Dawg Dash

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On Sunday, I ran my last race in the 45-49 age group and Carmel raced her first 10K where she didn’t do a run walk combo, she ran the whole way!

They had a “pack run” (a mini dawg dash) here in Tacoma, but they didn’t offer a 10K option, so we left Tacoma at 0′ Dark Ugly to get up there to find parking (always a “joy” in the U District) and pick up our packets. There’s nothing worse than rushing at the last minute so we got there early and relaxed at a local coffee shop (heat and indoor plumbing are big wins on race morning)

Just for fun, we decided to take our photo before we got all sweaty and gross…

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*note for those who are not local, “Dawgs” are the nickname for the University of Washington Huskies; this race is part of UW’s homecoming celebration.

The race started on Memorial Way on the upper campus and the post dash bash was in Red Square. UW does have a truly beautiful campus.

It was super cold at the start (41 degrees) so it was a challenge to stay warm.

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I started dancing around to the music and found myself with a dancer partner. He had some hot moves.

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It was a super slow start due to the sheer volume of runners on the typically narrow Seattle streets. Since I was still recovering from a 15 mile long run, had been pushing super hard, had not had a rest day in a week and needed to run ten more miles that day for a total of 16, I decided to take it easy. (not like I had a choice at that point) but it sure would have been nice to break an hour for the first time since all the mom dying, house buying, medical and surgery stuff took me “out of the running” over three years ago.

At one point on the course I saw a woman who appeared to be about ten years older than me and thought to myself, “Look at her go! I’ll be back here doing this again when I’m turning 60.” She was tall and fit, had a long silver pony tail and was dressed just like me down to the running shoes. I was tempted to ask her how old she was, but didn’t know how that would be received, so I didn’t.

We ran up through Ravenna Park, on the Burke Gilman Trail and then headed back to campus to the the circuitous loop that comprised the 5K race.

When we got to the fountain the UW Alumni band was playing Louie Louie (*the unofficial state song)

at about 5 ½ miles (when the course was pretty much all incline) I was torn, I wanted to pick up the pace and come in under an hour because I was so close.

Alas, my right hip and hamstring (three of the four pelvic fractures I sustained in the accident were on the right side) began to complain about the pounding they’d taken all week with no rest and my heart rate spiked as well (a result over training and being stupid and having caffeine that morning) so I had to back down.

I managed a weak sprint at the finish and came in at 1:01:10 which is five minutes faster than my Iron Girl time (and this was a harder course) so I’ll take it.

I tried to do a slow easy ten miles to make it my long run when I got home, but after less than a mile of pathetic hobbling, it was apparent that my hip and hamstring would not allow it and that I would badly injure myself if I tried to push.

Yesterday was a forced recovery day.

I’m riding my bike to work and bellydancing tonight, so today won’t be total rest, but my hamstring (which is quite a bit better) is still cranky and needs another day off of running. I can’t afford an injury this close to the Seattle Marathon, so I’m going to behave myself.

I also don’t want to be limping around pathetically on my birthday run with the Tacoma Runners on Thursday night.

Next 10K, I’m breaking that hour mark and walking away without limping (because I’ll quit being a moron and over training and will take some rest days)

~L



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Octoberfest – Crazy Runners With Beer Steins Invade Puyallup

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Why do so many of my blog posts of late involve crazy people invading a town/area and running (or cycling) amok in the streets?

As part of the Octoberfest celebration at the Puyallup Fairgrounds, the TCMA (Tacoma City Marathon Association) organized the first annual Stein Dash.

The dash was a 5K that started and ended near the beer garden (root beer was available for those who are too young or for other reasons chose not to imbibe_

One caveat for this race was that you had to carry your beer stein during the entire race. Luckily, they were lightweight plastic.

I was meeting Carmel, as well as Eric and Rhiannon from Tacoma Runners there. I wanted to get there early enough to pick up my packet, get stuff I didn’t need (like the long sleeve shirt I left the house in) back to the truck and not be rushed.

It’s a good thing I didn’t try to get there too early as I hear that packet pickup opened way late. I’m not sure what was up with this race, TCMA is normally super organized when it comes to this sort of thing, but this one was just chaos. Once you got through the long line into the packet pickup area there were no signs to tell you which way to go (to the left for registration/packet pickup/shirts and to the left for the beer stein. The registration/packet pickup table wasn’t signed either, so we had no idea what line to be in. I guess everyone is entitled to one bad day when they are usually super organized. (yes, they advised people to pick up their packet a day early, but some of us work on Saturdays and/or have no desire to waste fuel/time to drive to another town the day before an event)

I was bound and determined to run easy and according to how I felt rather than try to beat a specific time. I was recovering from back to back half marathons I wasn’t fully trained up for and needed to crank up my long run distance for the Seattle Marathon and didn’t need to aggravate or create any injuries.

I hit my lap button at mile one and discovered that I was on pace to finish this in under 30 minutes (a goal I had on this long road to come back) with a 9-something time for the first mile. All common sense then flew out the window and I decided to keep that pace even though I was pretty sure I’d gone out too fast.

We looped through the ride area of the fairgrounds and then hit the streets of Puyallup. What a sight we must have been to the residents, all of us carrying beer steins. Some wearing beer hats, others wearing lederhosen and dirndl (note to self, acquire dirndl before next year)

It was unseasonably warm and I was beginning to feel it (also, this race started later than most, 11:30 PM, versus many 7-8:00am starts) Did the organizers really think runners had any compunction regarding morning beer consumption? Someone was also burning wood which wasn’t fun on the lungs sinuses, so I slowed down a bit on the second mile.

I stretched it out in the last mile, with just enough left for a sprint at the finish…

Why yes… I am carrying a beer stein and I am happy to see you

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Even though I had told myself time didn’t matter on this one (half marathon recovery so that I could get through my marathon training is my primary goal right now) I was so disappointed when the clock had just ticked past 30 minute as I crossed the finish line.

But wait! That was clock time, not chip time and it had taken me a while to get to get to and cross the starting mat. My Garmin (and the official results) said that I did it under 30 minutes (just barely, but I’ll take it)

Here’s the Garmin track.

The official results show that I averaged a 9:40 pace (not bad for a woman recovering from surgery who couldn’t even take her trash out to the back alley 8 months ago) and that I was 7th out of 32 in my age group, 95th out of 296 females, and 210th out of 520 overall. At 29:57, I was well ahead of the average finish time of 35:04.

I may not be back to where I was, but I’m making marked improvement and that makes me happy.

I cheered Carmel across the line for her 5K PR and then we met Eric and Rhiannon (who also rocked it and PRd her 5K) in the beer garden.

I had a (yes, only ONE, I was a good girl) Snoqualmie Falls Harvest Moon Ale which was quite tasty. I might have had another if I hadn’t been so overscheduled that day.

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I can’t wait to do this one next year. In costume!

