Tri Again

OK, here’s the long awaited race report.

Oh, and this was my first time in the 50-54 age group. USA Triathlon regulations specify that you race in the age group you will be on Dec 31st of that year. Since I turn 50 in a few weeks, it was my first race as a fifty year old. Woo Hoo! New age group for me!

For a comprehensive list of every thing that went wrong, you can check out my blog about how not to do a triathlon.

I did do several things right, one was using natural “real” food for electrolytes/hydration. I used blackstrap molasses instead of energy gels and coconut water in place of sports drinks. I’m very pleased with both choices.

I overslept just a bit, but arrived at Meridian Lake in plenty of time to pick up my packet, get everything set up in my transition area and get through the port a potty lines. Come on race directors (all of you) you’ve got a bunch of athletes who’ve been hydrating like crazy, drinking coffee like mad (this is after all the Pacific Northwest) and really need to take care of other [ahem] bodily functions before squeezing into their wetsuits.

It was a lovely clear morning with steam rising up over the water.

I did the Friday Night Swim Race here the previous week so I knew the course which made me more relaxed and confident. I did one open water swim at Steele Lake the previous week and wasn’t feeling too good about my swim performance, my technique was terrible so I was working way harder than I needed to and was pretty darn slow.

This is something about having buoys to site on and other swimmers in the water that put me right back into the “tri zone”. I was not fast at the swim race, but I came in at just over 20 minutes (and that included getting out of the water and running up the ramp)

On race morning even though I was not at my best physically (see aforementioned blog post) once we were off and running (errr… swimming) I was really “in the zone”. I started and stayed in the back. It wasn’t too long before I started to pass people (those who started out too fast) I wasn’t swimming fast because all I wanted was to get through the swim with enough energy left to complete the bike and run. But I really felt good, relaxed, in control of my breathing, and with pretty decent rotation.

After the third buoy I found myself in a “swimmer sandwich” getting kicked in the head by the gal in front of me, and kicking whoever was behind me in their head. Such is the way of things. I wasn’t giving up my line.

I exited the water at 21:17 almost a minute slower than my race time the previous week. It wasn’t a great time but I sure wasn’t last, so I’ll take it especially since I was trying to conserve energy and had to stop and fuss with my goggles.

Next was the bike.

My transition time wasn’t great, 3:11:09 but it certainly wasn’t terrible and I made sure to get some more blackstrap and coconut water down. I do need to work on getting out of the wetsuit more quickly and would be better off getting my bike shoes on if I dried my feet off a bit before putting my socks on.

The course was mostly rolling hills; I was able to get some extra speed and stretch out a bit on the aero bars. My friend Russ recognized me from behind (I was pretty easy to spot with the word “Hammer” emblazoned on my ass in bright pink lettering) so we chatted a bit on the course.

There was one super nasty hill (worse than the hill in downtown Portland on the old STP route) which had volunteers stationed at the bottom to warn us to gear down.

as you can see, four out of five cyclist in this photo could not get up on their bike…

You KNOW it’s ugly when I come up off the saddle (I’m normally a sit and spin girl)

I took 1:03 to get through the bike course, which while not my best time, was not terrible according to my time, I averaged 15.5 mph which included the mount and dismount areas and getting in and out of transition. My bike computer says that I averaged 17 miles per hour which isn’t bad.

My T-2 transition time was pretty decent at 1:46:6 and I was off and running… Literally. I of course had a wicked case of “rubber legs” after getting off the bike and was just determined to finish this thing upright. I did have to make a short visit to the bushes which didn’t help my time any, but 35:14:06 was not horrible for a 5 K, especially after swimming and bike racing first.

I raised my arms in the air in triumph as I crossed the finish line right after this pic was taken.

Total time… 2:04:35:09 Not stellar, but not really that bad.

I almost cried. I had done it. I had overcome all of it, the hemorrhaging, the weight gain caused by not being able to work out for almost two years, the arthritis and scar tissue in my spine and pelvis which also got worse during that time, the stress, the dangerously high blood pressure and two surgeries.

