It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

July 24, 2014

Lawrence, KS Sprint Tri - A Hilly Beast!

Wahooo!  My 2nd triathlon of the year is complete.  That is one more than I was able to do last year J  I’ve missed triathlon…..though I think I would have been ok to miss this one.  It was by far the hardest sprint tri I’ve ever done.  But it’s over…and I finished and I still had fun so that’s all that really matters.

My friend Michelle was doing the Lawrence 5150 on Sunday which was her  “A” race for the year.  If you aren’t familiar with the 5150 it’s actually owned by Ironman.  It’s an Olympic distance race that consists of a 1.5K  swim, a 40K bike and a 10K (so 51.5 “K”s…..get it).  Anyway, the top 5 finishers in each Age group qualify for the Hyvee Championship race in Des Moines, Iowa later in the year and Michelle’s goal was to qualify. Since it’s a qualifier, the race also brings in several pros, which is always fun to see.
They also have shorter sprint race so I decided to do that one. I could have done the longer bike and run, but I wasn’t ready for the nearly mile long swim.  My race was a 500 meter swim, a 13 mile bike and a 5k.

The race location is about an hour and 10 minutes from my home.  It’s kind of out of the way for packet pickup so Michelle and I opted to pick up our packets race morning – which meant trying to get there by around 5:15….which meant leaving home around 4:00 am.  The 3:15 wake up is not pleasant, but it always amazes me how awake and alert I can actually be on race day. So I was up and out the door by 4:00 and headed to pick up Michelle.
We did manage to get there about 5:15 which was perfect timing – transition/packet pickup started at 5:30 and there was quite a walk from your car to the race location – around a half mile.  We got our packets – they were out of my size shirt – I’m supposed to get one mailed – we’ll see.  We then got in line to pick up our chip timers.  It was just 5:30 and there was already a line. They had one person handing out timers.  This line would grow throughout the morning and was huge by around 6:15 or so. I would have been panicked if we had gotten there late.  The race organization for this race was not very good. I got to my transition area and set up all my stuff and then looked around trying to find someone that was doing body marking.  There was no one around.  Normally at a tri they practically knock you over trying to get you marked.  I finally asked someone and found out that there were only two people doing body marking and they were outside of transition.  Again, another long line….again lack of organization. I don’t know if they didn’t have enough volunteers or what.

The morning was actually beautiful.  It was only about 65 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. It would get hot later, but I would be done.  We’ve had some unseasonably cool weather in Kansas City the previous week which had dropped not only the air temperatures, but also the lake temperatures.  So this race was wetsuit legal, which is pretty unheard of for a tri in Kansas City in late July. The water temperature was 78.  Since I was only doing 500, I opted out of the wetsuit – assuming it takes me more time to get out of it than it saves me.
The Swim:

Transition closed and Michelle and I headed down to the lake.  I wished her luck and we went our separate ways.  My group was the very last to start.  The pros went first, then multiple waves of the 5150 then all the “sprint” men, and then finally all the “sprint” women.  This was the first race where I’ve ever done with a swimming start.  You basically walk down a boat ramp and enter the water which is very rocky!  You then swim over to a little area and tread water until the buzzer goes off.   You burn a little extra energy treading water for about 5 minutes – but I guess you could call it a warm up J
The race finally starts and as usual you find yourself in a jumble of bodies - Hands, arms and feet everywhere.  I finally got in a rhythm and found a spot that wasn’t too jammed with people.  All of a sudden though I feel a huge swoosh of water right in front of my goggles I look up to see two huge feet right in front of my face.  The girl ahead of me was doing the breast stroke and almost kicked me straight in the face.  That’s the closet I’ve ever come to being kicked in the head during a race.  I got out of her path quickly and kept on.  I finally reach the turn for the final stretch of the race and some of the faster Olympic distance swimmers have caught up with me.  All of a sudden what was fairly calm became a little hectic.  But before I knew it I was done with the swim and heading into transition.

