Friday, June 24, 2016

On Being 55

The other day I noticed how much longer it takes me to recover from everything. I know it's a factor of getting older. While I'm training I don't feel any older than I did 20 years ago, but if I train hard I can feel the fatigue for days.

I'm pretty sure that I will never beat any of my times, or paces again. I may come close, or even equal them, but the PR days are pretty much gone. 

People will tell you that you're only as old as you feel. I don't feel 55, but some days I know I am.

At my last race, my friend Jen asked me how long I thought I would continue racing. Good question. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Two Races and Some Good News!

Two more races done! Both were Team Magic events - Mountain Lakes Triathlon and Buster Britton Triathlon. Team Magic is a race production company based in Alabama, I've done one of their races a few times, the Brett Robinson on the coast. I have to say, they do a very nice job when it comes to races, and race organization. There is always excellent instruction given before the race starts, the bike racks are identified with fun different things to help you find your transition (wish I had a picture to show you). The race course, and transition maps online are very helpful, they offer tri-tats or body marking (and even have a bucket of water and paper towels available on race morning if you're picking up your packet on race day), a well marked course with mile markers, and the post race area is really great! There is a giant tent so you can escape the heat, rolling computer results, posted age group results, and the little thing that you can print out your own individual result. Good post race food, and drinks, and very nice awards. Things ran very smoothly at both of the events of theirs that I've done so far.

Mountain Lakes Triathlon - Guntersville, AL. What a contrast to the other race I did at this lake a couple weeks before. This one was pretty flat and fast. I had a good swim, averaged 22.6 on the bike (by my Garmin), and 8:00 miles on the run - last mile was a 7:30. First place in the female Masters category (Team Magic does not offer Grand Masters 50+). Team Magic also seems to do very cool and useful awards - we got a big beach towel and a $50 gift certificate to Cahaba Cycles in Birmingham! I would definitely put this race on the calendar again for next year!

Oldest one on the poduim.
 "The Cobb Mobb strikes fear in the youngsters!" - John Cobb

One of the fun things about this race happened in transition when I was setting up my bike. I met a former Team Aquaphor teammate, Keith Marshall! He recognized me and told me who he was! How fun is that! We had to pose for the obligatory photo, including the sample tube of Aquaphor! What a great team that was!

Keith Marshall, Team Aquaphor!

Buster Britton Memorial Triathlon - Pelham, AL. Ow, ow, ow! This was one tough triathlon! Thank goodness it was short - the swim was kind of warm and long - good for me, the bike course was so hard! I was only able to average 19.3 on the bike, and that got me the 5th fastest female bike split! It was super hilly (by my comparison of races anyway). The run course was advertised as, "The run course is a one-loop course with a mix of paved roads and smooth trails." When I read that I was thinking eh, probably 50/50... uh nope, more like 95% trail. I always find it funny when you're racing on trails and you're going as hard as you can, look down at your watch and see 10:00 pace. I ended up 9th overall female and won my age group. I don't know that I would do this race again, it is definitely one that would be easier if you knew the course beforehand, but yowza it hurt... bad!

This race was my first in Alabama where I got to race with a friend! I met Jen Chapman through a swimmer that I met at the pool. She moved to Tuscaloosa about a year and a half ago, but hadn't been racing any triathlons, because she hadn't met anyone to train with (sound familiar?). Well we've become good friends, and training partners, and push each other in practice. This was her first race back in awhile, and she killed it! She came in 19 seconds ahead of me and won her age group! I'm glad to have finally met another triathlete in Tuscaloosa!

Jen has also convinced me to join her weekly track workouts - I've been the last 3 weeks now - I haven't done any track work since Hattiesburg, and I'm looking forward to my next race at Sunfish in Meridian, MS to see what improvements I'm making! Running, is just like swimming or cycling - if you want to get faster you've got to do interval work. Here is the group's motto: "Pain is necessary - because you don't go fast when you go slow!"

Buster Britton awards was a Tervis Tumbler with the race logo (love these cups, they're all I drink out of in the summer!) and a goody bag filled with all kinds of other useful things! Water bottle, bike tube, CO2 cartridge, tire patches, bar tape, and more! Yah! Or there are some sunglasses too, but they're so BIG that I can't wear them. Anyone have a large face/head want some sunglasses?

