Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Palm Springs Triathlon Race Recap

It's been a few weeks since my last post and thought I would take a little time on this Christmas Eve morning to catch up with you all.

A few weeks ago I participated in the H.I.T.S Palm Springs Triathlon. I was signed up for the OLY but I didn't train as hard as I should have and still new to a road bike, decided it best to drop to the sprint level.

Funny, I always feel the need to say "just the sprint." I have a lot of friends who might be able to do a sprint triathlon with their eyes closed but it's still really challenging to me - and around 2 hours of exercise. There's nothing 'just' about it.

Anyway - Palm Springs itself was interesting. I had never been there. There were some really gorgeous areas and some sketchy ones. I got to spend some time with friends Angela, her boyfriend Dave and our good friend Scott - all who were signed up for the half distance. On day one I volunteered the bike course and Angela and Scott headed out for their race (half and full distance was on Saturday and sprint / OLY on Sunday). That was an interesting experience. You have to run along side bikers as they are coming by to hand off water, an electrolyte drink or gels. The bikers generally shout at you what they need and you try to make the handoff. It was a little tricky at first but it was fun. In the few hours that I volunteered I had racked up over 10,000 steps on my fitbit!

Me in blue and the rest of the bike volunteer crew
Unfortunately, towards the end of my shift I got a call from Scott saying that he was unable to finish his race. He had a head-on collision in the water and suffered a concussion. He tried to press on through the bike and eventually had to call it a day - I headed back to hang out with him and wait for Angela and Dave. Thankfully he was woozy but OK.  Angela and Dave both finished. Angela loved her first experience with the half.

So I was up next.

half ready to TRI half ready to go back to sleep

Nice sunrise
Sunday morning and an early rise time came and I was nervous but excited. I had to go through the worse part of my day which is the struggle into my wetsuit. Ugh. It takes a village and a lot of trislide to accomplish this feat. It's never pretty. The water was very cold so I was appreciative of that fricken wetsuit and luckily Angela had lent me some booties and a neoprene swim cap which really helped. The first part of the swim was weird. You could literally walk all the way out to the turn around. I would try to swim and my hand would hit the bottom or I would swim into someone who was just walking. Oh well. I worked it out. And then all of a sudden, when you round the buoy to come back it got really deep! I struggled a little bit in the water - I really have to figure out how to swim more efficiently. But all in all it was OK and I wasn't the last out of the water. In fact I think there was a bunch of people after me.

I look crazy - this pic is so funny to me
Look Ma - no hands! I made it! 
Then it was on to the bike. I really took my time in transition. I had no illusions of winning anything (more on that later) so I figured I'd dry off, have a snack, and just get it together. I think my t1 was absurd like nearly 10 minutes! I'm going to work on this in the future. It's a dumb way to burn time in a race. 


I just got my first road bike a few months ago but never had the chance to really ride it outside. Just a half a block to the park to screw around with my seven year old, so I was a little nervous about the bike. Angela brought me hers to use for the race so I wouldn't have to haul my bike across the country. I am still not comfortable in clipless pedals so I used flat. It's a flat course so it wasn't an issue really. I'm a little slow and I do think that if I can get over my fear of the clipless pedals it would be better. I was happy that I didn't crash and it was a good experience over-all. Along with swimming I definitely have to work on a lot when it comes to biking if I want to continue to TRI.

The good news about not having bike shoes is that my T2 was considerably faster :) Nothing makes me happier in a tri than getting to the run part. I am almost home!

It's getting hot but I'm psyched for the run. Angela got a good picture of me heading out that I'm going to have to try to get from her at some point because I was looking strong! (Probably more relieved that I didn't crash on the bike but whatever.) I felt good. I wasn't running super fast but I did manage to pass a lot of people on the run. Since I was still at the back of the pack at this point, I figured that a lot of the people I was passing might've been stronger than me on the bike or swim but just not great runners. Since running is what I feel most comfortable at, I passed up the walkers and the walk/runners. I managed to run the entire distance (which turned out to only be about 2.7 of a mile according to my garmin... not the 5K as advertised. I was bummed at the shorter distance.)

