Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Oregon Dunes Triathlon 2018

Spring is a hard time for teachers.  April and May are long months where there is a mad scramble to try and cram as much last minute learning as we can before state testing starts.  Then managing state testing which is a week or more of torture for both teacher and student for just one subject.  Poor kids did my Language Arts test and now will be going straight into Math testing.  Then managing kids that are so over school they can hardly manage to keep still or quiet for more than two minutes at a stretch.  And while all this craziness is going on teachers are supposed to manage behavior, inspire learning at high levels and basically keep a positive attitude until the last moment.
It's exhausting!!!  I love my job!  I mean I really really love what I do.  I love my students and I love getting them excited about what I'm teaching.  I love light bulb moments, class jokes and the day to day fun of being a part of a student growing up.  But just like parenting, when kids trust you they are going to test you and the worst of that testing of teachers happens at the end of the school year.

Will you still care about me if I'm a jerk?  Will you still hold me accountable and make me do my best?  Prove that you care!  Prove it every day!  Exhausting!

Then you add to the mix a teacher that deals with being more tired than the average teacher on a good day and trying to keep up with a training schedule that has workouts almost every day after school and often one before school as well.  Yep, I'm pretty much pooped.
All that being said, it makes getting ready for the Oregon Dunes Triathlon a bit of a challenge.  The Dunes Tri is usually on the Saturday before Mother's Day.  The second weekend in May.  I have survived April and am working my way through May.  The challenge comes from the fact that I really don't feel like working out most days after work.  I'm just done when I get home.  Often I come home and go straight into the bedroom and change into my workout clothes.  That way I'm at least started in the right direction.  I can then mentally tell myself that I'm dressed for working out so I might as well get started.  I usually tell myself that I won't do the entire planned workout since I'm so tired, but something is better than nothing.  Most of the time, once I get going, I do the entire workout.  😜

This year was my third time doing the Oregon Dunes Sprint Triathlon.  Way back when, it was my very first open water swim event.  I remember being SO nervous!  I finished with a time of 2:14.  Last year the weather was awful!  So bad that it was a bit on the ridiculous side.  I still managed to get a PR of 2:07.  Improvement in spite of the weather is awesome.  Although I really do think the biggest part of that improvement was the new lighter, faster bike.

That brings us to this years event.

Joe and I had made reservations at Honeyman State Park, as usual, for this race.  This year we got to stay in our travel trailer.  This was our first event where we packed up the trailer with racing in mind.  It was fun to see how it all packed up and worked as our home base for racing.  We got a hitch adapter for the bumper of the trailer so that the bike rack could go on the trailer.  This worked pretty slick and then on race day it was easy to move the bike rack to the truck to head to the transition area.

I loved having all our food, snacks, fueling and drinks in the trailer.  It made it easier to put things together the morning of the race.

In the past we have traditionally had dinner at Abby's Pizza in Florence the night before the race.  This year there wasn't as many friends and teammates racing and that plan kind of fizzled.  So Joe and I ate at the trailer.  I had brought dinner to make for Friday night, just in case.  Rebecca joined us for dinner, which was awesome and then Mike and Jon came later to have S'mores with us.  It was fun just visiting and hanging out with such fun people!

Saturday morning we got up early.  I'm not a huge fan of getting up early but I do like it when I don't feel rushed.  We had plenty of time to eat breakfast, get dressed, get our gear organized and loaded in the truck and take care of the dog.  Soon enough it was time to head to the lake.

Joe was doing the Olympic triathlon and I was doing the Sprint.  Which meant that Joe started a little after 8:00 a.m. and I didn't start until 9:03 a.m.  We got there about 6:30 a.m.  That seems like a long time between arriving and start time, for either race.  But the truth is, by the time we get numbers put on our arm and legs, find a spot in transition, get things organized and make sure we have everything it goes really fast!  Add in talking to people, helping people out, and taking pictures, it goes even faster!
Obligitory Pre-Race selfie with my bestie.  He humors me!  lol

Looks all neat and organized now.  After the race it looks like a yard sale. 

Woahink Lake.  A balmy 60 degrees.  Cold but quite a bit warmer than what we have practiced in.
Rebecca and me before the race.  Best smiles on the course, I'm pretty sure!
Rebecca puts her gloves on her arrowbars.  lol  It looks like her gloves are giving her the bird.  😂
Loved that our teammate Mike came along to cheer us on!  Team Pure Endurance!!!
It wasn't long before it was time for Joe and Chad to start their swim for the Olympic Tri.  I walked over and was able to spot them both and watch them get started.  Now it was time for me to get my wet suit on and then get in the water to warm up.