*One other good thing has happened in the last few weeks. I got this email from the USATSMW Region:

Some of my former Aquaphor teammates nominated me for this (without my knowledge - thank you Steve, Andé, and Barry!) and I got the surprise email telling me that I'm going to be in the USAT SouthMidWest Hall of Fame! Talk about a humbling experience, to be nominated by your peers for something like this is overwhelming. I love this sport so much, and am so proud to be recognized. I had to choose one of the Regional Championship events to attend, and they are arranging a member of the HOF Council to be there to present me with the award. I'm going to race the Sugarman Triathlon on October 2nd in Youngsville, LA, this year it's the Louisiana State Championship, I've actually always wanted to do this race in south Louisiana, hope to see you there!!!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Lake Guntersville Tri

When I write a race report I try to include some pointer that may help someone out there at their next race. Most of the time I hide them in the body copy. Maybe there will be one stuck in this post somewhere. Right now I can't think of anything to share.

This is my race report for the Lake Guntersville Tri that I did last Saturday. There were some really good things about this race, and unfortunately some unorganized things as well.

I think that the longer I race, and the pickier I become. There are some amazing races out there, races that run like clockwork. River Cities, Crawfishman, Indian Creek, Disco, the Ironhead Race Productions, and the SetUp Events to name a few. What makes a great race compared to a good or average race? Venue? Absolutely plays a part, a big part at that. Having a beautiful site and race course is really important, it is part of what will convince me to return to a race year after year. But more so than that is the race organization. Nothing will keep me away from a beautiful venue for a second year quicker than poor race organization. The poor race director at Guntersville said that a group of his volunteers didn't show up on race morning. 20 volunteers no showed - nice.

We have moved a lot over the past few years, and every season it's kind of like starting a new school where no one knows you. Now there is good and bad with this, yeah... no one knows who you are so there isn't any performance pressure, but then you also have to go to races where you don't know anyone. Wander around alone. Bill had to work so he couldn't make the trip with me for my first race of the season, it was the day before Mother's Day and the store had a big day.

I drove up late afternoon before to Guntersville, went straight to my hotel - a Microtel - the smallest hotel rooms... I was going to say in the world, but I guess that there are smaller ones, like in Japan where you can reserve a drawer. It's a good thing Bill didn't go with me because there wouldn't have been room for him and my bags.

Couldn't get my race packet because for some weird reason packet pick up for this race on Friday was only from 11-1. Really?? Who does that? Why even bother?

Got up early and drove out to the address listed on the website for the race. It took me to a lodge way up above the lake. I had no idea how to get down to the water. Luckily as I was turning around in the parking lot I saw a truck with bikes on the back and followed it. Followed it for 2 seconds, then the road was turning back and forth and I just drove along hoping I was going the right way, the truck no longer to be seen.

AND then the low tire light came on... so now my blood pressure was going up. I could just see myself on this twisting turning road with a flat. Luckily I made it to the beach area and parked, decided I would worry about the tire after the race. Whew!
2016 Cobb Mobb !!

Did all the typical race prep. No numbers for helmets or bike frames, just a running bib - so that was easy. Bikes racks were first come, first serve, so I got my bike set up by the "Bike Out". And of course with 30 minutes before the start of the race here comes some dude...squeezes his bike in on the same rack, even though there are tons of other open places. Ugh.. so irritating. (this happens to be irritation #1 of the day). Ran, swam, checked my transition again and then proceeded to wait for the race start.

There were a lot of events going on at the same time at this race. An Olympic distance tri, a Sprint tri, an Aquabike, an Aquathhon, and a Duathon. Makes me wonder why the t-shirts and the awards all said "Olympic Triathlon"...... maybe they planned all the other events after the artwork had been done??? I really like the shirts and awards, but I didn't do an Olympic Triathlon.

The swim for the Olympic was two loops of a 750m course. On the second loop they would come back by the start. So they set off the waves of the Olympic race first, and then got the first wave of the Sprint in the water and low and behold.... swimmers coming through on their second loop had to swim through the people treading water waiting for their start. "Look out, swimmers coming through". (irritation #2). My wave was last and so even more people were trying to make their way through. It was INSANE, a cluster.  I had a pretty non eventful swim, a minor wetsuit freak out, stopped and unzipped it about 5 inches or so. I'm not really sure how this could have been made simpler with less congestion - I guess they didn't want to put buoys farther out for the 1.5K?

