Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Race Recap: Fremont Sprint Triathlon

This past Saturday was my second triathlon of the summer, only 3 weeks from my first one. When I was originally looking for races I wanted to both this and the Winneconne one and both were close to home (30 minutes away). The price was right and I decided to go for it, I figured this way if my first wasn't enjoyable then maybe the second would be and this race was benefitting my local YMCA.

I didn't want to make my mind up on the sport with only 1,race, as I have experienced with running races that each have their own quirks and some just flat out suck.

I arrived at the race about 6:45am, which was earlier than I was expecting to get there but that just meant I could relax now and take my time observing and figuring out the course. I got into the transition area and picked my spray painted square in the grass. Since there was no line I went over and got my packet, markered up and my timing chip. I went straight back to transition to get the rest of my things laid out and talked with my fellow competitors. Since I didn't have my personal race photographer this time you will just have to deal with the few I got before and after.

I ran into my triathlete buddy from the last race, I met her during the TRI 101 class I went to and she was originally only planning on doing this race and she ended up signing up for the Winneconne one too. I headed back to the car to eat my banana, drink some fluids and try to calm myself a little. Do I look nervous to you?

You are finally treated to a pic with my hair down!!

Ok, so I knew in my head I could do this but I was really hoping to improve and push myself more in this race. I walked down to check out the swim area and noted the run back into transition was almost a quarter mile and I had to run through sand, grass, mats over gravel and asphalt all barefoot. Really hoping I wouldn't step on a sharp rock and scream like a little girl!

This was a VERY beginner friendly race for swimmers. They had noodles that you could use during the swim, floatation belts and you could even wear a life jacket. There were lifeguards stationed every 20 meters with a pile of noodles to ready to throw you if needed.

SWIM: 1/8 mile 7:11
In looking at this it really looked closer to the distance I did for the last one which was double this so I really think this was more like 1/6 mile. I was in wave 5, out of 12, this time so I got to watch people. The first ones were out of the water before I got started but it was awesome cheering them on! I did ok in this considering I got rid of my gym membership and my swims have been very few and far between.

Transition 1  4:51
I didn't step on any sharp rocks and was able to find my transition spot with ease. Got my feet cleaned off and dried before putting the shoes & socks on and off I went on the bike!

BIKE - 11.2 miles  42.04
I got off to a good start and I was actually passing people this time. But by mile 2 my happiness started to fade and I felt like my legs were cramping up a little. Seriously need to figure this out for next year why it happens. I was not going to eat my Peanut Butter GU until mile 5 but I decided at mile 3 that it was going down then. Thankfully I did because at mile 5.5 there was a decent sized hill and that would have really sucked. The only issue after that was the one road that was covered with little tiny gravel so for about 3/4 of a mile I tried not to eat it with my road bike and get some really sexy looking road rash.

Transition 2  0:46
I did not almost fall getting off my bike this time so that was a plus, but I did almost plow over a runner coming out of the same row I happened to be starting to go down with my bike in tow. Pretty easy as I just parked the bike and took off.

Run - 2 miles 18:09
I was smiling coming out of the gate because I had no leg pain and I was still feeling pretty good. Well then reality smacked me in the face about a quarter mile in and I had to stop and walk. My legs were feeling crampy again and my breathing sucked so I walked and drank some water and gatorade. At that point I started to run again and just put one foot in front of the other and slowly started passing people. Once I hit the turnaround I knew I could run the rest out and continued to pass a few people along the way and encouraging everyone behind me! Totally kept my mind off my tiredness at this point. I picked up the pace for the last quarter mile and sprinted it in to the finish with a SMILE on my face!!

Overall finishing time: 1:12:58
Place:  Overall 150/293  F 52/153   AG 11/29

Ok, so here was the bling that we all got for finishing, and may I also say that the shirt is the freakin' coolest. Totally love the color and we all got swim caps too.

