Sunday, April 17, 2011

My First Triathlon!

Edited with official split times at the bottom!
Ever feel like you have so much to say, but no idea of where to start, or even how to start? That's how I've feeling presently about this race report.  Do I start with the fact that I did 1workout (a 4-mile run) the entire week prior to race day?  It seems weird and unfair to begin there, because when I crossed the finish line, I wasn't thinking about all the workouts I had missed in the 7 days prior.

I was proud.  I was excited.  I was tired.  I am ready for more.

Its hard to say that I really knew what to expect on the swim.  I haven't swam in a lake/river/pond/ocean in years, and I have never swam in any of them with the intention of getting somewhere fast.  Or at least as fast as possible.  I heard over the loud speaker that water temp this morning was near hot-tub temperatures, at a scalding 60*.  Who was super thankful for renting a wetsuit?  This girl right here.  I can honestly say there is no way  I would have been able to finish the swim without it.  The cold simply would have taken too much out of me.  But today the cold was only one of two major obstacles (other than the open water, 750 yards nonstop obstacle).  The other, and maybe more overwhelming, was wind.  Lots of wind.  Said wind made the sometimes glass-like lake, into a lake of moving crests and troughs.  One might describe the water as choppy, or white-capped.  Either way I found myself swimming toward a white pyramid-like buoy, that I could sometimes see, and sometimes could only see the oncoming wave, wondering what the eff have I gotten myself into???????  This is where I admit that I, for a moment, really didn't think I'd be able to finish the swim. 
Now bear with me, I decided this required a moment of play on Paint to give you an idea.  So for the first leg, we swam nearly directly into the wind and the waves.  This was exhausting and ridiculously overwhelming, I couldn't swim any stroke that resembled anything, except maybe sidestroke.  By the time I got around the first buoy I was ready to give up, or at least call over a kayak to rest, but I pressed on, and it got easier.  By the time I rounded the second buoy the final buoy and finish line were in site, did it matter that they looked miles away?  Not really, at least I was headed in that direction.  It was also around this time that I finally found a rhythm and felt like I was finally moving.  Getting out of the lake proved to be harder than I was expecting, when I tried to stand up and run out of the lake the water that was inside my wetsuit ran down the legs and slowly out the bottom, making my legs heavy, slow, and very clumsy.  It was awkward.  But I was done! Running up the beach I saw my parents for the one and only time the entire race... my words "That was the hardest thing I've ever done."  I'm pretty sure that is still true.

Other than trying to forget my helmet and glasses "404, YOUR HELMET!!!!!" (a very nice volunteer yelled at me before I got too far away from my transition area) the bike was actually awesome.  My arms were really tired from the swim, but my legs felt fresh and fast.  Probably too fast initially.  The bike was 2 6.5-mile laps, and I'd bet if I had splits for each of them, the first would be faster than the second, because I reined myself in.  If I had any hopes of finishing the run feeling good, I couldn't blow myself up on the bike, and my initial pace out of T1 was going to do just that.  The course was curvy with not a lot of flats, which is actually the kind of riding I prefer.  I passed several people on the bike, and I'll admit was good for morale.  :)  Coming into T2, I was feeling tired, but not blown up.

Whoa, Beki mentioned the run to me when she found out I as doing the same tri as she did last year.  And she wasn't kidding.  This run had a little bit of everything, including some billy-goat status mountain climbing, both up and down, that everyone I encountered, including yours truly, walked.  It was fairly crazy.  There was also some soft-pack beach running during which I seriously was beginning to wonder if Ashton was going to pop out and inform me I had been punked.  A swim, a bike, and then this was the 4-mile run they came up with?  In all fairness and honesty the run was beautiful, and I was thankful for the shade that running dirt trails through the forest offered, but it wasn't for the faint of heart.  Every runner I encountered, whether they were passing me or I was passing them, was super friendly with lots of "good jobs" and "keep it ups."  I found the speed in my legs to chick a few dudes in the last mile, which felt good. :)  And then there was the finish line.  I almost wanted the run to keep going, I was just getting back a rhythm after the hills, but the moment I crossed that line and allowed myself to walk, there was nothing but gratitude from my body, it was tired.

