Saturday, March 5, 2011

I've moved

Well, I made the official jump to a new blog: Go Teresa Go I dont' have much content up yet, but a couple posts including the recap on my latest marathon.

I won't be posting on this blog anymore, but I would love it if everyone came over to the new blog!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Anyone still there?

If you haven't already completely written me off as a blogger, I would just like to say thank you. Since my last post life has been..... well, life. I don't like talking about my job online for obvious reasons, but it has kept me EXTREMELY busy, which is actually pretty great because not many people have been able to say that for a long time. Besides that, I have really amped up my running/training. Physical activity has become an even bigger part of my life and I am a better person for it. The last few weeks I've hit some major milestones, and they are because a year and a half ago I decided to start running.

Which leads me to the future of this blog. Honestly, I had such a blast creating it, but the content of it is not what I want to share anymore. I've put myself "out there" quite a bit and while I only regret a few things I have posted, I do feel like I need to be a little more private about more of my personal life in the future. I know what most of you are thinking, but no, nothing happened to me to make me feel this way, but I know other people that have been burned by putting themselves out there online and I don't want that to happen to me.

But more than all of that, life is really just very different now and I no longer want to write about recipes, my dogs, and random weekends (although all those things are still awesome). All I honestly want to write about is running, races, tri stuff, etc. and I kind of pledged that I wouldn't turn this blog into completely running, so I'm thinking starting a new blog is in order. It will still share a lot of personal stuff but all related to my journey of trying to become an athlete. I feel like while I still have a ways to go with my personal goals, I have picked up quite a bit of knowledge that I should be sharing.

I'll keep you all updated.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Unfinished business

While I feel like my last post about the New Town tri was a great account of the race, by the time I got finished writing it I just felt drained. It took FOREVER to upload all the photos, recall all the details, etc. But when I got finished writing it I just felt like it really lacked a lot as far as how I was feeling afterwards.

As I said, while I feel like it is impossible to put into words exactly what I was feeling, I really want to try my best to express it. The sense of accomplishment after the tri was overwhelming. I was (and still am) to a point in awe of what I had just done. Now, I know I didn't break any major records or anything, but the tri was a really big deal for me.

I had a fear of biking which I put aside to complete the tri. I had never had swim lessons or swam a lap before May and I managed to finish the swim portion with what I consider to be a very respectable time on a somewhat intimidating open water course. I dedicated myself to working out 5 days a week doing 6-7 workouts for 6 weeks.

But even more than all that, I had a lot to overcome mentally. I made a mention of this in the last post, but after the marathon going far from how I had planned it, I felt like part of my heart was, just, well....dead, for a lack of a better term. Yes, I know finishing the marathon was a big deal, but I didn't finish it the way I wanted to finish it and it has weighed on me ever since.

While I know that I know enjoy triathlons way more than just running, I can't help but feel like I have unfinished business in the marathon department and I need to resolve it so that I can move on. So I have a winter marathon picked (and hotel booked!) and have started easing into training. I will spend the fall running with swimming and biking for fun, and plan on going strong into triathlons next year.

I think my biggest challenge will be more mental than physical and I've already been very aware of that. I know it's not going to be easy this time around, but this is just something I NEED to do for me.

As always, the support from everyone on this blog and in my life has been amazing. I appreciate everyone sticking around even as my posts become less frequent and consumed by running and triathlons.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New Town Triathlon!

It's hard for me to believe that the triathlon is over. I don't mind spoiling the ending of this blog post for you. IT. WAS. AMAZING!!! I really can't even describe how amazing it was, but I'm going to try in this blog post which I'm sure is going to quickly change into a novel. I want to apologize about the length, but it was such an amazing experience that I really want to have this post to look back and remember all the details. So this post in particular is more for me than all of you.

The day before the triathlon I drove solo to New Town to pick up my packet and check out the swim course one more time. One of the many awesome things about the race was that the organizers marked all three legs of the course the day before so that any participant that wanted to could preview the course. I didn't want to over do it the day before but I also didn't want to miss the opportunity to swim open water one more time before the race. For those of you that don't know, swimming in a pool (which I do 99% of the time) and swimming in a lake are two TOTALLY different animals.

I was so proud of myself for remembering my old watch so I could actual see how long it would take me to do the swim. I had swam the same course once before during a sponsored open water swim but I hadn't timed myself that day, so I really had no clue how long it took me. Once I arrived in New Town I pretty much just jumped out of the car, set down my towel, and jumped in setting my watch as I went. There were a few other people in the water, but no lifeguards or really anyone watching. At about 200 yards I thought to myself, "Wow this is kind of bad ass" No one knew I was in the water so really if I had any kind of problems or freaked out I was on my own. At that moment it kind of struck me as crazy, but also kind of awesome. At this point, I glanced at my watch and realized it had stopped. I guess it wasn't water proof after all!