Honestly, this race was the best experience I've ever had in an event (aside from running through Lambeau Field because nothing can honestly top that). This was such a beginner and family friendly race. There were so many non-super athletic people out there and parents running with their kid. The race also fell on the same weekend as a big triathlon in our area so that wiped away all the major competitors. Don't get me wrong I like the competition, which there still was in this, but it was just a great atmosphere.

Not too shabby after just completing a tri! Can you tell I love that color??

I am definitely coming back to this race next year and I think I have already convinced 2 other people to do it with me!! Anyone else up for a super friendly

Monday, July 23, 2012

Marathon Training Recap - Week 1

Welcome to my new Monday installment!!
I am excited to be marathon training, there are only 12 more weeks to go :) So here is what "THE ALMIGHTY PLAN" called for. In case your wondering I'm using Hal Higdon's novice 2 program less some of the weeks and modified around my race schedule.

M: Strength - Completed 30 minutes of circuit training from Jillian Michaels NMTZ

T: 3 mile run - I skipped this workout due to my boob scare, ladies please feel your ta-ta's regularly!! Turns out I just have a benign cyst that will go away in 2-3 months.

W: 6 mile pace - I did a track workout instead doing 6 x 800m splits with 400m recovery with a 400m warmup & cooldown jog for 5 miles overall

T: 3 mile run - I was going to do a 10 mile bike followed by a 3 mile run and was really excited to do it since the weather was finally cool, but had the opportunity to catch a Rattlers game and Jonathon Lucroy (catcher from the Brewers) was doing a rehab start so I couldn't say no. Chalk up another skipped workout for me!

F: Rest - I hopped in the pool for 300yds quick before my brother & sister-in-laws wedding reception out at a local bar but had to call it somewhat early (ended up leaving at 11) to get my but in bed so I can get up nice and early for the race.

S: Fremont Triathlon (1/8 m swim, 11.2 m bike, 2 m run) - **Recap to come soon** I will let you in a secret though...I finished!!

S: 11 mile run - Started about 8pm with Sarah and we ran through downtown Neenah & Menasha. It's definitely a classic night run when you run through the park with only a mile to go and some guys start making animal noises at you. Like I really believe there are monkey's living in WI!!

Overall, it was a good week other than skipping 2 workouts but I am ok with that since I had a loaded weekend. I am really going to try hard to get my runs in the morning otherwise it's run at 8 (provided nothing comes up that night) or in the heat of the evening at 6.

Vacation starts on Friday and I cannot wait...I will have no excuse for missing any workouts and looking forward to de-stressing from work

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Roller coaster week

This week I have been riding the roller coaster of life. I think I have just about gone through every emotion so far and it's only Wednesday!!

Sunday - It was disgustingly hot here so Sarah and I did our 10 mile run at night, we started about 8:20 and got back a little after 10 but we were both still completely covered in sweat thanks to the humidity. It felt to get in that long a run with my IT Band only slightly hurting miles 4 - 7 and moderately hurting from 7-10. I was so happy. I really wanted to run and jump onto a slip-n-slide cause I probably would have flown right down that thing with how sweaty I was.

Monday - This was a rest day according to my marathon training program but I decided I have to get back into doing strength on a regular basis, so I think this will now be strength day. The only rest day of the week will be left for Friday now but I'm ok with that as 30 minutes a strength just flies right by and is definitely needed.

Tuesday - I was feeling up my tata's on Monday and noticed a bump, I let it be and felt it again and was there again today. Let the freaking out party begin!!
OMG - there is a huge lump on my left breast
I just had my annual last week Wednesday...where the heck did this come from
What do I do to get an appointment scheduled
Desperate to get in soon...Yeah, I got in today

So I get to the doctor and let her feel me up and sure enough she says it's something to look into. They will schedule me for a mammogram and ultrasound as soon as they can. Get a call from her nurse and they have an opening tomorrow at 10am...I will take it.

I proceeded to pound 3 beers after work last night in hopes of slightly taking my mind off it for the night and maybe get some sleep.

