Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wiki Wiki Man

Ugh Wiki Wiki Man....

I got sick back in February and missed a ton of workouts. It wasn't flu, it wasn't strep, but my husband came down with walking pneumonia about 3 weeks after I got sick. Our doc didn't test me for that but I have been coughing for over 2 months now.

I almost bailed on the race this weekend.

Bogey, our younger Golden had surgery on Thursday to remove a mass from his left front leg. When the doc did the initial aspiration he said there were all kinds of cells in there, some of which looked like mast cells. I wasn't sure if I wanted to leave him, but he's bounced back like he didn't have anything done. Now we just have to wait for the results from pathology.

My being sick and then The Bogue's surgery. It was a last minute decision to go race. And as it turns out, not a great one at that.

66 degree water, so I took the full sleeve wetsuit. No issues in warm up - they gave us a few minutes between the time the last wave of the Olympic distance race went off and ours to get in the water. I swam 4 times since February, so I took the swim easy. It wasn't a great feeling seeing so many pink caps out in front of me in the water. I swam really easy so I wouldn't have one of my wetsuit panic attacks.

This is the race that I did last year that has an Olympic distance bike even for the Sprint race. Last year a storm came in and the wind was horrible, today was much better with just about an 8 mile South wind, which meant the last 4 miles were tailwind. 20.47 mph average.

Got off the bike to run and felt like I was walking. I remember even groaning out loud as I climbed the first hill. 24:04 was my split - if the distance was right that is a 7:45 pace. I'll bet it was short because I sure didn't feel like I was running that fast.

Managed to pull of a first in my age group. Completely out of the Masters category. 7th overall female for the Age Group race. Even though it sounds pretty good, it was really a pretty bad race.

The Cobb Mobb was out in force. Everyone that raced this morning placed!

By far the best part of today was seeing so many people from Dallas! Susie and her husband used to be my clients when I worked at the North Dallas Athletic Club. I ran with her when she was trying to qualify for the 100th Boston. (And yes, she did qualify!) One of the things we talked about was the bombing at Boston. She said when she was listening to the news the time that the bomb went off sounded familiar, and she checked her time from when she ran it.... exactly the same. Scary. 

Got to catch up with Ann and Stephanie too. The only time I ever see these girls is at a few races each year. It was nice to have a chance to visit with them.

I also got to see Amanda Melo, she was the Massage Therapist at the North Dallas Athletic Club when I first started working there back in 1992. I hadn't seen her in years either. Wish I had snapped a picture with her too. 

I have the Tri Tyler Sprint in two weeks...... better get busy with the training.....

Monday, March 9, 2015

Relentless Responsibility

I belong to a group on Facebook for Swim Coaches. Can't even begin to tell you how many great ideas we use from things that the coaches on this page post. Hallie and I are always talking about what we've read and how we can incorporate it into our JV workouts.

The other day a coach posted a short article that he wrote about swimmers and their responsibility in the pool. How they need to own it. Not too long ago we had a parent complain that it was our fault that her daughter did a flip turn in an IM on back to breast in her event in a meet. Do we teach that? Of course not, did the swimmer know that she isn't supposed to do a flip turn there? Yes, she did. But the mom felt it was our fault, not her daughters. So whose responsibility is it? Is it the Coach's or the Swimmer's?

I asked Coach Berry Schipper if I could publish his article on my blog and he graciously said yes. I think it is spot on, and worth sharing. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Here is what he had to say about swimmers and their responsibility:

"What swimmers need to understand is that a coach needs to divide his/her attention, focus and –mostly- energy over an X amount of swimmers. The swimmer only needs to invest all this in one swimmer: in him or herself. No matter how good and engaged the coach, it simply doesn't match up.

So motivation and accountability can eventually not come from the coach, it has to grow from inside of the swimmer self.

In order for a coach to help in that process of the swimmer owning responsibility, there needs to be enough distance between the coach and the swimmer. It is why I insist my swimmers not call me by my first name. When we’re at the pool I am not your buddy, I am your coach.
In my years of coaching I have met young swimmers that I would easily take in our home and treat as family. But when we enter the pool there is nothing of that left: I tell you what to do and you do it, and I am not interested in reasons why you can’t.

