Thursday, December 29, 2016

Double Half Marathon Weekend

Saturday, December 10, 2016 - Hillsborough River Half Marathon (Trail)

The SRQ  gang before the start.
For this race, I decided to take it easy. Run the race at my long run pace and enjoy the course. Stop and take photos. My first couple of miles were a little fast, mostly because they were on the road or on hard packed dirt trail/road. Once we hit the trail, that had taller grass and was a little harder, I slowed down. Just after mile 3, the runner just ahead of me pointed at the ground and yelled out something I couldn't hear. As I got closer to the spot, I saw that it was a big black snake! I couldn't tell if it was alive or not, and didn't want to get close to find out! I figured I would try taking a photo of it when I passed by again on the second loop, if it was still there.
The next mile and a halfish was on hard packed dirt road. I took off my long sleeved top, tied it around my waist, then picked up the pace a little. Once I got to Aide station C, I saw Karen, then we got to the technical trail section. This was along the Hillsborough River. My time was much slower through here, since I stopped to take photos and also wanted to watch my step. I still managed to roll my foot, but thankfully I didn't cause any damage! After this section, we are on a dirt/grass road again, which takes us back to the first water stop and the start of the second loop. Miles 1 through 6 splits - 9:04, 9:08, 9:59, 9:35, 11:13, 10:21

I still had my go pro in my hand, so I kept my eye out for the snake. He was still there! He was sure alive. He had moved a little. While I stopped to take photos, someone else commented that the snake had shifted a little. He was just enjoying the sun on this cold morning. I still kept pretty far from him! I picked up the pace again on the long dirt road, before stopping at aide station C for a photo and some M & Ms! More photos along the river, then I put the go pro back in my pouch and picked up the pace. Once I hit the paved road, I really picked it up. Finished strong with a small jump at the finish line! Miles 7 through 13.1 (13.2) - 10:07, 9:47, 9:35, 11:17, 10:32, 9:42, 9:15, 1:59

Finish 2:11:42

Sunday, December 11, 2016 - Best Damn Race Cape Coral

Sunday morning, I met Carolyn and Cindi at the Starbucks near the interstate. They loaded up into my Jeep, then we were on the road by 5:15am. So happy to have GPS navigation in my new car, it made finding this place in Cape Coral pretty easy. We made it down in good time, having just under an hour before the race start time, to pick up our packets, wander through the booths, and hit the porta potties a couple of times. The crowd wasn't very big (just over 400 running the half). I got near the 2 hour pacer, though my goal was to finish before that. I wasn't going to try and PR today, since this was more of a training run for my marathon in 3 weeks. I wore my long run shoes and not my "racing" shoes, just so I wouldn't push it!
Once we got going, I was surprised at how good my legs felt. No soreness at all! As we were heading out, the 5K runners where heading in. We made a few turns, before starting to see the 10K runners, heading back. Around mile 4, I caught up with a female runner, wearing a triathlon top. Since we continued to run the same pace, we started chatting. I learned she works for BDR! Her boyfriend is the one who puts on the races. We chatted about running and triathlon. We ended up running a few miles together. She pulled ahead of me during mile 9, when I started to slow down. Miles 1 through 9 - 8:35, 8:26, 8:40, 8:37, 8:45, 8:54, 8:49, 8:46, 8:55

The last 3 miles, my hips started to tighten up, and I slowed down. Since I wasn't "racing" I didn't worry about it much. I had a good buffer, so I knew I could still make it under 2 hours, unless something crazy happened. I walked through the last couple of water stops. It was starting to warm up! The last mile took forever! I was really happy to see the big condo building, where I knew the finish was. At this point, I feel someone on my shoulder, so I turn my head to see who is behind me. It's the 2 hour pacer! He was way ahead of schedule! We had to make a sharp right turn, then another, before a short stretch to the finish. Miles 10 through 13.1(13.18) - 9:10, 9:19, 9:21, 9:14, 1:26

Finish: 1:57:01

Crossing the finish line with a funny facial expression!
Note on the 2 hour pacer: He did a poor job and should NOT be hired back! He walked back and forth near the finish line until he could cross right at 2 hours. The guy was at least 2 minutes ahead of the time he was supposed to hit. No wonder he had no runners left with him at the end!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Space Coast Half Marathon

Half marathon #67

November 27, 2016

This was my 4th year of running the Space Coast races. The last 3 years, I've run the marathon. The second year, was my PR marathon time, that still stands. Last year was rough, so this year, I decided to run the Half Marathon.

This year, I went over to the Space Coast on Friday, with my husband and son. We went to the Kennedy Space Center and walked around all day. My feet were hurting by the end of the day. I didn't eat very healthy, either. Same for Saturday. So, come race morning, my stomach was having some issues. I spend a bit of time in the bathroom, before leaving for the race Sunday morning. I left the hotel at 4:30, my normal time. When I got to my usual parking lot, it was almost full! I had to park next to the curb, instead of in a parking spot. I normally would have been worried about getting towed, but I have seen cars park in the same spot every year, and no issues, so I went ahead and parked. I hung out in my car for a while, then headed over to the main staging area to meet my Sarasota friends. I made a longish stop to the porta potty, then went to find everyone. Met up with Lynnette, Kimmi, Toni and Ariana for a group photo, then went to use the porta potty one more time! It was 5:45 and my race started at 6am. The lines were long! I was waiting and waiting. Finally, I asked the people ahead of me, who were all running the marathon (which started a half hour after mine) if I could cut ahead. Thankfully they all said yes. I went in, did my business, then headed to the start, a block away. It was so jam packed. I couldn't even get from the side road into the main street. A woman came by, pushing her way through the crowd, with 4 other people following behind her. I jumped on that train and went with them. I was able to get pretty close to the 1:50 pacer, who I wanted to stick with for as long as I could. I didn't have long to wait before the big tv screen should the shuttle launch. With the blast off of the shuttle, we were off!

A couple of miles from the finish!
The roads were very congested for the first mile. Our pace leader kept us under pace, not sure why, maybe because it was hard to move faster through the crowd? The pace for each mile was supposed to be 8:23, So you can see from my first mile, we were 22 seconds off. After mile one, the pacer started running faster. Miles 2, 3 and 4 were under our goal pace! I guess he needed to make up the seconds lost in the first mile. For me, the 8:23 was going to be a challenge to keep, so when he kept up an even faster pace, I started to feel it during mile 5. At around mile 4.5, I started to slow down a little. For another mile or so, I could still see the group ahead of me, but they gradually pulled ahead by a lot. I decided just to do what I could do and carry on. It was great seeing this part of the course as the sun was coming up. There was cloud cover on the horizon, so I didn't get to see the sun come up over the water, but it was still beautiful. Miles 1 through 5- 8:45, 8:16, 8:19, 8:15, 8:22

At the half way point, we turn around and head back. I love out and backs. Seeing other runners and seeing friends on the course. It distracts from any discomfort I am feeling. I got to see a lot of friends as I headed back. Unfortunatly, my legs started to stiffen up. I just couldn't get them to move any faster. So, my pace got slower and slower. I knew I wasn't going to PR, my new goal was to get in under 1:55. As I made the sharp turn onto the side walk, just after mile 13, I knew I had my goal in reach. I ran the curve, by all the cheering people, to the finish. Very happy! Miles 6 through 13.1 - -8:27, 8:37, 8:35, 8:51, 8:56, 9:04, 9:13, 9:11, 0:43

Finish: 1:53:40
10th in age group out of 381

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Another Half Ironman?