I checked the participant list before the race and saw that one girl put 1:05 for her predicted finish time. I put down a 1:30. As we were waiting for the swim start, I was pretty sure I saw her lined up by me in the water. Didn't see her again after that - she beat me by over 2 minutes on the swim! Yiy!

Out of the water into transition and out onto the bike course. Pretty tough bike course, and of course there is the guy who has to play leapfrog on the bike when you pass him because he doesn't like being passed by a girl. On the way to the turnaround I caught this guy on every hill, only to have him pass me back. One time he even came around me then stood up and coasted, I guess it took so much out of him that he needed to rest. At the turnaround for the sprint course he kept going - thank you! But speaking of the turn around... it was marked in red spray paint on the road. I almost missed it, as did the two guys behind me who all said the same thing. How about a cone? A sign? A volunteer?
Made the turn and headed back toward transition, another leapfrog guy to deal with on the way back.

Back into transition and onto the run. I think I drank too much on the bike, my stomach was full and it made it uncomfortable to run. Skipped the first aid station. The run was out and back and hilly! All I kept thinking was what Bill told me when I was with him while he was playing golf - "downhill to the water". I saw the women's leader on the run course, there was another woman ahead of me but I kept thinking she was a relay, she was running pretty easy and waved both hands at me as we crossed paths and shouted some encouragement. I was thinking I was 2nd, but you can never be sure.

The run finished into the transition area. Really?? Wow, I can't remember when the last time I did a race that allowed participants into the transition area until the last cyclist was out on the run. I felt bad for the people I saw going out on the run after I finished. So many of them had no idea where "run out" was. I helped send people in the right direction. At the post race someone even said to me, "weren't you working in the transition area after you raced?" There was no announcer at the finish, no one to take your timing strap off (there was a bucket over to the side), no water. I guess this is where the missed volunteers were supposed to be. Mike Gerrity (my friend Denise's dad) was in charge of transition, he was the ONLY one there. He was body marking in the morning (no body markers showed up), directing at the mount/dismount line, directing racers... doing everything! His wife who also raced was working packet pick up before the race started (no volunteers). If Mike hadn't been there I don't know what the RD would have done.

Okay so here is my race pointer of the post - PLEASE acquaint yourself with the in's and out's of the transition area! Walk through it before the race starts. "SWIM IN", "BIKE OUT", "BIKE IN", "RUN OUT", "FINISH". And make a mental note of where the Mount/Dismount line is! I saw way too many people looking really frustrated as they ran out the wrong direction.

So all that rant was the not so good part of the race.. now for some good stuff!

The Post Race was AWESOME! Perfect weather helped, but there was cold beer, and good beer! Corona, Blue Moon, Dos Equis... food, sodas, and live music! It made waiting for the awards a little better. But the timing got all messed up somehow and awards took FOREVER. I don't want to go on about it anymore. I finally found out that I was 2nd overall female. They were calling out names so fast because they knew people were frustrated from waiting. The race started at 8:00 am. I finally got in the car to come home at about 2:30. That was a long day. Still some work to do.

Swim 1:30/100 yds
T1  :43
Bike 20.4 avg.
T2  :34
Run 8:00 avg
2nd Overall Female / 8th Overall M&W

The guy in blue did this cool art piece during the race!
Cute little dog named Peanut that I met.
Took this because it had Phoenix's name! 
Cheers! See you at the next race!

*Oh.. I didn't have a flat tire, just needed some air. Pulled my trusty little compressor out of the trunk and topped off all 4 tires. Voila, no more check tire light!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bama Triathlon - Relay Time!

It's early season for triathlon. I have a lot of friends who are already racing this season. My first race is still 3 weeks away. But last weekend I decided to compete in the inaugural Bama a relay!!

A few months ago I talked to a couple of the good people that I've met since moving to Tuscaloosa, asked them if there is ever a triathlon that is close by if they would be interested in doing a relay with me! Charlie Wolbach rides with the Druid City Bike Club - he is a great cyclist. He has pulled me back up to the group on many rides when I've been dropped off the back. I have to work to stay on his wheel when he is riding hard. I thought he would be perfect for the relay.

