Monday, June 11, 2012

Flying Wheels 2012

Before the start.
Flying Wheels Summer Century was yesterday! Fun! Fun! Fun!

I had been warned that this was a hilly century, and it was. I believe there was 3800-3900 feet of elevation gain to be had. I would tell you exactly, but my dumb self forget to turn my Garmin 310 back on at one of my stops and didn't record "The Big Hill." Whoops.

Off we go!
This was a hard century for me, actually. I had some issues along the way that were not enjoyable. First of all, I had muscle cramps in my legs like nobody's business! My calves were in agony, and my quads and hammies were seizing within the first 30 miles of hills. Not good. I didn't keep as quick a pace as I usually do on century events, but I must have been doing decently, because I spent most of my ride either alone, or towing a drafter or twenty. I always find it eerie when you think you are all alone, and then you happen to glance over your shoulder, and you have a guy drafting off close you could make out... Um, how about a courtesy "Hello, I'm here!"

I was SO happy when I saw this place!
At first I thought that I might be dehydrated, and that was causing the cramping. I really focused on drinking like mad, and rewarded myself with a full bladder...that needed emptying...frequently. Hmmm... (Sorry if this is TMI for some of you, but apparently I don't care, because I'm typing it anyway,) my pee was water-clear, so I wasn't dehydrated. I had drank electrolyte-replentishing fluids, so that wasn't the problem either.

Since I had no other ideas, and I was low on options, I simply accepted that my legs were going to cramp and hurt, and that they may do so until the finish line and/or beyond. Period. It's kind of nice when you can just see a situation clearly and for what it is, and then just accept it. I am always able to do this during a race, or when I'm on a long ride or run. My mind gets more clear; almost like I'm meditating... I want to be able to do this better off the bike...

50 miles in. So hungry I don't even realize I'm voluntarily eating a hotdog.
So despite leg pains, and an unfortunate little spill I took (I dropped my chain on a hill and slipped on the wet pavement when I unclipped. D'oh!) I really enjoyed it out there! The ride was peaceful and the scenery gorgeous! I talked to some really nice people, as I always do at Cascade events.

A day well spent!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My first Triathlon!

Well folks, I'm no longer a triathlon virgin.

I'm as ready as I'll ever be!
My day started at 4am. Yeah... I was pretty tired, and fairly sure I had forgotten to pack key things when I left the house to go pick up Jesse. Half way to Issaquah, (after picking him up) he realized the he had forgotten to pack some key things; his tools! Whoops! I wasn't too worried though.. He had tuned my bike since I returned from Hawaii, so I knew Fi was fine.


When Jess and I arrived at the race, it was busy and chaotic, but I found the packet pick-up, got my markings, and went to find my transition area. I was the second person the set up in my little section. The guy that got there before me was a middle-aged guy who I could tell had been doing the tri thing for a good long time. He was really nice, and actually offered a lot of helpful tips; including putting a plastic grocery bag over your hands and feet while putting your wetsuit on. (Way easier that way!)

Cold, wet, and gravely.
After I set out my stuff (it was a sloppy mess I would come to find out), I got suited up and headed to the beach for the "briefing." Soon, I realized I had made a critical error; I had forgotten to use the facilities before I committed my whole body to the wetsuit. Ugh. Oh well. I couldn't hear a damn thing at the briefing, so I just worked on putting on my swim cap (or caps rather; I wore my thicker one under my purple race cap - to stay warmer.)

And I'm off!
After a bit, I asked Jess if he saw any other women in purple caps. He looks around and says, "Oh my gosh! They're in the water!" I looked and sure enough, they were just about to start my wave! I took off sprinting down the beach, and made it to the line with 30 seconds to spare! The water was not as cold as I suspected, but it was f'ing disgusting. Luckily, there were no lake weeds that I could feel until close to the end (and I pretended they were another swimmer), but the water was so murky and brown and filthy! I couldn't see a dang thing! I was second to reach the first buoy, but that's when it happened...I panicked. I couldn't see anything through my goggles underwater or above, I had gulped down a bunch of water somehow, which had me almost retching. The wetsuit was also making me feel restricted and tight in my chest, and I felt like I couldn't take a full breath. I started to think I couldn't do it...that I was going to drown, but then I snapped out of it and realized I was just scared, and that I am an excellent swimmer.

I was SO happy to get out of that lake.
When I was coming out of the water, I was fighting tears. I hadn't performed well in the water. That really disappointed me...I had hated every second of that swim; every last flippin' second. My biggest thought throughout that whole swim; "how in the hell can I expect to do THIS for 1.2 miles?" When I saw Jesse, he was all smiles. He was so encouraging. He told me I was doing awesome. I needed to hear those words, but I was secretly thinking that he had to know how badly I had just failed. He was a Godsend truly though, in more ways than one. When I got back to the transition coral, I couldn't find my transition area! lol Luckily Jesse knew where to direct me!

All smiles on the bike, of course!
My transition was pretty slow, but that was due to my shitty novice transition set-up. lol I remember looking up at Jesse and mouthing to him, "I don't want to do this." He said, "You're doing great babe." He is so great.

I got on my bike, and everything was almost immediately better. The ride was just plain bitchin'. I loved every moment of it. It was interesting.. I tore past a ton of men on the bike today. Of course I was passed by some too, but less than usual. There were a lot of strong women, and a lot of weaker men. Oh!..and there was one guy with panniers! WTF do you need to take with you on a 15 mile ride?? You barely need water on a ride that short!

My second transition was much better, but I still could have done better. The run, although I was a bit tired, was not at all unpleasant. I didn't run it fast, by any stretch of the imagination, but I ran it and I finished with a smile on my face. :)

Proud finisher.

Incidentally, my timing chip was faulty. It did not record when I started the race. Bummer, eh? I may have some rough estimates coming though.

When I got home, I ate an apple and peanut butter, and took a 7 hour nap.

Off to enjoy my victory banana.