A Month Later

I’m bad, sometimes, about updating my blog. (Ok, most of the time, these days.) But I am alive, honest. But since the last update over here… let’s see…

The Columbia Triathlon went well (full report here), despite some horrific thunderstorms the night before that had me on about three hours sleep, and rain that only stopped right before I got into the water, resulting in slick roads. The hills were much harder than I’d imagined, and I did better on the cycling and worse on the running than I’d thought. (Swimming I came in a matter of seconds after my projected finish time.)

I’d signed up for the DC Triathlon as well, which was today, but I ended up not running it. I thought it would be fun; a much flatter course, going through places I knew, and a promise of some great crowd support. But soon after Columbia, I came down with… well, that’s still up in the air to be honest. I wish I knew. All I know for certain was it meant I was feeling run down and tired for about three weeks. We’re not talking about, “I could use a nap” but rather “I feel like I’m going to collapse.” I tried to run one day and actually felt light-headed and dizzy. Maybe some sort of cold bug? (It never did give me other classic cold symptoms, though.) A strange lack of iron? Too much Super Mario Galaxy 2? Whatever it was, though, it killed the DC Tri for me. I had little running, one spinning class (and no actual cycling), and until two days ago no swimming under my belt, post-Columbia. Add in a high of 95 degrees today and it just seemed like the stupidest thing possible. I’m regretting not being able to run the race, but am also convinced and glad that I made the right decision to cancel my plans.

I’m also at this point unsure on if running the Toronto Half Marathon will actually happen or not. I might have to find a local race to tackle instead, which is going to mean doing some research in the next month or two to figure out what’s even an option. I know the Baltimore Half Marathon exists, if you don’t mind hills. But surely there are some other choices available. We’ll see.

On the bright side, it did mean that last night instead of going to bed at 8pm, I instead went to the movies with Charlie and we saw Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. Joan Rivers is one of those women who until about five years ago I really knew nothing about. Sure, I knew she was a comedian, I knew she hosted red carpet events, but that was about it. But as I’d started to learn a bit about her stand-up and her general trailblazing nature, I’ve found her to be much more than the joke she was usually written off as by the public. Well, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work shows all that and more. She’s one of those people who just can’t stop working; it’s actually a little exhausting at times to watch her schedule unfold! The documentary is also rather sad in places, much more than I’d have expected. Really good, try and catch it if you can.

Then again, the last few movies I’ve seen have all been excellent. The City of Your Final Destination (a Merchant Ivory film that’s been done for a while but is just now getting released in the States) was absorbing, and Micmacs (the new Jean-Pierre Jeunet film) was sweet and funny and unpredictable. Still dying to see Toy Story 3, soon. Finally, good movies!

Other than that, a boring life. Which is better than a drama-filled life, right?

Goals for Sunday’s Race

This Sunday I’m tackling the Columbia Triathlon up in Maryland (.93mi swim, 25.4mi bike, 6.2mi run) and I have decided that I should have some goals in mind throughout the weekend. Some are carry-overs from running in general, but there’s no reason why they can’t apply too. So here we go…

  1. Finish. Always the #1 goal of a race.
  2. Don’t throw up. Not that I am planning to. But that’s always a very important rule to put out there. I’ve made it 10 years now without breaking this one.
  3. Maximum number of times to get kicked in the head during the swim: 2. I did get kicked in the head when I did a super-sprint tri last year, but it was also only about a quarter of the distance. So if I can limit the number of head-kicks to two, well, that will be a victory.
  4. Don’t swear too much during the bike course. I cannot promise this goal will be met.
  5. Remember to take OFF the bike helmet before I start the run. There are some awfully funny pictures out there of people who forgot. I would like to not be one of those people forever immortalized.
  6. Find winning lottery ticket. Oh, wait, I’m sorry, I thought this was the “pipe dreams” list. Never mind.

We shall see how many of these actually happen. Famous last words, I’m sure.

14.06 Triathlon

I’d wanted to give triathlons a try for a while now, but it never seemed to line up. My plan had been to tackle one this spring (and train over the winter), but missing the Philadelphia Marathon and picking a replacement in the spring meant that triathlons got pushed off to one side. Still, I’ve been going to lap swimming for a few months now, and I hit spinning class often enough that when Tri It Now’s 14.06 triathlon came around, I decided… why not? It’s just under the distance for a full sprint triathlon; the numbers for this were chosen because it’s exactly 1/10th the length of an Ironman Triathlon. (14.06 miles instead of 140.6 seems so much more reasonable.) Julie also signed up, and off we went!

#210 [365portraits: 193]When we signed up, you had to give them your approximate time for the swim portion of the race. I’d put down a ridiculously slow number, and then revised it earlier this week to a 9:45. Since the swim portion was in a pool, we would be arranged by our times there, with a new swimmer entering the pool every five seconds, and placed me at #210. It wasn’t until I was sitting on the edge of the pool (with 10 seconds to go) that I started feeling nervous. Fortunately, by that point it’s too late now. Just like a roller coaster, I got the nudge and that was it, I was in the pool. I did good until the third length of the pool, at which point I swam into a lane divider (oops) and then sucked down a lot of water. Fortunately, I didn’t drown, just flailed around for a couple of seconds and coughed. But then I was back off, and as the swim progressed I passed about a dozen people, which felt really good. (And got passed by two, one during my “try not to drown” moment.) When I pulled myself out of the pool, I looked at my watch and it was just at 8:52. Well, no wonder I was passing people!

From there I walked out to the bikes (others were running once they were outside, but I still had a bit of water in my lungs and was trying to get rid of it) and got ready as fast as I could. I’m sure the official splits will be different because the timing mat was outside and not at the edge of the pool, but by my watch between getting out of the pool and onto the bike and riding, it took 4 minutes and 45 seconds. Something to work on for the future! I know I was moving a little slow until I saw #211 (who had passed me during the choking fit) leave and suddenly I was like, “I need to get going!” And then, the biking. My weakest portion.

I knew going into this what I’d have to work on; being more confident on the bike. Our bike course was three loops, and each loop had four u-turns. And with each u-turn, I had to slooooow down and go through it carefully. Once I was back in a straight-away (or just a 90-degree turn) I was fine, but those u-turns killed me every time. I got passed a bunch in the first loop, which didn’t surprise me because those who were stronger in biking versus swimming could use this opportunity to clobber me. By the second loop, though, the number of people passing me dropped a lot, and in the third loop I even started passing some other people. (To be fair, probably people who weren’t on their third loop. But still, it felt good.)

My second transition was much faster, just 57 seconds, but then again all I had to do at that point was get my bike back to its stand, take off my helmet, and start running. But oh, what an experience that was. I now understand why everyone has said that your legs feel funny when switching from biking to running. Oof! Not a good start, especially since the sun was pretty strong at that point and there was almost no shade on the course. I ended up taking two short walk breaks (about 15 seconds each) and at the time I was annoyed at myself. But I was beat, and I felt like I was crawling. Imagine my surprise when I finished and discovered I’d run the 2.62 miles in just 21:58. A good pace for me (8:23min/mile) considering I’d just swum and ran. I thought I was moving much slower than that.

I also saw Julie a couple of times on the course; we waited together until it was time for our numbers to start, and I saw her on her first bike loop when I was just starting my second. Once I was done, I got to cheer her on in the transition area as well as early on in the run, so that was a lot of fun.

Will I do another one? Absolutely! But more biking is definitely required before I do so. And more practice bricks. As an introduction, it went pretty well.