Monday, June 5, 2017

Blue Lake Sprint Triathlon 2017

It was a good day.

Actually it was a great day!!

I'm still smiling about it.

The week leading up to the triathlon was busy.  The school year is winding down, the students are winding up and I am definitely end-of-the-year teacher tired.
Yep! lol
But I was able to still do all my workouts like I was supposed to and I was pretty proud of that.  There were several evenings that I really had to talk myself into going.  I really just wanted to sit down on the couch and not move again.

For a few days before the race I also was dealing with a cough.  Didn't really feel sick, just had a tickle in my throat.  I thought it was just allergies but it kept getting worse.  Saturday night was bad.  I kept waking up coughing.  Which makes getting good rest the night before a race difficult.  Makes getting up at 4:00 a.m. painful!

Saturday afternoon Joe and I spent time getting all our race gear out and organized.  He took one side of the dining room table and I took the other side.  It's pretty funny seeing all the stuff that is needed all spread out.  This didn't even have our wetsuits, bikes and helmets.
Lots of stuff needed for a triathlon.  😀
At this point I wasn't nervous about the race at all.  Just ready to get it done.

During the day I got this text from my new awesome-sauce teammate Rebecca:
Excellent words of advice!!

I love that!

Breathe, smile, have fun, repeat.

Rebecca, we just might have to have shirts made with that on it.

We went to bed early but with all the coughing I was up a lot and didn't get solid sleep.  Knowing that I need to be sleeping  just made it worse.  Four o'clock in the morning came way too fast!

I got up and ate breakfast and then started getting ready.  One I was wearing what I needed I started putting the rest of the stuff in ziplock bags by swim, bike and run to keep it all organized.  This also helps me be able to make one last check to see if I missed anything.

Swim bag:  Heart rate monitor, earplugs, two pairs of goggles (in case one breaks), velcro ankle strap for timing chip, glide and swim cap.  (They usually have one for us to wear but I always bring one, just in case.)  Then I make sure my wetsuit is in the car.

Bike bag:  Bike gloves, socks, sunglasses, hat, drink and fuel for the ride and a jacket if I need it.  I brought it along this time because I wasn't sure if it might be a little rainy or cold and windy.  I also make sure I have my helmet in the car at this point.

Run bag:  Race belt for my bib number and my hand-held water bottle.  Also have fuel for the run as well ready to go.

Next I make sure I have clothes to change into.  I knew that Joe would be done quite a bit after me since he was going an Olympic triathlon and he started a half an hour after me.  If I'm standing around in wet and sweaty clothes I get chilled fast and then spend the whole day trying to get over that.  So I brought along sweatpants, a clean shirt and a sweatshirt.

Once Joe and I had everything packed into the car we headed out.  Our goal was to be on the road by 5:00 a.m. and we left the driveway at 4:58 a.m.  😊

We got to Blue Lake and found a parking spot.  First thing I had to do was go to the bathroom.  Luckily it was early enough the line wasn't too bad.  Then we went to pick up our packets.  I like the shirts this year.  Great color and this one fits better so I'm sure I will wear it way more than the one I got last year.

We headed back to the car so that we could finish getting ready.

Stickers on the bikes and helmets.
Make sure the tires on the bikes had enough air in them.
Heart rate monitor on.
Hair in a ponytail.
Fold up wetsuit and put in my backpack.
Grab my helmet and head for the line to get into transition.
Pre-race selfie with my favorite guy!  Couldn't do all this without him cheering me on. 💜
I took off to get in line for transition because the line was getting really long and I knew it would take awhile and I still needed time to get on my wetsuit.

When it was finally my turn to have my numbers put on my arms and calves another volunteer walked up to ask my volunteer a question.  A woman who was there spectating wanted to know a good place to run while her husband was doing the Olympic bike ride.  So they start talking about it and I'm just standing there!  Ugh.  So finally I said, "I really need to get into transition and get ready can someone please put my numbers on and then help her out?"  They said sorry and one of the gals took care of me.  They were super nice and I really did try to ask nicely but I was starting to get antsy and waiting wasn't helping.  lol

I got into the transition area and found the rack I was assigned.  The racks were pretty crowded and it didn't help that people that got there early had set up all their stuff next to their bikes taking up a lot more room.  But as people came back to start getting ready for the swim we were able to move things around so that more bikes would fit.  I was close to the end so I ended up putting my backpack at the end of the row just to get it out of the way.  Once I had all my bike and run things set up like I wanted I started getting on my wetsuit.  It wasn't long before I was ready to head down to the water.  By this time Joe had arrived in transition so I was able to get one more kiss from him before I started down to the lake.  Then our friends and teammates Marcus and Melissa gave me a shout!  So cool to see them.  They came just to cheer Joe and I on.  I love our team!!

I got down by the water and was starting to get really nervous.  I hadn't been nervous at all up to this point but suddenly I was anxious.  Melissa and Marcus found me down by the water and I got a great big Melissa hug!  I seriously can't wait for this lady to be able to be racing with me again.

Jon showed up next and I got a pre-race coach hug.  Then a few last minute instructions that went something like this:  Go fast, have fun and smile because I will go faster that way.  Sounds like a pretty solid plan.  Funny how smiling seems to be a common thread in encouragement.  😃

I went into the water and warmed up for a bit.  The water temperature was 71 degrees so I didn't need my booties or my neoprene cap which was awesome.  Felt like warm bath compared to the other open water swims I have done this year so far.  It wasn't long before they started the first wave of the Sprint Triathlon.  First wave wore silver caps, second wave wore blue caps, third wave wore purple caps and my wave had red caps.  Each wave after the first one started three minutes later.

Joe arrived at the water just in time to give me one more smooch and tell me to have fun.  His race started 30 minutes later so I know he hustled to get down there when he didn't have to.  I love my husband and how much he supports me!

