Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SoJo Marathon 2012 Race Report

I ran the SoJo Marathon on October 20, 2012, and I was really impressed with this race. I have to say that after our 18-mile course preview, I was less than thrilled about the course. It just seemed hard and not very interesting because it was just in the city. But Shannon still had a lot of excitment about it and good energy so it was fun to meet her for lunch when we picked up our packets. I was happily suprised by what I got in my goody bag:

Along with my race number (with timing chip attatched) there was a nice, soft long sleeve tech shirt, a cliff shot, an ice cream scoop, a pen, and a key chain light. Plus it was all in a reusable bag. Sweet! It turns out everything about how the race was run was really nice. I was impressed with the support even though there were less than 300 people running the full marathon!

Race morning, I let my house at about 5am to meet Shannon. I was running late, though, so I called her and told her I wasn't goig to make the 5:20 bus. She sounded pretty groggy when she answered her phone, and when I told her I wasn't going to make the 5:20 bus, she said, "It's 6:20." Relief flooded my voice, "It's 6:20?! Oh, ok, I'm going to make it!" She invited me to come hang out at her house for  a while since I was an hour early, but I decided I didn't want a chance for anything else to go wrong so I just sat in my car and waited for time to get on the bus. I was actually scheduled for the 6:30 bus, but was going to go at 6:20 with Shannon, but she didn't end up getting there on time so I just got on the 6:30 one and waited for her.

I kept her seat open until the last minute when I realized she wasn't going to make it. But she made it onto the next bus, and actually made it up there before us because our bus driver got lost! Luckiy a guy went up and sat with him to help him figure out where to go and we weren't late.

I got to hang out with Shannon for 15 mintues or so before start time. We checked our gear bags and stood under the heated tent as they played the National Anthem. Then we headed to the start line. I wished her luck and said goodby since I knew she was trying to quailfy for Boston and I wouldn't see her unti the end of the race.

I tried to feed off of some of her excitment!

Here is the course we would spend the next several hours of our life on:

Within the first mile, I happened to meet 3 ladies who were running at about my pace. They said they were shooting for 4:30 and asked me what my goal was. I told them I'd love to finish in 4:30 and decided to stick with them. It was so much fun!

We all just chatted and the miles just seemed to fly by! We were all feeling great and having a great time, especially coming down the first hill:

I love this picture, I feel like it really sums up the first half of the marathon. It was all happy go lucky and we felt like we could take on the world! The scenery was beautiful and the temperature was just perfect! We felt like we could have done without the headwind, but we didn't pay too much attention to it.

I didn't know that first girl, but in the bright pink is Angela, then me, Kirsten and Janelle

The 4 of us stuck together until about the half-way point which we hit at almost exactly 2:15 so we were right on track for 4:30 if we could keep it up! That was exciting, and we were still having a lot of fun! For a while Kirsten and Janelle pulled ahead and it was just Angela and I, but we caught up to them at the next aid station. Then Kirsten and Angela (both first time marathoners) pulled ahead and we never caught back up. They were looking really strong! I was impressed. I stayed with Janelle for a few more miles. We stuck it out, pushing ourselves to keep going but trying not to go too fast because we knew we had to make it up the hill going past the Oqurah Mountain Temple at about mile 16.5 so we stayed at a nice comfortable pace. 

At this point, I was getting tired, but I still felt pretty good. Nothing really hurt, I was just feeling like I'd run 16 miles or something! Janelle told me she wanted to push it once we got over the hill, though, and I didn't feel like I had enough fuel in the tank to do that so I told her to go on. I wish I would have realized that meant I should fuel at the aid station here! Duh!

I watched Janelle run off into the distance, put my headphones in and turned my music on hoping for some motivation, but it didn't work as well as having someone to run with. Now I really noticed the headwind and it made it really hard to enjoy coming back down the hill by the temple. I turned the corner and put my long sleeve shirt back on because the wind was now getting pretty cold. I turned the corner again and just really, really wanted to get to the next aid station! Forgetting to fuel was catching up to me now! I don't know if I even took some gel here or not, but when I got to mile 19 my legs were suddenly hurting so bad I just wanted to cry! I've never really had a problem with cramping, but I think that must have been what it was. I thought I had been taking in enough elecrolytes, but I guess I was wrong about that. I actually sat down on the curb at the aid station and stupidly refused the second cup of water the lady offered me. I just wanted to cry my legs and ankles and feet hurt SO bad! I started texing Pete:

He was right. I got up and started going again. I was not going to quit. Pete's encouragement really helped me keep going. I wanted to quit so bad at 19, but I kept going. Then I actually stopped and sat down again. This time it was in the grass, though, and I really had a good stretch. When a policeman stopped and asked me if I was ok, I told him I was and that I was going to keep going. I almost didn't believe the words that were coming out of my own mouth when I said that, but really I knew I could finish this race no matter what. Stretching actually helped a lot and I got up and started walking again.