Here’s a pretty hilarious video of the event… (I want the sheep that gal is riding)

~L



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Race For a Soldier and the Molasses Incident

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Since running one half marathon not properly trained wasn’t quite crazy enough, I signed up for another one the following week (not even sure I’d be recovered from the first one by then).

After surviving the You Go Girl Half Marathon without injury I decided to go for “Half Fanatic” status and do another race within the qualifying time frame.

I signed up for Race For a Soldier Half Marathon in Gig Harbor which was yesterday, exactly one week after You Go Girl.

I like running races that are for a good cause, You Go Girl benefited the YWCA of Tacoma Pierce County and this race benefited a foundation dedicated to supporting soldiers returning from war with PTSD (a HUGE need since more returning soldiers die from suicide than in the actual war).

No matter how one feels about these conflicts, this isn’t about supporting the wars (which I do NOT), it was about supporting those who need help when they come back. I greatly appreciated one of the speakers talking about the need to “bring our men and women back from this god forsaken war.”

I am totally behind this cause and was happy and proud to support it.

Other than some organized bike rides such as the Peninsula Metric Century, I haven’t done a lot of events in Gig Harbor. Yesterday will most likely change that, as the community support was amazing.

This was one of the best organized/supported races I’ve done; the fact that people were doing it for a cause they were passionate about made it even better. It wasn’t just the race organizers, it was the community.

The weather was perfect for running, albeit a bit chilly at the start. The race started and finished at the YMCA and we were able to use the facility to warm up before the race which I took full advantage of (good thing they were kind enough to open it up to everyone as I didn’t bring my membership card)

After the start line speeches, invocations, national anthem and a zumba warmup, the gun went off (a good loud one that was easy to hear) and we were off like a herd of turtles. (starts in big races are rather anti-climatic as folks try to move through the bottleneck and then get up to speed)

ready... set...

I was pretty sure I’d never keep a 2:30 pace on this course, as I missed it by eight minutes at You Go Girl and this was a much harder course (hill, Hills and more HILLS) and I wasn’t sure I was recovered enough to be running it in the first place, more or less pushing but I lined up with the 2:30 pace group anyway. Since I have a habit of going out way too fast, I figured it would keep me in check, until my lack of training slowed me down later in the race.

My knees complained a bit during the first mile, which didn’t bode well for my recovery or for finishing this race uninjured. Once I was fully warmed up, the issue went away.

The course support (both official and from the community) was amazing. Lots of groups of high school cheerleaders, other organizations and even a PONY!!! (actually, it was a miniature horse) who made their appearance with a gaggle of cute goats.

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Community members who weren’t involved in the race lined the course to lend their support and encouragement.

Right after mile two, the course took a huge dip, which naturally meant a huge climb out. There was another big (and long) climb before mile four.

We got a treat on the long hill leading up to mile six, a bag piper.

Mile six was where “the incident” occurred. This is where I start using my baggie of blackstrap molasses in place of energy gels.

The first hint that things weren’t going to go right in this regard, was that since my last orthodontic adjustment (two days before) none of my teeth were lined up correctly to bite the corner off my baggie (had they been lined up properly, they hurt too bad to do it anyway) so I was able to tear a small hole in the corner using the end of my arch wire.

The hole was way too small so I had to squeeze the bag extra hard to get the goo out. Of course, this was too much pressure for the cheap store brand zip closure and it blew open. Black,sticky gooey mess everywhere… in between my fingers, on my race singlet, all over my race number and running down my legs (that looked really gross, I’ll let you use your imagination there)

There is almost as little dignity in distance running as there is in triathlon.

We entered the Canterwood Golf and Country Club for a hilly loop.

Not long after this, at mile 8 ½ I knew there was no way I was going to be able to stay with my pace group (which at that point was the pacers Betsy and Kim and myself because everyone else had dropped) so sadly, I dropped back to a 11:40 minute mile pace.

After mile 10, I was firmly in the “Bite Me Zone” and backed off to a 12:20 pace. I had completely given up on 2:30 with these hills and would consider it a big win to even match my You Go Girl Time.

The support we received from the residents was amazing, unofficial water stops, music, and one house that had a “sweet stop” giving us candy. I had my coconut water with me and was on top of my hydration, but let me tell you, when a five year old runs out into the street to give you a cup of water you smile and drink it.

One cute little kid was in his driveway dressed as Captain America high fiving all of us. Senior citizens, teenage girls, little kids, families and dogs all lined the streets to support the cause and cheer us on. I’ve only experienced levels of community support like this in Spokane for Bloomsday and Victoria for the Royal Victoria Marathon.

Along the entire course, we heard cheers of THANK YOU!

When we came out of Canterwood (and it’s many hills) and hit the main road (I think it was Peacock Hill Road) one of the Gig Harbor motorcycle cops was riding up and down the course. He wasn’t just doing his job, he was on his PA system encouraging us and cheering us on.

The last 2 ½ miles were long, but relatively level (all except for the end) and with all the cheering and community support I was able to stretch it out a bit and get back up to pace. At mile 12, I picked it up to a 10:16 pace and could still see my pacers.

For the last half mile or so, I picked it up to 9:30 pace which really hurt, but I had a chance to come in close to 2:30 (and I was really ready for this to be over)

I crossed the finish line at 2:30:50 (my Garmin said 2:29:56) so I’m calling that a win. It was 8 minutes faster than You Go Girl on a way more difficult course (Garmin says 737 feet of elevation gain, my fitbit said over 800) so I felt pretty good about it. That was an 11:13 average moving pace (You Go Girl was 12:06) with one spurt of a 5:53 minute mile pace.

Betsy and Kim were there and determined that I did make it 🙂

They were great pacers and I am happy to have had them user me in to my Half Fanatic status. (Betsy made sure I wiped the molasses off my face before the photo)

Kim and Betsy ushered me in to the Half Fanatics

My shiny thing count for this comeback is rising 😉

ran for a good cause, cut 8 minutes off my half marathon time & qualified for Half Fanatics

I feel pretty good this morning, hamstrings and hips are a bit tight, but my Achilles isn’t acting up yet. I did a good job stretching it out and took some good advice from the Physical Therapy folks who were there and don’t walk around barefoot first thing in the morning (had to do for someone like me who doesn’t like to wear shoes)

I made sure everything was nice and loose last night.

Aaaahhh...

Next up (well, insofar as major goals) is the Seattle Marathon on Thanksgiving weekend and if I get through that uninjured, the Yukon Do It and one other as yet to be determined marathon for my “Marathon Maniac” status.

Next week, I’m keeping the long run easy (on Friday) before cranking up the long runs for the Seattle Marathon and am doing the Kitsap Color Classic bicycle ride with my biker scum cycling friends including (but not limited to; Julie, Leo, Kevin, John, Deb, etc…)

I can neither confrim nor deny that tutus will be worn…

~L (Half Fanatic #2935)


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You Go Girl (or Hills are my Bitch)

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Why yes, the catch phrase is dated (early 1990’s if my memory serves me) but it is the name of a pretty kick ass half marathon and 10K race event which made it’s third appearance in Tacoma last Sunday.