Soon enough it was time for me to get ready to start.  I got to the left side of the group and we counted down to the horn going off.  Here's a new problem and not really a problem that I ever anticipated having.  I have gotten so much faster with my swimming that I'm not at the back of the pack anymore.  I was right in the middle of everyone.

You know what?  Everyone does not swim in a straight line!  I had trouble getting away from people. I didn't want to sprint to much at the start but at the same time I know I was smacking people and kicking them as I was swimming. Since they were basically swimming into me I figured I had the right of way and just kept going and let them adjust rather than stopping and letting this go by.  I have learned a few things and the last time I kept stopping for someone that zig zagged it was constant because they would zig and run into me.  I would stop and let them go by and then they would zag and run into me again.  I may not be the fastest person out there but I do a pretty good job of sighting and swimming in a straight line.  When I got to the first buoy the crowd thinning out.  I was struggling some with my breathing but I think that had more to do with the cough I was struggling with than anything else.  By the time I got to the second buoy I had passed several ladies with purple caps on which was cool because they started three minutes before me.  By the time I got to the last buoy and started heading back to the spot to get out I started passing blue caps!  That made me excited because those people started six minutes before me!!!
Finishing the swim.
I came out of the water and my coach and teammates were cheering for me.  Can't help but smile when you have your own personal cheering section.  I was pretty sure I had done better than last year.    I had looked at my final time from last year just so I could have it in my head but I decided not to look at the individual times because I didn't want to be thinking about whether I was faster or slower than last year while I was racing.

I'm trying really hard to do my thing at each race and then see how it panned out after.  I am also working at not looking at my watch at all during so that I don't start thinking about how I should be going faster and then get worked up about it.  That actually slows me down!

I was able to trot the whole way up to the transition area which was better than last year too.  I got my goggles, cap, earplugs off, hair out of the ponytail holder and my wetsuit off to the waist all before I got to my bike.  Sat down and took the wet suit the rest of the way off.  Put on my hat.  Dried my feet and put my socks and shoes on.  Did a quick rub down to get some of the water off.  Put on my sunglasses, my helmet, my gloves, unracked the bike and headed out.
Smiling as promised.

I can't remember what Jon said but oh my word, don't I look sassy.  lol
One of the things that my coach and my hubby always say to do is make sure you know where you come into transition and go out of transition each time.  I had done this before the race and was able to get out to the bike mount area quickly.  Once again Melissa and Jon were cheering me on.  Started really well and got around the corner and Marcus was on the road cheering me there too.  That's when I remember I forgot to push the button to start the bike part of my triathlon on my Garmin.  At least I wasn't miles down the road. lol
I got out of the park and headed west on Marine Dr.  Marine Dr. goes along the Columbia River.  It's really beautiful and if you know anything about the Columbia River and the Gorge you will know that it can be extremely windy.  While I wouldn't say it was extremely windy, I would say that the wind did have an impact on my speed.  Since Jon has had me get down in the lower part of my handle bars he said that I should try and do that for as much of the ride as I felt comfortable doing.  This would help with reducing my wind resistance and I would go a little faster.  I was able to do the entire ride out and most of the ride back.

Here's another thing that happened that was not something I was used to.  I was passing people on the bike.  Not tons of people but a fair amount.  I got passed by quite a few people as well but many of those were doing the duathlon where they only biked and ran so I think they don't count.  lol

One guy I started to pass because I had been gaining on him at a steady pace for a while.  When I got next to him he sped up.  Stinker!  When someone is passing the rule is you maintain your speed or even back off a bit so they can get in front.  I don't think he liked getting passed by a chick.  Too bad for him because I just put on a little more steam and moved right on by.

I was working hard but had found a good groove so was enjoying the ride.  When we got to the turn around it was like someone had turned off the sound.  I didn't realize how loud the wind was when I was going into it.  When we changed directions and started heading east with the wind at our backs it was suddenly much quieter.  I was also going much faster!!  I could tell I was going faster and made adjustments to my gears accordingly.  It was so much fun!!  I was moving right along and loved every minute of it.
Definitely faster on the way back!  😊
I just getting to the park entrance when I hear someone shouting my name.  Marcus was hanging out at the road waiting for me.  I was pretty sure he would call or text the others to let them know I was almost there.  Sure enough, I arrived at the bike dismount area with Melissa and Jon shouting my name.

Got off the bike and trotted into the transition to get going on my run.  I felt like the bike ride and gone really well.  Wasn't sure if it was faster than last year because the wind slowed me down but it sure was fun so I really didn't care.

I racked my bike, took off my gloves, grabbed my race belt with my bib on it and my water bottle.  I took two steps and remembered that I was still wearing my bike helmet.  That would have looked pretty funny on the run.  I wonder if anyone would have said anything.  😉

Started out just trotting.  My plan was to run five minutes and walk one and try to keep a good pace the whole time.  After the first five minutes I took a bit longer than one minute to eat some sport beans and use my inhaler.  I could tell the breathing was a bit worse than usual, probably because of the cough.  That helped greatly and I was doing decent until after the half way point.  Then my stomach started not feeling good.  I've had this at a few races but not all of them.  Not sure why one race I'll be fine and another one I feel gross during the run.  The last mile was a lot of self talk on not just walking the whole way.  Last year was so hot and I walked a lot of the 5k.  I knew that if I ran most of this one, even if it was slow, I would have a faster 5k than last year.  When I got to the lake and had maybe a quarter mile to go I see Marcus again.  That was good motivation to keep running!  Can't walk in front of my teammate when they drove all that way just to cheer me on.  Then I hear "Way to go Lisa!!" from the distance and I say to Marcus "I do believe I hear a coach!"  lol  I knew that meant Jon and Melissa would be up around the corner so I had better keep running.

