The Exciting Deets of Patriot

I ain't gonna lie.  I was going for the win in my age group. But that's ONLY because I felt like this could happen.  My training was solid and I had done well in my recent duathlon. Albeit the duathlon is a much shorter distance, nonetheless, my brain was in-it-to-win-it.  I felt the "eye of the tiger" and focus thing going on.  It felt really good to be in this place in training.

Mary picked me up at 4:45. I had already downed my fruit and plant based protein smoothie.   I had a new fuel pack of "e-gel and e-fuel".  Have you tried it?  It worked very well for me. NO STOMACH ISSUES and less sugar.

We got to the race in a calm, ready state.  We realized early on that our van was parked at least a quarter mile to the transition and registration area.  We decided we'd better go get "marked", register, then come back and get all of our thig-a-ma-jigs for transition.  After fiddling around at the car for miscellaneous task (Mary's break needed adjusting) we then realized we only had 30 minutes left to rack bikes, set up transition, put on wet suit, and get to the start.  No warm-up today! Drat!

On our way to transition we soon realized in a flash that neither of us had a chip but all of the other athletes (who had already racked their bikes)  had chips on the ankles.  Drat again!  Where were our chips? Oh - in the building next door to where we picked up our numbers.  Nobody told me that! Panic started to seep through my veins just a bit. I tried to remain calm knowing I still had several tasks that needed to be done.  In mere minutes we quickly racked our bikes transition, donned our wet-suits, picked up the chips,  watched organizers help Mary who had an issue with her wet suit zipper,  then finally we were off to the start.  I was a little rattled but managed to stay in control.

Standing at the start with my wave I was, once again, not really paying attention.  Rather odd that I had one of my best races ever but  yet could not bring myself to pay attention to the starting line.  I hadn't even put my googles on and all I heard was "GO".. then another "GO".. MEANING, YES YOU, GO..  and GOOGLES, GOOGLES.  I was the first person in my wave to go off.  I was that psyched to get going but forgot to put on my googles.

I had several mantras for the swim...  swim fast! No seriously.. I'm not used to swimming fast. It's a learned skill and takes a ton of practice.   Use your abs, don't pull to soon,  rotate, spot often, don't slow down, pull hard underwater.  These are the things my coach Ange and I worked on for the past few months. It worked. I popped out of the water in a time that was 2 minutes fast than last year.  Success!   I think I could have gone under 38 minutes had I not been stricken with a HUMONGOUS CRAMP only 50-75 yards from shore.  It took me at least 20-30 seconds longer to get to the shore. I had a huge bruise in that spot for the 3 days after the race.  Wierd!

Miraculously, as soon as I started to jog to T1 my cramp dissipated.   I tried to calm my breathing while moving steadily.   It went smoothly..  I didn't fall or anything.. but it wasn't fast.

On the bike - I gave myself 10 minutes or so to calm down from the swim and pump things back up. Everything was working and I had everything I needed. I settled in.  I kept my eyes on my average watts and hit my lap button 10 minutes in. Then, I hit it every 30 minutes.  My bike was broken down into 30 minute segments.  It had been raining hard all morning until race time which caused the roads to be wet while racing.  I saw one guy slide and go down in front of me and I felt bad.  I asked if he was OK but he didn't answer. He did however pop right up and look at this bleeding hand.  There was a fuel table about 50 yards ahead so I figured I needn't stop.

I carried all of my own fuel on the bike so I didn't have to drink Gatorade on the course.  This trade-off probably made my bike slightly heavier than necessary but I did not care.  Having my own fuel is really key to me because of stomach issues. At one point I was filling my torpedo bottle with my back bottle and BAM! I dropped a bottle which is penalty worthy.  I took a quick look back to see if any race sheriffs were around but alas. No one saw me. Phew.  I kept working the bike. Every time I saw my watts dip I focused on bringing it back up.  Unfortunately - in all of the rushing for the start - the one thing I didn't get to do was calibrate my watts.  In the end my watts were lower than last year but my speed was faster! I was 4 minutes faster on the bike this year with less watts!  Success!