One of the great things about this race is that this year it benefitted the YWCA of Pierce County one of the most worthwhile organizations in town.

I was grateful that for the second time in two weeks, a women’s race did Not give us pink shirts. In addition to my disdain for anything that could possibly be perceived as supporting the Komen Foundation, pink is just way too over done.

I was excited to see a super pretty purple long sleeve tech shirt (the Iron girl shirts were more of a lavender color) Apparently, purple is the go to color for women’s races this year.

apparently purple is the go to color for women's races this year

While it is billed as specifically a women’s race, men were allowed to enter (and were encouraged to dress the part)

I saw a lot of men, most of whom were supporting wives, girlfriends, mothers and sisters, or on teams that were supporting fundraising efforts sporting shiny skirts or tutus… (honestly, I had some serous tutu envy going on)

I met up with Carmel, Kathleen, Lauralee and Brian at the start. This was Carmel’s first ever 10K so it was a big day for her. I believe it was also Kathleen’s first 10K (which she totally rocked by the way)

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Derek from the Tacoma Runners came by to say hello and cheer us on at the start.

I had been very disciplined in my nutrition and hydration efforts to eliminate the need to waste time (and possibly miss the start) by standing in the port a potty lines and had peed three times that morning before the race, so I was certain I was good to go.

As soon as the darn National Anthem plays, my bladder knows I am at a race and immediately gets excited and wants to go.

I did not have time to entertain such silliness.

I left my friends (who were doing the 10K) and moved up into the 2:30 pace group for the half marathon. Given that I was not properly trained up for this race, was not well rested, and had some old injuries nagging at me, I decided to keep it nice and slow. I just wanted to finish this thing uninjured. This race was about coming back full circle from the health and surgical issues, not about killing myself for a specific time on the clock. (I honestly didn’t expect to finish in 2:30; it was my “ideal and I wasn’t going to kill myself for it)

let's do this thing

And we were off (for once, a decent race picture of me…)

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We headed South on Market Street (from the start at 9th and Market) out to Jefferson where we had a turn around.

This is when the realization that there is no way to “take it easy” during a ten hour work day managing a Farmers’ Market that requires you to be on your feet all day (pedometer says I walked 8 ½ miles the day before) and that doing my ten mile long run (they day after a 10K race and way too close to the actual half marathon) did not give my legs even close to sufficient recovery time.

They felt like lead. They felt like angry, stiff, tired lead; but by golly, I was going to do this, so I told them to shut up.

The out and back on this course was not demoralizing like it is on some courses [cough… Portland Race for the Roses… Great Kilted Run…] but was a great opportunity to wave, shout out encouragement and high five friends we didn’t manage to see at the starting line. And yes… shouts of “You Go Girl!” were uttered.

In addition to the tired legs, I was uncomfortably warm for that early in the morning. I overheard one woman comment about how hot and muggy it was, and I replied, “Oh, good! I was afraid I was having a hot flash.” That comment garnered lots of laughs from the large number of “women of a certain age” who were running near us.

Once we got back to the starting line (which had already been packed up and moved to the finish, my bladder made it known that it was not messing around, so I was able to quickly duck into one of the (now line free) port a potties to take care of business. Of course, even though I was probably in there 30 seconds or so, I lost my pace group, which was probably for the best, considering my legs were so fatigued and at risk of injury.

We headed up a small hill (well, small for Tacoma) into Wright Park and ran a loop around the site of my hamster on a treadmill long run.

I ran into Kathleen in the park and ran with her until after we went down 15th St to Dock Street, she left me in the dust as she headed for the finish like at Thea’s Park for her great 10K finish time.

OK, now we’ve hit the part of the out and back course that was a bit demoralizing. We had to run past the finish line with it’s cheering, shiny things, food and drink and run up a series of overpasses for the long haul down Shuster Parkway/Ruston Way.

By this time it was getting warmer out and the breeze off the water could not clear out the horrid air quality from all the fires just on the other side of the Cascades which had put our region into the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Individuals” alert status all week. Several of us got wheezy on our Thursday night run and I could see people starting to have breathing issues on this stretch of the course. I was lucky (and taking it very easy) and didn’t have any issues.

This part of the course was another opportunity to wave, high five and shout out support to other runners; it is also where we got our first look at the leaders in the half marathon. I saw my pace group go by and realized that I wasn’t that far off (still under no delusion that I’d make a 2:30 time)

There were a lot of very colorful costumes and interesting people to chat with. It wasn’t just the men wearing tutus, many of the women were as well. I really should have worn one. How often do grown women have an opportunity to wear tutus? We should seize them whenever possible.

This was an area of the course where loved ones came to offer support (food, water, signs) to their wives, girlfriends, mothers, daughters and sisters who were running the race.

One gentleman in particular (who was not wearing a tutu) was running with his daughter.

The sign said “My daughter Marissa just turned 13 and is running her first half marathon.”

What a GREAT dad! I got a bit misty over that one. I yelled out “Great Job Marissa!” and added a “Great job Dad!” to it.

Once I hit the turn around, I knew that I was going to make it (well, I knew I’d make it, even if I had to crawl)

Sadly this was where those who were having issues with heat, air quality, under training, weight started to have issues. One woman who was obviously in distress yelled at her daughter who was offering to run up to her with the cold drink so she didn’t have to stop. Another woman when asked by her family how she was doing replied with something less than positive.

I tired to encourage her and tell her she could do this. That’s when when she dropped back and I’m pretty sure I heard her barf.

As I was pushing up one of the ugly overpasses one of the Half Fanatic pacers was running back down the race course to cheer some folks on, looked at me and said, “Way to power up that hill.” I looked at her, smiled and said, “Hills are my Bitch” and she laughed.

Near the end of the course, on a steady incline there was a bit of shade provided by a wall separating the elevated roadway that we all migrated towards. It was a cruel trick as the wall provided a small sliver of shade, but completely blocked the breeze and radiated heat.

Finally, the final bridge overpass came into view and we could hear the cheering of the crowd.

I had enough left in me for a sprint to the finish crossing the line at 2:38 which was not that far off my ideal time for this race.

Doug from Tacoma Runners was there at the finish to offer congratulations and support.

I found Kelly (we had seen each other on the out and back portions of the course) who was way speedier than me today.

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After some water, grapes and visiting, it was time to walk up the hill (no way was I cramming my angry legs into a school bus for the shuttle) to meet Carmel for our traditional celebration of a race well run, Pizza and Beer at the Harmon Tap Room (whilst wearing our medals of course).

finisher medals and well deserved beer

Yes, I know I said that I wasn’t fully recovered from all the medical/stress/surgery crap until I did that triathlon, but now I REALLY feel recovered because one of the last races I ran before it all started was a half marathon.

Here’s my “coming back” medal count so far.