Yes, please!!

I did it, I signed up for my second 70.3! The plan was to do Augusta 70.3 again next fall. This time bringing up some other friends, so they could do their first Half distance triathlon there. But, I was getting antsy. Sooooo, I decided to sign up for a spring race! Wendy will be joining me in Panama City beach, FL for the first year of the Ironman 70.3 Gulf Coast on May 13th!

We are still working on getting Carolyn to join us.

P.S, there is an awesome, early bird Black Friday sale going on over on the Skirt Sports website, starting today!! Up to 60% off! And, free shipping on orders over $40. Get those deals while you still can! Click on the link to the right of this post.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bradenton Area Half Marathon

October 15, 2016
Half #66

I signed up for this race a couple of months ago. Since it was only 3 weeks post Augusta, I had no idea how I would be feeling. I signed up to be out there with runners from my training group and to be with friends! I managed to get in a 11 mile long run last Saturday, and it was the first time since the race, that I felt like normal. It took me a lot longer to recover, than I thought it would. I guess 2 weeks isn't really a long time, but I felt that since I really only pushed the pace during the bike ride, of Augusta, that I wouldn't need much recover time. I was wrong! Anyway, I took it easy for 2 weeks, then added a bit more, this past week.

Race morning: I got to the race site about an hour before the start. Found a parking spot easily, then waited a few minutes for Gina to get there. When she showed up, we walked over to the main area, used the porta potties, found our friends, got a group photo, then got lined up for the race! We didn't have long to wait before we were off!

We headed east for a couple of blocks, turned right and then left, followed by another left, which took us over the Green bridge. It was a decent incline, but not as high as the Ringling bridge. We hit mile one just before reaching the other side. We ran a 1 mile loop in Palmetto, before heading back over the bridge. I was able to see some of the middle and back of the pack runners, on my way back over the bridge. By mile 3, we were running down one lane of Manatee ave. The other 2 lanes were still open to traffic. We had just under a mile on this main road, before turning right, then running along the water front. These next few miles were the prettiest of the course. Lots of river views and views of the stunning houses along the river. I had been worried about the lighting, since it was still pre sunrise, but there were plenty of volunteers out with flashlights and there were glow sticks on the ground. I had been feeling really good for these first few miles. Running a bit faster than I had planned. I kept having to slow myself down! Splits for miles 1 through 6 - 8:35, 8:28, 8:44, 8:29, 8:46, 9:05

Feeling awesome as I cross the finish.
Just after mile 7, we turned to the south, heading away from the water. I thought this loop was going to be a short one, and then we would rejoin the main part of the course, so we could see the other runners, but, we didn't. I would have liked more of an out and back. It's so fun to see the leaders heading back. And it's great to see your friends out on the course, at some point, too! By the time we got back on to the road, that was next to the water, it was just before mile 10. The other runners I saw still heading out, were at mile 6. Not that many people to cheer on! The last 2 miles were the toughest for me. While I really liked this course, there were a lot of slanted streets. I had been trying to stay in the middle/flat part of the road for most of the run, but I couldn't always do that. My right knee was starting to hurt a little. I pushed through the last 2, and even though my pace was slower for the last few miles, I had a strong finish. Much better than I thought I would do! Splits for miles 7 through 13.1 - 8:44, 9:01, 9:06, 9:20, 9:12, 9:15, 9:19, 0:49

Finish - 1:56:59

3rd in age group!
For a first year race, they organizers did a great job. Lots of water stops on the course, plenty of volunteers on the course to help with direction, decent food and drink at the finish. Nice finishers medal. Free beer, wine and race photos! I will be doing this one again next year.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Augusta 70.3 race weekend

September 23-25, 2016

It's amazing to me that I am now writing my race recap for the Augusta Half Ironman! I signed up for this race back in December. Started training for it "officially" 18 weeks ago. And I finally did it! I just can't get over it! :)

Friday morning, Carolyn, Wendy, Gina and I drove to downtown Augusta for the expo. We had driven up the day before, so we could get a good nights sleep and have time for the expo and a swim in the river on Friday. We got downtown early, so we took a walk along the water front, found the dock for the swim start, and dipped our feet in. It was cold! We all looked forward to trying out our wetsuits in the water later. We had a short line to wait in, outside the expo doors, before going in to get our bibs, shirts, race stickers, timing chips and goodie bag. I love the large mesh backpack. It will be my new swim bag. This led us right to the official merchandise tent, were I bought some stuff. Like, a lot of stuff. Even though I though I had a lot, the cashier said she had customers buying a lot more. I got a hoodie, tank top, visor, coffee mug, event pin (for my tri bag), A race towel (that has everyone's names in the 70.3 giant numbers) a couple of stickers and a key chain. We then went to the athlete briefing, then wondered around the expo. The expo was smallish, but they had some good stuff.

Getting ready for a pre race swim with Gina
After the expo, we got some lunch, and then went to get our swimming gear. There were a lot of people with the same idea as us. Get in a swim! Carolyn and Wendy went out first. They swam down to the second bridge, where we were told there was a ramp to get out of the water, and then walk the qaurter of a mile back. Gina and I went next, while the other two watched all of our stuff. Gina was a rock star, going in without a wetsuit. The water temp was 73 degrees. I felt super comfortable in my wetsuit and could really feel the current give me a gentle push. I looked out for Gina on the swim, as she was having some issues. She went ahead and got out before the first bridge, so I continued on without her. It was a good swim. I walked back to meet the group, were Wendy and Carolyn decided to go out again, so I went ahead and joined them. I got a little faster swim in this go around. I was looking forward to the full distance on Sunday morning!

Saturday morning, we all tried to sleep in. The others did better than me. I went up to the 5th floor of our hotel, the Sheraton Augusta, were they had a breakfast for the club members. This was a first for me, even though I've had my Starwood Preferred Guest account for years. Really loved the perk of free food, drinks, snacks and bottled water! Late morning, we packed up our bikes and drove them to the transition area to check them in. Then we drove the bike course. I am so happy we did this as it helped me to visualize where I was during points of the race. I was prepared for some of the hills and a couple of the tight turns. And, we could feel the condition of some of the roads, even in the car. Bumpy! After the drive, we went ahead and hit the expo again, just to wander through and also ask a couple of other race day questions, then headed back to the hotel. I was really happy to finally be meeting CJ, the boy I was matched to last year through the Irun4 program. He and his family live in GA, not to far from Augusta. We got to spend some time together outside by the pool. It was really awesome to have that opportunity to meet them all and it really gave me a boost of inspiration the day before my big event. Our pre race dinner was at Outback, then back to the room for an early night.