Today - Did not want to crawl out of bed today as I was dreading this appointment. I knew I would finally find out what was going on with me but I was scared it was going to be bad...really bad. I love my pessimistic brain somedays..NOT! Finally dragged my butt out of bed and made it to the appointment without breaking down yet although my body sure cleared it's system out. I got to have 2 more people feel me up and they only ended up doing the ultrasound as they could tell from that it was a benign cyst and should clear itself up in 2 - 3 months and if things got worse I would have to come back in.

I was complimented by the radialogist of my large muscles as I had a small layer a fat followed by a huge chunk of muscle. And I was their youngest patient of the day so that means I win a prize, right? Well I guess I feel completely LUCKY walking out of there with no further tests to go through and knowing I do not have to endure anything more for the time being.

I almost feel like walking around and asking people...Hey, you wanna feel my lump? Cause what's another set of hands feeling me up at this point.

So here is to hoping the rest of the week is looking up for me, lots of training on tap the next 2 nights, getting my hair dyed, my brother's wedding reception and a triathlon Saturday morning. Oh yeah, and then maybe try to run 11 miles on Sunday. I just need to push through this craziness!

Friday, July 13, 2012


So I have been considering doing a marathon for a little over a year now, I thought about it after completing my first half marathon last year and was living on that high. I was struggling a little with my knee yet that I hurt skiing and I felt that I had plenty of time to complete one and let it go. Then after spectating for the Fox Cities Marathon last year in September I knew I wanted to do one, and soon!

I began building up some mileage and began to get my body ready to Marathon train starting in January. I was planning on losing 5 pounds each of the next 3 months so I would be at my goal weight when I began and would not have to worry about losing weight while training and also have a good eating schedule figured out by then. In December I began to have horrible pain on the inside of my left leg and went to a free injury screening at Fleet Feet. They thought it was nothing major and to let it rest for a bit, I bought new shoes and started to run again after a week off.

The pain came back and I decided I had to get it checked out. Turns out I had shin splints in the inside of my leg where the muscle meets the bone. I was instructed I had to stop running by the sports medicine doctor and referred to a PT, who then proceeded to tell me I had to take 4 weeks off of running at least and then another 5 weeks to get me back to running for 30 minutes!! So the marathon immediately went out the window. I was very disappointed but I didn't want to just stop working out. So I cross trained my heart out biking and swimming and bought some Jillian Michaels DVD's to help with strength training.

That was the time I decided to try the Sprint Triathlon during the summer as I was already half trained for it and just had to put it together. I completed my first 2 weeks ago and have another one next Saturday! During my time off I actually became a faster runner! I was amazed by the fact I had taken about 1 - 1:30 minutes off my mile times depending on the distance I ran. I was at 9 - 9:30 minute miles and was thrilled!! I've done a 5K and 10K so far this year and have easily PR'd both races and was planning on doing the Fox Cities Half Marathon this September. I didn't want to train for the marathon this summer as I'm getting married on August 24th and my 20 miler would have been that weekend, and I thought that would put alot of stress on me that I just didn't need.

But, now that the idea has been put in my head thanks to some friends, I am planning on training for the Whistlestop Marathon in Ashland, WI on October 13th. Things that are positives about this course, which I looked at last year for a possible half marathon:
  • The bulk of the race is on a limestone covered trail, so this will be great on the knees!
  • The entire course is basically flat or downhill, but not a drastic change overall (Start is 1150 ft. and End is 640 ft.)
  • It is during fall and should not been ridiculously warm weather as it is located in northern WI
  • The views should be fantastic with gorgeous fall colors
  • I will likely have another first marathoner to run with, thanks to Sarah for putting this one in my head!
  • I get $5 off since I'm a member of the Pacesetters running group so it would only be $70 for the marathon
  • It's touted as the Upper Midwest Fall Classic Marathon so it has to be awesome, right?
  • You get a cool dufflebag, and of course shirt & medal
So I'm going to test out this week with the miles according to the Marathon Plan I created from Hal Higdon's Novice 2 and see if my IT Band will cooperate. If yes, I will proceed and I will be going for it!

Anyone else have any interest in doing the half or full marathon for this one?

