Tag Archives: Bike

Race Recap: Ironman Austin 70.3

Austin got added to my schedule late in the game; actually, after I thought my season was already over to be precise. After Whistler I felt strong physically and wasn’t satisfied ending the season on a mediocre (at best) note. I thought about IM Cozumel (THANK GOD I DIDN’T DECIDE TO DO ANOTHER FULL IM) for a few moments, but worried about having another sub par race and decided the cost – both financial and potentially emotional and physical – wasn’t worth it.

Austin was a great compromise for me. I got to extend the season by a couple of months to take advantage of the end of the mild sunny NW season, travel with some great training buddies, see a new place (Austin!), and fingers crossed close the season out feeling positive and ready for rest.

Our pre-race trip was a blast. We drove the course, checked out the lake, SBR-ed a little, laughed a LOT, and generally kept things low-key. Our rental property had tons of chickens and ducks (for eggs), and produce grows there year round to provide for 20 families that are part of the co-op. We took full advantage of the eggs and produce and had a legendary and awesome pre-race meal chef-ed up by G. And then it was race day.

(race recap vid by G – way better than photos!)

Pre-Race

I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off race morning to a HUGE clap of thunder and lightning and sheets of water falling from the sky. Really? Ugh. I reminded myself if anyone could combat water falling from the sky it was us NW ladies and I simply ignored the fact that this day could get ugly.

Our chauffeurs (our men) drove us to the finish line, where we had to catch a shuttle to the swim/T1. Thanks (but not!) to the weather, traffic was backed up for miles, and though we’d left 3 hours to take a 35-minute drive (including the shuttle) and set up transition we only ended up with a few spare minutes to get our tires pumped and evacuate T1.

Swim // 34:47 // 1:48/100 m

I was really nervous about this swim. I always am nervous about every swim. But because of cooler temps and dwindling morning light I hadn’t gotten a solid distance OWS in over 3 weeks.

All that for nothing though, because it was pretty decent. I started out less aggressively than I probably should have, but was only 2 rows back and 5 swimmers right of the main line. The first 400 went from calm (such polite swimmers in Texas!) to a shit show, to calm again, and then I knew I’d be fine. All was smooth and well until the last stretch back in to shore, at which point our very late starting wave (3rd to last or so?) started hitting all of the floaters from earlier waves. Floaters being the people from earlier waves who were stopped to take a break, tread water, and hang on to kayaks. It got rough on the way back trying to manage them, the super speedy swimmers who were passing from the wave after us, and increasingly choppy water.

I continued to work hard and swim up to where my hand touched the ground. As I exited the lake I had no clue what my swim time was and just ran up the chute to the strippers and on to T1. In retrospect:

-I liked the swim course. The buoys were really easy to spot.  The triangle was pretty even and no turns were overly sharp. The water was murky but didn’t feel dirty or dark.

-I should have gone out harder from the start. I never got that OH SHIT I CANT BREATHE panic feeling which means I didn’t swim hard enough. But, I did enjoy having a smooth swim and not having the though of quitting cross my mind. (Yes, during every single swim I think about quitting at least once.) It felt good to be strong for the whole swim and to never fade.

-I know someone has to go last (or near it) but I’ve never encountered so many floundering swimmers. Not even in Boise! It was frustrating knowing that I could have gone faster without having quite a few small delays in getting around people.

T1 // 2:59

The transition area was much larger than I’d anticipated but luckily I knew where my bike was. Unluckily the recent rains had caused Goat Heads to grow everywhere. For those unfamiliar, these prickly bristly little vines are so sharp they rip tires and flat tubes so we were advised to carry out bikes the entire way out of transition. (Yeah yeah, if only I raced Cyclocross I’d be proficient at that).

My transition itself – meaning wetsuit off, run to bike, bike stuff on, wetsuit in bag – was very efficient, but I lost some time trying to carry my bike for sure. And I felt like an idiot. When I got to the mount line I realized I had a Goat Head in my shoe. I ripped my shoe off to get it out and hoped that was the only one.