The pre race show.
We are ready to go!
Race morning: The BIG DAY!
I woke up just before 5 am. We got ready, then headed out, on the road at just after 5:30 am. It was a quick trip back downtown, were we found a spot near the finish for Carolyn's car. Then we all got into Gina's car and headed to transition. Gina dropped us off a block or so away from our bikes. As we walked to the transition, with a bunch of other athletes, we heard some people talking about the water temperature and how we were no longer allowed to wear our wetsuits for the race. Say what!?!?! Once we got to transition, Wendy and I found a race official, who explained to us that the water temp had risen just enough (1 degree over the limit) to make for a non wetsuit legal race. OMG, If I wanted to wear my suit, I could start in the last wave, an hour later, and not get points and other stuff that didn't matter to me. I really did not want to start at 9:30 in the morning. It was going to be way to hot for that! I was a little freaked out, but I knew I could make it through the swim. I had done plenty of swims without a wetsuit during training. Not without a few short breaks though! I got to my bike, set up all my gear, made sure everything was were it needed to be, then took off my compression sleeves. The rules for Ironman are so much more harder than with regular triathlons. Even though compression sleeves give me no advantage in the water, you are still not allowed to wear them. It was going to be tough putting them on wet legs later, but I was going to! Once we were done with set up, we decided to walk to the swim start, 1.2 miles up river. We had over an hour to wait before Wendy and I started swimming. We met up with Gina and at the church, that was offering morning snacks and coffee to all the athletes. It was really great of them to do this. I needed that second cup of coffee! We then headed over to the swim area, where the first wave was going to start. Wendy and I were in wave 11 and Carolyn was in wave 16. We watched the pre race festivities (4 guys jumping out of an airplane) then watched the first wave go off. This wave had the elite women in it. We watched 2 more waves go off, before heading back to porta potties and then went ahead and found our own wave. It was very exciting and nerve racking. We were finally going to do this thing! I'm so happy I had Wendy there with me. As well as our awesome sherpa, Gina, there to take photos and cheer us on.

So happy I had Wendy in my wave!
Waiting on the walkway for our turn on the starting dock.
I'm in there somewhere! :)

The Swim: I jumped in the water, about 30 seconds before our wave started. I wanted to get a feel for the water. It was still cold! I ducked my head under a couple of times, to make sure my goggles had a snug fit, then held on to the dock until the horn blasted. I wanted to stick behind Wendy on the swim, but as soon as that horn sounded, she was off! I let some people get ahead of me, because it was really congested in the first few seconds, then I tucked in behind a couple of swimmers and just watched their feet in front of me, for guidance. I would look up every once in a while, to make sure we were on course. Having been in the water two days before, I was prepared for all of the tree debris in the water. Beside all of that stuff floating around, the water was crisp and clean feeling. So different from the Gulf and from the pool. A couple of times, I started to get that panicky feeling, specially when we passed the second bridge, knowing I still had a mile swim left. But, I calmed myself down right away, and just continued to swim. After a while, I pulled to the side of the two swimmers I had been following, and then pulled ahead. The next wave of athletes came up on us, but it wasn't a huge amount trying to get around, like in shorter distance races. I tried to draft off of the faster ones, for as long as I could. I then caught up to another swimmer from my wave, and tucked in just to her left. About half way through, I caught sight of the Rowing club building, ahead. I knew this was just before the finish. I am so happy we had walked around that area the day before. It was great having the end in sight. I stayed with the other swimmer, until we got close to the ramp, leading up from the water. It got a bit congested here, and it was hard to see in the water, because the dirt/sand had been churned up. I tried to stand up a couple of times, but it was still deep. On my third try, I was standing and then running up the ramp with a big smile on my face. I did it. The most scary part of the triathlon for me, and I did the whole 1.2 mile swim!! I've come a long way since my big panic attack last summer during the Englewood Triathlon! And, my swim was pretty fast (for me) considering I didn't have the wetsuit. Swim Time- 36:31 (division rank: 132/214)

So happy to be done with the swim!
It was great seeing Gina in the crowd!
Transition 1: After running over the timing mat, you run along the outside (near the river), to the end of transition, then up the middle to your row. I got to my bike, dumped my swim suit in my bag, pulled on my Mermaid Club bike jersey, then sat down on the grass to dry off my legs and feet, before getting on the compression sleeves. It was a bit of a struggle, but not as hard as I thought it would be. Wendy ran by me with her bike while I was sitting. She did awesome on the swim! I put on my short compression socks (which I need, otherwise my toes get swollen!), then shoes, then stood up to put on sunglasses, gloves and helmet. I grabbed my bike and then ran it out of transition. Time: 7:35. Super long, but worth the time!

The bike course
The Bike: I caught another glimpse of Gina on the sidelines, cheering away, as I rolled away from transition. Some guy on a fancy bike was having a hard time adjusting the straps on his bike shoes and was blocking me from passing on the left. You are not supposed to pass on the right, so I finally yelled at him to move over if he wasn't going to go faster! Geesh! Once we were out on the main road, there was more separation of the athletes. Like I said earlier in this post, I was really happy we drove the course on Saturday. I had a good idea of how long we would be on this road, before it forked to the right. My pace was great! Every time I looked at my Garmin (on the bike), I was at a 20 mph pace. My first 5 mile split was 15:10! I had 4 bottles with be. Three had tailwind/water mix and one was just water. My goal was to make sure I drank at least every 5 miles, as well as eat something every 10 miles. I ended up snacking on my crackers at mile 5 and some chews at mile 10. Then I stayed with the every 10 miles of eating. I caught up to Wendy, just after mile 10, then we made the turn to the left, which was the new detour and which included a new, long climb, for this course. About half way through the bike, it really started to warm up. I guess my body had gotten warmer after the coolness of the swim. I'm kind of glad we had that cool swim first, as it kept my body temp down for longer on the bike. My black jersey, while super cute, was not a great idea out in the blazing sun. 
Early on the bike ride.

The second bigger climb. I was happy to see that on this major roads
one lane would be closed down for us to ride in. On this road,
the left lane was for us to ride in, since we would be making
a left turn after the hill.
By mile 20ish, I really had to use the bathroom. I wasn't sure if I would stop on the course or in transition. I didn't want to add to my bike time, so at this point I figured I'd wait until transition. I passed by the first aid stop without getting anything. I had been wondering how all this would work. People could toss their water bottle and then grab one from a volunteer. They also handed out half of a banana and cliff gels. Since the aid stop was on a incline, most athletes were going through the area slow anyway, so it looked like it was pretty easy to get aid. At the next aid stop, I grabbed a banana, peeled it down with my teeth, then ate it, and tossed the peel, all during the length of the aid station! It worked great! Just after mile 30, we took a sharp right turn (which I remembered from the day before!) and on to my favorite part of the course. It was the smoothest road yet, with rolling hills. I had a pretty good pace going here. Not long after, a woman rode by, telling me my ring looked loose and I might loose it. Um, what? I had no idea what she was talking about! I looked down at my chaing and gears. It all looked good. I though maybe she was talking about the water bottles and holder behind my seat. I also had some attachments on it. I didn't really care about those. I didn't want to stop and look, so I just put it out of my mind and kept going. (when I looked at this after the race. The whole water bottle unit was hanging by 1 screw!) Just after mile 45, was the last aid station. Since my time was looking really good, I decided to take a minute to hop off the bike and use the porta potty. They had a rack right next to it, so I racked my bike went in to the porta potty, took care of business and was back out on my bike within a minute. I'm so happy I did this, as I felt sooo much better for the last miles. I was really happy to get back to the main road, because I knew once we crossed over the river, it was only a mile or so to transition. I was so happy to be finishing without any bike issues! My biggest concern out there. Even with all the road debris, bumpy roads and rolling water bottles (how hard is it to put your bottle back in the cage, geesh!) I managed to not get a flat. Yippee!! Bike time - 3:15:38 (17.17 mph average, division rank: 91/214)

