Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tri at the Grove Olympic Triathlon 2017

It is hard to believe it has been a year since I did my very first Olympic triathlon.  The last year has been full of laughter, smiles, growth, overcoming fears, struggles, disappointments, setbacks, successes, and lots of moving forward.  I don't mean in just my workouts and training.  I really mean that all those things have just been a part of, well, life.  Pretty typical I'm sure if most people really took the time to reflect on ALL aspects of their last 12 months.

A year ago I was nervous and not really sure that I could really, really finish an Olympic triathlon.

This year I went into it knowing that I had finished two Olympic triathlons so I shouldn't be worried.

Except there was a small niggle that maybe I wouldn't be able to.

I had an easier time squashing that niggle than I did last year.  I know I have worked hard and trained hard and that if nothing else I would be able to finish.

Except I had one of those secret goals again.

I wanted to finish in under four hours.

Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?

Last year I finished in 4:16:07.  If I was going to make it under four hours then I had to have a solid race in all areas.

I figured I would just go for it and see what happened.  😀

The day was gorgeous!  When we got to the lake the sun was coming up and I loved watching the steam come off of the water.
I had gotten a little nervous the night before but once we got to the lake I was just really excited to get started.
Waiting to get my numbers on and get set up in transition.
Beautiful day for a race!
My favorite racing partner!
Joe rolls his eyes at me when I tell him it is selfie time.  But then he lets me do it anyway.  I love being able to do events together, have adventures together, make memories that are awesome together.  I love that I'm not just a spectator at his events, that we are supporting each other as we both participate.  I love my guy!
Love my teammates!  This lady is a Rock Star!!!!
It didn't take long before it was time to get on the wet suit and head for the water to warm up.

Funny story that happened when I was warming up.  I had been out for a bit and was heading back to shore.  I saw Joe so I was heading towards him so I could get one more kiss and tell him to be safe before he started his race.  Someone came swimming up next to me and their hand slapped my butt.  Not uncommon when swimming open water since people get near each other and bump, hit or slap each other in the process of their swim stroke.  What cracked me up was that when the guy hit my butt with his hand, in the process of trying to figure out what he had hit, he squeezed several times trying to figure out what he had hit.  Basically I got groped during my warm up.  I was laughing so hard.  Joe wanted to know what was so funny and when I told him he was laughing too.  Nothing like getting felt up before a race to make you not be so nervous.  lol

It wasn't long before the men lined up to take off.  Three minutes later it was the ladies turn.

Most of the ladies had gathered closer to the dock.  I positioned myself farther out into the lake with a direct line on the first buoy.  This ended up being a really good plan.  The fast people took off and were at a bit of angle so there were to my right and because they were faster they got way ahead of me before I got to the first buoy.  I didn't have anyone really near me so I didn't get frustrated trying to get past people that can't swim in a straight line.  lol

Overall the swim felt really solid.  I tried to find a good rhythm and keep a steady pace.  I also didn't look at my watch to see how I was doing.  I did that at Blue Lake and it was a good thing so I had decided to do the same for this race.  Gave me less opportunity to get mental about my time.  😉

When I was coming into the finish for the swim I hit my watch to start the transition.  I saw a three so I knew I had done better than last year since my time on the swim was 41 minutes but I didn't look close to see how much better.

I headed to my bike.  I had my wet suit off down to the waist before I got there.  I finished taking off the wet suit.  Sunglasses on, gloves on, helmet on.  Sat down, dried feet, socks on, shoes on.  Folded up wet suit, unracked the bike and headed out to the bike mount area.

I was so excited for the bike ride.  I had a new bike.  I had new gear skills.  I was stronger.  I was pretty sure that I would kick my own ass on the bike ride.

I didn't disappoint!

The bike ride felt awesome.  I worked hard but didn't feeling like I was pushing it over the limit.

