Saturday, August 15, 2009

Experiment successful!

Thursday afternoon was the triathlon with work colleagues and this year there was the addition of a biathlon- 3 mile run, then the 12.6 mile bike and 3 mile run with the triathlon participants. I can't imagine choosing to run 3 miles rather than swim half a mile, but it did attract a few participants which was really nice because there were more people out on the course. My only disappointment for the day was that it rained off and on until about 3:30pm when we decided that my husband and the kids would stay home and I would go by myself since it might rain again and spectating in the rain wouldn't be fun for any of them. About 4:30pm as I was packing up the car it really started to look like it was clearing and I was hoping my husband would spontaneously decide they would go with me. After 10 years of marriage I should be a bit more familiar with him, he's not going to say something like that, I should have asked again. Crossing the finish line without them there was a real letdown since this is the only event that they can easily attend and I didn't realize just how much it means to have them there until they weren't.

Anyway, let's recap before I give the race report. My last swim was some time in February, when I was randomly putting in about 25 minutes during the boys' swim classes. My last bike ride was the triathlon last September when I rode 15 miles in the pouring rain. My last run, however, was just this week and I've been doing a lot more on that front. I'm at exactly the same weight I was last year, so I raced Athena again- there were three of us in the division.

People remarked that the water was cold, I thought it was just about perfect- I think it was upper 60's. They told us the start would be in the middle of the beach, so I stood in the middle of the beach before the start siren. However, when they counted down from 10 seconds, people were already standing ankle deep in the water, which left me at the back of the pack of 52 swimmers. It wouldn't have made that much difference in the end, but I probably spent about 30 seconds trying to get through the pack to a spot where I could swim. I was also clobbered in this swim more than in any other I have participated. I was dunked once, but really nothing that caused me to panic. Honestly the swim just felt great. It was a two loop course with a short jog across the beach between loops. By the time I got to the third leg of the first loop we had spread out a bit and I had a nice spot to swim. Time: 12:47 (I still doubt it's an actual 1/2 mile course, especially based on that time)

Then I got on my bike for the oh-so-fun 6 loop course. My bike computer worked for about 34 seconds and then turned off. I managed to hit the timer on my watch to get an idea of time and double check that I did 6 laps without losing track. There was one spot on the course where they had a traffic sign set up that displays your speed as you approach. I was excited to see it say 17mph each of the six times I went by, so I didn't slow down much over the course of the leg, at least not at that area.
12.6 miles, time: 46:15 (only 17 seconds slower than last year despite not a single practice ride)

As I headed out on the run the sun came out- bummer- and it was hot for the first portion of the course. My legs thought about cramping up at the same point I had terrible cramps the past two times, but this year the extra fluids I took in on the bike must have helped because after some mild tightness for about a dozen steps, they stretched out and I felt pretty good. My only disappointment was that I was hoping to break 30 minutes on this run and I cam close, but not quite.
3.0 miles, time: 30:11 (Last year was 33:09, so that's a good improvement)

I think overall this was my best race ever. I know I was working as hard as I could have. I felt that I'm-about-to-vomit-if-I-don't-back-off feeling a couple times on the bike and once on the run. I was second in my group, but I think the first place Athena was about 8 minutes ahead of me, so it's not as if I just missed out. I truly hope to race age-group next year although there's no chance I'd ever place age group, because I'll be below the weight cut-off for Athena. And, while it didn't go poorly this year despite my lack of training, I intend to put in a well-trained effort next year. And unless it's pouring buckets, the family's coming with me!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I be a scientist

I decided to do an experiment this summer. Actually I guess laziness put me into a situation where I'm making excuses for the laziness under cover of an experiment. I have a triathlon in three days. I've been running quite a bit and I'm very happy with my progress on that front. When was my last swim you ask? Oh, about February, when I was doing laps while the boys had swimming lessons, until I started teaching the swimming lessons so we could get them for free. And where is my bike? On the garage wall, where it has been since my triathlon LAST September. Yep, a practically un-trained-for triathlon. Guess I'll be able to determine whether it's really all about the run. But, it's only a sprint, it's very low-key, being a bunch of people from work and all I want to do is finish. Barring a flat or some mechanical catastrophe on the bike, I know I'll at least do that. The most important part to me is sharing the evening with my family so the kids can see that this is what we do as a family, incorporate fun exercise in our lives.

I'm happy with the half marathon training. It's eight weeks from yesterday, I put in a 7.4 mile run on Friday, so I'm planning to run past the 10 mile training distance I used for the first half in May. Friday's run I managed to maintain a 10:35 pace for the 7.4 miles, the strongest mile was actually the last. This morning was a short run- 3.36 miles and I kept up a 9:40 pace. It was 100% humidity and 70 degrees so it's just nasty out there, but I did it and it felt strong. I'm taking off until Thursday afternoon's triathlon, just hoping for a little cooler, drier air. I've found the motivation that was failing back in June and I'm feeling great. Except for about 4 pounds that I recently packed on and I'm not sure how or why. But, overall feeling great.

This summer has been just about the best I can ever remember. I'm not on the computer at home very often anymore and I don't usually have time to post from work. The kids are thoroughly enjoying themselves and we're hitting the beaches, parks and outdoor activities with regularity which makes all of us happy. We did also buy Wii Sports Resort for those rainy days and evenings, everyone's enjoying some new games and the boys are expert swordfighters. In two weeks we celebrate Princess' second birthday, which I can hardly believe is here already, and in three weeks Hot Wheels starts first grade. Sigh, just going by so fast. I'm taking a psychology and sociology class in the fall also, so the busy pace of life goes on.