Not bad for a woman who in January could not even take her own trash out 🙂

medal count 2012 (the year of recovery) 002

Next Weekend, the Run for a Soldier Half Marathon (I decided that I wanted my “Half Fanatic” status) and then moving into some serious training for the Seattle Marathon.

~L



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Iron Girl (and the Green Lake Takeover of the Men’s Bathroom)

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This morning Carmel and I headed up to Green Lake bright and early to do the Seattle Iron Girl Race.

We got up there early enough to get parking within two blocks of the event, picked up our goodie bags and went back to the car to stay warm (it was butt cold out there which was a very rapid weather change from yesterday’s summer heat)

We found Linda easily (she was only a block from the car when she called) but we never managed to find Caroline.

Here we are getting ready to head back over to the race start.

ready to run Iron Girl

When we got back, we discovered that the port-a-potty situation was beyond dire. The website claimed to have “plenty of port-a-potties… Uh, No you didn’t.

Seriously people… Women, many of us over 40, many more nervous and all of us swilling coffee like Pacific Northwesterners NEED adequate bathroom facilities at these race starts.

I can guarantee you that hundreds of women were still in line needing to use the bathroom long after the race started.

NO BEUNO!

We headed over to the park bathrooms and found an almost equally scary line.

One gal wondered out loud what the line looked like over on the men’s side.

“Let’s go find out!” I said and lead the charge over to the other side. (this wasn’t my “first rodeo” in that regard); it was that or risk a ticket for public urination.

Some poor kid was cleaning the bathrooms and couldn’t let us in while he still had a bunch of water on the floor needing to be squeegeed.. I explained to him that we were desperate and then pointed out the growing line of highly agitated women with angry bladders. Not wanting to see a riot, nor be crushed by a stampeding herd, He hustled.

We let the two men who needed to use it go in first, explaining the need for them to hurry (I can neither confirm nor deny that I stood IN the doorway and muttered loud enough to be heard, “What is he doing in there? taking an epic dump?”) Once the now frightened men exited the bathroom the hordes of women descended.

My apologies if you area male who needed to use the bathroom a bit before 8:00 AM.

And that ladies and gentlemen is the story of the Green Lake Men’s Bathroom Takeover of 2012.

We got to the start line with about five minutes to spare and started out in the 11:00 min mile pace area which was silly because people in Seattle don’t read the pace signs or self sort and we still got stuck behind a bunch of walkers. I have GOT to start farther forward in these events.

There were over 2,200 of us and it took us over eight minutes to get to the start line after the gun went off (thank goodness for chip timing) There was quite the bottleneck getting out onto Greenlake Boulevard so it took a while to get to where we could actually run.

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I get twitchy having to run packed tight like sardines so I do a lot of zigging, zagging and jumping around to get some clear space in which to run. I pulled out an average 10 minute mile pace for the first 1.3 miles (which means a lot of it was way faster than that to make up for the walk/shuffle start, and was way too fast for me to sustain over 6.2 miles right now, so I backed off to an 11 min mile pace.

We ran around the lake (with varying exits off and entrances back on the trail) twice for those of us who were doing the 10K.

Just before the three mile mark, Linda flew past me. She was on fire and set for an excellent 5K finish time (it was her first race in 20 years and she ROCKED it)

I was trying to keep my pace reasonable as I am under trained, had another loop to make, needed to finish uninjured as I have to pull out a ten mile long run tomorrow and then taper for the You Girl half Marathon.

I did kick it up to a ten minute mile place for the last mile and kicked it up even faster for the last .2 miles into the finish. My Garmin said that at some point I was running at a 5:15 mile pace.

I averaged 74% of my max heart rate (144 beats per minute) throughout the race, with a short peak at 104% (193 beats per minute) when I was kicking into overdrive at the end)

Carmel, who ran the entire 5K this time was there to cheer me on at the finish line.

I crossed the finish line at 1:06 which really isn’t terrible considering I’ve had so little time to train due to recovering from surgeries.

I came in at 340 overall, out of 546 women running the 10K so I was solidly in the middle of the pack. I was 40th in my age group of 62 (not as impressive but a big pack of us ran in to the finish all at the same time so I was still in with a good grouping)

The medals were big and shiny.

1:06 - not horrible

Here we are at the finish showing off our shiny things.

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I was a super naughty monkey at the expo.

Normally I don’t buy expo stuff, but there was this awesome tech fabric Athleta dress that I fell in love with, which I can actually run or bike in if I want to. I like having dresses to put on after triathlons and this one will fill the bill, although honestly, I think I’ll also wear it for evenings out. It’s super comfortable and I love the color.

I’ve been working my butt off (literally) and decided that I had earned a treat.

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I came home and took a 2+ hour nap. I’ll also be going to bed early and NOT setting an alarm.

I need to get a very slow and easy ten miles in tomorrow so that I can call that a long run and taper for the half marathon next weekend.

~L



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Back in the Running

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The final (and most physically painful) stage of recovering from the hemorrhaging and surgeries is getting back to running after having been off serious training over two years.

I’ve been seeing all these great Tacoma Runners events, but I didn’t want to be limping around behind everyone.

I joined a friend’s “accountability” group on Facebook and set up another one for some girlfriends and I who wanted to train for a 5K. Yeah, pretty weird for a woman who has run several full marathons and olympic distance triathlons to need to “work up to” a 5K, but that’s how it is.

I’ve been starting out slowly so as not to end up fighting piriformus or illio-tibial band syndrome (both injures I’m prone to, when I over train, over race or increase my mileage too quickly due to my previously fractured spine and pelvis)

I started out running 2-3 miles at a shot, 2-3 days a week. I’ve slowly increased that to four with Friday being the day that I will do my “long” run (which at this stage has only been 3.5 miles. I’m also going to try to get off the local concrete and on to trails more often.

My right hip, piriformus and the top of my hamstring has been giving me a heck of a time and I’ve been in a lot of pain.

I’ve always known that I can never live a sedentary life, for to so so would allow the scar tissue and arthritis to set in. This is obviously what has happened and it’s been a challenge to know when the running is breaking things loose or creating an injury, and when I should suck it up or rest.

The first race I chose to run is a very low key, super fun event called the “Great Kilted Run”. Back in the day, it was in Ballard, but now it’s moved to Magnuson Park in Seattle

I was a bit concerned about my hip as it was bugging me just walking to the packet pickup area, which is when I decided that although my shoes did not have too many miles on them, they were two years old and had lost their mojo and needed to be retired… Luckily there was no concrete on the course and there was quite a bit of grass and gravel.

My friend Carmel signed up with me, and this was a really big deal because it was her first ever 5K.

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Here we are engaging in a wee bit of kilt flipping…

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The start was hilarious… Rather than the narrow streets of Seattle start that so many of us are used to, it was a wide start which headed up Kite Hill.

