Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Light Show, a Triathlon & an Engagement - All before 9 AM

Sunday was my 3rd triathlon of the season for Team Aquaphor.  Up until Friday I was really looking forward to this local race.  What happened Friday?  Well, that was the day I had the granddaddy of all cramps during my swim workout.  Not just one, not two, multiple all over my body.  Initially I thought I would be able to swim them out but no such luck. I cut the workout short after 700m.  Saturday my body felt like it had been run over by a truck.  Virtually every muscle in my body from my butt to my feet was sore.  I really was contemplating not doing this race.  By Saturday night I decided to sleep on it & decide in the AM.

Before the rain with Mary & Treacy

At 4:30am my alarm goes off & I didn't feel like getting up.  I mean really, who does like getting up at 4:30am?  Anyhoo, I get up & make some coffee.  I decide to pack up my gear & make the race decision when I got to Spindletop.  By the time I get to transition I am feeling good enough to race which I figured I would.  The only problem it was lightening like crazy & a big 'ole storm was moving in.  I got my transition area set up, put a garbage bag over my gear & then head for shelter. After about 45 minutes or so, the storm moves out.  We were able to start the race about 30 minutes late.  
Waiting out the storm with Allison, Leila & Mary
At about 7:30 the first swimmer starts.  It is a 400 m pool snake swim.  At registration, you fill in your 400m time so they can seed you accordingly.  One swimmer jumps into the pool every 10 seconds.  Normally this isn't a big deal if everyone is seeded correctly.  I timed myself a couple weeks ago & put in 11:30 for my time.   Yes, I know, I am a slow swimmer.  I have no problem going the distances I just go very slow.  The problem with this is that it puts me in the back of the pack where some people don't really know how fast they can swim or thought they could swim but really can't since they haven't done it for...like...ever.  Because of this I ended up in a pack of water joggers.  YES, WATER JOGGERS.   I mean really, if you are going to water jog, do the du.  They offered one!  Please don't get me wrong, I have no problem if someone has to take a break but seriously, isn't water jogging forward progression?  They don't let you pull yourself along the lane lines so why can you water jog?  Ugh, sorry, end rant now.  So needless to say my swim was even slower than my usual slow swim.  I had about 25m of clear water to stretch out but the rest of it I was just swimming behind a pack of water joggers.  Oh yeah, I got passed by water joggers too.  I mean seriously, I could of water jogged the whole way too & gotten a faster time but that would not be a swim leg that would be a run leg.  Sorry, I regress.  By the last 25m there were about 8 guys, oh, yeah they were all guys water jogging, I forgot to mention that.  Lame.  Shoot, there I go again.  Anyhoo, I finally gave up & had to water jog myself for the last 25m because of the cluster they caused.  Who knows, maybe it was only one swimmer clogging the toilet that forced us all to water jog.  Mental note - next year fib on the swim time...just a little.  400 m swim time = 11:51 (AG 9/13)

Finally hopped out of the pool & took off for transition.  I got there early so I was able to rack my back right at the Bike In / Bike Out.  T1 time = 1:09 (AG 2/13)

The bike was 13 miles out & back.  The roads were wet which honestly I was glad since I knew I would go easy on them which I needed to do because of Friday.  We had a nice tail wind for the first 6.5 miles.  On the way back it was good & windy with the bonus of a heavy drizzle.  All in all, the bike leg was fine.  Actually, it was exactly what I needed.  Bike Time = 45:11 (AG 4/13)

T2 was uneventful as well.  T2 = 0:53  (AG 3/13)

Swapped out my shoes & headed out for the run.  The first 1/2 mile or so was on grass.   Again, I wanted to go easy on the run & this forced me to do it.  My lower calves & arches were very tight on the run, especially my left leg which suffered the worst of the cramps on Friday. The middle 2 miles were on the roads & the final 1/2 mile was back on the grass.  I didn't wear a watch today so I had no idea what my pace was.  Not a spectacular run but felt pretty good considering.  5K Run time =32:13 (AG 9/13)

My goal time before Friday was 1:30:00.  My goal this morning was to finish.  My actual time = 1:31:19 (AG 7/13.  Either I didn't back off as much as I thought or if I was feeling fresh I could have blown away my goal.   

After the race, I changed clothes, handed out a few Aquaphor samples & then hung out with the gang. 

The coolest thing of the morning happened at the finish line.  One of our local Team in Training girls, Allison Harris, was greeted by her boyfriend at the finish who then got down on his knee & proposed to her.  If you know Allison, this.was.the.most.perfect.proposal.ever!  Congratulations Allison!!!

Last but definitely not least, a BIG SHOUT OUT to all the awesome volunteers & organizers of the race.  Sunday was not a good day to be a volunteer with all the rain & wind.  They make these races great and they do it with a smile.    This was an extremely well organized event & even though the weather wasn't perfect it was a great day to be a triathlete!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Since 2009 I have done 6 sprint triathlons.  This year I decided to step it up to the next distance.  For the first time I am also following a training plan.  I am currently in week 2 of the Time Crunched Triathlete Olympic training plan.  Since April 5th, I have been averaging 40 - 70 miles a week.  The current training plan will peak somewhere around 90 miles per week.   Not a big deal to some but a really big deal for me.  I have never consistently put in that many miles before.