Ann Besanceney and I worked together at Wagner's RunWalk. Ann is an amazing runner - an All American from Michigan State in Steeplechase. When Ann runs, think gazelle! She is also the first friend that I made in Tuscaloosa, she has a good heart, a kind heart.

This is a super sprint race, actually I would consider it a runner's race. Short 400 yard swim, 11 mile bike, and the run ended up being 3.6 miles. It's a pool swim.... ahem, if you've ever read any of my other posts about pool swim triathlons you'll know that I'm really not a fan. Sunday, we were really lucky that the timer sent us off at way more than the 10 seconds that was advertised. She let the person get to the end of the lane (25 yards) before she sent the next person off. If not the swim would have been a hot mess. 

On the registration they asked us to submit a 100 meter swim time. Initially, the race was going to be held in the 50 meter pool, but a swim meet was scheduled for the same weekend, bad race planning. Typically people submit a very "optimistic" swim time. I used a swim calculator conversion since I swim in a short course yard pool. Entered a 1:27 per 100 meter time. Now, I can swim one 100 meter freestyle way faster than that, but I was basing it on what I believed I would hold for the entire 400. Obviously I was one of the only ones who did this. Long story short, I was about the 15-16th person in line and had the 5th fastest swim split. The guy in front of me, Blake caught and passed the person in front of him, and I caught her about 10 yards from the swim finish. My friend Margaret caught two people who were seeded in front of her. She had the 3rd fastest overall swim! What did I tell you, hot mess!

My recommendation for next year for the race director - have people submit a 400 yard (or meter) time. 

T1 - Usually when there are relays they have them rack together. There are going to be two other people in transition, and having the relays somewhere so that we're not in the other athletes way is a good idea. There was a tiny rack, that would hold 4 bikes, and I asked the RD if that is where he wanted us to rack, but he said just to rack the bike anywhere. 

My recommendation for next year - if the racks are not assigned, still have the relays rack together out of the way of the other athletes, so they don't get in the way.

Before the race started we were given a piece of velcro to stick to our disposable neoprene ankle chip. It wouldn't stick. So I stapled one end of the velcro to the end of the neoprene, you could still get it off but the whole thing came apart when we tried to take it off to put on Charlie's ankle. We ended up just stuffing it in his back jersey pocket. I saw Dani (a friend doing another relay) running to her team carrying her timing strap, I think it had come off completely in the water - they duct taped it from then on. There has to be a better way for the timing chips for the relays.

There is a fast triathlete in Tuscaloosa named Wilson. When I told Wilson that I was doing a relay, he said "I won't catch you on the swim, but I'll just have to catch Charlie on the bike". Of course we couldn't let that happen! And Charlie delivered! Wilson out split him, but never caught him! Oh... and Charlie was on his road bike, not a time trial bike. He had a fantastic ride! 

My recommendation about the bike course - Move the Mount/Dismount line to the road as opposed to the edge of the parking lot so the athletes can see it. We saw one girl endo on her bike as she came in to T2 because she didn't see the line. A MOUNT/ DISMOUNT sign would be a good idea, and more volunteers on the bike course, too. Charlie missed a turn because no one was directing people at a corner.

We handed Ann the timing chip, and she headed out onto the run course. I was excited to see her run, so I'd told her I was going to try and head out onto the course to cheer her on to the finish. I saw her coming down Hackberry, the last long stretch before the turn to the finish. She was flying! I cut across a big parking lot diagonal to see her finish (think Pythagorean Theorem) and had to sprint as hard as I could and barely made it to see her go by! Man that woman can run!

We had a great day! Both Charlie and Ann were amazing! Would I do another relay? With friends like that, you bet! 

Oh... and yes, we beat Wilson. 

Next up for me, Lake Guntersville Tri! See you at the races!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why I Became A Swim Coach

Why did I become a swimming coach? That's an easy one, Coach Steve Panzram.

Coach Steve with his
Crawfish Aquatics Team.
I grew up swimming in our back yard pool in southern California, trying to imitate my Dad. He swam when he was in high school, back in 1944 or 1945. I remember seeing the 8mm film of us in the pool, my Dad swimming laps, breathing to the side, swimming breaststroke and backstroke. I wish I still had those films.