Yes, if your shoulder hurts, or you feel dizzy, I need to know. But I do not want to hear (other) reasons why you can’t train hard, why times aren't met. Because that way the swimmer is putting the end responsibility in the coaches hands. And the coach simply can not carry the end responsibility of an X amount of swimmers in the same way a swimmer can do (or could possibly do) this for her/himself. The math is quite simple.

I heard Phelps say in an interview ‘he swims for Bowman.’ I disagree with that. You don’t swim for your coach or your club, you don’t even swim for your country and you definitely don’t swim for your parents. You swim for you.

Because this is the only path that can lead to relentless responsibility, or what Rasmus Ankersen called ‘ruthless accountability.’  You are responsible for your swimming, for giving everything you've got on an insane amount of occasions. You are responsible for not taking an easy way out, over and over again. Otherwise you will fail in reaching your end goal.
In the end those numbers are exactly the same: the swimmer only has one swimmer who can fail: you. The coach has new opportunities with every new swimmer that walks in.

Sounds mean and detached? No. Sounds like reality.

So what does this mean for the development of a swimmer?

One rule only: no external excuses. Never.

The pool is too cold, there is noise from other lanes, the set is just too hard, etc. You have to shut these thoughts down. It will take you away from reaching relentless responsibility. Do not expect a short cut to your goal, do not think you will not have rough times where nothing seems to work. Do not think there is anything that can take the place of unbelievable hard work on an endless amount of small details.

But rather see the training, see the hard work as a given. It is there as the baseline of your thought process. You build your life around that given: training is there, how do I accommodate?

And the coach? He or she is there to help you become ruthless. Ruthless to yourself and the rest of the squad. Nice swimmers don’t win races, nice coaches don’t make champions."

Berry Schipper has been coaching for 15 years, he has worked with swimmers in The Netherlands, Cambodia, China and currently is in Namibia. He and his wife lead a nomad lifestyle as his wife works for UNICEF. He usually works as a technique coach with age groupers and triathletes.  "I'm actually an Iron Man finisher (Amsterdam/Almere in 2010) as well. Not too shabby for a 6'8"giant!
-Berry Schipper

Friday, February 13, 2015

Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon 2015 - Déjà Vu.

Another "Way Past Due" post. Get with it girl!

Sportspectrum and Shreveport were once again hosts to the USAT South Midwest Duathlon Championship. The race was Sunday, February 4th in Downtown Shreveport. The forecast called for rain and so the race organizers moved the transition area under Festival Plaza!

I've never had a race set up under cover, and it was great! Fortunately the rain held off and we had a relatively dry race. But just as the awards finished and the crew started breaking down the bike racks the sky opened up and it poured! Bet they were very happy at this point to have moved transition so that they didn't have to get soaked loading up everything.

I wasn't expecting a stellar race, since I haven't been on the bike much. The run should be okay though.

Lots of teammates out for this race! The Sunrise Triathlon Club, The Cobb Mobb, and Team Cambridge all in attendance! I'll tell you what, I've never heard more "Go Ginger!" in my life, that was a lot of team support, it was very cool!

Held back as usual on the first 2 mile run, Garmin had it a tad over 2 miles and my pace was 7:16.  I'm pretty sure I was about 6th at the end of the first run.

ICEdot Band Sighting!!!! 

We had a south wind for the bike and it was a double out and back with each loop being 8+ miles, I averaged 19.8 - was trying to get it to 20 but I eased up a little just before coming into T2.

Here is the Déjà Vu part.....
I think I passed 3 girls on the bike, and headed out onto the run in 3rd or 4th, but then...... da da.... da da.... da da da da da da.... (jaws music insert) made the turn at the half way point and low and behold all three of the girls were right there.... can I hold them off? NO. Dang it. Passed by all three. Rats. Ended up finishing 6th overall female and won the Grand Masters. One of the girls who passed me was over 40 and took the Masters. Looked her up, big time Duathlete, Worlds and all that, very fast! (bet she can't swim.. heh, heh!).

Was really hoping to hang onto that 3rd place. Rachel and Denise were running 1st and 2nd and I thought it would be cool to have all 3 of us taking the top 3 spots. That thought exited my mind when the 3 women passed me. Dang it.

Have to say I'm pretty happy with my race, better times in all 3 segments than last year. I'll take that!

Rachel, Denise, and me!
Team Cambridge!!

The Cobb Mobb!

My Sunrise peeps brought me this!