I’m sure we were quite the sight to anyone who didn’t know what was going on. As all of us crazy kilted folks raced up the hill the guy next to me raised his fist in the air and yelled “FREEDOM!!!” and a bunch of us started to cheer and roar. It was an amusing Braveheart Moment. It appears that we were too far down the hill for the video camera to catch it, but it was pretty awesome and a sight to see as is evidenced by the following video.

Of course, we were out running a race with an uphill start and another climb up the side of the same hill so that we could run down to the finish wearing wool kilts on a day that broke the standing 35 year record for heat in the Seattle area, so it was not easy, and we were all feeling the strain. Hey, any race you can walk away from right?

I started out WAY too fast. My Garmin tells me that at some point I was running a 7:22 minute mile pace. I was going to pass out from heat, pain and being out of shape if I kept that up. That hill at the start got me all hyped up; I’m sure that was part of the problem as was trying to jockey for position on narrow parts of the trail. I needed to get out of the dust that was getting kicked up on the gravel portion as quickly as possible.

By the one mile mark, I slowed way down.

By the two mile mark, I realized that I had not slowed down enough and that the heat was making me queasy.

On the out and back portion of the race near the end, I was sure that 3.1 miles would never come. At this point I was starting to get dizzy, nauseated and to see spots.

Finally, we made that last climb up the side of Kite Hill for the downhill finish.

As I descended the hill, I actually got a chill and broke out in goosebumps which was not a good sign considering how hot it was. The last time I had one of these, “Wow, this is the race where I’m finally going to vomit at the finish line” moments was at the Bolder Boulder back in 2003 when a registration screw up caused me to have to start in a much later wave (without my friend who I went out there to run the race with) when the temps and humidity were both in the 90’s and I was so frustrated and mad that I ran my 10K PR. I was able to keep my breakfast down and stay upright in both instances, so it’s all good.

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They had coconut water at the finish line, which is GREAT for hydration and is less likely to trigger vomiting than ice cold water, so I slowly downed one of those while I waited for Carmel to finish.

It didn’t matter how crappy I felt, it was her first time and I needed to be there yelling my head off and cheering for her (with the obligatory high five as well) at the finish. (you always remember your first 😉

She came in with a great first 5K time.

My time was 33:54 which was a bit disappointing, but considering I had only logged in 38 training miles, was in a lot of pain and the heat was killer, is not all that bad.

This actually put me in 13th place in my division (out of 45) 47th out of 153 women and comfortably above the average finish time of 35:39, so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad about it.

We met up with Caroline and wandered over to the beer garden for some cold, tasty Scottish Ale and enjoyed music, comraderie, and flybys from the SeaFair jets.

The heat must have taken quite a toll on me because when I noticed that I hadn’t turned my heart rate monitor off, I saw that almost 40 minutes after the event, my heart rate was still up to 122 bpm which indicated some pretty significant stress on my system.

I spent the rest of the day drinking water and coconut water (well, after two farm visits on my way home) stretching out my angry hip and hamstring, and resting up.

Luckily, the combination of softer surfaces kept the hip aggravation to a minimum and I felt better by the time I woke up this morning.

I felt pretty good on today’s run (I found some newer shoes and wore them), so it’s all good.

Next stop…

IronGirl Seattle 10K followed by the You Go Girl Half Marathon in Tacoma.

~L



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the end of the season

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Yesterday was the culmination of the (sanctioned) triathlon season here in the Pacific Northwest.

I had grand plans to perhaps do a Half Iron triathlon (and and there were the two marathons I was going to do to earn my “marathon maniac” status)

But my training this year was “epic fail”.

Of course, the goal I set at the beginning of the year was an Olympic distance triathlon which I did complete (three of them actually) It just didn’t feel like “enough” once I completed my first one in early June.

I started out by barely surviving the holiday season (our busiest season at work and the beginning of my Mom’s medical drama)

I had to take several weeks off of training at the end of February when due to the aforementioned mom and job stress, layoffs at work, and having been sick I bonked on the Chilly Hilly ride with a heart rate of 215 (totally sick with cold/flu, stress and sleep deprivation induced).

February through the end of July, my mother was in and out of the hospital and there was much drama, lying, and resurgence of childhood issues including abuse.

And then there was the drama leading up to my mother’s death and the news that her body had been found and all the legal financial pressure dumped on me as the sole survivor. (not to mention having to deal with her friends wanting this or that, and vulture real estate agents)

After that, I got the flu, then I got a nasty sinus infection, then I tried to break my ankle falling/crashing my bike in the transition area at the Bonney Lake Triathlon three weeks ago.

It was a rough year, and I spent so much of it sick, stressed out and grieving that my training was completely inadequate.

I still raced through it all. I knew that my times would suck and that I’d be prone to injury if I pushed. But I needed to move (when I wasn’t sick)

Yesterday I completed my third Olympic triathlon (which I was hoping would be my first half iron distance) at Black Diamond. My 11th triathlon this year, and my 14th triathlon ever. (I started this silliness late last season)

When I drove through Enumclaw early yesterday morning, the thermometer at a local bank read 37 degrees (F) friends who were at the park (Nolte State Park) said that the thermometers in their cars read between 33 and 36 degrees.

That’s just “butt cold”

The lake (Deep Lake at Nolte State Park) was steaming when I arrived.

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I needed to get there at 6:30 AM in order to get one of the very limited parking spaces at the state park; otherwise, I’d have to park 1 ¼ miles away in Cumberland and take a bus (not likely, I’d have ridden my bike and hauled my gear) to the park.

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By the time I got my transition area set up, my feet were numb from the cold. I walked back to my truck, cranked the heater and hung out there until the start. It takes a lot time for the sun to hit an area surrounded by the Cascade Mountains and old growth forest.

My teeth were chattering (even in 3mm neoprene) when this picture was taken

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The water was a “balmy” 64 degrees which sadly, felt good to get into.

I got the snot kicked out of me during the one mile swim (someone even hit my injured ankle). It was like swimming in a washing machine full of boulders. The start area was very wide across the shore, with everyone heading to a tiny point to round the first buoy.

*this shot from last year’s event… Check out how close the buoy on the far left is to the shore (it’s a small lake) No… not the one to the left of the shore, the one behind the shore… We all had to jam into that tiny spot to get around the first buoy (oh, and this shot shows about 1/3 of the swimmers in an average wave…)

Black Diamond Triathlon 9/14/08

I keep saying this, but I have got to stop starting in the back of the swim. I end up getting stuck behind slower swimmers, and there should be a rule that those who breast stroke should start in the back-it’s difficult to safely pass a breast stroking frog kicker.

I had a rather unimpressive transition from swim to bike and hit the rolling hills of the Cascades for what must be one of the most spectacularly beautiful bike courses I’ve ever seen.

The temperature “might” have been up in the 40s by then, but I’m not so certain. I did put on my The North Face Cipher jacket to cut some wind chill on my wet tri suit.

A woman who rode next to me for a time said, “What about that crazy swim?” Apparently she got the snot kicked out of her as well.