Bike // 2:43:15 // 20.58 mph

At mile 2 I pulled up on my pedal to climb a tiny incline and my foot went FLYING. My stomach dropped as I thought I was going down, but I regained my balance and pulled over to a dead stop. Mud from the heavy morning rain was stuck in my cleats from running through T1. I did my best to dig it out with my fingernails and though frustrated I felt grateful that I hadn’t flatted like SO SO SO many people I’d already passed. A significant portion of athletes didn’t even make it to mile 2 without flatting from the Goat Heads.

The next 45?ish miles of the bike were frustrating. The pro: I felt like a pro! I was passing EVERYONE (which is what happens when hardly anyone starts later than you, regardless of how fast you actually are). The con: There were people all over the road and in some spots it was really tough to get around them. Like areas that weren’t closed to vehicle traffic or where pavement was poor (which was most of the course).

That said I enjoyed the bike more than I thought I would. The course wasn’t Texas-pretty like I’d expected, and wasn’t as flat as I had in mind either, but it was a new experience to ride hard for the whole leg, knowing that there weren’t climbs to save up for. I have never hit a goal HR for a 70.3 (always a bit low) but in Austin I exceeded it by a few bpm’s and felt strong. I KNEW I wouldn’t blow up.

T2 // 2:58

I was pretty excited to be off the bike by the end and climbed into T2 ready to run. I got a little bit disoriented finding my rack, which is no one’s fault but my own. I had practiced identifying the spot but I guess in the moment I just forgot. I probably lost 30 seconds or so; after making one mistake I slowed down a little to make sure I didn’t make another.

Run // 1:43:14 // 7:54 min/mi

The run was a 3-loop course that in a sick way I sort of looked forward to. A bit boring? Yes. But who is looking at scenery during a 70.3 run? If you are HTFU. A 3-loop course made it easy to break down: Loop 1 – adjust, Loop 2 – hold steady, Loop 3 – push to the end.

As always, the run is a bit of a blur to me. It was great to see my teammates and friends out on the course and I cheered loud every time I saw them. I felt tired the whole time, but solid. The run was quite hilly with hardly a flat section, some trail, and some mud, all quite evident from my huge range in splits from mile to mile. I know I didn’t take in nearly enough calories on the run, which perhaps contributed to my fog.  But my body felt on the borderline of rejection so I stuck to coke and other liquids at every aid station and that got me through.

I’m proud of my run not only because I PR’d it on a not easy course, but because I pushed so hard all day leading up and still stayed strong. There was a walk-worthy hill out there (that we hit 3 times, obvs) but I didn’t… I ran. I told myself all morning that THIS.WAS.IT. and that I should be grateful for being out there. And I gave it my all and really did feel grateful all day long, for a good race, a supportive husband, good friends, and a fun trip.

Overall 5:07:10 // 15th AG

In the end I PR’d by 8:45, after already knocking nearly 9 minutes off my PR on the distance earlier in July. I am thrilled. This was such a better end to the season than fading off post-Whistler and starting a 4-month off-season feeling less than stellar.

Would I recommend Austin 70.3 to others? Yes. I’ve heard mixed reviews from others, but I really enjoyed the race and the course. The more I race this distance the more I realize there is no perfect race; every course leaves more to be desired, the weather is always a factor, and you never know when your wave will start. Austin was a much flatter bike than you’d get anywhere around the NW, but I was pleasantly surprised by the rollers to keep things interesting. The run was tough – but aren’t they all?

Now… To the off-season! (Which I’m already winning at, by the way.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Ironman, Photo & Video Posts, Race Recap

Race Recap: Ironman Canada – The Bike & T2

THE BIKE – 6:02:39 // 18.53mph average speed

As I made my way down the first stretch of road I tried very hard to ride conservatively. Riders were gunning it out there! But having ridden the course before I held back, wanting to stay smart.

Ironman Canada Bike

Bike time!