And a fried of mine picked this up for me at the Regional Banquet
the night before the race! I finished 2nd in my AG in the region! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Trail Run

It says The Monkey Trails, but Chimp Haven which is where this event is held will be quick to inform you that Chimpanzees are NOT monkeys. Then I was told that the trail was named first. Then I was told that it was named that because the haven was coming. Nevertheless, what a great event!!

I have only done one trail race before, in Hattiesburg. The Tuffburg 5K Trail Run. That was the one where I broke my finger when I fell. Thank goodness nothing like that happened Sunday.

It rained all day long on Thursday, and drizzled some on Friday morning. It was going to be a hot mess on the trail. Chilly temperatures, that's a good thing. The 10 mile run started first, and those of us doing the 3.5 miler started 5 minutes back. Next year they are going to give it 15 minutes. Within the first mile we were catching the back of the pack of the 10 mile runners. It was single track and very technical with lots of punchy ups and downs and switchbacks. It made trying to pass people very difficult. Added to the difficulty were the runners wearing headphones and listening to their (quite loud?) music. Really? You're running in nature in the woods and you can't leave your music at home? More than once I had to physically touch the person I had caught so they would know someone was trying to pass them. I was calling out On Your Left (or Right) and some of them couldn't hear me. And it's not like I was leading the group, so  numerous others had to have already passed them.

Race Tip: If you are going to do a trail run on single track leave your headphones and music at home. Or at least... wear ONE earbud so you know what is going on around you. Please.

The trail was really challenging. I ran my guts out and it was a 10 minute pace. Way to make you feel like you're out of shape! I should have worn a heart rate monitor to see what max I hit. There was a lot of slippery sections, I ran on the leaves and moss to the sides of the trail a lot to try and avoid the mud. I'm sure it slowed me down but I just didn't want to slip. Towards the very end there was one little place where you had to get your feet wet, but I leapt over it and only got a tiny bit of water in my shoe.

Two girls finished ahead of me, one was 18 and the other was my friend, Denise, who is 27. I passed two guys who were ahead of me at the beginning of the race. So I placed 3rd Overall Female and 5th Overall!!

Volunteered after the race to help out, went to where the 10 milers were finishing and were having some confusion about where to go. So I cheered them on and directed them to the finish line. Told one group of 3 to just stay between the little flags and veer to the left and up to the finish. One guy had his EARBUDS in and said "What?"........ grrrrrrrrr......

Never to disappoint, Sportspectrum put on a great event! The shirts are really cool! 

And the awards are my personal favorite, the sweatshirt blankets!!!

Clark's Tailgate Catering was out grilling up hamburgers! Clark is the same guy who runs Running Dog Sportswear, he is the one who printed my Team USA uniform!

After I got home from the race I was looking on Facebook and I saw this post on Reshareworthy. It was about Chimp Haven!  More than 100 government-owned chimpanzees from research laboratories have started a new life at Chimp Haven sanctuary in Louisiana. Hope you take a minute to watch the video, I pretty much guarantee that it will touch your heart to see these guys get to experience freedom for the first time in their lives. How ironic it was that it was posted the same day where I had just been? Meant to be.

This morning when I woke up I realized I AM SORE! Like, REALLY sore! Mostly hip flexors from lifting my knees to make it up the sharp inclines, and calves and glutes have jumped on the pain wagon too. It's getting worse as the day goes on. I spun on the bike for a while this afternoon and did some stretching to see if that would help.... nope.

Next Up:
Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon is next weekend! The Cobb Mobb has made it an early season team event! And Team Cambridge has it as one of it's team events too! Get to see a bunch of teammates at the race!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dustbuster Duathlon and Some Other Good News

Wow.. I've been super lazy/bad about blogging....

Partially because not a whole lot has been going on, but.... mostly laziness.

Sportspectrum's annual Dustbuster Duathlon was a week or so ago and true to form it was stinkin' cold out there! But what do you expect from a race that's held in early January, right? Last year a front blew in as we were waiting for the race to start, we had wind, and rain, and freezing temperatures. This year no rain (thank goodness) but it was in the low 40's and we had a north wind at about 18 mph. Last year's Race Report.

