Saturday, September 15, 2018

Best in the West 2018-Changing Goals Mid Race

Since my last blog about the race in Cottage Grove we have been crazy busy.  Trip to Whistler for Joe's Ironman race, backpacking trip with girl friends (blog about those later), family time and working on getting my classroom set up made the month fly by.  Suddenly it's time to be back at work learning about my new school and what grades and subjects I would be teaching.  All while trying (not so successfully) to maintain my workout schedule to prepare for the Olympic Triathlon at Best in the West.

The second week back to work was the first week with my students.  One 9th grade Language Arts class, two 10th grade Language Arts classes  and two Freshman Success classes.  I was nervous about teaching high school, a little bit of second guessing the decision to make the move.  I had a blast!  At the end of the week we had our first assembly and I loved the energy from the staff and students.  I have always loved this school.  I have been so very pleased with the experiences my own kids have had there and I am ridiculously excited to get to be a part of the staff.

The beginning of the school year is always a bit exhausting.  Starting at a new school and learning new standards and curriculum, learning the ins and outs of the building, connecting with the staff, planning and prepping for the kids, meeting the kids, lesson plans, activities, and the list goes on.  And that's just the first eight days of my school year!!  All of that with an Olympic Triathlon after those eight days.  Yikes!!

Joe and I always volunteer at Best in the West.  Usually he is racing Saturday and I race on Sunday.  So I volunteer Saturday and he volunteers on Sunday.  If you volunteer you can stay at the park where the Best in the West events take place.  We haven't done that before because we are only about 45 minutes away from the lake and the thought of sleeping in a tent and then getting up and racing didn't really appeal to either of us.  This year we had our trailer!

Joe took the trailer up earlier in the week and got it set up and then spent a few hours helping with set up.  I spent Thursday afternoon/evening after work prepping the food and packing for the weekend.  Friday morning I packed up the cooler and had almost everything out in the garage to load into the truck.  I came home at lunch to finish packing up a few things and help Joe put the cooler and other big things in the truck.  I love living just a few minutes from work!

After work I made the quick commute home and we headed up to Foster Lake.  It was nice to just be in the truck and be still for awhile.  I had been fighting a headache all day and it can be very tiring to try and keep the headache under control and still maintain a certain level of energy for the students.  The nice part was that the trailer was already set so it was just a matter of getting the food from the cooler to the fridge and putting our things in their spots.  We decided to go grab our race packets and check in at the volunteer tent before we started dinner.

Our friend Mark had decided to do the Try a Tri event on Sunday and he was there on Friday to pick up his packet and listen to the race briefing.  He was a little nervous about it all, especially the swim part.  Pretty normal.  We told Mark to come over to the trailer and he could join us for hamburgers.  We had a relaxing time hanging out, eating dinner and visiting.  Joe spent some time getting all his gear lined up for his Half Ironman triathlon the morning.  I was volunteering the next morning doing body marking which meant we both had to be up early.  So that meant early to bed.

Morning came quickly but I love that I sleep really well in our trailer.  We both got up and started getting ready for our day.  Joe for racing and me for volunteering.

I love volunteering!  It's so fun to support and encourage people.  Body marking is a kick in the pants to do.  People are excited, or nervous, or scared.  Or a little bit of all three.  I like talking with them and joking around.  Basically I am a big dork, just like I am when I am teaching. lol  Actually, just like I am most of the time.  😆
When you are doing the body marking you use a big, fat sharpie to write on people.  Their bib number goes down their left arm, bib number on their left hand.  On their left calf you write what event they are doing.  Half Triathlon you write HT, Sprint Triathlon is ST.  But then there is also an aqua/bike event where you swim and bike but don't run.  This is SA or HA.  You can also do a duathlon where you bike and run (no swim).  That looks like SD or HD.  This year we added something else.  If it was their first time doing the distance we put a start underneath.  If it was their first time doing a triathlon or that event of any kind they got two stars.  I LOVED that!  So fun to give people that were doing something new extra love!  Their right leg I wrote their age they would be on the last day of the year.  Always funny to see people trying to think of what to say.

I got to do the body marking on Joe when he came to set up in transition.  It is a little weird to not spend the morning being his sherpa.  Somehow he managed on his own.  😉  I missed him taking off at the start of his race, which I know isn't a big deal in the large scheme of things.  But I always hate it when I can't give him loves before he starts.  But I do like volunteering and doing it first thing leaves me the rest of the day to hang out and cheer for my guy and any of my teammates that are racing.  I got done with my shift and headed down to the lake to see if I could catch Joe coming out of the water.  I made it just in time!  I got to see Joe and then make it up to transition to see him heading out on the bike.  It always makes people laugh when I shout, "Don't fall down!!!"
I headed to the trailer to let Finn out and to get some Advil.  The headache from Friday was still lingering and I wanted to stomp it out so it was gone before my race on Sunday.  I got to see teammate Ron come out of the water before I went to the trailer but I missed seeing Rebecca, dang it.

