1-Year Anniversary of 1st Triathlon!

This is just my Tuesday night ramblings…

Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of my first trifb IMG_2216

I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking about the sport of triathlon lately. Immediately after the race I wasn’t sure if I wanted to improve upon my sprint time, or try a new distance. I just knew I wanted to do more of them. After a while, I decided I wanted to go big and do the 70.3. After riding in the Holland 100, and having a crummy experience, I began to re-think what I wanted.

Why do I do what I do? I love a challenge, but I also have to enjoy it. The Holland 100 showed me I definitely do NOT like super long bike rides. I know I really enjoy riding 30-ish miles and riding 50-ish is not awful. So, I’d probably be happy (or at least not miserable – ha!) with a 70.3 bike ride if it wasn’t a super hilly course. But, maybe not?

Do I do an Olympic distance and see how I like that before deciding on the 70.3? This is something I’m leaning towards now. It’s not that I’m afraid of a 70.3 distance, it’s that I’m afraid I wouldn’t enjoy it. Being miserable for several hours isn’t worth it to me. I have to enjoy it to some degree. If I do the Olympic distance and love it and think a 70.3 sounds fun, I’ll sign up.

In two months, registration opens for a local tri that has both a 70.3 and Olympic distance. So, I’m about 85% sure right now I’m going to sign up for the Olympic for 2017. I’ll update in October :).

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The Bike Reveal!

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My bike had a serious makeover! This bike needed some help ;). It was considered a “unisex,” so the handlebars were way too wide for me. The stem was too long. It had nasty red cables and grip tape, the most uncomfortable saddle on the planet…..I could go on! 😉 I wanted to love this bike. I tried so hard haha! We even swapped out the stem for a shorter one but it just wasn’t enough. After I took a spill on it, my husband found me a smaller women’s specific Trek bike that we ended up buying. We knew the white frame was my “proper” size according to the bike shops, but I was terrified riding it. My confidence went up as I rode it, but it still scared me. It had potential for being perfect with some changes though. The smaller bike got me out there and made me love cycling! It even got me through my first sprint triathlon. But, I was having some pain during longer rides so I figured it was time to try the bigger frame. Cue my handy husband!

He took the good parts off my Trek and used them on the white frame to build me the most beautiful bike! We still have to add the water bottle cages, pads on the aerobar, and my bike computer, but here are a few pictures:

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It felt like Christmas day seeing it all put together and getting to ride it! Feeling pretty darn lucky right now!

New Bike Frame!

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My husband surprised me last night by showing me a picture of my new bike frame. Well, technically the frame was from my first road bike but he had the pink and black graphics added to it since it was just a plain nashbar bike. It was so funny, he has been showing me pictures of all kinds of bikes and seeing what I think about them. Then he showed me this picture and asked what I thought. Of course I liked it, but it didn’t click with me that this was my frame (the red water bottle holder will be black). Totally didn’t expect it! A friend from his work did the graphics for us, and we get the frame back tomorrow.

The frame is actually an improvement from my current Trek. The Nashbar frame has a carbon fork and seat stays, and the Trek was a fully aluminum frame. Really craving an outdoor ride, so I’m hoping to get the new bike together and on the trainer to get used to it on there and then early September get it out on the paved trails. Excited to see if that takes care of that neck and shoulder discomfort!

Race Recap: Millennium (Sprint) Triathlon

Saturday was a huge day for me. I officially became a TRIATHLETE! I was part of the 8th annual, and last, Millennium Triathlon. However, it sounds like there might be someone who is taking it over which makes me very happy! It’s such a nice close location, and although there were changes to the bike course I’d probably consider doing this one in the future if it does continue.

Pre-race: My day started at 4:30am to give me enough time to eat breakfast and get ready, load my stuff into the car, get the bike on the rack, and get to transition early enough to get a good spot on the bike racks. Transition opened at 6am, and I wanted to try to get a spot close to the aisle on my assigned rack.  I was surprised to find out upon arrival that they decided not to label the racks with the range of bib numbers so you could rack your bike anywhere you wanted (as long as it wasn’t the reserved elite spots). I would much rather run barefoot than run in my bike shoes, so I picked a rack somewhat close to the bike exit. I was the 2nd bike on the rack, so not a bad spot. Thanks to a tri clinic I attended, I picked up a tip of bringing chalk with me to the set-up and marking on pavement where to turn in to get my stuff. It worked like a charm! The guy next to me was like, “Is it okay if I use this?” haha! Lucky for him I came prepared ;).