T2 was an attempt to jog but was more like a shuffle.  My legs were pretty stiff.  By now I have an idea how this works.  If you keep moving even when you hurt, you will soon feel better! Looser! and well,  just plain better.  It's amazing really.

The run. Oh the run. How I love thee.  I gave myself 3 miles to find a pace I could work off of.  I settled at a 7:51 pace.  The 2nd 3 miles were right around that pace give or take a few seconds.  The 2nd half of this run is hillier than the first half so my pace did slow a bit but not a lot.  I knew that if I could keep my pace and the cadence I had going on, my run would be better than last year.  I managed to catch the women who were in front of me on the bike.  There were at least five I think.

In mile 13 of the run a young man that I had just passed was running just behind me.  There was about a half mile left in the race. He must have had a surge of adrenaline that he wanted to pass on. Suddenly I heard him yell to me "OK no one is behind you. You are going to take this in", like a drill sergeant.  I had just passed another woman in my age group so when he said this I bit right into it and said.. OK!  His pep talk helped me to go faster.  I finished strong and happy but also hurting.  As Ange would say "it's supposed to hurt"..

Starting out in triathlon for several years I would cried hard at every finish line of the half iron.  Like a baby.  It hurt so bad.  I did get choked up while on the podium but this feeling I had was a deep down feeling of accomplishment and pure joy.  I had worked really hard and I finally got my day.   It's as simple as that.


Patriot Half Iron Race Report

I'm hear to tell you that consistency and hard work pays off.  It might take FOREVER but it will happen!  

I'll start off with the end results since that is what I always look forward to. 

1st in my Age Group!
Swim 38:00  -  (1:49/100 yards)
Bike  2:51:22  - 19.6 MPH
Run   1:44:12  - 7:54 pace
Total : 5:20:10

And here are some pictures. I have a lot to do today so I can't write a race report but will do soon.

Patriot HalfIron 2016

Yes, this is the 2016 post that I just published today, 6/18./17. I found it and decided to post it because I am about to post for the same race 2017.

It is such a luxury to be able to train, race, and participate in triathlon.  It's a hugely demanding sport so you really need to have your sh--  together in order to pull it off with success.  I feel very blessed and thankful that I get to line up with a group of athletes.  The coolest part is to see women my age, 50 years plus all geeked up to crush a 5 plus hour race.  Go ladies! You inspire me.  These women are fast!

Moto for this race - "squeeze" - read:  "squeeze every ounce of speed out of your swim, ride, and run."   Repeat..  The main goal is to stay focused it really really helps to have something to keep my head in the race at all times. 

My swim was a two minutes faster than my in April.. 
Swim 41:24   - Texas was 43:34 

Swimming 2 times per week for the most part is what you get.  Not your best but not your worst.  The swim it'self was set off 2 people at a time which made for a GREAT swim.  No thrashing other swimmers to get off of you.. No head up to fix goggles after having them knocked off your face.. It was smooth.. All swims should go this way.. I think Ironman swims have starrted to use this staggered start time. 

Exiting the swim was quite the jaunt. You'll notice that T times were not super fast. Many of the 3 minutes or so.  

My bike was almost 3 minutes faster than Texas. 
Bike 2:54:43  - Texas was 2:57:10

I'm totally smitten with myself at how steady my bike split was.  The two loop course was gentle rolling hills.  First loop 1:27:00, 2nd loop 1:27:43.  This is what happens when you only look at your watts rather than speed.

I learned that I must ride outside during the week or else my bike split will be less than my best. 
I learned that I did all that I could with what I had in training.  With limited time you can still train for a halfiron and do pretty well. 

My run was 1 minute slower than Texas. 
Run 1:50:26  - Texas was 1:48:18.

Total time 5:32:54 (Texas was 5:34:??)..  two measly minutes faster. 