Smiling as I'm heading for the finish! 
So I finish and wouldn't you know it that despite taking a lunch break during T1 I actually did win something. I came in SECOND PLACE in the Athena 40+ division! (The chubby older ladies division). WHHHHHHAAAT!? I've never received an athletic award in my life. I grabbed my plaque and ran away before the other chubby middle-aged ladies could demand a recount. :) 

yes, I have the whitest legs in the world
All in all it was a fun day. My swim was about 20 mins for 750 yards, bike was just under an hour for about 13 miles and run was around 29 mins for 2.7 miles. Not fast but not last and good enough for 2nd place. I have a lot of places I can improve on! 

BTW Angela placed in her division too! 

All in all the triathlon was a fun experience. I'm looking forward to doing it again.

The rest of the month has been a little up and down struggle in sticking to the WW plan. I went into that weekend pretty strong but since coming back it's been touch and go. I've decided not to really sweat it through the holidays. I'm keeping an eye on it, making good choices most of the time, getting in some exercise and not flipping out. 

Hope you're having a wonderful holiday!!! How are things with you?


Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Musings and Making a Comeback

So I'm three and a half weeks back on Weight Watchers and into Marathon training and things are clicking and feeling good. I feel like I'm on a comeback after a long stretch of nothing feeling like it was working.

This past Friday I had my weigh-in and I was down something small like .2 pounds. ALL GOOD. I wasn't even the slightest upset with the mini loss. First, I had lost a combined loss of about 7 pounds in the first two weeks which is a lot for me. Secondly the day before was Thanksgiving and I'm pretty sure that the extra sodium and wine wasn't helping my cause at the scale. As long as that scale is moving in the right direction I will take those .2 pounds proudly. :)

At this point even if I only lose .2 a week for the rest of my journey (annoying as that would be) I would be at peace with that. I'm feeling good. I'm exercising and moving often, eating right (for the most part), watching my portion size and doing a better job at hydrating. 

Starting line at Turkey Trot

On Thanksgiving I kicked the day off with a turkey trot. It was a great day. I ran it with a bunch of girls from the running club I belong to and it was great to see those friends. I planned for this race to be pretty much incorporated in as just a general training day. I didn't 'race' per se but I found myself pushing the pace more than usual. It's a tough little 5K because it is very hilly and it's also pretty congested for the first half of mile or so. Lots of little kids and walkers 5 across. This would not be the race to try to PR at. However, even with all that said, I wound up running it faster than I've done a 5K in a long time.  I've been training at around 11'50 - 12'00 min. mile. My hope was to be around 11'30 in this race. I wound up doing better - an overall average of 10'31! I didn't expect that.  It was a beautiful run. A little chilly (but felt great once running) big fluffy snow flakes falling and in a beautiful upscale, Bergen county neighborhood. 

And talking about beautiful - check out these sexy splits: 

9'56!? Wow. Haven't seen that time for a mile in a loooong time! Woo!

After the race we went up to my parent's house for festivities. I did well. I 'counted' my points for all the indulgences and between my weekly points and the points I earned through activity had plenty to cover. I'm happy about how I handled things.

Of course, the irony is that I did well on Thanksgiving and then while visiting a friend on Saturday afternoon wound up falling face first into a bowl of chips, dip and a few glasses of wine. :/

Partially responsible for that empty dish of french onion dip
Ooops. The good news is that I had the points to cover the damage thanks to a six mile run that morning and I had just got all my weekly bonus points back. The bad news is it's not the way I wanted to uses those points. Oh well. Crappy food happens every once in a while and the fact that I was aware of what I was doing is the key. It's important that I acknowledge it so I can learn from it and also adjust my eating the rest of the week to compensate for the slip. 

This Friday I'm heading to Palm Springs to participate in a Triathlon. I am signed up for the OLY distance but I'm going to drop down to the sprint. I'm not trained for the OLY distance - I have been exercising but focusing on running. I just haven't been motivated lately to work on my swim or bike. I don't know what my problem is. Part of me really wants to love triathlon but the other part of me just feels overwhelmed by the idea of breaking my training up into three different things. Just running is so much easier for me to wrap my head around. I'm not giving up on it yet (I just bought that bike!) and I'm already signed up for the Pococnos OLY next year but triathlon definitely continues to be a challenge for me. 

How was your Thanksgiving?

Thanks to you all for your comments and to those who've sent me notes I appreciate it!