Sure enough they were waiting for me near the path.  Jon starts telling me to push it hard at the end and speed up my cadence.  (Cadence is something we are working on together during track workouts.)  So I try and add a little more to my run.  Super hard because I was getting pretty tired and my stomach was NOT happy.  But super hard doesn't mean not doable.  I may not have been setting any records but I did speed up.  I call that a win.

When I crossed the finish line Jon, Melissa and Marcus were all there cheering for me.  I stopped my watch when I finished, got my medal and took off my timing chip.  As I made my way out to my fan club I looked at my watch and I could not believe what I was seeing.

My watch said 1:54:28!!!

My secret goal was to finish under two hours.  I knew seven minutes was doable since I had improved that much at the Oregon Dunes Tri in May.

This was a 12 minute improvement at least!

I showed my watch to Jon.  He looked at me with the biggest smile on his face!  "WAY TO GO LISA!"  I started to get teary (imagine that) and gave Jon a huge hug!!  (Getting a little teary writing about it, to be honest.)
Coach Jon getting his huge, smiley, teary hug!  😀  
Thank you so much for this picture Melissa!  It's my favorite!!

Then another big hug from Melissa and a high five from Marcus.

I said I would be smiling about that time all day.  Jon said I had better be smiling about it all week.

Last year I had to ask Jon to ease off on my workouts because I was having a hard time balancing work, workouts and family.  I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed.  Because he is a great coach he understood what I needed as a real life person and we made a plan that wasn't quite as intense and then picked things up once I was on summer vacation.

I really didn't want to have to do that this year.  It helped that Meighan can drive herself to all her many, many activities so that is one less thing I have to worry about.  But I was able to do all my workouts like they were planned.  Sometimes they weren't pretty and I didn't always hit the target for a particular workout but I did them all.

I think that made a huge difference this year for this race.

We walked around for a bit and then I went into transition to grab some of my stuff and go to the car and change my clothes.  There was enough wind that I knew I would get chilled if I stayed in the wet stuff too long.  I decided to take everything but my bike to the car that way I could help Joe with his stuff when he was done.  It was so nice to get sweatpants, a dry shirt and a sweatshirt on!!  I was much more comfortable and could hang out waiting for Joe and not be miserable.

I found the others and we headed to the bike dismount area to watch for Joe to finish his ride. While we were standing there Jon asked me questions about the race.  What went the best?  Why?  What was a struggle?  Why?  It helps him know what things we should work on.  ;-)  Such a teacher thing to do.

My favorite part was the bike ride.  I was proud of getting down in the lower bars and staying there most of the ride.  It was also fun going so fast on the way back.

I struggled with breathing during swim and with finding myself around more people than I'm used to.

I struggled during the run with my stomach not being happy.

Jon has plans for ways to improve those things.  ;-)

Soon we saw Joe coming into the park. I love being able to cheer on my guy at races.  We watched him head into transition and then went running to where the run exit was.  Except that was the run exit for the Sprint triathlon.  Joe exited on the opposite side.  Major support crew failure.  Sorry honey!
Looking strong after the bike.  
We had some time before we would see him so I went to get some food.  It all sounded yummy when I was fixing my plate but once I started eating my stomach was not appreciative.  The chocolate milk was delicious and I loved the oranges but everything else was just kind of yuck.

Jon and I went to go look at my results and I took pictures of what the screen showed. I got excited all over again.

I hadn't told Jon that we could pick Pure Endurance as the group we worked out with when we registered.  It was fun showing him this so he could see our team name right there on the screen.  Very proud to be a part of Pure Endurance and one of Jon's athletes!!!!

Last year my finish time was 2:06:26.  I improved by 12 minutes and 4 seconds.  I blew my secret goal out of the water.  😊
Such a cool medal!!!
We headed out to stand on the path were everyone had been when I finished.  It was a good spot because you could see the runners come out of the trees a long way off.  It wasn't long before we saw Joe heading down the path.  He looked really good and very focused.  We hooted and hollered as he went by.  Jon sprinted to the finish line.  I was trotting along behind and then had to walk.  My legs were thinking I must be crazy to want to run at this point.
Done!  Nice work Joe-Joe! 
I saw Joe just after he crossed the finish line.  He looked pretty done.  He had pushed hard and need a few minutes to regroup.  I went and got him a chocolate milk and he found a spot out of the way to do some stretching.

He's not sure but he thinks that might be one of his fastest Olympic triathlons.  So proud of him!!!

We talked with Jon for a bit so that Joe could debrief him and how his race went.  Then we decided to  get our stuff and head to the car.  Marcus and Melissa had already taken off.  I still can't believe they spent half their day driving to Portland and back just to cheer us on.  Love the amazing people that we have gotten to meet since we started working with Jon.  These two top the list.

Joe and I had decided to go to the RV show that was going on at the Portland Expo since it was just down the road from where the race was.  It was kind of nice to walk around for a while.  It kept us from getting tight muscles.

Then we headed for home but decided to stop at the Woodburn Outlet Stores to shop at the Pearl Izumi store.  They are going to be closing and the nearest one once it's closed will be Bend.  I got a sleeveless bike jersey and Joe got a pair of bike shorts and the total bill was $79!!!  We didn't realize that everything was 50% off the lowest price.  We thought we were getting a good deal with the lowest price.  So that was worth the extra side trip.

On the way home we ordered pizza to be delivered.  It timed out perfectly.  I called when we were close to home and by the time we got home and cleaned out the car the pizza had arrived.

It was SO GOOD!

Glad my stomach wasn't rebelling anymore!  ;-)

This morning when I was driving to work I was thinking (and smiling) about the race something else occurred to me.  I didn't taper for this race.  Since my big goals are the Olympic triathlons in July and September, and because I had a bit of a slow down with the heart rate issue in March and April Jon told me he was going to have me work hard right up to the race.  I had tiny workouts on Friday and Saturday but not near as long of a taper as I would normal have if I was trying to really kick butt at a race.

