Thursday, May 31, 2012

Island Lake Triathlon, Brighton, MI

So I wasn't quite sure how this triathlon would go.  It was an olympic distance tri (1.5k swim, or .93mi, 40k bike ride, or 24.86mi, and 10k run, or 6.2mi).  I was training for the Glass City half marathon all winter, but I need cross training along with running.  Plus, I love cycling and swimming, so I just keep all 3 of them up.  The only reason I signed up for this 1 is because it was cheaper than any of the others I have found so far ($55!)  and it was close.  An hour away.

So, because of school, I couldn't practice brick workouts (the bike-run, the one I'm most concerned about).  I would usually run before I taught spinning, then have to go to class).  Plus, I absolutely hate those workouts.  So I run before I ride haha.  I WILL do a brick workout once a week this summer, though. 

Anyways, onto the race.  I got there about an hour before the race.  I was all shaky getting my race number and transition ready.  I was so nervous.  Good thing though is it wasn't hot.  I think my car said 60-something while driving there.  Perfect.  After I set up transition, and go in and out about 5 times checking everything and counting which line I'm in (3rd from beach transition), I go stand over by the water.  I was one of the few who wasn't wearing a wetsuit.  The website said water temp was 74, so I figured I didn't need it.  Plus, until I can actually afford one of those things, there's no need for it (unless I'm swimming cold water).  I feel it would restrict my stroke. The race director (or someone, idk) held a race meeting explaining the course, then we were off.

(Olympic athletes completed 2 laps of the swim course, 2 laps of the bike, and 2 of the run, so we repeated everything twice).

First the male olympic athletes went first, then female olympic athletes.  We the alarm went off for us females, off I went!  I was cold standing around in the water with just my tri-suit, but once I started swimming, warmed up real fast.  Of course, all the sprint swimmers started out way fast, and I just got kicked in the side. That wasn't fun.  So I just held my own pace, and was able to swim away from some of the people who went out way too fast as I approached the second triangle buoy.  Oh, and there was a lot of seaweed in this lake, I actually stopped twice and picked some off of my race timing chip because I was worried it would fall off! lol!  I probably was the only one worried about that.  So that slowed me down.  One other thing I didn't like about this swim is that they started the sprint athletes about the time we (or I) was swimming around for lap 2.  I already caught up to some of the men on lap 1, now we had to avoid the sprint swimmers lol it was a mess in my opinion.  My swim time was almost 2 minutes slower than last year when I did this same distance!  (23:37 vs. 25:32 this year.)

Ok, once I stopped swimming, ran up to the beach and into transition.  Put on my running shoes (lol) and ran off with the bike.  Of course, there were "sweeping turns" like the website said and some small hills.  Now, these hills were challenging to me because in NW Ohio we don't have anything like hills.  So the bike course was challenging for me.  Oh and it started raining pretty good.  So of course I slowed down for each turn and some of the downhills.  I did notice, however, that (at least I thought at the time), I was one of the first females...and for awhile because I didn't see too many ahead of me as I was watching the men come back for the second loop.  So I was feeling pretty good, and my legs were feeling pretty good until I kept having to power up hills.  Down gear, up gear, constantly.  My legs were in pain, but I tried to ignore that and just ride as fast as possible throughout the bike section.  When I came back for the second loop, a volunteer failed to tell me to turn right, and I thought it was left, so I had to stop, hop off my bike, and turn right.  He apologized lol.  Anyways...2nd lap was good, rain picked up though.  Oh...and on the turn around to ride back during the second loop...I see this girl approaching me (noooo I say to myself with my competitive spirit-"I must not let her pass me up!").  So I speed up, and she passes me, but then I pass her up a hill.  Then she passes me again on the straight, and I pass her up another hill.  It was like that until the end, where I was able to beat her to transition!  Then, she sped off during the run.  Figures.  At least she wasn't in my age group. 

I maintained 19.36mph during the bike, which was surprising because I thought it'd be more like 18 something with the hills and turns.  Last year during Sylvania's flat bike course, I was at 19.1.  So, I'm getting stronger on the bike yay!

Ok, the run.  It always sucks after riding.  Nothing eventful happened until mile 3, when my legs loosened up and I was able to run faster, like always.  I'm not a sprinter.  I'm approaching the finish, when I see this woman coming up behind me.  I was not about to let any other woman pass me, especially when I thought I had a decent finishing spot.  So, I sped up.  One of her friends shouted "Get her!!"  lol, but no...that just caused me to speed up :)  I beat her.  She was in a different age group anyways.  I said good job to her when we finished, we slapped hands, lol.  I said she made me work hard and she said not to worry, her friends were just cheering her on.  She got a flat on the bike course, though, or else she would have beat me :)  My run was 55:40 as opposed to 55:32 last year.  This was with a few small hills.  So, about the same.  I know what I need to do.