The 25 mile ride was challenging without being too difficult. My Garmin shows 1,410 elevation gain, 1,140 feet elevation loss (my Garmin says negative 191 feet of flat. I’m not sure how that works, but let it suffice to say that it was not a flat course)

My legs felt like mush by the time I was done with the bike ride.

I had another unimpressive transition (I was so out of it by this time that I put my bike shoes back on instead of my running shoes so had to change shoes again) to the 10K run.

I was very concerned about my lack of training and injured ankle (it wasn’t sprained but with the kind of trauma it was subjected to, I’m suspected that it would be more prone to injury than normal so I took it very easy on the run, quite a bit of which was on trails.)

The important thing here was to finish uninjured.

I met a very cool woman on the run portion (we also chatted a bit on the bike ride)

Here is my new friend Natalie and I after the race.

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I actually managed to eek out a 3rd place finish in the Athena/40 and over divison. There were five women registered. I don’t know how many actually finished (the results page was borked at the time I posted this report) but I’ll take it.

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Any finish you can walk away from right…

Here was the course…

My goal this year was to finish an Olympic Distance triathlon.

I completed three. I even (still don’t know how this happened but it’s still showing on the USA Triathlon website) got All American Honors for the Moses Lake Olympic Triathlon. (I think the rest of my times were too slow to even show up on the rankings as that is the only one I could find)

I completed a total of 11 triathlons this year.

And I got a lot of shiny things 🙂

Triathlon Shinies won in the 2009 season

I’ll take it.

And I’m planning on 2010 being a MUCH better year!

But I’m not done with 2009. I’ll be running the Seattle Half Marathon, the Norpoint Turkey Trot and some of Bob’s uber fun races down in Elma.

~L

Mood: Tired



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~

I tri d again

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Today was triathlon number 13 (number 10 for this year)

Yes, it’s an illness, (or as my friend Linea says, “You can never leave the firm.”)

I was a bit unsure about this one, as I’ve been off training for two weeks due to the ankle I beat and bloodied up two weeks ago at the Bonney Lake tri. Other than some very light hiking (couldn’t do anything heavy, I couldn’t even lace up the hiking boot due to the ankle pain) last weekend at Grand Teton National Park, I have been a complete and total SLUG!

THIS is what my ankle looked like after my crash in the transition area (I STILL can’t believe I ran 10K on this…)

*note it wasn’t sprained, all that swelling was caused by blunt force trauma direct to my skinny little ankle bone.

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I knew this would be all about just surviving (I LOVE inaugural races, so I was not giving this up) so I’m afraid I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. I didn’t eat as well or get as much sleep as I should have last night (total lack of discipline/motivation on both parts)

I got there in plenty of time to get my transition area set up, hang out with my friend Julie and wander down to the water. I’ve never competed on this course before, but I’ve volunteered on the water twice, once as kayak water safety and once as a swim angel for Danskin.

Since this was a new race, it wasn’t overly crowded. Julie and I were in wave 4 and had plenty of room.

I have GOT to quit starting in the back at these races (with the exception of the Moses Lake Oly which is almost all Ironmen competing for rankings). I just get kicked in the head by the people I’m passing I’ve got to suck it up and start in the middle. I ranked 423 out of 815 finishers on the swim today which is obviously middle of the pack. My swim time was 20:56 (would have been faster if I hadn’t started in the very back and far outside)

I’m finally getting a bit desensitized to my “milfoil disorder” (that nasty, invasive aquatic weed creeps me out) after a few tris in Lake Washington.

My transition from swim to bike was nothing spectacular, 3:58 (it was a bit of a run from the water to the transition area and I was at the far end)

I didn’t feel all that great on the bike, but as it turns out, it was my best event, I ranked 418 out of 815.

This course is deceptive because it looks much flatter than it is. Getting on and off the I-90 express lanes on the floating bridge is hilly, almost always windy, and there are some hills on Lake Washington Blvd. There is one very squirrelly section of switchbacks heading up to the bridge. Luckily, no one lost their momentum and fell in front of me. (it happens)

I usually unclip from my right pedal because the switchbacks are narrow and a lot of people don’t make it up without at the very least getting off their bike to push it.

This is where my ankle hurt like heck. When I twisted my heel out to get my cleat out of the pedal. I think it puts pressure on the bone.

OUCH!

I was VERY careful in transition after my crash at Bonney Lake, got the bike safely racked and hit the road running… (OK, wogging) in 2:10.

My time for the 5K was a rather unimpressive 35:39 which isn’t all that bad considering that I was not trained, rested or otherwise prepared for this race and my ankle was not all that happy after clipping and unclipping.

I finished in a rather mediocre time of 1:48:04, which put me 16th out of 51 in my division and 435 out of 815 overall. It also put me almost a minute below the average time of 1:49:02.

I really can’t complain.

The GOOD news is, my ankle looks like THIS (this was before I iced it which is pretty impressive) instead of like the picture above.

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Julie and I both got shiny things. I just LOVE shiny things

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Speaking of which, here’s an updated photo of my “shiny thing wall” (kitchen)

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I’ll have a couple more by the end of the year; they Black Diamond Triathlon next weekend and the Seattle Half Marathon in November (maybe a few Elma races in between)

I was toying with the idea of downgrading from the Olympic Distance to the Sprint next weekend, but I tend to earn a lot more points for my triathlon club when I do an Oly Distance, and I need to make that my standard distance (when available) because I’m shooting for a Half Ironman next year.

What really hurts is the bike, twisting to clip and unclip and I won’t be doing that any more on a longer course.

I am glad that I canceled both my marathons scheduled for next month; I’m not trained up (life happened) and I don’t want an injury from upping my mileage too quickly to plague me for the rest of the year.

Now it’s time to rest, eat, drink and ice my ankle.

It’s days like this when I wish I had a cabana boy to bring me ice for my ankle and mimosas.

Oh, and a cabana…

~L

Mood: Tired



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A bad triathlon is better than…

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A bad triathlon day is better than good days doing a lot of other things.

But those other days don’t usually hurt as much.

I knew I wasn’t trained up, had been sick, stressed out… blah blah blah…

What I didn’t plan on was getting injured (in transition no less) or to wake up feeling the way I did.

I was “on it” last night. I ran my errands, got all of my tri gear together, made crispy bits to have for breakfast (diced potatoes with garlic, cracked pepper and parmesan cheese baked (tossed in a touch of olive oil) until crispy and even got my espresso machine set up and ready to go.

USATriathon releases were printed and signed, maps and driving directions were as well.

My nutrition was good, I was hydrated and I had time to get a full night’s sleep.

I was on it.

I was ready.

I was calm even after getting a letter from someone I recently ended a relationship with and had asked nicely not to contact me because of all I’m going through (it upset me for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here) and I also received the probate papers and will for my Mom’s “estate”.

I felt good.

Gee Lisa, tempt fate much?

I’ve been having “issues” with my digestive tract since the 14 days of high does antibiotics I was on.