Finn and I hung out at the Pure Endurance tent with all of the Booth family.  The kids had fun playing tug with Finn and his rope.  Pretty fun to watch Finn pull but not as hard as he does when he plays with me or Joe.  He was very sweet with the kiddos.  I also loved being able to get some visiting time with Janelle.  We haven't gotten to sit and chit chat in ages! I got to see Logan take off on his Kayak Sprint Tri.  Instead of swimming he kayaked, then biked and then ran.  He did awesome!  So fun to cheer for him!  He's grown a lot since I met him three years ago and he would run with me on the track!

My friend Kristy showed up to hang out with me and cheer for Joe.  Waiting for people during a triathlon seems like a lot of sitting around doing nothing but it seems to go so fast!  Visiting with people, people watching, cheering for friends and teammates all takes a lot of time.  But so much fun!!

Ron came in on the bike looking good.  Then came Joe.  He also looked strong and ready for the run.  It took awhile for Rebecca to arrive and when we saw her running her bike in from the dismount line I shouted that she needed to smile!  She smiled, which was great.  But then she wasn't smiling and I knew something was wrong.  I asked if she was okay and she said no and asked where coach was.  I ran over to the Pure Endurance tent and told Jon that something was wrong and he needed to go talk to Rebecca.  He worked his way around the transition area so he was close to where her bike was racked.  We could see them talking and it was obvious she was upset.  She was having problems with her foot and she made the hard decision to stop.  She is signed up to do her first Ironman next May and pushing through 13.1 miles of pain right now doesn't get her to the bigger goal in May.  Not an easy decision but the right one in the long run I'm sure.

Kristy and I went to the trailer to get Finn some water and put him in the crate.  It was getting hot and boxers don't do great when they get really hot.  The trailer was nice and cool so he was ready for his afternoon nap time.  😍

When we got back to the tent Rebecca was laying on the ground stretching.  I plopped down next to her and let her tell me about what happened.  We laughed, had a few tears and mostly I just listened.  It's disappointing to not be able to finish something you have been training for for so long.  Love my friend Rebecca and wished she had a better day.  Got this text from her later that afternoon.
Sometimes all takes to help out is laying in the grass with a friend. 💜
We got to see Ron and Joe go by as the finished their first lap of the half marathon part of their day.  More hanging out, people watching and visiting.  It's rough being a spectator!
Ron came down the finish chute and was gifted a beer from Block 15.  (They know him well!)  So funny to watch Ron finish the race with a beer in his hand and a huge smile on his face.
Ron is the one with the huge smile and the beer in his hand!!
Joe finished not long after that looking strong.  After Joe was done and he had recovered some we headed back to the trailer.  It was so nice to not have to get in the car and drive home.  We just could hang out and relax in our home away from home.  We got dinner going and I started getting my gear put together for my race the next morning.
Joe crossing the bridge to enter the finishing chute.  Looking good!!
All too soon it was morning.  Now it was my turn!  Joe was volunteering at packet pickup and had to be there bright and early.  He took off and I finished eating and getting my things ready.  I headed to the transition area to get my body markings and start getting set up.  Now it was someone else's turn to write on me!  😉  Got my things set up and wandered back to the tent to grab a banana and keep myself moving.
It wasn't long before it was time to get the wetsuit on (or should I say the wiggle dance?)  My teammate Ruth was doing the Olympic Aqua Bike so we got to joke around a get some smiles before go time.
Foster Lake on race morning.
Start of the swim looks very quiet right now.
Race Day selfie with my hubby.  He was volunteering at Packet Pickup.
My friend Mark was there to do the Try a Tri race later that morning.  So Mark and Jodie had arrived in time to say hi and watch me get started on the run.  So fun to have them there!
Love my teammate Ruth!  We always laugh when we hang out together. 😁
Waiting for our turn to start the race.
Go time seems to take forever to arrive and comes all too quickly, all at the same time.

We were the last group to take off.  It was kind of crazy at the start, people crisscrossing all over the place.  Lots of feet in the face, arms everywhere, it was a little nuts.  But I was able to get to the outside edge of the crowd on the left and getting going pretty quickly.  I felt solid and just tried to stay steady and straight.  When I went around the yellow turn buoy the sun was perfectly aligned that the reflection on the water was blinding.  I literally could not see anything straight ahead and had no idea where the next turn buoy was.  I headed off in what seemed to be the right direction.  The people on the paddle boards and kayaks were supposed to herd us back if we got too off course.  Eventually I did finally see the turn buoy.  I had been staying to the left side of the orange buoys which was keeping me out of traffic.  After the second turn buoy I should have headed for the second orange buoy.  The first one wasn't really lined up well and I think I ended up going quite a bit out of my way by keeping to the left.