The Bike:
Hardest Bike EVER for a sprint race!  Ok, just thought I’d start with that.  I run into transition and grab my bike….my tri bike (first actual race on the tri bike) and head out to the course.  You have to mount on a hill….yes on a hill. Now, I noticed this before the race thank goodness, so I had my bike in the easiest gear.  But many people did not.  People were struggling to get started, weaving, stopping, falling, it was quite a mess.  I was feeling pretty proud as I passed most of them and got up to speed quicker than many.  I was actually passing people – woot – I never pass people J  I actually veered outside of the cones to get around a big mass of people right at the start and then all of a sudden this guy was basically veering right into me…I yelled “woah” and headed toward the left where I ended up coming within about 2 inches of going off the road – which would have been disastrous, but luckily I managed to keep it on the road. My heart was racing of course, but I got myself back together and kept climbing…as we headed out of the park and onto the main course.  The course is HILLY.  No other way to describe it.  I have ridden tougher individual hills, but because this course was hill after hill it was just incredibly taxing on the legs. 
You get one little straight stretch across the dam, but you’ve got an incredible head wind there and I was holding on to my bike for dear life.  My front tire was shaking like crazy…so it wasn’t exactly an area where you could “relax”.  So, it’s finally time for the turnaround and what fun, the turnaround is at the bottom of a hill which causes multiple problems:  1) you have momentum going down the hill, but you actually have to brake to make the turnaround on the two lane road 2) People doing the Olympic distance race are NOT doing the turnaround and are flying by you while you are trying to slow down (dangerous) 3) You now have to go UP that big hill you just came down from basically a stop.  No momentum because you had to drop your speed to make the turnaround… about a leg burner.  I had been doing “ok” on the hills to this point, but this really took it out of me.  In the end you have 872 feet of elevation gain over 13 miles which in my book is a ton!  While the Olympic bike is more miles, I honestly think it would have been an easier bike because once they reach the turn around the course levels out and they have a nice long straight stretch for their legs to recover before doing those hills on the way back in – and they aren’t doing the toughest hill from basically a stop.  Anyway, I finally finish the bike – on a downhill… YEAH!  And head back into transition to get ready for my run (which of course will start on an uphill)…ugh!

The Run:
I quickly change out of my helmet and shoes and throw on my running shoes, visor and race belt and I’m out.  My transition times were actually pretty good during this race.  The bad news is, my legs are toast!  I mean toast.  I feel like I can’t run 3.1 feet, much less 3.1 miles!  So, I start on the run up the basically ½ mile climb.  And before I know it I’m walking!  I hate walking in a 5k!  Granted it’s up a hill and after a tough bike, but still I keep telling myself it’s only 3 miles you can do it…but my legs say NOPE sorry lady right now we need to rest.  I kind of walk/run until I reach the top of the hill and then I try to get going.  I’m still feeling pretty sluggish but at least I’m running and the hard part of the run is over.  Most of the run is pretty flat.  Of course running is not my strong suit, so I get passed by a lot of people….as in most people.  Anyway, the beauty of a ½ mile uphill start is a ½ mile downhill finish.  I run to the finish and mile 3 is my fastest mile of the course!  There is a little confusion at the finish.  I am running back toward the park and the volunteer said “Olympic distance turnaround here!” – I said “But I’m doing the Sprint” – he said “then go straight” which I did….and noticed I was heading back into transition – I looked over to my left – there was the finish line…ARGH……I had to then cross back across the parking lot to get back into the finish line area.  I finally cross the finish line…glad to be done. 
Me & Michelle pre-race

Overall, I still had fun.  That’s been my goal for racing this summer.  Enjoy it and have fun.  This was certainly not one of my favorite races ever.  As a matter of fact I would put it up there with least favorite. I don’t think I will do this one again, but still I can’t complain too much. I finished another triathlon and on my new tri bike for a change!
I grabbed my medal and a few refreshments at the finish line and then headed to get my results.  I was super excited when I saw I was 4th in my Age Group! That was my highest finish ever.  But then I found out there were only 4 people in my age group….of course.  I was bummed because I was that close to an age group award by default – if just one of those girls hadn’t shown up I would have won. LOL and I would have been thrilled to get it even if it was by default.  The other thing I noticed was my bike speed.  It listed me as 18.9 miles per hour! Say what?  My fastest bike ever was just under 17 mph….hey maybe that tri bike was magic?  But then I started really thinking that there was just no way on that course I just had my fastest bike ever.  I went to the results area and asked “does anyone else think their bike time is fast”.  My friend (who works for the timing company) said “it was a 16 mile bike right”?  No, I replied it was only 13….oh…the miles were entered wrong, suddenly my stellar 18.9 mph bike ride was 15.3 mph – that’s more like it.