On the first hill that I went up I was passed by a younger lady.  No worries.  Not unexpected.  But on the way down the hill on the other side I ended up passing her.  Except that when I got next to her she sped up.  According to the rules, when someone is passing you on the bike you have to let them and then when they get a certain distance ahead you can pass them back.  So it made me a little mad that she sped up when I was right next to her.  I have to admit, I burned a few matches because, dang it, I was going to pass this chick!!!  I knew she would pass me on the next uphill but I was going to kick her butt right now.  I passed her and she did indeed pass me on the next uphill.  I'm okay with that.  lol

I felt really good on the entire ride.  It was a gorgeous day!  I was riding well. I felt really good and solid.  I was passed by several people but I didn't care.  Last year I was passed by a bunch of people about two minutes out of transition.  This year I didn't get passed for about 10 miles.  That felt pretty good.
Playing Bike on Race Day!!
I was almost to the turnaround point and I saw my teammate Kathy.  She looked great and had a big smile on her face.  A couple of minutes later I saw my friend and teammate, Melissa.  I knew she would kick my ass on the swim.  I thought I might be able to catch her on the uphill on the bike.

Almost!!

There wasn't a chance in hell that I would catch her on the downhill.  That girl can haul ass!!  But I came pretty close so that was fun!  (Another one of my secret goals is to be as fast as Melissa when I grow up!)

When I got back to the lake and only had five miles left I knew that I had probably kicked last years bike time to the curb.  There are a couple of hills at the end of the route and last year they were a real struggle.  This year I worked at them but didn't feel like it was taking everything I had to get to the top of the hill.  That's a win all by itself.

I got to the dismount area and headed to transition.  My legs felt like jelly so I wasn't moving very fast.  I had some difficulty racking my bike because the bike on either side of me racked the wrong direction and my handle bars got caught up.  But I still managed a really fast transition for me.  I racked the bike.  Helmet off, gloves off, grabbed my water bottle and race bib and started out for the run.  Put on the the race bib as I was going.  Small hill to walk up to get to the run path and then I started running.  Got cheers from my coach which was very much appreciated!

Another one of my secret goals was to be on the run before Joe finished.  Mission accomplished. 😊

I saw all but one of my teammates on the run.  Mike is such a fast little sh*@ that he was done before I got done with my bike ride.  But I saw Ron,Joe, Rebecca, Marcus, and Kathy while I was starting out.  All of them were finishing their run and I was only heading out but all of them gave me smiles and high fives.  I LOVE how they never ever make me feel like my effort is less just because I am the slowest person on the team.

The beginning of the run wasn't too bad.  I had a comfortable pace and felt reasonable.  But every mile it got harder and harder to maintain.  I was hot and my legs were tight and it was just kind of miserable.  But I knew that I had to keep moving if I wanted to be done under four hours.  At one point, with about 1/2 a mile left I almost just walked the rest of the way.  I looked at my watch and knew that if I did that I wouldn't make my goal.  So I sucked it up and kept going.  One more walk break at the six mile sign and then run into the finish.

This year my coach and his family were there at the finish line.  Super fun to have them there to see me finish.  Big hug and high fives from both Jon and Janelle!!  Love how they both cheer all of us on and how supportive and encouraging they both are!  High fives from teammate Rebecca.  Love that ladies smile!!!  Got loved on by my awesome hubby.

Jon asked me what my time was.  This is when I start smiling even bigger.  My watch said 3:55:08.  Which was at least a 20 minute improvement over my time last year.  Jon got a big smile to match mine.  Yep, that's pretty cool.  Still smiling about it.

I got some water and a banana and then walked around a bit.  Talked with some friends that were there watching their son participate.  I was having some dizziness, it would come in waves.  I figured I needed more food and walking around so I took another trip over to the food area.  It didn't seem to help.

Joe and I headed down to transition to get our bikes and gear to take to the car.  The dizziness was getting worse.  I leaned over to pick up my backpack and that wasn't good.  Every time I leaned down to get something or move something I got dizzy.  At one point I just leaned against the bike rack to wait for it to settle down.  I was thinking it was low blood sugar at this point.  Both Joe and Rebecca could see that something was up.  Joe took my backpack and wet suit so that I only had to deal with the bike.  (With some protests from me because I was sure I could manage, just would take me longer than normal.  I did not win that argument!)

