Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Race Day Lessons

Things I learned at the Three Rivers Triathlon.

1. Getting out of the water dead last sucks! Yes, I know the concept of waves...I wasn't really last....but it still stinks.
2. My wetsuit chafes....I'd never swam that far before, so who knew. ouch.
3. TriHawg and kids ate a nice big breakfast after seeing me through T1.
4. Dogs on a wet road make cyclist swerve and go down :-(
5. Watch out for ambulances trying to get to downed cyclist! (not me)
6. New/wet asphalt is very, very slippery.
7. Slippery pavement= my first fall on the bike. ouch.
8. Michigan ski areas don't have mountains, but they do have big hills and make my legs really, really burn. ouch.
9. I possibly went slower and faster than I ever have on a bike....lots and lots of hills!
10. I live to see my families smiling faces as I come into T2!
11. Running feels great after sitting on a bike for 26 miles.
12. Friends can be made anywhere...even at mile 3.
13. New found friends are the best at helping you get through that last mile...thanks Martha!
14. Finishing is Awesome!

So, these are a few of the things I learned at my first olympic triathlon. I finished in exactly 3:30. I am still pretty excited that I finished and didn't go have breakfast with the kids ;-) just kidding. I had never actually done any of these distances in training...not the smartest way to race, but I really just ran out of time to train with vacations and all. I am really still pumped up that I had such a great run. This has always been the hardest for me and was the easiest durning the race! Once again, you just never know how you'll do until you tri!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hills and Mountains

Without hills the earth would be as flat as Nebraska and Kansas, big sky, but not very exciting. We as humans are drawn to these hills. Go west young man, caught the imagination of adventurers in an era gone by. So enchanted are we by hills that they pervade our society, instill patriotism and entertain...we all know the words to John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" and are familiar with those "Purple Mountains Majesty". We glide, slip and slide all over them. We summit fourteeners for fun and we "conquer" Everest.
I was lucky enough to have a training run in Colorado last week. I say lucky not because of the thin air (not cool) or the incredible amounts of bike/run paths available (very cool), but because of those hills. Yes, I know that they are mountains, but I'm also pretty sure that about four billion years ago they were just hills....or under the ocean. See, even mountains must start somewhere, they must begin as something humble, but they become majestic. A transformation of multitude proportions. We are not capable of glimpsing these historical flickers of time, our lives are just too short, but we are capable of creating our own hills...transforming them into mountains.
I ask my self, what hills should I climb today?
Will this hill become my mountain?
Am I Ironman material?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nice Arms

I had a nice short run today with Alex, my middle child. He is conditioning for the upcoming football season. They will actually start the week after next with non-contact practices and then full on practices once school starts after Labor Day. He's been all geeked up about getting back on the field and has been running and strength training everyday for the last two weeks. This kid loves sports, and not just watching them, he has to be out there in the action. I cannot even count the number of games I have sat though watching him play. He is turning into a great sportsman....this has taken years....Alex loves to win and losing makes him very grumpy, or it used to that is. This year was the year of his maturity to a degree, kids are so amazing, he finally learned that losing isn't all that bad if the team still has a good time playing. What??!!! Now it's all about the fun? Maybe some of what we were trying to parent has finally sunk it....could that be possible? I and my family seemed to have gained some interesting things from all this tri-ing.
just to name a few.....And we all don't look too shabby any more either!
I race again Saturday...my second time around.
I think I'm learning that this lifestyle is very addicting....I like it. I like getting up early and watching the sun come up on my runs. I love the feel of the warm lake water and watching the sand beneath me. I like biking alone and feeling like I'm flying. I like when I reach the top of a hill and my legs burn...I know I am doing something...I'm tri-ing


We are finally back from our western adventure. We flew to Colorado and then drove to South Dakota with my parents for a few days. We camped at Custer State Park, situated in the middle of the Black Hills of South Dakota. Really beautiful land! We saw lots of buffalo, deer, antelope and wild turkeys. We visited Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial...must see's if your in the dakotas. Truly inspirational.
Here's my little cowgirl....now a Junior naturalist at Custer.
Believe it or not, I did get in a few workouts while we were gone. I had a really great long run while in Denver. I ran along Little Dry Creek path which is mostly dirt and runs along a canal. I saw a raccoon and her baby down near the water. It was beautiful looking at the mountains with the sunrise reflecting on them....purple mountains majesty.
It was a really nice trip, but I am glad to be home again.
I only have two more days until the Three Rivers Tri. I'm feeling good, strong and didn't eat too much junk while on vacation. Ready to race.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Three Rivers Tri- Olympic

We drove out to Three Rivers this afternoon to take a look at the course. It is about an hours drive from here. The lake looks nice...Calm waters, which will be a nice change after all the open water workouts I've been doing in Lake Michigan. Some times I just get pounded by the waves and usually I can never bilateral breath because of them ( neck kinks...not fun). The bike and run look very, very hilly. I think I am already psych-ing myself out over all those hills. I know I can ride hills....it's just seeing them that gets to me. I am planning a long hill ride tomorrow to get over some of the paranoia.
My workouts the last couple of weeks have been intense and heavy. I am leaving for Colorado to meet my Mom and niece for a trip to the Bad Lands in South Dakota for a week and I know the only training I will be doing while there is running. I only have three days after I get back before the Three Rivers Triathlon. I should be able to get in one easy bike and swim. I am a little freaked that I won't be ready. I know my training has been good, let's just hope that an early taper is just what I need to finish!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Tri Hawg's first half Ironman

So, the reason that I was about out of my mind at Steelhead, in reference to my two sons, is that their Dad was racing. I was very concered that they would not see their dad finish the race and that I would then have to beat them. Just kidding. Anyways, they did make it after all and the world still turns as it should...and our family is still intact.

