Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

This has been quite a year!  Moving from Sunset Beach in North Carolina and leaving some of the best people that I've ever met.  I miss the friends that I made in Fayetteville and Sunset Beach.  They all treated me like I'd known them for years and years and I consider them some of the best friends I have.

I thought that moving to Hattiesburg was going to be tough but I was lucky enough to know one of the local triathletes here.  And through him met Deanna and then Judy and Lesley.  It's been years since I've had a group of girls that I could train with and better yet ones that I am happy and proud to call my friends.

Finished out the year this morning with my friends racing the Steamwhistle 12K on the Longleaf Trace.  A great way to end 2011!   We spent the rest of the morning planning out our 2012 race season! 

I have had a great year and I have my North Carolina and Mississippi friends to thank for it!

See you next year!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mother Hen Syndrome

I've been told that I'm like a Mother Hen by my training partners.  Should I be offended by this reputation?? 

Usually I find that I've been riding and racing longer than all of the people that I train with combined and just like to feed them tidbits of information that I think will help them get better.  Or at least be more efficient??  Is this a bad thing?? 

I think for the most part the info that I pass along falls on deaf ears.  I notice the silent eye communication between them and the under the breath giggles.  I can't tell if they're serious or joking.  I have thin skin and sometimes it hurts my feelings.

Maybe I should just stop.  I honestly feel that what I've learned over the years can help so many others but maybe I should just worry about myself.  Maybe this will be my New Year's Resolution. 

What do you think??

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cold Weather Cycling

Rode last Saturday and Sunday and the temperatures were in the 40's on both days.  Overcast with a little wind too.  It was cold and damp with the humidity up a little bit on both days.  UN-perfect cycling weather!

Saturday we rode at 8:30am and the sun made an appearance a couple times.  I wore thin cycling tights over my shorts, a long sleeve thermal jersey, my Pearl Izumi wind vest, heavy duty windproof cycling gloves, toe covers and a light fleece beannie.  I was pretty comfortable even though it was chilly.  My friend Judy had on her Pearl Gavia jacket (ironically the EXACT same one that I have), tights and booties.  Her husband Sam even wore a balaclava.  Interesting how differently we dress for the cold.  Sam had run 10 miles that morning and didn't get a chance to warm back up after - so the balaclava was understandable. 

Sunday we rode at 1:30 and the "real feel" temperature was 42 at the ride start and about 46 by the time I finished but this day I felt like a human popcicle by the time I got home.  I wore my Pearl Thema Fleece tights over cycling shorts, a Craft wind proof undershirt and , my Pearl Izumi Gavia jacket.  Full neoprene booties, the heavy gloves, an ear band and my helmet liner.  So I was dressed considerably warmer and I still froze.  I should have had another layer and some glove liners.  (Oh... I did start out with some of those little "hot hands" in my gloves but when my friend Deanna showed up for the ride she didn't have any toe covers or booties or even full fingered gloves.  I thought she was going to really be miserable so  I gave her my hot hands to stuff into the toes of her shoes!)

I think I need to put together a little spread sheet on how I dressed with what weather conditions. Geeky??  Because for some reason at the beginning of cold weather season I don't seem to remember what I wore the year before to keep warm.  I'll chalk that on up to old age. 

There is a nice little tool on the Runner's World site called "What Should I Wear?" that I use all the time for running.  You plug in the temperature, wind, conditions and 'How you like to feel' and it comes up with typically the perfect amount of clothing to keep you comfortable.

Okay... so now I feel like a total goof!  I went searching for the little picture chart that I've seen before that shows what to wear for cycling and came across this in my search!  Voila! 
"What Should I Wear" on the Bicycling website!! 

Here are a couple more charts that I came across in my search.  I like the last column on the first chart.  Pretty funny.

On another note one time in North Carolina I was riding with my friends Jen and Pat in sub 40 degree weather - we just couldn't resist getting out there when we all had the day off from work.  It was damp and we were pretty miserable.  We went on a route that takes us past several really bad dogs - one is especially aggressive and chases us almost every time.  This time we saw him and he had on one of those dog jackets.  He didn't chase us but ran really fast to his home on the other side of the street and off towards his house.  I told my friends that I thought it was because he was caught outside in his house coat and was really embarrassed so he hauled his buns home!  

"I hate this color on me."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tuffburg 5K Trail Run

Yesterday I raced the Tuffburg 5K Trail Run!  HUB City VELO, our local bike club put on this race. Raland and Matt and the others did a great job with the race.  The course was on the mountain bike trails located just off the Longleaf Trace here in Hattiesburg.  The proceeds from the race go to maintaining these awesome trails!!!  HUB City VELO is the cycling group that I ride with and I wanted to go out and support the bike club's event. 