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After I took the pic below, I unbuckled & lifted the velcro straps on my bike shoes to save some time when I came in. That’s something I forgot to do in my mini-tri practice, and it definitely took me longer to get the shoes on then.IMAG6159

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After getting my area set-up, I went and got marked. There were a few people just walking around the transition area with the markers. The lady asked me for my age and I replied, “30.” She writes it on my calf and finishes the other markings. I walked away and then realized I told her I was younger than I am haha!! Apparently I want to be 30 forever or I feel like I’m still 30 ;). So my leg was the topic for discussion during the run a couple times by some random athletes. “So are you 30 or 31?” or “Keep it up 30-31!” haha! I made it down to the beach for the 7:45am mandatory meeting. They discussed the course and made other announcements. I ate a pack of Honey Stinger energy chews during the meeting. Before I knew it, it was go time!

The Swim (500 meters): Millennium-Tri-Sprint-Swim Let’s start with the good: This lake is so nice for swimming. I’m weird about weeds, and Lake Millennium is pretty clean. They also had people out in boats, kayaks and paddle boards helping keep people safe and on course. And the not so good: My heat/wave was HUGE. The announcer even said something about the size of our group. I don’t understand why they didn’t start like 5 minutes earlier and at least break the wave in half. It was nearly impossible to get any sort of rhythm going. I’d swim a few strokes and end up hitting someone. While I know its generally close quarters for this, I heard people who have done multiple tri’s even say something about how unnecessarily crowded the swim was. So, that part was a bit frustrating. fb IMG_9776 Other issues I had were getting tangled up in the buoy rope (haha!). I wish I was joking about that one. It really wasn’t bad, but it did cause me to disrupt any momentum I had going as I moved the rope out of the way. This was my own fault though! I’m just awful at spotting and didn’t realize I had reached the turning point when it happened. I just got too close to the buoy. Spotting is something I definitely need to work on for future tri’s. The big thing I took out of the swim is that there is a big difference in swimming “open water” in a calm lake VS swimming in a lake with waves. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I did not anticipate how much harder it would be to swim with that many other people making waves around me. I did a few open water swims, even swimming in the same lake, but I sure didn’t have to deal with waves like I did during the race. I can’t tell you how much water I took in because of this. I’d go to breathe and a wave would come rolling in and I’d take in water instead of just air. It was a lot more challenging than I expected. But I survived!!!! 🙂 I don’t know if I would have had I forgone the wetsuit. Thankful for that buoyancy in choppy water! (swim placing for age group: 22/33)

fb IMG_9796fb 1IMG_9802 The Bike (14.8 miles):

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The bike was an out-and-back route. This course was new for the race and it took some people who had done it in previous years by surprise. During the race some guy passed me and said, “I liked last years course better!” haha. My husband and I drove the course after packet pick-up and I could’t believe how hilly it was. Not only hilly, but there was a stretch of road that was very bumpy. They had it marked well with spray paint, but some of the buckled pavement was almost unavoidable at times. My pace was all over the place because of the hills. I was crawling up some of the really steep hills, going only 7mph! haha But, then when we were going downhill I got up to 30mph! It all worked out ok though. I figured it would take me 59-60 minutes, and it took me 54:16. So that was a win in my book! (Bike placing for age group: 19/33) By the way, all my photos are courtesy of my dad :). He was all over the place snapping pics!

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The Run (5k):

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I had high hopes of coming in around 28-29 minutes. Unfortunately, I had the worst side stitch of my life and it killed me the first mile to 1.5 or so. Ended up taking 32:27. I think I just drank too much water when I was on the bike. I am so sensitive to that and when I started running, I could hear the water sloshing around in my stomach. It’s so hard to know how much to drink. I wanted to keep hydrated, but for me there seems to be a fine line between hydrated and over-hydrated. I didn’t take any water out on the run course because of it. So the run was a little disappointing! I figured my overall finish time would be an hour and 44-45 minutes, and my official time was 1:45:43. So, overall I’m happy!

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Here is the breakdown:

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Post-race: fb IMG_9919After crossing the finish line, participants were handed a chilled Millennium Triathlon water bottle and a cold wet towel with the logo, which were both so great to have right after! There was a great spread of food as well. I just had some watermelon and oranges while waiting for the transition area to re-open to get my stuff out. The downside was that there weren’t any finisher medals. I was shocked when I found out that there wouldn’t be medals. I love my race bling! It’s fun to have them to look back on what races you’ve done. They are filled with lots of memories. So, I took matters into my own hands and ordered a medal off of expressmedals.com (HAHA!). It’s a simple design with the event name and date, but I’ll have that forever! I’m happy I spent the $3 on it. I definitely learned some things out there and I’ll be making notes to improve next time! Prior to the race, I had full intentions of registering for an Olympic distance next year. Today, I’m not sure. I can’t decide if I want to improve on my sprint time, or try a new distance challenge. I’ve got lots of time to decide though! 🙂 Even though the race definitely had some rough moments, I really enjoyed it and am so glad I checked this one off my bucket list!