I quicky update on Tri Hawg. He did great!!!!! He even got a big fat kiss in T2 :0)
With out going into all the details (about the race, not the kiss)...that's for him to write.....here are some highlights. I was extremely thankful when I saw him after the swim! I'm really not ready to lose my sweet husband to drowning. He didn't do that bad! I just give him a hard time cuz I like to swim. He was fast on the bike and looked great in Transition (remember big fat kiss?) The run was good, with a little pain and suffering during the last three miles....but not significant walks. His time was just under 7 hours. Great job Tri Hawg!!! The good news is that his is talking about doing next years race already....yeah!

Unfortunately I won't be volunteering next year.....I'll be racing too!

Steelhead Revisited

Steelhead was a blast. No, I didn't race this year. Watch out next year though. I am so inspired! My little girl and I worked the swim aid station. It was fun seeing everyone after the swim...still feeling good and looking cool. After most of the athletes had exited the water we went over to the trasition area and set up camp. It was amazing to see the first racers back from the bike, the Pros....omg these guys are sooooo fast! 47 sec in t2! They were coming in with their bike shoes hanging on the pedals and then throwing on their running shoes and then they were gone. If you blinked, you missed them! Of course after a while all the non-pro triathletes were a little slower in transition, but not less determined.

It was humbling to experience the gratitude that was displayed by many of the athletes as well. A cup of water or clapping and cheering were given many thanks by many kind folks. After the swim and bike it was so cool to hear the thank yous given to the volunteers. Many thanks to all the Steelhead triathletes too....with out you there would be no race.

After we left the transition area we kind of milled around for a while. I bought my little one a very sporty shirt....she told her dad that it's her new "tri" shirt! I can't wait to see her do her first tri! The boys eventually made it to the race....after a little distress on my part ( I was afraid they weren't going to make it).

Watching the race finish was by far the best part. The reactions were Kodak moments over and over and over again. We saw so many smiling.... actually make that beaming, as they crossed the finish line. There were many who were in pain and saw the line as an end to it. We saw racers stumble. They walked. They sprinted. We saw some fall.... We saw courage. We saw determination. We saw perserverance.
It was a beautiful day.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A dark and stormy night

Well, the temp finally fell and along with it the sky....or so it seemed. Yesterday we rode up north of Muskegon to visit the boys at camp for parents night. On the ride home we could see the clouds to the south. We watched as they moved over the lake and darkened the sky to nearly pitch when it should still have been light out. First there were the innocent sprinkles and then after another 60 miles we really drove into it. The lightning was unreal. It was so constant at some points that the road way was completely illuminated. We drove for about 30 miles in nearly zero visablility, the rain coming down in sheets. This was the first time I have ever heard the Emergency Broadcast System actually used on the radio, not just the test. Once we were fairly close to home, the storm still was not letting up and my little girl was getting completely freaked out, there was a huge bolt of lightning and enormous thunder right after. At this point she was terrified ( and this is a kid who is not afraid of anything). I had to reach into the backseat to hold onto her...all the while my body is in a contortionist state....for the rest of the ride.
Suffice to say, we made it home in one piece.
The thunder did wake me up over and over again all throught the night. I woke up late for my run with my training partner, but after calling her I discovered that the storms were still going strong this morning and the news was telling us to stay indoors. No run in the morning for me.

This afternoon the temp was slowly returning to hot. I did get in a nice long run and had a great breeze the whole time, a nice relief!

Hopefully the lake didn't turn too much...the wind was never really bad durning the storm so I'm hopeful that it's still nice and warm.
Steelhead forcast for Saturday is 85 degrees and a lot less humid than it has been in a week...all good!

Tomorrow is registration. Tri Hawg has his list and all of his gear set up on the kitchen table all ready to go. He's ready to race and put all that training to the test. New tire on the bike...hope nothing else needs repair until after the race!

The boys will be home on race day and had better get there before their dad finishes...or else :0) !
I'm excited!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Goodie Bags

I just got back from Jean Klock Park, home of the Steelhead Tri. A bunch of us got together to stuff goodie bags for all the athletes. We even had some kids come and help out, how nice is that?! Well, the goodies consist of lots of info/ad papers, a recipe, a towel, socks, key chain, power bar, gu, pen, and gator aid bottle.

It was blazing hot out while we were stuffing bags and the lake sure looked nice, a lot less chop than this morning when I did my open water. The water temp is balmy at 74. I'm leaving my wetsuit home tomorrow for my swim.
I'm hoping that the weather man gets it right and the cold front that is west of us actually gets here in the next couple of days.