After I got my “real” results I then headed to the finish line to cheer on other athletes and wait for Michelle to finish.  She didn’t feel like she had her best race ever, but she did finish 3rd in her Age Group (out of way more than 4) and she did qualify for the Hyvee Championship which was her goal.  So in the end it was a great day for both of us! 
Jack wearing my medal and trying to take all the credit again




July 14, 2014

Rock the Crossroads 5K - Yep another 5k

I usually don't do very many 5Ks in a year, but I've managed to do three in the past month for some reason.  If you read my last post then you know my last 5K was kind of a disaster...but this one was better :)

A few months ago a friend of mine asked me to do the Rock the Crossroads 5K in downtown Kansas City.  I actually did this race last year and it was pretty fun so I said yes.  They have a live band in an actual concert type venue after the race.  It's usually a local band, but they are pretty good.  You also get pretty amazing swag for a 5K with a very nice t-shirt and medal.  The race is in the "Crossroads" District of Kansas City which is kind of an art District.  There is lots of fun graffiti everywhere.
Some of the graffiti in the Crossroads District
It all sounded good until a day or two beforehand when I really start thinking about the fact that I have a long run to do over the weekend and about how hot it is going to be.  The race is Saturday night so I had to decide if I wanted to do a long run Sat morning like normal and then do a 5K that night or if I wanted bike Saturday morning instead and then do the 5K and move my long run to Sunday.  Either way was not ideal, but I settled on Sunday and it worked out pretty good.  I had my best long run Sunday that I've had in ages!

So now for the heat.  This is an evening race so it's truly in the heat of the day.  It starts at 7:30 before the sun goes down.  And this Saturday we had "Out hottest day of the Summer so far" according to the local weatherman.  Oh goodie.  We've actually lucked out in Kansas City so far this Summer.  Normally we would have seen many days in the 90s and even 100s but it's been a pretty mild Summer so far with only a couple of days in the 90s.

I looked up the temperature before the race.  90 degrees....and feels like temperature of 95 with the scorching humidity.  The sun was still shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  It was going to be  HOT for sure. On top of it all this course is pretty darn hilly.  Pretty much the entire 2nd mile is uphill....or at least it seems like that anyway.

I got to the race pretty early because I still needed to pick up my packet.  It didn't take long and then Jim (who was sitting this one out) and I tried to find a place to hang out while I waited on my friend.  Almost everyone was crowded in this tiny alley trying to get some shade.  We were there for a bit, but then found a spot on the steps around the building that was shaded by another building.

.Hiding in the shade before the race start
I finally met up with my friend and it was time to get started.  I wished her good luck and she said "we can run together"....we are NOT the same pace, not even close.  I said "you probably don't want to run with me I'm going to take it really slow".  She said, oh it will be fine.  I had decided before the race that after what happened the previous week I would run pretty slow.....somewhere around an 11 or 11:30 pace.  I was still experiencing some symptoms from my vertigo attack and while I hadn't had another one I wasn't sure what might happen in the heat if I pushed too hard so I figured I should probably take it easy.

So what do I do....kill it during mile one.  Of course.  The race starts and I just start running.  I am dying already and can tell I'm going way too fast.  I'm sweating and I'm hot already and I am absolutely parched within the first half mile.  My friend Christa asks "what's our pace" 9:45 I say - and she says "oh that's good, this feels ok, let's just keep that the rest of the time".....I know that's not going to happen - 9:50 pace is my 5K PR....

Anyway, she gets a bit ahead of me and looks back to see where I am and I wave her on.  I know I will keep slowing down and I do.  I settle in to a more comfortable pace and then the giant hill comes.  I start running up it but it is kicking my butt and I stopped to walk for a few seconds.  I was amazed at how many people were walking this portion.  The heat was really getting to everyone.  I think my second mile was around 11 something. 

We finally get through mile two and mile 3 isn't too bad.  Some small inclines but nothing like you have in mile 2.  But at this point the heat is baking me and everyone else.  I've never seen so many people walking.  I'm not speedy by any means but at this point I'm still averaging in the upper 10s and most people who run that pace are still runners....I rarely see people walking in other 5ks.  My third mile is a 10 something.  I haven't downloaded my Garmin data yet.  I finally see the finish line and pick up my pace again.

I crossed in 32:58, a 10:38 pace.  This wasn't my fastest or slowest 5K time.  But in the heat, I would take it for sure!  I ended up 20th in my Age Group out of 64 and 445 out of 914 overall, which honestly is pretty good for me.  Apparently the heat got a lot of people.

After the race I grabbed my medal and two bottles of water.  One to pour over me and one to drink :)
Post race with our medals...HOT!!!
I have done hotter races, but have been training in hotter temperatures prior too them.  So this one was tough.  I did do a couple of half marathons last year with temps that weren't much cooler. 

What's the hottest race you've ever done?? 

