were happy to see me doing something. I even managed to get a couple of tomato plants planted.

Sunday morning I made it out the door by 7 am for a 5 mile run. I had set an intention for an hour because I have not run in awhile but made it back sooner than that because I was able to finally keep running and not fight my breathing from the stupid cold and allergies.

Back into training mode this week, I checked my schedule this morning and have a couple of bike rides and runs scheduled. Yay!

I'm most excited about leading an open water swim on Wednesday with some friends. Some are experienced swimmers and some are just getting into it. It will be a fun time and I hope they fall in love with it and don't feel like this -
Not many pictures this week but I'll sign off with one of my favorite trees in my backyard!

Monday, June 16, 2014

River Rampage Triathlon 2014 - redemption

I am not sure that I have ever gone "to" Green River, Utah. Sure, I have gone "through" it to get to Moab and points beyond. It's a small town about 3 hours southeast of Salt Lake City and it's main draw besides a truck stop, is the Green River Recreation Area, home of the River Rampage Triathlon.

I had signed up for this race thinking it would be a good "recovery" race four weeks out from IMTX. Just didn't realize I would throw a half ironman in between! This race is put on by TriUtah. I've competed in several of their events and they really put on a good race. The swim is a one mile down river swim for both the Olympic and Sprint distances. It's fast! Unfortunately, this year it is running a little too fast and has resulted in some accidents and even one death so the authorities asked that the swim portion be cancelled.  We had the choice of still racing or transferring our entry to another event.

I chose to go ahead with it since it was a recovery race for me. I figured I could use a bike/run to flush out my body so I headed out Friday afternoon. Got checked into my hotel and met up with a fellow Salt Lake Tri Club member, Scott, to pick up packets and eat dinner. In our brief exploration of the town, the only thing we found was a little drive-in that served pizza. It wasn't bad and of course I got an ice cream cone! We drove part of the bike course and then hit our rooms to finish preparations for the morning.
It was a beautiful morning. Cool and crisp with just a touch of wind. The river looked benign enough but was still running fast. Some people had not gotten the word about the canceled swim until packet pickup and were disappointed to say the least.

I heard my name in the transition area and found out there were more than a couple of us from SLTC racing. Chris was there with a couple of his friends.
The wind started picking up after the athlete meeting. They were going to do a time trial start with the Sprint racers heading out first so I got lined up and ready to go. The bike was uneventful. I passed quite a few people and felt good about how it was going. I can't seem to get away from the wind in anything I do and today was no exception. I felt strong, though and after the turnaround, passed a few more people. Part of the last mile of the ride before turning back into the campground was on a section of road that was really rough. They had marked the potholes but the whole road felt very shaky.

Thanks so much to Myrleen Wright for taking so many photos!
Fast transition and then off to run. The sprint was a one loop course around the golf course. It ended up being a little shy of a 5k. My legs felt good off of the bike and running felt good for the first mile. It was then I realized I really still couldn't breathe. I'm so over this cold/allergy thing. I ran more than walked but had to walk in order to get my breath. Some of the people I passed on the bike started passing me. Dang it! I set my sight on one runner in front of me and even with my run/walk, I was able to catch and pass her. My goal was to stay in front of her. She was several age groups younger than me and ended up on the podium too. Staying in front of her was one of my small victories in life!

All in all a decent race while recovering from Boise 70.3 and being sick. I averaged over 18 mph on the bike in the wind and 11 minute pace with all my walking. I know this doesn't compare to all you speedy people out there but I'll take it.

And a good showing by all Salt Lake Tri Club people, I believe everyone made it to the podium.
I'm set for a week of rest. My shoulder is acting up again and my body is just plain old tired.
Last picture - we really do live in a beautiful state. Even when it isn't that scenic, it is!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Boise IM 70.3

It was a beautiful weekend in Boise this past weekend. I had originally planned on going to cheer on a couple of friends who were doing their first half ironman but after my dnf at IMTX three weeks ago, I decided to register and use my training to prove to myself that I could finish a race.

The best part of the weekend was being with over three dozen of my teammates from Salt Lake Tri Club and Balanced Art Multisport. We met for a practice swim and ride at the reservoir after lunch.
The water was about 62 degrees and it felt good to get into it to calm the pre-race nerves. After swimming we got on our bikes to make sure everything was in working order and checked them in to T1. This was a two transition race with T1 being at the lake and T2 in town by the finish line.  Later that evening we had plans to meet up for dinner.  Trying to get a reservation for 40 people can prove to be difficult but Coach Wes managed to pull it off. And it was a popular place, we got there only to find that Apolo Anton Ohno was there with Craig Alexander and Paula Newby Fraser. Apolo is competing in Ironman Kona on the Chocolate Milk Team and this was to be his first triathlon. We were all pretty star struck but waited until after dinner to start asking to take pictures. They were very gracious about it and posed with quite a few of us.