I decided that the water was warm enough (barely) to not wear my booties and my neoprene cap.  I got my wet suit on much easier than I did at the end of last season which was a pleasant surprise.  (Look for a follow up blog that talks about that!)  I headed down for the water to make sure I didn't want to change my mind about the cap and booties.  Coach pulled me over to scope out the situation with a larger than normal sandbar in the way at the start of the race.  He told me the game plan on how to avoid the sandbar and keep moving better.

Once I got in the water it took a few tries to get my face to stop being mad that I wanted to put it in such cold water.  But I kept at it and it didn't take long to be swimming like normal.  I warmed up for about 10 minutes and then headed back to shore to watch the men of the Sprint race start.  Three minutes later the ladies were off.

My swim felt really good.  The last three weeks or so my swimming has taken a sudden notch up to a faster level.  It's hard to explain but it was like a lot of things all clicked into place and I just bumped up to another level.  However, this meant that I was actually swimming with people the entire race.  So there was more manuevering than I'm used to.  I ended up swimming next to someone I know who is a very athletic person and usually dominates in anything he does.  But I was keeping up with this person because they didn't know how to sight while swimming and had to keep stopping to see where to go.  That really made me appreciate being able to sight and keep in a pretty straight line while keeping my speed.  My Garmin said I went 879 yards.  The swim was supposed to be 750 meters.  When converted to yards that works out to be 803 yards.  So I was a bit off but not too much.
750 meters of open water swimming.
Done with the swim.
I was really pleased with how my swim felt and was smiling when I got out of the water.  I headed up to transition and to my surprise, Rebecca was there.  She had gotten out of the water just a few minutes before me.  Usually she is long gone by the time I hit transition so that made me smile to be able to see her taking off on the bike.  I knew I wouldn't see her again until the finish but I still got a kick out of making it out of the water fast enough to see her before she left on the bike.

Transition went well.  Although I couldn't decide if I should wear my jacket or not.  It was on the cool side but I ended up not wearing it and was glad later that I made that choice.  It was fun having Mike there cheering me on while I got ready to head out on the bike.  I got out to where I could get on my bike and Jon was there cheering me on too.  I got clipped in and took off.
Here I go!!
The fun part was that the bike ride felt really solid right from the start.  There is a small hill getting out of the parking lot and then when we get on the road there is a big hill to start things off.  This whole route is basically either going uphill or downhill.  There are no flat parts.

Starting my ride and already having so much fun!
The downhills are a blast. The uphills are work.  I worked hard at biking smart and using a lot of the skills that Jon and I have been working on the last year.  Here are some of the things I focused on during the ride:

  • Not burning all my matches trying to go super fast up the hills.  As in wasting a bunch of energy going up that could be better used on the downhill side. 
  • Starting to change my gears near the top so I didn't lose momentum, I actually gained it even before I was heading downhill.
  • Changing into the big ring on the front gear so that I could use my pedaling more effectively on the downhill side.  This was awesome!  I passed quite a few people going downhill that had passed me going uphill.  And then they never caught me again.  ;-)  
  • Having more confidence in my bike handling skills so that I didn't brake going downhill.  The fastest speed I had on this race in the previous two years was 31 mph.  This year I hit 35 mph!!  Woo hoo!  
  • Best of all, even though it was a race, I just had fun playing on my bike!!  I have come so far in the bike section of a triathlon.  I was all smiles on the bike from start to finish!!
One aspect of the bike ride made me chuckle.  There is a steep little section where we do a little lollipop and then start heading back the way we came out.  I mean really steep.  The first year I had to walk up about half of it, and then stop and use my inhaler at the top before I could get going again.  This year I noticed that there was an ambulance sitting on the side of the road at the top of that hill.  This made me laugh because I wondered if they were worried someone was going to have a heart attack trying to make it up that hill.  So I was grinding my way up this hill, determined to get to the top without stopping or having a heart attack.  I got to the top and there was a volunteer standing on the corner cheering everyone on.  I looked over and said, "That hill is a bitch!"  The volunteer laughed and said that a lot of people had stopped and walked up it.  I just grinned and said, "Not me!  Not this time!"  
The last part of the ride is a downhill on the main road to the park entrance.  When I rode this route during our Spring Break trip I was cautious about traffic and tried to stay on the side of the road as best I could.  During the race I knew that the volunteers were stopping traffic and when the traffic was coming by they knew it was a race and were very patient about staying behind us and letting us do our thing.  This made me more confident and able to just go for it down that hill.  It was so much fun! 
Last part of the bike ride and I'm still smiling!
 I try really hard to not look at my watch except for when I'm hitting the button for transitions.  That way I don't beat myself up or stress out for doing what I think I should be doing.  It also makes it so that by the time I see the time, it is what it is and there isn't anything I can do about it but move on to the next part.  When I looked at my watch to hit the button for the finish of the ride it said 49:21!!  I had done a really hilly ride in under 50 minutes and more than 5 minutes faster than last year.  I was so stoked!!  Jon was there cheering for me at the bike dismount.  

