So be sure when you step. You step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lifetime Sprint Triathlon

I almost did not make it to this race.

You know that strained lat muscle I mentioned below?
It turned out to be a strained intercostal muscle.  Which turned out to be a pretty big deal.

I never knew this muscle existed until I hurt it - but now I know it is involved in everything.  It hurts to laugh, cough, roll over, sit up, and pick up my kids.  It hurts to breathe and hurts to sleep.  It hurts to open car doors, heavy stores doors, and the house door while also carrying 15 plastic bags of groceries.  It hurts to turn my bike.  And, mostly, it hurts to swim.

When I hit the one week mark without seeing any signs of improvement, I started to accept I would not race my last triathlon of the year.  In some ways, I did not care.  Because of my foot injury and Hood2Coast recovery, my mileage was low and my speed work was sparse.  I felt slow and sluggish.

This carried over to the bike.  In fact, my legs felt so powerless on my bicycle, I took it to see Mr. Bikeman.  "Something must be wrong with my bike", I complained.  "Maybe I need a new one."  It seemed obvious to me the best way to get out of my slump was to find myself on sleek, sexy, out-of-my-price range, TT-bike.

Mr. Bikeman was fast to say, "You absolutely do not need a new bike.  This is a great bike."

Whatever.  It is a road bike.  And it old.  And ugly.  I want a pretty bike!

"This bike would look pretty if you cleaned it more often," was his predictable response.  And then Mr. Bikeman cleaned some grime out of the cockpit and lectured me on my peddle stroke.

But, running and cycling issues aside, most of my summer was focused in the water.
When I thought about the hours, the boredom and the frustration that I invested, I cared about this last race quite a bit.  Otherwise, all those Master practices would have been for nothing.

It was not until the day before the race that I decided my injury had improved enough to endure a half-mile swim.  And even then, it was with a lack of certainty.  And after a two-week swimming hiatus, I now lacked confidence as well.

I felt so nervous getting into the lake water on race day.
I felt more nervous as I floated among the large wave of red swim caps (ladies under 40).  It was so crowded our bodies brushed together.

As always, the start was brutal.  Limbs frantically flew everywhere, including my own.  After a few minutes of chaos, I settled into a rhythm, relieved that I remembered how to swim.  But it was crowded the entire time.  It was windy and the water was choppy.  Sometimes I gasped for air and wound up with a mouthful of toxic lake water.  It became about survival.  Who cared about technique?

My swim time was 14:03, which a PR for the distance.  It was a top swim time, too, so maybe the course was long.  (I like to believe the swim course is always long).

My T1 transition was unpracticed and clunky.  My spot was in the back of the very large transition area.  It was going to be slow no matter what - so yeah, I took my time.  And  a shot of apple cider vinegar to kill the lake demons.

Eventually, I ran my bike out of transition and realized I had to run further than usual in order to mount.  The mounting spot was across the parking lot!  This added nearly a whole minute to my bike time.  But, I felt great on the bike.  The course had many very tight turns and multiple u-turns.  It was crowded, making it challenging to pass.  My overall bike time was a little slow (just shy of 35 minutes), but my cycling time (from mount to dismount) was pretty good (just under 34 minutes).  Not a PR, but also not too shabby for a road bike.

My T2 transition was less-slow than T1.  I grabbed a small electrolyte-induced water bottle for the run.  The goal was to use this water instead of the water stations.  But as soon as I started running, the water started splashing out.  It was a cheap, plastic mini-water bottle with a cheap, plastic sprout.  At about a half mile, I realized I barely had any water left.  I drank the remaining drops.

It was a beautiful day, but still September and still warm.  I was thirsty.  Since I am incapable of drinking from a cup while running, I had to stop at both water stations.

I knew by stopping twice I was not going to break 20-minutes on the run.  But, I did not know that I was in the first place female position.  What a treat to find that out as I crossed the finish line.  I won!

In most ways, I felt stoked because I like winning stuff.  Although, my kids were rather unimpressed (as usual):

and more impressed with the food, (as usual):

In another little way, I feel embarrassed because my winning time is so slow compared to other typical winning times.  It is even 75-seconds slower than my PR.  Before this race I said that I didn't feel my fastest, but I felt the most well-rounded. And that is true:  I didn't win this race by being really good in the run, I won by being equally decent at all 3 events.  And, of course, by luck.  No matter what, a win is always partially contributed to pure luck that no one faster was there.  Because at my level, there is always someone faster.  Just sometimes they are doing bigger, badder things.

Or sleeping.

Friday, September 13, 2013

General Update about Stuff

The kids went to their annual doctor appointment where it was confirmed that they are indeed  taller and heavier than they were the previous the year.

So we have been busy doing BIG KID things.  For example, Brenna and I tried ice skating.  This was a good idea in theory.   It was less of a good idea when I realized I had no idea how to stop and suggested that we just "bang into the wall." 

They are also training for their next race.
So far we do not have the best track record.  During their first race, they sat down and screamed.  And then their second race was canceled due to rain.

Training thus far is trying to make it around the block.  Going around the block can be tedious because there are just so many things to pick up.  Like rocks.  And twigs.  And trash.  And abandoned chewed gum.

And as for me, I have been happily running and persistently swimming.  In fact, I swam 21 miles in August.  For me, that is a lot of miles in a pool.  I was at a pool almost every day!  Even in a lapse of childcare, I still went to Masters.  Thank goodness for computers, tablets and phones and $2 episodes of My Little Pony.

I feel like I should be a good swimmer.  I have crazy long arms and big hands.  Like a monkey.  But, also like Michael Phelps.

But apparently having nearly freakishly sized limbs does not help you at all if you cannot figure out how to control  them.  My elbow does not bend enough.  My hips do not rotate enough.  My wrist bends at the wrong time.  I take too many stokes.  Bla. Bla. Bla.

I strained my lat muscle though so for now, I can only run.  I cannot swim.

The injury did not happen in the pool, or even near the pool.  It happened in yoga class, while attempting a forearm stand.

This is my second yoga-related injury.
Who knew yoga could be so dangerous?

Then again, I seem to rather accident prone (Brenna should probably re-think ever going ice skating with me again).  I even ran my car into my own house.  Aside from 9-year old Stephanie Tanner, who does that?

Ah yes, the same person who injures themselves in yoga class.