North Mankato Triathlon

Who ordered a ticket to the gun show?

Ten Things I Learned From Doing A Triathlon:

1. You can never train enough for the swim.
2. Training for the swim in a pool (when the swim is in a lake/pond) is ineffective. Also, see #1.
3. Don’t shift too fast into your big ring on the front lest you have the chain completely fall off your bike.
4. If the hill you’re biking up is too steep, just get off and walk it up. Nobody’s going to penalize you for it. Plus, your legs will thank you.
5. Hydrate hydrate hydrate.
6. Gu packs are your friend.
7. People are willing to shit themselves and keep going rather than stop and not shit themselves. (from observation, not practice – I’m not THAT hardcore!)
8. Planning your race pace ahead of time is useful in making sure you have enough “gas in the tank” once you get to the run.
9. Swimming sucks. It really, really does.
10. That I’ll never do another one ever again.
________________________

The sprint triathlon (0.25 mi swim/12 mi bike/3.1mi run) I did on Sunday was my first and will be my last. Why? I hate swimming.

As a kid, I loved to swim. But, in the 30-some years since then, I have fallen out of love with it – especially swimming in a lake. I can’t fathom how much fish poop is floating around in that water and when you’re swimming in a race, there’s a high probability that you’re going to get some in your mouth. ICK!

Anyway, back to the story. Since I don’t like swimming, I made sure that I would train to swim twice the distance non-stop (i.e. 0.5mi) in a lap pool. Aside from the turnarounds (where I didn’t hang on the edge or touch the bottom of the pool), I didn’t stop once. I had a good time split and I felt great. I’m a pretty experienced cyclist and I know what my pace times are for running, so I found a tri pace calculator online to plug in what my finish time would be.

Note: I’m slow. Really slow. I know this. But my goal was to finish and not kill myself.
Continue reading North Mankato Triathlon

Countdown to Tri

Well, I feel I should give an update since my last (panicked) post about not being able to swim.

Well, turns out I CAN swim!

Granted, it wasn’t in open water, but last week I tried swimming as many laps as I could without stopping. I was able to do 11 laps (~1/3 of a mile)! Considering I’m only going to have to do a 1/4 mile, this made me happy. Also, I swam again yesterday and did 1/2 mile without dying from exhaustion! Combine that with a successful (if slow) bike/run brick, running a couple 4+ milers and one final bike/run brick scheduled for tomorrow, I feel like I’m in really good shape to finish the race without too much agony!

This is GREAT NEWS!

Other than my neurotic packing list-making, I’m ready for this! Woot woot!

* * * * *

The rest of the week in pictures:

AMAZING food truck sushi:

Revisiting an old food truck favorite:

Pulled pork. Pickled onions. Cojita cheese. Salsa verde. Perfection!

Also, my garden has been going INSANE! Here’s one (of many) pickings of strawberries from my garden:

And the first few blueberries off my blueberry bush!

(After I ate 2 of them! ;))

I’m beginning to think I was a bit overzealous in planting four rows of kale this year. My first picking (off only two of the rows!) yielded a grocery bag full of kale and it barely looks like I did anything.

I foresee a lot turkey kale bean soup in my future! 😉

Wish me luck!

Super Freak

No, not THAT kind of super freak!

I’m talking about how I’m starting to freak out a little bit about the triathlon. Mainly: the swimming.

Over the past few days I’ve had these thoughts:

I’m going to drown!

There’s no way you’ll be able to finish!

What if there’s fish?*

I won’t be able to SEE!**

I’m not going to be able to finish!

I’m going to drown!

As you can see…I’m being quite rational about this. By “rational” I mean “irrational as hell.”

Before I did the half-marathon in 2010, I had an epic meltdown on the drive down (just ask my husband) because of the seemingly insurmountable task ahead of me.

Thirteen point one miles?!?! I’ve only been able to run up to ten! (insert hysterical crying and freaking out here)

It wasn’t pretty. Thinking back, I’m usually the calm, level-headed one in times of crisis and I usually don’t freak out. Not like that.
Continue reading Super Freak

My Secret Weapon

2008 Breast Cancer Bike Ride

I’m having a bit of panic over the triathlon, which is in 19 DAYS!