I finished the swim feeling good and went to pick up my packet. At this point, I ran into a volunteer that I had met when I swam the course originally. I never caught her name, but she was a very sweet person that encouraged me to sign up for the tri (I was still on the fence at the first swim). I was happy and a little surprised she recognized me, but seeing her was great. She wished me luck and I headed towards home.

The rest of the day I hung out around the house, ate pasta, and tried not to get too nervous. I got everything together that I needed using a mega checklist that included everything I needed. The list even had "bike" on it.

I surprisingly got a lot of sleep that night and when I woke up the next day I felt ready to go! Well, kind of......

My half peanut butter sandwich that I ate in the car tasted awful (breakfast always does on race day), but I choked it down as I drove to the tri. As I pulled into New Town it was a few minutes before 7. Nathan had left a few minutes after me with my bike. Unfortunately, he couldn't stay to see me cross the finish because of a work commitment so we had to drive separately. We unloaded the bike, did a final tire check and I headed to get my timing chip and go into transition.

It was only a few minutes after 7, but volunteers and the guy on the loud speaker made me feel like I was super late even though I had a good 30 minutes before the transition area was closed and I had to line up to swim. I was instructed to go drop off my bike and gear and then get my timing chip. I quickly went into transition and tried to double check that I had everything I needed but I felt super rushed and was nervous I was forgetting something. I got a little frustrated, but decided that I should just step away and go get my timing chip.

Nathan walked over with me, we got the chip and then I decided I should go back into transition and double check my stuff. Nathan said, "Um, don't you need to get marked?" Me, "YES!!! OMG, I almost forgot!!" He grabbed a volunteer with a marker, and they wrote my race number on one arm and my age on the back of my leg. At this point, I realized I had forgotten to do something in transition which was to put water in the bucket I had brought. I opted not to worry about it though, because it was just to wash off my feet. I double checked everything and went towards the start.

I lined up with my numbers and stood there for a good 15 minutes, but it was a good chance for me to calm down and realize that I didn't need to rush around anymore. I was where I needed to be. I also got a chance to chat with some of the people around me who were super nice and we all exchanged a few tips. As the first set of swimmers started entering the water, I heard my mom call out to me. She and Nathan were practically standing on the dock where I was starting.
As I got closer to the officials I realized it was game time. When they told me to go I would have 5 seconds to run onto the dock and jump in before they released the person behind me so I was going to book it.

(I was so focused on quickly getting in I don't even remember that person sitting on the dock)

Once I was in the water, I just went. The lake was choppy, but I expected it to be worse. I didn't feel too crowded either, which I was fully expecting. After the first turn I did get bumped into by a few swimmers passing me, but no kicks in the face or anything. I didn't really feel like I was going super fast, but I was passing a few other swimmers as I made the second turn.

I was in the last 50 yards and saw swimmers getting help out of the water. At this point there were a few hardcore people coming in as well, so I slowed down a bit so they could easily pass me and get out first. After all, I was just doing this for fun, on reason to screw up someone that was trying to place.

At this point, a "lifeguard" on the sidelines called out to me with someone along the lines of, "You can came to the shore for a minute if you need to". Um, what!? I had less than 50 yards to go and you think I should come to the shore?? I had a few choice words in mind, but instead I just politely yelled back, "No, that's ok! I'm just slow!"

Once I got closer to the swim out I realized that the sweet volunteer was there! She saw me, smiled and said, "You got this!"

(Sweet volunteer is the one in the middle, coaching me in.)

I replied, "You are my guardian angel on this tri!"

As I exited the water I heard Nathan yell out, "30 minutes!" I kind of shrugged it off though, because no way I did that in 30 minutes, it was probably 32 or longer and he was just saying that to be nice.

I made my way into transition and started drying off, drinking water and pulling on my shoes. My mom, friends, and Nathan cheered the entire time.

After jamming some sport beans in my mouth, I was off.

Not even a mile in I realized I had forgotten my iPhone. There were no headphone rules, but I had planned on getting around them by just playing the music through the little speaker on the phone, and I also wanted to have it just in case something happened with the bike and I needed rescue. But at that point, there was nothing I could do but just keep going.

The first 10 miles were great, I was pushing hard and maintaining speeds that I usually didn't maintain even on short rides. I was moving at a great pace, passed about a half a dozen people, and even though I went slow going around turns I was having a great ride. At mile 11 I hit killer wind that really slowed me down. I got the chance to chat with some of the other riders as they were passing me everyone was so nice and encouraging, it made the ride really enjoyable. I was still pushing hard, but had definitely started backing off a bit.
I felt good as I finished up the last couple of miles and by my bike computer I could tell the ride had taken me about an hour and twenty minutes. And as I got closer to the transition area I could hear my friends and mother cheering me on. While I was getting off the bike and drinking some more water I heard them ask how I was doing and I said, "Good! I got this!"
I left transition with my bike water bottle and my iPhone this time and felt a sting of pain in my upper thigh.

