Sunday, August 31, 2014

Circle Tri

There are so many things I liked about this race.

#1 is my shiny new PR!  Yay!  I did better on the bike and T1 and it made a minute and a half difference.  I was slower in the swim, better than last year on the run but not as good as the first year I did it and slightly slower on T2.  But overall - victory!  They don't give age group awards here but I would have been third at best out of not many.  The woman who came in first in my age group was FAST!

Let's start with the swim.  It was so peaceful this morning.  Finally it got started. Waiting for the start just increases my nervousness.  There were people doing one for the first time and I suspect they were more nervous!  The swim went okay. I started out too fast and made myself slow down as that whole breathing too fast thing isn't comfortable in the water.  Apparently one guy had to get in the canoe in the heat before mine. I didn't see it thank goodness. One guy I was talking to after told me it made him feel good as it all went just the way they said it would in the pre race meeting if someone was in trouble.  Good to know.  I thought the course looked long and I do think I'm getting better about knowing the distance.  But it was the same for all.  I passed some people in this race. Really!  Of course MANY passed me. I was in wave 7 out of 10 and waves are random so faster swimmers can be after you for sure.  I did the breast stroke mostly. I can see better, I like my breathing better, I can't see weeds.  It was a little weedy but I told myself to get over it, it wasn't terrible.  Plus I have a song I sing to get my mind off the weeds.  So my time was 13:05 which includes a run to transition.  Last year it was 12:27.  Oh well.  I was 147/189.  Hey, that's quite a few people I beat. 

 BUT my transition was awesome. It was 2:35.  Last year it was 3:27. The year before 4:27.  Lots of improvement there.

Then it is my happy time because I am on the bike. This course is 12 miles and takes me about the same as the 14 mile one near my home. It is HILLY!  I heard some guys talking ahead of time about how hilly it is and they were surprised it was pushed for beginners.  I lose some time on the downhills as I am not brave particularly when I don't know what is around the corner.  There are two major hills and lots of more minor ones.  I passed 24 people, you know how I like to count.  I was 112/189.  My time was 49:33.  Last year this was 51:01. The year before 52:19.  Oh yeah! My pace was 14.5.

T2 seemed fast but my time was 1:43 to last year's time of 1:21. Oh well.

Then it was time to run and I felt surprisingly good.  My first mile was 9:30. I did slow down after that but it was better than I have been doing. I was 26:18 for 2.7 miles.  I was 134/189.  This was better than last year at 26:29 but not as good as my first year.  My pace was 9:45.

Overall I was 1:33:14.  Last year I was 1:34:45 and my first year 1:36:21. I love improving!  I was 122/189 overall.  Yay!  I am thrilled.

I hung around some after and ate blueberry pancakes and home fries.  Then I was leaving but I watched the cutest little kids first running in from the water to ride bikes.  They were seriously little and seriously brave. There were also some older women and at first I was confused.  But there are three races and you can choose anyone of them, no matter your age. You can do a really short race which would usually be offered only to kids.  The women looked so excited!

Then I went to Dunkin Donuts, race kit on, medal on, number still on.  There was an older woman there and a school age girl.  The woman thanked me profusely for doing the race.  It is for girls who don't have opportunities to go to camp, do this mentorship program this lady was involved with and other stuff.  This woman said she had been meeting with her mentee for years but this was the first time they had watched the race. I was already sold on this race but the appreciation of this lady made me think I need to come every year. This year I had some hesitation but I  won't next year.

The day before the race I walked around Plymouth where I got my undergraduate degree. I was so happy to be walking around with those wonderful memories on such a great day.  Here are just a couple of pictures I took of that.

*****I hit 500 miles on my bike for August! This is definitely a high for me. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Zoe's Race

How is my foot?  So so. But I ran a 5K today.  Stubbing a toe!  Who knew what problems it could cause?

The race I did today is Zoe's Race. My son helps put it on and it's an awesome race.  The funds are used to make homes more handicapped accessible for families.  There are lots of kids being pushed in wheelchairs.  The looks on their faces as they crossed the finish line is priceless!