I may not be fast, but I’m back and this triathlon medal means more to me than all of the others combined.

despite everything my body has been through-I am still a triathlete

Oh, after a quick nap, I rode out on the RAPSody bike course to meet up with my long time ride partner Leo and ride a few miles in with him since I wasn’t able to do the ride this year and missed the rest of our usual rides reffing together for CBC.


I slept well that night!

Next up…

the Iron Girl 10K
the You Go Girl Half Marathon
and if I get through that uninjured
the Seattle Marathon.

Seattle was my first full marathon which I did when I turned 40 to celebrate that and learning how to walk again after the accident that fractured my spine and pelvis.

It seems fitting that I should do it again when I turn 50 and to celebrate overcoming my recent obstacles.


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How NOT to do a Triathlon


#1 Sign up for a race that you don’t have time to train up for because it is the only one scheduled on your only day off during the week.

#2 Don’t rest the day before your race. Make sure to spend at least ten hours on your feet (bonus if in the sun on a hot day), lift heavy stuff, and walk no less than eight miles. Also make sure to rack up at least two nights of sleep deprivation.

#3 Make sure to wear brand new flipflops with stiff straps that dig into the skin on your feet and give blisters the day before. Bonus if the straps are thinner than the ones you usually wear and you get sunburned on the white stripes on your feet adjacent to the blisters.

#4 Be too busy to eat or hydrate properly the day before, then drink so much water and electrolytes that you’re up peeing all night long.

#5 If you are a female of child bearing age, not on hormonal birth control, by all means ovulate a day or two before the race; the resulting hormone surges, bloating and constipation will make everything: eating, sleeping, fitting into your trisuit/wetsuit, not feeling like a moose so much more challenging. Bonus if said condition makes you too nauseated to eat on race day.

You may experience the benefit of running/pedaling faster to catch up with that super hot guy in the trisuit ahead of you. After all, our lizard brains are looking for good strong breeding stock and these guys are it!

#6 Load up on fluids and fiber to offset the post ovulatory constipation and drink plenty of coffee; the resulting “flush” will keep you occupied all morning long both before and after you get to the race (and perhaps on your way there and after you put your wetsuit on) Bonus points if said race has insufficient port-a-potties on site.

#7 Don’t bother going through the process of filling your wetsuit with water, then climbing up on the beach to let it drain out, leaving only a thin layer of water for your body to heat up like the suit is designed to do. Just jump in and freeze your butt off. The chattering of your teeth will greatly amuse everyone in your swim start wave.

#8 Don’t adjust your swim goggles properly before starting out; it’s super fun when they fill with water. Bonus if you wear contact lenses.

#9 Don’t do a complete mechanical check on your bike; it’s super fun when one of the armrests on your areo bars comes loose and you almost fly off your bike as your forearm swings around wildly while your going 30 miles per hour.

#10 Be sure to make certain your feet are good and soaking wet from the swim while you attempt to put on your socks and bike shoes. The bunching that follows will provide entertainment throughout your bike and run.

#11 Make sure to over hydrate so that even after peeing in your wetsuit on the swim course (oh don’t look at me like that, everyone does it), you still have to make a choice as to if you want to pee while sitting on the grass in transition or duck into the bushes on your run. Bonus if you’re wearing a bright pink trisuit and everyone running past you on the trail knows what you’re doing.

#12 Don’t practice transitions and getting out of your wetsuit quickly. It will be a great source of amusement to your fellow competitors when you trip over your own feet, land on your butt and roll around on the ground in the transition area yelling, “GET IT OFF ME!!!” *note, this will not be amusing if you are in the aisle blocking someone from getting their bike in and out and could result in tire tracks across your face.

#13 Forget how the mutli sport function on your Garmin works and hit the wrong button immediately after exiting the swim.

