Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Naylor's Beach Race Report

Resting peacefully this week, kind of.

As for most of the TRIgirls participating, Naylor's was my first ever Olympic distance triathlon. Going into the race, I'd swum father than 1500 meters, biked farther than 26 miles, and run farther than a 10K. But never all in a row.

Having cased the river several weeks prior to the race, I knew to expect the murky brown water, although I still never saw "all the fish" that had freaked my sister out. No surprise that I breaststroked almost the entire swim. That's my race MO. The first time I considered quitting the race was after passing the second buoy, turning to approach the shore. The next 50 meters took as long to swim as the previous 1000 or so had. I felt as if I were doing the treading water portion of a lifeguard exam. I finally made it close enough in that I could touch bottom, and swam/walked the rest of the way in. It was refreshing to see several pink suits just ahead of me--Shannon, Cyndi, and Grandison. I even got to run up to transition with Grandison, and after 1500 meters of exhausting solitude, it was absolutely exhilarating to see (and even get to talk to!) a teammate.

I was really excited to get on the bike, knowing that at least I wouldn't drown. The first couple of miles were okay; we'd ridden the course before, and I knew what to expect. However, when we turned off before the second hill of our prerace ride, my relief shifted to "huh?" as we weren't actually avoiding the second hill, just climbing a different one. I pedaled past a few people who had hopped off their bikes and were walking them up the hill, until I became aware of a harsh, almost squeaking, whirr. I could see that my front brake was rubbing my tire, and I pulled it off a bit while still riding. The same thing kept happening. and I remembered Mary Jo telling me she had ridden the brake throughout the Shady Grove race. I stopped, got off my bike, turned it upside down, and attempted a quick surgery. At first I hated the thought of losing time, but I hoped I'd be much more comfortable if I could get it fixed. Unfortunately, I wasn't very successful, and I spent the rest of the bike ride in a lightly braked position. For this reason, I was looking forward to the run even more than I had looked forward to the bike after the swim!

I came into the run with the attitude that it was "only a 10K," but that, too, quickly changed. After the first couple of miles, I gave myself permission to walk for a bit, then for a bit more. I told myself that if Dyron walked the last three miles of his half iron, then I could certainly walk three miles here. I thought about him describing his last race as humbling, and I knew exactly what he meant. I almost gave myself permission to quit the race, but realized that must just be the heatstroke talking! Thank goodness sweet SanDee was so encouraging at the water stop, although I did then give myself permission to cry (just a little bit!) Bless her heart, Deanna B appeared like an angel out of nowhere and we finished together. That was the redeeming factor of the run.

Overall on the course, I cried once (almost twice,) threw up none (almost twice,) cursed another racer once, cursed in general twice (out loud, anyway,) and FINISHED (almost quit twice!)

The rumors you've all been hearing, however, are true. The TRIgirls most definitely won Best Dressed (I'm not sure why this has not been made into an official category YET...) while sporting our new trigear. And, as always, the TRIgirls win for most supportive, most fun, most fabulous tri-women ever. Can't wait til the next race!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Prerace party?

In anticipation of our Olympic tri on Sunday, several enthusiastic trigirls headed out on the town Friday night. Folowing the false assumption that the earlier I go out, the earlier I come home and go to bed, I met Lynn at the Bank at 5:30. Susie joined us shortly thereafter, then SanDee was escorted in by her chauffeur/husband in time to meet up with us as well as attend a bachelor party. Can this girl kill two birds with one stone, or what?!

The party made a brief stop at Sine before heading for Three Monkeys, where we caught the tail end of Jeannie's prerace party, and were later met by Mary Jo and Deanna L. The only way we could have drawn more positive attention would have bee if we were sporting our new trigirl gear! I was reminded of how much fun the evening was when I saw SanDee and Gregg's slideshow presentation the next afternoon...
what a terrific way to settle those prerace jitters!

I guess this is yet another post emphasizing the trigirl camaraderie outside of training as well as during.

In a tamer version, I joined SanDee and some of her friends at the pool for hydration and carbo-loading Saturday afternoon, and continued with more of the same when Anna and Kate T. joined me at home for pasta dinner that evening.