I'm not gonna lie.. I was not toooo happy about my time.  That said, I have to understand and accept that I just didn't do all of the training that it takes to go a lot faster.  I had to limit my training to 10 or so hours per week in order to have a semblance of balance in my life.  That's how it goes people. :) 



One can't not know who Glen Campbell is!  I was shocked and horrified with the revelation that Mary did not know who Glen Campbell was!  So, thinking I was special for knowing something she didn't,  I pulled up Glen on youtube gave a listen to Glen's lovely Galveston song while walking the corridor of the Holiday Inn Resort, our home base.

As soon as we arrived I noticed we were situated right across the street from the open ocean which, to us, came in really handy for the very first wet suit try-on and dip in open water.  We did that on Saturday morning after coffee but before breakfast.

I stayed on track leading up the race as well as possible taking all of my usual precautions.  Drink lots, each well, rest as much as possible, get on the course.. I think I did pretty well.. We even watched a really crappy movie starring John Travolta. He played a mobster who lent money to a bunch of nerdy, dorky, guys. Mary seemed to like it.

Galveston is flat and windy. We road part of the course on Friday and to our surprise felt really awesome.....   on the way out.... on the way back was a different story entirely.   Head wind, cross wind, whatever you want to call it wind. There was just lots of wind.  I knew there would be wind but this wind was pretty strong on Friday.  I mentally prepared myself to really suffer on Sunday in at least one direction.  There was even the possibility that the wind could be a head wind in both directions. Holy crap!  I prayed to the Wind Gods for the best possible scenario -  a head wind in one direction.

We finally got to the race at 5:20ish which meant we were herded to the 2nd parking lot, a half mile walk to the start. For us this was not an issue because our bikes were already in transition with the help of TBT. Yay!  AND, while walking we caught up with a very nice man from somewhere else.... He said that the great winds had changed to a tail wind on the way back and a head wind on the way out.  I was EXTREMELY happily cautious with this new information lest I let my guard down and get blind-sided. 

The swim took place in a protected part of the Gulf of Mexico, a bayou. Sweet.  The website said white sandy beach start. Ummm they just forgot to mention the jump from the pier one must make before heading over to the start.  Beach start my ass!  I held my goggles to my face and jumped feet first.  No biggy really.  The swim was the usual thrashing that I try to avoid but never seem to avoid. My goggles came lose after a dude swam over me half way through the swim.  I mean seriously. At any rate I felt I had to stop too many times to see where the hell I was going. I need more practice with the swim.  

Swim split: 00:43:34 (1:51/100yds)..  That's about right for me but I wanted faster of course! 34th in my division

Even with the head-wind on the way out I did not feel right about pushing to my designated wattage. My legs were feeling the elements of the day the minute I got on the bike. I found the wattage I could push for 56 miles and stuck with that.  It was my first ride outdoors since October 2015 and never have I raced in these conditions before.  That said, I was loving being back out there racing in such an enormous competitive event!

Texas was windy but it was also flat as a pancake except for this one bridge that was really rough. I noticed several lost bottles and nutrition packets strewn about.  I was praying to GOD again that I would not lose my nutrition on this section of road for we needed every ounce of liquid and salt we could consume that day.  It was in the mid 80s after all.

I reached the turn-around with all fuel in tact in about 1:31:56 (18 mph).  Not too bad but not great! I can't say I wasn't really excited to reach that turnaround!  56 miles still seems a tab bit long to me. On the way back I had that tail wind so my time back was 1:25:14 (19.85 mph)

Bike Split:  2:57:10   12th in my division  

I ran out of T2 with my helmet on!  Thankfully a spectator noticed and yelled loud enough for me to hear him and for me to realize that he was yelling at me and not someone else.    After disposing of my helmet back in T2 I ran the 3 loop course as well as I could.   I never gave up the fight even when it became boiling hot and I could feel the energy slipping away.  The cement pavement had a way of sucking the daylights out of me on certain parts of the course. But then other parts were quite nice with a little downhill and shade.  I enjoyed the run course while consuming as much salt, water, gatorade, GU, and Red Bull as I could. The ice water felt delicious when poured over my head.