And I still kicked butt.

I have a cough that kept me up half the night and made breathing more of a struggle than normal.

And I still kicked butt.

Makes me a little excited to see what I might be able to do at Cottage Grove in July!

Big shout out to Why Racing Events for putting on a fantastic event.  The volunteers were great and all smiles and encouragement.  While there were a ton of athletes and sometimes lines got long, everything went smoothly and no one ever got frazzled or rushed.  The wide variety of good food available for us after the race was awesome (even if my stomach wasn't appreciative).

Check out their website for other races they put on:

I also loved all the encouraging signs they had posted along the run portion of the race.  But this is the one that they have all around transition and the finish.  I love it!  What's your why?

So many reasons why and this is just a short list!

I think that Smiling should be on that list.  😃

Thank you to my amazing husband who pushes me to be better at everything I do and at the same time supports me when I struggle.

Thank you to my awesome coach for also pushing me to be better, even when I'm pretty sure he is crazy.  lol

Thank you to my awesome teammates that came and cheered us on and took awesome pictures.  Marcus and Melissa you are fabulous!! And the teammates that sent us texts and messages on Facebook encouraging us.

Huge thank you to all the friends and family that sent congratulations messages on Facebook.  You have no idea how overwhelmed I was but all the love.

Photo credit to Jon and Melissa (and me for some).

Guess what?

Yep, still smiling!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Oregon Dunes Triathlon 2017

I started going down the comparison road again a few weeks ago.  Not super bad but bad enough.  I was comparing myself to other athletes and worse, I was comparing myself to myself.  Thinking I'm not where I should be.  Frustrated that I weigh more than I did last year at this time.  Nothing earth shattering but enough to bother me.

Then I get frustrated that I'm comparing again because I know I shouldn't do that.  

Kind of becomes a bad cycle.  

A little over a week ago my daughter participated in a Fine Arts Festival at her church.  It's a competition where kids can do all kinds of things and they get scored.  If they score a superior they can go on to a national competition.  There are categories for art, musical instruments, photography, worship team, solos, musical theater and all kinds of other things.  It's pretty cool.  Meighan participated in the Short Sermon and Musical Theater categories.

She sent me a video of her short sermon.

I was in tears.

I have been to many a church service where I thought everyone else could just go home because God was obviously speaking to me.

Never had that happen with a video.

Especially a video of my own baby girl speaking.
Wow!  Not only did she do an amazing job she spoke right to the very thing I need to remember!  That I'm running my own race and that's the best part...It's MY race.  Not to be compared with anyone else's.  

Love the part where she talks about looking for your person at the finish line.  Can you tell she has been to a few races and watched her mom and dad do that at the end?  

That little sermon quickly created a major attitude adjustment.  

I am working on remembering that my race is not like anyone else's and I need to be proud of what I can do.  

Now for the race report!

The weather forecast for the week was not looking promising.  On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we had some nice weather but then rain moved in on Thursday.  If it is raining in the valley you know it is raining more at the coast.

Last year it was about perfect.  Not raining, not blowing and perfect temperature. This year was vastly different.

It was cold.  It was wet.  But on the plus side it wasn't blowing.

Joe started the Olympic Triathlon at 8:00 a.m. and I started the Sprint at 9:00 a.m.

I had been wearing my flip flops while we were getting things set up but had to go put shoes and socks on because my feet were getting cold.  It takes a lot for my feet to get cold!

I got my numbers put on, kind of.  It was raining so much that my skin was wet so the ink didn't go on very well.  Not much to do about that.  I went to rack my bike.  I was getting some things organized and thinking about how I wanted to set things up in the rain when I heard a woman talking next to me.  At first I thought she was talking to me.  Nope!  She was talking to herself.  There was some serious self-talk going on!

  • I paid money for this!
  • I had to drive a long way to get here.
  • It's good training to ride and run in the rain.
  • It can't be that bad.
  • I paid money for this.
  • I can do this.

It took a little while but finally she started getting her stuff set up.  Self talk worked! Good for her!  I think we were all having some of those very same thoughts.

I got to watch Joe take off on his swim and then I went to go get my stuff out of the car.  Got my stuff set up mostly after one big rain storm had moved through so it was relatively dry for the moment when I started out.   Then I went down and managed to see Joe come out of the water for his first loop.  He was looking good, as always.

Now it was time for me to get my wet suit on and be ready for my race.  My coach had said to wear my arm sleeves under my wet suit so that I didn't have to try and put them on after the swim.  Not an easy task with wet skin.  I didn't think that would work since the suit is so tight right now but I figured I would at least try so that I would know for sure.  Worked pretty slick so then I had one less thing to worry about at transition.  ;-)

While I was putting on my wetsuit Joe finished his swim and came into transition.  I got to cheer him on and shout my traditional "Don't fall down!" as he headed out to for his bike ride.

I headed down to the water.  The race organizers had a big containers of hot water that we could use to put in our wet suit before we got in the lake.  Oh my!  That felt so good!  Usually I get in the water and have to open the wet suit to let some water in and then it takes a bit for my body to warm it up.  Now I had one less thing. ;-)

Got one more high five and a few more reminders from my coach before I headed for the water.  I spent some time warming up.  Not really swimming hard, mostly just getting my face used to the water.  I felt like I was ready.

I really love open water swimming.

I really don't love people who can't swim in a straight line.