With my transition bag (aka backpack) full and sitting by the door, I made it to bed in time for more than six hours of sleep. I had only one tri-nightmare, when my handlebars went missing, followed by my pedals and shoes. That's another reason I need all the girls around!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Team Spirit

Today at the run, Grandison delivered our new team jerseys. As she said, we don't have to worry about visibility on the bike! Some of the shades of pink are quite blinding. The tops are really superfabulous, and it's one more way to show that we are part of a team. I can't wait to try the tops out at the race this weekend.

Another note on that camaraderie...
Many people I talk to about the trigirls really want to be part of our group without actually doing a tri (or undergoing a sex change!) I realize how much more pervasive (invasive?) the girls are in my life when not only do we work out together, but we also walk together, go for coffee together, drink wine together, hit the beach together, volunteer together, and enjoy our membership at the Gammon Family Pool together.

What a wonderful group of fun, supportive women.

Tapering and Staying Busy

This is actually a good week for me to taper because it is also the week that I am gearing up for fall classes to start. My two classes at VCU start tomorrow, and my two at UR start on Monday. Teaching paired with my restaurant job will keep me very busy this fall!

I had big plans for light workouts yesterday, but ended up lying around most of the day, snacking here and there while catching up on three days of newspapers. In retrospect, it was probably the best thing I could have done for myself. I did actually get up around 5:00 pm, put my contacts in, and shower before work!

Today I met the trigirls for our Thursday run. Two miles?! No wonder I still have so much energy...

We do have a long swim planned for tomorrow, and I think Susie and I are finally going to get to check out the UR pool, which has been closed for renovations. Not only will I get my swim workout in, but this also will be the motivation I need to get on campus and finish writing my syllabus!

Monday, August 21, 2006

one of THOSE days

Yesterday, I had one of those days. I worked both nights this weekend, and stayed up WAY past my bedtime on Saturday. If Anna hadn't called me Sunday morning to see if I wanted a ride out to our 14-miler, I don't think I would have made it. Thanks, Anna! She and Kate picked me up, waiting patiently while I scrambled to get myself together. In my haste, I forgot to grab a bar or any other nutrition, although I did grab a Gatorade and a bottle of water. Not until we met the girls did I realize it was the bottle I had refilled and lost the top to... then corked! I guess that exemplifies the morning I was having! Grandison generously shared an extra GU, so on Gatorade, GU, and about two hours of sleep, I completed my longest run since last November's marathon.

I really wasn't feeling so hot after all that, so, although I rode out to Naylor's with Shannon, Anna, and Susie, I didn't even get in for the open-water swim practice. Shannon reported too-close encounters with fish, and Grandison hoped that her kids weren't drinking too much gasoline from the jetskis we shared space with (G--sorry to include your name in a sentence that ends with a preposition...)

All in all, I feel as though I am prepared for both the Naylor's Olympic tri and the Rock-N-Roll Half, so one disastrous training day actually makes me feel okay. If I made fourteen miles under those conditions, these races should feel great!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Starbucks Discount

We should get one, that is.

Sometimes the trigirls spend more time at Starbucks after the workout than we spend actually doing the workout. We tapered our bike ride down to twenty miles today in preparation for Naylor's next week. Several of us had mechanical issues, which I really hope are not repeated in the race. I was, however, very pleased with myself for properly adjusting my barrel adjuster after riding with a self-shifting chain for the first eight miles.

Enjoyed coffee with Theresa, Lynn, Katherine, Kate T, Molly, Heilbron, and Deanna L. At least, I think we were at Starbucks. Our conversation may have been more appropriate for the locker room. What is it with these female athletes?!

Flexible Schedule

My sister Shannon, who I consider to be very OCD, showed me her schedule for the school year yesterday, written down on the first page of a journal, complete with pockets full of other important information. This schedule is proudly titled "Flexible Schedule" as a reminder to herself that she can indeed be, and may sometimes need to be, flexible.