#14 Hammer out a super hard pace on the bike for the entire course as if you don’t have to run afterwards, so that your legs are jello and you are disoriented when transitioning to the run. Bonus points if you run into a tree.

#15 DO… have a sense of humor about it all, because if you finished the race upright and walked away with a medal, it really is pretty damn funny.


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the end of the season

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.

Black Diamond Traithlon 2009 003

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.

Black Diamond Traithlon 2009 006

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

Black Diamond Traithlon 2009 007

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.

Black Diamond Traithlon 2009 008

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.

Black Diamond Traithlon 2009 013

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.


Mood: Tired

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This afternoon’s fun

I tested out the Go Pro Hero waterproof video camera today on an open water swim at Steele Lake.

I strapped it to my lifeguard can and we were able to shoot some fun video of each other swimming.  Since neither one of us have seen ourselves swim before it was quite helpful (I’m dropping my left shoulder a bit and need to pay more attention to my rotation)


Mood: Amused


I tri d again

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.

Bonney Lake Triathlon 2009 033

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.


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.


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


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

shiny thing wall September 2009 001

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…


Mood: Tired


A bad triathlon is better than…

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!!!


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…


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.


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.

bonney lake triathlon 2009 014

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)

Bonney Lake Triathlon 2009 033

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)

bonney lake triathlon 2009 016

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


Mood: Tired


On Being an Angel

Uh… yeah… Most people wouldn’t call me an angel, but today I got to be one for a few hours.

After a rough few weeks involving my mother’s death, followed by a nasty case of the flu due to my stress level lowering my immune system and then to top it off, a nasty sinus infection, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the couch.

One of the things I’ve been looking forward to for the last year is volunteering as a “Swim Angel” for the Danskin Triathlon which is a fund raiser for the Breast Cancer Resource Center and in which survivors and or their loved ones often participate.

It’s a truly inspirational event (although Sally Edwards presence was missed this morning)

“Swim Angels offer encouragement and act as a calming presence to women who may be experiencing anxiety in the water. Swim Angels will swim alongside participants, offer support, and flag help from kayakers or lifeguards if needed.”

I thought about doing it last year (with some encouragement from my friend Julie), but with only one little (only a 250 meter swim) triathlon under my belt, I didn’t think that I was strong or confident enough to swim the course more than once and support other women.

So I volunteered on the water safety team as a kayaker instead the report is here

But this year, by golly… Nothing was going to stop me from being a swim angel. Not fever (thankfully I had been without a fever for 24 hours by this morning) nor snot, nor exhaustion.

What almost took me out was my intestines.

I came home from dinner at the Icky Boy’s last night to discover that the high doses of antibiotics I’m taking for the sinus infection finally got to me (there just isn’t enough yogurt one can eat) and I spent most of the night running to the bathroom. I didn’t get much sleep and I was concerned about staying awake more or less not having an “incident”. (luckily, I had hydrated well)

I hydrated, ate what I could keep down and headed out to Genesee Park for a lovely sunrise over Lake Washington as the lifeguards, kayakers and swim angels headed out to the water.

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I wandered over to the transition area to the REI bike tent to say “Hi” to Bill and BJ from the Tacoma store who were working doing bike maintenance.

On the way back to the lake, I saw the cutest thing, a teen/twenty-something young man braiding his grandmother’s hair as she was getting ready to race.

After a couple of trips to the port-a-potties I squeezed into my wetsuit and hoped for the best.

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Stephani (who did the Danskin as her first triathlon last year, and for whom I wore the bunnie ears so that she could pick me out on the swim course) volunteered this year as well. (you can tell how tired I was and how sick I’ve been by the bags under my eyes)

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My first “shift” was working the start gate.

Swim angles have swim noodles and we formed a line in waist/chest deep water in front of each swim wave forming the start line with the noodles, did the count down and raised and waved the noodles.

It was fun being a cheerleader yelling out to ask what age group was swimming and who was doing their first triathlon and to get everyone cheering while they were waiting for their wave to start.