Run Split: 1:48:18 (8:22 pace)   place in division unknown

Total Race Time: 5:34:00

I believe I was 5th in my age group but my official race results are still not up.  Evidently my chip malfunctioned after the swim causing only my swim and T1 times to record. Thankfully, I had a great Garmin file with all of my splits to send IM and I'm waiting for their response.

I had a very enjoyable experience and am looking forward to Patriot in June.


Tri Brain

I have tri brain.  Tri brain develops over months of training.  You become clearly focused on training. So much so, that one morning you look in the mirror and your eyes are steady and straight and you have no expression.  You reach for your toothbrush as if you are in transition.  Calculated and thoughtful.  Quick but not out of control.  When you can see the tri brain written all over your face you are ready.



Anyone who has ever trained for a half or a full triathlon can attest to the fact that this tri-training thing can somewhat take over your life.  You are working and training most of the time. Or, if you have children and do not work then you are caring for the kiddos and training. That's pretty much it for a little while and hopefully you can hold it all together.  Maybe you can squeeze in some hobby time or a couple of dinners out or writing a blog post but the majority of the time you are planning your entire days around your next workout.  Maybe not everyone has a tight schedule with which they must balance but this age grouper sure does.

One day you wake up and suddenly these thoughts keep running through your mind over and over:  

How can I save more time?  Is it at all possible to get away with not showering after a workout?  I mean I could bring a washcloth to work and perform a mini scrub down.   I can get away with just blush and mascara today.  I can't wait for the weekend so I can have time to blowdry my hair for once.  I think I should start to run in my swim suit.. That'll save me 5-10 invaluable minutes when I have to run then swim..  I can't wait to have time to make my smoothie after a workout.  Drat! I have to set the alarm for 4:30 every day this week. Drat! 

I think that my training,  combined with me being a business owner working full-time, my life becomes temporarily narrow.  Like a tunnel.  It can be lonely during this time as I find myself having to decline events and going to bed earlier and earlier as sleep needs increase.   The other day I had a scheduled DAY OFF from training and it felt like a holiday.  OMG I can stay up till 9 PM???? This is AMAZING!!  Let's PARTY!

These days when I look around my immediate area I wonder where all the triathletes are!  I mean why do I have to do this by myself?  Luckily, Mary is still tri-ing and we train together on occasion but even that has diminished as workouts increase. Workouts are tailored, schedules are tight, and once again I find myself training on my own for the most part.

On the bright side of things I was able to set some lofty goals this year after taking most of last year off from triathlon.  I LIKE triathlon training. (most of the time)  It feels really good to finish a kiss-ass workout knowing I am getting stronger and fitter.  I feel healthier and happier when I can train. This time around  I have a new coach Ange.  Ange is amazing in her guidance.  I'm so grateful to have her in my corner.  Training is going very well and I'm managing the challenges that life throws at me on a regular basis.

I'm currently training for the Memorial Herman Half Iron the weekend of April 9th in Galveston TX. This will be an adventure.  I'm totally psyched and can't wait to see how I do.


Kick off to IM training

IM training starts with rest and a new strength program.  I personally do not use a gym with all that equipment and prefer to do my weights at home.  I have dumbbells, a bench, stretch cords, buso ball, and a yoga mat.  My  new strength routine consists of 8 exercises. Here they are and how I will do them at home:

1. Lat Pull downs.  Replacement for lat pulls downs is pull ups.  Here is how I will do pull ups with just dumbbells. 

2.  Leg Extensions:

3. Flat Dumbell bench press

4. Leg Curl on stability ball:

5. Dumbell pullover on stability ball:

6. Bicep curl:

7. Tricep Pushdown on stability ball:

8. Prone Raise:

9. Ab- curl up, reverse  & oblique curl, crunch, roman chair.

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