Overall the swim felt solid.  Not as fast as I had hoped and not as fast as last year but it was still a solid swim.  The run up to transition is long way but I was moving right along the entire time.
Had a decent transition and took off on the bike feeling really good.  I was excited to see how the bike ride would go.

I ate my PB&J at the start of the ride.  The weather was perfect, cool and no wind.  I had fun and felt really strong.

It didn't take long to get to the hill that is, in my opinion, wicked steep at the start and then isn't as steep but just keeps going up.  I'm always very happy to get that hill done.  It still makes me anxious even though I have never not made it up it.   When I got to the top and turned I could hear my back wheel rubbing on something.  I was pretty sure I had gotten a rock stuck between the brake and the tire.  I had that a few weeks ago only when it happened then it completely stopped my back tire.  At least this time it was just rubbing.  I stopped and got the rock out.  So nice to have people concerned that I had stopped. Was asked by the flaggers and several people riding by if I was okay or if they could help.  The fact that people who were racing were willing to stop and help me just made me smile.  It didn't take long to be back on the bike and be going again.

I was nearing the turn around point when I saw Ruth coming the other way.  So fun to wave and shout to each other on the course.  That always seems to give me a little boost.

As I rode along I found myself thinking about what it was like to do this ride the first time.  How big the hills were, how hard I worked, how scared I was.  The hills are still big and I still was working hard but the fear wasn't a part of the ride this time.  There were several parts that I remember being so long and I loved that they were still work but didn't seem to take the eternity they had the first time.

I'm not sure if that is a change in perspective, being a stronger athlete or just being able to enjoy the bike ride now but no matter what the reason, I'll take it.  😊
My friend Heather was a flagger at the corner at the bottom of the wicked hill.  I was so focused going up that I didn't see her off to the side but heard her cheering for me as I started up the hill.  That made me smile as I was grinding up the steep part of the hill.  On the way back down I knew she wouldn't be able to see me until I was passing so I decided to make sure she knew I was coming.  I got to the steep part flying down the hill and I started shouting, "HEATHER!!!" at the top of my lungs.  lol  The flaggers that were right at the bottom looked at me like I was crazy.  As I looked to my right as I flew by I saw my friend jumping up and down shouting back.

So much fun!!

Still felt like I was doing really solid.  Maybe not any faster than the year before but at least as well.  I try not to look at my watch so that I don't start getting mental about going too slow or worry about maintaining what I've been doing.  There is one last steep hill leading up to the dam and as I was working up the hill my back started to feel a little tight.  I didn't think much of it because that happens sometimes but usually is fine once I'm at the top.

Not this time.  My low back just kept getting tighter and tighter.  It felt like the whole low back was just seizing up.  I couldn't get it to loosen up.  I would stand on my pedals and move around and then sit and try to get going fast again.  I would for a little bit and then I would have to try and move around again.

I had this happen when we rode on the Cascade Lakes Highway during our Training Camp in June.  I was able to get off the bike and stretch it out for awhile which helped.  Not really ideal for a race.

The last five miles of the bike were tough.  Usually I can get some pretty good speed from the dam to the park.  Not so much this time.  I couldn't keep the back loose and I couldn't seem to get any power in my legs.

My goal of a PR on the bike faded away over five short miles.  My goal of a PR for the race also faded away over those five miles.

Now there was a new challenge.

The mental one.

I don't see myself as someone who is good at mental challenges most of the time.

I got off the bike to the cheers of my coach.  That made me smile.  But holy moly did my back hurt when I was walking my bike into transition.  I told coach that my bike was acting up like it did at Training Camp.  I'm pretty sure that he passed that on to Joe who was cheering for me with Jodie near the run exit.

I thought about quitting.

The run was not going to be good.  Another run that was not going to be strong which was frustrating because I had wanted to have a good run after how badly Cottage Grove went.

The thinking going through my head was that my back hurt, my goals were now in the trash can, the run was probably not going to be pretty, and wondering if I should I keep going or quit.

That's a lot of thinking in the few minutes in transition.

I didn't worry about having a fast transition.  I stretched out my back a few times while I changed my shoes and gathered up my stuff for the run.

I don't remember actually deciding to keep going.  I just found myself heading to the run exit.

I guess I decided to keep going.  😆
Coach told me to start out slow so that I could give my back a chance to loosen up.  Not a problem, going fast wasn't going to be happening.  lol

It was fun to see all the Try a Tri people on their run!  Hopefully they all had a good time and are thinking about doing another triathlon.  I missed seeing my friend Mark.  I think he had already gotten to the trail towards the lake.  Darn it, I was hoping for a high five!

