Friday, September 15, 2017

Best in the West Olympic Triathlon 2017

What a weekend!

This weekend was the Best in the West Triathlon weekend.  There were events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Joe and our teammates Ron, Mike and Rebecca and our friend Chad were all participating in the Half Ironman distance triathlon.  Our teammate Ruth and Rebecca's son Bradley were doing the Sprint Triathlon.  Janelle, friend and coach's wife, and her son Logan did the Sprint Paddle, Bike and Run.  This was a new event, what a great idea!

I had signed up to do body marking first thing in the morning.  This is where you get to write on people with a big black sharpie.  Bib number on the left shoulder and left hand, what race they are doing on the left calf and their age at the end of the year on their right calf.

I decided to bring our new puppy along because triathlons are a great place to get puppies socialized both with people and other dogs.  We brought along his crate so that he could hang out in the car while I volunteered and then he spent the rest of the day running around with me.

I had a blast volunteering.  But then I always do no matter what race I'm helping at.  People are just into it and excited and nervous and it is so much fun to encourage and be a small part of their experience.  I even got a cool Best in the West tank top to keep and they gave me a bandana for Finn to wear.

It wasn't too long before it was time for the action to start.  I made it down to the beach in time to see the start of the swim for the Half Ironman.  So cool to see them taking off.

Everyone came out of the water pretty close together and looking really great.  It wasn't long and they were all off on their long bike ride.
Mike coming out of the water.  It looks like he's eating his swim cap. 😁😁😃
Ron had a fantastic swim! 
Joe is looking good. 
Chad has his game face on!  😑
James finishing his swim. 
Rebecca had her wet suit off in the water in no time and was all smiles (and tongue) as she came out for high fives. 
Most of the day involved heading to different areas of the park trying to time it so we could see people finish the bike, start the run, pass by on their run or finish their races.  It was a blast cheering for so many people doing so many different things.  It was also a blast to watch my teammates see the all their hard work pay off.  We have put a lot of miles in the pool, in lakes, on our bikes (both in the trainer and on the road) and running.  Not to mention strength training!  All of that work made for a pretty spectacular day and loads of smiles from all of our friends.  It was a very good day!!
The fabulous Booth family before Janelle and Logan start the Sprint Paddle, Bike, & Run
Jon helping Janelle get going. 
Ruth was telling Joe to suck it up and go faster, made Joe finish the bike with a laugh!
LOVE this lady's smile!!!! 😀
My battery was dying on my phone so I missed getting pictures of everyone on the team during the rest of the day.  But they all looked awesome and like they were having a ton of fun.
Joe coming by after his first lap of the run.  
Rebecca getting ready to give us high fives as she starts her second lap.

Pretty cool to hang out in the Pure Endurance tent with some of my teammates while we waited in between racer sightings.  Your logo looks good Coach!  😄

Mike finished the Half Ironman
Ron had a great race!!
Joe had a great race in spite of the interruptions in his training the past few weeks. 
Chad looked great and is well on his way to new goals coming next year!
Rebecca finishing like she started....Smiling!! 😃
The hard work is done, time to relax a little.
Finn was quite popular, being such a handsome puppy!  He had a blast meeting people and other dogs and did a good job learning that jumping on people was not okay but butt wagging and licking was.  By the time we loaded up the car and headed for home he was one tired little guy!!

Joe was happy with how he did with the Half.  I was impressed, especially since his training has had lots of interruptions the last month as he went to work on wildland fires in the state a couple of times.  I'm always proud of my guy!!!  But watching him doing his workouts around his crazy schedule the last month and then kick ass during the triathlon was awesome!!
Pure Endurance athletes for Saturday events.  Awesome job everyone!!!!
By the time we watched everyone finish their races, got food, took pictures and cleaned up to head home it was almost five o'clock.  It was a very long day!  Joe and I headed to bed around 8:00 p.m.  Partly because we were both tired and partly because I had my race the next day.  The puppy didn't complain about going to bed so early either, he was one worn out puppy!

I crashed hard!  Spectating is hard work!!!