July 10, 2014

Why Sometimes It's Smarter Not to Race – Stars & Stripes 5K

So this post is a bit delayed, but I still wanted to share this…if nothing else, maybe to help my future self.
I didn't get a single pic...this is Jim starting the race
Jim and I decided to do our 3rd Annual Stars & Stripes 5K last Friday.  It’s in our hometown so it’s super convenient.  It’s also a great little race.  They have medals for everyone, a cool t-shirt, a band at the finish, etc.  Lots of extras you don’t get at most 5Ks.  It’s really great.  We had decided last year we should make it an annual tradition.  Plus this race is currently my 5K PR.

We went to register Thursday night and I was shocked to find the late registration was $40.  I thought that was insane for a 5K!  Totally insane.  I said “I’m not doing it. I refuse to pay that much”.  Jim…was not happy with me and encouraged me to “please sign up – wasn’t it me who said this should be an annual tradition”.  So I signed up, although a bit begrudgingly.
Now, as some of my readers may recall I went through a period of about a year where I suffered from vertigo.  It was first induced by an antibiotic.  I would have episodes that were quite debilitating for days at a time and it would recur at any time over the course of about a year. I went through a myriad of testing to find out that I just seem to have more fluid in my inner ear and with the help of a daily allergy pill and watching my salt intake I had not had an episode for a year and a half.  I pretty much thought it was no longer an issue for me.

Well, on Thursday night I picked up a prescription for an antibiotic for a bladder infection.  I went to bed feeling fine.  Skip to Friday morning.  My alarm goes off I sit up to turn it off and instantly the room starts spinning.  Vertigo attack.  It lasted maybe 4 or 5 seconds, but left me dizzy and disoriented.  I sat in bed for a while but just felt “off”.  The room wasn’t spinning, but I didn’t feel right. I got out of bed anyway and got dressed.  There was still over an hour before the race, so I was hoping by then I would feel ok.  I text my friend Michelle to say hey I’m coming…but I might not run.
I shouldn’t have run.  Before the race I was still feeling a bit off, but better.  I decided I would at least try to run and if I felt bad shortly after the start I’d just go back.  Well the race started and I started running.  I immediately felt bad.  It was like I was running in place with things moving around me.  I was having trouble focusing…but then suddenly, I felt ok.  Within two or three minutes that feeling seemed to disappear and I was running with no issues.  Good, I thought, maybe it was just a short-lived episode.  I was actually running pretty well.  The first mile passed quickly and I was pleasantly surprised to see a 9:50 pace.  My 5K PR is a 9:50 pace…so I started thinking…hey I could possibly have a good race.

At about a mile and a half you have a pretty steep downhill and then then of course, a pretty steep uphill since you do a loop. I knew the rest of the race was going to get tougher, so I thought to myself you really need to push it down this hill.  I picked up the pace and all of a sudden another vertigo attack hit me.  I’ve NEVER had that happen before. I’ve never had one hit me during a workout, it’s usually from sudden head movements.  It was awful.  I stopped dead in my tracks (which is not the best thing to do in the middle of a 5K in a downhill section). I put out my right hand because I knew I was going to fall.  I was staggering to the right trying to get out of the way and get to a curb when I could feel myself falling.  I was so dizzy I just couldn’t stand up.  Suddenly, some random runner grabbed me and kept me from falling and escorted me to the side.  Immediately I was surrounded by 5 or 6 runners all asking if I was ok.  I felt like an idiot.  I kept saying, I’m fine. I’m just dizzy – it’s not medical it’s just some medication I’m on.  I’m sure they thought I just over did it….embarrassing.  I finally talked them in to moving along and I just sat there on the curb trying to make the world stop spinning.  Occasionally people would run by and ask if I was ok.  One girl, trying to be encouraging screamed “you are almost done, it’s ok, get up and run”….I know she was trying to be nice, but frankly I wanted to punch her.  Anyway, I sat there for what seemed like 20 minutes, but apparently was only about 4 or 5.  I thought about asking to get someone to drive me back, but I figured I’d have to wait until after the race and it would take forever so I just decided to try to walk the rest.  I got up and immediately started walking sideways.  Again, people start asking if I was ok.  I found that if I just walked and looked at the ground I was ok. I didn’t feel great, but I could walk.  And so I walked the last 1.5 miles.  It took forever.
I finally crossed the finish line, still feeling dizzy but better. I was feeling ok, until I had to turn in my chip. I tried to raise my foot up to the bucket and almost fell over. That was all it took to start feeling dizzy again.  I found Jim and went to sit down on the curb and pretty much fell into it and a bush.  Yeah, it wasn’t a fun day.  I felt stupid and I felt bad because there was Jim, my friend Michelle, and Jim’s friend Paul…..all just staring at me.  They all had GREAT races and something to celebrate and I was ruining it all.