I joined a swim team way back in 1978 when I was a junior in high school. My school didn't have a year round team, but 11 miles away in Ocean Springs, MS there was a YMCA team - the OSY Sea Serpents. There was a co-worker of my Dad whose kids swam on the team, and we thought it would be something I might like. The team was on their 2 week break after State, so I went to the pool every day until practice started back. The coach told me to try and work up to swimming 20 lengths - a 500. I did that and remember very clearly my first practice, the coach told us to warm up with a 400 IM. That's a 400 individual medley - or 100 of each stroke - fly, backstroke, breastroke, and freestyle. I'd never done one stroke of butterfly in my life but I got in the lane and did my best.

Throughout the two years that I swam with the team the coach never once gave me any technique pointers, or told me what I was doing right, or wrong. I learned by watching the other swimmers in the lane next to me, and tried to copy the faster people. I made it to state my first year, swam on two relays and the 100 backstroke, and 100 breastroke, all by learning on my own.

When I got older and started racing triathlons I joined masters swim practices. In Jackson, it was just a group of us that would get together and swim. In Baton Rouge I joined Crawfish Masters, coached by Scott Rabalais. Still no one ever helped me. Just swimming what they said and trying to keep up.

I moved to Dallas and joined DAM, Dallas Aquatic Masters. This is Jim Montgomery's program. Here I finally had a coach tell me something. Bobby Patten told me, "Ginger, we don't swim looking forward anymore, look a the bottom of the pool and let the water hit you in the middle of the top of your head." And one of the other coaches told me... "When you take your first pull off the wall, use the hand that is on the bottom."

That's it. That was the extent of the coaching I received in 30 years of swimming.

Then in 2010 we moved to Hattiesburg, MS, and I started swimming with the HubFin Masters. I was told that I would like Coach Steve. I think it was either the first or second practise that he told me, "I'm going to completely change your freestyle." During the year or so that Steve coached me he did completely change my stroke, he focuses on technique. I went from 24 strokes per length to 17. Got much faster, and did it using a lot less energy, learned a ton of drills, and why they improve your swimming. I finally got to experience really being coached. Someone that wanted me to get better, get faster. A coach that cared.

Swimming in the Mississippi State Games.

A time came when he needed a new assistant coach, he asked if I would be interested. Of course! An opportunity to work with an amazing Head Coach, and learn from one of the best coaches out there. Unfortunately Steve left shortly after I joined the staff for Nevada, but I will never be able to thank him enough for the opportunity. To this day, I stay in contact with him, mostly to ask questions about swimming, he responds immediately.

Last Day with the HubFins

If you haven't noticed by now I have an incredible passion for swimming. When we moved from Hattiesburg to Shreveport, Steve reached out to Butch Jordan, the Head Coach of COSST - The City of Shreveport Swim Team.

At COSST I got to work with JV1 and JV2,  the 11 and unders. I had the best experience there, the kids soaked up the information I gave them. Every single one of them will never be forgotten. I have memories that will last a lifetime. I got to work with a coaching staff that all have the same goals, we were all on the same page, it was a dream job.

COSST Coaches
I've told others before that being a swim coach is the only part time job that feels like a serious career. As a swim coach, or any coach for that matter, you're not just helping them to athletes to be better in their sport, you have an opportunity to teach them so much more. Teach them about respect, and integrity. Teach them about hard work, and the pay off they get from their efforts. Teach them about teamwork, and about being a team.

I'm not coaching here in Tuscaloosa, it just didn't work out with the local team. I miss it daily. I miss the kids.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hot Water Swimming

The pool at UA has been closed for 10 days for Spring Break. I went to one of the Para pools in town on Monday to get in some yardage. It was a nice pool but super warm. There is a time clock on the wall but the second hand is missing... ugh. There is a regular little clock on the wall with a second hand so I squinted and used it to time the intervals.

I wasn't planning to go back, but then Mary Jo messaged me and asked if I was swimming on Wednesday, so I agreed to swim again at the same pool. This time the water was even hotter! We ended up getting in 2500 yards, mostly by a big set of 50's doing IM change, then a kick set so we could keep our faces out of the water.

It got me thinking about racing in the summer in the South. The temperature of the water we race in is sometimes in the upper 80's. It never occurred to me until that morning about my slower swim times in those races.... hello..... Anyone else ever thought about that? I have always contributed my slower times at some races to poor navigation. But now I have a real excuse! Haha!