I thought I was done with that, and I stopped taking the probiotics.

I started cramping up last night, I woke up this morning in agony, nearly doubled over and spent a good deal of time in the bathroom.

I had also been attacked by the “snot monster” in my sleep. I don’t know what set me off, but I had to neti-pot twice and was still snotty.

And just to make it extra “fun” I had “girl” cramps.

It was also pouring rain, monsoon like rain, which although expected didn’t help me feel any better about doing an Olympic distance triathlon.

I had to stop for bathroom breaks twice on the way up there and was afraid I wouldn’t be there for packet pickup on time. I called Annie who confirmed that I’d still be able to pick mine up.

I had to park a bit father away than I’d have liked.

When I first got to the very crowded registration table I had forgotten my signed release form. I also realized that my USATriathlon number is not on the card/checklist on my bag. (there are a bunch of other numbers on there, just not that one)

Gene was there so I asked him to watch my bag and bike and ran back to get all of that.

When I got back to the table, I didn’t have my bib number (that’s how this group looks for our packets and I know this) I started to walk away to go find my number, but they had a list there.

I was in pain, stressed out, running late and apparently very much affected by yesterday’s mail.

Some of my friends asked how I was and I started to cry. They all thought I was insane to be there at all, more or less doing the Olympic distance. (I wasn’t going to change to the sprint)

I needed to do this. I needed to not quit, to not let anything beat me. I needed to see my friends and I needed to do something physical and active. Going home and laying around feeling sick would have been bad for me physically and emotionally (in addition to everything else, I’ve been very bummed out about my lack of training/fitness and my body fat composition as of late)

I’ll tell you, when Gene says someone is psycho when it comes to triathlon and training, that’s pretty bad. He’s about as “nuts” as you can get.

I got my transition area set up (barely) and make another trip to the bathroom.

Since we were all soaked to the skin, it was difficult to get wetsuits up and on.

I walked out to the lake for the swim start and noticed how far apart the buoys seemed to be (I think our swim at Moses Lake was a bit short)

Here I am getting used to the water; the lone pink cap in a sea of blue capped icky boys… THERE WERE BOY COOTIES IN THE WATER!!!

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Annie found me, hugged me and helped me zip up my wetsuit. (I started crying again, I was a mess) She was so incredibly sweet (as were Kathy, Jill and Gene; I am blessed with wonderful friends)

She got a shot of picture of me lifting my pigtail up to put my swim cap on…

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I was feeling a bit “wheezy” at the start of the swim which I’m sure was a direct result of whatever set off my allergies. It always goes away once I relax and warm up.

I started in the back and to the outside of the swim and took my time.

I may not be a fast swimmer, but I am a strong swimmer and am very comfortable in the water.

For a brief moment before the first buoy, I thought about turning back, giving up, going home. being sick and feeling sorry for myself.

Then I thought about the women I encouraged at the Danskin triathlon as a swim angel.

What kind of angel/mentor/role model would I be if I quit?

Nope, my Danskin women deserved better than having an angel that was a quitter. (I was in no physical danger, I was just not feeling well)

Once I got around the first buoy (the first time, Oly distance swims the course twice) I relaxed and told myself, “It’s just like a swim around the lake with Gene after work.”

I was worried during my second loop that the Sprint distance might start and I might be mowed over. It didn’t happen, but when I stopped to poke my head out and look, I was treated to a cramp in my right calf. I flexed and worked it out.

I exited the water after about 40 minutes which wasn’t all that bad. (I was happy to have not been last)

I ran to the transition area and got out for the rainy bike ride in 2:59 which really wasn’t that bad a transition time, especially since I hadn’t done a triathlon at all in the month of August.

The bike course was hilly and a lot of it chip seal with some loose gravel. It was not as wet as it could have been, but I was still concerned about the bike going out from under me on a corner.

I did not feel like I really had my legs under me. They were tired and untrained.

I was pretty stressed out by the traffic. There were no real bike lanes and most traffic either followed close behind or raced past within inches.

Part of the reason I wasn’t worried about doing this with my intestinal issues was that I had been eating well and had consumed plenty of electrolytes and fluids.

That’s when my bladder decided to join my intestines, uterus and calf muscle and also cramp up on me. My body was one giant painful cramp. (not due to electrolytes, I’d have stopped if that had been the case)

I’ve never had to do this during a triathlon, but I had to pull of the bike course and find a place in the woods to “un-hydrate” (hey, at least I wasn’t doing this one for time, I got passed when this happened)

I was slow, sore and felt like crap, but at least I wasn’t last.

One positive note about this ride, (which will only be appreciated by my cycling and triathlon friends; everyone else may want to pass…)

I learned how to do a “snot rocket”.

I’ve always thought it was rude, crude, crass and disgusting.

Due to my snotty condition and the rain and wind, I had no choice. I felt a small sense of pride when that thing went flying (and didn’t hit me) It was perfectly executed.

I wheeled into the park carefully (good thing too, I heard later that riders were slipping as sliding around that corner)

This is where it got really interesting…

As I was running my bike into transition from the dismount area, some guy that had already finished, decided to just mosey into the transition area entrance which was very narrow (no room for two people and a bike)

The volunteers yelled at him“BIKE COMING IN!” and I said, “excuse me… Excuse Me! EXCUSE ME!!!”

I almost took him out, and I wouldn’t have felt bad about it. He was a healthy young man that knew better.

I had to dart and dodge to get to my bike rack, I went to hit “lap” on my Garmin and lost control of my bike (the areobars make the front end squirrelly) It went down, and I almost went down with it (I went partially down and over it), banging my ankle and leg pretty good. I’d like to blame that on dodging people and the crap that was inconsiderately strewn all over even the main paths but it was all me.

I limped to the rack only to discover that the sprint people who I was sharing space with (they came in earlier that I did because they only did one bike loop) hadn’t bothered to leave any room for my bike and had thrown stuff all over the place. I had to move bikes and unbury my neatly stowed gear.

There was a lot of VERY POOR TRANSTION ETTIQUITE!!!

I was out of transition and on the run course in 2:32 which would have been a lot better if it hadn’t been for the incidents getting in, all the crap I had to dodge, and not being able to get my bike racked or access my gear easily.

All I can say about my run (also hilly) is that I finished. It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t pretty but I finished

As I was coming into the park my friends were just leaving (they had all done the shorter race and waited as long as they could before they started to get hypothermic. They honked, yelled and cheered from the car. It was a nice feeling!

Gene was still there waiting for me to come in to cheer me on and make sure I was OK. He had shown up just to support us and his friend’s son who was there doing his first triathlon.

What an AWESOME friend!

I got my finsher medal and a 3rd place medal for my division,-not because I was fast, because it was a small division; I don’t’ care, I’ll take a “pity medal” A lot of people didn’t race at all because of the crap weather and I certainly worked hard to get through it.

