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!!)