Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Las Palomas Rocky Point Triathlon

I've been to Rocky Point for this race uh, I think 6 times now. First 2 years I did the 10k. 3rd time my IT band was too messed up to do anything. Next time I did the relay (bike leg) & then the next year they cancelled the race unfortunately. We missed the first year of the new course and new race put on by Red Rock, but Shane & I went back last year & did the 10k. The race was too close to Ironman CDA to risk anything... Like, ehm - sting rays.

I've said over and over I would NEVER do this triathlon. It's hot, it's humid, the weather is totally unpredictable, and well the ocean just HATES me. I've had a couple really bad experiences and I just didn't feel like tempting fate.

Fast Forward a few good races, a bunch of pep talks, and a new found confidence low and behold I'm registered. I was in good shape. I was riding (road bike however), swimming, and running. But, I wasn't exactly following a train plan, or training for a triathlon. I forgot what a brick was so I threw one in during the 'taper.'

I wanted to have fun, get over my fear and just get to the finish line post race BEER.

Shane & I got into town Thursday afternoon so we could enjoy some drinks before trying to sober up Friday. Trust me, when you enjoy going to Mexico as much as we do, the sober thing is a challenge.

Friday morning the water looked like THIS: I just had to take a picture from our roof so you all could see the glassy water...... I was worried the good weather came a day early.

Sure enough the wind free day was short and sweet and the winds starting whooping it up by 10:30 am.... Gusts up to 25mph. On our test ride out at the resort and mini-me was being throw all over the place with the wind.

We got home, had a pasta dinner and I started the inevitable FREAK out. My heart was racing, I was getting totally scared and nervous and wondering why I got myself into this. I barely slept. I tried to visualize perfect waters, no sting rays and not dying of heat stroke....

Eventually it was 5am & I was wide awake. Got up, did the normal routine and shortly after we were on our way to the race.

Our wonderful friends at Racelab quickly adopted us and allowed us to use their transition area. It was great.

The pre-race picture.

Somehow I just got a little more calm. The water was nice and calm, although the temps were REALLY warming up. The boys started off first and 4 mins after was my wave. I took a few steps (shuffles) and jumped in. I could see the sand the whole way, but was a little scared to look and see any sting rays. I just tried to stay calm & cool about it and not freak out.

Besides not being able to see anything out of my goggles I had a good swim for the most part. The salt water bugged me a little bit, and some waves made me a little sea salt, but overall not too bad. I had a lot of trouble sighting. My goggles were fogged up besides the very bottom part so I had to pretty much STOP and get my whole upper body out of the water to find the buoys. I looked quite a few times, because for the most part I was swimming by myself, and it made me nervous. I think that most people got a little too far inside with the current - every time I looked I seemed to be in pretty good shape.

I got to shore, stood up and got my goggles off. I knew ahead of time that the swim split would include a .25mile run up a sand hill and I (mentally) needed to know my swim split. My goal was about a 25mins swim. My watch said dead on 26mins, so after all the fear I had I was pretty happy.

Not happy enough to run my ass quickly up that hill into transition..... Just happy.

The rest of the race is just funny. When you train for Ironman, and you don't race so much, you kinda learn the importance of speedy transitions and getting breathless and wobbly as you move from each sport.

The bike was good. I only road my TT bike a couple times in the last 5 months so I felt fast, but wasn't totally comfortable. I had one girl in MY AG ahead of me, and close enough had I known what my body would do on the run I would have put in a little more effort and caught her, but honestly, I was just having fun out there. My goal for this race was just to do a steady 25min loop. I was pretty close, with a little slower second loop but came in at 1:16ish)

Took my sweet time in transition again. Inhaler, shoes, etc. Actually, I don't know what the heck I was doing :-) A min or so into the run and I had another girl come booking by me in my age group. I tried to stick with her running in the 8's, but she was slowly pulling away. I was getting REALLY hot. My face was just burning, although my legs felt pretty good.

Until mile 3 they felt good. Then, lack of brick workouts, the heat and just lack of racing tris took on a whole new level and I started to bonk. I poured water over my head at the aid stations and tried to keep moving. I went for my gel and did start to feel a bit better, but my pace had really slowed with the steep ups and downs on the golf course. I just didn't know how to run them very well...

Fortunately though I could see we were heading back to resort, hoping the rollers were over and I could pick up the pace a bit. Then I realized we were going a little too much back towards the beach and started asking everyone if the course was short. We still had over 2 miles to go? No one really gave me a straight answer so I just followed.

The last half mile in deep send was a bitch. No other way to describe it. But, I made it. A shorter than planned run, but I was so happy I finally did it. And did just fine. And didn't die. OR drown. Or crash. Lessons learned people, never say never :-)

I didn't have stellar times by my account, however I did well and well enough to take 3/12 in my age group & 11/50 overall.