Monday, July 9, 2012

IT Band Issues

For the past 2 weeks my IT Band has been killing me! I cannot get in a single run without it hurting almost the entire time and I'm feeling frustrated. I have been cutting my runs back as much as I can but it's not helping much. I am hoping to eliminate this pain soon so I can enjoy a run again! It feels like it has been so long already. I have another Sprint Triathlon on tap in 2 weeks and was planning on a Half Marathon in mid-September, but if this pain does not go away that Half Marathon may disappear off my race plan. I have not signed up for it yet and the price doesn't go up until July 31st so I've got about 3 weeks to get this thing fixed!

I will admit the following actions have probably not helped me out and likely caused this issue to pop up again:
  1. I have not been strength training on a regular basis
  2. I have been forgetting to stretch before and after runs
  3. I have been lacking on the foam rolling after runs
  4. I needed new shoes..really bad! Finally bought some on Saturday and can't believe the difference in feel.
So it's time for my to get my butt in gear, literally! Since this is again another weakness in my left glute and thankfully I know what to do since I got alot of exercises from the PT when I had my shin splint issue and caused me to forego my marathon trianing this winter.

Was there anything that really helped you with your IT Band that did not coincide with going to see a chiropractor or therapist?

I will try anything at this point but hoping to avoid taking a hit against my health insurance since I have an HRA account and will just end up costing me out of pocket at this point.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Race Recap: Mighty Wolf Triathlon

A few months ago I had the brilliant idea to sign up for a triathlon. I figured how hard can this be, I've completed a half marathon, love biking and enjoy being in the water. I'd been cross training like crazy thanks to my injury and I had spent many hours on the stationary bike, many laps were swum and Jillian Michaels was helping to strengthen my week glutes kicking my ass into shape.

There were two sprint distance races I was interested in so I decided why not go for broke and sign up for both!! The first was this past Saturday and was the longer distance of the two. Oh yeah, did I mention that I got sick the prior Thursday with this horrible summer cold that is going around. Since my car does not work with 95% of the bike racks, I had to borrow my future mother-in-law's vehicle in order to get the road bike there, which is also hers that I am borrowing. I had to take my nightly dose of NyQuil around 8pm on Friday so I could actually sleep and have it out of my system in the morning to wake up at 5:45am. Yep, the lovely cough was still there and I began hacking up chunks of mucus all the way through to basically the start.

After getting everything loaded in my vehicle, I went over to switch vehicles for the morning and my journey there began. It was a very peaceful journey and I just told myself to get through the race. Don't freak out in the water and you should be golden from there. There was a youth race with this one and that started at 8:15am, while this was all cute to see, we all had to wait around until 9 as it got hotter before our races began. There were 2 distances for the adults, short and long, and I was doing the long.

I did not fuel well prior to the race, I had my usual pre-run food of 1 slice of peanut butter toast on wheat bread and I was starving well before the race started thanks to eating about 3 hours prior to the start.. Thankfully Kim brought me a banana and I mowed half of that down about 30 minutes before the race. Here are a few pictures of me trying not to show how nervous I am!

I'm the one in the pink cap

I was freaking out because I was in WAVE 1...WHAT, SERIOUSLY? WTF?? I was trying to figure out what the heck I needed to do since I couldn't just watch the first group and figure it out. Note for next year, don't sign up early if you don't want to be in the first group. I was glad to just get out there and start and not get nervous watching the others swim. The race did start at 9am and it was probably at least 80 degrees at this point anyways.

SWIM: 400 yards
The gun went off and I started walking further into the water and I started to swim. I've done a few open water swims and lakes don't freak me out so the mushy sand wasn't grossing me out. But when I got about 150 yards in and had weeds tangled around my legs and my neck and had clumps right in front of me, I started freaking out a bit. I stayed as calm as I could and began to try and free my legs all while continuing to swim. Needless to say I breast stroked about 70% of the rest of the way so I could keep pushing the clumps of weeds out of my face. And yes, swimming through clumps of weed will leave clumps in your top!