Transition 2: I slowly ran through transition with my bike. Legs felt OK. I was surprised. I racked my bike, took off my jersey and put on my Mermaid Club tank (again in black!), took of my bike shoes and short socks and swapped them for the over the ankle compression socks and my Hoka shoes. I had brought a new pair with me, thinking I would need all that wonderful cushion on this run. I put on my visor, put on my bib belt, grabbed my washcloth, then ran it out of transition. We followed the same way out as when we came in for the swim, so it was kind of a longish run to get out. Time - 5:06

The Run: Yes, finally on the run! I grabbed water from the first aid station, just past the transition exit. Walked through it, while I drank the water. Gave a few of the young girls working the tables, a high five, then started running. There was a small hill, leading away from the river, that I walked. I was perfectly fine with that! About another half a mile out, we got to another water stop, that was on the main loop. Got more water, then started running again. Even with the 3 short walk breaks, my first mile was close to 9 minutes! During mile 2, my watch told me my heart rate was high, so I started to slow it down. 13.1 miles, starting at mid-day, was going to be tough. Just before mile 2, I saw Gina. So awesome to see her cheering! It put a big smile on my face. We were on Greene street, which had some nice shade on the left side, so I tried to stay over there as much as possible. On 13th street, we turned right, then right again a couple of blocks later. We were now on Broad street, where most of the cheering crowd was. So great to have so much support out there! I got more water at the next water stop, but decided after that, I had better watch my intake, so that I didn't get a sloshy stomach. It was just so hot out and that cold water tasted wonderful! I saw Linda, running in the opposite direction, just after mile 3. She was looking strong (and went on to win 2nd in her age group!!). After we passed the 6th street intersection the crowds died down. The next few blocks before the next water stop, were rough. I slowed down more. The bottom of my feet were super hot. I don't know if that was from the bike, or the hot pavement, but they really hurt. At Sibley st, we turned back, running on the other side of the road, which had a large grass section, dividing the road. We ran back by the large, cheering crowds again. I got a boost seeing Gina again at the 10th street intersection, then we turned to the right at 11th, to get to Reynolds. 
On the first loop. Still feeling ok.
This road took us back towards the transition exit. Full sun and just brutal! We later found out that the heat index was 103! I had started dunking my washcloth in the big barrels of ice water (for the sponges) and grabbing small cups of ice at the water stops that had them (thankfully, most of them!). Sucking on an ice cub and using the cold washcloth on my face, helped to cook me down. I took a gu at mile 5 and then some of the base salt at mile 8, both of which gave me a nice boost. Some area homeowners, were in their yards, offering to spray us down with hoses. I took each one up on that! We ended up on East Boundary again, to start our second loop. Thankfully, there was still some shade on Green St. This was a very long stretch! I could have sworn there was a water stop on it, but it wasn't there this go around. I was really happy to turn the corner again on Broad street. A water stop and more cheering people! I saw Gina again at 10th. She told me Wendy wasn't to far ahead, and that I could catch her. That gave me a little boost and a very short term goal to get to. I ended up finding her at the end of the road water stop, just before mile 11. We walked and talked a bit before she started running again. I walked another few steps, then started running too. I wished her luck as I passed, continuing on towards the main area of Broad St. I knew I only had to pass by the finish area one more time (you pass by the finish area 4 times before you actually run down to the finish line!) and then I would be done. I saw Gina one more time at 10th street. She had our cart, with our mimosa making ingredients. I was soo ready for one of those! I passed by the mile 12 water stop, not taking anything, because I was worried about all the people behind me and wanted to leave my share for them. We turned right on 7th and then right on Broad st. One block to the finish! I started to get very emotional, but held it together as I lifted my arms in the air and crossed the finish line with a huge smile! I did it! I completed a Half Ironman! Run - 2:21:37 (10:48 pace, division: 58/214)

Overall finish time - 6:26:27

So happy! FYI, finish time on above clock is from the start of the first wave.

Augusta 70.3 Ironman finishers!!
Super happy with my race! My main goal was to finish. My second goal (based on my training) was to finish near 6:30. Considering how very hot it was (in the 90s), and the added hill (elevation gain), I am very happy with my first 70.3 finish time. I wasn't going to go back next year, but now I'm thinking I just might, to improve on that time! :)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Augusta 70.3 training - 2 weeks out

Week 15: September 12 -18

After a big training weekend, I took it kind of easy on Monday. By easy I mean, I didn't run, but walked 2.25 miles with Gina at the fun run. :) Before that, I swam 2000 yards in the pool. That takes a lot out of you! Tuesday afternoon, I got a run in and Wednesday morning I went to cyclebar for a spin class, then got in 1500 yards at the pool after work. Thursday, I did a 17 mile bike and 2 mile run brick workout, after work. I had planned to run 4 miles, but it was a struggle mentally to even go out for the 2! Friday's rest break was enjoyed. Saturday, I had my long run. 3 miles on my own, then back to the store for the training group. Went out with them and got in 9 more miles. Sunday, was our last big training day! Yippee! My legs were feeling all this training! 41 miles on the bike, followed by a 1 mile open water swim. Gina and Roxy joined me, Carolyn and Wendy at the beach. It was a fun way to end the weekend. I got in a wonderful hour massage that afternoon. Ready to really scale it back this next week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Augusta Training report - 3 weeks out!

We made it up Ice Cream hill. Again!

Week 14: September 5 - 11

For Labor Day, Carolyn, Wendy, Roxy and our took our bikes up to San Antonio, FL, for one last long, hilly ride before the race. We got started at around 7:15, just as the sun was starting to rise. After a few miles, Roxy decided to turn around, because she wasn't feeling well. The 3 of us had a great ride! I'm feeling stronger on the up hills and a little more fearless on the downhills! We needed 50 miles, so we had to add on to the normal 43 mile route. The add on section, that was recommended was scary! Lots of cars and a curvy, hilly road. We got rained on during the last few miles, But, finished strong!
Tuesday morning, I got up early, and ran 4 miles before work. Just took it easy, at a recovery pace. I wanted to swim after work, but that got canceled, so I went for another 4 mile run. I actually felt better on this second run of the day!
Wednesday, I got in my longest swim yet, 2200 yards. Just over the amount I will swim at the race! Yes!
Thursday: After work, I took my bike out for a 17 mile ride. I decided to add my long run after the ride, so that I could "sleep in" until 6 am, the following morning. I was not prepared water or nutrition wise for this! I ran 5 miles, without water. I felt OK. I meant to have a Gu or something, when i got back to the store, but I forgot! I did grab water, before heading out for bridge repeats with the training group. The last 2 miles where rough! I ate a cliff bar when I got back, but I still felt like I was in a daze as I drove home. Not good on my part!
Friday: Rest Day!