Since starting this oly training cycle my legs have felt dead & I have been mildly lethargic. I just chalked it up to adding more miles.  In some of my cycle & run workouts I have started to experience more cramping than usual.  Nothing major, but every so ofter during a workout I would feel my calf or stomach twinge up.  Since starting my endurance journey I have had relatively good success with gatorade or gels and water.

Today my training plan said to run 45 minutes followed by a 1500 swim.  After work I head over to Shillito park & run 2 laps around their trail.  2 laps is about 4.6 miles.  Before & after the run I had a gel.  The run felt pretty good overall.  I then head over the pool to start my warmup & was feeling the beginning of some serious cramps.  I felt a stitch in my stomach, my calves, hamstrings & arches were cramping on & off.  I decided to keep on going to see if they would work themselves out.  After the warm up I started my drills & that is when my cramps started in full force.  At the wall I would try to stretch them out which helped momentarily.   I then started my first 400.  Since there was no one else in the lap lanes I decided to practice my snake swim. About 270 m into it I had the granddaddy of all cramps!  I had to stop & hop my way to the other end of the pool.  My left leg was so cramped up I couldn't even feel the bottom of the pool.  Wow, never in my life have I cramped up so bad.  At that point I decided to scrap the rest of my workout & call it a day. 

After I got home I started thinking that maybe the fact that I am a really salty sweater and I eat a low sodium diet isn't going to work for me anymore.  Duh, duh, duh

Thanks to Ginger, one of my Aquaphor teammates I will soon be trying out Recovery e21.  After this evenings swim, I am looking forward to their arrival!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tri 4 Freedom

Last night I had the pleasure of going on a midnight run with an amazing individual.   Her name is Paula Heron & yesterday she completed a 27 hour triathlon to raise awareness for human trafficking.   Although I didn't personally know Paula, I was familiar with her since I had seen various Facebook posts regarding her campaign.  

Paula started the swim at 6AM & swam for 2.5 hours at the 25m pool at Spindletop.  She then rode the Legacy Trail for the next 13 hours followed by an 11.5 hour run.

Paula had a great support team & had lots of people come out to ride & run with her.  At dinner last night my friend Treacy mentioned riding a few miles with her in the afternoon.  So when Treacy asked if I wanted to go out at Midnight & run a few miles with her I said 'sure why not?'

Treacy picked me up about 10:30pm & we headed over to Spindletop.  When we got there she was running with two other local tri folks.  They were finishing up mile 6 of the run.  They had marked out a 1 mile loop that she would run almost completely in the dark.   Treacy ran 8 miles & I ran 6 miles with Paula.  Just after 1am we said our goodbyes & as Treacy & I got in the truck Paula headed out for another lap.

At the end of 27 hours, Paula swam 3.2 miles, biked 162.6 miles & ran 45 miles for a total of 210.8 miles.  Just amazing!

Since joining the ranks of endurance athletes I have met some truly inspirational people.  So many people are stepping up to the plate to raise awareness for causes close to their heart.  Endurance sports are tough & it really does help to have something bigger than yourself to motivate you everyday.   There are endless causes to get involved in and they all need your support.  Pick one that is meaningful to you & get involved.  You won't regret it!!!

More info on Paula's Story:  WKYT Story Before Race, WKYT Story at Finish, Tri4Freedom Website, Tri4Freedom Facebook page

Monday, June 13, 2011

Snake Oil

 My husband & I are both analytical thinkers and in being so we often don't believe the various claims we see & hear.  Although my husband is much more skeptical than I.  For example, last fall a couple of girlfriends & I went to Nashville to run in the Women's 1/2 marathon.  At the expo the 3 of us had the Power Balance Bands demo & we were all amazed at their power.  Each of us immediately bought one to wear the next day for our race.  Well, upon arriving home I showed Steve the band & he proceeded to tell me what a sucker I am.  I tried to tell him I didn't care that I just wanted to believe.  He then found a u-tube video discrediting the power bands.  After that I couldn't bring myself to put the band back on.  So after one race, I retired the band to the pile of crap on my dresser. 

Fast forward about 10 months, we are in Asheville for the Mountain Sports festival.  I see a both doing demos of the healing power of Australian Eucalyptus oil.  I marched right in & asked for a demo.  You see, I have scoliosis & almost everyday I have some kind of pain ranging from my shoulders to my back to my neck.  That particular day I had a stiff neck & was having trouble turning my head side to side.  After the lady rubbed the oil on my neck & shoulders I felt immediate relief.   The pain wasn't all gone but I definitely felt an improvement.  They said they would be there until 9PM so I decided to see how it worked during my race.  By the time the race was over I could completely move my neck around which I hadn't been able to do for a week or so.   I tried to go back to buy some but they had packed up & left early!   The bummer of it is that I couldn't remember the name of the product just that is was eucalyptus oil. 

Steve of course thought is was a load of crap.  Snake oil he said!   With my temperamental shoulders I really wanted to get a bottle just to see for myself.  So when I got home I did some internet searches but couldn't find anything that looked like what they were demo'ing.  I did find a product out of California that had the same claims for about the same price.  I said what the heck, $30 isn't that much to pay considering how much I spend annually on massages, chiropractic & acupuncture just to keep my back & shoulders from a complete blow out. 

The bottle of Pain's All Gone arrived today.  Yeah, pretty cheesy name I know!  I sprayed on the first application tonight.  Will it work?  Who knows but for now, I am going to ignore my husband & his snake oil commentary.  My Olympic distance training officially starts tomorrow & I need all the help I can get to keep my shoulders happy!


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