Monday, March 31, 2014

TriTyler Sprint Race Report

Me, Dana Rucker, John Cobb, and Ginger Cobb!
What is the coldest triathlon you've ever done? I've had cold water in a triathlon, cold weather in a triathlon, but not combined. Yesterday at the Tri Tyler race we had both. The water temperature was 60 degrees... okay... that's not too bad. The air 42... uh oh.

I raced once in California in Oceanside and the water was 58 - that was the race that I had one of my horrible wetsuit freakouts and ditched the suit to a lifeguard on a longboard about 100 yards into the swim and went without it. Survived - cold face, cold hands, cold feet. I raced in the Athens Triathlon in Texas once where the air temperature was freezing with a wind chill in the low 20's. Pool swim there so you were warm coming out of the natatorium. Survived - really red skin from the cold.  I've raced lots of times where you can't feel your feet on the run until several miles out, no biggie.

But yesterday? Coupled with the cold water was the fact that the air was 42 at race start. AND, I was stupid. Makes for a bad combination.

Right when I left the house yesterday morning at a bright and early 4:00 am for the 2 hour drive to Tyler I remembered that I hadn't put any of my little throw away gloves in my transition bag. At that time I was really thinking about the pre-race air temperature. I ALWAYS (well I guess now, not "always") have gloves in my bag, all year long. But I forgot them. Stupid, and I didn't want to turn around and go back home and get them... lazy. 

I arrived right at 6:00 am to the race site (transition closed at 7:00) and my race wasn't supposed to start until 8:20 so I had plenty of time. Got my packet, back to the car, numbers, hydration - back to set up my transition. 

So I typically run for 15 or so minutes and then swim before a race. I don't typically take my bike out (I should but don't) to warm up. And then here comes my dilemma. We have a walk down the dam to the swim start, I put on the bottom half of my wetsuit and keep my sweatshirt on because it's so stinkin' cold and I wear a sleeveless suit. They gave us little tiny bags to put shoes in and drop at the swim start but my sweatshirt won't fit in a bag that small..... hmmm.... okay, so my plan is that I'll walk down and watch the start of the Half and Olympic then come back to transition and then go back to the swim start. I'm standing by John Cobb and mention that I have time since the Sprint doesn't start until 8:20 RIGHT?  He tells me, "no, it's going off right after the Olympic" WHAT?????? I have no goggles or cap and am standing there like I have all the time in the world. Okay...time to move. Run back to transition and quickly ditch the sweatshirt, grab the white bag, throw my goggles and cap(s) into it, almost forget my little tube of Aquaphor for my neck, and race back to the swim start just in time to get in the water and warm up. GEEZ..... okay... you read this and tell me if I saw something incorrectly.... I see a half an hour between the Olympic race start and the Sprint..... Nothing like a little frantic energy right before you swim.

Hmmmmm.....looks like I was right.....
There was a lot of fog on the water at the start and we headed directly into the rising sun. Couldn't see smack. Also figured out that one of the things that I seriously don't like about wetsuits is the pressure on the back of your neck when you peek to sight.  Swam off course a lot! That was irritating. Did try out some new goggles, I had that going for me, "which is nice." Nike Remora Fem - soft gasket to "protect women's delicate eye tissue". They were awesome! 

The water temperature wasn't bad at all, I enjoyed the swim. Just needed to be a little faster. I was a slacker over the winter with my swimming and I'm paying. 1:40/100 meters. That's a 1:29.93 in yards. Third female out of the water. Only a few men ahead of me too. Wetsuit strippers, nice! Passed a girl in the run up to transition (thought she was the only one ahead of me). My feet were cold

Standard transition....except my no gloves stupidity! Running out of transition and past the mount line - grass and then CHIP SEAL!  OUCH - OUCH - OUCH - OUCH!!!!! Running on chip seal barefoot is bad enough but couple it with frozen feet... that was really painful! 

I'd put my toe covers on my cycling shoes and a couple hand warmers under them so my feet weren't really too bad during the ride. But my poor hands were another story. Couldn't shift, had to use the heel of my hands to move the shifters, fingers were absolutely burning. And as I type this a day later the fingertips of my left hand are still numb. I know I will never make that mistake again. I remember thinking before the race that the bike was only 14 miles long and pretty much anything would be tolerable. Wrong. 

Racing for the last time in my Team Aquaphor kit. :(

And then my bike computer acted stupid, must need a new battery. No idea how fast I was going. AND I must have forgotten to enable scrolling on my Garmin because all I saw the entire time was total elapsed time. Geez... I'm an idiot! According to the results I averaged 20.2.

Back to transition, had a hard time pulling my leg up over the top tube, I was colder than I thought, legs were stiff and couldn't really feel my feet. However.... I did feel them on the CHIP SEAL again..... Got to my bike rack and when I tried to put my running shoes on I almost fell - wobbly wobbly wobbly. Tried again, wobble.  Oh for goodness sake just sit down! Finally got my shoes on and got out of transition. 

