Tuesday, May 8, 2012

CB and I Race Report

Heading into this race, my first tri, was not as nerve-wracking as I expected it would be.  I have been quite busy with things around the house with kids and school, church, and work.  The distractions were very helpful in helping me to not "worry" too much about things to do with the race.

I will admit, I most probably asked 2000 questions of Richard about tris, training, rules, etc.  It is good to have a friend and role model that not only answers all of these questions, but does so happily! He was always encouraging, uplifting, and positive, even when I wasn't.  His outlook on challenges is always in the very best light possible, and this method of thinking has helped me to look at how I see things in all of my life, not just training.  I owe Richard a great deal of gratitude of which I can never repay.  Thank you, my friend!  

 I packed bags the night before the race.  I laughed after the race as to how much I actually packed.  You'd think I was heading to a 50 miler!  I didn't have "loop bags", but I could have.  What's even funnier is that it wasn't until after the race that I realized that I would have been fine to treat this whole race as a long run of about 90 minutes.  I wouldn't typically take in much in the way of nutrition outside of water and S caps.  Why I felt like I had to pack three honey stinger packets, wet wipes, and 3 bottles of water, I will never know.  But one thing is for sure, I know now what I really need and what I do not need.

Richard met me at Northshore to drop off the bike on Friday before the race.  The level of organization associated with this race was close to that of The Woodlands Marathon.  Very well managed, excellent communication, and no questions left unanswered.   The bike check in went off without a hitch and after a few encouraging words from Richard, I went home to ready myself for the morning.

I was surprised at the fact that I was tired and ready for bed by 9 pm.  That is very untypical for me.  I usually can't sleep and worry about every little detail the night before a race.  I felt calm, and fell asleep shortly after 9.  I woke at 4 without my alarm and was out the door by 5:15 am.

Body marking did not take very long and then I headed into the transition area.  It wasn't too difficult to set up my shoes, helmet, and bottles, but I fiddled around with things as if that would make me feel better about the fact that I had no idea what I was doing.  All of my transition lessons have come from watching Fish in his transitions at the Kid's triathlons.  I figure it can't be that much different for adults.

As I came out of transition set up, I ran into a good friend and his son, who happens to be very good friends with Foo.  They have been friends since they were 3 years old.  His dad was kind enough to take a picture with this wonderful young man who is fairly new to triathlons.  He had a great day taking 3rd place in his AG and 12th overall.
I remember this guy in diapers!!
My wave started 37 minutes after the gun went off.  We all waded into the water and awaited our signal to go.  The water was 84 degrees and felt good to me.  As I began to swim, I repeated the mantra, calm, calm, slow, calm.   I never felt anxious in the water at all.  I didn't feel fast either, but this was not about speed for me.  It was about doing.
The sun was rising as I waited to enter the water.
 I did use my breast stroke a few times during the swim.  It saved me from becoming exhausted, provided me an opportunity to get my bearings on where I was, and afforded me a slight respite from being clobbered by other swimmers at different points in the swim. 
My cheering squad!
As I rounded the last buoy, I was feeling stronger and more confident to the next aspect of the race.  I should have swam a few more strokes in before trying to stand up and I ended up trying to muscle my legs out of deep water.  TJ Fry mentioned this in the practice swim the weekend before.  He was correct!  Water is heavy!

Glad to be through my biggest hurdle of the day!

My swim time was much slower than I expected.  The course was measured in meters instead of yards and I have heard that there are some questions as to whether or not the waves started later than were supposed to.  Swim time was 13:49 for 500 meters.

Transition 1 went fine.  I didn't feel as though I rushed.  Planned to eat a few honey stingers, but didn't seem to think I needed them at this point.  Time:  1:53.

The bike went fine.  I felt like I could not pedal fast enough.

 I just didn't have the energy to propel the bike.  I felt better on the back side of the bike, but the avg speed was 16.6 mph.  Time was 54:15.

The run began just as the cloud cover disappeared.  My legs felt so out of whack coming off the bike.  I could barely manage a fast walk heading into transition.  Rather than push the legs, I gave them that time to adjust to being off the bike.  I racked the bike, readied myself for the run, waved a quick hello to the family, and then headed out to tackle the part of the race which I was hoping to be my strongest.

The run was tough.  I ran well, but not as well as I could have.  Fatigue had definitely set in and now the heat was cranking up quickly with the sun blazing down.  I escaped into the sound of my shoes tapping out a catchy beat.  It was on the run that I realized, ultras and Triathlons can never be placed into the same category.  Just because someone can do one, does not necessarily mean that the same person could do both.   Ultras require a totally different method of training and mentality.  Start slow, pace yourself, walk the hills, etc.  Sprint triathlons put the athlete in the mind "sprint" mindset.  Redline each event within the race  Swim hard, Bike swiftly, Run as fast as you can!  I found that I did reserve a bit on the run trying hard not to blow up the last half mile.  My splits look good for the run portion of the race, and yet I know I could have run a better race.  I am happy with my 25:45 time, 8:18 pace.  Not a pr pace for me, but a starting point after almost 2 years of ultra training which was primarily a run/walk method.    Works great for ultras, not so great for sprint distances.

