Thursday, April 30, 2015

Moraga Sprint Triathlon

I survived my first triathlon of the season on Saturday - and when I say survived, it felt like just barely at times!

I started out the day completely sleep deprived.  I even went to bed early the night before, fell asleep at a decent time, and then woke up after about an hour and tossed and turned for the rest of the night. If I'm lucky I think I had about four hours of sleep.  I actually woke up and as I was standing in my kitchen I seriously considered saying "F-ck it!" and going back to bed.

I left the house almost an hour later than I had planned and was so tired that when I was changing from one freeway to another I went the wrong direction. So after about fifteen minutes of driving west instead of east, I realized my mistake and turned around.

The only thing working for me at this point was the fact that it wasn't raining. It had rained hard during the night and was threatening to rain again, but at least I wasn't driving in the rain.  Even with my detour, I still made it there in plenty of time to pick up my packet, set up my transition, and hang out with Meredith and her family before we started.  Meredith and her husband were doing a relay (they took 3rd place!) and her daughter was doing the kids tri.

My bike and running shoes in ziploc bags - in case the rain started again.
So, the swim.  This race was my first ever triathlon two years ago. At the time I had been swimming for less than a year and 400 meters seemed like a really long time to be swimming. This time I was sad it was over so quickly!  I beat my previous swim time on this course by 2:08.  Super excited about that!

Then it was on to the bike. I knew this bike course was a little hilly and I thought I was prepared.  But when I got out there it was nothing but a big sufferfest. I don't know if it was the lack of sleep, poor nutrition, not being as prepared as I thought, or the fact that the roads were wet so I was nervous - but I felt like this ride would never end. And it showed in my results. I was eight minutes slower than the last time I did this race.

But it was over and I made it through safely - which was my biggest concern leading up to this event due to the weather. When I got back to transition I honestly didn't want to continue but I didn't let myself think about it and just put on my shoes and headed out.  I knew this leg would be slower than last time because back then I was running and now I'm a walker. Another hilly leg - up then down, then up again, then down again, and finally up and around the track.  Even though I'm not really a runner any longer due to my hip, you can't help but run when it's downhill!  So I was pleased with my walk/run time even though it was slower than last time.

Looking back, this wasn't my my best outing. They can't all be an improvement over the last race - I get that. And I'm sure the lack of sleep and nerves about the wet roads didn't help. But I can't help feeling disappointed - mainly because I know I can do better. And if I think about it honestly I didn't prepare as well as I should have. I really should have spent more time on the bike outside instead of at spin class.

But I can also say that I did the best that I could have on that particular day - in spite of the lack of sleep, the wet roads, and under-training. I could have gone with my first instinct and gone back to bed that morning. Or I could have not signed up at all. But I didn't. I went out and gave it everything I had THAT DAY. And it makes me want to do it again soon!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Racing in the Rain

Tomorrow is my first triathlon of the season and instead of being nervous for my normal reasons I'm nervous for an entirely new reason - RAIN! We are in the middle of a serious drought, and it is supposed to rain tomorrow - specifically during the time I'll be racing.

I know we need every drop, but it makes me nervous. I've run and swam in the rain plenty of times, but I've never ridden my bike in the rain.  And I'm afraid of crashing.  I've read everything I can about riding in the rain and I've gotten some tips throughout the week - avoid the painted lines, feather your brakes, watch out for oil. But I'm still nervous. This course is hilly and I'm concerned about being able to stop on the downhills.

Fortunately in this case, being a slow triathlete has its advantages!  I'm swimmer #163, which means well over 100 people will be out on the bike before me - some of them might even be back by the time I get out of the pool. I think I can count on it not being very crowded out on the bike course while I'm out there!

Also if riders are coming back and saying it seemed dangerous, I can choose not to ride. I've never quit in the middle of a race before, but I'd rather be safe than worry about finishing. I'm a somewhat confident biker in dry conditions but I am a chicken on the downhills - and that's in dry conditions. So to go out on a hilly course in the rain might not be the best idea for me. I'm just going to see how things unfold tomorrow. For all I know, the rain might hold out until after the race or it might not rain at all. It wouldn't be the first time the weather people got things wrong!