Some of our group
The race has a noon start time on Saturday which is unlike most races in the world. This would explain some of us being at the ice cream shop at 10 pm on race eve. Usually we would be well asleep by then in prep for a very early morning alarm.

The noon race start, while great in that no alarm is needed in the morning, presents a dilemma in what to do for food on race day. I know exactly what I need to eat for breakfast but then we had to wait for more than 4 hours to start. Since we had to catch the bus up to the lake early, I made a peanut butter & banana sandwich to take with me. This has always been a comfort food for me and it was easy to make and take.

After meeting up with some teammates and catching the bus, we arrived at the lake with plenty of time to set up and get organized. Unfortunately there were not a lot of shady spots to rest but we made do. About an hour before the start, the pb & banana tasted really, really good!

I have said that the reason I was going to be at this race originally was to cheer on my two good friends, Carmen & Marianne, for their first half ironman. I think for this reason, I was surprisingly calm with no pre-race jitters. I also had it in my head that this was going to be a just get it done race. After my whirlwind trip to NYC the weekend before, I came down with a cold and cough. Couple that with only being three weeks from IMTX, it wasn't shaping up to be a very speedy event for me!

We were getting close to starting so I found a bathroom and then my two friends to go to the start. We had decided the night before that we would hold hands like little girls going into the water and we did it. It meant a lot for me to be there at the beginning with them. Our wave was first off after the pros and it came quickly. The wind had picked up a little so the water was a little choppy and my goggles fogged up a little so siting was challenging but after correcting for taking the first turn wide, I came back to the end at 59 minutes. All my times were slower than my Monterrey half ironman but again this was to be expected.

T1 was uneventful and I was off on the bike. I never looked at the race profile prior to Saturday so really had no idea what to expect. It's probably a good thing, I may have backed out! I will say that my race wheels made a difference and I can't wait to ride them on a "normal" course for comparison. It's a good downhill ride back towards town, but then you start encountering some hills (note - my version of hills is different than more seasoned cyclists!). The winds really started blowing. I stopped at the first aid station to refill my water bottle and then once more at the last aid station. My goal was to consume all of my planned calories on the bike which is where I think I partially went wrong in Texas. I accomplished this. At one point on the ride going downhill, there was a pretty good headwind so that it was necessary to pedal. downhill. weird! There was a  (for me) surprise no-pass zone in the last 10 miles. I hadn't planned on it. I made it through but one poor guy behind me said he was just going to have to pass me as he couldn't possibly go any slower than I was. Poor guy!

Anyway, finally came off the bike at 3:47. Way longer than I had hoped for but fully fueled and ready for the run. My plan is always to run/walk with a 5:1 ratio. I started off great for the first mile and a half and then nausea set in. It was all I could do to walk and not puke. I'm not sure at what point I realized that I would be walking the rest of the half marathon but it was clear it was happening. I tried taking in some gu, Gatorade, salt tabs and a banana but nothing was sitting very well with me. The run is a very beautiful two loop course along the river. Very shady and scenic. I met and talked to quite a few racers and the volunteers and spectators were the best! A few team members came past and walked with me a few minutes. Everyone was very encouraging and more than one said they were having the same problem. As I came around to start the second loop, there were my SLTC teammates! Coach Wes walked with me awhile and gave me a pep talk. 6 more miles to go! Every time I crossed over a timing mat, I laughed at what Coach Lizz must be thinking while tracking me. During the last couple of miles, I tried some potato chips. One chip at a time. They tasted really good and probably helped me make it to the finish. It wasn't my slowest half marathon but pretty dang close.

Done and done. I was determined to not dnf another race and in that aspect I was successful. I will live to do another one sometime. Although, I'm pretty sure I was ready to take a picture of my bike laying on the grass and post it for sale and never race again!

We waited for Marianne to finish and what an epic finish it was. She came down the finish chute with almost no time to spare and into our emotional, outstretched arms!
I could not be more proud of these two ladies. We've spent a lot of time together this year, training, laughing and talking, and it was great to see get a half ironman under their belt!

This has been a hard post to write for me. Not sure why. I've left a lot out from the weekend but the main point I want to make is having friends and teammates around you during a race is one of the best things ever! So much laughter and fun!

Time to recover until next time.