Sunday we got up and loaded up the car for round two.  This time teammates Marcus and Kathy and I were all doing the Olympic triathlon.  Melissa was supposed to be doing the Olympic Aquathon but got pneumonia and wasn't able to do her race, dang it!! Hopefully she gets better fast!  But she was feeling enough better that she came and cheered everyone on both Saturday and Sunday!!
Me and my guy, both triathletes (and isn't that a kick in the pants?) 😁
We arrived at the park at Foster Lake around 6:30 a.m.  I like getting there early because then I don't feel rushed getting my body markings and setting up my stuff.  I also have more time to be nervous which isn't good.  It was definitely the morning of nervous pooping.  If you do events of any kind you probably know what I'm talking about.  Seriously, it's so annoying!  And pretty stinky! lol
Third poop of the morning.  Geesh!  lol
It wasn't too long before it was time to put on the wet suit and head down to the lake.  I got into the water in the swim area and did some warming up.  We had a delay of the start of the race as there was a volunteer on the bike course that had a medical emergency.  The race directors wanted to make sure the bike course was all set with volunteers before we got started.  I appreciate that they put our safety first.

There was a cool moment while I was in the water.  They started the National Anthem.  I love how a crowd that is talking and laughing will quiet down for this song!  I always sing along when it is playing, Just something I have always done.  I'm standing in the water, up to about my waist, with my hand over my heart and singing along and pretty soon the lady next to me started singing too.  Then another person started, then another.  By the time it was done there was probably 10 or so people singing while standing out in the water.  I thought it was a special moment before we began our race, one that gave me goosebumps.
Pre-race chit chat with Kyle.
I was in the last wave to go in the water.  First it was the collegiate teams, then the men 39 and under, then the men 40 and over.  Next was the women 39 and under which the announcer called the Babe group.  lol  Then came the 40 and over women and anyone doing the swim for a relay.  The announcer called us the Super Babes group.  Ha!!  Nice save!  One of the guys that was doing a relay looked at his friend and said, "Don't think I've ever been called a babe before, let alone a super babe!"  Fun to start the race off with a giggle.
Kathy and I ready to head in to the water.
Getting counted going in, got a high five from Jaime which was a bonus!!
Wasn't too long before it was time to start.

I had the same problem that I had at Cottage Grove.  I couldn't get away from people!  lol  This can be rather frustrating while swimming but at the same time it is kind of cool because it means I have become a faster swimmer.  I used to be behind everyone and would maybe pass a few people along the way.  Now I'm more at the middle of the pack and I pretty much stay there and still pass a few people along the way.  It's just hard when people don't swim in a straight line!  I think I have gotten passed them and then they are cutting across in front of my again.  I am learning to not stop for them, I basically just swim over the top of them.  Seems a bit mean but I know I am swimming in a straight line, it's one thing I do really well.

I got into a pretty good groove after I was able to get out of the initial crowd and then get past the zig-zaggers.  My daughter Bri (aka Swim Instructor) has been working on fine tuning my stroke and I have seen big improvements almost immediately.  Kind of fun to be able to fix little things and see what a difference they make right away.
Marcus came out of the water so fast he ran right by before they could get a picture. 😉
Great picture of Kathy finishing her swim.
 I came out of the water and I hit the button on my watch to end the swim and start Transition 1.  I finished about the same as Tri at the Grove which was good considering the difficulties I had at the beginning.

I was pretty happy coming out of the water.  There is a long jaunt to get up to the Transition so I took off my goggles and swim cap, unzipped my wet suit and then pulled it down to my waist.  All while trotting along to get to my bike.
Joe got this picture of Coach taking his own pictures.  😀
My transitions are getting faster.  Pull the rest of the wet suit off, dry feet and put on socks and shoes.  Then bike gloves, sunglasses and helmet.  Unrack the bike and head for the bike mounting area.  I was getting lots of encouragement from my husband, my coach and my teammates.  They kept me smiling all through transition.
Getting the wetsuit off. 
My husband took this one, go figure.  I think he didn't think I would use it.  lol  
Heading out to start my bike ride.
I headed out on the bike.  The plan was to work on eating a PB&J during the first few miles.  This is so I can get more calories in me during the first part of the ride and will be better able to handle both the ride and the run without getting shaky because I've used up all my energy and don't have enough calories to keep me going.  I ate the sandwich pretty easily and washed it down with water.