The swimming. I’m not going to be able to swim in a lake (unless I swim the race course the day before) until the day of the event. So, in order to make myself feel better, I’m going to swim as much as possible before the race.

However, I realized this weekend I have a secret weapon in my arsenal: the bike.

After a whirlwind week – one where I had to take ocular antibiotics due to an eye infection (and meaning I couldn’t wear my contacts) – I finally got my new Terry saddle installed on the bike and took her out for a long ride on Saturday in the 90+ degree heat and humidity right around the noon hour.

The course was a nice winding course with rolling hills and a few challenging climbs and a delightful straight, flat stretch where I got the bike up to ~23mph. All in all, I did 11 miles with little to no effort and had 14mph average speed.

Not bad for the first time out this year, huh? 😉

Now that I have a fantastic bike saddle, those miles will fly by.

If only the swimming would go as smoothly…

Am I A Failure?

New running shoes

I swear the world is fighting against me to thwart my efforts in training for the triathlon on July 1st. I never had this much trouble training for a half-marathon!

I think I narrowed it down to these things:

1. New house/garden.
I’ve never had a vegetable garden before, and the prep work for that has been a lot of work. I also have established plants (asparagus & strawberry patch) that need maintenance and picking on a nearly daily basis. Also, putting the final touches on the house eats up time.

2. Social life.
I know, wah wah wah. I have an active social life. But, having SO many things going on – especially on nights and weekends (my prime workout time) – it puts a cramp in my training schedule.

3. Work stress.
My job – compared to what it was 2 years ago when I was training for the half – has exploded in terms of workload and responsibilities. I’m more mentally exhausted at the end of the day and as a result, it makes it damn hard to get motivated.

4. Eating healthier.
Since the move and due to the above factors, I seem to have less time to cook and plan meals. Which means we’re either eating out or getting takeout a lot more than we used to and I’m getting frustrated with that. Thus, more of my focus is shifting to cooking healthier dinners.

5. Training time.
I can train for running events in a relatively short amount of time on any given day because all I have to do is:

  1. put on workout clothes,
  2. put on running shoes, and
  3. GTFO.

With the bike, there’s:

  1. put on cycle clothing,
  2. put on cycle shoes,
  3. get water bottles filled up,
  4. get bike down from garage rafters and check the tire pressure and address any other mechanical issues,
  5. put on helmet and gloves,
  6. make sure I have my phone in case of mechanical issues, and
  7. GTFO, and
  8. upon return, put everything away.

And swimming?

  1. find swimsuit, goggles and swim cap; pack in gym bag,
  2. find two towels; pack in gym bag,
  3. make sure lock AND KEY for the locker room is in the bag,
  4. drive to the gym,
  5. change into swim clothes,
  6. shower and get hair wet before putting on swim cap (mama don’t need green hair, yo!),
  7. swim (a.k.a. GTFO)
  8. shower to rinse out chlorine,
  9. change into regular clothes,
  10. drive home, and
  11. shower for real.

I don’t count “showering” after running and biking because I usually shower later in the evening after I’ve stopped sweating. No sense showering if I’m still sweating! But with the pool, I can shower once I get home. Why at home? Well, it’s just less crap I have to pack and haul to the pool and frankly, showering (for real) at the gym sucks. But I do need to get the chlorine out of my hair, so I can’t skip it.

Yes, I know the packing stuff with the swimming can be done ahead of time, but it still takes time regardless of *when* I do it. It also doesn’t take that much time. It’s the driving and changing clothes two times that does it.

And I know what some of you are thinking: “Carolyn, why don’t you just work out in the morning?” For those of you who haven’t had the “joy” of seeing me in the morning, I have an alter-ego named GROG who acts a lot like Drunk Hulk over on Twitter and GROG hates getting up early.

Angry Uhu

(not me, but pretty damn close as to my morning attitude – except more grumpy)

Plus, the few times I tried it, I was so stressed out trying to get everything done before work and was tired/ravenous the rest of the day. Mornings + me = bad.