Shannon, also known as Beeber, or the Beebs, acompanied me to the pool yesterday for a swim practice originally scheduled for Wednesday. Later, she left our mom's pool early (due to excessive cloud cover, something for which we were once encouraged to blow the emergency whistle, but now for which we are reminded NOT to) and went home to clean the house. That's flexibility!

We did cover 1000 yards straight. Tomorrow, the trigirls head out to Naylor's for one last open water swim before next week's race.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Speed Work

Today was our first "official" speed workout at the vita course. The nice man on the radio told me it was only sixty-six degrees when I left my house at about six a.m. Have I mentioned how much I am enjoying the preview of autumn in Richmond? After a mile warm-up, we ran three one-mile repeats. This is the type of workout I would NEVER do on my own--yet another reason I am so grateful for the TRIgirls!

We did a timed one-miler back in April, and I finished in 7:42, my PR. Today, I ran the first mile in 7:40, the second in 7:42, and the third in 7:42. No one can accuse me of inconsistency! Of course, then I start thinking on my run about high school science class, and the difference between accuracy and precision... just another example of a runner's brain at work.

Had post-workout coffee with Susie, Lynn, and Deanna. (Nice to have Lynn back in town!) After Lynn and Deanna reluctantly left for work, some guy approached the table: "Did I hear you all talking about triathlons?" I'm sure Susie and I gave him WAY more information than he wanted, needed, or could ever use. Unfortunately, he was ineligible for TRIgirl, but I think the Richmond Tri Club will have a new member by the end of the day.

Yesterday was also a gorgeous pre-fall day. I rode with Sandee on the Riverside-Cherokee-Old Gun route, which I had never done before. Quite a hill experience. I din't notice how long we had been riding uphill until we were coming back, and I think I exceeded the posted speed limit for the first time ever on the bike! This is a 20-miler that I will definitely put on my list of rides to repeat, especially if the company and weather are so lovely.


I wish I were referring only to my speed here, but rather I am addressing a very bad habit. I often joke that there should be another category in triathlon, similar to Athena or Clydesdale, if you will, because I am confident that I would win in the Smokers group.

After afew party cigarettes in high school, I became a full-time smoker in college. Over the past ten years or so, I have actually tapered the habit, lighting up only when drinking or stressing. I'll go for a week with no smokes, then fire through half a pack in one sitting.

I'm trying right now to deal with the one-day-at-a-time, or perhaps, one-race-at-a-time approach. Two weeks out from Naylor's I told myself no cigarettes until after the race, at which point I plan on telling myself, now, not until after the Rock-n-Roll, etc.

Haven't had one since last Friday.

I might even start that nasty gum-chewing habit!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

girls on the hills

Tuesday morning meant hills once again. Since we had a fall weather preview this weekend, several of us went ahead and moved our run time back to seven a.m. instead of six. Wow! What a difference that extra hour of sleep makes. It was also nice to wake up when it was actually light outside. Sandee, Susie, Anna, Deanna B, and I did our requisite hills, but Susie and I were the only ones that attended the essential Starbucks meeting afterwards.

I am looking forward to getting into my fall schedule. Even though I know I will stay enormously busy, I always like the fresh start of a new school year. I even felt that way the couple of years in my life when I was neither teaching nor taking classes. Perhaps the cooler weather is the refreshment needed! Long runs are much easier to look forward to on a breezy fall morning than during the oppressive summer heat and humidity. Hmmm.

We are less than two weeks away from Naylor's, and less than three away from the Rock 'N' Roll Half. I must admit I am ready to scale back a bit, and will have no trouble committing to a taper week or two!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Weekend Training

As much as I like to tell my non-TriGIRL friends how I "win" the attendance prize for training sessions, even I have to skip one here and there. I picked up a hostess shift for one of the teenagers at work Friday night, and ended up going out with some of my coworkers afterwards. When my alarm went off at 6:15 Saturday morning, I decided that three hours of sleep was NOT enough to ride forty miles on.
I got up, got a 32 oz Gatorade and the morning paper, and got back in bed. When I finally rose from the dead around noon, I was ecstatic to find it was only about 83 degrees outside. I hopped on my bike and rode out to my parents' house and back, stopping briefly there to hydrate and sample a little homemade peach cobbler. Total mileage about 23.