I had a few struggles with one woman who I couldn't quite seem to get past at first because she would swim toward me at an angle and then decide to breast stroke and was kicking and hitting me because she was trying to swim over the top of me, in the wrong direction.  I finally managed to get ahead of her enough that she wasn't zig zagging my direction anymore.  I had a couple of other situations like that but got by them easier.  I was swimming okay but really didn't feel like I found my rhythm until about half way through the swim.  Then I felt really good.  Too bad I couldn't find that from the start.

I promised myself I wouldn't look at my watch while I was swimming because I didn't want to start worrying about being faster or slower than last year.  I just wanted to go.

Came out of the water and felt okay about the swim.  Didn't think it was too much better than last year but there was quite a few people behind me yet so that was kind of cool.

Headed to Transition 1 and got to see my teammate Rebecca head out on the bike.  Which meant I wasn't to far behind her coming out of the water so that was fun too!

It had obviously been raining a lot while we were swimming because everything was wet.  So I just sat on the ground to pull off my wetsuit.  Figured there was no point to dancing around trying to keep my balance and keep things dry.  lol

Wetsuit off.
Socks on.
Shoes on.
Glasses on.
Hat on.
Gloves on.
Helmet on.
Jacket on.
Unrack bike.

Here we go!

Got to the line to mount my bike and my coach and Melissa were there cheering me on.  Someone popped up next to me and shouted "Photo Bomb" and in the process jostled me a little.  I know he thought it was hilarious.  But I'm still not the most confident of bike riders so that little jostle kind of threw me off.  I had to take a breath, get my pedals lined up and try again.  Got going fine and now it was time for the bike ride.

It was raining when I started.

It poured while I was riding.

It never stopped until I got back.

I did pretty good all things considered.  There are a lot of hills on this ride and with the rain I wasn't too comfortable about going downhill at top speed.  I did a couple of times but slowed down some most of the time.  I really really really did not want to crash!

Got passed by a lot of people going up the hills but the cool thing was that I passed a lot of people going down the hills.  I was using my new gear changing skills to move to the bigger ring on the down hill so that I could have more power and boy did that ever work.  I could totally see how people weren't using their bike as well as they could.  That was me just a few weeks ago.

It wasn't long before I got to the steep little hill that I had to walk up last year.  I was determined NOT to walk up it this year.  It was a challenge and my foot slipped out of the pedal because it was so wet but I made it to the top!  That was hard!!!  I was pretty proud of myself.

At this point I had to take my glasses off and stick them in my pocket because they were so wet they were making it harder to see.

As I was coming down the last hill back to the transition I hear someone shouting behind me.  "Is that my woman?"  lol  My hubby was finishing his longer bike ride.  That was fun!

I got to the dismount line and hit the button on my watch to end the bike ride.  The time said 55 minutes and some seconds.  I was pretty sure that was faster than last year by about four minutes.  Which seems crazy considering the weather and the fact that I was slowing down on most of the downhills because of the rain.

Now for the run!

Rack the bike.
Helmet off.
Gloves off.
Jacket off.
Grab water bottle.

Here we go.

The rain had reduced to just a drizzle.  But the trail was a muddy mess.  Fun though.

I wasn't going very fast mostly because I really couldn't feel my legs.  But I kept a pretty steady pace.  I only had to walk at the bridge going over the highway and one other small hill once I was on the paved trail.  I ran up that sand dune again too!  While my time ended up being about the same as last year I felt better about it because I was able to keep a steady pace and keep moving the entire time.  Last year was a lot of running and then walking and I really struggled.  Weird having the same time and yet feeling so much better about it this year compared to last year.

The results show swim time, transition one, bike time, transition two, run time, total time for the entire race.

Here is my results from 2016 for comparison:

That's an improvement overall of SEVEN MINUTES AND 12 SECONDS!!!!

Can you tell I"m a little excited?  That is a big improvement.  That is a fantastic improvement with the conditions the way they are.

I'm a wee bit proud of myself.

I got to see my husband finish not long after me which is always fun.

We headed down the dune and found the warming tent.  Our daughter had missed a shuttle from the transition area to the finish and so didn't make it in time to see us finish. Which isn't a big deal expect she had our warm clothes with her.  So glad they had someplace set up for us to get warm.

When Meighan arrived she gave us our sweatshirts and I asked her to go take a picture of my results so I could see for sure that I had finished better than last year.  She comes running back and says to me with a big smile on her face, "Mom!  You got second in your age group!!!"

No way!!

Yep!  I got second in my age group.  (Shhhhh, there was only two people in my age group.  But like Joe always tells me, it matters who shows up on race day. 😃)

So overall I was feeling pretty happy about how it all went in spite of the ridiculous weather.  I had been working on my attitude, I pushed through difficult weather, still managed to PR and I had fun.  All good things.

Then the pictures came out.

Pictures and I have a long history of not being on good speaking terms.  I have worked hard over the last few years about being better about being in them and not being so critical of how I look in them.

Wearing a tri kit does not allow me to wear clothes that hide some of the flaws I am the most self-conscious about.  Then seeing the pictures just made me cringe.  The swim pictures were about what I expected.  I have kind of adjusted to how those look.

The bike and run pictures did not make me happy.

Yep.  I went right down that road again.  Quite a few tears.  A conversation with my husband that, good Lord, he must be SO tired of having with me.  When I look at my pictures I see someone who is fat.  Which is so frustrating because I know that I work really really hard at being fit.  I just want the outside to reflect all that work.

There have been many times over the past year when my husband and I have done triathlons at the same event.  We will see people with their bikes on their rigs or wearing the shirts and a conversation starts.  What race did you do?  Did you have fun?  Stuff like that.  But often they are talking to Joe.  Two bikes on the rig.  Both of us wearing the shirt.  But somehow I'm not a part of the conversation.  It's like this weird unspoken thing that the other people don't really see that I am a participant as well.  Joe is just talking and being the social guy he is and I'm standing there feeling stupid and awkward.  When I told Joe about this later he said he didn't even know it was happening.