So anyway, the moral of the story is that it is ok to say no to a race.  I had just spent $40 to do that race and I was going to do it no matter what. It was a dumb decision. I should have sat that one out.  In the end, I didn’t hurt myself or anything, but it was a possibility.  It’s been almost a week and I still am not back to normal.  I haven’t had any more vertigo attacks, but my head hasn’t been clear since.  It’s amazing how long the side effects linger. 
Have you ever been smarter than me and pulled out of a race when you knew you shouldn’t do it?  Or did you do it anyway? What was the outcome?


July 09, 2014

Faster Better and Stronger - Really?

A friend of mine sent me this video and I thought it was really interesting.  It's only 15 minutes and I promise it's worth the watch.  It's basically about how athletes are becoming so much better - but are they?  Watch to find out!

If it won't play here is the link.

June 23, 2014

2014 Topeka Tinman Review - Finally I did a Tri!

You would think with a blog titled "Slowly Tri-ing" that I would do triathlons frequently...well I should be, but as I mentioned in my last blog sometimes "life" happens.  Last spring I broke my wrist and so I was only able to do one tri and now with my Dad's illness, I've already missed two tris that I was registered for this year.
Me & Michelle pre-race
So I decided I wasn't going to sign up for any more races in advance for awhile.  I would just sign up if I thought I could do the distance and if I was in town.  I've done the Topeka Tinman tri a couple of times and it's always a fun, small, low key race.  I really like it.  My friend Michelle had already signed up, so I decided I would too.  They have two distances a "short course" and a "long course".  I signed up for the short, because I definitely wasn't ready for the long course.  The short is only a 400 meter swim, a 13 mile bike and a 3 mile run.  The long course is a 700 meter swim, a 25 mile bike and a 7.75 mile run.  Yes, they are kind of weird distances.  My biggest concern was the swim, but I knew a 400 would only be 10 or 11 minutes in the water and I thought surely I could handle that.

Going in to the race I had still been running several times a week, but over the last 6 to 8 weeks I had only biked and swam about 3 times and that was all in the prior I knew it wasn't going to be pretty.  I just decided the goal was to have fun and finish.  Nothing more.  I don't know how many opportunities I'll have to race this I wanted to just enjoy the day.

Topeka is about an hour and a half from Kansas City.  It is certainly drivable on race day, but my friend Michelle was planning to stay the night Fri night before the race so I decided I would do that too.  That way I was able to "sleep in" until 4:30 on race morning, instead of getting up about 3 am.

We drove up Friday afternoon, checked in to the hotel and then headed to packet pickup and registration.  I was registered in about 5 minutes.  Easy!  We decided we'd test out the water and swim for a few minutes.  The water was surprisingly warm.  We've had a ton of rain lately, so I expected it to be much cooler, but it was warm.  Not hot and uncomfortable yet, but not exactly cool and refreshing either.  I had brought my wetsuit just in case, but I decided even if it was wetsuit legal I wasn't going to wear it.  I would probably lose more time getting it off than I would save in a short 400 meter swim.

I got up the next morning just a few minutes before my alarm went off and got ready for my race.  We were out the door about 5:30 am and off to the start.  I was surprised, but I didn't feel nervous at all considering this was my first triathlon in almost a year.
My transition area

I had my timing chip and transition area set up in a few minutes and then it was just time to wait.  I saw a couple of people I knew and struck up conversations with a few other racers on my row.  There are no pros at this race, so for the most part it really is low key.  There are definitely still some competitive athletes here, but just not a lot of egos which is really nice.

Before I knew it - it was time to race.  Michelle and I headed to the start and went our separate ways.  I wished her luck. She would be doing the long course and would start a few minutes after me. That's the one thing I really don't understand about this race; the long course always starts after the short course and always has, even though they will be out longer.