I headed into transition and got ready for the run.  Having to change shoes is a new thing since this is the first season that I am wearing clip in shoes for the bike ride.  Even with that extra step my transition was not too shabby.  Mike was by me again at transition, giving encouraging words as I was heading out.  I love my peeps!  So fun to hear encouragement from people I know!  

I took off on the run.  The run is a trail run for a large portion of the run.  So small hills, roots, rocks and other obstacles that slow me down.  I was feeling pretty solid though.  I had something in my shoe which was a bit of a distraction at the start.  I was trying to decide if I should stop and get it out or just keep going.  I just kept going.  
I was almost a mile into the run when I could tell someone was coming up next to me but they didn't go zipping by like most people do.  I look over and it's my hubby!  He gave me a slap on the ass, asked me how I was doing, told me he loved me and kept on going.  I kept him in sight for a little while though.  He was just starting his 10k and I wouldn't see him again until the finish line.  He told me he had a muscle that was threatening to act up so he was going to not push too hard in order to keep it from becoming a real injury.  

There is a hill that takes us up to the bridge that goes over the freeway so that we can get into Honeyman State Park.  I was trying to keep running and then I realized that I could probably walk at the same pace and probably not burn as many matches.  So I did walk and just tried to keep the pace a very fast walk.  When I got to the bridge I started running again and worked at amping the speed so that I could make up for the walking bit.  

Again, I was feeling pretty solid.  I was wishing I could get a little more speed but I knew I was doing so much better than last year that I wasn't going to let myself get all worked up about it.  I was able to keep a pretty steady pace going for the entire run.  

Then came the dune at the finish.  

It seems so much longer and steeper on race day than it does other times when I have visited the park.  I put my head down and started up the sand.  

Running in the sand is not easy.  

Actually, I'm pretty sure I wasn't really running.  More like trudging.  

I kept at it.  

I was not going to add one second of time to my overall time because I didn't give 100%.  

Towards the very top my legs were burning and I just wanted to stop but I still had about 10 feet to go.  

I made it over the finish line and hit the button on my watch.  

Wow!

I had such a good race!  I knew that I had done well and was excited about it because all the different parts and pieces felt really good from start to finish.  

Jon was there cheering for me.  He said to me, "Look at your watch!  What was your final time?"  (He said this knowing that it was really good. lol)

I looked down at my watch and couldn't believe it!

What the heck?!!

My watch said 1:55:13!  

That's like a 12 minute PR.  

On a hilly course!! 

That's ridiculous

I hoped to PR over last years time.  I never thought I could do that much better!  

WOW!

I don't think I can give all the credit to my improvement on the bike since this is my second season using it.  Must mean I've made some improvements along the way too.  
Joe looked at this picture and said that this is my typical "I can't believe I just did that" pose.  I smile and scrunch up my shoulders evidently. lol  I'm okay with that! 

Jon said he almost missed me finishing because he thought it would be another five minutes before I finished and suddenly I was coming up the dune already.  ;-)  Gotta love it when you not only surprise yourself but you surprise your coach.  
One of my favorite pictures of the day. 💜
I am very blessed to have a fabulous coach that pushes me to do more than I think I can in the day to day workouts and then is just as excited as I am when it pays off on race day!  
Two best smiles at the race I'm pretty sure! 😁
Next I get a big hug from Rebecca!  She got a PR too and 3rd in her age group!  Rock star!!
Mike was great about making sure we were all taken care off at the finish line.  He went and got my bag so I didn't have to go down and then back up the dune to watch for Joe to finish.  He made sure we had snacks and water if we needed it.  He was a great support person to have around!!  Another awesome teammate!!  (Even if we do call him "The Little Shit".  He is just so stinking fast! lol)  