Now, I may be a little sensitive.  I may read to much into things.  But this has happened at at least three other races before this weekend.  One time it happened at the Cottage Grove Olympic triathlon I did last summer and Joe didn't even race.  The guy talked to Joe the entire time.  Joe had to point out that I had done the race, not him and the guy still didn't acknowledge that I was the racer, not Joe.  It is a bit demoralizing to have done all the training and hard work and the event itself and have people look at me and dismiss me because I don't LOOK like someone who can do a tri.

So before I even saw the pictures I had that little niggle started in my head.

Not a good thing.

However, I am surrounded by good people that don't see me that way.  And they remind me often of how they do see me.  In that way I am very blessed.

My new teammate Rebecca had a kick ass time at the triathlon.  So proud of her!  She was a bit worried about riding bike in the rain since she has done most of her winter riding on the trainer.  But she sucked it up and went for it and did awesome!  Loved her cheerful attitude, bright smile and support of her teammates.  It has been fun having her join the Booth Bunch!!  She sent me this video of me finish the triathlon on the dune.
Her comment when she sent the video was "Strong and Beautiful."  I don't think she has any idea what it means to be seen that way.

When I was expressing to one of my co-workers how I didn't like the run pictures because of what I looked like I got a similar response.  I showed her the picture and pointed out what I didn't like.  She said, "That's not what I see.  I see someone who is out there getting things done.  It's awesome."

While I still have work to do on how I see myself, I have been again reminded that is not how others see me.  At least not the people that matter.

So I'm going to post the pictures from the race and celebrate that I had a great day and the pictures show a lady who is trying her hardest to be healthy and have fun along the way.  If others can't see that then I guess that is their problem.  I'm working on not letting it be mine anymore.

Finishing the swim.  Can you see the raindrops?
Starting out on the bike ride.  The rain hadn't really gotten going....yet!
Time for the run.
And finally the finish at the top of the sand dune!
Getting high fives at the finish line!
And the one picture that I LOVE!  Here is most of the Booth Bunch after the event was over.  This is a great group of hard working people.  Some had a great day, some had some struggles but every single one of us finished!  And that is awesome!!
Coach Jon and his athletes. Missing three more.  The Booth Bunch family is growing!
Always things to work on.  Making progress is sometimes painful, both physically and mentally.  Sometimes I think the mental progress are the ones that hurt the most.

Once again a big shout out to Best in the West Events for having a fabulous event.  From start to finish it was a well organized and fun event.  I appreciate how they planned for the weather and did things to make the participants be just a little more bearable.  From having the hot water for our wet suits at the start to having a warming tent at the finish, they had things set up with the athletes in mind.  I appreciate that a lot!!  They still have many events going on this summer and next fall.  Check out their website and get signed up!!!!  Thank you Blair and Staci and the rest of the Best in the West Posse for all you do!! Big thank you to the amazing volunteers that stood out in the rain all day to help keep us safe and going in the right direction.  Every single one of them had a smile on their face and cheers for me as I went by!!  It was very much appreciated!!

Next race is Blue Lake up in Portland.  Looking forward to getting after it again.  😀


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

One Tough Lady

What the heck?  This wasn't on the upcoming race list!

I know!!  Right?

This is a local triathlon and I didn't consider it because it was in between the Beaver Freezer and the Oregon Dunes Triathlon.

But, since I didn't get to do the Beaver Freezer....

This past week I got the okay from my doctor to get back to full training.  The supplements that we think were causing the heart rate issues seem to have worked their way out of my system and the past week workouts have been going well, as far as heart rate goes.

Joe mentioned in passing that maybe I should do the Heart of the Valley tri.  At first I thought that that was a ridiculous idea.  But the more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it.

If I did this triathlon I would still get a triathlon in for the month of April and it would be good training for the Oregon Dunes triathlon in a few weeks.

So I sent my coach an email.

I got a text later saying we would talk that evening during our group run.

I think he wanted to see how the running went with the heart rate before he said yes or no.

We did hill work that evening.  Not my favorite thing, especially when running in general has been a struggle.  But I got it done.  And each time I went up the hill I went a little farther.  I was a little slower too but I kept moving so I'm calling it a win.

Later that evening I get this text:
So I signed up for the Heart of the Valley Triathlon.  Yikes!

I left the next day for a conference in Bend for work. I got up early in the morning so I could get my swim and bike ride done before I left.  Friday was strength training so I used the hotel exercise room to get that done.  Didn't have any free weights or kettle bells but I was able to do everything else no problem.  Had to do a 30 minute run on Saturday but waited until I got home to get that done.

This triathlon started at 12:30 p.m. which was a little weird.  Means I didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn, which was nice.  But it also meant I wouldn't have the whole afternoon to rest up when I was done.  Monday will come fast after this race!!

Joe had a two hour bike ride and a run to do.  So when he got home from work he got ready and headed out for his bike ride.  He basically made his way to Corvallis and met me at the race.  He had time to get his run done before my swim started so that worked out pretty good.

I got my race packet and got my stuff all organized.  Saw different friends and chit chatted for a bit.  My hubby got done with his run and joined the group.

Next my coach and his whole family came walking up.  Then behind them came Melissa and Marcus.  Later I saw Ron.  Jon had sent an email out to the Booth Bunch letting them know I was racing and a large chunk of them showed up!  Wow!  That made me feel pretty special!  Love this group of amazing athletes and feel pretty honored to be considered an athlete along side of them.  Having them come to cheer me on was pretty cool!

It wasn't long before it was time to get started.

This triathlon was a 750 meter swim in a pool that was set for a 50 meter length.  Long course pool!  I did a few laps to warm up and then got lined up to get assigned my lane.

