Sunday, April 15, 2018

Beaver Freezer 2018

It's been awhile since I've done a post.  It's been a busy few months.  I've been working through the affects of Seasonal Affective Disorder and am feeling better.  Not 100% but definitely not as bad as it was in January so that is a blessing for sure.  Last month I had the joy of getting shingles.  Ugh!!!  Talk about painful.  It was on my chest and shoulder, right where my bra strap sits.  I was a wee bit miserable.  I managed to work for a week and a half before I finally said screw it and took time off.  Luckily it was almost Spring Break so I took two days off of work and then got a week to try and rest and hope it went away quickly.  The rash is almost gone and I'm not as in much pain as I was but there is still discomfort.  The discomfort is tolerable in comparison to how it was.

Somehow I was able to do most of my workouts in spite of the shingles.  Although, usually the best part of the workout was finishing and being able to take my shirt and sports bra off.  So I was proud of myself for at least being able to keep moving even though sometimes it wasn't pretty.

Suddenly it's April and time for the first Triathlon of the season.  I wasn't able to do this race last year because of some heart issues.  Thankfully the issues have been resolved so it was just a small blip in the large scheme of things.  But I was sure disappointed to not be able to do the Beaver Freezer last year.
This year, in spite of the S.A.D. and the shingles I was able to participate in the race that was my first triathlon.  Well, not totally my first.  I had done the Last Chance Triathlon before I did the Beaver Freezer.  But this was the first where I was training and working towards a goal, not just gutting it out to see if I could finish. lol  So I think of it as my first serious triathlon.

I have been having some pretty good workouts the last few weeks, in spite of the shingles.  This week I have been struggling with a runny nose and a harder time breathing so I think the allergies are starting to kick in.

The weather report for the event was less than promising!  There was a high wind warning in affect for the area starting Saturday morning.

That adds a certain amount of anxiety to race preparation.  I already get nervous the day or two before a race, this just made it worse.

I went to Corvallis on Friday to pick up my race bag and my shirt.  Then I spent Friday evening getting all my stuff put together and organized.  That part seems to be a little easier.  I know what I like to have and where I need to have it.  Didn't keep me from double and triple checking to make sure I had everything I needed.

My name is the last name on the Z and ends on the E.  lol
I woke up around 4:00 a.m. and needed to pee.  I couldn't get back to sleep because I could hear the rain falling.  It was a lot of rain!  I had worn my Oregon Dunes Triathlon the evening before in order to remind myself that I had successfully completed a triathlon in yucky conditions last year.

I had to keep reminding myself of that.


I was glad when it was time to head load up and head to Corvallis.

It had stopped raining by the time I went to load up the bike and it was breezy but not too bad....yet.

Joe worked Friday and got off of work at 7:00 a.m.  So he was waiting for me in the parking lot at Reser Stadium.  He helped me carry my stuff to transition which was very appreciated since I had the bike, my backpack and my helmet.  I could do it all by myself but it is nice to have a handsome sherpa along to help me out.  ;-)

When we got to transition there were only two people at that particular entrance doing body markings.  So Joe asked one of the guys that he knows, Taz, if they needed help.  Taz was very glad to have another person helping out, so Joe handed me my stuff and I headed down to find my spot to rack my bike and start getting set up.

It wasn't too long before I saw my friend and teammate Rebecca.  Then I saw another teammate, Cathy.  These two ladies are amazing!  I have appreciated getting to know them better over the last year!
Cathy, me and Rebecca!  💜  Those are some seriously awesome smiles!!
I finished getting my things organized and had a little snack.  Suddenly it was time to head to the pool.  I had decided to have my towel and hat outside the pool this time.  Last time I had my running shoes and socks and put them on there but since I am now using clip in shoes for the bike that wouldn't have been a good idea.  We have a bit of a run to get from the building where our pool was to the transition area.  Small problem though, the door I went out to put my towel down locked behind me so I had to trot around the entire building to get to the door that I could go in and back down to the pool.  lol  Nice little warm up, in bare feet!

We got all lined up for our swim start.  I ended up with two other young ladies and we had fun chit chatting as we waited for our turn to start.  I always love the fun of meeting new people and getting to encourage other people.

I could see Joe and Jon up in the viewing area taking pictures.