I also got the snot kicked out of me. The swimmers did a great job of not mowing us over when they passed us but once they were past us, they kicked like good swimmers.

They gave me two women (I had two noodles) because we were short angels. Nothing like breaking in a new swim angel the hard way.

I swam with both for a while but ended up staying back with the slower of the two women as the other one moved ahead. It took us almost an hour, but we got her around the course moving boat to boat, board to board (they can rest on a kayak or lifeguard’s board without being disqualified as long as they aren’t towed)

I made sure to stay to the inside the course to give her better access to the boats/boards and to keep her from getting kicked/swam over by fast swimmers in subsequent waves.

I got the snot kicked out of me, but that’s OK, it’s what I was there for.

I got picked up by another very nice woman and her sister as soon as I got back in from my first lap and helped her get around in about 47 minutes. We were in the next to the last lap so there were fewer swimmers behind us and I hardly got kicked at all.

Swimming with the swim noodles was as difficult as I heard it was; there’s really no way to adequately use your arms and hang on to the noodles.

I’m glad I had the zoomers swim fins as my tiny little narrow feet don’t give me much power, and I really can’t breast stroke/frog kick well in a wetsuit because the buoyancy makes my butt float too high and pushes my face in the water.

I ended up mostly doing a lifeguard approach stroke (head above water so you can make eye contact) with the noodles under my arms and across my chest. Unfortunately my lack of bustiness, combined with a slippery wetuit that compresses what I do have resulted in a lot of slippage and a need for constant readjustment, but it worked even if it wasn’t particularly efficient.

My neck and shoulders really feel the effects of using a stroke I wasn’t used to and my legs, especially the calves really feel the use of the flippers.

I finished up with a headache, dizzy, my guts twisted up, exhausted from lack of sleep last night and being sick and some very sore muscles.

But more important, I felt a great sense of pride in the women who achieved their (often life changing) goals today while supporting such a great cause.


Mood: Tired


Tri and Tri again-Why yes, I am crazy

Triathlon # 11 is in the bag. (and to think that I haven’t even been doing this for a year yet)

I got a little crazy this weekend and decided to do not one, but two triathlons. (it is vital right now that I distract myself from tragic things I have no control over-the gory details are on my blog, but you probably really don’t want to know)

Hey, they were just little sprints so it was like doing an Olympic distance over two days instead of all at once right?

First, was the Ft Lewis Triple Threat Series Triathlon on Saturday.

This one was on the base, so I had to get there early to get a pass and get through the gate.

It was an easy process and I was there in plenty of time to get my transition area set up and go check out the lake. (this is a part of American Lake which is on the military base and not open to the public)

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We got nice long sleeve t-shirts with our registation.

I ran into my friend dragon boat friend Fay who I haven’t seen for some time

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Bill was there doing the REI bike tech thing.

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I had a rough week last week fighting off the crud, not getting enough sleep and dealing with a family crisis so I wasn’t feeling well.

I also started in the back because it was a mass start (everyone at once) and I didn’t feel like getting kicked in the head. I got squigged out on my warm up swim because of all the milfoil The stuff creeps me out (I did show some self control and did not squeal like a girl when it touched me), and with swim goggles it seems magnified and to be reaching up to grab you. I finished my warm up swim with my eyes closed.

I had a hard time on the swim, because I was snotty (the downside to wearing nose plugs means that snot runs down the back of your throat) and kinda wheezy. I also had a difficult time completely filling up my lungs.

Since I started in the back on the swim, the water was churned up and I couldn’t see the nasty milfoil.

I exited the water after the half mile swim at 20:10.

My transition from swim to bike was 3:01 (not 100% sure on this, I goofed up hitting my lap counter)

The first bit of the bike ride was pretty bumpy but once we got out onto open road it smoothed out a bit.

It was a closed course with lots of nice young soldiers blocking intersections for us.

My right calf and hip were a bit tight, likely as residual from the previous weekends 204 mile STP ride.