Post race drinks by the pool waiting for the awards ceremony.

Accepting my award. A salsa bowl, with tequila. Only I wasn't paying attention and spilled it ALL OVER the ground. Can you see the look on my face? I was ready for that drink darn it.

But, no worries - we had a post race celebratory short when we got back to the house. Because people, race or no race - this is how we roll in Mexico.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

my little mini-me

So, I'm not actually talking about mini-me the bike this time... It's my niece, miss Taylor. Look at the little Diva. This was Easter, which was also at my house my mom's birthday celebration... her Birthday is Thursday, the day we leave for Rocky Point for our race....

Head to toe this little one is ALL girl. Her pretty Easter Dress (shockingly NOT pink), the sunglasses, coach purse next to her. Oh, and if you didn't notice the shoes. She came in her most fancy 'heels' - her Ariel princess shoes, but of course you know, they were hurting her feet. She wondered if maybe she could borrow a pair of mine. Convenient, no? Pretty soon I'm going to have to start hiding the heels from her - she'll be taller than me in no time. I'm getting used to this happening.

So, she's all glammed up here, but what you don't know is what she had already done that day.....
I heard something about a 5am wakeup call to mom and dad because the Easter Bunny had come with vengeance. Eggs ALL over her room, and house & yard. There was some bargaining about resting a little bit more.... So the day started at 5:30am. Wonder who won that?

After all the candy and egg hunting festivities mom & Tay got on their bikes to meet her daddy halfway into his long run & ride home with him. The girl rode for 1:15mins! And after that she wasn't done..... She ran a half mile around the track.

Are you seeing where I'm going with this. The girl just needed 20mins in the pool and she's got her own triathlon. Not to mention more activity than 75% of the population.

She's SO my child. My sister just gave birth to her....and all that stuff that goes with it.

You see, this Saturday, while Shane & I will be competing in this.... Miss Taylor will be having her own race day.

I'm so bummed I'm going to miss her first race, but hopefully it won't be her last! And, who knows..... She seemed to like this finish line an awful lot... Just saying.

Monday, April 6, 2009

El Tour de Phoenix

Playing with the big kids was fun. For 40miles it was fun. Too bad the race was 72 miles.....

But before we get to that fun talk, that me preface this by saying I was a wee bit intimidated when I got to the start of the race & there was NO one yet in the Platinum section. I certainly didn't belong starting at the very front of the pack, so I parked my bike (embarrassed a bit that I was one of only a couple people in the section) a few rows back from the coveted "VIP" section.

Apparently, when you work your butt off and get the Platinum card - it's for a reason. You don't have to get to the start of el tour races at butt-ass early in the am to line up. Who knew? OK, so I did kinda know that, but this was Shane's first race and I didn't want him to have to line up at the back of the back just so I could get 20mins more beauty sleep. And, who doesn't think getting up at 4am is fun?

Oh, and another totally random thing - Am I like a miniature cyclist? Friday night when I was standing with the 200+ other riders waiting to get our platinum card, I got lost in the crowd. Like, I'm standing there looking around and UP at every other person in there. I think I hang out with short people for a reason. Then I don't feel so short. That or 4" heels work nicely.... but not pre-race day.

Whatever, like little J said to me last night - I'm quicker to "stop, drop & roll" in case of a fire... Or something that, that was after a Big J margarita and um-something glass o' wine.

I'm really getting off on a tangent now....

Back to the race - I finally get myself lined up behind a few rows of people. I've never seen so many men wearing coordinating outfits, I must say. Even if it was all lycra. White Lycra even. I'm just saying....

6:30am, start of el tour de Phoenix. OMG, my lungs, OMG this is fast. OMG my HR is 178. OMG we are going 33MPH. OH SHIT where did my hoods go? WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO????? OH no, not NOW -

5miles into the race & my handlebars have dropped at least 2inches. I can not ride on my hoods. Choices -
1. Stop. This is hurting, I'm out of my league. THERE IS NO FLIPPING WAY I CAN RIDE 67 MILES on my drops.
2. SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP................

And, this is how the first 30+miles of my day went.
Hang on, just a little longer...
Just make it to the first big hills
Are we really going 28mph UP this false flat
I shouldn't be with this pack, maybe I should fall back with the people behind me
SHIT there is NO ONE behind me
OMG. I must move up a few spaces

And then I looked at my watch. 30miles - 1:03. SO THIS is what playing with the big boys is like. Wow. Impressive. I'm still so far out of my league, but it's been great while it's lasted.

I couldn't believe it. I held on to the lead pack until the top of the first big climb. about 40miles..... I had wanted to give up for about 30mins, but I didn't. I found a small pack of people on the descent and we helped each other out until about mile 45. A guy pulling 2 girls came by & we jumped on their tail. Only, I was struggling. Struggling BAD - I had nothing. No more gears. No more momentum. I was bonking at 45miles.