The bike course is extremely challenging, with about 6600 feet of climb overall. There was much debate in the months leading up to the race as IMC had posted a number in the 4k’s, but as it turns out they used a method of measurement that didn’t account for the rollers which make up a significant portion of the course. However, even with the rolling hills the vast majority of the climbing took place mile 14-22 and mile 96-112.

The course can be broken down into segments pretty easily:

  • T1 to Callaghan Valley Rd.– Mostly rolling with a couple significant ups but more significant downs (approx 14 miles)
  • Callaghan Climb + Descent – Straight up with hardly a break for 8 miles, then straight back down (approx 16 miles)
  • Climb back to Whistler – Mostly rolling but more of a climb (approx 10 miles)
  • Descent to Pemberton – Screaming downhill with a handful of short climbs and rollers (approx 20 miles)
  • Pemberton Flats (out & back) – Pancake flat farm road with some sketchy pavement (approx 30 miles)
  • Climb back to Whistler/T2 – Up, up, up with hardly any flats or downhills to spin (approx 20 miles)

Ironman Canada Whistler Bike Course

So, I’ll do mini recaps to follow that format.

The luckiest part of the entire day was the weather for the bike. Not only was it sunny and mild, but the wind stayed at bay which isn’t usually the case through the mountain pass and farm valley.

The bike was fun, when I wasn't bleeding, flatting, or serving my penalty.

The bike was fun, when I wasn’t bleeding, flatting, or serving my penalty.

T1 to Callaghan Valley Rd. – The entire time I was worried that I was working too hard. My heart rate was on the high side but not insanely so, and by the time we’d gotten to Whistler Village I felt more steady so I kept with that level of effort. The road was extremely crowded and there was lots of passing and leapfrogging with riders around me. I saw quite a few people pass on the right or hanging out on the left for extended periods of time but rather than get irritated I rode on focused on how the hills ahead would spread the field out and did what I could to ride legal. I had my first family sighting and it was great to hear their yells as I whizzed by.

Callaghan Climb + Descent – The climb up was just as tough as I remembered. I had hoped that it would feel more like the second day of camp (a slower but steadier spin) but instead I felt like I was fighting the road the whole stretch. I was still within a comfortable zone, but I felt like I was working too hard to be getting passed left and right by EVERYONE, men and women alike. It was amazing and inspiring to see people powering up with seemingly no effort, but it made me feel weak to get completely crushed so early on. I (sort of but not really) wish there had been a timing mat at the bottom and top to see how many people passed me. When we hit the turnaround at the top I was relieved to be done and check the tough part of this portion off, but I was also somewhat worried about how I’d fare for the remainder of the day with my spirits already a little low.

Climb back to Whistler – The climb back to Whistler felt strong, and was probably my best portion of the bike. I rode strong but smart, got good nutrition in, and made up some ground that I felt had been lost. This section wasn’t easy, but I was pretty familiar with how to push it to make the best of both the ups and downs. And the second family sighting was great too! At this point I felt like I’d regained some momentum, though my heart rate was still high for my perceived effort.

Descent to Pemberton – This portion was fast fast fast, just like I knew it would be. I spun out my gearing quite a few times and simply had to coast until my momentum lessened. The view was beautiful, and it felt like a perfect day to be on the bike. Some of the stretches were congested but other times I truly couldn’t see another rider on the road. This race was the first time that British Columbia has closed a highway for an event, and it was amazing to ride this section without fear of traffic, or the noise.

Pemberton Flats – I hit up special needs, switched out my bottles with the quickness, and pushed hard to get away from aid station chaos. After a couple turns I hit the flat country road slog. I felt strong, but the road was packed full with bikes. For the first while there were only riders heading out, but after some time the pro’s and elite ag-ers started heading back to Whistler and passed the opposite way. And as more people passed by the more packs I saw on both sides of the road.

I caught up to a group riding tight, and as I got closer it was more and more evident that they were purposefully riding that way, and even taking turns pulling. I passed, but a few minutes later a rider passed back, then another, then another, then another, and before I knew it I was dropping back for, no joke, 20 riders. I re-passed when I could, but the same thing happened again. And then again, with a different leader. It may be hard to ride legal on packed flat roads, but it’s not hard to not cheat!

