Thursday, August 19, 2010

You are at an Impasse

On Sunday Aug. 8th I completed my first true Olympic distance triathlon. I registered for another earlier in the season but it was changed to an Olympic duathlon. I was mostly concerned with the swimming leg, then with the distance of the race overall – especially since I am planning to do the HalfRev in September.

I will get to my brief race report in a moment.

My horoscope two days later read:

“You are at an impasse. An opinion that you unconsciously cling to is the thing holding you back. Lose your own point of view and really listen to another person. That is when the breakthrough comes.”

Later that morning, I received an email from a friend and fellow triathlete. It read:


I was looking at the results for the Cleveland Tri and saw your name. Is everything okay? I know it was hot in Mentor so I can just imagine what conditions were like downtown.

Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you.

I responded:

Hey ****,

Thanks for asking. I actually did OK for me on the swim. Keep in mind I'm slow at everything. It was 1500m and my goal on Sunday was to gauge how I would be at the REV3 doing 1.2mi. I've always been scared of not making the cutoff time on the swim. Barring very bad weather, I should make it in 1:10.

The bike was awful. Yeah it was hot. Yeah it was windy. Both seem to suck everything out of me. But that was not my biggest problem on Sunday. Every time I went from the big chain ring to the small chain ring, my chain fell off. Naturally, it was just before a big hill so I had no momentum going up any hills. I'm not sure what I was doing wrong. Lou told me I was changing gears too late and the torque was making the chain fall off. He told me to make sure I switch chain rings on flat ground and no slope. Anyway I could never get into a grove on the bike. I know I'm capable of faster than 12.4 mph. I was very disappointed in the bike.

By the time I got to the run I was tired and it was hot. Again I'm pretty slow anyways, so on my best day I would only have been a little faster.

I'm glad I finished but part of my problem too was I didn't want to be at this tri. I wanted to be at the Greater Cleveland Tri. I signed up for this one last January not knowing they would be on the same day. If I would have known that I'd have done the other. They ran out of shirts so I didn't get one and they ran out of finishers medals too. It was weird. I doubt I'll ever do this one again. It was also way more expensive - even signing up last January!!!

My friend responded:

You had one heck of a day. Without seeing what is going on I think Lou is right about the chain dropping. There could also be some adjusting that could happen with the front derailleur.

I understand the confusion with the races. I have heard many comments about the downtown race in prior years that I am not a big supporter of it. The race in Mentor is nicer, the race director is local and it's closer to your home.

Your tenacity of finishing the race is very admirable.

One of my teammates has pulled out of the HalfRev due to injury. She is able to transfer her entry to the race in 2011. Just something to think about as you evaluate your progress from Sundays' race and your workout results.

Let ***** and I know if there is anything you want to talk about. We are here to help you out and support you.

When I read that, I went into a tailspin of fear, doubt, and every negative thought you could possible imagine. What did he mean by what he said????

So I asked:

Thanks. I know your both are here to help.

I really don't want to quit. I want to finish what I started. I have always been slow and near or at the bottom of the list, so I'm not expecting miracles with this one. My goal is to finish. I'm not overly concerned with my time.

Should I be more concerned? Now I'm wondering????

His response was:
Your attitude has been great through all of this. I am only making sure you know your options. You are the only one who can make the final decision. DO NOT let me plant any doubts in your mind. That is not what I am trying to do.

You are confident in your swim to be able to finish the 1.2 miles in the time you need to.

You have ridden the bike course and know what to expect.

The run course is flat so you should feel good about that. I know I am because I have done NO hill training this summer.

Don't wonder.........Know.

If you came out of the race Sunday knowing you are ready to toe the start line and cross the finish line in September....that's a good place to be. The only thing that has changed from then to now is my e-mail making sure you are okay. I'm on the outside looking in.

You are the only one who can make this decision....and I think you already knew your decision on Sunday.

I just want to say - THANK YOU MY FRIEND. I am not an athletically gifted person. I am just someone who enjoys triathlon. I do my best. Unfortunately, my best is much, much slower than most if not all of those around me. I guarantee I will be worried about the cutoff times for all three disciplines.

At this moment, as September 12th is looming, I can assure you I am scared. Scared to start. Scared to fail. Scared to DNF. Scared to look like an idiot. However, I am not scared to be DFL – because if I’m DFL, that will mean that I finished. That is and will be (at least for this year) my one and only goal. I hope I make it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A triathlete's seven deadly sins

I saw this article and liked it ant thought everyone else would too. I agree with everything except Greed. Even before I got into triathlon, I had a weird obsession with bikes. I owned 5 at one point but have sold two in garage sales. I now have my road bike, a mountain bike and a tandem bike. The boys and I love the tandem. My husband - not so much. It is huge and takes up tons of space in the garage. But then again so do his snow blowers...don't ask...