I know there is a chart for running that I've seen that tells you how much your times suffer with different air and humidity temperatures. I wonder if there is something like this for open water racing?

At any rate, I didn't go back on Friday to cook myself in that pool. Tomorrow the pool at the Aquatic Center on campus is back open! 

The University of Alabama triathletes are putting on a tri on April 10th. The BAMA TRI. It's a 400 meter pool swim (bleh), 12.4 mile bike, 5K run. I recruited a couple people that I've met here in Tuscaloosa to do a relay with me! Charlie Wolbach, one of the guys who rides with the Druid City Bike Club is going to be the cyclist, he is an fast cyclist and will be using my ITU clip on aerobars. Ann Besanceney, who I used to work with at the running store will be running - Ann was an All-American runner from Michigan State. This should be fun! My first relay - will let you know how it goes!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Trail Running - Tashka

The Tuscaloosa area has some beautiful lakes! There was a flyer up at Wagner's for a trail race to be held at Lake Lurleen, so I decided to do my once a year trail run and sign up!

The Tashka Trail 50K & 25K was on January 16th. The official name was the Nicholas Wilson Memorial - this was the 7th year for the race. Initially the race started as a way to give back to the community, preserving the memory of Nicholas Wilson, a little boy who passed away in 2008. As the years have passed the race has raised over $35,000 for different children's needs. This years beneficiary is the Tuscaloosa Children's Theater, and Kid One Transport.

A couple weeks before, Bill and I drove up to the lake to see where it was located. Definitely a plus for race morning - to know where you are going. It was really foggy the morning of the race, but there was hardly anyone on the road so I got to the race much faster than I though I would. Parked the car facing the lake and sat and watched the sun come up.

The 50K, and 25K started at 7:00 am. It was pretty chilly out, people kept telling me that "last year it was much colder." Have you ever noticed that when we are at a loss for words talking to a stranger that the weather becomes a typical topic of conversation? Honestly I don't really care that it was colder or hotter in previous years. It has nothing to do with the race today. It is what it is.

Race tip: Check the weather, plan to dress accordingly.

I raced the 4 mile - it was an out and back to on the Lakeside Trail. I worried a bit about the return trip and congestion on the trail, but it was a needless worry. Failed to look at the application where it says they cap the 4 miler at 30 people. The race director announced that he had blown off the first mile of the trail of all the leaves, and pine needles, so that all the roots and rocks were exposed. Nice!

Oh, this is interesting, just before the race I saw one of the guys who works at Wagner's. He said one thing to me that really helped for this race. Just a small comment that I shouldn't have any problem at this race. Meaning he knew the women's competition that were there. Funny how one small thing like that can completely change your confidence level, as well as race plan. I was planning on running hard, but being new to the area, I have no idea of who is who. So it made me run even harder, hoping that maybe I could win this thing.

The race started, two men went off in front and I was behind them. For a little while I worried that it was going to be like The Trail Run that I did last year in Shreveport. I had some trouble there getting around a couple men in front of me. But the two at Tashka quickly sped up and I didn't see them again. I heard a woman talking behind me as we first started, and resisted the temptation to look back and see where she was until we made a sweeping turn and I could just look sideways to see who was behind. At that point there was no one that in sight. I raced hard to the turnaround - funny how in trail running, you feel like you are pushing so hard and going so fast, only to look at your Garmin and see 9:30 pace. Haha!

At about 2 miles my left calf started hurting, and then it moved up to my glute, so once I got a about a half mile from the finish, I backed off and ran easy. An interesting observation in the days after the race was just how sore my calves were. In thinking about it (yes, I analyze everything), it does make sense. The majority of time I was up on my toes, either climbing between rocks, and roots, or descending between them. You have to kind of pick your way around them, and most of the time there isn't room for a full foot plant. I can see where regular trail running would be so good for all those little muscles in your lower leg. It would add a lot of lateral strength - the foot is constantly adjusting for the imperfect ground. It was a great workout. I should really do more trail running. Maybe I can get Bill interested so he can go with me!