Saturday: Life's A Beach Triathlon, Extreme event! My fifth year doing this race. The RD added a double course extreme version for the 5th anniversary event. That was a tough workout! 500ish yard swim. 11.7 mile bike and 4.5 mile run (in the deep sand!)
Sunday: 45 mile bike ride and then a 6 mile run. What a week of training! That was a lot, 3 weeks out! Time to scale it back a bit. :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Augusta Training report - 4 weeks out

Week 13 – Aug 29 to Sept 4
I started the week off with a massage after work on Monday. I felt so great after. All day, I had been feeling burnt out from the training. The massage really helped. I was going to take it easy with the training group that night, but the cooler weather that had moved in, pushed me to a faster pace. Felt good! Tuesday was another early morning Cyclebar workout. 5 mile run on Wednesday, half of which was in the gym. I saw lots of lightning in the sky, when I hit one mile out, so I headed home. It was still looking bad at mile 2, so I got in my car and drove the half a mile to my gym, to finish the run on the treadmill. Boring! Thursday, at the gym again. Storms are bad. I used the spin bike, that is off to the side of the gym. I tried to do some of the sprints and hill climbs that we do in class. Managed a 30 minutes. Did 10 minutes on the rower, then lunges and upper body weights. By Friday after work, most of the bad weather had passed. I was able to get in a swim after work. 1.14 miles in 45 minutes.  The same as last week! Saturday, we changed our long bike ride plans, because of the storm. I met Carolyn and Roxy at the Cyclebar, for a 1:05 hour long ride. It was nice to sleep in! Sunday, was the Mermaid Day 10K. I ran 4 miles before the event began, then had a nice and easy paced, 10K run.

Augusta Training report

Week 12 – Aug. 22-28
Feeling great, coming off of an awesome weekend of training. School started on Monday, for Aidan, so I got in a quick swim after work, so I could be home just after he got home from his first day. Pool swim was just over a mile in 43 minutes. Tuesday, I went to an early morning spin class at Cyclebar. Wednesday, I got up early to run 4 miles, then after work, I got in a 20 mile bike ride, before heading to the baseball field to get Aidan signed up for the Fall season. Thursday, pool swim after work (1.14 mile in 45 minutes), just before the rain hit. Then, I headed over to Celery Fields after the swim to meet the Fit2Run training group. 4.5 miles of trails and hills. Friday was a rest day, plus Aidan and Kevin’s birthday!

Weekend:  Saturday was our highest mileage of bike miles yet! 60 miles! And then a 2 mile run. We parked at the Publix on Honore, and headed south. Super hot out today. Even more so than last weekend. I was sweating like crazy on the bike. Almost finished my 4th bottle of Tailwind mix. We had lots of shade for the run, so I felt ok.  I got home, went straight to cleaning the house, before Aidan’s friends came over for his birthday party/sleepover. Sunday, Carolyn and I met at 5:30 am, on Siesta, for our 14 mile run. As soon as my alarm went off, I knew it wasn’t going to be good. I felt exhausted! I think I did way to much the day before and didn’t hydrate well after the workout.  I felt horrible during the entire run. I finished, but it was very slow. The heat and humidity, didn’t help at all.

Ft Desoto Triathlon #3

August 20, 2016

Race number 3 and final in the series. I had high hopes for this race. I've been training hard, so I really hoped to see improvements in the swim and bike. For the run, I just wanted to finish a little faster than last months time.

Carolyn and I drove up together again. This time, we had Wendy joining us at the race. We got there early enough to get a spot at the end of the rack. After a pre race photo and getting a spot to leave our chair and sandals, we headed to the beach. I'm not much for pre race swimming, so I hung out on the shore, with Wendy, while Carolyn tested out the water. Just after 7 am, the first wave went off. We were the 4th wave and last of the International distance starters. We got lined up, wished each other good luck, and we were off!

Swim: This was a large group, that wasn't just women. I had a guy on either side of me, boxing me in, which was frustrating. I was trying to keep up with Carolyn, but the guy on my left, was swimming towards the right, trying to swim over me! Finally, I just backed off and let him go by. After making the first right turn at the buoy, we spread out a bit. I still had people near me for most of the race, but I was able to keep clear of them. The swim felt good. I was feeling strong and calm. we were swimming parallel to the shore. Every time I took a breath to the right, I got a glimpse of the sun rising over the trees. So pretty! Just before the last buoy, I could see in the water, that the guy next to me had his feet on the bottom and was walking! So, I stood up and walked it around the last buoy. It was just over waist deep. So I did some dolphin dives, to pull ahead and go faster. Coming out of the water, I saw Carolyn and Wendy, running up the beach just ahead of me. I couldn't believe it! I'm not normally that close to them in the water. I saw 15+ minutes on my watch and was in shock. That was faster than my swim for the first race back in May. And that was with a wetsuit! I caught up to and passed Wendy and Carolyn during the run to transition, but my time in transition needs some work. Carolyn beat me out of there. I managed to remember my helmet this time! :)

Bike: Got a great start to my bike. I caught up to and passed Carolyn within a mile. I felt the wind, but was keeping a good pace. In the high 18 mph range. I had looked at my previous time, this morning, so I knew if I wanted to do better, I needed to keep a pace higher than 18.3 mph. The first loop, I felt great. I got in my Tailwind mix a couple of times. I felt super strong. Coming around for the second loop, I was feeling a bit more slow. The wind felt tougher (which it wasn't really), so my pace slowed down. I struggled to keep it in the high 17 mph range, once I headed back, after the turn around, I felt better and picked up the pace again. Just before heading into transition, I changed the gear setting to an easier one, to help flush my legs a little. As I cruised to the dismount zone, I stretched each calf on the pedal. I ran the bike into transition, got my bike racked, helmet off, then put on my visor and grabbed my waist pack and washcloth and started running out. I forgot to look at my time, so I had no idea how I did on the bike.

Run: My goal for the run was to try and get in under an hour. My time for last months race was 1 hour and 30ish seconds. My legs felt pretty good, just a little pain in my right knee. I just hoped it wouldn't bother me to much. I was pushing the pace, but had my breathing under control. My first mile was 8:54! I was surprised for sure. The trail, on the early part of the loop, was hard packed form the recent rain, which made for a little easier running. Last month the sand was loose. It was really hot, with no shade or clouds in the sky, but I felt better than last month. I guess I was a little more used to the heat at this point in the summer. On the second loop. I saw Wendy, just ahead. This wasn't good. I shouldn't have been lapping her! I slowed as I came up next to her to ask how she was. She said her back was hurting. As I ran past, I asked if she wanted some of my Base Salt, she said yes, so I stopped and jogged back a little to meet her. She took some, then I was off again. At mile 4, I ate half a package of Honey Stinger chews. I grabbed some water at the next water stop and also poured some on my head. At the last water stop, I poured some cold water on my wash cloth and held that to my face. So refreshing! As I ran through the parking lot, with just half a mile left, I knew I was going to finish under an hour, which made me so happy! Splits: 8:54, 8:49, 8:57, 9:36, 9:23, 9:11, 2:00
So, I ended up getting a PR in this race by over 10 minutes! My swim was faster by 3 minutes. The bike was faster by 4 minutes and my run was faster by 4.5 minutes! I placed 3rd in my age group. And, because I was one of a small group of women who completed all 3 races, I finished female overall winner for the series! I was so shocked!