I forgot to hit the button on my Garmin to end T2 until almost a quarter of a mile into the run.  Dang it.  I hit the button and my metronome started beeping.  I had been using it some on my training runs working on cadence.  But in the run setting it is easy to go in and mute so I tried to do that in the triathlon setting.  It didn't have that option. lol  I would have had to stop, pause the Garmin and then try and figure it out that way.  But I was afraid if I stopped I wouldn't start again so I just left it.

I got to run a 10k with my watch beeping the entire time.  It was totally annoying! All it did was remind me that I was going slow.

I was able to get trotting and it was weird.  I actually felt like I was moving pretty good.  Then I would look at my watch and realize I was doing a 13'30"/14" minute average pace.  Not a 12" or lower pace like it felt like.  Sigh.  At least I was not walking.

Our camping neighbors were manning the first aid station and were sporting outfits to represent Riverdale, Archie and the gang.  Pretty cute.  If it's the same family as last year, last year they were Scooby and the gang.
Awesome Volunteers!!!
The grandpa of the family was taking pictures as we came into the aid station.  We had some great conversations with him hanging out at the trailer over the weekend.  He said I should make sure he knew it was me when I was coming up to the aid station.  So I started waving my arms and shouting, "Hi Dick!!!!"  Made for a funny picture.
Waving at the photographer.  Looks like I'm having a spasm.  lol
Still managing to smile.
This course involves a short out and back one direction and a longer one in another direction.  By the time you are at the last turn around and now, finally, heading toward the finish you can see exactly how many people are still racing behind you.

There were two.

That's a little demoralizing to have worked hard all summer through a lot of travel and hiccups only to finish off the season with a big fizzle.

In the past this would have had me walking and really just giving up completely mentally.

I kept running.  It was slow and it hurt but it was running.

Somehow I had decided that my new goal was finishing the race as best I could with what I had for the day.

What I had was a tight back and a slow trot.

Better than nothing.

I was able to run without stopping for most of the last three miles.  A few bits of walking towards the tops of a couple of hills and a couple times walking at water stations.

The Riverdale gang from the first aid station went by me in their pickup truck and gave lots of shouting and cheering.  Another reason to keep smiling.  😀

I got to the trail that leads down to the lake and the finish line.  So nice to know there was only about a quarter mile to go.

I came down the path and could see the bridge and there was my hubby and my friends Mark and Jodie cheering for me as if I had just one the whole stinking race.  Gotta love that no matter how the race went.

I like this video that Joe took because I can hear my peeps cheering for me and it shows me high fiving a volunteer as I went by.  😊

Came around the corner and saw coach and then got to get high fives from Ron and Ruth who were cheering for me from the saloon.

Was able to dig deep and run a pretty good clip into the finish chute and across the finish line.

Felt good to finish with a smile on my face.
Best in the West Olympic Triathlon #3 Finisher!
I didn't finish the way I had planned when I started the race that morning.

I did finish.

I not only finished but I finished and didn't promptly start beating myself up for things falling apart.

Sure I was disappointed, but somehow I was proud of myself for not giving up and how I was able to keep moving.  I didn't beat myself up or cry about how things had turned out.

I actually was kinda proud of myself.

Then I was a little surprised that I was proud of myself.

Guess I'm growing up a little.

Shout Outs!

Best in the West, Blair, Staci and the entire Posse!  As always, a fun time from start to finish.  We loved volunteering!  Camping at the park was so nice and hanging out with all the volunteers, Posse and triathletes was a kick.  Getting all the free race photos is awesome!  The races were awesome for all of us.  It really is one of the best ways to end the triathlon season.  For me personally it is a great way to start off my school year.

Check out the Best in the West Events website to see all the events they put on all year long!  So many fun things to be a part of!

Coach Jon Booth-Pure Endurance.  Three years of training together, meetings, adventures, lots of races, PR's, laughter and even a few tears.  This is me after all.  Can't do much without some tears in the mix.  Thank you for encouraging me through a weird summer on my end while you were dealing with a rough one on yours.  I love you and your family!!  Janelle and kids, thank you for supporting Jon so he can be such an awesome coach.  I know he wouldn't be able to do it the way he can without you guys supporting him.

Pure Endurance Teammates.  Wow!  When I was first thinking about working with Jon, one of my hesitations was worried about being the slow one and it bothering people.  Silly thing I know.  I am over it...mostly. lol  I love my teammates.  I love seeing everyone in our team kits, hanging out in the Pure Endurance tent and cheering loud and proud for each other as we all do our thing.  Different goals, different abilities but all on the same team.  So glad to have such amazing people added to my tribe.  You all rock!

Joe Van Veldhuizen.  You are my rock.  I would not be able to be the wife, mom, teacher or triathlete I am without you by my side.  Love having these adventures with you.  Thank you for believing in me!  I love you!