A couple days before the race my left SI joint locked up and I had some serious sciatic pain all the way down my leg into my calf. This happened to me a couple weeks ago on the same leg and it took 7 days and some self trigger point work to get it to release.  It made my knee feel like I'd torn it up again.  So I was undecided.... but of course being the hard-headed girl that I am decided to go ahead and race.  I figured one of three things would happen:  it would get worse, stay the same or get better.  Sometimes movement will help to unlock the joint and all the up and downs and turns on a trail run might just be the ticket!  And... I was right.  I never noticed the pain during the race (typical) and this morning it is gone!  Hurray!!!

Giant headed running Reindeer!

The race started about 3/4 of a mile from Jackson Station on the Trace by the pipeline.  Lance, JD and I jogged to the start and then Lance and I ran a little of the trails to finish our warm up.  He'd described the course to me - where to go hard, where it was tough and what to expect.  Thank you, Lance

The field found it's order quickly on the trails at the start and there wasn't much passing going on.  The course reminded me of the Mayo Lake triathlon course in North Carolina and I thought of my friend Carol as we twisted and turned through the woods.  When we did that race together she told someone to trip me - right after that she fell.  I guess it was bad karma to think about such things because I caught me heel on a root and pretty much face planted.  See that little low spot between 8:20 and 12:30?  That's me on the ground.  I saw my face headed fast toward a tree, felt my knee slam into the ground and had my hands out in front.  Not the advisable way to fall.  In the process of skinning up my leg a little I jammed my right ring finger.  This morning it's nice and purple and swollen.  (Notice my short index finger?  I chopped it off in the hinge of a door when I was three.  Bill calls it The Claw).


When I fell Marissa and Dan's youngest son Jake was right behind me and asked "All you alright?"  I told him yes and to go, go, go!  My hope for the future of the country is restored because after I got up and was running behind him he was calling out "Root" to me to help.  I was really impressed by this young man and his kindness during a race, and of course had to tell his Mom and Dad about what he did.  I know they've got to be proud of their son.  What a cool kid!  This was my high point of the day!

I ended up finishing first overall female and won a $15 Gift Card from RoadID®!!  I've already ordered it!  I got this one in small for my dinky little wrist!

My only dissapointment for the day was at registration when I signed up that morning.  Only Large and X-Large tshirts left.  The same thing happened to me at the LongLeaf Century ride.  I need a small.  I wish they would order more small shirts for us little people. I guess Bill gets another shirt.

Avg HR:     169
Max HR:    182
Time:        27:41
Avg Pace:  8:51
Best Pace: 5:10


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Friday Workout

I did a different kind of workout on Black Friday.  My husband, Bill manages a large department store and I volunteered (hello??? what was I thinking???) to come in at
3:00 am when they opened and help in the shoe department.  I got there at 3:05 and the line was still filing in the door.   The first 250 customers in the door received a gift card and one of them was for $1000!!!!!!!!

By 3:10 am it was jam packed.  People looked like they were in a feeding frenzy over the $19.99 boots that were for sale.  (I have to admit - it was a great deal!)  I saw people with stacks of 5-6 pair of boots!!  We found discarded and stray pair all over the store throughout the day.  I've never seen anything like it.  It was like a feeding frenzy. 

The poor tables were absolutely demolished - and under the tables.... an unbelievable mess. I was assigned the task of "trying" to put the shoes left all over the place back with like animals and picking up the "trash" that came from all the paper and inserts in the shoes.  I have never squatted and bent down more times in the 10 hours that I worked than ever before.  Talk about a good workout.  (secretly I know I'm getting a good workout, so I enjoy going in to help).  (Hello..... what is wrong with this picture???)  

Saturday and then also on Sunday the soreness in my low back and adductors let me know just how many times I used them.  I am a glutton for punishment.  But you know what... it was worth it knowing that I helped Bill and his store have an amazing Black Friday.  And... I didn't buy a single thing!  That day anyway.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Way Past Due Mighty Magnolia Triathlon Race Report

Finished my last triathlon of the season last Saturday (this post is way overdue - the race was Saturday, October 8th) with the Mighty Magnolia in Hattiesburg, MS.  A little bit of performance pressure with this race since my friends and I all wanted to represent well at our local race.  Judy, Deanna, Lesley and I swam the course, rode the course and ran the course a few times within the last couple weeks.  Deanna said it kind of felt like cheating - being able to train on the race course - I know what she means and I kind of felt the same way......for about 5 minutes.  Then I was over it! 

Since this was our local race I did some volunteering before the race.  I helped stuff all of the race packets and worked packet pick up at the race sight the afternoon before the race.  Had a good time working packet pick up and got to see and meet a lot of the triathletes from the area.  And of course got to represent Team Aquaphor while handing out packets!!

That's me swimming to the start.

The short version is I had a really good swim, an okay bike and a good run!!  If you want the long version... keep reading.  The swim was changed this year from the previous 3 years that the race has been in existence.  This year was a point to point swim - really a great idea.  The sun was at our backs the entire time making it really easy to see.  We were supposed to walk around the levee to the starting point and went off 3 seconds apart in time trial fashion.  I decided to swim the 1/3 mile course backwards to warm up - the water this morning was an awesome 71 degrees making it wetsuit legal. 