With 5 weeks to go to Augusta 70.3, I feel really good with my training and feel like I'll be ready!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Englewood Triathlon

July 16, 2016 - Englewood, FL

Redemption! I decided to sign up for this race, about a month ago. I wasn't going to race it, because I already had the international distance triathlon the weekend before, but, Carolyn talked me into it. I wanted to see Michelle and Kimmi complete their first tri and I wanted to do a better swim than last year, where I had a panic attack in the water!

Carolyn, Robert and I got down to Englewood around 5:45. Just in time for the packet pickup table to open up. We got our shirts and bibs, then got our chips and body marking done, before going back to the car to get bikes and gear. We then headed to the transition area to set up. It was great seeing all the familiar faces. So many Sarasota peeps doing this race! I got all set up, made a trip to the restroom (without falling down the stairs like last year!) then headed to the beach. There were 4 start times, and I was in the last group. The water was perfect. Smooth, with not much of a current. We watched the 3 other groups head out, got lined up along the water, then ran in when it was our turn, around 7:15.

Swim (400 meters): We were a tight group for a while. I kept in the thick of it, trying not to get kicked in the face. We didn't have a long swim, before turning to the right at the first bouy. I was having a great swim. I felt strong and was passing by other swimmers! We had 4 bouys to pass, before turning right again, heading back to shore. I little jog up the beach, before crossing the timing mat. T1 was a bit of a mess. I took to long getting ready. I grabbed my sunglasses out of my helmet, then had to reclip my bangs, so they wouldn't fall in my face. This messed me up. Plus, I was talking to the woman next to me, which also helped me to loose focus. I grabbed my bike and started running out of transition. Thankfully, Gina was there and saw that I didn't have my helmet on! I turned around, set my bike on the ground, and ran back over to my spot, grabbed my helmet and set out again! Swim- 10:02, T1 - 2:46

Bike (13 miles): because of the transition snafu, my heart rate was up, but I was pushing hard. I had a shorter ride than the weekend before, so I really wanted to push the pace. I like this out and back course. The road is pretty smooth. Just one section where there was sand on the road, but there was a spot for the riders to get through it safely and volunteers on the road, to point it out. I had some good speeds going, clocking my fastest 5 mile split at 15:46! I passed Wendy, Jackie and Carolyn about 9 miles in. Carolyn stayed on me for the rest of the ride. I had to work hard to stay in front of her! :) Very happy with my bike. T2 was much quicker, as I only had to slip off my bike shoes, slip on running shoes, grab visor, washcloth and put on my bib belt as I ran through the transition area. Bike - 43:09, T2 - 0:53

Run (5K): I felt really good on the run. Looking at previous years times, I knew I needed an 8:30 pace to come in at a similar time as my best previous time. So, I worked on keeping that pace. The weather was so much cooler today, than last weekend, so that helped a lot. I was passing  people constantly and really didn't have any issues with keeping that pace. Since I had a small water bottle with me, I didn't need to stop at the water stops. Just kept plugging away. It was great seeing friends near the finish line cheering. I ran over the finish line with a big smile and a 3 minute race PR! Run - 26:29
Finish: 1:23:17
4th in age group

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ft Desoto Triathlon #2

The sun is up and we are ready to do the triathlon!

July 9, 2016

After having a pretty good race back in May, I knew what I wanted to work on before this race. The bike! I feel like I did a pretty good job of building my leg strength. I'm not a great deal faster, but there has been some improvement.

Our transition set up:
Carolyn's bike on the left, mine on the right.
Race morning: I had talked Carolyn into the race, so we both headed up to Ft Desoto early. Leaving my house at 4:45 am. We got there in plenty of time. We got our bibs, got body marked, then made our way to the transition area. We got there early enough to get a great spot on the bike rack! We got all our gear set up, before heading back to the car. Another trip to the transition area, then back out to set up our chairs in the post race area. Restroom stop, and then off to the beach. The water was pretty flat. You could see the current moving from the north to the south, which was a bummer as most of our swim was going to be heading north! Oh, well. At least the water was calm. It was super hot out in the days leading to this race. This morning was no different. Temps in the mid 80s at the 7am start time! We had a little bit of waiting around before we got to start. Since we were doing the international distance, we would go early. The non age group athletes went first. Then the under 40 year olds went out 3 minutes later, followed by our group, 3 minutes later.

Swim: The swim was good. I knew I wouldn't be as fast as last time, no wetsuit, but I knew I could do it in a faster time than I have previously at the Siesta Key Tri. Instead of trying to get as far away from other swimmers as I could, I tried drafting off of a guy. I hung with him until the first buoy. I think I was bothering him, because he kept looking back at me. I wasn't touching him! He must have felt the water movement from my hands, on his feet. At least I didn't hit his feet like the guy behind me was doing with his hands on MY feet. Geesh, after hitting me 3 times, maybe you should move over? Once we passed the first bouy, and started swimming north, I lost track of the guy I had been behind. There were a couple of guys to my side and then some further ahead. I did pretty good of not swimming off course. I felt very comfortable the entire time. Once we passed the last bouy, making the turn back to shore, I tried to swim a bit faster. We hit a sandbar, so I stood up and ran through the water. All that did was make my heart rate pick up, so that when I swam again, I struggled a bit. I did some dolphin dives, to pull ahead of the guys who had been near me, then swam it in. I remembered to hit the lap button on my watch, as I crossed the timing mat. The run up the beach was tough, lots of dry, deep sand. Then through the parking lot, into transition area. I need to work on getting my socks and shoes on faster! Carolyn was at her bike when I got there. She started off a minute or two before me. Swim - 18:20, T1 - 4:36

Bike: My speed on the bike, to start off, was pretty fast! I was seeing 18 and 19 mph, when I would look at my watch. Of course, that didn't last. My breath was heavy, so I needed to pull it back a bit, so I would last the entire 20 miles. We head south on the island, before curving to the east. Once we hit that stretch, we had a bit of a head wind. About 4 miles in, a bug hit me hard on the chest, then fell down my shirt! I yelled a little, just as I reached Carolyn. I reached my right hand, down into my shirt, felt the bug, and scoped it out and away from me. I have no idea what it was, but it was gross! At the end of the road is a big circle, with a great view of the Skyway Bridge. We head back the way we just came. I pick up speed again. Once we make the curve, heading North, I feel the wind a bit more, which slows me down again. At the end of this road, there is another circle that takes us back out again for loop two. The second loop is tougher. Definitely going slower. I was struggling to keep it in the 16ish mph range. No bug attacks on the second loop, though. I rolled into transition, got off my bike, feeling pretty good. I drank a bunch of the tailwind drink I had on my bike, since I only got in 3 or so drinks during the bike. I knew I was going to need it for the hot run! I racked my bike, took off my helmet and bike shoes. Slide on my newtons, visor, put my bib belt (with water bottle and pouch) on and grabbed my wash cloth. Bike - 1:05:25, T2 - 1:22

