Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Race Of Grace Triathlon

My first race in Mississippi was last weekend!  The Race Of Grace in Philadelphia, MS.  Short swim, only 1/4  mile, 18 mile bike and a 5K run.  I was warned by my new triathlete friends in Hattiesburg that it was a hilly course.  Great.... I'm still pretty much a flatlander from the beach.

Bill and I got up super early and made the 2 hour drive to Philadelphia that morning.  I like to be at a race 90 minutes before the start so that meant leaving Hattiesburg at 3:30 am!  Bill took the day off work so he could go with me - I have a great husband!  
 Pre-race was pretty uneventful - except for some reason (and the first time I've ever done this) I started setting my bike up in the wrong place.  What's up with that??  I wasn't nervous.. must have just been scatty.  Moved my bike and stuff and all was well.  Pre-race warm up run and swim - check.

A few days before the race I was checking the participants list and saw a name I recoginzed from long ago.  Back in 1987 I lived in Jackson and swam with the local triathletes, there was a super fast woman who won everything.  And I saw that she was registered - I swear when I saw her name my heart rate went up 20 beats while I was sitting at the table!  I'd actually found Pam on Facebook last year and we'd exchanged a few messages.  I was looking forward to seeing her.... racing against her.... no so much.

I saw Pam on race morning but we didn't get to talk until we were lined up for the swim start.  She was 4 places behind me.  I didn't really know her well back in 1987, she was quiet and shy.  We greeted each other like old friends - just how awesome is this sport where you can find people you knew 24 years ago!

The swim was a time trial start - we were set off about 5 seconds apart.  I felt like I had a good swim.  I've been improving a lot since I've been swimming with the Masters group at USM.  I concentrated on my left arm entry and slowing my turnover - it must be working because I had the 2nd fastest women's swim time and 6th fastest swim overall!!  Thank you Coach Steve!

Out on the bike... hills, hills and more hills.  I felt like a turtle.  Even had to shift to the small front chainring on one hill.  At the turn around I saw Pam - she was flying!  Transition was fine and I was off onto the run. 

The run course was an out and back.  I saw Sam Hudson, a triathlete from Hattiesburg leading the race as I was heading out onto the run and saw Pam again just after the turn around. Sam won the race and set a new course record! The run finished on the dam - I just pushed as hard as I could and hoped for the best.  With the time trial start you have no idea how you've done until the results get posted.   

Bill and I went to the car so I could clean up and change and I grabbed my bag of Aquaphor samples to pass out!  What a great reception to Aquaphor here!  I had one girl ask me about getting onto the team, so I gave her the information about Active Ambassadors - I hope she applies next year!  Almost everyone that I gave a sample to already knew about and loved Aquaphor! 

I ended up finishing 2nd Overall Female!!!  Pam was right behind me finishing 3rd Overall!  Not to shabby for us 50+ year old women!   The time difference between us.... THREE SECONDS! 

My next race is the Sunfish Triathlon in Meridian in less than two weeks!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

New New New

Tomorrow morning I'm doing my first race in Mississippi!  The Race Of Grace.

A NEW Race

On my NEW bike!

In my NEW Aquaphor kit!

I'll let you know how it goes!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Training in The Hub City

Note:  I've been trying to get this posted for about a week and a half.  Keep changing the dates.

We've been in Hattiesburg now for about two weeks.  I found a local Masters Swim on the USM campus with a really great coach and have been cycling with some of the local triathletes on the Longleaf Trace.  I'm kind of running the same out and back until I feel more comfortable with the area.
Longleaf Trace

My legs are pretty sore from training on the hills here and my knees are hurting from climbing the stairs at the corporate apartment we're in while we house hunt. Or it might be the saddle height on the Felt - adjusted it up a tiny bit today and the knees seemed better on my 58 mile ride this morning.  The temperature has been hovering around 100 degrees every day since we've been here - it's stoopid hot for June. 

We took the boys to Paul B. Johnson State Park last Sunday to run around and explore a trail. They had a good times running around with their happy goofy faces smiling from ear to ear.  They told me that they miss the beach and don't understand why they can't go.  We promised to take them to Dauphin Island soon.

I've signed up for four races so far in the area.  The Race Of Grace Triathlon on the 25th in Philadelphia, MS, The Sunfish Triathlon on July 9th in Meridian, MS and The Gator Bait Triathlon in Vicksburg, MS on August 27th.  I'm also racing River Cities in Shreveport, LA on August 7th - probably my most favorite race ever - I think this will make the 16th time I've raced there.