The swim started off a little shaky to start.  I realized that one of my problems last year with the Beaver Freezer and then with this race.  With the start of the swim we jump in and go.  I'm used to being in the water and having a moment to get set and then pushing off the wall.  Since I don't know how to dive I jump in, come up and start.  It kind of gets me all discombobulated to start with.  Now I know that for triathlons that are in a pool I need to get in and give myself a moment to regroup and push off the wall.
Thanks to Ron for the swim pictures!!
I learn something at every race I do!

The swim went decent.  Not as fast as I would have liked.  I found a comfortable groove but it wasn't as fast as I have done on some of my steady swims during training.  Not sure what the deal was but overall it wasn't too bad.

When I got done with the swim I had to get out of the pool at the bulkhead.  This meant jumping up and then using my arms to get myself up on the deck.  It was a pretty tall bulkhead and I was a little worried about how I would do getting out.  I did have the option of going under the lane lines to get to the wall with the ladder but I really wanted to try and do it the way they asked me to do it.  I jumped up and actually did pretty good but I lost my grip a little and slid back into the water.  On the way down my toes scraped along the bulkhead.  Hurt like I stubbed my toe but I wasn't too worried about it.  I gave myself another boost and this time was able to get out of the pool on my own.  I was pretty happy about this. I could tell I am stronger than I was a year ago.  So that's a win.

I run along the side of the pool and head to transition.  As I'm running I look down at my toes and realize that I'm bleeding.  I thought I had just scraped my toe.  When I got to my bike I look a little closer and realize that the entire big toenail is starting to stick straight up.

Great!! 😳

I have basically ripped most of my toenail off and I still have a bike ride and run to do.
What the heck is wrong with my toe?
I told my coach I get a pass on a slow transition time!

So I push down the nail and put on my sock so that the sock will hold it down and then finish putting on my shoes and socks.  I get the rest of my gear set for the bike ride and head out of transition.

The weather has gotten pretty nice.  Cloud and sunshine mix and little or no wind.  I was wearing my tri suit and didn't have to wear arm sleeves or a jacket over the top.
This bike route is pretty hilly and I haven't been able to do any hills for the past month.  You know, because of the heart rate issue.  So the plan was to just go ride hills and have fun doing it. I didn't try and kill the ride, I just worked at doing it well.
Downhill is fun!
I did a ride on the trainer at my coaches house on Monday and he had me doing hills with his trainer and Zwift account.  While I was doing that he had me work on changing from the small ring in front to the big ring, while quickly changing the gear on the back as well so that I would basically be in the same gear I had been in but better set for the uphill or downhill.  So I worked on doing that during this ride.  It went really well.  Only once did I change things up too soon but it wasn't somewhere that it cost me much.  Kinda fun to learn a new skill and be able to put it into action on a ride.

The toe didn't hurt too bad or I was too busy thinking about the ride to think about it.  Except that about a mile in I realized my sock was wet and every time I would pedal with my right foot I could feel it go squish.  I couldn't figure out why it was wet at first since I dried my feet off before I put on my socks and shoes.  Then it occurred to me that my toe was bleeding and was making my sock wet. Yuck!!  So gross but at least I didn't have to see it bleeding.

Part of the route I had done once last summer with my coach.  Going up Highland Rd.  I remember really, really struggling to get up the last part of the hill.  While I still had to work hard to get to the top I definitely wasn't completely wiped out like I was last year.  So that was also a win.

I got done with the bike.  Overall it went well.  Although having my sock feel wet and squishy, most likely from my toenail bleeding, was a bit disconcerting.

I had a really good transition from the bike to the run.  I racked my bike.  Took off my helmet and gloves.  Grabbed my hat and took off.
Here goes the run!
Gritting it out.  
Running was a bit more difficult.  My toe would push on the end of my shoe.  So it was a little painful.  I started with running for four minutes and walking for one and then tried to make the run part a little longer as I went along.  Not gonna lie, it wasn't the funnest run I have ever done.  But I managed to get it done and with a rather respectable time for me.  Especially considering my lovely toenail issue.

I crossed the finish line and my hubby, my coach and his family, Marcus, Melissa and Ron were all there cheering me across the finish.  Got bonus cheers from my friends Chad, Trevor and Jaime who were there supporting Trevor's dad in his first triathlon.
Done!  First Tri of 2017 is in the books.
Then of course I had to show everyone my injury.  lol  So gross.  Since the toenail had been pushed down by my sock and shoe it wouldn't lift up like it had been when I first got out of the pool.  I lifted it up a little and that was plenty!  Ouch!!  And yes, you get to see pictures!  Because it's fun to look at the gross stuff!  bwhahahaha
This is after the race.  
Was able to cut most of the nail off today.  That's going to be ugly for awhile!

You hear stories about people finish triathlon with injuries.  IT band, muscle strains, scrapes and bruising from crashing their bike or tripping on the run, that kind of thing.  Don't know that I've ever heard of someone ripping their toenail off.

I'm an overachiever like that.  😜

Can't do things like everyone else.

Frustrations for the day were getting hurt and not liking the pictures of myself.  (That part isn't anything new!  And yes, I'm still working on that part.  But that's for another blog.)

Wins for the day:
  • I actually did get out of the pool way easier than I thought I would be able to do (minus the injury).  
  • I did a solid ride on the bike which I wasn't expecting since I haven't done much hill work in the last month like I should have.  And I had fun practicing my new skill of using my gears better.  
  • I realized later, after one of my teammates pointed out (thank you Rebecca!) that I had negative splits on my run.  Each mile was faster than the mile before.  Which is really awesome, especially since my foot hurt so much.  
  • The day after the triathlon I was at the YMCA doing my workout and thinking about the triathlon.  I had a sudden aha moment.  The pool at Osborne is set up for meters.  So my 750 swim was a 750 meter swim which works out to be about 820 yards.  Which makes me at more of a speed that I was expecting.  Ha!  No wonder my time didn't match up with what I thought it should.  
  • I wasn't completely wiped out and sore after the tri.  I was tired and had a most excellent nap that afternoon.  But I got up the very next morning and did the longest swim workout I've ever done.  The day after a tri!  And I did it really well.  That shows that my fitness level is much better than I give myself credit for!