Warm Up Run
Long, long ago when I did a couple duathlons one season (back then they were still called biathlons - that tells you just how long ago it was), I was given some really good advice. "Don't take the first run out too hard!" If you do you will pay dearly on the second run. So that's what I did, held back and watched 4 girls run away from me. It's tough and you have to remain calm and "hope" that you'll catch them on the bike. Ran the first 1.5 miles at at 7:26 pace (last year 7:45 pace). Caught two girls in transition and then passed the third just after we got on the bike.

The bike course was two out and back loops of 4 miles each so half of our ride was directly into the north wind... ah... but that means that the other half was with an amazing tail wind!! Averaged 18.8 or so, but maxed at 28.5 mph, not bad considering that I haven't been on the bike hardly at all (last year my average was 17.3 - bleh horrible).

Run 2 was another out and back but into the wind for the first half. Some kids had fun the night before on the grass with their ATVs and made a mess out of a little section of the run, making the path muddy, and dirty, and slippery - had to watch your footing over that little part. Averaged 7:55 by my Garmin on the second run - 12:09, course is a tad long so online results show it a little slower (last year 12:28 - but had extremely frozen feet from them being wet). My goal was to have my two run splits about with no more than :30 seconds per mile pace difference. Came pretty close. Looking over the results I can see a lot of people who either took out the first run too hard, weren't prepared for the bike (lack of winter training?), or went too hard on the bike. Many of the run comparisons were over a minute difference in pace per mile.

1st and 2nd Overall Females
COBB MOBB and Sunrise Tri Club!
All in all had what I consider a pretty decent race, bettered times from last year and won female overall. The award for this race is kind of quirky-cool. A real Dustbuster! The age group winners got fleece blankets (I wanted a blanket, and Matt Brown from Sportspectrum was nice enough to let me have one the next day at the store! - Thank you Matt Brown!!!)

Long, long ago I won overall female once before at a duathlon. It was the Strutters Duathlon 5K/30K/5K in San Angelo, TX. I dug around and found this online! 1991 - 23 years ago - I was 30!

Race Hints:
I put hand warmers under my toe covers to keep my feet warmer, this especially helps for the second run. Getting off the bike and having blocks of ice for feet makes for a very uncomfortable second run. I had a thought day before yesterday about my hands. I was in the car with  my husband and we were talking about the heated steering wheel on his Jeep. I mentioned how it would be neat to have heated handlebars. A friend of mine in North Carolina posted a picture on FB the other day of the 4 layers of clothing he used for a ride, it included 3 pair of gloves.

So... what about this idea - taping a couple hand warmers to the inside of your aerobars up toward the shifters?? I'm going to give it a try!! When I did the TriTyler triathlon last year I suffered some minor frostbite on a couple fingers of my left hand from the temperatures, this little hand-warmer trick may just work! I think it will also be good for winter rides. I put hand-warmers in my gloves but it's my fingers that really get uncomfortable.

The other good news:
Won the Sunrise Triathlon Club Female Athlete of the Year!
Picked up for a second year by the Cobb Mobb Triathlon Team, and chosen to be a Captain!
Made USAT All American again!
Serving as Director of Publicity and Public Relations for The Sunrise Triathlon Club!

2015 Sunrise Tri Club Officers
Next up - Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon! Last year's Race Report. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Favorite Things

It's been a while since I've done a Favorite Things post. And I've got some new favs to share!


Finis Instinct Sculling Paddles - I filled out a survey from Finis earlier this year and for doing so was sent these paddles. I had them for a while before I tried them out and when I did felt like and idiot for having waited so long. These are small hand paddles that cover only a small part of your palm and your fingers. There is a hole for you thumb and you should resist trying to "hang on to them", don't wrap your fingers around them trying to keep them on. They are held on by the pressure of the water. They will point out where you lose tension on the water immediately. Drop your elbow, they will flip right off your hand. They will help you get into an Early Vertical Forearm position. I love that you can use them for all strokes too. What I found is that I have my best grip on the water in breaststroke.

*A side note about regular hand paddles in general - I use them occasionally. And I've removed the wrist strap entirely, I've done this for years. In some ways it mimics the Instinct Paddles by not being able to rely on a strap to keep them on your hands. 

Nike Remora Fem Goggles - I read about these goggles in one of the swim magazines I get and went looking for them immediately. They're designed with "Soft Seal" technology, the gasket around your eyes is made of soft foam. The foam is hypoallergenic and non-toxic. It is much softer than the silicone gasket which you'll find on most goggles. I love these goggles!! I still get the goggle lines around my eyes but it's not as bad and goes away quicker than with my Vanquishers.

