Time 2 Tri & Tri It for Casa

It’s race week! I can’t believe it’s here already, and I feel so totally unprepared (even though I’ve been training my tail off for the past 15 weeks). I’m just anxious and nervous about it all, and I feel like my training has been scattered since the week after Texasman. My poor husband has had to put up with my obsessive worry, and I feel really bad for him. So in order to not think about it right now and get myself worked up anymore, I’m going to take a look back.

June 12th, the day after the Collin Classic, I completed a sprint triathlon. This race was the culmination of training with a group called Time 2 Tri. This group had a weekend event back in April at Playtri, as an effort to get more women involved in triathlon. I came across their booth at the Dallas Rock ‘n Roll expo in March. I decided to go to the event, even though I wasn’t brand new to triathlon, because I want to keep learning and meeting people.

This weekend event at Playtri kicked off eight weeks of training set up by a coach: strength training, group rides, swim sessions, and track workouts. With my distance from the workout locations, I was only able to participate in some of the swim sessions. I feel like I gained a huge benefit from it. For some of these women this was their first venture into triathlon, and it was great to see their excitement about completing their first race.

The Tolltag Triathlon (Tri It for Casa) was a 500m open water swim in a small man-made lake. The main thing I was nervous about was the fact that my hands were still kind of numb from the biking. The water was too warm for a wetsuit, so I hoped my legs wouldn’t drag me down too much. I was in the last swim wave (again) but this race was much smaller and I wasn’t nearly as anxious. I felt calm in the water, and didn’t worry about my speed. The hardest part of the swim was hoisting myself up on the floating dock. Thankfully someone was there with a hand out to help me up. It was slippery! I made it out of the water in just over 15 minutes. Not fast by any means, but I felt good.

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In transition, I heard a woman come in saying “I did it! I really did it!” She was just talking to herself, but you could see the sense of accomplishment on her face. She was excited!

Then I headed off on the bike for a flat, fast (for me) 11 miles. The woman from transition passed me and asked, “Hey do you know how I make this thing easier to go up hill?” I quickly told her how my bike worked, and she was off. This was a great ride for beginners. Long stretches of straight road. Cracks and gravel were marked with paint. No crazy hills. Riding in my aerobars. I loved it. 15.3mph was a good pace for me.

Then back in to transition for the run, and I was much faster on this race by carrying my hat and number belt out with me to put on while running. The sun was starting to come out and it was getting warm, but it was a 5k. Three miles to run just sounded awesome in my head. I’m almost done! I ran steady but not all out, and I was able to negative split my run with a time of 27:10. A good brick workout for me.

It was great seeing other Time 2 Tri members out on the course. Someone had brought pink ribbons for all of us to tie on our shoulder. It was a good way for us to identify and encourage each other. The coach was at the finish line cheering everyone in, along with a couple of others who came out to watch and will be doing their first triathlon in a week with a pool swim. I had a lot of fun, and it was wonderful to be a part of a group that was so supportive and encouraging.

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So instead of continuing to be anxious about Sunday’s race, I’m going to try to focus on how far I’ve come. It was just about a year ago that I started training for my first triathlon, and a 300m pool swim scared me. I couldn’t even make it to the wall without going stopping. Now I’ve done four triathlons, two with open water swims (and one that was very tough). I may not be fast, but I’m making progress. It’s me against me. That’s all that really matters.

 

 

 

 

 

Collin Classic

I know it’s been a few weeks since I posted, so here’s a quick synopsis before I launch into some details.

The end of the school year and peak training do not mix well. There were concerts and award programs, banquets, and senior stuff to do almost every night for two weeks straight. We had a weed eater, dishwasher, and a hair dryer all go out in the same week. Then came high school graduation on a Saturday morning.

Proof I don't always wear workout gear!

Proof I don’t always wear workout gear!

 

I dealt with a slight head cold that week, and I wondered how I should adjust my training around losing a Saturday for a long workout. (This is where hiring a coach would be beneficial.) I opted to spend a few hours on the bike trainer the following Sunday morning, with my long run a few hours later. I’ve been fortunate to have the company of my husband for my long run the past few weeks.

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It’s a nice way for us to spend time together and the miles pass by so much faster – especially when I want to get whiny because it’s hot. 🙂 The runs are slower than they were earlier in the training cycle, but the temperatures are higher and the mileage is building.

Last week was my peak week for my first half Ironman. The swims were longer, the runs hotter, and there was a 60 mile bike ride on my plan. A friend talked me into going with her to the Collin Classic bike rally. We registered for the 62 mile ride.

A beautiful day for a ride!

A beautiful day for a ride!