2:41:47.  2:42:06 was last year at Sylvania.  PR by a few seconds haha.  My transitions were quicker, which I was happy about.  I ended up getting 1st in my age group, and 6th overall female, out of 49 females-I really couldn't believe that!  I teared up a bit.  Hard work really does pay off :)

Now, if I can only drop my time in a more competitive race...hmm.  It'll happen over the years, I'm sure, but now I have to focus on the 10k swim and half ironman I have in August.  I've been swimming 1.5-2 hours 4-5 times a week.  I feel a little more comfortable about it than when I first signed up.  Some people think (actually most I'm sure) it's crazy, but really, it's not that crazy to me.  What's crazier is running 50ks, 50miles and 100 mile races.  This will just take me around 3 hours.  No biggie.  :)  Goals for these 2 races is to first finish, then I usually make a second goal, and a third goal.  I'll be fine!

Anddd I'll end with some of my favorite quotes.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I---
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

"Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Summer Adventures

     Well, I made it through the first full year of grad school, one to go.  I must say, I certainly enjoy studying exercise physiology way better than physical therapy.  It's just so fascinating and makes perfect sense to me, probably because I have a passion for it as well as actually doing endurance exercise myself.  I've come a long way over the past year and a half, I believe.  I still have a lot to learn in this world, but you must do what makes you happy.  Even if that means giving up a secure future. 
   Anyways...what I'm writing about is my summer adventures.  I planned to do this adventure race that I did last year with Rachel-50miles (36 cycling, 6 kayaking, and 8 kayaking) with Mike this year-I think we're going to have a ton of fun.  I just hope the weather cooperates!  Then, the week right after that, I signed up for an olympic distance triathlon in Brighton, MI. In June, I haven't signed up for any races, just Bike to the Bay with my sister and Mike-100mi each day!
     But what I'm really going to blog the 10k swim I signed up for.  I'm scared.  First off-let me just say that I like adventure.  Sure, I exercise because it's healthy, I study it, so I know all the great benefits.  I may take it a bit far sometimes, I get asked at the gym if I'm training for something because I'll spend an hour on the treadmill or elliptical before or after I teach spin.  I cross train the heck out of my body.  I am NOT going to get injured ever again, and I will continue to do endurance-type sports as long as my body allows it.  But...I've been thinking, one of the real reasons why I train so much...for...nothing in some people's eyes, is really, because I have goals of doing these crazy things like 10k swims, long hikes, (I fully plan on hiking the whole AT when I'm older), possibly ultra-anything haha.  When we were in Colorado, it was go go go, I had to see everything I could, whether on my snowboard or snowshoeing.  This is why I train.  So I can just do things like this and not get tired.
     But the 10k I in over my head?  Yes, like I said, I'm scared.  But, I also know that I can do it.  I hope to first finish the thing, but to finish in under 3 hours.  That means I'm going to have to do long intervals, some sprint workouts, and much distance.  I'm going to swim at least 4 times a week, if not more, and taking a day off here and there if my shoulders are too sore.  Running and biking will help my legs and stamina.  Can I really swim 6.2 miles?  When I got out of the water after last year's 5k swim, I said to someone, "Ah, that was fun, I'm ready for a 10k!"  But I do remember at one point thinking to myself "When is this swim was going to be over?".  That was just once, though.  Usually, for whatever reason, I enjoy long distance exercising, and can go on forever.  What do I think about?  I let my mind wander.  Sometimes even I don't know how I can do the same repetitive motion for hours on end, day after day. 
     Out of all the sports in triathlon, the open water swimming is by far my favorite.  So, it only seems right that I should continue on with this open water swimming, pursue a dream I had since I was a child (which, was basically to live my life as extremely as possible-accomplishing great physical feats, because ever since I was a kid, I enjoyed the pain of pushing my body to its own limits.  I can probably thank my Dad for that one :) So this is just another goal on a long list that I don't even know the rest of.  I think I have to do this, not only for myself, but for others around me.  If God gives you a talent, He expects us to use it (I read that somewhere, I didn't make that up).  So...for whatever reason, if I have the drive and swimming skills to do this, I will :)
     I know I keep talking about running ultramarathons, and I would like to.  But running is my worst sport, unfortunately, and I believe I must take this ultra thing in a different direction at the moment.  So, after much debate with myself since December, I did a few clicks of the mouse, and signed up for the 10k swim :) 
     I am also truly grateful for the Team Toledo triathlon club-without them in this area, I probably wouldn't have gotten into triathlon, or open water swimming.  I'd probably still be trying to run every day, damaging my body.  There's usually someone around to swim with, and I'm thankful for that because the laps in the pool can get boring from time to time.  Even if they're just next to me, doing their own workout, it's still nice to have some company :)

“I’m proof that great things can happen to ordinary people if they work hard and never give up.” Orel Hershiser, baseball

 "I found peace in the realization that if God gives you a talent, He expects you to use it. You don't need to apologize for His gifts, only for neglecting to use them. You are honoring your Creator by making use of them. Not to do so would insult His generosity." Sister Madonna Buder