Again, I had no idea how fast I was running, but I felt pretty good! I bruised both of my heels about a month ago when I jumped into the shallow bulk-head pool where I coach and have only been able to run twice since then - so I was running pretty far forward on my feet to keep my heels from receiving much impact. The run was similar to the Rose City Tri that I did last year with a couple added surprises. On the second out and back I saw someone with a Cobb Mobb hat on and I pointed and said "I'm on that team!" The person said, "I'm Dana!" - "Hi Dana!" He gave me one of the trucker hats that he had made when I met him after the race!! Thanks Dana!! 

Just after that we turned off road to one of the surprises that I mentioned. A long section on grass that was wet and about 12 inches tall. It looked like an ATV had run over the grass putting down some orange markers so I tried to run where the tire tracks were to keep from getting my feet to soaking wet. We had about a half mile of the grass and then some woods and THEN... up to the top of the dam. Are you kidding me? Talk about a momentum change. I found out later that none other than Johnny Cobb added in that nice little twist to the run. Back onto the road for another out and back and then to the finish line. And of course the race finished differently from Rose City and I was in some sort of brain fog this morning and didn't map it out and had to stop and ask which way to the finish line. It didn't help that I couldn't see anyone in front of me because usually I can see where to go by being a sheep. Run pace 7:45. Not bad with the off road!

As I was finishing up on the last section of the dam there was a volunteer out there and he asked me as I went by: "Are you trying to beat all the men today?" I smiled, "Yes, I am!" 

So... the result?? I won the women's overall division! Do you think I look happy? I haven't had an overall win since Gator Bait a couple years ago! Granted it was a small field in the sprint race, but I'll take it! 

7th Overall!
 Got to meet some other Cobb Mobb teammates and also see friends from Dallas! Saw some teammates from the Cambridge Triathlon Team! And some Sunrise Tri Club folks as well!

Karen Robertson from Dallas - 1st Masters Olympic

Angel Martin (Sunrise Tri Club) - 3rd Overall Female Olympic

Cheryl Webb (Sunrise) - 1st AG Olympic

John Cobb, Seth Cooke, Dana Rucker. 

Next up: WikiWiki Man! April 27th at Lake Tawakoni State Park in Texas!!  

See you at the races!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Soon some of you will be racing your first tri of the season.  It's cold out there and the water is colder so pretty much all the swims will be wetsuit legal.  Here is a great tip from Emilio DeSoto on wetsuit care!
Mine is in the bathtub at this very moment!!

A TIP FROM EMILIO: It is the start of the season. Just before your first race you pull out your wetsuit. You have not worn it in months. You put it on and it just plain feels tighter than you remember it feeling.

Did it shrink? Is the rubber less flexible? Do you need a new wetsuit?

NO, and NO
…well, more like
sort of, s...ort of, and YES unless you already own a T1 (just kidding).

The Tip: Soak your wetsuit a few days before your race. Soak it in a tub with 3 inches of water for about 5 minutes a few days before your race.

The Reason: Wetsuits are kind of like sponges. When they are moist they are supple and flexible. 

Believe it or not, your wetsuit stays moist for days, even weeks between uses, though it appears dry… just like a sponge. Over time, as it gets really dry, it gets stiff and not-so-supple, thus feeling like it shrunk…like the way a sponge shrinks up. 

More wetsuits rip at the start of the season, than any other time of the year, but your wetsuit will last longer if you wet it before you wear it!

Monday, March 24, 2014

First Tri of The Season! Are You Ready??

My first triathlon of the season is this coming Sunday! Don't have my Cobb Mobb kit yet, need to figure out what to wear!

I'll be racing the sprint at TriTyler Half. This is the race's third year in existence and this year they added a sprint to go along with the half and Olympic distance race. It's touted as "Texas' Hardest Half".  Uh oh...

I've had several set backs this year - the latest of which was bruising my heels when I jumped into the shallow end of the pool at LSUS during a breaststroke clinic we held for the JV1 kids that I coach with COSST. Have you ever thought that the water was deeper than it really was? I came down full force in 3 feet of water. I thought that I might have broken a bone, it hurt that badly. X-ray, crutches, some Mobic, and no running. Stupid. I ran yesterday morning for the first time in two weeks - heel was tender and it's pretty sore tonight but I think I'll be able to train on it this week.

Got this nice little certificate in the mail this week:

Finished the requirements to be ASCA Level 1 certified (American Swim Coaches Association), and got this certificate too: 

Booked our room and flights to Edmonton, Canada for the World Short Course Triathlon Championships! 

This is inspiring:  VIDEO LINK
And now some really sad news - Aquaphor has decided to focus on Moms and is not going to sponsor a team this year. It's been a really good run with Team Aquaphor and I will miss it. I've been on the team for 6 years, there are some who have been with Aquaphor for then entire 8 years that it has been in existence. I call a lot of the people on the team, friends, even though I have never met them in person. This team has been my inspiration to get faster and I am sad that it is going away. I am glad that we have a super secret page and can keep in touch with each other, but it's just not going to be the same.