This was my first bike rally and I was a little intimidated. As we lined up and bikes started to fill in around us, she told me “don’t look back.” There were bikes everywhere! When we started, I tried to keep up with the crowd. I still get nervous when starting and stopping, but my two rides with the local cycling club helped me with my bike handling skills. I lost sight of my friend in the first mile. Did I mention all the bikes?

Then I came upon my first crash site. There were bikes down and people scattered. Someone had caught their wheel in a large crack that was between the lanes. As I navigated around, I saw a man on the curb moaning with a bloody face. That got my heart rate up as I wondered why I was even out there. I felt like an outsider – a rookie with poor biking skills who wanted the comfort of some space around the bike. But I kept going, and was surprised to see my first 5 miles averaged 16.3 mph.

I passed a sign that said “Break Point 1” and I had no idea what that was, but it was a turn off so I kept going. After seeing a few more of these, I figured out they were rest stops. On a rough road, I noticed my brand new bottle (attached to my aerobars) was working its way out of the holder. I pushed it back in, and tried to keep an eye on it. Three more times, it almost bounced out while on a bumpy stretch – and when going downhill. Further into the ride, I tried to open my Clif bar and couldn’t get it open. Because of the bikes around me and the unfamiliar roads, I wasn’t able to fiddle with it. That’s when I decided for my half Ironman, I will section my stuff out in ziploc bags that I’ll open before I start biking.

I knew I needed the calories, but this part of the course was hilly and I felt like I was at the back of the pack, so I didn’t want to stop. Then I was coming downhill and around a curve toward an intersection where an officer was controlling traffic when my bottle bounced out through the aerobars and hit the road. In that split second, I decided it was just too much to try to go back and get it. I was upset.  Upset about how much we spent on the setup, how much trouble my husband went to installing it for me to have for my next long ride, and that it didn’t even work right for one ride.  So I griped in my head for the next few miles, but at least I wouldn’t worry about it coming out anymore. Just past mile 30, I turned and landed right in the middle of the next rest stop. This one was right on the road, and there were bikes and people everywhere. That’s when I realized I wasn’t at the back of the pack.

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This is just a small section of the rest stop.

I took one of my two remaining bottles to fill with ice and water, and devoured half of my Clif bar while I waited in the line. I also had some orange slices and banana. I texted my husband to tell him how it was going. It wasn’t a happy text. There were tears in my eyes (I’ll blame lack of calories and hormones) and I was ready to go home. But he was encouraging as usual, so I took a deep breath and got back on the road.

I stopped again at mile 45 to fill my other bottle. I started to notice I was having trouble with my hands. At one point for a major uphill, I had to reach over with my right hand to gear down because I couldn’t push it with my left hand. My hands would start to tingle or feel numb, and I would shake them out. When I stopped, I had trouble holding my bottle still for them to pour ice in. I took a few minutes to eat again, drink some gatorade, and then I headed out with the determination not to stop again. And I didn’t until I finished.

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This was my longest ride ever, and it was an experience. Maybe I should have started with something on a smaller scale. I don’t know. I didn’t enjoy it like I thought I should. My friend says I need to do the HHH100, because I’m already up to 60 miles.  I’m just going to leave that right here, because I’m perfectly fine stopping at 60.

But just so my rally recap is not all negative, here’s my happy list:

  1. There was a nice stretch of road that went over Lake Lavon by the dam that is closed to traffic. We rode out on that and on the way back.
  2. The rest stops were well stocked with all kinds of food. Granola bars, bags of chips, pb crackers, oranges, bananas, popsicles…It was like a buffet.
  3. Texas Land and Cattle was grilling up hamburgers at the finish area, and they were wonderful.
  4. It was a good chance for me to be on different roads, different sized hills, and out of my comfort zone – which will ready me for my half Ironman. I learned a lot.

Also, I learned not to grip too tightly on the handlebars and carry a lot of tension in your arms. When I went to bed Saturday night, my arms were still achy I didn’t have full feeling in my thumbs. It looks like it’s called Cyclist’s Palsy – which I didn’t know anything about until now – caused by vibration (thanks chip-seal), pressure on the nerve from holding the bars tightly, poor handlebar position. In my case, all of the above. That’s why I couldn’t shift with my left hand later in the ride. Even now two days later, I’m still having some trouble with fine motor function – but I can almost write normally again.

My biggest worry from Saturday night was that I would have trouble riding in my sprint triathlon the next day. I’ll put up another post later this week about that race though. This one has turned into a book.

So I want to know, what is an event you’ve done because someone talked you into, but it didn’t turn out the way you thought it would?