I told myself going into this race that it didn't matter what my time was anyway, and not to worry about it. I started shuffeling along again. This older guy ran past me and said, "Let's run to the road, then we can walk." Tricky old man! It actually worked, though, I started "running" again and just kept going. He didn't stop to walk either. That lier. :)

I plugged along very slowly. This picture was taken on the Jordan River Parkway so it was somewhere in the last 2-3 miles. It kind of looks like I'm pretending to run, but that I'm really hardly even moving. Yep, that was pretty much my last 7 miles. 
But I DID IT! I did keep going. I tried to just walk the aid stations during those last few miles, but when I was almost to the finish and still couldn't see it I did stop to walk for a minute just because I felt disheartened. But then a spectator told me that the finish was just around the bend so I started running again!

I came in at 5:20. 

I really, really thought I was going to beat 5 hours this time. I felt like I was really prepaired and my 20-miler just had gone so well! But then again I took my 20-miler nice and slow, and I almost colapsed afterwards. It took me the same amount of time to run 21 (4 hours) this time as it did to run that 20, and that even includes me sitting down twice.

So it was not a fast time, but guess what, it was still a marathon PR for me! And best of all, I DID NOT QUIT when I wanted to so so badly! 

It was so great to cross the finish line, but when I stopped and they handed me my medal, I suddenly felt like I couldn't breath! Luckily that didn't last too long.

Shannon was right there to give me a hug and tell me that she finished in 3:24, qualified for Boston and won our age group! I am so happy for her! She is so amazing! I knew she would do it! It was nice of her to hang around for 2 hours to see me finish too. :)

My beautiful finisher's medal:

I got a water, a bagel and a chick-fil-a sandwich at the finish line. Yum!

Then I headed right over to the massage line where I just sat for a long time, ate my food and just enjoyed not moving. Someone even brought me an ice cream sandwich too which was nice! Pete and the kids didn't come to watch me finish because I wanted to be able to just take it easy and get a massage after I finished and I didn't want to feel bad about them waiting around for me so that was actually nice even though I would have loved to see them out there.

On my way over to my massage, I saw Janelle. She gave me a hug, thanked me for the 17 miles and told me she had finished in 4:45. Nice! I'm glad I got to see her again. Then I saw Angela in the massage line. After she got her massage, she came over to get a picture with me. She had finished in 4:24 and Kirsten was just a few minutes behind her! I am so amazed! They stayed strong the whole time and did such a great job! 

I waited in line for my massage for like an hour, but it was so worth it! I think that combined with icing my knees and ankles twice later on made me feel a million times better the next day! After the race I just wanted to cry every time I had to move so I was amazed that I was hardly even sore Sunday! This also makes me really think it was a fueling issue and not really my muscles that caused the problem. I could say "what if, what if, what if" all night, though. I need to try not to worry about it too much. :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My First 20 Mile Training Run

After how hard the last 3 or 4 miles were on my 18 miler, I was pretty nervous about bumping it up to 20. But I made all the arrangements for the kids to be taken care of, and even got a friend to run part of it with me so that helped me feel a lot better about it.

I got up at 5:30 on Friday, and my plan was to leave at 6:30 to meet my friend, Amber, at 7:00 - 3 miles away. When I got up and and my oatmeal, I woke Elle up since she was sleeping on the couch. While I was getting ready, she came in and told me she heard a mouse under the coffee table. So I went out and moved the trap to the coffee table. A few minutes later she came in and said, "I saw a mouse!" She told me it had gone behind our little blackboard that's propped up against the wall. I went out and looked behind it and there was a ton of mouse droppings there! Was it just living back there!? So, I moved the mouse trap again to that little crack then went back to getting ready.

(We did end up catching that mouse later in the day. That was our 10th mouse in the past few weeks! We caught 6 in the storage room and 4 in the kitchen, one by one with a single mouse trap. I really hope this was the last one!)

I finished getting ready about 10 minutes early so I decided to do one mile then stop back in for a bathroom break before heading out to meet Amber. This worked out really well, and I was able to see that all the kids were up and eating cereal as I passed by. Luckily George was so happy about the cereal (a rare treat around here) that he didn't even mind me leaving.

I ended up being about 5 minutes late meeting Amber, but luckily she's easy going and had just gotten a little warm-up in. I stopped at the bathroom and got a drink before we headed up Memory Grove and into City Creek. I LOVE this route because there are drinking fountains and bathrooms every 1 to 2 miles so I didn't have to carry much with me.

The other night I had a dream that I was running an ultra marathon. I had done already 30 miles and just had 20 to go, and I was winning! Not only was I winning, but I was racing against world class ultra runners, AND I had even stopped to wipe off the table mid-race. (Yeah, do you think I was a little paranoid about mice maybe? Can you blame me? 10 mice!) Anyway, I also had a little bag of Reeses Pieces in my dream so I knew that's what I'd have to take along with me for this run! I also brought a flask of hammer gel in my back pocket and some honey stinger chews, that have electrolytes and caffeine in them, with my Reeces in my iFiness belt. This fuel plan worked great!