What I don't like about them is the strap, to me it looks cheap and who uses white straps on any goggles, and it's really stretchy? I changed mine out to a goggle bungee and that's way better.

Dolfin Chloroban® Swimsuit - I recently got one of these and so far I love it. Team Cambridge Triathlon Racing sent me one in solid red with white stripes that I had used some but I really prefer a print unless my suit is black or navy. So I found this one online and on sale so I grabbed it! I found mine on Sierra Trading Post for a great price!

I was using the Dolphin Uglies suits which I still really like but this fabric holds up a lot longer. The Uglies are really fun prints but they stretch out pretty quick, the prices on them are great and so I still get them. You can usually find them on sale when the new prints are coming out.


ICEdot Crash Sensor - This tiny yellow sensor attaches to your helmet and you pair it with your phone. It detects when there is an impact and triggers the app on your phone. A countdown timer starts and if it's not deactivated then the App notifies emergency contacts and even gives them a GPS location. I have one on my helmet, I hope I'm never in a situation where I will need it but it's good to know that I won't be laying in a ditch somewhere passed out and no one knows where I am. It hasn't been around long but take a look at the Reviews that it's getting!!

And speaking of that, something that I always do with the people that I ride with consistently. We exchange our spouses phone numbers and save them in our phones. Another situation that I hope never to be in, but what if you're riding with your friends and someone crashes bad enough that they can't continue or is unconscious. How are you going to get their "in case of emergency" person's number if their phone is locked? I don't know about you but I'd like it if I was in that situation for them to call Bill. Just a thought.

eFuel - I've used eGels by Crank Sports for ever, but until this year I'd never tried the eFuel. AWESOME!! This hydration product has it all. It has "double the complex carbohydrates, half the sugars and NO artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors." I could ramble on and on about it but instead I will say go to the link and read about it. My personal favorite flavor is the Tropical Punch. I like that it's not sickeningly sweet and it works.

I've used Cytomax and Heed in the past - stopped using Heed when I realized that the second ingredient in it is Xylitol, I've read too many bad things about it. Would never use any thing else anymore. And while you're on the Crank Sports page you should take a look at the eGels too.

Planet Bike Superflash - This was in my original favorite things post but I'm going to include it again just because it is so important to me to use a flashy light on your bike when you ride. And now with the winter coming on, it's even more important. Foggy rides or low light overcast days make it even harder for the cars to see us on the road. This light used to be touted as the brightest light on the planet, I don't see that anymore on the page but I've compared it to the ones that my friends use when they ride and it is much brighter. Visibility up to a mile. It's like defensive cycling. Be Safe Be Seen! Get a light!


Hoka One One Running Shoes - These shoes have saved my knees, period! Honestly I don't know what I would do if I didn't have my Hokas! They were designed by ultra runners and they have amazing amounts of cushioning. Some people refer to them as clown shoes because they have a built up sole. If you have any issues with knee pain and run in a neutral shoe you should go and check them out. I have two pair that I alternate and love both of them. Right now I have the Bondi and the Stinson (now replaced with the Stinson Lite). I think I'm going to get a pair of their racing shoes next. The Huaka!!
I don't have to kinesio tape my knees anymore with these shoes! Life is good!

That's pretty much it for new things, I hope you enjoy reading about them!

P.S. One of my readers and ICEdot Teammate was in a bad accident a few days ago, he was hit by a car while running. This is what he posted on his page:

"I should not be here, the guy was cutting corner through a restaurant parking lot to avoid the lighted intersection , he hit me dead center of his tundra . I had enough time to put arm up and jump while running . I flew up ten feet and spun into the bushes. I have several broken parts including my arm."

Please keep him in your thoughts as he heals! Get well soon!! Be careful out there everyone!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Running Season!!

Cool weather = awesome running!

The temperatures up north are already cold and sometimes miserable but here in the South we are just getting into the best time of the year to run! I have friends that live up North and say that they love to run in the heat. But do it for days and days on end in the summer here and you feel like you're melting. And don't get me started on the combined heat and humidity.