There were also some pretty significant headwinds on part of the course so it didn’t feel easy.

I came in on the 15 mile bike ride at 55:04 which was a 16:34 mph pace-I felt like I was going slower than that, but I guess I did OK.

My transition from bike to run was 1:58

I didn’t feel great on the run. It was getting warm and because I was either having allergy trouble and/or was fighting of an upper respiratory bug and was snotty (given the amount of snot that flowed out of my on the bike ride, I’m surprised there was any left)

I came in on the 5K at 32:26 (about 10 ½ minute miles) for a finish time of 1:52:32.

I guess that’s not too bad for someone that wasn’t feeling well physically or emotionally.

This is the first triathlon I’ve done where there were no finisher medals. Since I was in a big age group and didn’t place in the top 3, I didn’t get a shiny thing.

After the race, I rushed home, got unloaded, cleaned up and met Annie to go up to Seattle to pick up our packets for the SeaFair triathlon the next day. We got nice tech shirts and reusable shopping bags.

After that, the Icky Boy picked me up and we headed out for my other friend Ann’s birthday BBQ (it was over at 7:00 PM so it’s not like it was a late night)

I was up bright and early on Sunday morning to head down up to Seward Park for the SeaFair triathlon.

I tired to be clever and come up from the South on Rainer Ave South to avoid the crowds, but goofed up and had to come in from the North anyway. Annie and I talked on the phone, but I never found her in transition (there were 2,000 of us)

I parked several blocks up the hill and hauled by bike and gear down to the park.

It took a long time to even get into the transition area.

I was in wave 11 (out of 14) so I had to “hurry up and wait” for an hour. (we were kicked out of the transition are at 6:45 AM) The race started at 7:00 AM, but my swim wave didn’t go until well after 7:40.

We weren’t allowed to do any warm up swimming after 6:45 because the swim start and finish were close together and we could have confused the swimmers coming in to the finish.

Yeah, nothing like standing around getting stiff.

I was deciding that I really don’t like huge triathlons and all the waiting involved in getting that many swim waves off.

I finally got into the water (didn’t get down there in time for an actual warm up swim) to let some water into my wetsuit, drain out the excess and get acclimated to the lake (which was pretty warm)

I finally found Kathy at the start. She started in the wave (or two, I can’t remember) ahead of me. Luckily, I knew which swim cap she was wearing and what kind of wetsuit she has. We got to give each other a hug before we started.

There was more nasty milfoil and I was dutifully squigged out. (again, I did show some self control and did not squeal like a girl when it touched me)

Although I was a bit tired from doing a triathlon the day before, I felt good on the swim. I was less snotty and better able to breathe comfortably. I came in on the half mile swim at 19:25. (which was almost a minute faster than the day before)

My transition from swim to bike was 3:28.

The bike ride was a familiar tour of Lake Washington Boulevard and a ride across the I-90 floating bridge out to Mercer Island and back.

It is confirmed that I’ve been across that bridge on foot running and on my bike more times than I’ve driven it.

I finished the 12 mile bike ride in 46:31 which was a 15:38 mph hour pace, over a full mile per hour slower than the previous week; then again, the course was hillier and it was more difficult to get in and out of the transition area.

My 2nd transition was 2:27 which is pretty slow for me.

I headed out for the run which was a beautiful loop around Seward Park (which is surrounded by water on 3 sides) and realized that although I don’t like the waiting involved with big events, that I did love the spectacular beauty of this course and will do it again.

Then “the hill” came. As we rounded the loop road in the park, we made a sharp turn and headed up a nasty hill. This is where a lot of runners turned into walkers. I was not one of them, but I running darn sloowly.

This was the time that I realized that I was tired from the triathlon the day before and my exhausting week.

I took it easy because I didn’t want to injure myself. This two triathlons in two days thing was for fun, not to hurt myself. It took me 37:59 to crank out that 5K, (12 ½ minute miles, OMG I didn’t think I was that slow)

I came in at 1:50:04 (and shockingly was not last in my age group, but I was definitely in the back of the pack of those women)

I was number 1293 out of 1454 overall. I was faster than 161 other people.