It was challenging to get away from the group and so when we hit the turnaround I put my head down and hammered. I felt like I had made some ground but quickly realized my nose was bleeding heavily. I wiped it onto my forearm and kept working. At this point a couple of men passed and warned that the pack had chosen my wheel to suck. Crap, I thought I’d lost them!

I couldn’t work any harder without feeling worried about the climb to come so I kept my head down and kept spinning and kept sniffling my bloody nose and spitting. As we neared the town of Pemberton again I glanced left and riders had started to pass en mass, it felt like I was getting swallowed by a swarm of bees. It happened so fast that my only option was to sit up and brake and as soon as I did I saw: an official. My stomach dropped – I’d just given these guys a free ride for the entire way back, but all the officials saw was me braking. The motorcycle pulled a u-turn, rode up alongside me, and shoved a red card in my face. I was beyond angry but I made eye contact to acknowledge my suggested infraction. I rode away, and fast, full of rage. A few of my friends who’d warned me about the pack were just up the road, and when I caught up I told them what had happened they were just as angry as I was.

Bike2

Pre-penalty tent, post flat, mid-bleeding.

Climb back to Whistler/T2 – All too soon we had started the climb back to Whistler, and as soon as I started climbing my bloody nose got worse. I stayed conservative up the first mile climb trying to think about what to do. I felt considerably more tired than I wanted too, but my heart rate finally seemed under control. Was I tired because I was upset? Or was I tired because I was worried? Or was I tired because I was tired? After the first climb there was a fast decent to a short flat…which is where I flatted.

Luckily it was my front wheel, and luckily I’d had plenty of practice changing flats this summer. However with a bleeding nose and a penalty I hadn’t served yet it was tough to keep a good attitude through yet another thing. I didn’t want to give up, but I also didn’t want this day!

I got the flat fixed quickly and hopped back on my bike and spun up the rest of the hills. I felt like I got passed 100x and probably did, but I didn’t feel able to fight back and I still don’t really know whether than was a physical fitness issue or my bad attitude.

With a mile or so to go I found the penalty tent, dismounted, and served my 4 minutes. I watched rider after rider fly by and felt like my day was slipping away but I tried to stay positive. Another athlete rode in at my 1 minute mark and asked the volunteer for a tissue or towel; he must not have known they aren’t supposed to give you anything. I guess the volunteer didn’t know either because she handed him a tissue, he took it and looked at me, and handed it over. He must have noticed the blood all over my face! Lovely.

Take my freakin' bike already!

Take my freakin’ bike already!

T2 – 2:38

T2 was quick and easy. Throw the bike at whoever looks most capable of catching it. Grab your run bag, run into the tent. My volunteer wanted very much to be helpful but I’m so minimalist there wasn’t much for her to do. She straightened my race belt so I’d get it right side up, handed me socks, and did a good job cleaning up after me because all of my items – even the ones I didn’t use – were properly packed up when I got my bag back later that day. The jog out of transition was long, but on to the run!

1 Comment

Filed under Bike, Ironman, Race Recap, Racing

Photo Post: Wenatchee Century Ride

I never wrote about one of my favorite training weekends so far this year – the Wenatchee Century ride.

I’m lucky enough to have a friend and training partner whose family has a vacation home in Eastern Washington, and she invited a bunch of us over for the first weekend in June to ride our bikes in sunshine on nice roads.

969485_4716078511523_851397881_n

Here we are at around 25 miles in, but the smiles never stopped for all 98 of them!

 

We ended up riding about 98 miles with 4,300(ish) feet of climb in under 5 hours and 30 minutes.

I wish that was real life every weekend!

Leave a comment

Filed under Photo & Video Posts

It’s That Time Of Year

#trainertime

Leave a comment

Filed under Bike, Photo & Video Posts

Ironman Canada Photos

Thanks to Colin & Alanna for these amazing pictures. Far better than anything Brightroom has ever captured!