It was already a hot morning.  It was close to 80 degrees at race start and very humid.  The only saving grace was some pretty good cloud cover.  But I think we all knew it was going to get hot pretty fast.  I knew those people doing the long course were going to have to finish in some pretty hot temperatures.
The swim start before the race
It was finally the 40+ women's turn to start.  This was also my first tri as a "40+"...ugh.  There is no actual timing mat for the swim start, so everyone that starts in a group has the same start time.  So I did something I rarely do - I started right in the front.  My swim time wasn't going to be great anyway, so no reason to add 15 or 20 seconds to it by being one of the last to enter the water.  This ended up making for a little more brutal swim.  I was kicked and smacked several times.  One woman hit me right in the middle of the back, not once, not twice, but three times....I mean seriously...I'm obviously right in your about you move.  Since it was only a 400, the pack never really broke up.  It was just kind of a jumble of bodies fighting for position the entire time.  The turns were the worst.  You literally had to dog paddle around the buoys because you couldn't actually swim.  Anyway, I felt pretty good throughout the swim.  It wasn't my normal stroke and breathing rhythm, but I never felt totally out of breath or like I needed a break.  I finally saw the shore and pushed myself to the end.  You have a little incline to run up out of the swim and most people were walking.  I was pretty proud of myself as I ran up the hill and kept running to the transition area.  I was a little surprised to learn that you had to run completely around the entire transition area (which you hadn't had to do in previous years) so it was quite a run and really added to your transition time.

I finally reached my bike, put on my shoes and helmet and took off.    You have to go out of the bike area single file which can slow you down a little bit until you reach the main street.  Once I got there I took off and actually passed a few people - go me :)  You have a little straight shot and then make a hard left only about a mile or less into the course.  As soon as I made that left there was a woman who had crashed her bike.  She was moaning in pain and two cyclists had stopped to assist her.  They were calling for the medic.  I heard later someone had broken their was probably her.  I tried to put the image out of my head and focus on my own bike. I knew she was being taken care of.  I actually felt great on the bike.  I felt strong and like I was riding really well.  I had totally messed my Garmin up so I had no idea about my pace, but I felt good.  When I'd get my time later I would find out I just did very "average" but oh well, at least I felt good.  I felt confident and I have been experiencing a lot of bike anxiety lately so it was a really good thing.  I was feeling really great until we had about 3 miles left to go.  You've been over a couple pretty good size hills and you have one last hill that's of any significance.  I see a lady passing me up the  hill.  No big deal, hills aren't my strong point and this frequently happens.  Then I happened to glance at her calf (because they put your age on your calf in triathlon).  74 it said.  I looked again.  Yes, THERE IT WAS 74.  Here was a 74 year old woman passing me up the hill like it was nothing.  Wow!  Another woman passed me about that time and I said "she just passed me and she's 74 - I want to be her when I grow up".  Amazing.  Truly amazing.  I was a little embarrassed, but more impressed by her ability.  I did look up her times later and she did beat my overall time on the bike, but I beat her on the run and the swim and take that!  LOL.

I finished the bike and quickly transitioned to the run.  It's just a quick 1.5 mile out and problem right.  Well it was getting hot and I was definitely getting tired.  When I first started I just really couldn't find my legs.  I had to stop and walk a few seconds to get my breathing under control. It had been a really long time since I'd done a bike/run.  By mile 2 I had kind of found a rhythm and by mile 3 I was really feeling pretty good.  I still had to walk a few times up some of the bigger hills, but I ran the majority of it, and was actually surprised that my run time was faster than expected.

I pushed to the finish where Michelle's Mum was there cheering me on. It was nice to have someone cheering. I don't get that in races too often.  I crossed the finish line and received nothing...well some water and sports drink.  You don't get a medal for this race.  You actually get a glass, but they gave that to you during packet pickup.  It's kind of weird just finishing a race and not getting something...oh well I guess it's like a 5K right?  You did get a nice shirt and the mug as race swag, so I can't complain.

I went to find my results and grab a slice of pizza.  When I got my results I was super disappointed with my swim time.  I couldn't believe it was so slow, then I realized they had me in the Males 40-44 category....yes this happens often.  So once they changed that I did much better. 
Enjoying the finish line

Swim - 400 Meter:  10:37; Bike 13 Miles - 49:10 (15.9 mph); 3 mile run 33:55 (10:57 pace).  That was 9th in my AG out of 13.  It certainly wasn't my fastest tri, but again, the goal was to finish and have fun which I did.  My overall time including transitions was 1:37:41. 

Race shirt & mug

I then waited for my friend Michelle to finish.  I expected to her be near the top.  When she didn't come in for awhile I started getting nervous.  We soon found out she had gotten dehydrated and passed out on the course.  It was really scary.  She is an amazing athlete and you just don't expect things like this to happen.  But like I said it was a really hot, humid day and I guess things can happen to anyone.  She doesn't really remember much.  Someone driving by the course who just happened to be a nurse saw her staggering and then fall and came to her aid.  Of course a couple other participants did as well by calling for the medic.  She is totally fine, but it was scary. She just needed some IV fluids and was as good as new in a few hours.  Just a reminder to all of us to be careful out there, especially when it gets hot and humid and we don't sweat like we are supposed to.