It was so fun having Amber to run with, and we just spent an hour and a half chatting as we plugged along. She was sore from her workout the day before so she helped me take it nice and slow up that hill. We actually stopped and walked a few times too. I was totally fine with this because I knew I had a long ways to go and needed to start out slow. It was a beautiful morning and we were even a little cold when we got higher up, but it was also really beautiful up there with all the bright fall colors!

Unfortunately, my camera was acting funny so I didn't get any more pictures after this, but it was beautiful.

We went up 4 miles, then back down - putting Amber at 8 miles, and me at 12. It was a great feeling to already be more than half-way done! She headed home, and I stopped at the lovely bathroom again. Then all I had to do was run back up 2.5 miles before turning around and heading home. That didn't seem too bad at all! It was really nice to break it up like that.

I did those 5 miles up and down, and couldn't believe how great I felt when I got back down to the bottom at 17 miles! I texted Pete, "3 miles to go and I feel AWESOME!" 

I really didn't feel much different then I do on any normal run, except for the bottoms of my feet hurt a little bit more. 

I knew the last 2 miles would be harder though. They always are because that's when it flattens out which is hard to deal with after running downhill for so long, and this is exactly how it's going to be on the marathon course. It's also really mental because I just start to think about how many miles I have left, and want to be finished. I need to work on that. Pete suggested picturing the 25 mile marker and practicing staying strong. 

When I hit 19 miles, I had to stop and walk. And I walked for almost a whole block. After you've been running for that long and you stop, you really feel how tired your arms are! But then I made myself start running again. I had a friend tell me later that she saw me just before this and that I looked great. Crazy!

Anyway, I really think that last mile is totally mental because I would want to slow down, but then I'd make myself run faster, and I could do it. My legs felt so heavy, but I was able to keep going!

Then, when I got closer to my house, I realized that I was cutting it close to going over 4 hours which was kind of my goal time for this run. I picked it up a little at the end which felt really good. I really felt like I was at the end of a race! I was so exhausted, but just had to make it to the finish line! When my Garmin beeped at 20 miles I just wanted to stop, crumple up in a little ball and cry! It hit me so suddenly. But I made myself keep walking, and I took some deep breaths to avoid an all-out break down. I did probably whimper a little bit, though. I walked to the end of the block, then back to my house. By then I had calmed myself down. 

I had just gone over the 4 hour mark by 22 seconds. SO close!

My new favorite thing is to leave a water bottler filled with ice water out on the steps so I can have a drink right when I get home. Then I stand at the stairs and stretch for a little while before going inside and putting the Mom hat back on where I finish stretching.

Lucky for me, George was napping when I got home so I had a few more minutes to stretch before he woke up. Then I still had Pete there to keep him busy while I took a nice bath and got myself ready for the day. Then I picked the kids up from school and made some cream cheese filled pumpkin muffins as a reward for a morning well spent. 

I spent the rest of the day looking forward to bed time. Pete was awesome and massaged my legs, then took care of dinner by ordering pizza.

Really, it was about as perfect as a 20 mile run can be, and it has given me a lot of confidence for race day in 3 weeks! I will just try not to think about having to add 6 miles onto that! Yikes.

Let the taper begin!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Site Review:

Recently, the kind people at offered to send me some of their merchandise in return for a review of their site. It is a family owned and operated store that specializes in swimming and swim training gear.

Yeah, actually that was 3 months ago. Here's what happened...

Soon after they first contacted me, I went onto their site and very easily found some swim fins and ordered them. They have an option to pay with check or money order so I thought that was pretty cool and unique.

I was impressed with how quickly my order shipped, and that they sent me an email when it did so I knew what was going on. My fins arrived within a day or two, but there was one problem: my hands were still recovering from my fall so I wasn't able to test them out right away. And, for some reason, I ordered extra large. They were too big, but at first I thought this would be ok since they didn't seem too crazy big. Well, when I finally took them to the pool, I realized that it really would be a problem. My ankles were sore for the rest of the day because of how badly they were pulling on my feet.

I emailed my contact, Julie, from AquaGear and told her I had opened the fins and tried them out, but that they were too big. She got back to me very quickly and said that it would be fine for me to exchange them even though they'd been opened. Awesome!

Then, me being me, I didn't get around to mailing them back for a loooong time. I blame it on me being at the peak of my Utah Half training, but that's really no excuse. Then Julie emailed me to check and see if I'd sent the fins back or not. This helped give me the push to get them sent out!

When I finally sent them back, they actually called me to tell me that they were sold out of the size I had requested, and they wanted to see what else they could do for me. Unfortunately, I got this as a voicemail and never called them back. Lame.