Plus my husband, son and I all do it.  My husband was very unhappy with his New Year's race time. Well he lessened it today by more than 3 minutes! And he never runs!  Jameson also liked his time a lot although he hasn't been running either.  Me - who has been running except for this last week - didn't like my time so much.  It ended up being a flat 10 minute a mile pace.  Oh well.  It was a beautiful day. I was running and racing.  My husband and son were there.  People were happy.  Life was good!  I was second in my age group - no prize though.

The food and prizes for this race are incredible.  I didn't win a random prize but they were great.  They do have trouble getting people to do this race that don't do it every year. I am not sure why!

While I was running someone ran by me and said hey Age Groups. Well in the short time we were passing I thought:
Does she know I won my age group last year?
Am I winning my age group this year?
How would she know, am I the only old lady she has met?

She high fived me and moved on.  I don't feel I was very friendly as I was so puzzled.  But I finally realized she meant my blog.  That doesn't happen to me often so I had no clue.  But if she is reading this, I am sorry I wasn't more friendly, I was just so mystified and truthfully out of breath!

After the food that I ate and ate and ate I went on a great bike ride on the bike path and causeway. It was truly a wonderful day.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Why Is It So Hard Not To Run?

It's no secret that biking is my activity of choice. So why is it so hard to stop running when I know it would be the smart thing to do.  More than a week ago, in fact the night before my last tri, I stubbed my toe badly.  I immediately stopped and iced it because this toe was broken once and it seems to get injured easily.  It didn't give me much problem in the tri the next day, in fact I could pretty much ignored it.

But as I ran last week there were days I wondered if I should be running and one day when I KNEW I shouldn't be but I still did.  I am not good about listening to my body. My foot was telling me it hurt but I didn't listen.  But it still seemed to be getting better. But the other night I caught my toe on something and it yanked it a little bit and seemed to pull it all out of shape again. It is ALWAYS bigger, it never recovered from it's first injury.  But it usually doesn't hurt.  I'm okay to bike and swim.

So finally - just this morning - I said enough pain!  I am not going to run for a few days.  Although I found myself thinking it felt better in the middle of the day, surely I could run a bit. But I have not.  I won't even think about it until Wednesday and should go longer.

How are you about missing workouts? Do you worry you will lose it all?  Do you try to make them up later?  It is much easier to know what you should do than to actually do it, I find.

On the biking front, I had a great birthday ride. I rode 62 miles. I guess 61 for my age and one to grow on.  I rode all through the islands, into New York and down through New York, back to Vermont.

Saturday I did a ride I like a lot.  On the way back I got a flat.  I am ashamed to admit that as much as I ride and as far as I ride I CANNOT CHANGE A FLAT.  I am even more ashamed to admit that I had no tube or tools with me. I am even more ashamed to admit that I rode 13 miles on a flat tire.  I knew better.  But I am delighted to say that the tire and rim were completely fine!

I am again ashamed to tell you I rode today and forgot my new tools and tube at home.  They are now in the car ready for my next ride.  But it was a beautiful ride on my last official day of summer.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's Over or Vt. Sun Tri Report

Phew!  I was quite worried about this in spite of saying I was ready.

Thanks everyone for the messages of support on my last post!

As I was packing last nightI smashed the toe I have injured several times and knew it would be sore today. One more small thing to worry about. I immediately stopped and iced it so it was okay but I did notice it.
They put those buoys so far away.

There was a sprint and an Olympic tri today and they were well attended so there was a lot going on.  I must admit I like it when there are races of different distances.  There is more to watch and I can look at THEIR swim course and think, "Okay, at least my course is much shorter than that one."  But always always this course looks so long to me.  I was in the last wave and before I knew it we were off.  I seemed to be doing okay.  There were a lot of buoys and I just concentrated on getting to the next one.  There were people around me - yay - and people behind me - yay!  (Not to be mean to them but you get it.)  I still am not able to do much free style even though the breathing feels better. So I did some but I mostly did breast stroke.  If I found myself getting nervous about my breathing I had a song I would sing (in my head of course) and once I counted strokes for awhile.  Both helped.  I never had to get on my back or had that complete panic feeling. A huge win. When I came out I looked at my watch and it was right on what I typically swim this race in so I was thrilled.

I was 134/157.  Not DFL at all.  

Transition 1 was quicker than usual.  I am never fast here but there were improvements!
This is afterwards.  It was tricky finding my bike.
It was crowded but if you come out of the swim
late, not so bad.  Look at me finding the 
positives to that slow swim.