It wasn't long before Joe was finishing his race.  He had a great swim and bike but the run wasn't what he was hoping for.  He got third in his age group but didn't do as well as he had hoped he would.  On the plus side, because he was smart and didn't push the run when things started complaining, he also didn't finish with an injury that would have made Ironman training more difficult.  I'm glad he was a smart athlete in this case, even if the results weren't what he was hoping for.  By holding back a bit this time it will make him stay healthy for the big goal of Ironman Canada in July.  
That's my guy!! 
I love this picture!  WE do triathlons!  (Still can't believe it sometimes!)
We watched our friend Chad finish his Olympic race and then started working our way down the hill.  I got a picture of my race results which made it really official and even more real!
Looks like my watch and the official time were pretty darn close!! 
Turns out I got 5th in my age group.  Which is funny because last year (the rainy year) I got 2nd in my age group (out of two).   This time I was 5th out of 8, with a 12 minute improvement.  This is why you have to race yourself.  The age group and final results depend on who shows up on race day, and that is different from year to year.  I can only compare to myself.  And I kicked my own butt so I am totally stoked about my results!  

Last year I was 93rd out of 111 sprint triathletes.  So 18 spots from the bottom.  This year there were fewer participants, which is weird since the weather was so much better.  I would have thought there would have been way more people doing the race this year.  This year I was 63rd out of 85, 22 spots from the bottom.  A little improvement there too.  

Last year's results:
This year's results:
Pretty fun to compare and see improvement in all areas.  T2 was a tiny bit slower but this time I had to change shoes and last year I didn't so I'm okay with that.  

Another thing that I realized when looking at the times from my age group ladies.  I beat 3rd and 4th place in my swim and T1.  Was right there with them at the finish of the bike and T2.  They both kicked my ass on the run.  Even though my run was WAY better than the year before.  

I'm making improvements in all parts of my triathon but there are still SO many things to work on. 

There are some really cool things that I took away from this race:
  • I kicked my own butt!  My PR was amazing and I'm still smiling about it.  Mostly because I surprised myself AND my coach on just how well I did.  ;-)  
  • I had so much fun!!  That is so important.  I felt good.  I didn't get in my own head about things and I really just enjoyed the day.  
  • While I am able to look at the numbers and compare to other racers and see where I can make improvements, it has not taken one bit of the shine off of what I accomplished.  I didn't get all mental and go down the comparison road thinking I suck because I didn't do as well as others.  This is a HUGE aspect to my feeling successful in this race.  I am just as pleased with my results today as I was at the finish of the race.  I didn't let anything bring down how I feel about my race.  Not only did I improve on my physical race, I also improved on the mental side of things as well.  
  • I felt strong and enjoyed every single moment of this race!  When people ask me when I'm going to do a half Ironman distance or an Ironman distance race I really don't know that I ever will.  I am having so much fun doing sprints and olympics.  I love the challenge and the fact that I can see the improvements over the last three years.  Maybe someday but right now I'm having a blast with what I'm doing. 
  • And the best part!  The weather was perfect.  A bit overcast during the swim and the bike but no wind and the temperatures were in the mid 50's which is perfect for me.  The sun came out during the run but it didn't get hot so I didn't feel like I was fighting the heat while running.  Gotta love finish up a race at the beach with blue skies!  That right there will put a smile on your face!  
I still have so much to learn and improve on.  Welcome to life.  We should always be learning and growing!  However, it sure is nice to celebrate the milestones where the learning and growing show up strong and obvious.  

I know that not every race I do will have a PR, let alone a PR as big as this one.  This makes me really want to soak up every moment of being proud of this one because I know it's special.  

Originally the plan was for the next race to be a new adventure by doing the Olympic Triathlon at Pacific Crest in June.  Unfortunately, I have to be out of town doing some work in order to be able to get my school counselor license.  I either had to give up the first 10 days of my summer vacation and one race or leave the morning after Joe's Ironman in July.  That was a no brainer.  

This has caused some readjustments in my goals for the next to races I have planned, Tri at the Grove and Best in the West.  Because I will be gone for 10 days with this school counselor training I am not sure if I will be able to get many workouts done while I'm gone.  So Tri at the Grove is going to be what it is.  I am just going to go and have fun and do my best where I am at in that moment.  I do, however, plan to work hard in July and August so that I can try and have fun and kick my own ass at Best in the West in September.  