Now I have had some big time panic attack issues with a wetsuit.  Once in a half IM swim I freaked out in the 58 degree water at about 100 yards in and swam over to a girl on a long board, ripped the suit off and swam without it!  Another time at the Gulf Coast Triathlon I actually took it off at the first swim buoy and let it float off in the Gulf of Mexico.  But today I had zero issues - I really think it's because I swam in it 3 times in the week and a half before the race.  One of my training partners, Judy (who is a super fast swimmer - she swam for Auburn on a full scholarship) told me during one of our OWS training swims that I should use it because I was definitely faster with the suit.  I felt very comfortable and fast in the race - success!  Thank you, Judy!  (She still kicked my you know what in the swim even without a wetsuit!)

Bill walked along the levee while I was swimming and took this picture. It was really neat because I could see him to my right the entire swim and I was watching him as I swam!  He was counting the people I passed.  I went into the water 35th and came out 10th.  I heard him call out "Good Swim!" when I came out of the water! 

One of the local triathletes, JD once told me that he calls me the Penguin.  Of course I immediately asked him if it was because I'm so short - he explained that it's because I'm a fast swimmer, like a penguin!  I am a penguin in the water - I like that!!

My husband, Bill is so awesome - when he gets to come to one of my races he takes gobbles of photos.  Most of the time I rarely see him, but here I heard him call my name and of course had to wave and mug for the camera.  

The 16.5 mile bike course is tough - lots of little rolling hills and one pretty decent climb.  (Now I say that as a flatlander who pretty much has been training on the flats for the last few years.)  I made a rookie mistake on one of the climbs and threw my chain when I was shifting the front derailleur.  Had to get off the bike and put the chain back on - doh!! 

Bill heard someone say "This isn't her
first rodeo" as I ran off the bike.
My friend Deanna out split me on the bike (again and as usual).  After the race she told us how this guy drafted off her for pretty much the ENTIRE bike.  And at one point even came around her and said "I'll take the lead for awhile".  Now... maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt and think that he didn't know that drafting is illegal... yea right.  He knew better because she said that when a draft marshal came by he dropped back and then got right back on her wheel after the marshal passed.  One of my biggest pet peeves is people who cheat!  

The run hurt, but that's normal.  Judy's husband Sam (a super fast Hattiesburg triathlete) asked me a couple weeks before the race if I knew who my competition was and I had to sheepishly admit that I hadn't looked yet.  He mentioned Stephanie Smith from New Orleans was signed up.  So I looked her up.  Uh Oh.  I started the out on the run as the first female but saw on one of the little out and back sections that a young girl was closing fast.  As she passed me I even asked if she was Stephanie.  Nope.  This girl could run though - I looked her up afterwards in the results - she averaged 6:38 miles!!!  Only in my dreams!   I had a strong run though, the results said 7:19 average pace but my Garmin had the course a little short and said 7:30 miles.  I'm happy with that, it was a tough and hilly little course. 

First Kid Finisher! 
After I finished and found Bill he told me that as I was coming up the road towards the finish line a woman next to him said, "Oh look, here comes the first kid finisher."   "That's not a kid, that's my wife."  I guess I am pretty small compared to everyone else.  I ended up placing 2nd Overall Female.  Stephanie Smith won by 2:05.   That's a lot. But then she is 30 years old - 20 years younger than me.  ("I'm growing older but not up.  My metabolic rate is pleasently stuck!" - JB)

All of my friends and training partners placed!!    Deanna was 1st Masters Female, Judy was 2nd Masters Female and Lesley placed 2nd in her age group!!  Judy's husband Sam was 2nd Overall Male and Chris placed 3rd Overall Male.  There was a great turnout from all of the Hattiesburg area triathletes.  If you check the race results you'll see Hattiesburg represented all over the place!!

Chris, Sam, Judy, Deanna, Lesley and Me!
Here are some pictures of my friends from the race!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Check Out FinishTags™!!!

I'm definitely a believer in keeping some form of ID on you when you ride or run (or even swim for that matter).  I have a sticker in my bike helmet with Bill's phone number on it (I think I remember reading somewhere that if you're in a bike crash and have to be taken by ambulance to the hospital that EMS is required to take your bike helmet with them) and a Road I.D. tag on my running shoe.  But I know that most of the people that I train with don't carry any kind of identification with them.  I know we would call 911 if one of us were seriously injured but how would we get in touch with each other's spouses?

I saw a sidebar link on Facebook (at least I think that's where I saw it) the other day for FinishTags™ by FinishSafe™ and decided to order a set.  A week or so later I got my very cool set of Emergency Medical Information tags in the mail.  There is a Wallet Card, a Bike Tag, a Luggage Tag, two Shoe FinishTags,™ and a Key FinishTag™.  

On the website you enter all of your Medical and Contact Information. On your card is a LIFEPIN®  number that when texted to the listed phone number or entered on the FINISHSAFE.COM website it pulls up all of your Emergency Medical Information. 