Please ignore my highly advanced fuel storage system.

Leave a comment

Filed under Photo & Video Posts, Race Recap

Riding My Bike in Portland

Pre-Ironman I had some misconceptions about how I’d feel post-Ironman:

  1. That my bike and I would need a break. In fact, we might even need to see other people. I couldn’t fathom that I would want to be in the saddle anytime in the immediate future.
  2. I thought that I’d be dying to run fast, and run my heart out. With months and months of slower endurance training I felt eager to be done with the hours and up for focusing on intensity.

Thought #2 is topic for another day, for when I have the bandwidth to write a novel, but since IMC I’ve felt shockingly amazingly awesome about being on my bike. Despite the near 6 hour ride that day and many (many, many, many) hours on it through the summer it’s been so enjoyable and fun to ride without such an agenda. I’m enjoying pushing myself and my lungs to whatever extent my body feels like without worrying about impact and injury, and with the lingering tiredness just starting to lift I’ve needed that ounce of prevention.

This weekend we spent time in Portland, and outside of races I’ve never ridden my bike outside of Seattle. Thanks to the awesome folks at Athlete’s Lounge they hooked me up with a few route recommendations, I strung some together, and hit the road this morning.

Having grown up in Portland I can navigate myself in a car pretty well. I may not know street names, but I can get myself from point A to point B in a pretty direct manner without getting lost. However, I never rode a bike when I lived here. Seriously, not once! So I was a little nervous setting out on the road just after sunrise.

The air was a chilly 50 degrees, and in shorts, finger-less gloves and a sleeveless jersey with arm-warmers I started on the cold side. But riding the first 5 miles entirely up hill got me warmed up pretty quickly!

I rode past high school party stomping grounds along Cornell Rd. and then up to Skyline Blvd. From the moment I got my drivers license at 16 years old Skyline was my favorite place to go for a drive. Beautiful views, beautiful homes, forest, rolling pastures, and farmland all mixed in. Just minutes away from the city but so so peaceful and beautiful.

Skyline Blvd is known for it’s awesome cycling – and cars that don’t like cyclists – but I only passed a few other riders and the handful of cars that passed me did so respectfully.

Though I’m definitely a city girl, rides like these make me feel like I could do country. Maybe. Someday. Sort of. Or probably not. But they make me WANT to want to be country!

After about 8 miles rolling and winding, I was rewarded with a newly paved and not too technical downhill all the way to Sauvie Island.

Sauvie Island is so pretty in the fall. I haven’t been out there in years, but an early autumn-morning sunrise with chilly air left me feeling like I could have ridden the 11 mile loop at least 10x 5x without getting bored.

Being on the Island reminded me of childhood fall seasons, as THE place to get your pumpkin is the patch out there. It looked like the farm was just getting ready to set up. As soon as I saw the signs I wanted to kick myself for not having brought cash. Apple cider would have been absolutely amazing; much better than chews and deliciously warm to combat the cold morning.

After leaving the Island and crossing the bridge it was less than 10 miles back to where I had parked my car.

It was so fun to ride in my old stomping grounds and to see areas I haven’t taken the time to visit in so many years. It’s not even as though they hold an extreme amount of sentimental value, but it was such a breathtaking morning and such an engaging and freeing way to spend time seeing new(ish) sights. I think that I need to start bringing my bike with us on more road trips (and we need to start going on more road trips), and I need to seek out new routes in the Seattle-area. Today makes me look forward to fall very very much.

Do you have any bike route recommendations for me? Seattle? Eastern Washington? Anywhere that I can drive to from Seattle?

 

*None of these photos are my own. They came from rubbertotheroad.com and sauvieisland.org. But this is seriously how amazing it looked out there this morning!

Leave a comment

Filed under Bike, Photo & Video Posts

Seattle Century Ride

Last Saturday I embarked on my 3rd 100 mile ride.

