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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I’m Your Huckleberry

OK, maybe not, but I’ve been looking for a reason to use that phrase.

After the epic adventure on Saturday to Surprise and Glacier Lakes I needed an more mild adventure.

On Monday a couple of friends and I headed up to Chinook Pass via Mt Rainer National Park to hike the Naches Peak Loop and pick Huckleberries.

We did the loop in the recommend clockwise direction so that when we got on the park side of the loop (half of the loop is in the William O Douglas Wilderness and half in Mt Rainier National Park) we would be facing the mountain in all her stunning glory.

We started out at Tipsoo Lake and had to take the obligatory mountain reflecting in the water shot.

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We entered the William O Douglas Wilderness and wound our way around the peak.

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We found a pretty little lake, and ate lunch on some rocks overlooking it.

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We had such a crazy late (and wet, icy cold and violent) spring, that the wildflowers which would normally be dead by now, were still out.

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Since I was sick and still very tired from Saturday’s Glacier Lake epic, we decided not to go all the way down to Dewey Lake, but we did get some nice views (and have added it to our list of places to go backpack)

Of course, mountain meadows make me want to do the obligatory “Sound of Music” thing 😉

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We also wanted to get back on the mountain side of the peak to get some photos of the lady before she wrapped herself in clouds and hid from us as she is often wont to do. (and did before we were able to finish the hike)

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And of course, there was much eating of huckleberries. Due to the aforementioned nasty spring, there aren’t a lot of them out there this year, so we didn’t take any home, but there was plenty of grazing on site.

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And of course, a stop off at my old stomping grounds from my days as a ski instructor at Crystal Mountain, the Naches Tavern.

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It was an awesome day!

The rest of the pictures are available by clicking here

Or as a slideshow here:

You can click here if the slideshow does not imbed properly in your browser/reader

Break’s over, back to work with me…

PS: If any blog readers missed the trip report and photos of Saturday’s epic, they are available by clicking here


Mood: Tired


Hiking Fool


One of the best things about living here in Tacoma is that in addition to the lovely water surrounding us on three sides, we have Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, Olympic National Park and a host of fabulous National Forests as our “back yard”

I FINALLY got some hiking in for the first time since May when a chain of events including house buying, escrow, moving and a fractured foot/big toe kept me from getting out and doing things.

On Friday, a couple friends and I headed up to Mount Rainer National Park to photograph the wildflowers up at Spray Park. The areas on the Carbon River side of the park have always been my favorite because it is the least accessible area of the park which cuts down on crowds, litter bugs, trail cutters, flower pickers, marmot feeders, and tundra trompers (all of which drive this former NPS Ranger batshit crazy)

After a long drive in on the washboarded dirt road up to Mowich Lake, we started the ascent up to Spray Park.

We took a brief stop at the Eagle’s Lookout for the obligatory photo op with the lady Tahoma (Tahoma being the mountain’s true name) who was in her full glory.

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We continued up the trial and hit the “longest alleged 0.8 miles of trail anywhere” up to the plateau.

That last bit of climb up sucks pond water, especially on a hot day, but it was worth every bit of it when we left the cover of the trees and entered the first meadow.

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There were wildflowers everywhere…

And bugs… OMG the bugs. I have given up on folk, natural and less toxic methods of dealing with bugs. I’ve found that what works best for me is the standard 30% DEET (hey, I’m not going to reproduce or lactate so no harm done) Even with three doses of the stuff, I got chewed on (or sucked on in the case of mosquitos) pretty badly in areas I didn’t get enough DEET on. (above my socks, my elbows which apparently are quite tender and tasty) and behind my ears.

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And a cute chubby marmot

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Of course, no trip to Spray Park is complete without the short side trip down to Spray Falls.

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The hike was an 8 mile round trip hike with 2,543 feet of (cumulative) elevation gain on the first day of the heat wave.


You can view the rest of the photos here: make with the clicky

Or as a slideshow here: clicky clicky

We got down about 3:30 PM and stopped in Bonney Lake for Mexican food and margaritas on the patio.

I don’t know what happened to Mazatlan after they moved to their new location, but the drinks, food and service were terrible; seriously, this was the worst Mexican food I’ve ever had, bland, tasteless and the margaritas tasted like grapefruit soda (at least they had a decent alcohol content).

*this margarita was so ashamed of the way it tasted, it had to hide it’ identity

We enjoyed our time on the patio, but from now on, we’ll wait until we’re back in good old Grit City and eat at Taquera El Guadalajara on 6th Ave.

On Monday a friend and I braved the heat and did an early morning run (5:30 AM departure) up to Snow Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest up off of Snoqualmie Pass.

I won’t get near that (or any other insanely popular) place on a weekend because I don’t care for crowds, but early on a Monday was nice, quiet and almost cool.

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We were mobbed by swarms of mosquitoes in the parking area. (7:00 AM WTF?) but I had gotten better at applying bug spray so I escaped this trip with no angry itchy welts.

The heat didn’t start to hit until we were just cresting the ridge to drop down to the lake, where we were treated to blessed shade. We knew that the hike up and out would be hotter than heck, but we did manage an early enough trip that we’d be out by noon.

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We walked around the lake to the junction with the trial that heads over to Gem Lake. This lake was every bit as stunning as I’ve heard.

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The rest of the snow lake pictures are available here: make with the clicky

Or as a slide show here: clicky clicky

Along with a BBQ with friends on Saturday and volunteering as a Swim Angel for the Danskin Triathlon on Sunday (that inspirational event will get it’s own post), I couldn’t have asked for a better long weekend.

I’m tired, sore, achy, bug bitten and slightly sunburned. THAT’s the way one should feel after a weekend.


Mood: Tired