The individual tags punch out of the plastic card.

After I got my tags I was curious and went to the website to see what my information looked like.  You can also edit your page whenever you need.  Listed is all of my Personal Information,  Allergies, Medical Information, Previous Injuries, Medical Conditions, Medications, Emergency Contacts, Physician Contacts and Insurance Information. 

The best part?? These tags are free! Take a minute to check out the site and see what you think! I think they're pretty neat.

So I'm going to put one of these tags on my swim bag - heaven forbid I would need medical assistance at the pool.  One on my helmet strap.  One on all of my running shoes.  One on my key chain and one on or in my bike saddle bag for good measure!  And one in my wallet.

I hope all of you reading this have some type of identification with emergency phone numbers on it with you while you train.  If you don't you might consider ordering a set of these awesome little tags!!    

Monday, October 31, 2011

First Annual Longleaf Trace "Century" Ride

Morning temperatures hovered right around 40 degrees - what to wear, what to wear!  I ended up in a jersey, shorts, my Pearl Gavia jacket and therma-fleece tights.  Toe covers with little "hothands" in them, full gloves with more "hothands", an earband and the helmet insert that came with my Giro. I looked like a cycling ninja!!  I was quite comfortable.  Unzipped the jacket partway after about 30 miles and took off the earband at the turn.

Rolled out with the lead group - Sam and Lance (who were turning off at Sumrall) led us out at a nice 23 mph speed.  Yikes.... I was worried - there is no way I can hold that kind of pace for that long.  Thank goodness they pulled off - but the fun didn't end there.  Raland and Matt kept the speed pretty darned fast!  I was able to stay with the group through the section of the ride that went off the Trace.  It was hilly but really pretty.  Lots of horses and cows to greet the morning!

Once we got back on the Trace all was good for a while then I got dropped - probably around mile 45.  When I downloaded the data from my Garmin that is where my speed dropped from 20.6 to 18.6 - boo.  My training partner Lesley's husband Phillip was on the ride too and we rode in to the turn around together - picking up Matt who'd been dropped off the lead group too.  Refueled at the turn with some horrible tasting egg water (soon to be dumped and refilled at one of the water fountains along the Trace).  Grabbed some Nutter Butter Peanut Butter cookies and took off with the lead group again for the return trip.  I'd already decided that I wasn't going to do the section on the way back that went off the Trace (my legs were cooked).   Phillip didn't roll out with us for the return - he'd started his winter lifting and hadn't been riding as consistently for the last 3 weeks and his quads were cramping. 

I got dropped again off the lead group pretty darned fast!  Probably within the first 5 miles and gathered my head around the thought of riding in the 40+ miles or so by myself.  Then - a light bulb moment!!  Hello.... turn around and go find Phillip so we can ride back together - duh!!  So that's what I did.  He wasn't far back and we rode back side by side through the swirling winds and then head wind to The Gateway at USM.   I was pretty happy with our 93 miles, especially since we rallied a little bit in the last 15 miles and held over 18. 

I found out afterwards that the Century was really 104 and the second section where the ride went off the Trace was brutal!  I think I made the right call.  One thing I would have done differently though - I took my road bike and in retrospect should have used my
tri bike.  The effeciency of the tri bike would have helped me a lot when it came to staying with the group.  Live and learn!

Burned a lot of calories which was good because Sunday a bunch of family from New Orleans were coming up to watch the Saint's Game and eat.  And boy did we eat.. and eat and eat and eat.  Food coma soon prevailed.  

Distance: 93.09 miles
Average Speed: 18.3. 
Time: 5:05:06. 
Average Heart Rate 150 - Max 175. 
Elevation gain: 2,490.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Long Leaf Trace Century

Riding the Longleaf Trace Century this Saturday!  If I remember correctly the last century that I rode was summer before last in North Carolina.  I will admit that I'm a little concerned that I'll be dropped by my Saturday roadie cycling friends or worse... bonk! 

My training partners are all being smart and declining the challenge.  The tri-bike is staying at home for this one and Ruby (my Specialized road bike) will be my ride for the day.

I rode by myself last Saturday - everyone was either busy or doing a mountain bike race out of town.   Just before the turn around I came across this little fellow!  I called him and he came across the field to me so I rewarded him with my peanut butter crackers!  He was a very sweet little guy and took the crackers very gently.  One of my friends from Sunset Beach mentioned that he sometimes does his solo rides with a camera.  What a great idea I'm taking a real camera with me next time I ride by myself!!! 

My new friend!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Off Season

A couple weeks ago I was SO not ready for tri season to end.  Today... I'm feeling a little differently about it.  The weather turned really chilly last night.  I met up with my training friends at the Mighty Magnolia Triathlon course to ride, run and swim a little and it was darn right cold this morning.  I would have liked to do a leisurely bike ride at 9am or so instead of the 7am start time we set.  I'm tired of hammering out every workout, I miss the conversational rides and am looking forward to them this fall and winter.  My friends all use a coach who gives them direction for pretty much every workout and I've been tagging along and obviously reaping the benefits, but this isn't how I've trained and raced for my 26 years.  And honestly I think that my casual attitude has been what has kept me in the sport and racing for so long.  Granted - the direction and coaching works but mentally it's beating me down to have every workout so scheduled.