Overall the swim went pretty well.  Had a few small issues.  My watch has a triathlon setting but since I only really do one triathlon a year with a pool swim I forget that it's set for an open water swim.  I also lost count of my laps.  Good thing there was a person counting for me!  The other thing that was a bit of an issue was my tri shorts.  While I haven't lost any weight for a long time it seems things have been changing in my body.  My shorts kept sliding down. lol  They have before in pool swims but usually stop at my hips and it's fine.  This time I could tell they were getting down to my butt cracky.  Nobody wants to see that!  So a couple of times when I got to the wall I had to reach down and give my shorts a yank up. 😁

Annoying, a little embarrassing, and yet I'm a little pleased to have that kind of problem.  Reminds me that not everything in being healthy is about the scale.

My swim time on my watch was 11:33.  Not too shabby.  Not as good as I've been doing in the pool but considering the allergy issues I've had this week I'll take it.  😀

I tried to get out on the wall but this pool has a stupid high wall with a ledge and it was really slippery.  I gave it one shot and decided to use the ladder since I was only one lane over.  Less stress in the long run.

The timing mat for the swim isn't until we get outside of the building.  I grabbed my hat and put it on and then my towel and took off for transition.  I was drying myself off and trotting along and there was a very tall OSU student sitting on a bench between Dixon and Goss Stadium and he looked at me like I was crazy. lol  Yep, pretty much!
My watch said this was almost a 1/4 mile.  
I got to transition and put on my shoes and socks, arm sleeves, coat, gloves, sunglasses and helmet and took off.  Joe was right there cheering me on.

As I moved through the transition area I got a big smile and a fist bump from my good friend Chad.  Always fun to see him at events!  (Can't wait to cheer him on at Ironman Canada this summer!)

Got to the bike mounting line and off I went.  The bike felt really good.  I think if there hadn't been so much wind I would have been even faster but I still was faster than I was in 2016 so I'll take it.  There was a couple of times where we were biking right into the wind.  On the way back from the 2nd turnaround the bigger wind gusts started catching my bike.  Whoa!  That is a weird feeling to have the bike wobble all over because the wind is having it's way with me.  You could hear multiple riders all go "Whoa!" when it would happen. Pretty funny.

Not only did I have a solid ride but it was my first race where I had on clip on shoes.  I managed to not fall down at the dismount area.  Which was good since I had a dream that I did just that the night before.  😉
Coach got this one of me finishing the bike ride.  I'm very visible in my jacket.  😉 (And check out those calf muscles!)
I headed back to my spot in transition to get ready for the run.  I wasn't moving very fast.  It takes a bit to get the legs going again and it's a little hard to run fast in clip on shoes.  While I was moving I unzipped my coat because I knew I wouldn't wear it on the run and I took off my gloves.  A few less things once I parked my bike.  When I got to my spot the lady next to me had her bike all the way over so there was no room for mine.  I seem to have the worst luck with that.  Seems like most of my races I have to fuss with moving someones bike or stuff out of the way.  The owner of the bike was standing there so I asked if it was hers and if I could move it, then I didn't wait for an answer and just moved it.  lol
From the dismount line to the start of the run, aka T2
I think I had a pretty decent transition time considering this was the first time I had to change shoes from bike shoes to running shoes.  Changed shoes, helmet off, coat off, grab race belt with bib on it and water bottle and go.

Overall the run went really well.  I went back and looked at my 5k times for all the sprint triathlons I have done the last two years.  This was my fastest other than the first Beaver Freezer.  Considering heart rate issues and figuring out fueling that wouldn't upset my stomach I'm okay with that.  While it wasn't my fastest 5k in a triathlon it was my second fastest.  Not too shabby.

I had kept my arm sleeves on but it was just warm enough for me that they were making me hot.  So I stripped them off and hoped that Joe would be at the top of the hill for me to throw them to him.  He was and I did. 😉

I felt pretty solid.  Not as fast as I had been in training runs but definitely felt better than I had at some of my tri's last summer during the run.  And it still wasn't raining!!  Although when we got to the bottom of the hill and had to run along 15th street heading south there was definitely a lot of wind there!!
Heading up the hill.
One more lap to go!
And done!  
Official finish time was 1:52:19.  That was an improvement of 2 minutes and 16 seconds from my race in 2016.

At first I had mixed emotions.  I knew that I had done better than the first time but I had been hoping to get under 1:50 so I was a little disappointed about that.  But at the same time I knew I had gotten a PR so that was super cool.  Proud and disappointed all at the same time.  Weird I know but I'm weird like that.

Looking at the numbers, my swim was faster, my transitions were faster and my bike was faster.  My run was a little slower than 2016 but it was still an average pace faster than any triathlon I did last year so that works for me!