I did my first 5K of the season a couple weeks ago - The Great Pumpkin Run!! This race is put on by the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center and raises money for cancer research, a great cause! My second year to run this race. They do a really cool long sleeve t-shirt. This year it looked like this:

This year I placed 2nd Overall Female! Was really 4th if you count the two 13 year old girls who beat me, they have their own "Kids" catagory. One of the girls was a swimmer with COSST Varsity! I love it when I see our swimmers at the races. There were several other swimmers that I saw that morning too!

Jenna from COSST - 2nd Overall Kid's Division! She ran
a 21:22 - 6:54 pace!

I had a good race, tried to go out easier and negative split the run but failed, got too caught up at the beginning. It's hard when you see other women blasting off the line. Two came by right away, I caught both of them. Mile splits were 7:11, 7:19, 7:19. For a 22:20 and a 7:13 average. Last year it was cooler temperature, I went 22:32 for a 7:16 average. 

Nice shirts, nice age group award medals, and I won this for being "Runner Up". Yay!  

Haven't picked my next race - need to look at the calendar. Going back to work at the Sportspectrum next week! Time to sell some running shoes!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hub City Hustle Triathlon Resurrected!

I've been negligent about posting about my last triathlon of the season, The Hub City Hustle. This race was my friend, Denise Joplin's first foray into race directing, and she did a really nice job. It was held on the same course as the old Mighty Magnolia Tri. The guy who used to put that race on decided not to do it anymore so Denise stepped up and took over the challenge. Long ago there was a race in Hattiesburg called the Hub City Hustle, I always wanted to go back and race it. It was held in the Canebrake Subdivision but once the neighborhood got developed and had too many homes it was moved.

I was in redemption race mode because of my fiasco at Meat Pie and wanted to do well. I drove down the day before, went by Belk to see the team there. Bill used to manage that store and I spent a lot of time with the staff there working on merchandising and helping out when Bill needed me. It was so great to see them all! 

Race Shirt!!
Then I drove out to the race site to pick up my packet, we were going to get our chips and swim caps in the morning.... There was going to be a *little surprise with the caps, I'll get to that later.  Passed out some race packets and then put the numbers on the bike racks. Got a volunteer t-shirt for helping!  Cool green shirt with the race logo.

Stopped by Corner Market grocery and grabbed some sushi (and saw that they carry Eternal Water - why can't we get it in Shreveport?) and went to the hotel to relax. I stayed at a Microtel by Windham... it didn't occur to me until I unlocked the door about the name of the hotel... Micro. The room was tiny, it felt like a European hotel, but it was perfect size for me! 

Race Morning:  
Drove out to the race, plenty of time in advance, as usual. Race announced that it was going to be wetsuit legal. Hmmm... should I or shouldn't I? I went ahead and opted to wear it since there was money on the line for the first 3 males and females. Rode the run course with Brinn and could tell that my legs were a little flat from the long drive down the day before. Whenever you have a long drive to a race it's a good idea to get in a spin on the bike or an easy jog after you arrive. I did neither, and I forgot to wear my compression socks for the drive. After the ride Brinn, Elizabeth, and I did an easy run out toward the finish of the run. Measured out a half mile and gave the girls some landmarks. Did a few pick ups on the way in and then finished getting ready for the race. 

Warmed up with Brinn as we swam across the lake to the start. The race has a point to point swim in a crescent shape along the shoreline. We did a few sprints on the swim on the way over. I typically do 20 strokes hard (about the distance of 25 yards). In masters swim, Kyle has us do 75's a day or two out from a race. He times each 25 and they go like this - first 25 like you would go at the start of the race, and then a 50 at race pace (settle in). So we did a few of these instead.

Denise offered an amateur/elite swim wave at the race so we could choose to go head to head with our competition instead of the time trial start that is typical at this race and how the rest of the age groupers would start. I decided to go ahead and go off in this wave. I kept my mind calm and didn't have any wetsuit issues. The best thing for me is to just not think about it. What I usually do is get it in my head that I'm going to have a panic and then it consumes my thoughts and gets me freaked. Sometimes singing a song in my head will help. Just before the start I said something out loud about needing a song and one guy said "Or you can always fall back on Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming." Used that one and it worked. Came out of the water just behind Brinn, I saw her hitting the beach. Stephanie was way up there ahead of both of us. 4th fastest female swim. 8:15.