I’ll take it.

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I got my shiny thing, hiked back up to my truck and celebrated with some Taco Del Mar nachos and a Negra Modello before coming home and meeting the Icky Boy for an early dinner.

This message was sent using the Picture and Video Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!

Today, I am resting.


Mood: tired


Racing with the Ironmen in Moses Lake

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.


Mood: Tired


Triathlon anxiety… (is the hay in the barn?) and swimming solo

The temperature for Saturday’s triathlon is forecast to be 86 degrees.

That may not sound like much to many of you (and may even be laughable to some) but for someone living in Western Washington, it’s extreme. Consider the fact that black asphalt can radiate 180 degrees 6′ above it’s surface on such a day, and it’s down right scary.

This may be the race where I finally barf.

Today I needed to get one last (or maybe the 2nd to last) open water swim in before my first Olympic distance triathlon on Saturday (which I am totally freaking out about and am not ready for this early in this, my 2nd season of doing these things)

My regular swim partner Gene has had some “complications” at work and couldn’t get off in time to do the swim with me.

I had another potential partner from the South Sound Triathlon Club who wanted to come out, but he recently moved and couldn’t find his wetsuit. (no way do you want to try a mile in the current water temps without one)

So I had to suck it up and go solo.

I made sure that people knew where I was and when to expect me back.

I called the Icky Boy before I want in and after I got out (even if he came out to be bored and watch, he’s not a swimmer and even if he was, with me out in the middle of the lake, there wouldn’t be anything he could do anyway-but I know I like to know when he’s returned safely from something with significant risk)

The police are usually there and the outrigger canoe club practices in the area-both parties usually watch out for swimmers.

I was probably safer there than I was driving to work on I-5 this morning. I’m a strong simmer (but I’d by lying if I didn’t have self doubt and anxiety even though I swam that exact route last week with no problem)

It would be virtually impossible to sink in the wetsuit.

I towed my lifeguard float in case I got a cramp or took on water…

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I hydrated well today (it was HOT out) and ate some shot blocks for extra energy before I want out (they really help after a 10 hour shift at work)

People looked at me like I was nuts; nuts for wearing a wetsuit, nuts for carrying that silly float and nuts for getting in the lake and swimming out to the far end.

I felt good…


I swam it a bit faster than last time (no one to shoot the breeze with)

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I got out, texted work and called the icky boy to check in and headed home.

I’ve been tired the last couple of weeks.

I did two sprint triathlons in a week, and did runs two days after each of them.

I did a 71 mile bike ride a week and a half ago ago.

I haven’t been running as much as I’d like, but I have done a (slow) difficult half marathon this year.

I’ve done two open wter swims of just over a mile…

I’ve done FOUR sprint marathons (3 with 250 meter swims and one with a 400 meter swim) which is likely more than a lot of people have done this year but not enough if my books.

I just don’t feel fully trained up enough in any of my disciplines. Training for a triathlon and to be a staff rider for a double century with a full time job (oh, and a life) is a daunting task at times.

I feel like I’m not giving anything enough time or attention.

I’m resting tomorrow.

I’ve been tired. My legs feel fatigued and my morning resting heart rate is a bit higher than I think it should be (60 bmp)

I may do another swim on Thursday afternoon for confidence. I don’t’ use my legs much when I swim (difficult in a full wetsuit and counterproductive in a triathlon where you need to save your legs for the bike and run), so I should be OK. At this point, I really don’t consider swimming a workout.

Can I do an Olympic distance triathlon (full mile swim-40K bike-10K run) in the heat, this early in a season where I don’t feel I’ve done enough?

We’ll see on Saturday.

I will be supported by good friends (and my Icky Boy)

And I “haz he stubborn”


Mood: Swimmin’ baby…. Swimmin’