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When we went back to get my bike, I took my shoes off. I noticed blood on my shoe, then I noticed my sock was soaked in blood.

Then I noticed THIS; I actually ran 10K on this; my guts hurt so bad that I didn’t even notice this until it was over. (I’ll do photo updates if it turns cool colors)

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I’ve also got numerous cuts and bruises on my leg.

I’m not sure if I should feel stupid for doing it in so much intestinal pain that I didn’t notice this or if I should feel like a read badass…

After the race, I headed over to Kathy and Jon’s for a wonderful BBQ. They are wonderful hosts and Jon is a great cook. We all had a great time, and since we weren’t getting into our wet suits at the same time (I was doing a different distance race) we found a way to do the obligatory triathlon “butt shot” (hey! My butt’s popular, everyone wants to grab it)

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I came home, took a nice bath with some of my duckies and glass of champagne and have been icing and elevating the ankle.

I knew I’d survive this race, no matter how uncomfortable it was… For a number of reasons…

But the biggie? I found this cute little guy in the parking lot…

A good luck ducky

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Here’s the course.

Now, it’s time to ice my ankle again

~L

Mood: Tired



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Racing with the Ironmen in Moses Lake

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My first Olympic Distance triathlon was quite the event.

What I didn’t know is that it was the first USAT standings race of the year and a whole slew of Ironmen were clamoring for ranking.

Woah doggie this was a fast fast field of competitors.

This race was close enough to the motel (a little over a mile) that it was easier to just ride my bike over than to try to deal with driving and parking. That was really nice.

Annie, Jill, Kathy Gene and I arrived bright and early to get our transition areas set up and sutff ourselves into our wetsuits like sausages.

Here are Katy, Myself, Annie & Jill

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and of course, doing the now obligatory butt shot…

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Gene broke his goggles at the last minute, so the woman next to me loaned him a pair of pink goggles. This picture does not do their pinkness justice.

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I got to meet my (up until today) online friend Lynn. We started reading each other’s blogs some time after one of the Elma triathlons and finally got to meet face to face.

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Gene’s awesome parents came out to cheer us all one and take pictures

The swim was rough. I knew that I could swim a mile, but I still had plenty of anxiety over doing it in a group, then hopping on a bike for 22 miles and then running a 10K.

The wind picked up during the 2nd lap of the mens race which was when our wave started. (the sprint swimmers did one 750 meter lap and we did two) The Olympic Distance woman started 15 minutes after the men (we were told to be nice when picking off the slow ones)

There was a lot of chop in the water and some pretty big waves. When I came around the 2nd buoy (there were only two it was kind of an oblong course) I rolled my head to the left to breathe and inhaled a wave.

Luckily, I didn’t panic. I stopped long enough to get my head out of the water, facing away from the waves and cough all the water out. Then I went right back to swimming.

But DARN IT, if I didn’t have the exact same thing happen in the exact same place on the 2nd lap.

I thought I was swimming well, but noticed that I was not in the middle of the pack like I usually am, but rather in the back of the pack.

I swam a mile and got in to the transition area in 32:28 which exceeded my best case scenario of 33 minutes based of my other triathlons this year (40 minutes was my worst case scenario based on the tri I swam last year with the sinus infection)

As it turns out, I swam a faster pace for a full mile than I did for 400 meters; and I swam a faster pace for 400 meters than I do for 250 meters.

Molly’s right, the shorter races seem harder because I’m not warmed up yet.

My transition was quite mediocre. It took 03:49 to get out of the wetsuit and into my bike gear. Of course the fact that I forgot to take my Garmin off the strap of my swim cap and put it on my wrist didn’t help. (it’s only rated water resistant for 30 minutes, so I wear it on my strap to keep it out of the water but hadn’t done it in a race yet) I know I shouldn’t have, but I ran back across the transition area to go get it which cost me some time.

The bike did not go well at all.

First, one of the pads on my aerobars flew off at about mile two of the ride. I had to lean my forearms on bare metal and bolt heads. My forearm is swollen and it feels like the bone is bruised. I expect to be able to see the imprint of the bolts by tomorrow. Since there was no shock absorption on that side, my shoulder and neck really started to hurt.

It was a fairly steady hill going out with some rollers. There didn’t seem to be as much downhill on the way back as I expected.

And it was windy; very very windy.

At one point on the bike ride when I was out there all by myself, I wanted to cry.

It was my worst triathlon ride ever, I was behind everyone (seriously, I was the last rider in the last wave and got the motorcycle escort in) and felt like I didn’t belong out there. I finished 22 hilly windy miles in 1:28:39 averaging only 14.89 mph.

How in the heck was I going to run a 10K after getting my butt kicked in that choppy water and doing so poorly on the bike ride?

After a 1:44 transition, I waddled out onto the trail for the run.

I had eaten well the day before, the morning of and I kept eating Cliff shot blocks and drinking Heed the whole time I was on the ill fated bike ride.

I ran slowly, it was only about finishing. I knew I was not going to do well.

Instead of the heat that was forecast, a gentle rain began to fall.

It was delicious, glorious wonderful coolness from the sky.

There is nothing quite as sweet and magical as desert rain.

When I got to the turn around for the 10K mark, I finally got brave enough to look at my watch.

“OMG! I could actually finish this in under 3 ½ hours. My best case scenario finish time was 3:30 and my not quite worst case (just being slow at everything) was 3:47.

I came in at 3:25:22 which may be slow, but it was faster than I was expecting to pull this off.

And heck, it was my first Olympic Distance Tri, any finish time was a PR.

There were 4 DNFs, three after the swim and one after the bike.

Only after I felt like such a slow loser, did I learn that this was a big race for Ironmen looking for rankings for the year and that it was an insanely fast field.

One woman who I swam with (and got passed on the bike by) was no other than Sister Madonna. This woman, a Catholic nun, is 78 years old (born the same year as my mother who refuses to even go walk more or less exercise or take care of herself) and has completed FORTY Ironmans and set age group records.

Here are Gene, Myself, Sister Madonna. and Annie

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You really should click on the link, Sister Madonna-Iron Nun. to read her story; this woman is an amazing inspiration.

I had no idea that the lady I was standing around in the water joking around with at the start line was a legend until Kathy told me.

Since there weren’t a lot of Athenas, I got 2nd place (and a bit of extra hardware)

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The Icky Boy was kind enough to carry my bag back as I walked my bike next to him.

As we were crossing the bridge these GIANT fish (carp I think) were leaping out of the lake. I swear, these things were big enough to take off my arm. And to think that I was swimming with them. [shudder]

After the race, we sat on the balcony of the hotel watching a thunderstorm enjoying a beer. Then we met up with Gene & Joanne and Gene’s parents for Pizza. If you’re in Moses Lake and want Pizza, Chicos is the place (but get there early)

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I have some more photos here, Lisa’s Moses Lake Olypmic Distance Triathlon Photos

and yes… I’m already planning on coming back to do it again next year.

~L

Mood: Tired



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