I've been lucky enough to find some triathletes for training rides.  They ride EARLY though compared to what I'm used to.  5:45am on Tuesday and Thursday and 6:00am on Saturdays.  They ride shorter distances than what I'm also used to riding.  Typically 30-35 miles but at a much higher intensity.  Today I got to ride with two girls, Judy and Deanna!!  They're both triathletes - it was fun gabbing like girls!  I got in 50 miles before it got too hot.  I'm going to do a bike fit for Judy tomorrow after Master's Swim!

My swimming is going well, the coach told me yesterday though that he is going to change my swim stroke completely... gee I didn't know what I did was that bad.  He said my turnover was way to fast and my left arm recovers okay but then flops at the last second flat into the water.  This is the first time anyone has ever told me this - I wonder if it's a bad habit I've formed from swimming alone.  In any case, it is nice to have a coach correcting my form.  If it makes me go faster or be more effecient in the water I'm all for it.  (I swam a set on Monday on the fastest 100 yd interval that I've been able to hold since High School -  looks like it's working!)

My first race here is this coming Saturday in Philadelphia, MS.   It's called the Race Of Grace.  I hope I finish with grace.  Be grateful when you're in a good mood and graceful when you're in a bad mood.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Payne Center

I went to for my first Masters Swim practice Monday on campus at USM (The University of Southern Mississippi - where I just happened to have gone to school).  The natatorium is at The Payne Center....hmmmm... is that an omen? (The Pain Center?)  When I was in High School and swam for the Ocean Springs YMCA the State Swim Meet  was held on campus at the same pool.  It hasn’t changed much.  There was a fire at the complex in April and the pool just opened at the end of May so there weren’t any lane ropes yet.  They're on order.  It made for a slightly challenging swim – like open water swimming.  It was kind of fun….. kind of.  I only had my left hand bashed twice.   Not good because earlier that morning I smashed my pinky finger in the car door!

I haven’t had an opportunity to swim with a group since we lived in Texas where I swam with DAM – Dallas Aquatic Masters.   I think that was about 7 years ago. 

I got there later than I like for a practice – I knew where the natatorium was but the stupid GPS (turn left turn left turn left) directed me to the middle of campus, I should have just trusted what I knew.  Everyone was already in the pool getting some instruction from the coach.  I walked in and they all looked at me like I had two heads.  Then I saw someone I recognized from the past – Chris Boyd, a triathlete that used to manage a Champs Sporting Goods store across the way from the Victoria’s Secret that I ran in Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge, LA.  It was where I got my running shoes – I don’t remember exactly when it was but I do know that neon was popular.  Lets just say it was a long time ago. 

I got in what would be the second to the fastest lane with three other swimmers – all men.  The fast lane next to us had 4 swimmers – all men.  Where are all the women athletes????  I cued up 4th behind the other three guys in the lane.  One was James Daniel, he is also a blogger -PowerMultisport.  I found him on when I was scoping out the Mississippi Forums trying to find some local triathletes.

It was a decent swim. The coach is good and seems pretty nice too.  Since the summer Masters program has just started up the sets were shorter.  Good for me since I haven’t been in the water since my last race at White Lake.  The water was a little like swimming in a washing machine. 
Since I’ve been swimming alone for the past SEVEN years I’m hoping that this will get my swim fitness to a new level!   I’ll let you know.

p.s.  Went to my second swim with the group today, swam in the fast lane today.  The lane I was in yesterday was crowded.  This is going to be good!!!  I can’t wait to get back into real swim shape and see what I can do!

Tomorrow I'm planning on my first group ride - 5:45am!  Eeesh....that's early!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Two Sad Rides

In two days we'll be leaving North Carolina and moving to Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  Bill and I are going to be closer to both of our families - so this is a good thing.  But I do have very mixed emotions about leaving the area and Sunset Beach.  I met some very nice people here in the three years that we've lived in NC.  I'm going to miss them.

I drove up to Fayetteville a couple weeks ago for a final ride with my friends there.  We had a nice turnout for the 83 mile ride to White Oak and back.   My good friend and fellow triathlete Carol Scheible even drove down from Chapel Hill to ride with me one last time. 

Beau, Tom, Carol, Jen, Mike, Me, Mary and Furman

I got to ride my new Felt B2-R tri bike that I got at Hawley's Bicycle World just two days before the ride!  Thanks to Mark Taylor who found me my awesome new bike!!! 

The following Wednesday I had my farewell ride with my friends, The Usual Suspects here on the coast.  My friend Jen Doyle drove down the day before and we spent the afternoon at Sunset Beach!  Mary Florian came down on Wednesday morning to ride with us too.  We did the Two Bridges-Two Beaches ride.  A very fitting goodbye ride to the beach. 

Ken, Bruce, Harvey, Steve and Me

I consider myself very lucky to have met such awesome people while I was here.  I am thankful that they welcomed me into their groups and treated me like I'd been one of them forever.

Good Bye My Friends.... I will never forget you.