It's good to have goals and be proud of PRs.  It's also good to understand that life happens that affects how we do on race day.  
Saturday was a very good day.  I'm going to be smiling about this one for awhile.  

Shoutouts!
  • Thank you Mike for coming and cheering us on even though you weren't racing!!  It was so fun having you there!
  • Thank you Rebecca, Jon and Best in the West Events for sharing your pictures with me.  I love them, even the ones I don't like.  lol  
  • Thank you Rebecca for being such a great friend and always having a smile and a huge hug for me.  Hard to let the butterflies get too strong when you are keeping me smiling and positive!
  • Thank you Coach for being the perfect coach for me!  You see me as a whole person and get that life happens.  You never make me feel guilty for life getting in the way of training.  You also push me to keep working and do more than I think I can.  I have had improvements all along this journey with you as my coach but it seems like this year things are really clicking into place on many levels.  Exciting stuff!  
  • Big shout out to Best in the West Events for putting together another fun event.  I love how smoothly everything seems to run.  (I have run big events, not triathlons but still, and know that not everything always goes as smoothly as it appears from the outside.)  Thank you for making it such a fun day for everyone participating.  And thank you for the free pictures!  That is so cool that we can just snag the pictures and share them without an additional cost.  Your volunteers, photographers and Posse are all amazing at every single event we go to.  You guys rock!!! Check out their many events here: http://www.bestinthewestevents.com/
  • Best of all my husband, best friend and biggest fan, Joe.  You just quietly encourage me and know that I can do hard things.  When you know I can do hard things without seeming to question it, it makes me believe it more and I want to have your belief in me be proven right.  You encourage me to work harder in so many ways and never, ever make me feel like I can't do all these crazy things I decide to try.  Or make me feel guilty for taking the time to train instead of doing a thousand other mom/wife things that I could be doing instead.  
There have been a lot of frustrating workouts and times where I totally wanted to forget about doing these crazy triathlons.  Races like this one remind me that all the hard work pays off.  Looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season brings.  Both in improvements in the day to day workouts and what I can do on race day.  

Joe and I stayed one more night at the park, which was nice to be able to just hang out and relax.  A long hot shower followed by a solid two hour nap was awesome.  Steaks on the grill and hanging out in the trailer was a great way to end a fun day.  Sunday morning Joe went for a long bike ride, he's training for an Ironman so he has to keep it moving!  I just had to go for a walk/hike so Finn and I went back to the dunes where the race had finished and wandered around different parts of the park.  What a gorgeous morning!  
On the trial heading to the dunes. 
This is the dune the race finishes on.  Doesn't look as bad when it's not race day.
Finn trying to decide if he should go swimming. 
Trudging up a dune is hard work.  Glad I didn't have to run up this one!
The Rhoddies were in bloom all over the park.

The best part of my hike was realizing I wasn't really sore from the race the day before.  Tired for sure but not sore and aching. That's another cool aspect of my training that I didn't realize would happen.  I put in my best effort during the race, raced as smart as I could, came away with a PR and still didn't have a wrecked body as a result.  Gotta love that.  

We will see what July brings.  There's a lot of adventures to be had between now and then.  Will be interesting to see how it all ends up being.  

Thanks for reading my rather long account of my Oregon Dunes Triathlon.  My 4 and a half readers are the best. lol  



Monday, April 23, 2018

When Is It Okay to Quit? Trick Question!

I did my first open water swim of the season this last Saturday.  It was in a small lake that was a rock quarry.  We can only swim in it for a couple of months in the spring because after that it starts to have algae.  It's about 300 yards to the opposite shore so it's a decent stretch and we can get a long workout without too many laps.

While the water is warmer than some of the local lakes, it isn't warmer by much.  I had on my wet suit, booties and neoprene cap.  All to help keep me as warm as possible.  
So nice to have sunshine after so much rain!!  It was a beautiful morning!!  Not as warm as it looks though. 😉
Getting into the water isn't too bad at first.  Until that first bit of water goes down the neck of the wet suit.  

Brrrrr!!
Mike and I getting ready to start swimming.  (I am on the left)
My coach and his son were in kayaks.  The plan was for them to be hanging out with us while we swam.  My teammate Mike was the other crazy person swimming.  Another gentleman that works with Jon was going to be there too.  He is signed up for the swim portion of a relay team at the Oregon Dunes triathlon next month but wasn't too excited about swimming in a lake.  So this was a good chance for him to practice with other people and try and get more comfortable.  