I met Judy on the trace yesterday around noon for a run - and I thought we were just going to meet for an easy run.  Nope - 4 miles of effort.  I'm tired now.  I'm ready to relax.  I'm ready for the off season.

One more race for me - next Saturday here in Hattiesburg.  The local race!  Feeling a lot of pressure to do well.  Hope I can pull out one more solid effort.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tri-It-On Triathlon!!

A last minute sign up for the Brett Robinson Alabama Coastal Tri-It-On Triathlon in Gulf Shores turned out to be a good thing!  Initially my three other training partners and I were considering this race, but it turned out that only Lesley had signed up.  I was on the fence about this one.  Logistically it was a little difficult.  I wanted Bill to go with me, we haven't had any beach time since NC.  But we had Phoenix and Bogey to consider..  this meant finding a "Pet Friendly" hotel in Gulf  Shores.  Our plan was to spend Friday and Saturday nights so we could leave the boys in the room for the race and then take them to the beach afterwards. 


We got to the hotel - it wasn't a very nice place.  A Days Inn with really bad customer service.  Change of plans...  one night and get the you know what out of Dodge. 


Lesley was racing the "Intermediate" distance race (this used to be known as an Olympic Distance, but not all of them are the same 1500, 40K, 10K so the name has been changed.)  She's getting ready for a Half Ironman distance race in Amelia Island in October. 

Lesley giving me a high five as she headed out on the 10K!

I'd raced Gator Bait a couple weeks before and didn't know how my knees would feel after that so I signed up for the super short Tri-It-On sprint distance race.  300yd swim, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run!  Oh fun... let's redline it for just under an hour.

Time trial start, I was the 17th in line of over 400 triathletes.  The line up was based on your predicted swim.  Had a great swim, it was straight out and back in the ocean with a run from the beach.  There was a little east to west current but I corrected for that.  On my way back in though, a girl on her way out had drifted into the oncoming returning swimmers and we ran into each other.  A quick run up to the beach to transition and it was off on the bike.

I had a bit of an issue on the bike when I was almost hit by a car.  A police officer waved a big black SUV onto the course and instead of moving along with traffic he drove diagonally from the intersection toward the condominium complex across the street - right in front of me.  I was screaming "STOP and NO!!!!" as loudly as I could but he kept moving.  I was braking but my bike just wasn't slowing fast enough.  I ended up in the parking lot for the condo complex when the SUV finally came to a stop right across the bike lane and his grill in the parking lot.  A little scary - my closest call with a vehicle on the bike.  Averaged 21.3 mph on the bike!

Made it back to transition only to find my towel soaked through. A lot of people had brought gallon jugs of water to rinse the sand off their feet and one apparently was up hill from me. Gross. On to the run - my plan here was to take it out gently and bring it back fast. It apparently worked - I negative split the run (a first for me in a race) and had a strong finish!  Really happy with my run - averaged 7:18 pace - I think this is a personal best for me.

I found Bill and we hung around and waited for results to be posted.  Had some breakfast that The Hangout provided and got my stuff out of transition.  Once they posted the results I found out that I finished first overall female!!!!  The next girl was almost 2 minutes back!  At the awards ceremony they called me and the men's winner over to say something to the crowd - can you say "mortified??"  Bill assured me that I didn't sound bad but I felt like a doofus!!

Then we went back to the hotel, loaded up the boys and drove down to Morgantown - close to the Dauphin Island Ferry.  The beaches are dog friendly there!  We set up our umbrella and beach chairs and spent a couple hours playing in the ocean with Phoenix and Bogey.  They have figured out that they love to hang out on the boogie boards floating!  They were so excited to be back on the beach and swimming in the ocean!  We've got to take them again soon!!! 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rain and Yoga

It's been raining for two days now with Tropical Storm Lee upon us.  I could have snuck in a run yesterday morning while it was just drizzling but I'd run 6 miles the day before and running two days in a row angers my knees. 

So yesterday I dug out my trainer and some Spinnerval DVDs to get in a workout.  I did on of the Time Trial ones and got in a good sweat fest in my living room.  By the end I was hating Troy Jacobson.

Today I decided to go in a different direction and went with Rodney Yee's, "Yoga Conditioning for Athletes".  And I'll tell you what - I have missed yoga.  This is by far my favorite of his DVDs and now my body is thanking me.

A perfect thing to do on a rainy afternoon.   Namaste.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gator Bait Triathlon!!!!

It's been almost two years and a knee surgery since I've raced a triathlon with a run longer than a 5K.  I've been babying my poor knees and when I run 6 miles the left one likes to lock up (I think from internal swelling) and hurts like heck. 