Because they start the slower swimmers first and then the faster people later it makes for a lot of people of all different paces finishing at the same time.  I started about an hour earlier than most of my teammates so I finished but didn't have to wait long to see them going by on the run.  Loved being able to cheer some pretty cool people to the finish line.
Smiling before the race, still smiling after.  I think these two ladies are pretty badass! ❤
There was a little problem with the race results.  This is part of the reason for the delay in my race report.  The race organizers had given us the option of not doing the bike ride because of the windy conditions.  This would make the race an aquathon. When the race results showed up they showed all races as aquathons.  So my bike ride and my run were combined.  It looked like it took me an hour and thirty minutes to run 3.1 miles. lol  That's a wee bit slow, even for me.  😜

Today when I started looking at my race results for all my sprint distance triathlons I realized something else, this was my fastest sprint distance triathlon time overall.

That helped put things in perspective.

I did my best time overall in a sprint triathlon with super windy conditions during the bike ride that I know made my time slower than it would have been on a normal day.

I'm going to keep focusing on the fact that I feel stronger and faster in my workouts.

A couple of years ago, when I started getting serious about triathlons, I looked at the races I had signed up for and thought, "What the hell was I thinking!!!???"

Now I look at the races I have signed up for and I am ready to see how I can do.  How I can improve? And if I don't improve, figure out what to do next time to overcome whatever obstacles got in my way.

Thank you to my husband for coming and supporting me in my race.  I loved seeing him all along they way and loved all the pictures he took.  I couldn't ask for a better partner in all our adventures.

Thank you to my awesome coach, Jon Booth (Pure Endurance).  I appreciate his ability to push me out of my comfort zone to do things I'm pretty sure I can't, while also respecting that life throws curve balls that get in the way of training.

Also, my amazing daughter Bri, who spent all fall giving me swim lessons twice a week.  There has been some serious improvements in my swim the last few months and I know it's from all the lessons with Bri!!!  She is an amazing swim coach!!  (I'm not just saying that because she's my daughter! Seriously, she is a really good teacher.  I'm a wee bit proud of her.)

I'm really excited to see what the rest of the season brings.  I have three races that I have done twice before and I have added a new one.  I switching out my sprint in June for an Olympic distance at Pacific Crest at Sunriver at the end of June.  Little nervous and a lot excited about that race so that will be fun.  😝

I have 9 weeks of school left.  Lots to do at work, lots of training to be done.  It's going to be a busy few months!!


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Getting Help

It's been about three weeks since I got the diagnosis for Seasonal Affective Disorder and started taking medication for it.  There have been some bright points and some low points.  Figured that it was time for an update on how things are going.

The medication is taking the edge off.  I had a two week follow up with my doctor to see how things are going.  I told him the load is still there but it doesn't feel quite as heavy as it was before.  I have had some problems sleeping.  I wake up around 2:00 a.m. to go to the bathroom and then when I go back to bed I'm very restless.  I'm not totally awake but can't get comfortable, toss and turn a lot, and don't really feel rested.  Doc said that was a normal side-affect of the medication and for most people it gets better after the first few weeks.

Joe and I took off for a belated anniversary weekend about one week into taking the medication.  We were heading to Bend for the weekend and planned some hiking along the way.  The day we left was amazing weather.  Ridiculously beautiful and warm for January.  I treasure days like these during the winter.  We had decided to go to the Blue Pool for a hike on the way to Bend.  It's a very popular hike and one that we had never done.  We got there early enough that it wasn't busy heading to the Blue Pool.  We saw a few people but not many.  The trail goes along a river and the sun was shining through the trees on the water.  It was so beautiful.

It was a beautiful hike.  I'm sure if the sun had been hitting the water it would have been even more beautiful.  The reflection of the trees in the water made it look like a mirror.  I am hoping to do the hike again in the summer, probably during the week because the weekend is so busy, and see how it looks with the sun hitting the water.

We got back to the trail head and there was a group of people hanging out at their truck have an adult beverage.  Joe made some comment about that looking really good and suddenly they are grabbing one and offering it to him.  We spent some time hanging out with a very nice group of people.  That is one of the fun things about having adventures.  Sometimes you get to meet random people that are really fun.

When we finished yakking with the nice people in the parking lot we got ready to finish our drive to Bend.  But as we were going down the road Joe say a sign for Sahalie Falls and asked if I wanted to stop.  Why not?  We didn't have to be anywhere at any particular time.