When we got started I was struggling.  Everything felt fine until I put my face in the water.  It feels like pins are sticking me all over my face when the water is so cold.  It just hurts.  

I would put my face down and try and take a stroke and have to stop almost immediately.  

I tried a couple more times and was getting frustrated because it wasn't getting any better.  All I could think was that it was going to be a long swim and that I would be lucky to make it one time to the other side and back.  

Jon was in the kayak next to me and he just kept encouraging to keep trying, it would get better.  

I think it was about the sixth time that I put my face down I was finally able to start actually swimming and have it be tolerable.  

My face wasn't hurting from the cold and I was able to get into a good rhythm.  I got to the other side and stopped to talk with Jon about things to work on.  That's when I realized that I hadn't hit the right button to start my watch.  Dang it!  Missed out on over 300 yards of my swimming showing on my workout.  I know it shouldn't matter but, well, it does. lol  

I ended up going across the lake three times and back.  I felt good.  I was focusing on my form and some things that Jon was seeing that he wanted me to work on.  It wasn't about going fast but about getting used to the cold water and the wet suit again.  Especially since our first open water swim during a race is less than a month away.  

I had fun once I was able to get past the initial frustration.  

That got me thinking.  

When I first started and I had tried about three different times to get going and struggled with the pain I wanted to quit.  

I wanted to say it was just too cold and that I would try again another day.  

I wanted to say that I had given it a good go but it wasn't going to work.  

I wanted to say I had tried and sometimes it just doesn't work.  

But my coach said to keep trying.  

He said it would get better.  

I kept trying.  

It did get better.  

Three tries is good.  

But on Saturday, three tries was not good enough.  

I had to keep trying for a while longer before I could make it work.  

It made me wonder how many times we give something a good try and then give up. 

We give up when it seems reasonable.  We didn't give up after one try.  We tried several times.  Most people would say good job.  You gave it a good shot and it is reasonable to say enough is enough.  

But how often would we have been able to make something work if we had just tried a little longer?  

Or tried a few more times?  

I know that there are many times where I want to give up.   Where I can justify stopping because I did give it a pretty good shot.  

But what if was just on the edge of making it work?  

What if success was just one more try away?  

A lot of things about working with a coach correlate for me with my teaching.  As a teacher I know that there are times where a student is right on the edge of understanding some concept that we have been working on.  I am their cheerleader and encourager.  Pushing them to keep at it just a little bit longer.  Then we get to do a big happy dance together because it feels so good to have that light bulb go off!  It is my favorite part of being a teacher!  As the year goes by and the students learn to trust me, they are willing to keep going at something because they know I won't push them to do something I didn't 100% believe they could do if they just keep working at it. 

I appreciate the same concept from the learning end as well.  Having my coach there to keep pushing me and encouraging me because he knows that if I stick with it I can make it work. Then when I do we both do a happy dance that I overcame an obstacle.  

This translates into pushing a little harder when I'm on my own.  I can hear my coach's voice in my head telling me to keep at it, I can do it, don't quit.  (I hope that my students hear my voice telling them to keep at it long after I am not their teacher anymore.  😍)

So I keep at it, and I do it and I don't quit.  

Sometimes it's not about the pace or the time.

Sometimes it is about just getting it done and not giving up.  

Sometimes it is small things like putting my face in really cold water.  

Sometimes it is something that seems small to others but can be a huge thing in my mind.  Like using on clip on shoes with my bike.  I had to really work at not freaking out about that one this winter.  lol

This is my third season working with my coach.  There is a great deal of trust at this point.  I know that Jon is going to push me harder than I would push myself.  But I trust him.  So when he says I can do something, I take a deep breath and give it my best shot.  

When I am told to keep putting my face in the water, it will get better, I believe it.  

Lesson learned:  When someone who is helping you says that you need to keep trying just a little longer, listen to them.  It's worth some frustration and some discomfort in the long run.

This can be applied to so many things in life.

So apply where it seems appropriate for you and try just a little bit longer.  You might surprise yourself.  

**Mike checked the water temperature after we were done with the swim.  It was 56 degrees.  I have done colder but it still was a challenge.  😁🏊 

***Thank you Jon for letting me steal your pictures from Saturday.  


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.

Repeatedly.

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!!