Another month went by while I did nothing about the situation. Again, Julie emailed me to see what I wanted to do. She suggested some other fins I could try so I picked the Speedo Short Blade Training Fins, let her know which ones I wanted and before I knew it I had some new fins on my porch!

I just have to say, their customer service was amazing! I would have totally let this order slide, but they made it so easy for me to make the exchange. And even after all my neglectfulness, they did not let me fall through the cracks! Thank you AquaGear. :)

Another month went by before I finally got to the pool again to try out my new fins since by now I had finished Utah Half and have been enjoying sleeping in in the mornings. Well, today I finally went and put them to the test. I really like these fins. I'm used to the regular sized fins they have at the pool, and these short ones feel a lot more natural and don't pull on my ankles as much. It did hurt a little bit on one foot, but that might have been because my foot was already sore from running 20 miles yesterday (more on that later). I think they will work great and I'm excited to skip the fish-fins-out-of-the-basket routine whenever I go to the pool now!

The one complaint I had with the site was that I saw no easy way to look at shampoo from their category links even though I could find it if I searched for it so I knew it was there. I told them about this, and the next time I looked at the site, there were a bunch more categories listed including "personal care." I thought that was really nice that they listened to my suggestion, and it's really nice to just be able to look at all the shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. at the same time.

I would totally recommend this site to anyone looking for swim training gear.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ok, THAT was a long run!

Whelp, today I ran 18 miles! That is the longest I've run since my Ironman back in 2009, and it's the longest training run I've ever done! I only made it to 17 in my training for both the St. George Marathon and the Ironman.

The SoJo Marathon has been offering a series of training runs where they provide water at aid stations along the course starting at the Half Marathon starting line, you just have to bring something to put the water in. I asked my friend Shannon, who's doing this marathon with me, if she wanted to do the last training run with me. It was was 2 weeks ago, and she was going to be out of town so I just ended up running 11.6 miles around here.

The next weekend I decided I wasn't quite ready to run 18 since it had been 4 weeks since my (almost) 16 miler. I decided to do 16 again and see if I could do it faster, which I did! It helped that I ran up City Creek which was beautiful with the leaves starting to change, and it was a nice cool morning, and I got to have some fun downhill in the middle! Yay for downhill! I did this 16 in 3:01, and last time I actually did 15.6 miles in 3:06 so I went farther in a shorter amount of time. Sweet! I felt really good afterwards, just a little bit sore.

This week was another training run, and this time Shannon was able to do it with me! I met her at about 6am near where the finish line will be, then we drove her car up to the 18-mile starting point. I had written all our turns down on my arms.

I didn't have room for them all on just one arm becuase there were a lot of them!

We started just in time to see the beautiful sunrise over the mountains. It was really nice.

That little green dot is where we started, and the red one is where we finished.

It started out pretty nice, going downhill for a ways, but we weren't able to enjoy it since there hadn't been a bathroom where we started since it was pretty much the middle of nowhere. Luckily, after about 2 miles we came to a city building. We thought it probably wouldn't be open, but we checked anyway and it was! What a nice bathroom they had too. I love city buildings! :)

After that I felt much better, and the next 3 miles just flew by. It was so much fun running with her and catching up with since we hadn't seen each other since June! She's a much faster runner than I am, but she set a pace that was perfect for me. It didn't feel too hard, but it was faster than I would have done by myself for sure so that was really cool to see that I could do that!

We stopped at a 7-11 after about 5 miles to use the bathroom again, and it was right across the street from the Medical Center where they were starting the official training run and where the half marathon will start. It was good to see we were on the right course! After this, every couple of miles, there would just be a table with 2 coolers on top - one with water and one with some kind of lemony drink that was really good. They even had a couple bottles of water in case you didn't bring your own. Shannon just carried a cup and I carried one of my fuel belt bottles in one hand and my hammer gel flask in the other. That worked out perfectly.

We also started seeing signs telling us where to turn which was good because I had written down the wrong direction on a couple of my turns! Oops, I guess that's what happens when you try to read a map at 5:30 in the morning! We managed to stay on track, though, thanks to the signs and our smart phones. It also helped that she knew the area.

One thing about this course is that it is a lot harder than we expected. The course description says, "Mostly downhill with a couple of good bumps thrown in to make things interesting." Well there seemed to be a lot more "interesting" than downhill. We were surprised by how much uphill there was and how short the downhills seamed.

I felt really good until about, oh I don't know... (That's another mistake I made, I paused my Garmin at one of our stops, and forgot to start it again until we'd run about 1.5 miles! Oops.) 11 or 12 miles. I remember Shannon saying, "soon we'll just have 6 miles to go!" and I felt like that was a very impossible sounding number. Around this time, we hit another hill and I stopped and walked when we got to the top. I was really starting to feel it! Shannon was so nice to stop and walk with me, and stick with me for so long even though I know it was so slow for her. When we hit about 14 miles, she decided she wanted to try and push it to the end so I told her to go ahead. She took off and was soon out of sight. Now came the hardest part of the run. Without her pushing me, I slowed down a lot, and my legs were starting to get pretty sore so I allowed myself to walk a few more times. I was ok, though, nothing was hurting more than it should and I knew I could finish this even if it took me a long time. I kept going.