We got to the car and Joe turned it on and got the air conditioning going.  He made me sit in the front and brought me a water bottle.  By this point I wasn't having waves of dizzy I was just staying dizzy.  I chugged down the water bottle in less than a minute.  But then I thought I was going to throw it all back up.  I did not feel good.

I still had electrolytes in a water bottle on my bike so Joe gave me that and I managed to sip it and drink about half of the bottle.  It was helping and I was starting to feel a little better.  Best we can tell is that I got dehydrated.  That part of the day took some of the shine off the day.  I felt really awful.  We didn't even go watch our teammates that got age group awards or say goodbye to Jon & Janelle and the kids.  The thought of walking back to the race area was just a bit more than I was up for.

By the time we were half way home I was feeling better.  A nap and a shower also helped me feel more human.  By the next morning I was feeling back to normal.

Here is the official race results:

Compare this to last year's results:

Comparing numbers is fun when there's improvement.  😀
  • Swim improvement: 4 minutes 12 seconds.  
  • Transition 1 improvement: 1 minute 32 seconds.
  • Bike improvement: 14 minutes 10 seconds.
  • Transition 2 improvement: 55 seconds.
  • Run improvement:  8 seconds.
Grand total of improvement:  20 minutes 55 seconds!!!
My teammate Ron tagged me in this photo on Facebook with the comment, "Lisa is smiling!"  Yes!  Yes I am!  Actually, still smiling!  

This says it all.  I am very proud of myself.  I worked hard for those 20 minutes.
I do have some things I need to work on.  Coach and I met on Tuesday and went over the race and how it went.  It was fun to compare this years race and last years and see the areas I have improved.  It was also fun to look at what didn't go well and make a plan for improving in those areas.  The two main things we are going to work on between now and Best in the West triathlon in September are better hydration and improving my run.  Not gonna lie, I was disappointed with my run and would like to be able to feel better while doing it and have a faster, consistent pace.  Looking forward to seeing what hard work I will have to do in order to make that happen.

Big shout out to my teammates!  Pretty fun to see all the Pure Endurance kits out there and getting cheered on and getting to cheer for my teammates along the way!  What an exceptionally awesome group of people I get to be associated with!

Melissa did the Olympic Aqua Bike in 2:16:57.  So fun to have you out there racing again Melissa!!
Ruth did the Sprint Aqua Bike in 1:01:10.  First finisher for the Sprint Aqua Bike, male or female!  First race after knee surgery.  I'm thinking she did pretty good. Pretty freaking awesome!
The rest of us did the Olympic Triathlon:
Mike: 2:17:02 and first in his age group and 14th overall!!
Ron: 2:42:18
Marcus: 3:14:36
Joe: 2:50 (Who did a half Ironman distance the day before as part of his crazy training plan! He's a little crazy!)
Kathy: 3:42:49 and second in her age group!
Rebecca: 3:01:25

That's nine people (including me) that have put in miles upon miles of time in the pool or lakes, riding bikes up and down hills, and running trails and roads to get ready for a race.  And are probably already looking at what they want to accomplish for the next event.  I'm incredibly proud of all of us!  It was a really great day!

Of course we couldn't have done as well as we did without our amazing coach, Jon Booth.  I appreciate not only his coaching but his friendship.  I've had some set backs and frustrations this year and he helped me navigate through them with great support and encouragement.  I know I improved like I did because I had him pushing me to be more than I ever thought I could.  Thank you Coach!!!

Once again I have to give a big shout out to Best in the West Events for putting on such a great event.  It was a blast from start to finish.  Everything was set up great, the volunteers were fantastic, and the awards were fun.  It takes a lot of work to organize an event like this and Blair and Staci and the rest of the Best in the West Posse does it with a smile on their face, making it as fun as possible, from start to finish.  On top of everything else they post all the pictures they take and the pictures are free to download and share!  How cool is that?  The pictures of me on the bike and crossing the finish are courtesy of Best in the West!!  I love them and think they turned out awesome!!  If you are thinking about doing a triathlon, duathlon, aquathon or a running event, check out their website and see what they have that you might want to participate in.  You won't be disappointed!!  http://www.bestinthewestevents.com/

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