Race Recap: Troutarama 5k Race Weekend

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 8.25.29 PMfb image2 What a weekend! My mom, husband and I ran the Troutarama 5k on Saturday. Friday night after packet pick-up, we decided to drive the course to see what to expect. It was flat and paved out of town, but after making a few turns there was a pretty good stretch on a dirt/gravel road that was fairly hilly. After reaching nearly the end of this road we turn around and head back. In a short race, it’s kind of cool doing a course like this because you can see who is ahead of you. Anyway, my dad stayed at the start/finish line area with my daughter to cheer us on. The day was supposed to be upper 80’s, humid, and sunny. We had this unexpected crazy storm roll inIMG_20150717_193217just minutes before the start, which cooled things off a bit. One of the race organizers made an announcement that they got word that there was a storm coming through the area that would have lightning, so they decided to have a 30 minute delayed start. We went inside the building and waited it out. Some high winds came in and it looked scary out! Maybe 30-45 minutes later the lightning stopped, the winds died down, and the lady said we had about 45 minutes until the next round came through but we would be running in the IMG_2141rain. Her words were, “So…run fast!” haha. It was crazy how fast the sky got dark! You can see in the picture with the Troutarama banner, the sky wasn’t scary looking when we were in town near the starting line (picture was taken in the car, thus the blue tint at the top 🙂 ).

At the starting line

At the starting line

We all lined up. There were many people that went home after it started raining. It was already a “small town” race with only 176 people registered, and only 151 finishers. My husband and I actually got to “toe” the starting line. They didn’t have mats for the start, just the finish. We left when the announcer said, “Ready, set, GO!” We were hauling! I looked at my Garmin and it said 7:15 pace, so I tried to slow down a bit so I wouldn’t die at the first mile. The dirt/gravel hills were tough, but I kept thinking ‘this is only a 5k! Just keep pushing!’ My husband was good at motivating me when it got tough.

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Official time: 26:40

I finished with a time of: 26:40. My Garmin said the course was only 2.96 miles, so that’s 9:00 min/mile pace. However, since the official pace is based off of a 5k distance my pace ended up at 8:35 (lol!). The fastest I’ve ever run 3 miles was an 8:56 pace, so on paper it looked pretty impressive for me haha! Don’t ask me how, but somehow the race timing computers got wet (they were in the trailer?!) so they are waiting for them to ‘dry out’ before uploading the official race results. I’m really hopeful nothing weird happens to the results and all the data is still there. Right after crossing the finish line we were told to go to the trailer to get a printout of our official race time. I was pretty happy with the time considering the hills and rain. I think I really have a good chance at being in the top 3 in my age group, so I’m super anxious for the full results to be posted. I’ll definitely update when I know more! One of the race organizers said that due to the weather they were going to skip the awards ceremony, and would mail the awards out for the top 3 finishers in each age group. I’ll definitely update once I know more.

***UPDATE*** I missed the podium by one person. 4th / 9 in my age group. A little disappointed as I thought I had 3rd. But, my time is still a decent one for me for that distance. The girl that came in 3rd I would have never caught up to. Much stronger competition compared to last years results. But, I did my best and I know that’s all that matters! My husband got 3rd in his age group and my mom got 2nd in hers! 🙂

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Post-race

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After the race we went back home to shower and then headed back to downtown for the Troutarama parade and spent some time checking out all the little vendors selling stuff (like homemade items, jewelry, clothing, etc.). The Scottville Clown Band is in the parade every year and they’re so much fun to watch in their funny costumes. Our daughter loved it! We stopped at Jones’ Icecream after the parade and indulged in a yummy treat! I got black cherry, my favorite :). IMG_2151Sunday morning I got in a swim in the lake. At first I was going to plan to swim Friday and Saturday (based on weather forecast before we left). But when we got up there I decided I didn’t want to risk tiring my legs out for the race on Saturday. Then Saturday we just had some fun in town and relaxing at the cottage after the race. Sunday, the weather was perfect so I decided I’d go for a swim. I got in the kayak and figured out what anchored rafts I’d be swimming around to get in at least 500M since some had moved since last time we were there. I found 3 that would get me to 500, so I got in my wetsuit and started.IMG_2162IMG_2160 I got around the first raft and my legs were like, “Yeah…how about no.” So I swam back to shore and decided to just swim straight out from shore a little ways and back several times to get my swim in. My legs were just shot from the 5k (which sounds awful!). I was so mad at myself. I was like, “It was only a 5k!!” But, I know I ran hard and it wasn’t a flat paved course so taking a few breaks at the shore seemed like the best thing to do. I was still able to get some practice swimming in the wetsuit, even if it wasn’t continuous. There is a possibility I may get in one more open water swim this coming weekend, so hopefully that one will be a bit more successful. Overall, it was a great weekend!