I was thankful to be out of the water and running towards transition, first through the sand and then through the grass, all the while hearing my tumming sloshing around with no food. Idiot me from being a newbie here didn't realize that you couldn't just run into the transition from the pool, they made you run all the way along the side and enter it from the back...UGH. At least I didn't have to go far to get my bike out and start on that, plus side is no weird awkard run with the bike.
I think this one is officially my fav of the day!

I'm spraying my feet off before putting my shoes on here, look to the left of the guy that can't find his bike!!

BIKE: 15 miles
So off I go to begin my journey through the touted fairly flat course on the country roads. I was getting slightly nauseous from looking down at the road and going fast with no food in my belly but I was trying to hold off eating my Peanut Butter GU until 5 miles in on the bike so it would last me the rest of the race. I was getting passed quickly thanks to all the super speedy bikers with there VERY expensive bikes and aerodynamic wheels. 2 miles in a guy was walking his bike back on the side of the road and I just had to focus myself and just push myself to finish. I was starting to get into the groove and I was finally able to eat my GU! I started really feeling comfortable, other than the headache that was starting to begin and pushed the pace and upped my resistance. I started pushing out some 3:35 minute miles on the bike. I was totally turned around at points in the course and really couldn't figure out where I was, SOOO thankful for the volunteers at each corner telling me where to go.

I made it back to transition and needed to dump the bike and grab my fuel belt, I put it in a mini cooler with ice and was thankful for the cool feeling on my waist as I began to run out of transition.

RUN: 3.1 miles
So the first (and last) part of the run was around the pool and REALLY UNEVEN grass, with my IT band hurting for the week prior to this race, it was screaming at me at this point and here is the god awful picture showing it on my face!!

Everyone needs one of these pics, right?!

So I decided to walk it so I could catch my breath and not fall flat on my face with an injury. My goal was just to finish and was not about time. Once I was able to get back on the road I started to run, and then find myself completely out of breath in a few minutes. So the run/walk continued for the next 0.5 miles and I felt like I was towards the back of the pack and really needed to dig deep.

I tried to stretch out my running portions and shorten the walking and put my eyes on the 2 girls ahead of me. Then I saw a sprinkler ahead...I picked up the pace and RAN to the sprinkler, thank you to that wonderful spectator neighbor for the fuel I needed. There was one other girl ahead of them that I saw at the halfway turnaround and she looked really strong.  I began to really push it and before I knew it I passed the 2 girls ahead of me before I even made it back to the sprinkler. Kept on going and passed the lady that was still looking strong about a half mile up the road and I would not let myself stop for the last .75 miles. I was going to run it in at this point and would end up running the last 1.25 miles. I just put one foot in front of the other on the final grass section home and grinned through the pain as I knew it was almost over.

I FINISHED!!!! I am officially a TRIATHLETE and so proud of it!

Overall   Sex   Age   Time
136         57    15    1:41:59  

There were only 147 that did this course so I did not finish last! At the end I was happy to be done and see my dad there waiting for me at the finish.

Also eating the other half of the banana

I've been on a high ever since and have totally slacked with the holdiay this week and the ridiculous heat wave. Seriously it's been 90 degrees for several days and the lows aren't even in the 70s. In WI it NEVER gets like this, and if it does it usually only last a day or two. So I've got to get my booty in gear as triathlon #2 is only 2 weeks away.

After digesting everything that went on race day and not feeling 100% I've learned alot about myself mentally and physically. I am excited to continue this journey and see how I fare in the next now that I know what I've signed myself up for. This one is a little shorter being a 200 yd swim, 11.2 mile bike and 2 mile run.

This is by far the hardest thing I have EVER DONE!! I feel that tackling the marathon will be a cake walk, ok well probably not but after handling this, at least I only have to worry about keeping my feet on the ground and it also won't take an entire bag full of gear! My wallet may thank you later marathon. That will be tackled next year at this point and probably another triathlon next year to keep me cross training like a good little girl.

Would you ever tackle a triathlon?