Moving to Mississippi posed a little bit of a challenge for me to find enough races to fulfill my sponsor requirements - so I saw that Vicksburg had an Olympic distance race and went ahead and signed up.  The Gator Bait Triathlon - first year race - sounds like fun!  Love the name of the race.  My friend Deanna signed up too - another girl's road trip!!!  And then I talked our friend Judy into signing up for the 1500 meter Open Water Swim!  Deanna had a friend, Carla who is a photographer who wanted to come and see her race - we had a really fun road trip planned!

Carla, Deanna, Judy and me!

We loaded into Deanna's car on Friday afternoon and headed to Vicksburg.  Judy had decided that if the race organizers let her that she was going to go ahead and change from the open water swim to racing the triathlon.  It would be the longest race that both she and Deanna had ever done. 

Race morning came and we were happy with some cooler air temperatures!  Got everything set up in transition and went for a really quick jog just to see where the run started.  After my little run I grabbed my swim cap and goggles and made my way to the water to get in a warm up.  Saw Dave and Jim at the boat launch - two swimmers from USM.  I think this was going to be their longest triathlon ever too.  Dave is a super fast swimmer and ended up having the fastest swim split of the day!

There were only three swim waves - this was a small race with only about 100 competitors.  A far cry from my last race in Shreveport where there were 1100!  The women and relays went off in the third wave.  Funny that even with the small number of people in my wave that I had two people (men) swim across in front of me going left to right and one girl right on my shoulder with her arm swinging over my head.  Fortunately for me she didn't swim straight and moved off at an angle to the right.  The water was warm and the swim was long.  Judy swam into a dead fish and it freaked her out - she worried about alligators for the rest of the swim.  This was Deanna's longest open water swim and she was a little stressed by it but did just fine.  I ended up with the 10th fastest swim split of the day.  Judy had the 4th fastest time!  My speed suit rubbed a little place on the right side of my neck - should have used some Aquaphor before the swim!!
Garmin HR Avg: 170 / Max: 174

The bike course was flat and fast, just slightly downhill at the very beginning, I remember looking and seeing 23+ miles per hour.  It was an out and back course and the only complaint I have is that at the turn around there wasn't anything very visible to let you know it was coming.  Usually there is a traffic cone in the middle of the road.  There was a volunteer standing on the side of the road and once you got to it you could see a red line painted across the road.  A slight breeze and some shade from the trees on the way out was really nice!  My plan was to take two gels during the bike (I was trying something a little different today - usually I would just take one for a 40K). I took one just after I settled in on the bike after the swim and another at about mile 20. I'd also rubber banded my tic tac container of Recovery e21 onto my handle bars and transfered it to the pocket of my tri top so I'd have them for the run as well.  Took two e21 about a half hour into the ride. I passed Judy and one other girl who were both out of the water ahead of me and didn't see any other girls on the way back.  I was leading the women's race!!!! This has never happened to me before on the bike!  Deanna had the fastest women's bike split of the day - that girl can ride fast!
Garmin:  21.3 moving speed.  HR Avg: 162 / Max: 187

I'd read someone's post on who had run the course in training and he'd said to take it easy on the way out because on the way back the sun would be blaring in your face.  So I decided to heed the advice and ran what I like to refer to as "gently" on the way out.  My legs were a little stiff from the ride and they loosened up right away.  A guy passed me just before the mile mark and told me that there weren't any other women any where near me and to keep it up.  I checked my Garmin and was running 7:42-7:50 miles - this made me very happy.  It didn't feel like I was running a sub 8:00, everything felt smooth.  I had my e21 in my pocket and took two at about mile 2 on the run and another at mile 5.  I slowed down a little on the way back and didn't push the pace.  Right as I passed the 6 mile mark my right calf tried to cramp so I had to watch how I placed my feet.  Thinking back I know I didn't drink enough on the bike, or the run for that matter.   First place Overall Female!!  I'm pretty darned happy! 
Garmin Avg Moving Pace: 7:56.  HR Avg: 171 / Max 179

After I finished I jogged back out onto the course to cheer on my friends Judy and Deanna.  Deanna won her age group and Judy won the Masters Female catagory!!  And befitting a race called the Gator Bait Triathlon - the awards?  A real gator head on a plaque!  They're mailing us little personalized plates for our plaques! 

A great time with new friends!  I can't wait to race with them again! 

Hattiesburg Triathletes!
Jim, Dave, Judy, Deanna and me!
Three more triathlons for me this season!  I'm going to hate to see it end.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oak Grove Running Festival 5K!!!

I made a last minute decision to run the Oak Grove 5K last Saturday.  Monday the 15th we moved from our corporate apartment where we'd been living for 2 months into a house.  It was an all day event watching the movers unload our belongings and checking off each box and piece of furniture off on a list.  My heart sunk as I saw more and more damaged things coming through the door.  It was expected though, when they loaded the truck in North Carolina it took them from 8:00 in the morning until 12:45 the next morning!!  I just knew that there was going to be carnage.  I wasn't disappointed and it was very stressful.