It wasn't the ideal ending for sure, but both of us still had a good weekend.  And I was just happy to have been able to do a triathlon again.  I'm hopeful to do another one in a few weeks, but we shall see.

In other news, please send some good vibes to my buddy Jack, aka Doug.  He has a small tumor on his hip that has to be removed on Friday.  It's displaying "malignant tendencies".  We will know more after it's removed and sent to the lab.  I love this dog with all my heart. 

June 16, 2014

Night Flight 5K & Lots of Life Stuff

Well Hello there.  It's been way too long since I blogged I know.  But instead of doing a lot of triathlon training, I've been kind of training at this thing called life.

My world has been hectic to say the least and I've been dealing with things I've just never really had to deal with before.  I won't go into a lot of detail, but my Dad is very, very sick.  I've spent a lot of time over the last few weeks traveling back and forth between New Mexico (where my parents live), Texas (where he was in ICU) and Kansas City.  The situation is somewhat stabilized, but still not good. 

I've been back home for a couple of weeks and trying to get back into a routine and use exercise as my outlet, but it's still been difficult.  Other than a few runs here and there I basically didn't do much for about a month.  No swimming and no biking for a month.  I finally got in a couple of short swims and bikes last week and it felt good. 

This past weekend should have been my 2nd 70.3, but instead of being there I was cheering my friends on from home.  It was totally the right decision (which I made a couple of months ago) to not even attempt it; but it still stung a little as I watched everyone's posts and updates on FB.  But it's just a race and there will be more. 

Since we last met I've done a total of two races.  I did a half marathon on May 10th which seems a million years ago.  The thought of a half seems impossible at the moment.  I did that race and then went home quickly, showered and headed to New Mexico after.  The race went ok, but wasn't one of my best.  It was the third in the 39.3 series however which was 3 half marathons in 5 weeks.  I even got a special medal for completing the series.

Me with my Running with the Cows Half Medal and 39.3 Series Medal
Then, this past weekend Jim and I kind of spontaneously decided to do a local nighttime 5K.  The Lee's Summit Night Flight.  We've both done it a couple of times before but it had been a few years.  The race doesn't start til 9pm so it's kind of a difficult day.  You don't want to eat too much so you don't feel crappy during the race.  So it seems like you go into it kind of starving.  I honestly wasn't sure if I could even run 3.1 miles.  I couldn't believe I was saying that but it was true.  And in the end, I did have to take two quick walk breaks during the race....oh well. 

One of Jim's running friends Paul was the one who encouraged us to do it.  So he and Jim decided to basically run from the house to the race to "warm-up".  It's about 3 miles.  I chose to just drive.  I waited in the car until about 10 minutes before the race and did a few light warm up for me...I was afraid I couldn't get through the 3 miles lol, I didn't need to add any distance.

Right before the race I found one of my tri friends and started chatting with her.  We ended up running most of the race together, which was good, because I think I probably ran a lot faster than I would have on my own.  We stuck together for the first 2.5 miles or so, but toward the end we had a long uphill climb and I just couldn't hold on to my pace.

In the few runs I've done at home lately I've struggled and had to work really hard to maintain an 11:30-12:00 min pace and that has been on 3 and 4 mile runs.  So I didn't expect much.  I figured I'd be super lucky if I managed to break 11 minutes Friday night.  In the end I actually finished with a 10:15 pace (31:45 finish time) and I was actually pretty happy with that.  I certainly hadn't been doing any speed training and I've just been completely wiped out lately so I was pretty happy with the race results overall.  It was far better than I thought I'd do. 

I met up with Jim after the race and he'd had another great race.  5th place overall and 1st in his age group. Jim's friend Paul also set a huge new PR.  So I guess it was a pretty good night for all of us. 

That's all for now.  What's been new with you the last month or so???

April 28, 2014

Garmin Half Marathon - Wickedly "Fast" - Race Review

It seems like life has been a bit of a roller coaster lately and this weekend was no exception.

We've been on "baby watch" for awhile in the Weatherly household.  My stepdaughter Madi was due to give birth to her first baby on April 16...but she wasn't quite ready to say hello to the world yet. A week after the due date Madi started having some contractions, and on Thurs evening we got the call they were heading to the Birthing Center...only to be sent home telling her she was having false labor.