And I was a triathlete.

Final time: 1:48:xx 
Official time: 1:49::08
Swim: 20:28
Bike: 50:11
Run: 38.29

Overall I came in 203 of 388 (+5 who DQ'ed or DNF)
In my age group (24-29) I came in 10 or 25.  :)
The swim was my weakest sport by far, and the run might have been my strongest.  Back to the training I go.  Pool time tomorrow!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thinking thoughts...

Tomorrow is my first triathlon.  Today my nephew is being baptized and I'll spend the day with family.  Today is also my mom's 63rd birthday. But I'm preoccupied with something else entirely....

I have this professor, Dr. I.  Honestly he is one of the reasons I chose to stay in Sacramento and finish my BS at Sac State, I like this professor that much.  He loves teaching and loves his area of interest (biomechanics) and it shows in his lectures and labs.  Quite frankly, he is awesome.  Over the past year we have developed a sorta friendship.  I consider it a perk of being an older student, its easier to relate to your professors and they have an easier time relating to you.  Dr. I's wife was pregnant at the end of my fall semester, they were expecting twins and it was all quite exciting.  He (they) were anxiously awaiting child 2 & 3 all at once as they already had a 2 year old.
Spring semester started in late Jan. and on the first day of class I asked him how his wife was doing... *long pause from him....*  The twins were born 1 week prior, but weren't due until March.  2 months early.  For weeks Dr. I wore 2 NICU hospital bands around his left wrist, and while he was nearly his normal cheerful self in class, I knew that things were rough for him.  His babies were in the hospital for 6 weeks.  Sometimes after class we'd talk, he'd say they were "taking things day by day."
I shared a story of family friends who had twin sons about a year after I was born.  They were in and out of the hospital for the first 3 months of life... and now are healthy young men, finishing college, one is getting married later this fall.  Dr. I was relived to hear my story, relived to hear that it can turn out ok despite rough beginnings.
Now they are home, but their immune systems are still very fragile so they can't have family or friends over.  Dr. I admits to being completely overwhelmed.  "Normally my in-laws or my parents would be visiting, offering help and assistance.  They are chomping at the bit to do so... but we can't risk having people over yet."  I want to give him a big hug (but I don't, because I'm pretty sure that would be weird), and tell him it will be ok.
Couple days ago I asked him again how things are going... Dr. I has been on paternity leave, teaching only 2 1-hr lectures a week so he has been able to be home to help his wife.  Turns out his main responsibility has been to be with his 2.5 year old son, who is not adjusting well to having new kids in the house to share attention with.  But that isn't the real issue...
"I think there is something wrong with my son, spending this time with him is making me realize that I can't ignore that he is... not progressing like he should be"
Dr, I's 2.5 year old is nearly nonverbal.  He becomes obsessed with spinning wheels.  He sometimes side-eyes things.  Dr. I thinks his son might be Autistic.
I can seen the worry in his eyes.  Dr. I is a smart guy, but he is totally out of his element when it comes to this.

For 2 years I worked with Autistic kids as an in-home behavioral and cognitive tutor.  I am not an expert, but I have stories.  Hopeful, helpful, amazing stories.  So I share some of them.  I share my story about one of the kiddos I worked with graduating from program and entering typical 1st grade, full-time, as a 6 year old.  He is incredible and amazing, loves to ride bikes and swim in the pool.  He has friends over for slumber parties.  If you met this kiddo you'd never know that a couple years ago he was non-verbal.  Another story I share is of my cousin, who has Asperger's, but is graduating from college this year.
I tell Dr. I that he shouldn't be afraid of getting his son tested or of the diagnosis that it may lead to.  A diagnosis opens doors to resources and help that will make the journey less overwhelming.  He will not be alone.