A triathlete's seven deadly sins

by Steve Stenzel

"Yeah, that guy was drafting you around mile 19 on the bike. I totally saw it too! It was so blatant. What a jerk!" This has happened to all of us. It's infuriating.
Don't go overboard and let it ruin your race. There will always be those people willing to break the rules in order to gain 10 seconds. Do not let them ruin your day. There's nothing you can do about it. Catch them on the run and take slight joy in beating the cheater.

You only really need 1 good bike. Maybe a spare (or 2). But you don't need a bike for racing, a bike for training, a bike for rainy days, a bike for short rides, a bike for long rides, a bike for time trials, a bike for solo rides, a bike for group rides, etc, etc. Don't be greedy.
Don't go overboard and break the bank just so you'll have the best set of bikes on the block. Or in town. Or in the state. Sure, you'll have the perfect bike for any possible situation or race, but is it worth that second mortgage?

You're a triathlete, damn it. You should be proud of your hard work and how it's paying off. You have a great body. In a foot race, you'd smoke all of your coworkers, and you know it. You deserve to have a sense of pride. And in the company of the right people in the right conversation, you can brag about your sub-XX:00 10K at the end of your last olympic triathlon or your great average on the bike.
Don't go overboard and tell everyone you meet about how fast you are. They probably don't care. And sooner or later, you'll run into some who's faster. Then, ouch - bruised ego. Don't be a constant bragger. Nobody likes that.

You need to rest your body now and then. It is NOT sloth. It is downtime to help your body heal up before testing it again during the next season. Force yourself to do this at times.
Don't go overboard and say "I did a triathlon once. Now I can stop all physical activity, live off McDonalds, and never think about racing again. That is, unless I'm reliving the 'glory days' in my head." Triathlon is a way of life. Unfortunately, so is sloth. Stick with the first one for the long term

We've all done this: we're getting ready to pass someone of the opposite sex on the run during a triathlon. We notice his/her toned, tanned legs. We might be turned on for a moment. Then we notice the age written his/her calf. "Wow... 57?!... Impressive!"
Don't go overboard: keep your tongue in your mouth. Don't ask for his/her phone number during the race. Be sensible - wait until you've both finished.

You will never have the best bike in transition. Someone will always have a nicer / faster / sleeker / sexier / better one. It's just the way it is. Drool a little, but then be happy riding your "clunker."
Don't go overboard and think that anyone with a nicer bike than you is a jerk. I know some very nice people who just so happen to own $5,000 bikes. Don't judge them by their bike alone.

When we workout as much as we do in order to be ready for the next event, it's OK to pig-out now and then. Heck, that's the main reason why some of us train (not me, of course...).
Don't go overboard and eat anything immediately after getting home from a long workout. Sure, it "feels so right" at the moment to head for the Oreos, Cheetos, or Junior Mints, but it's better to eat some quality food right away to help replace what's been lost during that workout. Try some Recoverite, Nuun, or even some chocolate milk (a proven recovery drink - really). Save the "shameless pig-out" for later that day...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pirate Triathlon

Fairport Harbor, OH hosts an annual sprint triathlon and they call it the Pirate Triathlon. This year it was on July 25th. It is the deal of the century. If you preregister for the race it is only $20. Let me tell you it falls under the category of “The Best $20 I Have Spent.” I can hardly believe they do so much for so little.

The field is limited to around 350 people and for those who do not like to swim, they can kayak 3K. Many people choose that option. They provide a T-shirt, some good coupons from local sponsors, a clear and safe course, and good food at the end. It is very low key and fun that it is perfect for first timers and beginners. It is a 500m swim, 20K bike and 5K run.

Last year, it was only the second triathlon I had ever completed. My goal was to improve over last years time of 2 hrs and 9 min.. I figured it would not be too hard since I learned how swim better (last year was mostly breast and back strokes) and purchased a road bike instead of using my trusty mountain bike.

It was thunder storming pretty hard right after I arrived to the transition area that morning. Later I heard there were water spouts on Lake Erie visible on shore (for those not familiar – they are a water tornado). Yikes. I didn’t know that and am glad I didn’t. In this case…ignorance truly was bliss. The race was supposed to begin for the kayakers at 8am and my wave was at 8:20. They kept delaying it because of the storm. Finally, the lightening and thunder stopped, but it was still raining. For a while there the race director said they may postpone until the following week. Ultimately they modified the swim portion of the race to just go in one direction with the waves.