Back to the race - I didn't pass anyone, and didn't get passed by anyone. Finished 3rd Overall, and was the first woman. When I crossed the finish line the RD handed me my award and that was it. The 4 miler awarded only first male, and first female. So there were no results to tabulate. Got my award, walked back to the car, took a few photos, and a selfie and then drove home. Had to be at work at 11:00. A post race nap would have been nice, but not today.

Next up on my schedule is the Masters Swim Meet in Auburn on February 13th! I've been swimming a lot. This week 6 days. I'm pretty tired, hopefully when I back off the yardage a few days before the meet I'll snap back. But my birthday is just before the meet, and I want to do a Birthday Swim! I finally decided what I'm going to do, just haven't picked the exact day for it. Don't want to do it too close to the meet.

Birthday Swim 5500 yards = 55 x 100

10 x 100 @1:40 warm up
9 x 100  @ 1:40 pull
8 x 100  @ 1:45 25 stroke / 75 free IM order
7 x 100  @ 1:40 25 back / 75 free
6 x 100  @ 1:45 negative split
5 x 100  @ 1:40 25 breast / 75 free
4 x 100  @ 1:45 descend 1-4
3 x 100  @ 1:40 25 fly / 75 free
2 x 100  swim down
1 x 100 kick

And since I'll be swimming for the Crimson Tide Masters in the meet at Auburn, I got this! What do you think?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Birthday Swim

It's kind of a tradition to swim your age in yards on your birthday, skipped it the past couple years, need to get back into the habit. I'm turning 55 in February, so I think I'll do a 55 x 100 Birthday Swim to celebrate... celebrate? Punishment for some is fun for others!

Here is what I'm planning to do:

10 x 100 w.u. @1:45
20 x 100 @ 1:40
10 x 100 @ 1:35
10 x 100 pull @ 1:30
5 x 100 c.d. @ 1:45

Piece of cake, right! Unfortunately I don't think I can convince anyone else to swim this workout with me so I may be going solo. Any takers in Tuscaloosa??

There is a masters swim meet in February in Auburn, too! I think I'll go swim a few events. The plan so far is to swim the 1,650 free, 100 IM, 100 back, 50 fly, and hopefully the 200 Mixed Free Relay on Saturday. There are several other swimmers from the Crimson Tide Masters who are going and I think we can put together a relay. Not sure yet if I will go back and swim Sunday, too. If I do I'm thinking I'll swim the 500 free, 50 breast,  and maybe the 200 IM. There is the Mixed Medley Relay that day too, we shall see!

The last meet I swam was in 2012 when I was living in Hattiesburg. Here is a link to the post I wrote back then about the meet: Living The Tri Life - Hitting The Red Line.

Short post. Later gators!!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tri Race Recap 2015

What a year...

Bunch of adventures this year. I had a pretty decent triathlon season. Seemed like a lot of 5th overall finishes. Here is a brief recap:

April - WikiWiki Man. 12th Overall Female, 1st AG. Totally sub-par performance in my first race of the season. I had a really bad upper respiratory infection and my training had been pretty pathetic. Even though the doc didn't test for it, I'm pretty sure it was walking pneumonia (Bill had it.) Oh well, brush it off and move on.

Wiki Wiki!

June - Indian Creek Tri. 5th Overall Female, 1st Grandmasters. Felt better at this race, it was supposed to be a trail run, but there had been so much rain in the days leading up to the race that it was changed back to the same run as prior years. Had a really good swim, 4th fastest female swim!

August - River Cities Tri. 11th Overall Female, 1st Grandmasters. My all time favorite race. Exactly the same overall place as the year before... This was the 35th anniversary for RC, and Dave Scott was in town for the race. I went to his clinic on Friday morning - all kinds of great information. One of the best parts for me was the swim portion of the clinic where I found out that what I teach/preach was pretty spot on with what he told us. Great little core session where I knew/discovered how out of shape I am in that respect. All of us that participated were sore for the race in our glutes, hamstrings, and abs, probably didn't hurt my race, but it may have.

River Cities.

August - Lake DeGray Tri. 5th Overall Female, 1st Masters. Talk about hilly! Bill and I went up for this race, brought the kayak. Bill cruised in the water during the swim and even helped out a couple swimmers that needed a little break. I had the 3rd fastest women's swim split, only being beat by a couple teenagers who were swimmers! Only two  men beat my swim time, too. During the summer months I swam with the COSST Varsity kids - it made a nice difference in my swim. The bike course was super hilly, and the run started up a hill. Definitely the most challenging course that I've done in a long time, maybe ever.