The 1st was too soon after my crash to be awesome, and I played it quite safe by stopping every hour or so to refill bottles and get off the bike to make sure I felt well enough to continue. It was a good confidence booster to remind myself that no matter what happens I CAN get through this, but it took me so long, and I was so tired, that I can barely legitimately call it a century.

The 2nd one went surprisingly well. At mile 40 I couldn’t believe that’s ALL I had ridden – I should have been at mile 75 for how my legs felt – but I reigned it in and kept my energy and strength level and consistent by backing off a little, eating what felt like a lot, and drinking what felt like even more.

With my 3rd century being so soon after my first and second it was a little more challenging for me to get myself excited about spending another 6 hours with… MYSELF! Luckily the Seattle Century was happening and I figured at least I’d have a pre-mapped and marked supported course to follow, and maybe I’d meet some cyclists along the way.

Within the first 15 minutes I met a friend to ride with, within the first 2 hours I got fresh pie, and when 100 miles was said and done I had climbed over 5,100 feet. Success!

I highly recommend the 100 mile ride to anyone looking to get in that kind of distance. It was incredibly scenic, well-marked, safe, and the event allows riders to start early (a plus so you can choose to pace yourself however you please OR take off before you risk congestion). I hear the other rest stops had great food too but I only cared about pie and getting done. The ride was a tough hilly course, and I pushed myself in the second half of the ride to keep up through all of the climbs and descents (I’m silly a bit wimpy), but it was a beautiful route through Woodinville, Redmond, Duvall, Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie, Issaquah, over Lake Washington, and back to Magnuson Park.

The 100 mile distance is still hard for me to wrap my head around, and to combat that I find myself focusing more on time and landmarks than mileage. It’s similar to when I first started running in that a count of miles sounds impossible, but if you can break it down into 3 or 4 chunks pretty soon you’re halfway done, and in the blink of an eye there’s only have a tiny bit left. Though my “almost home” landmarks are still about 20 miles from my front door, once I get there I know I can make it. I’m definitely going to have to find a few of these on course in Canada to keep me motivated and happy.

If anyone is looking to ride the Seattle Century next year let me know! I’m definitely in for more pie. 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Bike, Race Recap

Always Wear Your Helmet

Written July 1, 2012.

Yesterday morning I set out on what should have been my first century ride; 100 miles in the overcast drizzle. I was not looking forward to the drizzle, but I was looking forward to getting this ride under my belt, exploring a new route, and most of all not being in a hurry to get it all done. 100 miles in the saddle – and my previous longest ride being 85ish – and I planned to pace myself to enjoy it. For once I didn’t have a slammed schedule in the afternoon so there was no rush to fit it all in.

I made it less than 1 mile before I found myself splattered on the pavement.

Leaving my neighborhood there’s a hill to descend about 1 mile long, and at the bottom the road curves right. You can’t see around it until you start turning, it’s pretty blind for cars and cyclists alike. I’m familiar with how scary it can be and have nearly gotten hit there by careless parkers before. Though I see people fly down the hill at times I don’t. EVER. I ride my brakes all the way down like a weenie.

Yesterday I hit that turn and had about 30 feet to stop on wet pavement. A truck was blocking the bike lane, plus the entire vehicle lane, while backed into a driveway unloading. I braked, fishtailed, released to straighten out, tried to brake again gently, and went down. Hard.

My right side was first, and went straight into the raised (sidewalk height strip) median, and I bounced. Everything seemed in slow motion and while still being catapulted with the crash’s momentum I actively thought about 2 things: 1. How close my face was to the edge of the sidewalk as my head bounced along it 3 or 4 times. My eyes were literally centimeters from the corner but my helmet kept hitting first and created a buffer. And 2. WHEN.WILL.THIS.END. I could feel myself rolling, flying, bouncing, and tumbling forward but knowing that I couldn’t stop the momentum I stayed loose and tried to keep my awareness of which way was up and where to land. Thank you very much 16 years of gymnastics.