We got out and checked out the falls and oh my goodness it was beautiful.  The sun was at the perfect spot in the sky so that there was rainbows.  We were checking it out and taking pictures when someone told us there were more falls just a little ways down the trail so we took off to check it out.  Every place we stopped we saw more rainbows.  We ended up with about a mile bonus hike and it was so worth it!
I had stopped to take this picture and the rainbow go SO bright!  
My favorite guy!!  💗
Then we headed back to the car and started to make our way to Bend.  The sky was so blue!  I love the views of the mountains we get on this drive.
Sunday morning we got up and headed out to do a hike at Smith Rock which is near Redmond.  There ended up being a lot of fog.  Which meant we didn't get the really awesome views that you can find on this hike.  But the fog had it's own kind of beauty.
View of Smith Rock from the parking lot.  😀
Once we got down to the river we could see it a little more...kind of.
At the top of Misery Ridge.  Isn't that a great view? 😉

I didn't go as close to the edge as Joe.  Happy I made it to the top.  
Monkey Face on the way down the other side.  
Proof that we saw some blue sky.

View of Smith Rock from the parking lot at the end of our hike.  
We ended up doing about 7.5 miles and got about 2,000 feet of elevation.  Kind of slow because some the downhills were hard for me.  I don't like heights and looking down at the trail and seeing all the down right there makes my stomach jittery.  Then add loose gravel that makes you slide on occasion and I am creeping along.  By the end I was so ready to be done and on flat ground again!  Could feel the out of proportion feelings start creeping in, the tears start welling up and the frustrations start.  Which then frustrated me even more because the day before I had such a good day and was feeling so much better. 

Monday we headed for home and had one more hike to do on the way.  Joe remembered a hike he had done when he was in high school so we decided to go check it out.  Salt Creek Falls was another beautiful hike.  It was technically closed for the winter season but there wasn't any snow so we went passed the gate and checked it out anyway. 

We didn't do the full hike in the forest since we weren't absolutely sure of the trails and didn't want to get on the wrong one and end up out and about in the woods all day.  Especially in an area that was closed for the season.  We got back to the car and headed for home. 

It was nice to get away and spend time with my hubby!! 

So doc had asked me to let him know if the sleep was getting better after another week.  If it was then we might up the dose of the meds to twice a day. 

I met with Jon to go over some new strength training exercises.  Once again I was reminded how much I appreciate my coach.  Before we got started with the new exercises we sat down to look at some of my workouts and talk.  Jon brainstormed ways to get me outside in the daylight, even if it was just for 10 or 15 minutes.  He said that if I came home and went for a quick walk then we could just shorten up whatever workout I was supposed to do after I got home.  He didn't want me to be overwhelmed with a walk and then a full workout.  I got a little overwhelmed with him caring about me getting outside and here come the tears.  I am so grateful to have a coach who gets that his athletes are a whole person, not just an athlete.  We have things come up, life happens, problems to overcome, jobs to do, winter blues to overcome.  All of these things factor into how we handle our workouts.  Sometimes the workouts aren't the most important thing.  In my case the workouts are probably one of the major reason the S.A.D. hasn't been much much worse. 

This last weekend I had a couple of days that were just hard.  Nothing major going on, no reason for things to be hard, but there I was being all teary over nothing again.  Not fun! 

I missed my swim Thursday morning because I had a bad night sleeping and just couldn't get myself moving at 4:30 a.m.  I was going to swim the next day instead but again, didn't get going in the morning.  Decided I would do it right after work but then some former students came by and the next thing I know I'm rushing home so we can head to Salem to see our daughter's concert.  I hate it when I flake on a workout because I'm tired.  I'm always tired so that isn't a good excuse. 

Part of the extra teary was being extra tired.  Which is not good when I'm already majorly tired on a good day.  So when I'm majorly tired with extra tired thrown on top it makes it harder to cope with things in general.  Joe worked on Saturday and I was supposed to do a 1.5 hour bike ride.  There was a group ride that morning but I had decided not to go.  I was weepy, grumpy and tired.  The weather looked crappy.  I just didn't feel like being around people. 

Then I got a text from one of my friends/teammates asking if I was going to be at the group ride.  I said I was on the fence.   Here's how the conversation went:

So I packed up my stuff and headed to Corvallis.  Evidently I am not a lame person.

I cried all the way to Corvallis, I have no idea why.

Then I cried all over Rebecca. lol

But I was there and I am thankful for friends that don't take no for answer.  I am also thankful for a ride outside.  We didn't get rained on the entire ride.  Tackled some solid hills and actually set a record for most elevation in one ride.  We had to stop and start a bunch of times going into and out of town so I got lots of practice clipping in and out and stopping and starting.  Managed to not fall down once so that was a win. 
When you don't have fenders you get some funny looking backsides.
Jon had a flat tire and was demonstrating how to change it fast. 😉
Kristin, me and Rebecca.  The ladies of the group ride.  😁
Getting outside and doing my workout with other people was a good thing.  I was still a little off but not so weepy and well....sad.  (Or S.A.D.) 