The last 2 miles are on the Jordan River Parkway and that felt really hard! We'd had a bit of a downhill in the shade for the 2 miles before, and the Parkway is totally flat and in the sun so I started to feel the heat. I was really hurting, and stopped to walk a few times here. I finally finished after about 3 1/2 hours of running which was about what I'd planned for. Man was I glad to be done! The cool thing was that my Garmin said I had done 16.3 miles (remember, I skipped about 1.5 miles on it) in 2:58! Another big improvement on my 16 miles! Thank you, Shannon, for pushing me and helping me do that!

When I was about 1.5 miles from the finish, I stopped in my tracks as I realized that I had left the key to my car in Shannon's car 18 miles away! I had left my purse there thinking about how we were coming back to her car, not thinking about HOW we were going to get there and forgot to grab my keys! Another 6am mistake! Oh well. Luckily, she lives pretty close to where we were so she called her husband to see if he could come get us. He came and saved the day! This way I got to meet her new husband anyway, and she also showed me her new house so that was fun!

It was lunch time by the time I left and I stopped at Chipotle for a very well-earned burrito! George was about ready to go down for a nap when I got home too, so we ate, then I put him down for a nap so I was able to enjoy a bath and some knee icing. What a great run. I feel really good about finishing, and I'm so glad Shannon and I were able to reconnoiter the course together!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Just Kidding, Just Kidding, Just Kidding

Last Saturday, I told Pete I wasn't going to do any more triathlons.

Pete said, "Can I get that in writing?"

Ha ha, very funny.

I was so serious! I felt so terrible right after Utah Half that I was sure this would be the last one and I'd really be DONE. I didn't even care that I had already paid for a marathon in October, I seriously thought I would just skip it. Why do I even do this crazy stuff anyway, right?

Have you seen any of the Saturday Night Live skits with "Judy Grimes"? She makes me laugh so hard every time! Every time I say, "just kidding!" I have to laugh because of I think of this. So, here I am now saying it.

I'm not going to do triathlons any more.

JUST KIDDING, I'm going to do one this weekend.

Just kidding, I hate triathlons.

Just kidding, I love them!

Just kidding, I don't.

Just kidding, I do, and I'm doing an Ironman next year!

Just kidding, just kidding, just kidding.

Serisously, though, I can not decide what I want to do right now. 

I took Sunday and Monday competely off, felt pretty depressed and just laid around all day. 

Tuesday I went for a bike ride with the kids to the Gateway. Then I ran for 30 minutes Wednesday morning with the stroller. I only made it 2.6 miles, and it was hard! I didn't feel sore or anything, but I guess I was still recovering. 

Thursday was my birthday! I woke up early and ran 5 miles, and it took me 58 minutes. Ug, maybe I really should just be done with this running stuff, right?


Pete was so sweet and got me all this awesome running/tri stuff for my birthday! I was so suprised! It was such a great present!

(That's the hips and legs Trigger Point kit, new bottles to replace my leaky ones on my Fuel Belt, a box of chocolate Recoverite packets, some apple cinnamin Hammer Gel, and a box of honey stinger chews)

I was so excited about my trigerpoint set that I went down immediately to watch the DVD that came with it and roll out my legs that were sore from my slow 5 miles. (really? Still recovering, still recovering...) I'm so excited to have this and hopefully it will help keep me from getting injured.

I baked a cake, then went and got my hair done. I got back in time to feed the kids and take them over to our brother and sister in laws house so Pete and I could go to dinner at The Copper Onion and it was so good! It was even cool enough to sit outside so that was really nice. After dinner, Pete dropped me off at home so I could finish the cake while he picked the kids up. I made a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and it's pretty much the most delicious cake in the world. :)

What a great birthday! And I slept in the next day. I was going to get up early the next day (Saturday) for my long run, but when I woke up at 5:30 it was a full on rain storm with thunder and lightning. I decided I could fit it in later and went back to bed where I stayed until almost 9! Wow, that never happnes! Pete went mountain biking in the morning so I took the kids to the zoo. It was a nice cool day so it was the perfect day to go, even though it was quite crowded. It was fun, and George zonked out when we got home! I got ready to run so I could leave as soon as Pete got back. I felt bad leaving because he was so tired and sore when he got back, but luckily George was still asleep so hopefully he had a little while to recover!

I was scheduled to run 10 miles, but I decided to just be good and use my heart rate monitor/watch and run up City Creek for about an hour then run home. I ended up doing 11.6 miles and LOVED IT! I was so happy to be out running long again and I just felt so good! 