The bike ride went well.  One advantage of living close to the course is being able to ride it often.  I knew all the up hills were doable and wasn't worried about going to fast on the downhills since I knew where the curves and corners were.

I started getting frustrated about getting passed.  I had a good swim and came out of the water before quite a few people but I was getting passed a lot.  I had to really concentrate on being okay with how I was doing and having fun with the fact that I was doing better than I had done this race before.  Comparing myself to others wouldn't keep me smiling.  Knowing that I was kicking my own butt did keep me smiling.

A young man that we have known since he was born was also participating.  He had done the race last year as well.  Last year he was finishing his bike ride when I was starting mine.  I saw him when I was about one mile into the ride.  The same thing happened this year except that I was almost six miles in before he zipped passed me heading to the finish of the bike.  I got a kick out of that, especially since he ended up being the overall winner!  We both had improvements!

I saw teammate Marcus when I was at about mile 11 as he was heading back.  Always fun to smile and wave at my teammate during a race.  At some point I must have passed Kathy as we headed out but didn't realize it.  She passed me when we were going up the last steep hill going to up to the dam.  I passed her again after we were past the dam.  I was pretty sure she would pass me on the run so I enjoyed being in front of her for a little bit.  😁

Coach should be proud that I'm in my lower bars!!  (For almost the entire ride!!!)  😄
I finished my bike ride with a pretty great time drop over last year so I was a pretty happy camper when I got to the dismount line.  I had a shorter walk to get to the transition than the year before which was nice.  I racked my bike, took off my helmet and gloves, grabbed my race bib and water bottle and headed for the exit.
Heading out for my 10k. 
The clouds were breaking up and the sun was starting to shine.  It didn't get terribly hot but there were a few stretches on the run where we were directly in the sun for a stretch and it did get hot!

The game plan Jon and I had come up with for the run was that I would run for a mile and then walk for one or two minutes, repeat.  I worked at trying to be consistent with my effort so I might go a little slower uphill but then I could go a little faster downhill and not necessarily be using more energy.  I felt pretty consistent so that was good.  Kathy passed me after the first mile, when she passed me on the way back from the first turnaround we got to give each other cheers and smiles.  I was able to keep her in sight pretty well for the first three miles so that was fun.  At one point I could see runners that were coming back from the second turn around and heading back down the road towards the finish.  I could see Marcus (the Pure Endurance kits have orange bands on the shorts which helps me spot teammates!)  He passed Kathy and I saw them cheer each other on.  Next thing I know I hear "GO LISA!!!" from the trees.  Marcus had spotted me down the road and was giving me a shout.  I gave him a "Whoop, Whoop, GO MARCUS!" back.  That made me smile for a long time.

The run was hard, lots of hills and the sun had come out.  But I felt so much better than I did during the run at Cottage Grove.  No side aches, no upset stomach, no jitters.  Just tired legs. 😉

I poured water over my head at each of the aid stations.  The last two aid stations had cold towels to use as well which was awesome.  The last aid station I stopped at, about mile 4, I asked for ice.  I pulled out my sports bra and started dumping the ice in.  The high school students that were manning the aid station were looking at me like I was crazy.  I figured it helped when I ran at Cascade Lakes Relay it certainly wouldn't hurt doing it now.  I put about three small dixie cups of ice down my sports bra.  That helped keep me cool.

When I got to the spot on the road where I turned onto the trail I only had 1/4 of a mile to go.  Joe was waiting there for me.  He had been volunteering for the Try a Tri and just waited for me to show up at the end of my run.  He ran with me for a ways which was nice.  He told me that if I kept moving I would finish under four hours.  I was pretty sure I had that goal down solid.  Which meant that I was pretty sure that I would have a PR for this race since last year it took me just over four hours.  What I wasn't sure about was if I would be able to get a PR for any Olympic distance triathlon. You know, out of the two events I have done. lol
Almost done!!  Breathing two out, three in all the way to the finish!  😃
Joe ran up ahead so he could get pictures of me coming into the finish.  That was kind of a good thing because it helped me speed up just a little so I could keep him in sight.