* * * * *

I saw my cousin who is three years my junior this weekend at my niece’s graduation party – the same cousin who signed up to do a half marathon, the Warrior Dash and now this tri and goaded me into doing the same – and she’s in worse shape than I am. I’m not sure when I got or why I have this sense of competition with her, but I do. Having her tell me that she’s “seriously going to die” doing the tri somehow made me feel better.

I’ve swam a quarter mile already. Albeit, not all at once, but I did that my first (and only) time in the pool! I’m pretty confident if I get to the pool at least 4 more times between now and July 1, I’ll be in good shape. Besides, I’m just shooting to finish, not be super-fast or anything.

Once I install my new saddle on the bike, I’ll be stoked to GTFO and put some miles on. Unless my body/fitness has changed dramatically over the past 3 years, I’ll be able to knock out a 13 miler with no trouble.

With the running, I’m up to 30 minutes nonstop running and I did 4 miles on Saturday. Granted, I had a pee break 1.5 miles in and the last mile was more of a 2min run, 30sec walk. So in the next month, I want to get up to 6 miles running (w/no breaks) and I should be OK doing the 5k after the swim/bike. Going to do some bricks of bike/run the week before the race too.

All in all, I should be in good shape.

My goal: to finish.

And beat my cousin. 😉

So am I a failure? Considering, I think I’m doing pretty well.

Dare To Tri

Hy-Vee Triathlon - Women's Elite 038

I’ve done a triathlon before.

Well, it was a team tri (my recap from my other blog), but a tri nonetheless. For the “tl/dr” version: I did the 18-mile bike leg with virtually no training and despite slogging up a very steep and very long hill during my leg, my team won the women’s team division! Mainly because of our college-level swimmer and marathon runner…but I helped!

Fast forward to today.

I signed up for the North Mankato Triathlon in July. Why am I doing a tri and a half marathon all in the same year?

Because I’m nuts.

Well, not really nuts in the “padded cell” kind of way…more like “what am I thinking?”

I’ve always wanted to do one, but never had a reason to do it. Then, when my 3-years younger cousin talked about doing this one, I knew I had to do it. Her goading got me to do my first half marathon back in 2010 and the Warrior Dash last year. As an added bonus, my sister’s house is mere blocks from the park where the race begins. Benefit: no worries about parking/travel!

I suppose I should ask her if I can stay at her house the night of June 30th! (Laura?) 😉

I was also greatly inspired by Meridith over at Swim Bike Mom (seriously, she’s my new hero) to tackle the tri. Just when I think I don’t have time to train for a mere sprint, she’s training for a goddamn Ironman all while juggling two kids and working full time as an attorney.

Working at a law firm myself, I can tell you how many hours the attorneys put in a week: A LOT.

So reading her story every day as she recovers from a broken foot gives me motivation and strength that I too can do this!

Anyway, it’s a sprint tri; this means it’s a .25 mile swim, a 13 mile bike and a 3 mile run. I could do the last two legs right now without training too much, but it’s the swim that’s going to be the biggest hurdle.

I tried lap swimming at the local community center pool in the late winter/early spring of last year after my glute injury and it was a mixed bag. I really enjoyed the swimming part of it and it didn’t take me long to be able to swim lap after lap without much trouble. What I didn’t like were the very limited hours for lap swimming and how goddamn crowded the lap swim got when it was open.

I’m more than happy to share a lane…just don’t be a dick and whack me every time we cross laps.

That got old and I haven’t been back since.

Instead I’m going to tour a local fitness center that has a pool and spin classes to see how crowded things get at the times I’d be wanting to use the pool and will probably begin training in earnest this week.

I’m giving the ankle another week or two before I start running on it again. I gave it a bit of the jog test this weekend (only went ~10 yards or so) and it felt good, but since I still get some twinges when I rotate the ankle, I’d rather err on the side of caution rather than fight through the pain and make things worse. (see last year and the pulled piriformis muscle that took 5 months to heal to 98% because I ran through the pain)