Then oh yeah, it was biking time! And I was behind many many people. I started passing right away.  One guy I passed told me I should feel great as he started swimming 4 minutes before me and here I was passing him on the bike.  It was actually 6 minutes before me, he was 31 and  in the first wave.  Way to make me feel good!  I had people to pass the whole course. Sometimes it isn't very crowded and there are just a few spots to pass people or it is half way before I catch up with people.  More beginners?  I counted - I passed 39 people.  You may laugh at my counting but it is very motivating to me. I can see them ahead and I know I can pass them.  This doesn't happen to me running or swimming so I love it.  One woman passed me back (I knew her too) but then I passed her again.  There is a long hill (where she passed me - I am not good on hills). When I came in I glanced at my time and was quite sure it was the fastest I have done the bike in the 5 times I have raced this.  (IT WAS!)  Yes, I broke 50 minutes which I hadn't done. When I've been practicing I've been over an hour.  Yikes!  Loved, loved the bike.
 I was 84/157. So close to being in top half! Very pleased with this.

Transition 2 was okay. I was trying to get my Garmin to work but just threw it in my bag. It wasn't worth the time although I do like the mile splits.

I could see by the well marked course that I was doing fine.  My run time was comparable to what it has been the other times I have done this. So much better than my slow walk/run two weeks ago.  I was so worried about a swim panic and having a sick feeling for the rest of the course and I am so grateful this didn't happen.  Some people passed me here, including my friend, but not 39 people so I made some ground on the bike for sure.
I was 104/157.  

I got second in my age but there were only 3.  I was 105/157 overall, similar to my run.

The woman who was first in my age group beat my by 7 minutes. But I was closer than usual to her.  I was barely behind her bike time and I used to be way behind.  My run was barely behind.  She is faster on transitions. And man she kills me on the swim.  I taught her daughter many years ago and do know her.  I beat the woman behind me in my age group by 20 minutes. Big gaps in this age group for sure!
Trying to set up a picture and the cat photo bombs again.

Overall I am happy and once again eager to do more tris.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I'm Ready

What am I ready for? I am ready to get back in the water and do a tri again tomorrow.
So what has gotten me to this state?  Well, I never wanted to throw in the towel completely at least not for long.

I have been swimming 3 times since the debacle two weeks ago.  I first went back into the pool where I felt safe. I was a bit surprised that even that made me nervous at first but I kept at it and swam slowly but surely so to say.

Then I went to Lake Dunmore, my OWS spot, and went in the water, wetsuit and all.  I do this all the time but it felt different now. I must admit I swim alone so this time I stayed closer to shore and in the state park swimming boundaries which I had not been doing.  I swam slowly and just practiced being able to breathe.  I sang a little ditty in my head when I was nervous and just concentrated on being relaxed. No speed records were set.

I went back to Lake Dunmore  yesterday and did the same as above with a little more speed.  Although my breathing feels best when I do the free style, I always end up going the wrong way and don't do it for long.  I did mostly the breast stroke because I guess it feels better to me.  I did feel relaxed even when I saw a few weeds. I know when I swim tomorrow I will be out in the deeper, somewhat weedier part but I will be with a lot of people which makes it easier.  (As I am writing this I can feel my heart speeding up.  Okay, I still have work to do.)  BUT I can do it!!!

My running is feeling pretty good again, too.  Oddly, my bike which has always felt good is the most off in the speed department.  I am expecting a slower than usual time tomorrow and will be pleasantly surprised if that is not the case.  My brother is going to come watch I hope.  He has never been to a triathlon.  He tried to see me once at the marathon but there were so many people it didn't happen.

Oh yeah, I also practiced doing it all while having to pee. Seriously.  I seem to always need to go between each discipline here and have been. But yesterday, I didn't let myself go use the bathroom because I knew I wouldn't in the race.  I may be more worried about the pee factor than the swim factor tomorrow, who knows?

Oh yeah, one more thing. I did a little retail therapy. I bought my first ever triathlon suit. What is it called?  A kit?  So I can't quit now  because it cost a lot of money.

So there you have it.  I'm ready.  But if you're thinking of it and want to send some positive thoughts my way from 8:30 to 9:00 EST tomorrow, go for it!