All of a sudden I am coming over the bridge and I can see the finish line.  I come around the corner and I hear Joe and Jon cheering for me and all of the people hanging out in the Saloon as well.  Jon yelled, "Quick feet, stand tall!!"  Which I did I think and then I tried to use the last bit of energy I could to go down that last chute fast.
Focused on finishing strong all the way over the line!
Wow!  That was hard and SO MUCH FUN!!!

I looked at my watch.  I knew that if I had any time under 3:55 I had PR the Olympic distance as well as this course.

Official time was 3:54:38.
Sunday's athletes with coach before the race.  Another good day!
Now for some comparisons, the good kind.  (And yes! I know that I will not always PR but I'm enjoying it while it is happening. 😛)

Here's my official results for 2017:
Compared to 2016:

Swim improvement: 1:20
Transition 1 improvement: 22 seconds
Bike improvement: 10:10
Transition 2 improvement: 22 seconds
Running improvement: 42 seconds

Total improvement: 12 minutes and 55 seconds over my time from last year's race!!!!
And bonus improvement for any Olympic Triathlon: 34 seconds.
My AWESOME Coach and me after the finish!
I love this picture of me and Jon!!  I think our smiles say it all!  It was a very good day.

Here's the funny thing.  I rocked my race and personally kicked my own butt in a pretty solid fashion.  Joe always says how you place depends on who shows up on race day.  Last year I came in third in my age group (out of three lol).  This year I came in 7th in my age group (out of seven).  Last year I came in 162 out of 168 people.  This year I finished 120 out of 121.  Joe kept saying there was a bunch of people still running but I was pretty sure I was only ahead of one guy the last couple of miles.

This shows that it is so important to look at how I am doing compared to myself and not anything else.  Getting an age group award was cool last year.  Beating my own time on a pretty hard course by over 12 minutes was way cooler and I came in 7th in my age group this year in spite of the better time.  Perspective!!!

Another fun thing was that they organized where we racked our bikes in transition by age groups.  This meant that I got to visit and have fun with the ladies that I was "competing" against.  Everyone was fun and encouraging.  There were several ladies that this was their first Olympic triathlon and they were so excited and nervous.  That was me last year!  Actually, this was my fourth Olympic triathlon and I was still excited and nervous!

Take-aways from this race:
  • I've worked hard and it has paid off. 
  • I need to work on having more confidence that the hard work is paying off.
  • I really love doing triathlons.
  • I have gained a whole bunch of teammates that are seriously, so much fun to hang out with, work out with, encourage and support.  My circle of people that have come into my life through exercise just keeps growing and I love it!
  • I have a fabulous husband that always cheers for me and I am so thankful that I can share doing these things with him.  Spectating is a complete blast but being able to be a participant with Joe is just really special.
  • I love getting to cheer for people!  Especially people that I know first hand the amount of time and effort they put in before race day.  Makes it even more cool to watch them do their thing. 
  • I love volunteering.  It's fun to be helping out and cheering for people, putting a smile on their face and in general just getting to be a part of the day even when I'm not racing.  
  • I have an amazing coach who pushes me to do things out of my comfort zone and taught me things so I am stronger and more confident.  I am so blessed to have a fabulous coach who I call friend as well and who gets me.  (That's a little scary! lol)
BIG shout out to Best in the West.  Once again, you put together an amazing race.  Every event you look for ways to improve so that the experience for athletes, volunteers and spectators is as fabulous as possible.  We look forward to being in any event you are running but this one is my particular favorite from start to finish.  Check out their website to see what fun things they have that you can sign up for.

Next up is the Silver Falls Half Marathon in November.  Got some work to do for my running this next year.  Always something to work on.  The fun just never stops.  😀