Uphill start, downhill finish at DeGray Lake.

September - Rose City Tri. 5th Overall Female, 1st Masters. My second time to do this race, it was good to know the bike course a little better than last year. Lots of quick up and downhills, and turns out of the hills. Decent race, nothing spectacular. My run wasn't anywhere near what I did last year. I could tell that this entire season just didn't have the snap as last year when I was prepping for Worlds. That's okay, I think this next year will be better. The best part of this race was that it is in Tyler, TX. Home of Cobb Cycling, and the Cobb Mobb. Lots of teammates out for this one, it makes a race so much better when you get to see people you know all over the course. We were out in force!

*So one funny thing that happened at this race... I was goofing around in the water before my wave started. Leaped up like a dolphin and lost my goggles... my wave started in just a couple minutes. Debated for a moment about just swimming without them, and then thought better of that. Raced out of the water, sprinted to my transition bag where I keep a spare pair of goggles (I always have one smoke pair, and one clear pair in my bag to use depending on the weather. Cloudy - clear. Sunny - smoke). People got out of the way quickly as I blew by them to my bag. So... tip of the post - keep spare goggles, just in case, in your transition bag. And put it at the edge of the transition area so you can access it even after the race has started!)

Bill captured this picture - the move that lost my goggles!

Cobb Mobb out in force at Rose City!

I had one more race scheduled for September, the Meat Pie Tri. Last year was the fiasco of not making a turn on the bike course, getting a flat, and having to hitch back to transition. I was hoping for a redemption race but something major came up.

Big time major. We moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the end of September. It's been quite a new transition. So far things are going okay. I joined the Druid City Bike Club and have been on a few of their rides. For the most part there are some nice people in the group, and I've been lucky enough to meet the "core" group, who are welcoming and friendly. I would like to get a new road bike, it is so hilly here!
First ride with the DRBC.

I've been swimming at the University, they have an amazing pool. I met one of the Masters Swim Coaches, Ed Reed. He's been really nice, and I've even done a few workouts with him when he happened to be at the pool at the same time. I'm going to join the Crimson Tide Masters, as a matter of fact, I'm going to my first practice with them tomorrow morning.

Started working at the local run specialty store, Wagner's RunWalk a couple weeks ago. It's a lot smaller than Sportspectrum, but the other employees have been really great, and it's good to continue working in this field. I really love helping the runners that come in for shoes. I do have to say, the training that I got working at Sportspectrum has made this transition really easy.

Ran a local Turkey Trot earlier in the month. Wagner's puts on 2 mile race in the same shopping center where the store is located. I won the women's division. Went out a too hard with the first mile at a 7:20, but managed to hold on for the win. That was definitely a fun way to start off the racing scene here. Your entry also paid for your annual Tuscaloosa Track Club membership - bonus!

1st Overall Female!

I've already signed up for 5 triathlons for next year! Need that carrot of motivation to keep me honest over the winter. Here is my 2016 Schedule so far:

May 7 - Lake Guntersville, Guntersville, AL. 
May 21 - Mountain Lakes Tri, Guntersville, AL.
June 11 - Buster Britton Tri, Pelham, AL.
July 9 - Sunfish Tri, Meridian, MS.
July 16 - Capital of Dreams Tri, Montgomery AL.
July 24 - Music City Tri, Nashville TN.
August 7 - River Cities Tri, Shreveport, AL.

Maybe I will see some of you at these new (for me) races! 

Prelim on USAT Rankings Triathlon 2015:
National:  132 / 1347 in AG. All American - just snuck into the bracket!  
Regional:  9th / 143 in AG. 
State:        2nd / 19 in AG. 

National:  20th / 103 in AG.
Regional:  2nd / 7 in AG.
State:        1st / 3 in AG.

Moving into a new age group next year,  55-59 - sheesh, I'm getting old!! 

Here are a few photos from the season!

Cobb Mobb Girls at Rose City.

Rose City coming into T2.

Rose City run start.

DeGray Lake run finish.

DeGray Lake bike finish.

DeGray Lake swim.

WikiWiki Cobb Mobb Goofy Pic!

River Cities. That's all folks!