Run: Heading out of transition, I passed by a woman in my age group! Well, she was in my AG, but I was just guessing she was running the same distance as me, and not the sprint. Pretty sure all the sprint athletes were out there running already! Anyway, with that woman not far behind me, I quickly had to decide if I wanted to make a restroom pit stop. I had the unfortunate visit from Aunt Flo (sorry guys!) on Wednesday, so today's triathlon, came with some limitations. I didn't feel like I needed the restroom, urgently, so I figured I would try the 3 miles, and if I needed the stop on the second loop, I would stop then. I had taken off 3 minutes on the bike, from the previous time, I didn't want to add it back on the run! The run was going to be slower already, because of the heat! Mile one was great. The loose sand, didn't bother me too much. When I hit the pavement, I picked up speed a little. I took a small drink, or dumped water on my head, at each water stop. When I finished the first loop, I was really dreading going through again! It was just so hot and there was no break from the sun. The second time through the sand, was much slower. When I hit the water stop at mile 4, I walked through, then kept walking. I really had to push through the mental wall I had. I started running, and then the sun went behind some clouds. It felt like it cooled off by 10 degrees! I was praying it that cloud would stick around. I had it for about a mile, but then the sun was back in force. During the last mile, I told myself over and over, "It's jut a mile", Then "it's just half a mile". Finally, I saw the finish line. Pushed it through to the finish. So happy! I was hoping for a sub 1 hour finish. I was close! Run - 1:00:31
Finish - 2:30:14
Age group finish: 3rd!

Finishing with a smile. :)!

Race shirt with finisher medal and 3rd place age group medal.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Long bike ride in San Antonio, FL

July 2, 2016

Normally, I don't write up a recap on a training ride/run/swim, but I figured it would be good for me (if not anyone else!) to remember the details of this ride. Specially the nutrition and hydration.

Wendy, Roxy, Carolyn and I met up at the Starbucks near the interstate, at 5am and were on the road by 5:15. Roxy programmed the address for our destination, into her phone navigation, so we had a pretty easy trip north. We arrived at the athletic center at 6:30ish. We met up with Dave and Jennifer, hit the restrooms and got our gear ready, then hit the road 2 minutes before 7 am!

I had packed a lot into my rear bag and back jersey pocket. I brought 2 bottles of water, each with Berry Tailwind and Electrolyte salt, mixed in. I brought two extra packets of Tailwind for later, plus the peanut butter snack crackers, Honey Stinger Chews, Honey Stinger waffle and a Gu. I wanted options and I didn't ever want to be feeling hungry! :)

Within a couple of miles, we hit the first big downhill, followed by a big uphill. The hills were tough, but somehow, I managed to make it up all of them, without getting off to walk. A couple of times I had to stand up on the peddles to get up to the top, but I did it! Dave gave us pointers on using the gears, in particular, the front gears, at the pedals. I had never bothered with these! I always used the back gears. It seemed to make a big difference! He also suggest I add a bigger gear to the back, so I could make it up the hills easier. I plan on getting my bike in the shop for that, before our next trip!

After a few stops, and forgetting to restart my watch, Dave suggested I add the pause function to the bike mode on my watch. I was able to to it quickly, while we waited for the others, at the top of a hill. What a great option! As soon as I would stop, my watch would pause. I didn't have to think of it again for the rest of the ride.

Our bikes lined up at the pit stop.
I went through 2 bottles of drink, by the time we hit the gas station/pit stop at mile 25ish. I had meant to bring 3 bottles, but forgot, so happy I was fine with the 2. We used the restrooms and bought a couple of big jugs of water, to refill all of our bottles. I poured in the packets of Tailwind I had brought, but didn't add anymore of the electrolyte salt. I shared a few of my crackers, then finished up the rest of them, before we headed out again. I had also had half a bag of the Honey Stinger chews. That's it, but I felt great. The Tailwind was giving me good calories.

After the pit stop, we hit the biggest hill. Ice Cream hill. I had heard about it from a few people. It was a killer. Thankfully, I didn't know that it was THAT hill, till I had already gotten up it. It was tough, sure, but I didn't think it was a great deal harder than the others. I did have to stand up and peddle to get up the last bit, but I made it!

The last 10 miles seemed to be a little easier. More rolling hills, than steep climbs. I finished the last of my chews and another bottle of water, plus half of the other bottle, before finishing. We all rolled into the parking lot with big smiles and a sense of accomplishment. We did it! Many thanks to Dave, for leading us today. We wouldn't have made it without you!

Me, Jen, Dave, Roxy, Carolyn and Wendy

The elevation chart of our ride!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

SUP & Run - second annual event

May 21, 2016

I can't believe it's the end of June and I haven't posted about this awesome event yet. I thought I had, until I checked my page. :)

This was the second time for the event and the second time for me doing a run and then SUP. The run is first, so I got my borrowed board (thanks Gina!) set up on the beach, with my hydration pack, paddle and toe shoes on top. All participants start at the same time, so Run & SUPers start as the same time as the 5K runners and SUP only participants. Once I got going on the run, I had to hold back, so that I wasn't super tired, when I got to my board. It's not easy holding back in a 5K, when everyone is going all out! It was cool to see the SUPers out on the water, next to the run course. I got to cheer on Jackie a couple of times.

Once I got back to my board, I tried to quickly take off my shoes, put on the toe shoes, hydration pack, before grabbing my paddle and board, heading for the water. It's a quick, steep drop off, so I was up on my board right away.

The course changed direction this year. We paddled straight out to a big bouy, then took a sharp left turn, to paddle counter clockwise around the lake. I could tell that my lack of training was going to be a factor. I just didn't have the speed that I had last year. It was awesome to see some of the veterans from Operation Second Chance out on the water. Paddling with one arm, or only one leg.  Even though I was slower, I had a great time on the water. Taking that last turn, heading back to the beach, was great. I could see friends on the shore, cheering for me. Once I hit the shore, I dropped the board, carrying my paddle, for a dash across the finish line!
Super happy to have finished second in my age group!