No training for me on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday I did a ride with the girls.  Thursday was a grueling track workout.  Friday another ride, this time tempo followed by a hard mile and then a cool down mile.  So I went to the race with tired legs. 

Earlier in the year I was contacted by a former Aquaphor teammate who still had some loose sample left over from a couple years ago when we were sent a giant box of 1100 samples.  Mine were all gone, and she asked if I was interested in the ones she had left!  Of course I said yes, and gladly paid for the shipping to get them!   A couple months ago when the race director and local triathlete asked if anyone had anything to donate for the race packets I anted up about 100 samples for the goody bags!  This got me a comped entry to the 5K!!  How could I say no??

The race was two loops through the Oak Grove High School campus and finished with a lap inside the football stadium. It was flat and guaranteed to be fast!  The girls that I train with - Deanna, Judy and Lesley were all going to be at the race.  This was going to be fun!  We all run the track together and I was excited to see how we'd do.  Lesley and I planned to run together and try to pace the run (yeah, right).

When I was picking up my race packet one of the cyclists that I ride with told me he wanted to introduce me to his wife.  I met Marisa and we started chatting, then she asked me what my ethnicity was and I told her half Japanese.  Her reply was "Me Too!!!"  So we spent a little time talking about our parents and how they met.  Now Marisa looks Hapa but she is probably 5'8 or 5'9' - lucky girl, her Dad is 6' tall!  Me... I stand just a smidge over 5' tall. 

Me, Lesley, Deanna and Judy!

We lined up and Lesley and I took off - my Garmin showed that we were going too fast and I commented that we needed to slow it down, but there was the shadow of a very tall girl with a long ponytail right with us.  Marisa ran with us for most of the run - I went out too fast and faded towards the end and she passed me with about a half mile left to go.  I kept thinking that when we got into the stadium I would be able to pick it up and close the gap.  But.... no go.  My legs were shot.  Marisa took 1st Overall Female, I placed 2nd winning the Grandmasters category (it still hurts to say that!).  Lesley was right behind me taking 3rd Overall and winning her age group.  Deanna was 4th Overall Female and won Masters, and Judy was right behind her placing 5th Overall Female and winning her age group!! 

The Triathlete Girls of Hattiesburg posted a great showing!!!!  I wish I had more pictures, but only got one of us with our awards (unfortunately it's a little blurry too).  Deanna's coach, Chris should be proud - we've all been gleaning off of her workouts!  My tired legs did me well!  I looked up my last 5K results from last October and I'm really pleased with my time.  It was a very hot and humid morning on race day and I was able to run a 23:59.  Back in North Carolina my last two 5Ks were 22:52 and 23:03 but the weather on those days was 50 and 55 degrees!!   Race start temperature on Saturday was right at 80 degrees!!

I'm pretty happy with my performance with all things considered!  This coming weekend is the Gator Bait Triathlon in Vicksburg, MS.  It's an Olympic distance race and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. It's been almost two years and a knee surgery since I've done anything longer than a sprint.  My knee gets very unhappy when I run anything more than 6 miles.  Send energy on Saturday morning!! 

OH!!  I also met fellow blogger Ginny who writes Happy Feet 26.2!  We've met through our blogs but never face to face until race day!!  While I was warming up I saw a couple girls also doing a warm up run and one of them said, "That is Ginger!"  We introduced ourselves before the race and Ginny ran with the four of us and Marissa on a cool down loop after the race!!!  I'm meeting some great people here in Hattiesburg!! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

River Cities Tri

The Sportspectrum River Cities Triathlon was yesterday!!  This race has been going on for 31 years and is my most favorite race that I've ever done.  This year was either my 15th or 16th time to race it - I've lost count of exactly how many times I've been there.  It's a sprint distance triathlon - 1/2 mile swim / 18.2 mile bike / 5K run. It's always hot and there is always some very fast triathletes there.  This year there were over 1100 athletes from 18 different states. 

The first time I did this race was back in 1987 or 1988, the race packet then was good and it just keeps getting better and better.  This year was no exception!  In our packet this year we got the famous River Cities bag - 2011's is a backpack with a ton of storage plus a padded laptop pocket, sweet!!  We also got a wind jacket embroidered with the race logo, a running hat, a tech t, a regular t-shirt and a pair of my favorite socks!  There was also a couple food goodies, a little Cliff Bar and a Myoplex protein drink.  In past years the packet has included things like Ironman Sunglasses, Nalgeen water bottles and running shorts.  It varies from year to year - it's part of what makes this race so fun!

I heard an announcement that this year when the race went online for registration it filled in 35 minutes!! When we found out that we were moving to Hattiesburg I went online and the race was full, I called a friend of mine from Dallas, who happens to be the race director's brother and asked what my chances were to get in on the waiting list.  I lucked out and got in!!  One of my friends, Deanna was also able to get into the race and so we had a Girls Road Trip!!  It's quite a drive from Hattiesburg to Shreveport, 4-5 hours and we had one issue with a traffic jam.  A hay truck had dumped two of those giant hay rolls on the highway and traffic stopped like a parking lot.  We were nervous that we'd miss packet pick up.  In the information it says if you're there after 5:30 they'll sell your spot to people who show up with bikes etc waiting to try and get into the race.  We made it with about 10 minutes to spare!!  Phew!