One more thing.  I always say my goal for any race is to have fun and I do mean it. But tomorrow this is a more serious goal than usual because of my small worry that I may not because I so didn't last time. So my A goal = Have fun!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lots and Lots of Biking

I have had lots and lots of good bike rides, some alone, some with friends and one with my husband.

We decided to celebrate out anniversary very low key.  We bought some sandwiches and chips (a treat) to eat AFTER a bike ride. It wasn't a long ride but the evening couldn't have been more perfect. The temperature was absolutely perfect - truly. I kept saying it.  The scenery was beautiful as always.  We explored some roads we don't go on much and just enjoyed the casual evening.  We ate our supper by the falls in Middlebury which is a place I rarely go.  It was beautiful.  I don't know when I've enjoyed an anniversary more.
Our fancy dinner.

Saw someone we knew to take a picture.
The Middlebury Falls

Crossing the pedestrian bridge.

I always like this view.

From an earlier ride with a friend.  When you
see the alpacas it's time for a snack.

A ride on my own on the bike path and causeway.

A ride with a different friend. Love this road and don't go on
it often but made it twice last week.

Camel's Hump in the background.

Yet another ride - this past Friday. We were all quite happy.

Love this barn - in New York.

In New York, looking toward Vermont.

When my bike's on the ferry it's a happy bike.

I am feeling better since my tri.  I have even had some good runs.  I went in the pool to swim first and must admit it was a little scary.  Then I went in the lake on Thursday and did the whole tri thing.  I swam slowly and stayed closer to shore than usual.  It was all about staying calm, relaxed and knowing I can swim.  This is where my tri will be in a a week. Both my run and bike were better than in the practice the week before.

Right now my knee is swollen????? but not painful.  Just happened to notice it. We'll see.  Summer continues. No going into school until after my birthday. It's the law.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Alaska......The Scenery

Yeah, I'm still talking about Alaska when I'm not throwing in a race report on this "fitness blog."  This is the last one.

I swear I am still dreaming about Alaska most nights.  For the first week or so at home I would wake up and have a hard time knowing where I was - all those nights of being in a different place I guess.  I am reading Alaska by Michener.  Phew.  I am a fast reader but I feel like it is taking me forever.  I was going to read it before I went but couldn't get into it.  I  have to say it's worked out well as now I can visualize a lot of it. It takes about 1/2 the book IMO to get into it. The beginning is interesting but moves slowly then it finally picks up.  I have read over 900 pages of small print and still have not quite 200 left.  I love reading books set in places I have been so if you have any books set in Alaska to recommend please do. I like both fiction and non fiction.

Alaska is very much in my heart. If I was younger I would consider moving there. It is a place beyond description.

I was astounded by the scenery from the flight in and flying over miles and miles of snow covered mountains.  This went on forever! This post is mostly pictures and believe me only a small portion of the ones I took.  Enjoy!

Denali National Park.......I couldn't get enough of the caribou.

I feel incredibly lucky to have seen Denali in all her glory.

Anchorage - taken from the Coastal Trail

Talkeetna (maybe my favorite place). This is the river when Denali 
wasn't showing but not too bad without it!

The sunset which went on forever.  Also in Talkeetna

Another one from the river in Talkeetna

From a rest stop on the road. 

Driving to Alyeska.

At the top of the train at Alyeska (Girdwood?)

Why wouldn't you want to try para sailing here?

Carmen Lake - part of our jetboat excursion

Carmen Lake

One of my favorite excursions was in Alyeska on a jet boat
up Twenty Mile River.

Hubbard Glacier - off the cruise ship - Unreal

Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier 

Hubbard Glacier There's a reason the water
is two distinct colors but I have forgotten it!

We see another cruise boat when leaving Hubbard Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau - This one we walked to.

Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau -

Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau - 

On a whale watch in Hoonah.  

Ketchikan if you want to be south in Alaska.  Yes, please.

"scenery" in a bar

Leaving Alaska.

Denali National Park

Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau -

Okay these last two pics are not scenery but how can I not include some cute puppy pics before I "leave" Alaska.  Jaxon was not pleased at all when he saw them and sent me a very dejected selfie.  But I assured my Jaxon I love him best and this was just a short snuggle with some far inferior dogs.