Time: 1:23:54

Looking forward to next year. I will train for it this time! :)

Love my Skirt Sports! Top: Exhale Bra Tank
Skirt: Gym Girl Ultra - Tantrum print

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ft Desoto International Triathlon

Race #1,
May 7, 2016
A couple of months ago, I decided to sign up for this three race series. I figured it would be good training for the half ironman in September. Plus, I got a really good deal on it, when I used a coupon code a friend gave me. I like Ft Desoto for triathlons (I’ve done a couple of sprint triathlons there) because the bike course is closed to road traffic. That is not the case with other local races I’ve done. Plus, this international distance, has a shorter swim than the Olympic distance. Half mile swim, 20 mile bike and a 10K run.
During training for this race, I had gotten in quite a few open water swims. The last few had been in choppy water. I was still nervous about the half mile swim, though. The weather leading up to race day wasn’t so great. High winds and very choppy water at our local beach. Plus, the water temp had risen to 79 degrees, just on the wrong side of wetsuit legal. With the storm system that moved through on the Wednesday before the race, I had hopes that the temp might drop just enough on race morning, to make it a wetsuit legal race.
The finishers medal

Race morning: I got up very early and was out the door by 4:45. It was about an hour drive for me. I wanted to be up there with plenty of time to get checked in and get my gear set up. Once I arrived and got parked, I walked over to what looked to be the packet pickup. While I was waiting in line to check in, they announced over the loud speaker that the water temp was 73 degrees and wetsuit legal! I was VERY happy to hear it! I got my bib and green swim cap, I then headed to the shirt table. When I signed up for the race, I thought they had men’s and women’s shirts. Nope. I was handed a large men’s shirt which was huge! I was told to come back later to try and exchange. Note to self: get my shirt size changed for the other 2 races! I got my number written on me by a volunteer, before I headed back to my car. I attached the bib to my race belt, put my number on my bike and helmet, then grabbed all my gear and headed to transition. I was lucky to find a spot at the end of the rack! It looked like the other bikes were setting up in order, because there were 4 on the first rack already, but I asked the race official if they needed to be in order. He said they just had to be on the rack that included our number. I scored a great spot! I set up everything on my little transition mat. It’s bright pink, which will help me find my spot when running in to transition. I put my bike gear up front (shoes, socks, shirt, sunglass) and behind that, I set out my running gear (tank top, water bottle, race belt/bib, washcloth, shoes). I found Jennifer (part of the Kennedy Law Firm team and fellow former Santa Cruzian) and chatted with her a bit. She said I could leave stuff in their tent if I wanted to. So, I went to my car to grab my backpack with my change of clothes. I put my keys and phone in there, then grabbed my swim gear. I headed to the bathrooms, I then met Jennifer back at the tent. We walked out to the water, with some of her team, about 10 minutes before the start of our wave. We were in the second group to go off, at 7:02 am. We tested out the water, which felt fine to me in my wetsuit! We learned that the swim course had changed from what it was going to be originally. Before, we were going to swim north, parallel to the shore, then swing back around and swim south for a little bit before coming in. Because the waves were a little high, they decided to have us swim out much further, curve to the left, swim for a bit, then curve to the left again, swimming back to shore. We watched the first group go out (about 5 minutes late), then got ready for our group to go out. It seemed to be most of the international going out at once! Not sure of how the first group was formed, but it was men and women. I was feeling nervous, but also excited to finally get started!
The swim: we all crossed over a mat, the announcer said go and we were off! I ran in to the water, keeping to the back of the pack. Once I was about waist deep, I dove under water. I picked my head out pretty quick, though. I had forgotten to pull down my goggles from the top of my head! Thankfully, my eyes were ok from the salt water plunge. I adjusted the goggles and headed out. It was a little turbulent getting past the waves and all the people, but finally I was able to get to swimming. We spaced out pretty quickly, so there was only a few instances of me hitting someone’s foot or body part with my arm. I was feeling pretty good in my wetsuit, as it keeps you very buoyant! After the first bouy turn, I was pretty much on my own. I had one woman, just to the side of me, but we kept out of each other’s way. I got off course a little bit a couple of times here, as it was a little harder to swim straight. The current was pushing me to the left, and I was overcompensating for it. I made the second left around and started making the long swim back to shore. Now, I could really feel the current behind me. It was a nice push towards shore.  I actually managed to pass a swimmer before heading onto the beach! I crossed over the timing mat, then had the long run up the beach, through the parking lot and into transition. My time in transition was a bit long, but I really wanted to put on my cycle jersey to stay warm. The windy ride, after that colder water swim, might have been rough. Got on all my bike gear, then walked my bike out of transition. I guess I need to learn to run in those bike shoes! Swim time: 16:44 (1/4!) T1: 5:19

The bike: The bike was great, right from the start. Since we were all spread out so much, and the sprint distance athletes where still in the water, or yet to start, I had lots of space to ride, without worrying about other riders on the road. I passed a couple of riders and then got passed by a few. The bike course is an out and back on the Island. So, I got to see the lead pack heading back in while I was going out. When we came back around to transition, the international distance atheletes had to continue on for a second loop, while the sprint athletes went in after one loop. After a while, there was no way for me to know if riders passing me where in the sprint division or the international division. At about mile12, a female rider with a #45 on her leg, passed me. I figured she was probably in the longer distance race with me, so I tried to keep her in my sights. It didn’t take her long to pull far ahead of me. It was a little windy, but because we changed directions a few times, we did get a break from the wind. When the wind was behind me, I tried to push the pace. At the last loop, before heading into transition, I saw the woman in my age group. She only had a couple of minutes on me. I was hopeful I could catch up to her on the run. I walked my bike through transition, letting my legs loosen up a bit. I found my spot, changed out my top, changed shoes, added my bib, grabbed my water bottle and wash cloth, then headed out. Bike time: 1:08:45 (3/4) T2: 1:43
The Run: I wasn’t sure what to expect on the run. I hadn’t had a good run in 2 weeks! But, the weather was perfect for running. I felt good, right from the start. We followed a trail next to the beach, which was hard packed sand/dirt. We ran along this for a mile, before turning to the left and joining the sidewalk. I passed a couple of people in the first mile, but none of them in my age group. During the entire run I really had no idea if people where in the shorter or longer distance or first loop or second loop of the run. There was a water stop just past mile one. On this section of the course, we run out, then come back the same way. There was another water stop just before the turn around, so plenty of water spots available to the runners. Like I said before, I was feeling great. My first mile was 8:35! I did start to slow down, gradually as each mile passed. The second mile was 8:45ish. Just before we turned to head back, I saw the runner from my age group! I knew I could catch her. I did, just after mile 2. It was my goal to stay ahead of her, so I knew I wouldn’t be last in my age group. We headed back towards the transition, but before making the straight shot to the finish, I had to make the left turn to go out for my second loop. I passed another water stop, before getting back onto the sand/dirt tail. I was definalty slowing down, but still feeling good. Just before mile 4, I took the Gu I had brought with me, and then grabbed some water at the water spot. Just before mile 5, I saw that other age group runner, on the other side of the side walk, a few minutes (at least!) behind me. I refocused on my pace, keeping it as close to a 9 min. mile as I could. Once I hit the parking lot, just before mile 6, I turned to look behind me. I could see no one back there! As soon as I got closer to the finish area, I picked up the pace, crossing the finish line strong. I was so happy to have completed my first middle distance tri! Run: 55:34 (2/4)
Finish time: 2:28:05
2nd in age group
One of the things I really like about this race is that you can pretty much instantly see your finish results and how you placed. I walked over to the giant tv screens to find my name. There I was, with a 2nd in age group listing! What! So surprised!! What a great day.

My goal with these races was to use the first race as a starting point to improve from. This will be tough with this race because the weather was so cool and I got to wear my wetsuit. I won’t be able to wear it for the July and August races. And both of those races are bound to be super hot! So, for the July race, it will be my goal to improve my bike speed and to keep my swim and run times to as close to this races times, as I can.