I realized that the pain was from the bike seat. I had probably been sitting slightly off center and my thigh had been pushing down on it resulting in the pain. It wasn't unbearable but definitely uncomfortable. In the midst of thinking about the pain I had forgotten to start my garmin, so I was already a good quarter of a mile in.
I ran a little ways, but ended up walking a decent amount of the first two mile loop.

At mile 2 I came around the corner and got some much needed water and was happy to see my friends and Mom cheering me on. I tossed them my now empty water bottle and continued on.

I continued to alternate running and walking in no set pattern. I was starting to get hot and was really missing having my water bottle. (I always run with water and I drink it constantly) I got to the mile 3 aid station and couldn't wait to get my hands on some cold water...of course, they were out and only had this awful sports drink. I normally love sports drink, but whatever was in that cup was GROSS.
A few residents of New Town had sprinklers up and I paused at each one trying to cool off and get a little water in my mouth. When I realized I had about a half a mile left I jogged a steady pace to the finish. My mom jumped in within the last couple of moments.

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was greeted yet again by the sweet volunteer aka "my guardian angel"! I was soaking wet and extremely gross but I grabbed her and hugged her anyway. It was just so nice to getting to see her one last time.
As I got out of the finish corral and found my mom and my friends I was out of breathe and so thirsty. I can't even begin to tell you how much I needed water.

The day before I had asked one of my friends to bring me a big (cold!) lemon lime Gatorade to the finish and thank God she did because I really needed it.

At this point, besides being tired and thirsty, I was just in awe and trying to wrap my mind around what just happened. I was so happy to see my mom and friends, but I had such a combination of exhaustion and awe, that I didn't speak for a good few minutes.

When I did finally start to form complete sentences and felt ok my mom and I grabbed a quick Kodak moment.

After a few more big gulps of Gatorade I walked over to the Results booth. The timing company there (Ultramax) gave you instant results. As I waited in line I was preparing myself to be a tad disappointed in my finish time. I had originally said that I would be happy with anything under 3.5 hours, but I really wanted to be right at 3. With all the walking I had to do during the run, I figured there was no way I was going to hit 3 hours. When the official handed me my print out I screamed.

I had finished in 2:48:33!!! I screamed ran over to my friends and jumped up and down a couple times with excitement.

Once I calmed down we snapped a few more pictures.....

Of course, we had to get a group shot of my amazing support team!

(Ali, Lauren, my mom, Jamie, Me, Sarah, some random dude, Kristal, and Ikey Joe)
I'm so happy that I decided to do the New Town Triathlon. My 6 weeks of intense training really paid off. I officially love the sport and wish I would have discovered it sooner. At this point, I don't have another triathlon set in stone, but I can't wait to do another one. I wish I could put into words the feeling I have after completing this one, but it's impossible. I do have a lot of work to do though, because I have to learn how to bike on hills (the New Town tri had a very flat bike course) because I've never done that before.
This past week I have been on a roller coaster of emotion. I was on cloud 9 for awhile, then got a tad depressed that it was all over. I also have spent a lot of time this past week thinking about the marathon. It's hard to describe but after the marathon I felt like part of my heart was just dead. It's no real mystery that I was disappointed in my results. After the tri, I feel like part of me is back. I'm still upset about the marathon, but doing well at the tri gave me confidence that I can be happy doing distance races again. I may write more about this later, but I'm just having trouble coming up with the words at the moment.
Also, I plan on writing another post in the near future with triathlon tips that really helped me but I need to wrap this up as it has taken me almost all day to upload all the photos and write it.
Thank you to all of you that cheered me on during the process!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another ambitous decision

If you keep up with my DailyMile page you may have noticed that I've been quite busy lately running, swimming, and even doing a little biking. Well, right after the mini tri didn't go so well, I was a little bummed. Sure, not completing it had a lot to do with my brake issue, but another part of me felt like maybe I let the fear/under training on the bike get the best of me.

Only a few days after the mini tri, I decided that I NEEDED to do another tri and one that would help me get over my fear of the bike and push me to get better at swimming. I spent some time looking at tris in Missouri, and decided that the one I really wanted to do was the New Town Triathlon. The distance of New Town was a little further than I was looking for (over double the mini, and more than a traditional sprint) but what really appealed to me was the flatness of the bike course and that it was pretty close to home.