One of the other trigirls, Sandy, and her boyfriend had a big party last night. I went out with Sandee and her husband for a while. We did lots of carb-loading, solid and liquid, but I still made it home before nine. My compliments on the spinach lasagne! We did play a couple of games of ping-pong, so I figure that should at least equal the 17 miles I didn't bike.

This morning I woke up to another beautiful day. Of course we are all commenting on the "lovely fall weather," but we really aren't fooled. We haven't seen the last of the mid-ninties here in Richmond. I met Liz, Sandee, Susie, Grandison, and Amy at the vita course. We ran eight miles out-and-back across the five-nickel bridge and down Riverside Drive. Very hilly, but barely noticeable when the temperature is hovering around eighty, the course is shady, and I've gotten a decent night's sleep.
Good to see Amy, who is not a trigirl, but actually went to high school with me. She just finished her first Ironman. It made me start thinking about how in the world she got into triathlon, which in turn made me start wondering what other people think when they find out that I've gotten into triathlon. Hmmm. That, of course, is the best part about our team--everyone is a motivating factor or inspiration of one type or another.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Midweek Training Time

I tend to schedule my workouts and be very particular about keeping these appointments; otherwise, training seems to be the first thing to get squeezed out of a busy schedule. Since I am between semesters for teaching, I am pulling a lot of shifts at the restaurant. I just got home from my sixth shift in a row and am looking forward to an evening off before I go back in tomorrow morning.

Although I have never thought of myself as an early riser, I find that the wee hours are indeed the best time to schedule training--at least I know it is done for the day!

Yesterday I went to my strength training class at 6 am. I love having the class because, particularly as a teacher, I have guilt over absences. Last year, after I cut my personal trainer out of my budget, I think I lifted weights once in six months. Sigh.

We had a beautiful day--first day in weeks that the temperature didn't go above ninety. Sandee and I went on a fairly easy bike through the neighborhoods and relaxed at Starbucks before I had to head in for my double shift.

Today it was dark when I woke up. Just as I was heading out the door to meet the girls for our Thursday run, the rain started. I have to admit that I was kind of excited--I'll take rain over 94 degrees any day! Any change in the weather makes a change in training. I generally don't wear a watch, but I felt good today, and I think I ran pretty fast. Four mile negative split.

The rain was also a good excuse for a nap. I cam e home and slept until I had to get ready for work at about 10:30. My girls at work are just impressed that I get up early enough to take a nap before eleven!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

tuesday morning hills

That has become a regular post on our training forum. Three of our workouts (one run, one bike, one swim) we do together, with a coach. The other posted workouts most of try to fit in during the week with a sort of buddy system. Back in April, I got together with a couple of the girls for a run on Tuesday morning, and the meeting time and place have become a bit of an institution. Of course, last week, when attendance was at an all-time high, I slept in.

I have missed only four scheduled workouts this year--some say that's obsessive, others call it over-achieving. I find that it keeps me grounded. I'm not likely to make up a missed run by doing it myself in the hundred-degree damp of a Richmond summer.

This morning Kate, Anna, Sandee, and I met at the vita course promptly at 6:03 or 6:04. When my alarm was going off around 5:30, I could hear the day's forecast. Current temperature seventy-nine degrees. Before we even got off the trail and across the road to that special place we do hill repeats, drops of sweat were stinging the corners of my eyes.

I felt better about halfway through the workout. It takes me forever to get my rhythm some days, and especially in the heat. That's why I prefer a marathon over a 5K, and perhaps why I'm eagerly anticipating Naylor's Beach on August 27--my first Olympic distance tri.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Rest Day

Mondays are usually rest days. I attend my biweekly strength training class but steer clear from swimming, biking, and running. This first day of the week is a good opportunity to reflect on the weekend's training and prepare for the upcoming week--posting on our team training site, registering for races, etc. Today I finally joined the Richmond Tri Club. Having accomplished that, I decided to make the jump into Blogspot.