Heading into the finish!

 Of course none of what I do could ever be possible without my wonderful husband.  He supports me from the ground up.  He is the voice of reason when I discern which races and distances I want to tackle.  He builds me up and holds me up.  He is the reason I am able to do any of these things. 

Next up, summer trail runs!


The experience of competing as a triathlete this past Saturday was yet another opportunity to peel away a layer of fear, doubt, and insecurity from my soul.

Many people have dismissed my journey to this race as "no big deal" because I have run longer distances than anyone else they know.  They do not understand my sense of fear because they do not live in the pool (pardon the pun) of self-doubt that I sometimes find myself drowning in.

Last year at the Texas Ironman, I found myself reiterating over and over again how I would NEVER do a tri.  I COULD never do a tri.  And seeing these amazing men and women who are much stronger than I finish this race only confirmed my thoughts that I could and never would attempt this challenge.

Then just as surely as I was convicted to never attempt a tri, I came to the realization that I did not want to NOT do something because I was so fearful of it.  The seed was now planted and the journey began.

I started swimming slowly but consistently in June.  After awhile, I found that I rather enjoy it.  In fact, I enjoy it tremendously.  Competing in swimming is really not something that I feel compelled to do.  I use it as a way to counter the miles I put on my legs in running.  I embrace the relaxation and recovery that I feel when swimming.  Swimming is a wonderful adjunct to running as it is the only activity that I have found that comes even close to the way I feel when I run.  If I have a wonky leg or hip, swimming is still an option and typically does not compromise the rest that my legs are requiring.

I also began biking more consistently, just to see what it would feel like to add something else into the mix.  Admittedly, so far, I am not a huge fan of cycling, but I don't hate it.  I have much more respect for those who do cycle and cycle well.  Biking takes a lot of strength and determination much like ultra running does, but in a different way.  I hope to develop myself as a stronger cyclist.  I plan to start looking for a decent used bike and all of the gear that goes along with it.

From that last statement, one might have guessed that I have decided that I may be in this for longer than one race.  And you would be correct.  I don't know where this journey will lead me just yet.  For now, I am going to take it one step at a time, one race at a time. 

I do not plan to give up ultra running; it is who I am.  But I also can not acknowledge the potential growth I can see for myself as an athlete through the challenge of triathlons.   I was never one to fit into anyone's "box" of what to expect from me. I am a fairly simple person that in the end, just wants to say that I have tried everything I ever wanted to try and never let fear stop me. 

Life BFB

*** Most of this post will be cryptic to many of you, but I ask you to pray anyway. Once I go to a more private setting, I will be able to reveal a bit more of the situation my family and I are going through.  Be assured that we are all safe and we are not afraid.***  

Life before Facebook.  Before Smart phones.  Before the phase of life wherein I have been connected 24/7/365.  It was a simpler time and while I have enjoyed the many benefits of being able to stay connected with many friends and long distance family, feel productive with the ability to immediately deal with an email or a text, and sharing pictures with my closest 254 friends whenever the need arose, I am done.  This "convenience" has come with a high price tag.  It has cost me time.  Valuable time.  This has been the state of my life for close to three years now and I am over it all.  
Yes, my family's security has been compromised.  Not in the way that most people feel it, through loss of money because of hacked bank accounts or unauthorized credit card purchases, but in a total loss of privacy.  And you all are victims of this as well.  
I should have stayed with my guts on this stuff.  It never has sat well with me about how very entwined everything has become.  And because of this, some bad folks have been taking full license to terrorize my family, some of our friends, and turn our lives upside down.
So, my prayer for a simpler life has been answered in a big way.  Instead of responding to urgent fb messages, texts, and emails, I will be curling up on the couch with the kids, reading about another time and place while sipping on a cup of joe, with cream of course.
While I may not be up on all the goings on of everyone's life, I will know my children on a deeper level.  And this has been my prayer for well over a year.  Who knew that it would be answered in this way?  Not I.  And I don't really like how it is coming to be, but I must find the lesson in all of this turmoil and the lesson is, thus far, He is answering my prayer through the actions of someone very misguided. 
I am not scared.  In fact, I am feeling a call to love.  To pray.  To seek a deeper relationship with the one who is putting us through this.  Not out of pity, rather out of love.  Someone in my life is so hurt by something in their past that they have decided that terrorizing other people is the only thing they can do.  
If I was somehow party to any of this person's hurt, I want the chance to apologize.  I want the opportunity to sit and talk and find a better answer, because while this situation is very unpleasant to be in, it must feel even worse to be the person who is trying to sleep at night knowing that they are threatening children, their families, and all in the name of an unknown cause.  This person must be in a very grave state of pain when the only thing which can bring some relief is to bring pain and confusion to others.
Please join me in praying for the complete conversion of all souls who feel furthest from Him today.  I know I have been there and those prayers may have been the only thing that kept me from certain doom.  Let us surround those tortured souls with love, kindness, and prayer.  Most importantly, prayer. It is the most powerful weapon we possess against evil.

Thursday, May 3, 2012