I've been replaying this conversation with Dr. I in my head for several days now.  I worried for a brief moment that I may have given him false hope, but have realized that they is no such thing in this moment.  Now I'm just sending his family the best and most positive of thoughts.  Come what may, I pray for strength and solidity for him and his family.  Between his three kids, Dr. I could use all the help from God, or the universe, or whatever you want to call it.

And I suppose now, I'm asking the same from you.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I have a confession....

So I am supposed to do my first triathlon in...5 days. April 17th.  Yeah, about that...

Since this is my first tri, and I'm not totally sure what to expect or anything, I don't yet own a wetsuit.  While it is my understanding that a wetsuit is always optional, for this swim the water is an estimated 54*, so I'm thinking I should wear one.  A local running/tri shop rents wetsuits and I've been meaning to go in a get mine reserved for weeks, but I just haven't yet.  Now that we are down to the last week I'm afraid I'll go in and ask, and they will be out.

See, while I'm worried about that occurrence, I'm also a little relieved at the possibility.  Then I'd be off the hook.  Because I'm scared.  Ok, maybe scared isn't quite the right word, but I am nervous/anxious/uneasy/fearful/apprehensive/concerned/or whatever other adjective you can think of.  In the past 2 weeks I have become filled with doubt over the task I have taken on, and my ability to do it.  I think this is why my workouts have been slipping, and I haven't been doing what I need to be doing.  Its a self-fulfilling prophecy in my inability to make it to the start line of any race.  So I'm admitting that I may have self-sabotage a little bit.

And as of tomorrow (because I've been up since 2:45AM today, and workouts just aren't going to happen, honest) I'm back on the training wagon.  I've got 3 months to my HIM, and I can't risk going to that start-line under-prepared.  My lack of knowledge/experience will put my at a big enough disadvantage as it is.

So there is is, a day early for True Confessions Tuesday, but that's my confession.  I'll update when I know more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring into Action - Week 5 Check-in

So a girl is standing over the kitchen sink.  One hand holds a ziplcock bag full of grated colby jack cheese, the other is simply filling her mouth, of said colby jack cheese, between sentences talking to her uncle about his work contract getting bought out by another company... blah, blah, blah.  Uncle stops mid-sentence and says... "You know it would probably be easier if you just put it right there" and pokes her in the butt.

Girl's response "But that wouldn't taste SOOOO good." :)

That was my evening last night, and it makes me chuckle.  He meant it with no malice, which is why he gets away with it, and I was so busy enjoying eating cheese straight out of the bag that it hardly mattered.  You could say that I'm getting whatever joy and pleasure out of life I can find right now, because I'm otherwise a little stressed out.  Good news is there is an end in sight.  I'm getting things done, deadlines might be here, coming up, or looming, but I am doing what I have to do to be ready.

And on May 17th I'll take the last final of my semester and will probably dance my way to my car, all the way home, and doing something fun without the guilt of knowing there is something else I "should" be doing.  Do you KNOW how close May 17th is?  That light at the end of the tunnel, its beginning to get bigger and brighter, and I can hardly wait!

Speaking of 17th, its kind of an important number for me this  year (apparently)...
My half-Ironman is on July 17th.
My last final of the semester is on May 17th.
And my first triathlon (sprint distance) is on April 17th.  Wait a minute.... that's in 11 DAYS. Deep Breaths.  So yeah, I'm officially entering the world of triathletes in 11 days and I've swam once in the past 2 weeks.
Do as I say and not as I do
Because that is just plain stupid.  I have no doubt that I will be able to finish the tri, but I've set myself up for it not necessarily being the motivating, morale boosting event it should be, and instead it being.... tough.  I'll survive, but it might not be overly pretty.  In less than two weeks, we shall see. :)

And for check-in for our challenge, I'm down in my weight (not much, read above if this is surprising), and did 74 push-ups this morning.  I'm behind on the 100 push-up challenge, so after our SJ challenge is over I'll continue with the 6-week program until completion.  :)  The biggest and best part of this challenge for me has been getting to know my teammate Brooke which has been lots and lots of fun.  :) On to week 6!