When I finally stopped moving I checked my face (no blood), my extremities (nothing catastrophic), and my bike (TBD) and dragged myself to the side of the road. I’m certain, the witnesses were much more afraid for me than I was for myself in those moments. They approached – one man running – to see if I was okay. The looks on their faces while I stood there trying to assess the damage and figure out what to do next were more paralyzing than the moment I realized I’d either be flying straight into the truck or straight into the pavement.

I’m beat up, hurting, partially broken, frustrated, and tired. I’m damaged, my things are damaged, and I’m quite sure that Garth is damaged from receiving that phone call while half awake and half dozed off enjoying a Saturday morning. Hi, it’s me. I need you to come scrape me off the pavement and take me to the ER. I had a crash. 

But I’m also incredibly grateful and lucky. And LUCKY. It could have been so much worse. Garth could have been out for a long run. That truck could have been moving. My helmet, now misshapen and cracked, stayed on my head and did its job. It most certainly saved me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bike, Health, Injuries, & Prevention, Training

Lake Stevens 70.3

Garth took this video yesterday at Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3.

Though it’s not captured too explicitly on video the Pacific Northwest graced us with another lovely weekend of rain and cold for an Ironman. Cold weather (luckily warm water) swim, steady rain out on the technical and hilly bike course, and then things cleared for the run. Between Boise and Lake Stevens I’m glad I chose not to sign up for CDA 2013. I have no interest in the likelihood of race day rain!

Neither can Tim O’Donnell apparently, who tweeted: “@TOinTRI Dear Pacific Northwest, why don’t you like me?! PN 3, TO 0.” Unlucky for him he’s raced all 3 of these weather winners.

Leave a comment

Filed under Photo & Video Posts, Racing

Tri Anniversary #1

This weekend is the one-year anniversary of my relationship with triathlon.

That’s some crazy right there.

I was still limping from Boston. Memorial Day 2011 I bought my first bike. Later that week I registered for TriRock Seattle, an Olympic distance triathlon on July 16. Then I pieced together my own training plan with Hal Higdon’s intermediate half marathon plan and an intermediate Olympic distance triathlon plan. I needed a goal, and training for a triathlon sounded like a fun.

  • I wish I had written a recap of that first race, because I don’t really remember very much of it.
  • It rained – poured – in the days leading up, but I didn’t even know to be nervous about slick pavement and sharp corners. I was more worried about being cold.
  • In transition I felt lost. I didn’t know what disc wheels or aero helmets were. Why do you need those? I found a friend and was so happy to have someone to talk to.
  • The swim was the least scary part of the day. No near drownings, got a little off-course, but I just swam until I was done.
  • The bike was fine, too. I hit a rogue cone in the road and yelled out an apology to the volunteer. What was I apologizing for? I didn’t put the cone in the road! But I didn’t crash and kept riding.
  • The run a humid mucky muddy swamp. I felt like I was running a 10k through a mud run course. I got passed a lot on the run but the only run that I’ve run harder since was the 12k’s of Christmas. That run effort, or at least how I remember it, was what racing should feel like.
  • I finished in 2:31:29.
  • Then we went to Cactus for brunch. And I was SO sore.
  • A couple of weeks later I started researching Ironman Canada versus Ironman Coeur d’Alene.

It’s sort of strange to think that a year (and change) ago this sport wasn’t part of my life. Running was, and triathlon was an experiment to keep me busy. I started because the training sounded enough like a cross-training boot camp to be fun. I didn’t know from the first moment that it would stick, but by the end of a summer full of mornings in the lake, sweaty red-faced evening runs, and dewy-aired pre-work rides I was most certainly hooked. And a few injuries, one winter, countless days of rain, and many (many, many, many) hours the training is still my favorite part.

Race days are incredible because they’re the culmination of weeks, months, and/or years of effort. I can easily give myself goose bumps just thinking about a race morning or finish line. But can you really measure the amount of effort it takes to get to the water’s edge (start line) in even 17 hours? I want to be able to, but I don’t think I can. It’s so much more than that, especially for those who are racing themselves more than others.

So how will I celebrate my anniversary? I haven’t decided yet. 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Racing, Training