My heart rate monitor started beeping at me after about half an hour so I ended up just turning it off after running past a couple getting married and felt really annoying! I had my phone in my pocket with the GPS going, but basically I just knew about how long I'd been running and that was it. I think I turned around at about 1:10, and thought I'd be end up with about 10 miles. I was excited to see 11.6 on my GPS (Strava), but I don't know how accurate that is. 

Anyway, the point is that I still love running!

I'm excited to jump full swing into marathon training next week with my long run being 18 miles! The cake is now all gone. I'm going to be good and cross train, strength train, stretch and use my new rollers along with running a LOT. Wish me luck! :)

I'm waiting until after my marathon to decide for sure what I want to do with triathlons next year. Registration for Vineman Full opens November 1st, and that's the one I probably want to do so I need to decide by then.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Utah Half Ironman 2012 - Race Report

I got a cold the week before this race just like I did last year. I have really learned my lesson about flying somewhere the week before a race! I was very stressed about it and did everything I could from getting lots of rest and fluids to any home remedy anyone mentioned including apple cider vinegar with honey in water and eating raw garlic which about killed me! BUT I was better by race morning so that's the important thing!

Race morning, I planned on waking up at 4:30, but ended up waking up at 3:30 when Pete came to bed. Of course, I couldn't go back to sleep so I just laid there for an hour. I should have just gotten up since I ended up being (what seemed like) the last person to set up at transition. I left the house at about 5 and got to Provo at around 6 after taking a detour I didn't even need to take. (Geez!) I felt so dumb, but knew I still had a lot of time so I tried not to worry. I had to stop at the store for sun block and they didn't open until 6 anyway.

I drove into the park and immediately noticed that things were different this year. First of all there were no other cars so I was worried I was in the wrong place, but the guard at the gate just told me they were all in there and that I was running late! I drove past where the transition area was last year, and parked, then walked farther down to the lake where they had the new transition area. They must have moved it so there wouldn't be such a long run from the swim, but this also put the transition kind of far away from the finish line which I had a hard time with at the end, but we'll get to that later. Much later.

Anyway, I scoured the racks for a spot to put my bike and there wasn't very much room anywhere. I finally found somewhere to squeeze it in, set everything down then ran back towards my car to the bathrooms. It was awesome because while the men's room had a line clear out the door, there wasn't even a wait for the ladies room. That doesn't happen very often!

I got back just in time to hear the pre-race briefing, but got antsy about setting up my transition since I was so late, so I scooted away before he gave the big pep talk. I'm kind of sad I missed it because I could kind of hear it from my spot in transition and it sounded very motivational!

I needn't have worried, I ended up having tons of time to set up and get ready. Here's my spot. I love hanging the orange backpack on my bike, it makes it so easy to find! And the bucket is nice to sit on just for a few seconds while putting my shoes on.

All set up and the wetsuit is on! The water was almost too warm for wetsuits, but by race morning the temperature had dropped so they let us wear them.

Time to get serious and head down to the water! At this point I knew they were going to be starting a little late since it was almost the scheduled time for my wave, but nobody had started yet. In fact, when I got down to the water, I realized that they didn't even have the buoys set up yet! 

SWIM 2.4 Miles - 42:56 (last year was 40:10)

I got in and swam around for a little while. Most people were just standing at the edge of the water which I think is crazy. I like to take as much time to get used to the water as possible. I was kind of frustrated, though, because my goggles just kept fogging up. I had used anti-fog spray, but that didn't seem to work and neither did spitting in them which usually works for me. I just took them off and hoped my body temperature would get closer to the water's or something (I have no idea if that's what makes goggles fog up or what) before start time.

Finally the waves started going and the women started to gather round. The women were the last 2 waves so we just chatted while we waited for all the men and relays to go before we got into position. I talked to one girl who said she was planning on doing something like 27 minutes! WOW! Colleen Rue got into the water near me, she was one of the few people not wearing a wetsuit. She doesn't know me, but I've been following her blog since she was training for IM St. George so it was fun to see her in person!

I set myself up in the second row, and when the gun went off I tried to hang with all the girls I was with, but I am so bad at that! I just can never tell what's going on in the water. This water was even worse than usual too, it was the most murky water I've ever swam in. I couldn't even see my arms at all, let alone bubbles from someone's feet even if I was practically on top of them. I gave up drafting pretty quickly, and just focused on swimming smoothly by myself. I felt pretty good, and never panicked, and the stretch to the first buoy was just fine. Then we turned, and the sun was in my eyes every time I breathed to the right so I started just keeping my eyes closed unless I was sighting. That worked fine, until I rounded that buoy and the sun was right in front of us so I couldn't see a thing. My goggles were still fogging up really badly too so I was finding myself lifting my head way out of the water to try to see anything. 