Friday afternoon we get the call again that she was heading to the Birthing Center.  This time it was the real deal, she was in labor.  A few hours later sweet little Savannah Grace arrived, weighing 6 pds 7 ounces with brown hair and brown eyes.  She's amazing.  Mom and baby did great!
Madi & Savannah

Jim and I were both planning to run the Garmin Wickedly Fast Half Marathon the next morning.  We knew due to the delivery we might not get to race, but it really didn't matter.  The birth of our second grandchild was the most important thing going on. 

Well, we ended up getting home about midnight and decided we would race. We would probably be a little tired with only about 4 hours of sleep, but we could do it.

We woke a little groggy but ready to race.  The weather seemed almost perfect.  It was 55 degrees with about 12 mph winds, but there was a chance of thunderstorms and the winds were supposed to pick up, so we knew the end of the race might not be great.

We showed up a little later than we normally would and it was a mistake.  After getting off on the exit to the race it took about 35 minutes to get through traffic and park.  By the time we got parked we only had about 15 mins til the race started and we were parked quite a ways from the start.  I had to go to the bathroom before the race started.  We both quickly left the car and headed for the porta pottys. Based on the line, I knew there was a good chance I wouldn't be through before the race started. 

Race start
I finally made it to the start line just as the National Anthem was finishing; with literally no time to spare.  I took a quick selfie since we had taken no pictures.  And then I was off.  After just a minute or so of running I looked down at my Garmin and dang it I was on "bike" mode.  I had to switch over to run, but hated that because now my Garmin time and distance would be a little off and I wasn't quite sure by how much.  Turned out to be about a min and a half.

I had originally planned to try to set a PR at this race.  But with the bad winter and spring we've had, I just haven't been able to get in the kind of outdoor training I needed to make that happen.  That said, I've been working on speed quite a bit over the last few weeks.  I decided to shoot for a 2:25, which would be 2 mins slower than my PR, but still a bit of a stretch goal for me right now.

The weather was really pretty nice when I started.  It was about 55 degrees with light winds.  I started running and felt pretty good.  My first mile was too fast, as usual, but I tried to slow down a bit and get in a rhythm.  The course was a little more challenging than I had originally thought.  It is claimed to be "wickedly fast" and flat.  I have found that in the Kansas City area "flat" is a relative term.  I have ran a few flat in Indianapolis and Florida - those races are flat, this race was not flat.  It has several steep inclines and rolling hills. As a matter of fact, the last 5 miles are pretty much uphill...and there is an uphill uphill finish??  The climbs are never more than about 100 feet, so they aren't huge, but they are enough to slow down your pace.
The "flat" course from my Garmin
I felt like I was running a pretty strong race for the first 9 miles and I was on pace to be right around 2:25.  But just as you made a sharp turn around mile 8, I looked up and the sky was as black as night.  There was definitely a storm moving in any second.  Some light rain began to fall which actually felt pretty good.  But by mile 8.5 it was a torrential downpour.  Somewhere around mile 9 you run on an asphalt running trail which was quickly flooding.  There were ankle deep puddles in some sections and water running all the way across the small trail at least a few feet wide in other sections. There was nothing you could do but run through the water.  My feet were heavy and wet.  It was getting colder.  It was coming down in sheets and it was thundering and lightening.  I was waiting for the race to be cancelled and pulled off the course at any minute.  It got really hard to focus on pace.  But at the same time I kinda just wanted to get done, so I kept pushing as hard as I could in the conditions.

Can anyone tell where I started to fight the weather and fatigue?

We got poured on for about 30 minutes.  From roughly mile 8.5 and to 11 or so.  Some people said they got hailed on, but I never felt any hail. 

The rain let up in those last couple of miles, but the wind grew stronger and suddenly I was freezing!  55 and sunny and light winds is great.  50, soaked and windy is cold!  Mile 11 was my slowest mile.  I was fighting the weather and tiredness was setting it. It was then that I realized I wouldn't make 2:25, but I knew if I pushed hard I could still have a strong race.  So, I pushed with all I had left in me and crossed the finish line in 2:28:38.  It was my 27th stand alone half marathon (28th if you count the half I did as part of my Half Ironman) and it was my third fastest ever.  So, I call that a good day.

I found Jim at the finish and he had luckily grabbed my jacket and brought it to sweet.  I grabbed some food and we quickly headed to the car.  I was freezing.  I was shaking the entire way home. 

In the end we both had pretty good races.  Jim luckily didn't have the weather to contend with as he was finished before the downpour (lucky for being so dang fast) :)  He came in just shy of a PR and 2nd in his Age Group.  He always amazes me! 

Race medal..which also glows in the dark
Did you race this weekend?  Any weather to contend with?