In the meantime, I'm going to stay on top of my hydration today, stay off my feet tonight, and try to fuel well throughout the day.

We'll just call this carbo loading.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Eight days

One week from tomorrow is my first triathlon of the season.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I'm going back to do the first triathlon I ever did.  Hopefully I'll be a little faster this time around.

I think I must be a nice weather triathlete.  Now that spring is here I want to sign up for ALL.THE.RACES.  Unfortunately neither my wallet or my body could handle it.

After next weekend, the only things I have on my calendar are a 5k in May, a 10k in August, and a sprint triathlon in September.  I'm thinking of possibly adding another triathlon - or maybe an aquabike event - to my schedule for June or July.

But for now I need to keep my focus on next Saturday.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Marin Swim & More

I did my first multi-sport event of the year on Saturday.  It was a Splah & Dash event - a 500 meter open water swim followed by a 5k.

This was an unusual event because it started at 1:00 in the afternoon.  Nice because I got to sleep in and go out to breakfast with my husband to celebrate his birthday.  But the 1:00 start time brought with it some complications.  What do you eat before a race that starts at 1:00? Also I had to drive through San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge on a beautiful Saturday afternoon - which meant lots and lots of traffic!

But I got there with plenty of time to get organized and hang out with Meredith and Christina before getting in the water.

Christina, me, and Meredith - before wetsuits.
This was a pretty low key event.  No set transition area.  Just put your stuff in the grass.  Um, OK!  We all laid out our towels with our running shoes and then poured ourselves into our wetsuits and headed down to the start area.

Wetsuits on - ready to get into the COLD water.

For this event, we were able to walk down the shore and get into the water up to about our knees - which in no way prepared me for how cold the water was.  They counted down to the start and we were off.  Well, some of us were off.  I waded in up to my chest, and I could not go any further.  I stood there and honestly considered turning around and getting out.  It was that COLD.  I tried putting my face in the water and it took my breath away.  I was standing there actually saying out loud, "I can't do this" when Christina came from behind me, grabbed my arm, and told me that I could.  So I tried.  I took a few strokes out towards the first buoy and one of the kayakers came over to me to see if I was OK.  Honestly, I was fine.  I wasn't hyperventilating.  I wasn't in any danger.  It was just soooooo cold that I didn't know if I wanted to go any further.  Then I decided that I'd feel like a real ass if I got out of the water after driving all the way up here, so I just went for it.  I probably wasted a minute trying to talk myself into it.  But once I got out to the first buoy something happened.  The water was actually warmer than it was near shore.  And I was able to swim normally.  It wasn't my fastest swim, but it was probably the best open water swim I've ever had.  I could look ahead and see a lot of people struggling, including one girl going about as slow as me.  Only she wouldn't put her face in the water - she had even taken her goggles off and would grab every kayak along the way.  Like I said, I wasn't swimming fast but at least I was swimming - and I was grateful that I wasn't in a state of panic like this other girl.

Feeling like a rock star coming out of the water.
Next it was time to try to find my land legs, strip off that wetsuit, and put the running shoes on.  And yes, I did sit down on my towel in my "transition" area to put my shoes on.  I'm not used to going straight from the swim to the run and there was no way I could have gotten my shoes on while standing. 

Just getting started on the 5k.
The run (or walk for some of us) started through the park, then went up a giant hill out of the park to some city streets.  Honestly, I wasn't ready for how hilly this course would be but I made the best of it.  I did a little running on the downhills, but I could tell my hip wasn't thrilled with it so I stuck to mostly walking.  On the way back to the park, it was a huge uphill on sidewalk, then back down on a trail into the park.  And finally I was heading to the finish line.

Happy to be done!
Overall I felt like I had a good race.  My official finish time was 1:11:30 which was faster than my goal time of 1:15.  Swim time was clocked at 18:25 and my run time was 53:05.  If I had to guess I think transition time was included in the swim time, but I'm not positive.  I think swimming with Masters has helped build my endurance. So even though I still struggle in the open water, I don't get out completely gassed like I used to.  I'm much more relaxed in the open water (once I get going!), so I'm not using as much energy as I used to - which definitely helps with the rest of the race.  I felt strong on the run/walk portion of the 5k which is a good confidence boost for the Moraga Tri in two weeks.