I rolled onto my back and wiped off my goggles then tried again. Nope, I still couldn't see anything! That's ok, I just needed to swim towards the sun so I did that pretty much blindly. Finally I got to the buoy and started the second lap and I could see again! When I got to the final stretch where the sun was in my eyes again, it seemed to take forever. I started to be really unsure about where I was supposed to go too. Was I supped to go around the first buoy again, then turn to the boat ramp or just go strait there? I was kind of in the middle and finally just decided to head to the boat ramp (swim exit) as soon I as could see it to my left which was the only place I could really look anyway. I  tried to go faster on that final stretch, but I just felt so flustered and disoriented that it was hard to do anything but just survive. Luckily I didn't have a watch on so I didn't have to worry about how slow my time was for the rest of the race.

I don't know what time they finally started the swim, but it was probably close to an hour late. I wonder if there would have been less of a problem with the sun if they'd started on time. I don't remember having a problem last year. The course was different too so it could have been that.

T1 Time - 2:54 (last year was 2:52)

Transition was pretty quick. The 22 year old guy next to me had totally thrown his stuff on top of mine, and the frustrating thing was that he was standing right there waiting for his friend when I got there, but he didn't apologize or move anything. He was nice and asked how my swim was and stuff, so I tried not to be too rude about pushing his stuff to the side. I put my fuel in my back pocket, put my helmet on, and sat down just for a second to pull my wetsuit off and slip my shoes on. It wasn't the fastest transition, but I thought it was faster than last year. I guess not! Then I was off on the bike!

BIKE 56 Miles - 3:05:58 (last year was 2:49:05!)

I was so excited for this bike ride, and had been telling everyone how fun and fast it was so I was a little surprised to see how slow I was starting off. I tried not to worry about it and told myself this is a long race and I can have a few minutes to get going. I kept waiting to see 20+ mph on my speedometer, but it didn't happen. I turned a corner and realized what the problem was. WIND. Oh yeah, last year I had perfect conditions. Such perfect conditions, it was ridiculous! I really, really shouldn't have expected to be able to beat that! I plugged away, trying to keep my speed at 18 at least. There were a few fast sections on the way back but they seemed way too short compared to all the slow sections, and I swear we did not get a tail wind where we had the head wind on the way out! Oh well, I will not complain. I will just say that I was pretty disappointed to not make my sub 3:00 goal, and I knew it would now be pretty much impossible to go sub 6:00 for the whole thing which is what I was hoping for.

Towards the end of the bike, when we had about 8 or 9 miles left, a girl caught up to me and started chatting with me. She was really nice and said her name was, Heather. When I told her my name she asked me my last name and said she'd seen my name before and that it's easy for her to remember because she has a friend named Colleen. Colleen Rue. I told her I'd heard of her too. (Leaving out the fact that I have been stalking her blog for the last 6 months. Hahah) Heather's goal was sub 3:00 on the bike too so we both missed that by a bit since she came in just after me.

T2 - 2:52 (last year was 3:01)

I saw Heather in transition as I was headed out, and knew she'd end up passing me on the run so that was kind of something to look forward to. I tried to make my transition quick again, but ended up with the exact same time as T1! 

RUN 13(ahem).7 Miles - 2:32:05 (wahoo, beat last year's 2:33:16!!) 

I stopped at a port-a-potty on the way out which was really nice that they had some near transition and some at every aid station this year. Good job RaceTri! The aid stations were really nice with Coke, Heed, water, ice, Hammer Gel and someone with a hose to spray us with! Because of that and the fact that most of the run is shaded, I stayed pretty cool even though it was a hot day.

I was amazed at how fast I started out! Somewhere in the first mile I got to meet Chris, who I know from twitter as Tritweeter. He's much faster than me, and was on his second loop. He asked me how my bike was and when I told him I was slower than last year he said that it was windy, and I think that was the first time I realized that maybe my slower bike wasn't just all my fault. It was good talking to him, but he had to hurry on since he was trying to make 5:00 and he was cutting it close. I was excited to see that I was running at a sub 9 pace with him and feeling good!

Shortly after seeing Chris, Heater passed me. She said, 'We've got the swim and the bike over with, now this is the fun part!" I smiled and told her this was the hard part for me. But really, the run kind of is the fun part because it's when you get to see everyone else and encourage each other and you all get to suffer together! 

When my Garmin beeped at the first mile, I was happy to see 10:26 because that was counting my bathroom break. I though if I could keep up that pace, there was still a chance for me to beat last year's time. Hahahaha

My next mile was 10:14, ok. Still doable. Right? Hmmm, my next miles went 10:37, 10:27, 10:17, 11:07. Dang it! Now I was finishing the first lap and it was already almost 1:00 which is when I told Pete I wanted to be finishing! 

I tried to look for him to see if he was there yet so I could tell him I had another lap to do, but I didn't see him so I just went right on into lap 2.

The weird thing is that I actually felt really good. Like I said, I felt like I was staying pretty cool and nothing hurt or anything, but I just couldn't get myself to run as fast as I wanted, no matter how many times I looked at my watch and saw that I needed to run faster. I guess on the second lap I kind of gave up on trying to be fast and just tried to keep running. I really did a pretty good job of only walking at the aid stations except for at one turn around where I totally lost my momentum and walked for just a few seconds. But that doesn't count does it?