I’m not sure what time we actually started but it was around 8:45-ish. At some point while the 35+ women were waiting for the race to begin, it started to hail. It was a water start so the best thing to do was crouch as far down in the water as possible. The water was actually way warmer than the air so it was very comfortable.

Since we were swimming with the waves in the direction of the wind, it gave an amazing boost to everyone’s swim. Once I found the rhythm of the waves, I was able to breath without any issues. I only breathed to my right because if I would breathe to my left I’d catch a mouthful of Lake Erie water. I finished the swim in about 9 minutes but had to run all the way back to transition which took me about 2 min. My swim time was:

2010: 11:22 min
2009: 28:38 min

Holy tail wind! I must have had my wheaties or learned how to swim or something. Once I got back into transition, I changed into my bike gear. No real reason to dry off because it was still pouring down rain and all my gear was soaked.

The bike was pretty good. Last year I averaged about 12.9 mph. This year I averaged 17 mph and it was pouring down rain so I took it a bit easier. What a difference a road bike to a mountain bike makes. The course is relatively flat but with a few railroad track crossings and an ‘S’ turn twice since it is an out and back. Unfortunately, they do not back out the transition times so I’m not exactly sure what it was in T1 – about 4 minutes. My bike time was:

2010: 50:52 including transition 1
2009: 1:00:56 including transition 1

Transitioning into T2 was a bit difficult because the transition area is at the bottom of the largest hill of the course. You cannot fly down the hill because you have to stop and dismount immediately at the bottom. It was especially dangerous because of the rain. I made it OK and quickly changed into my soaking wet running shoes. Again, I’m not exactly sure of my transition time but it is about 2:30 min.

I really like the run on this course. All elevation gained and lost is on two hills. I went up the hill out of the transition area and was at the same elevation until about the half way mark where I went down another hill to finish the last half.

At that halfway mark I ran into the mother of my oldest son Sam’s friend. She was a volunteer and I don’t know her all that well and I was surprised to see her and she was surprised I was doing the race. We managed to have a 10 second conversation and actually planned a play date for the kids for later that week. See… as a mom – I’m always multi-tasking – even in a triathlon!

My run time was:

2010: 39:30 including transition 2
2009: 40:21 including transition 2

2010: 1:41:44
2009: 2:09:55

That is an overall improvement of 28:11 min. To say I was happy with my performance would be an understatement. I was ecstatic to see that my hard work over the winter was paying off.

After the race I packed up my stuff and went home to shower and change. I was off to Waldamere Park in Presque Isle, PA with my husband Lou and two boys Sam and Tom. Woo Hoo. The perfect icing to the perfect day. Of course it stopped raining immediately following the race – which was good for going to the park!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

REV3 Training Day

On Saturday July 21st, I met up with the Cleveland Triathlon Club for a training day at Sawmill Creek near Sandusky, OH. It was a day of swimming and biking and running the Rev3 course. It was free to anyone who wanted to participate. There were about 120 people there.

The day started off with either a swim clinic with Leah Nyikes at or just a practice swim in the lake. It was perfect in the morning too and the water again was like glass. The clinic started around 7:45 am and lasted until around 9 am. Everyone who was biking went back to their vehicles, grabbed their stuff and changed. Since this was pre-arranged with Sawmill Creek Resort, they catered to our needs and provided a place to change, and later a place to shower if we wanted. They were very accommodating.

There was an A group, 2 B groups and a C group. I went with what we coined as the ‘rebel C’ group. Since we could not ride on the Cedar Point Causeway or Chausee due to traffic, the bike ride was modified for the training. The groups were riding on the REV3 full course. My friend Aimee took me on the actual REV3 half course. This was better for me since that is the race I’m doing. We went up and down the biggest hill on the course in Milan and she gave me some tips about what to do. She was very good to me. I know I slowed her down but she didn’t complain.

The first half was good, then it started to get extremely hot and windy. The temp reached 90+ that day. I was getting exhausted. I really hope it is not that windy on the day of the race. It could possibly do me in. I guess all this training in heat will prepare me for better weather in Sept. It took a while to finish. We took breaks and I was just riding it not racing it. I was glad to be done. NE Ohio just doesn’t get heat like that on a regular basis. I’m not used to it. I’m more comfortable running on a day that is only 30 degrees.

Afterwards, Aimee’s husband Eric ( replaced my pedals. I have been having issues with my pedals. I could not get out of them quickly. They are older and have no tension adjustment. I kept on wrecking – more than normal – like every time I got on my bike. I purchased the Look Keo pedals at the recommendation of my cousin Stu, who does Ironman races and 100 mile bike rides on a regular basis. So far so good.

I went home after that and skipped the run portion. I was pretty much spent for that day. Overall it was awesome and I look forward to the next training day on August 21st.