First Open Water Swim + 4th of July Weekend

IMAG5766IMAG5767Friday was our first full day at the cottage, and the day of my first open water swim! I put on my Garmin and used the kayak to measure the distance between an anchored dock and an anchored water trampoline toy that were in front of the cottage. They were out there deep enough that I couldn’t touch, but it was a nice surprise when I put my face in the water that I could still see the bottom. I was happy they were out there so I wasn’t forced to do an out-and-back across the lake. After some quick math I figured out I would just have to do two laps around the two points and then head back to shore and it would be just over what the distance for the sprint tri would be. It didn’t look bad at all, so I was feeling pretty confident.IMG_2071-20150703-133959

IMG_2070-20150703-133942 edI went back inside and put on my wetsuit. I stood in the water and talked to the neighbors for a few minutes before heading out. I was confident that I could do it, but I was still very nervous. I have never liked being in water where you could touch stuff like weeds. I grew up with a pool, so I never went to a lake to swim as a kid. Even when my family had a boat out on Lake Michigan when I was young, I’d always make my dad carry me to shore after he anchored the boat. My husband told me he saw a snapping turtle in the lake a long time ago, and I never forgot it! haha So it was in the back of my mind before I headed out. I started swimming and felt like I was flying through the water in that suit. My husband was kayaking near me in case I needed to be rescued or just needed help staying on course. That honestly was the worst part was just staying on course. I wasIMG_2074-20150703-175058 basically swimming a straight line between the two points and I was amazed at how hard that was without “pool lines” at the bottom to guide you. I would swim a few strokes and lift my head to check where I was. It quickly threw off my breathing, but I don’t know how else to do it. I would have been swimming way off course had I not done that or had my husband not been there. It was much harder than I anticipated! I’m very happy I’ll have one IMG_2079-20150703-135255more weekend to practice before race day. I may just have to try to stick with the pack on race day and risk getting kicked in the face (yet another one of those fears!). When I felt like I needed recovery, I flipped over to my back. I was bummed that I needed more recovery time than I had hoped. But, 13:51 for 514 meters on my first time out is completely fine with me! It’s a journey and I know I will make improvements if I continue to put in the work.

IMG_2075-20150703-134629I was pretty focused on the swim except around one of the turn around points when I kept feeling stuff on my hands. I kept telling myself it was only the long wetsuit zipper pull I was feeling, even though I knew it was weeds. I don’t know why that grosses me out so much, but I can’t stand it! I got through it though and I am actually very excited to try again and see if I can cut some time off and get better about staying on course.

IMAG5779 2That night for dinner we made our own ‘tortilla pizza’s.’ We use tortilla shells (I use Udi’s GF shells even though they make GF pizza crusts too) as the crust, and then doctor them up however we like. I made a vegan one with some yummy toppings like mushrooms, red and green peppers, red onion, fresh basil, dried oregano and crushed red peppers. It was so good! We went out on the pontoon and watched some fireworks that night before we headed to bed.

Saturday morning I convinced my husband to run 6 miles with me. He runs, but not regularly. I think he could be an incredible runner if he had the time to train IMG_2081-20150704-194644regularly. He always does great at races where he only gets in a few training runs. He has more of an interest in cycling though, so I’m happy we can share that interest too! I am so grateful he likes to accompanIMG_2082-20150704-194420y me on my runs up north so I’m not alone. I run much slower than he does, so for him to come out and run that at my pace was no big deal for him ;). He’s the best! We ran some big hills on dirt trails through the woods, some gravel paths, and paved roads. It was a great mix! It’s always so nice to run up north because it’s so peaceful up there. We finished at 59:40, 9:57 pace. I was ok with that considering the tricky footing at a few spots in the woods.

After the run we spent some time on the beach. My daughter and her cousin made sand castles and played in the water all afternoon. That’s the neighbors dog in the pIMG_2088-20150704-130632icture who clearly loves playing in the water too! We are heading to my parents house today for a pool party. So let the 4th of July festivities continue! 🙂