My speed just got slower. Mile 7 was 10:46, then 11:18, 11:09, 12:05 (ouch), 11:42, 11:48, 11:50. There was one old guy who kept passing me, then he'd stop to walk and I'd pass him only to have him pass me again in a few minutes. It was kind of fun to have someone to play leapfrog with like that and he was nice to exchange a few words with too. When I got to the last aid station, I just skipped it because according to my watch, I only had half a mile left. Well, I kept running, and running, and running... 13.1 came and went and I still did not see the finish line. That is just mentally draining! My feet were really starting to hurt and I was just dragging! It took me 10:13 to run the last .7 (.1 is for sissies!). I really don't understand why they made the course long when they could have easily just moved one of the turn arounds up.

FINALLY, I saw the crowds and heard the music of the finish line! Then I saw Mindy and Elle and Mindy said, "we're going to run with you!" so I said, "Come on!" and they just took off! They made me run fast down that finish chute, and I had one of my favorite finishes ever!

FINISH TIME - 6:26:45 (last year was 6:08:22)

I saw Pete and the boys as I was running in and I was just so glad they were there! I know I've crossed a lot of finish lines now and it's kind of getting old, but it never gets old for me to see the people I love the most after I've just spent six and a half hour swimming, biking and running. I really am so grateful for Pete for coming out even though I know it was hot and hard with the kids there, and they had to wait around for over an hour longer than planned.

I was also really glad to have him there when I finished because, after downing 2 cups of chocolate milk, a bagel and some orange slices at the finish line, I started to feel really sick. I went over to some tables and stretched, then I just had to lay down. And even though the kids were running around being crazy, it was nice to have Pete there. He went over and checked my results for me then sat with me. I just felt nauseous. Pete was saying that I was probably burnt out, and that's why I couldn't run faster, so maybe I should do an earlier race next year, maybe Boise? I felt like I never wanted to run again, and especially never wanted to do a triathlon again! Why do I even like this stuff? DO I even like this stuff? Those are the questions I'll be milling over for the next few months...

Then, remember how the transition area was kind of a ways away from the finish line? I was so glad to have Pete there to go get my bike and stuff. I gave him my number and he said he'd try to act tired because really only the athletes were supposed to be allowed in the transition area. Luckily our diabolical plan worked (bwa ha ha) and he was able to get my stuff without any problems. I just sat in the air conditioned jeep with the kids and started to feel much better by the time he got back.

Of course, when he got back, we realized that I had left the lights on in his car so now the battery was dead! Again, I was so glad he had come! He just drove the jeep over to jump his car which took a little longer. We were planning on meeting my dad at my brother and going swimming at my brother's appointment in Heber at 3, but it was almost 4 by the time we left. Plus we stopped at Wendy's for some food, and stopped for gas. Luckily, my brother is really nice and took us over to the pool even though they were already done swimming. In fact, his little kids came over with us in their pajamas. We were just hanging out in the hot tub and the kids were playing when we look over and see this little naked boy getting in! It was so funny, he just had to get in, and knew he wasn't supposed to get his pjs wet! It was funny! My dad ran over and got his swim suit then he got to play. I was so glad we got to sit in the hot tub! It felt so good! I was already getting pretty sore and stiff by the end of the night. I also iced my knees when we got home.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fort Macon & Our Last Day at Atlantic Beach, NC

Everyone told us we should go to Fort Macon before we left so that's what we did on Saturday which was our last day there. We're so glad we went, it was really fun! 

I ran to Fort Macon last year for my long run, but it was before they opened so I didn't really see it and had no idea what all they had there.

There was a little sea life museum there that we went to first. The girls got to be mermaids and Ethan got to hug a whale!

Then we went to the actual fort and got there just in time to see them fire the cannon. BOOM! It was really loud! It was cool to see all the work that goes into firing one of those. It takes 5-7 guys to get it all ready and fire it.

Then we explored the old for which was around during the Civil War (Or the War Against The States as they called it there).

You can't really tell, but there's a big drop off on the other side of this wall. I had a few scary moments with Ethan, the crazy boy.

Elle said she liked this picture because she's smiling like a princess and her hair is blowing in the wind. Very true. :)

We were so hot and tired after this excursion so it felt really good to go home and go to the beach! My grandma came over and went down with us. Katie and the kids built a really big, cool sand castle and I finally bit the bullet and swam in the ocean. I did it last year, and it was just fine, but I can't help but think about the sharks and jelly fish and everything else that is out there, and it doesn't help that I can't see past my arm and that I have to be so far out to be past the waves. I swam to the end of the next condo down and back twice, and my grandma timed me the second time and said it took me about 14 minutes so I thought that was a good amount of time to practice my open water swimming. Utah Lake is going to feel so nice and clean and calm compared to that! Not to mention, I won't be worrying about sharks!