Sunday I had a hike and I was supposed to do some running and my coach wanted me take some times to run like I did when I was a kid.  Just go fast and do it for fun.  I had a bad attitude at the beginning of the hike.  I was tired, it was early and I didn't really want to be there.  Joe met me there when he got off work.  The plan was that he would go ahead of me and then come back to see me off and on as I did my hike.  We have done this lots of times but for some reason this particular morning I was grumpy about it.  If we couldn't hike or run together he should just go do his thing, I would do mine and see him when I got home.  He wasn't having any of that.  He basically ignored me and did his out and backs.  After I got up the first long hill there is a nice gradual down hill that last for a couple of miles.  It's a great place to really get moving fast.  Joe had come back to see me and had taken off again.  He was a ways ahead of me and I suddenly remembered what Jon had said about running like a kid. 

When I was a kid we used to race.  I'll race you to that tree.  Now I'll race you to the fence.  Now I'll race you to the end of the street.  Not long distances, just running to run and laughing about beating or getting beat by a friend or sibling. 

I decided to see if I could catch up with Joe and even pass him.  It was going to take some effort because he had gotten a ways down the road.  I did pass him and went on for a bit just enjoying the feeling of being FAST!  Even if it was just for a short distance.  I decided to keep doing this.  Joe would catch up and then pass me, I would wait a little bit and then take off after him.  I started slapping him in the butt as I went by.  This is because he always does that to me when we are doing track work or something.  If he passes me, I get a smack on the butt.  For whatever reason the whole thing, fast running, passing Joe and giving him pats on the rear, just made me smile.  I realized that I wasn't feeling grumpy or weepy anymore.  I was having fun. 

I wasn't worried about my pace or doing a particular set workout.  I was just goofing off and being silly.  It was really really fun to go fast.

I had hit the button on my Garmin to make each of my sprints a split so that I could look later to see how fast I was actually going.  (I was not supposed to be looking at my watch and worrying about anything, I was just supposed to do whatever and have fun.  Coaches instructions!) 

I had one split that was .13 long (not very far at all) but my average pace was 8:33.  That was so cool.  Then I had another one that was .38 long that had an average pace of 9:30.  I loved that because it was significantly longer and I kept the pace going.  Fun stuff.  Can't maintain that for long, and probably couldn't do it as easy on a flat road but it was sure a kick in the pants to be able to do it on that down hill. 

Being a silly runner who harassed her husband seemed to take the edge off of my bad mood. 

I took a bit of a nap when we got home (not long enough!) and then got ready to go see a play with my daughter.  This was the third night that I would be out and about way past my bedtime.  I was definitely reaching the max of what I could handle in my tired department.  I know this was not helping with the S.A.D. aspect as well. 

Last night I was able to get to bed at my more normal bedtime.  That helped a lot. 

Overall I think things are better.  But they are still a long way from being great, or even good.  I know I am doing everything I can to help myself feel better.  Controlling what I can and doing the best I can with the rest.  Not always easy. 

Another aspect that I struggle with is feeling guilty about feeling down.  I really have nothing to be down about.  Great husband, fabulous kids, a new job that is a kick in the pants, friends that love me, people that encourage me, lots of laughter and adventures.  I'm not sick, I don't have any broken bones, haven't lost a loved one, I am able to pay my bills, etc.  There are many, many people that I know and love that are legitimately going through some rough stuff.  I feel like a big whiny pansy.  Having a chemical imbalance in my brain does not sound like enough of a reason to be a sad sack. 

I think this probably is part of the reason that a lot of people don't share about struggles with depression.  There is a part of me that thinks I'm being unreasonable and shouldn't make a big deal about it since I really have nothing to complain about.  I know others who think the same way.  Double edged sword.  It seems like there should be something that is going on that is making me depressed that is a little more significant than it is dark and rainy outside.  That feels a bit silly really. 

The truth is that I am sad.  I am working on making it better. 

Exercise helps. 

Having people keeping an eye on me helps.

Taking the medication helps.

Using the happy lights help. 

Being able to acknowledge that I needed (and still need) help helps. 

I love this quote.  Just seems to capture what I'm doing right now. 

Making it work. 

One way or the other.

One day at a time.