Not quite the race I had anticipated but it was so good to get a triathlon done.  It was nice to remember that I actually can do this triathlon thing.
No rest for the tired teacher though.  Got up Monday morning and did a 2000 yard swim with a bike ride in the afternoon.  Tuesday I had a hour bike ride and strength training.  Wednesday will be hill work with coach on the trails.  I've got some work to do to make up for April.

Jon had told me that I would have a great story to share about my triathlon.  I had so much fun telling my students about it on Monday at school.  They didn't know I was even going to do the triathlon since I decided on Wednesday night and then was gone to a conference on Thursday and Friday.  I had tape on my toe to protect it and keep it from getting dirty and they wanted to know what I had done.  So I told them.  I was laughing so hard at their reactions.  The best was when I was telling them about pushing the nail down so I could get my sock on.  That totally icked them out.  I continued with telling them about the squishy sock and suddenly there was a pause and a student looked at me and said, "Wait!  You kept doing the triathlon?"  Of course I kept going!  There was another pause and then another student said, "Mrs. V, you are one tough lady!"  The general agreement throughout the day was that they wouldn't haven't kept going if it had happened to them.  They were super impressed that I finished the race.

Funny thing to me was that it didn't even occur to me to not finish.

So I guess I am one tough lady.  I kind of needed to be reminded of that.  😀

One last thing.  I know I have said it before but seriously, it is worth repeating!  We are SO fortunate to have such a fantastic group putting on triathlons in our local area!!  Best in the West organized the Heart of the Valley tri and as usual did an amazing job.  The organization, clear information and awesome volunteers help add to the fun of just doing the event.  I so appreciate all the hard work they put in before and after each event.  I can't wait to see them again at the Oregon Dunes Triathlon in a few weeks.  Here's a link to their main event page so you can see all the different races they put on:

**Photo credit to Ron, Jon and Best in the West (who makes the pictures from their events available for free!!)

Sunday, April 23, 2017








Such a simple thing.  We do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for our entire life.

And yet.....

Some days it's hard to remember to just....Breathe.

I have a tendency to worry and get in my own head about things that are big and stressful.

I feel like I'm someone going a little cray cray.

However, I know that one way or another the things I'm worried about will work themselves out.

Finally got the results from the heart rate monitor that I wore for a week.  There were a couple of things that popped but nothing that couldn't be explained by exercise so my doctor is pretty happy.  The last week I haven't had an issues with the heart rate getting ridiculously high when working out so it seems that the methyl has finally worked it's way out of my system.  I had been doing the "what if?" game and worrying that it might be something else that would be a more permanent worry.  I go in to see doctor on Monday just to go over the results together in person and make sure that there isn't anything else I need to do to keep my heart happy.

That worked out in a way that made me relieved and reduced some stress for sure.

The other thing that has been stressing me out this month is that my sweet Bailey puppy has been sick.  At first we thought she just had an infection and she took antibiotics for a week but didn't get better.  The vet did blood tests and we found out she was severely anemic.  This was not a good thing.    We did another treatment plan to see if it was an autoimmune problem but the vet wasn't sure this would help.  He was pretty sure she had bone cancer.

I spent most of April watching my sweet girl get sicker and sicker.  It was so hard to watch her be less and less interested in anything.  I was preparing myself for what was coming but trying to hold onto hope that she would get better.

Friday she crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  She was with me when it happened.  She was only three years old.
Such a sweet face.  💜  This was taken on Wednesday.
I have never had a sweeter pet.  She was the most loving and silly puppy.  Full of energy and spunk and always ready to give me a good cuddle.  I loved her from the first time I held her when she was only two days old.  I loved training her to be a therapy dog, she was so smart.  My favorite thing was taking her on hikes.  She loved to run and was so good about being by me when other people went by us on the trail.
Bailey at one week old.  She already had my heart. 
Tennis balls were her favorite toy.  She would lose them all over the house.
When I had bad days at work she would get up in the recliner and give me Bailey kisses.  I have never been a huge fan of dogs licking me but for some reason I never minded it from Bailey.  Hard to stay sad when you have a sweet boxer giving you kisses, just saying.
Every time we did selfies there are a few like this.  😄

So this worry is also resolved.  Not in the way I wanted.  It hurts really, really bad and I know it's going to for a bit yet.

I also know that it will get better.

I also know that the grief I'm feeling over my pet is nothing compared to what people I love have gone through losing a parent or a child.  But even knowing that, I have a big hole in my heart with the loss my puppy.

I am thankful for the fact that instead of reaching for comfort food I am using my workouts as my therapy.  This is a big deal since in the past when I have been stressed or sad I use food as a stress reliever.

My coach has been working with me on being better with my breathing when I run.  Long steady exhales, long steady inhales.

He sent me this meme a few weeks ago.

I know this post hasn't been much about my workouts.

I have found that life and the things going on it have a big impact on how workouts go.   Whether I do them, how I feel while I'm doing them, how I react to when things go well or when they don't.

I have also found that workouts help dealing with the stresses of life.  Quite time in the pool was very much needed the past couple of weeks.  It gave me time to not think about my worries and just think about swimming.  The bike rides and runs have been good to keep the body moving and help me focus on what I can do rather than wallowing in worry and feeding that worry with food.
So I'm going to continue to breathe.

Sometimes it will come out ragged as I am crying through the breathing.

But I'm still breathing.







Such a simple thing.