The catch? It was the end of May and New Town was July 11. That meant that I had about 6 weeks to train. I looked over lots of free training plans, but ultimately ended up making one of my own because I hated all of the ones that I had found. So since June 1st I have secretly been training for New Town doing a 2x a week plan for each area, making a grand total of 6 workouts a week.

I didn't sign up until last night because I wanted to see if I could handle the training. Four weeks of training, one open water swim of the course, and a ride of almost the exact bike route, I feel pretty good about it. I still have reservations of course, but not enough to make me not want to attempt it.

So in a mere two weeks I will be doing a .62 mile swim, 20 mile bike, and a 4 mile run. I'm scared and excited, but mostly excited. I will hopefully have time and energy to write another blog between now and then, but regardless of what good, bad, or amazing things happen during the triathlon, I will be sure to write about it afterwards.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I am one proud lady. :)

The day after my big ole' failed tri, I accompanied my fabulous husband, Nathan, to my hometown to watch him compete in a 35 mile bike ride. I was certainly more nervous than he was, especially after seeing what he was up against.

Before we arrived, we both knew that most of the cyclists would be on some kind of team, but when we showed up 98% of the participants were on teams and looked super serious. The combination of that and the race disorganization completely added to my nerves. When Nathan finally started (5o minutes later!) it was HOT. Nathan had never trained in this kind of heat, and I was practically dripping with sweat just standing waiting for him to start.

About 8 miles into the 35, he called me. He was super discouraged because he was riding by himself at that point. The group he started with had taken off and the group that started after him had passed him as well. I told him that it was really up to him what he wanted to do, but he should just think of it as a nice bike ride by himself and try and enjoy it.

At this point, I was pretty sure he would be turning around shortly and going back. I mean, getting wayyyy behind that early in the race is pretty discouraging. Personally, I don't think I would have kept going knowing I was pretty out of my league.

I didn't hear from him for another hour, and I was going a little nuts. About two hours after he started I tried calling him and got no answer. A lot of the cyclists were starting to return, and I just hoped that he hadn't gotten too hot or dehydrated.

30 minutes later Nathan called me and the convo went something like this:

Me: (no hello) You ok!?!?

Nathan: I'm close to finishing.

Me: Finishing!?!? Like you did it?

Nathan: Yeah, I did it!

Me: HONEY!!!! You want so fast! It hasn't even been 2 and a half hours!

Nathan: I know. Bye!

Just a few minutes later, Nathan flew by!

(Thanks, sis, for the great pic!)

At this point, I had tears in my eyes. He had done it. He trained for this race while working 6 days a week, braved the heat, and didn't let being last get him down. He did amazing, and I could not be more happy and proud.

Unfortunately, Nathan doesn't think he is going to do another bike race. A big part of that is because he said he didn't feel welcomed at all by the other race participants. I think he and I were both expecting the atmosphere of the race to be one similar to those that we are used to with running.

In general, I've always dealt with runners that have been very welcoming and encouraging. The runners I've been around have always cheered me on, offered support, etc. And Nathan accompanies me to many of my races so he saw this too. The participants at this race were QUITE different. Nathan said that when he put his number on wrong, a group of bikers proceeded to make fun of him for it. And then they continued on by talking about his bike and how it wouldn't make it on the course. All in all, they were pretty much pricks.

And while I could write PARAGRAPHS on how terribly disorganized and poorly run this race was, I won't because obviously I'm not an expert on bike races, but seriously, you don't have water at the start or finish? And three bathrooms for hundreds? I don't think so.

Luckily, Nathan plans on doing some fun rides and helping me getting over my bike fear. I'm just so proud of him so I had to share!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

First tri FAIL!

While training for my first tri in 12 days was fun, it ultimately ended up with me getting a DNF (did not finish). I had a GREAT swim and I was a smiling, happy person as I got out of the pool. The bike portion was a different story though. About two miles in I felt like something was wrong. I didn't know if it was just because I was going up hills, but I felt like the bike wasn't moving the way it should.

I got off the bike and shortly after a race official came up and asked me if I was having problems. I told him yes and he offered to look at the bike. He said it looked like the front brake wasn't releasing from the wheel completely. The course was hilly so I felt super scared to continue on not knowing if my front brakes were ok. Because of that, I decided to pull myself out of the race.

Obviously, this race did NOT help my fear of the bike. It's clear to me that I don't know enough about my bike or how to troubleshoot problems. But even with that, I'm not going to write off doing a triathlon in the future. I feel like the bike won today, and I don't like that. Plus, I REALLY enjoy swimming and I really want to keep doing it.

Getting a DNF for any reason sucks, but I keep telling myself that in my active life, races aren't always going to be awesome, but the benefits of doing these races are worth it regardless of the results.