Shreveport, LA like Texas has been plagued this summer with a lot of 100+ degree temperatures and no rain.  The lake temperature was probably close to 90 degrees!  The high temperature for Sunday - 104!!  The race starts at 8:00am - it's in a State Park and it takes a long time to get 1100 people parked and set up.  My swim wave was number 10 and started at 8:38am.  The water didn't feel that warm when I was standing in it before the start but within the first 200 yards or so it felt like a bathtub.  I was out in front in my wave and felt someone on my feet, she then pulled up on my left side and proceeded to bump into me over and over and over again.  I finally stopped and said, "Geez... MOVE OVER".  It must have riled her up because she then swam away from me and I saw that she kept drifting left and having to correct her line.  I was glad that it wasn't me bumping her, especially after I yelled at her.  This morning I checked the online results and was happy to see that I had the 6th fastest age group women's swim (266 women)!! 
HR Max: 169 / HR Avg: 144.

On to the bike and immediately I could tell that it wasn't going to be a good day - my legs were FLAT!  They didn't respond at all.  I know what it was because it's happened to me before - any time I have a long drive to a race my legs are really heavy from sitting stagnant for so long.   My Garmin was set to Multisport mode and for the life of me I haven't been able to get it to show me speed and my heart rate when it's in this mode.  I need to call my friend Carol - I know she'll be able to help me. I decided right away to just ride within myself and see how it went.  Spun up the hills and tried to maintain a smooth pace.  One girl that I recognized from Crawfishman came by me on the bike (she didn't recognize me) and I passed her back and never saw her again.  I was dreading the run and it was coming up fast.  20.6 average. 
HR Max: 175 / HR Avg : 170.

Off the bike and onto the run.  By then my legs were feeling a little better - but still not normal.  I did the same thing on the run that I did on the bike - ran within myself and hoped for the best.  The girl from Crawfishman passed me on the run and I tried to rally a challenge and stay with her but nope, not today.  For the first time in a long, long time I actually walked a couple steps through one of the transitions to gulp down a whole cup of water.  It was so hot out there, and even though the run is mostly shaded I was overheating.  The finish line has you run down a grassy area and cross three strips of soft beach sand, my calves almost cramped on those sand sections!!  I took my Recovery e21 when I woke up and also right before the race started but that heat just sapped it out of me.  8:06 pace. 
HR Max: 183 / HR Avg: 177

I finished and jogged back out onto the course to cheer in my friend Deanna - didn't have to go far and I saw her with just before she made the turn onto the grass.  I found her at the finish line and we went to go shower over in the campground, came back to transition and just made it over to the awards presentation to hear them call my name for 2nd place Female Masters!!  The girl who beat me?  The same one that I yelled at in the swim and that beat me at Crawfishman, that'll teach me to keep my big mouth shut.  Maybe next time!

I finished 20th Overall Female / 2nd Masters / 1st Age Group.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chi Running

I think I've mentioned that since we've moved to Hattiesburg that my knees are killing me!  I think it's the hillier terrain than I've been used to in Sunset Beach.  After having two knee surgeries I probably shouldn't be running at all, but I just can't give it up - not yet anyway. 

After the surgery on my left knee back in 2009 I was instructed to take 6 months off running.  When I started back I experimented with Chi Running in an attempt to make the move back into running less painful.  It did help, but after I was back for several weeks I forgot about it and was back to my old style of running.  I have a couple of triathlete friends in the Raleigh/Durham area who own K2 Fitness.  This is where I got the idea to give the Chi Running a try.  Thank you, Kari!!

About two weeks ago I was out on a run and my poor knees were hurting badly.  About halfway through a run I remembered the Chi Running and unbelievably the pain lessened immediately in both knees!  Now I don't know much at all about Chi Running.  I know just what I've read online and seen some videos online.  The basic premise that I keep in my mind is to run like a ball not a square.  This u-tube video explained it well to me (click the pic): 

From the Chi Running Website:
"Chi Running blends the powerful movement principles from T'ai Chi, with running, to create a revolutionary approach to effortless and injury-free running." 

"The cornerstones of Chi Running are postural alignment and relaxation because the combination of the two is the best way to run faster, farther and injury-free. Chi Running includes: landing with a midfoot strike, using a "gravity-assisted" forward lean and engaging core strength for propulsion rather than leg strength. This approach makes your running easier and healthier for your whole body."

Well - so far so good.  I even used it at two track workouts and was pretty much painless except for the cool down where we were running super easy.  I'm going to keep it up and hopefully some of my knee pain will go away! 

If any of you use Chi Running let me know how it's working for you!