*I forgot completely to talk about the swim caps!! So, from what I understand the logo caps that were ordered for the race arrived, but in kid's size!! So thinking last minute instead of just ordering a bunch of plain swim caps Denise thought outside the box and ordered a bunch of "Grab Bag Caps"! These would be the extra caps printed for a custom order by other teams or companies. We got to grab what cap we wanted and they were all different! I grabbed this one, because I love to swim butterfly!! I think it is a great idea and apparently I wasn't the only one. The Grab Bag Caps were a big hit! Love this idea! Good work, Denise!!

No issues in transition. Onto the bike where I quickly made up some ground and passed 2 girls who were ahead of me coming out of the swim.  

Our friend, Geneva!!! Miss you!
One of the people that I went to Belk specifically to see was our friend, Geneva! And when I told her that I was racing and showed her the course she said that it went really close by her house. She said that she and her girls would come out and cheer for me on the bike course! I saw them and waved like a happy child!!

I never felt like I really had the bike speed that I had earlier in the year, and I've pretty much come to the conclusion that it is because I hadn't been able to ride with the fast triathletes on Saturday's. I'm telling you, riding with them really helped my speed. 50-70 miles at 21+ will do that. *Note to self - ride long with the fast folks next year. Bike average, 20.6 - better than last year but rather pathetic.

Zipped into transition and had some fumbling putting on my running shoes. I use the Saucony Kinvara for my racing shoes. It's not a true racing flat, but I feel that I still want a little cushion for my knees. The downside of these is that they are kind of flimsy around the tongue and heel so they are hard to get on. Tri running shoes have the same little loop at the back of them like tri cycling shoes and I've had thoughts of sewing a loop of some kind on the back of them to make them easier to pull on. Oh, and putting some glide in the back to keep from rubbing makes them that much harder to grab. I heard Kyle (our Masters Swim Coach and Denise's husband) say, "hurry Ginger". Like I'm not tying to hurry....

Running out of transition I hear Kyle again on the loud speaker. "Stephanie is about 10 minutes ahead." - like I could catch her - hahaha!  If you knew him you'd know that he has a really dry sense of humor, this was his attempt at being funny. And then he said, "First Old Lady", another humorous comment. I thought it was pretty funny. I know that he is just joking and realizes that I may be old but I'm still pretty fast. Oh, and a volunteer said "second female". Now this was some good information! Was hoping for a top 3 finish and this was good news!

I decided to race "old school" which for me meant no watch and was trying the no hat also. Voting for the no hat? Nope, going back to the hat. My sunglasses were moving all over the place, I usually adjust the earpieces to be on the hat and it keeps them in place better. Learned that lesson. As far as the watch, no big deal because when I'm running hard I can't really see the numbers anyway to see my pace. I just ran hard, but it felt slow and mushy. I felt like I was running in slow motion on some of the punchy little hills on the course. I was surprised to see the results that said I averaged 7:33 miles. I didn't mind not wearing a watch, the only thing I missed was being able to look at the data afterwards. I find that I can learn a lot about what went right and wrong by seeing the numbers - especially the run splits. 

Now... since we all went first in a wave and the rest of the competitors went time trial style going every 5 seconds apart there was no way to know how you did until the last person is finished. And that is almost exactly what happened. Brinn and I went out onto the run course to cool down and cheer on the people finishing and we saw a girl that she told me had been her nemesis. She had registered the day before and I believe went off last. 

Cobb Mobb! Brinn and I after the race!

I placed 2nd overall by just 3 SECONDS! It was Brinn's nemesis that placed 3rd. We were really hoping to both be in the top 3. A little disappointing. And if you chose to race in the elite/amateur wave you weren't eligible for age group awards. (See my posting on Rose City where I discuss this policy.) 

Awards and Friends:
I got to see so many great people from Hattiesburg! Lots of friends turn out for this race. But there were a bunch missing too that I was looking forward to seeing. :(  Geneva showed up at the finish area with her girls, Alison and Stephi, so I got to see them all again!! 

Geneva's girls!!

Really cool awards that were custom made for the race, lucite and wood looking like a crank set! And a nice race logo etched pint glass... AND a check for $200 for coming in 2nd Overall Female. It almost paid for my travel (hotel and petrol)! 

Top 3 Females!

All in all a great trip! Getting to support my friend Denise at her venture into race directing - a good thing! Seeing old friends - bonus! 



My girls at Clinique and Connie!