I suppose this is what happens when you train SLOW with only 2 50milers, and NO anaerobic work.

I had a few small groups pass me during my 20 mile bonk. Including my husband. They all were incredibly nice to me. Tried to get me to grab their wheels, tried to give me that mental push. I wasn't upset, I wasn't angry, I just WAS.

I laughed at myself, I just TRASHED myself in that first 40miles. I know I could have picked up a better draft by tucking in the middle of the group, but for my own safety and lack of experience I stayed to the outside and worked a LOT harder than I needed to. It was the right thing for me to do, being my first time at this kinda rodeo.

I was proud for being a triathlete, playing in the roadie world & doing it well.

I have to commend the cycling community, at least the ones that I encountered. I've had some very unpleasant meetings out on the roads when I'm on my TT bike - They have been nothing but rude and mean, like triathletes are below them somehow. However, just like El Tour de Tucson - the athletes out there were fantastic. Nice, helpful & supportive.

Over those 20miles of bonking I just pretended I was in an Ironman. No drafting, no sprinting, just plugging away at the miles one by one. I already did the math, and I made up so much time in the first half that I could avg as low as 12-13mph for the rest of the ride and still come in with a Platinum time (3:45). I also calculated when I saw Shane & how if he kept up the pace he could get his platinum card as well!

Finally around mile 60 or so I got a started to redeem myself. People were REALLY struggling up over the last climb & I started to really pass them without trying too hard. I figured if I'm feeling ok now, I might as well try to pick it up. Only about 10miles left....

I saw a couple of guys ahead of me starting to move as the climb was peaking. I found another gear & caught up to them. I stayed on their wheels for a min or so, but realized I had more to give. I broke out in front of them & held a nice 26-28mph pull into a headwind.

Finally, I got my legs back. Another few guys caught us & came up next to me & said let's take turns. We now had a good paceline going & worked together for the last miles of the race. It ended up just being 3 of us as the headwind picked up & we weren't' letting up on our speed. We mad the second to last turn & I was spent. My two buddies were picking it up again, and I just didn't feel the need to trash myself to save 1min off my time. I was already in ahead of my goal time of 3:30 & wanted to just relax & flush out my legs.

When I crossed the finish line Shane was there - He just shook his head. Poor guy missed the Platinum time by less than 3mins. He too had a bonk (fortunately it was more than half way through the race).

We both finished the race very proud. We basically started re-learning how to ride again, with the help of our friend James. No speed work, not many miles & still fighting our bikes that are too big.

Not much soreness - just my arms/wrists are very tender and sore from my bars dropping. And, some soreness in my calves. Pretty sure that has something to do with the 30mph sprints for 90mins :-)

72miles, 3:26:15, 20.9mph - 18/141females - pretty sure 10+ of those passed me during my bonk :-)

Perimiter Cycling puts on a great race & I would be HAPPY to make 1-2 of them and annual event on my race schedule!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Commitment issues

Where the heck did the first 3 months of this year go? I just finished my first quarter billing, and just can't figure out where the time went. It's pretty exciting, because the LaPan's have a lot going on in the next few months. Rocky Point trips, Vegas (bach party), Utah to see our peeps - oh and a race or something, a couple races - and then the big summer trip to Coeur d'Alen.

It's all happening so fast, and I'm exciting, but at the same time not quite ready!

Then there's also the big IM hanging over my head. Fortunately the race has not sold out. I don't know what the heck I'm waiting for. I'm sure after I finish babbling on this post I'll probably go sign up.

It's more of a mental thing, I think. The fact that this year was all about non-long racing. Healing the body. Getting some speed back & gaining the love for RACING back. I feel like things have gone really well thus far, and I just kinda got my bubble bursted when it became official that Ironman St George would take place in May. All my buddies signed up. I said I would sign up. Yet, something is holding me back & I can't quite figure out what it is.

Is it the fact that I'm scared my body won't be healed yet? That I won't be able to do the race to my full potential (again). Then of of course I've had IM Canada in my head and I really really wanted it to be my next one. And alas, they put out the race course and oh my holy hell - the hills. The hills on the bike don't scare me. The run is what scares me. Running down 500ft drop in just a few miles can not bode well for the quads, and IT bands.

My running has gone so well lately, that the thought of toeing another Ironman start and not having the race I want to have is well, a bit frustrating for the lack of better words.

It's not just Ironman I'm having trouble with. I'm kinda having trouble committing to anything. Maybe it's because I followed a training schedule for 2 straight years. To the T. Now, I'm just making it up as I go. It's fun. No stress, no struggles to figure out when to do what & for how long. I just make it up as I go and it's been a lot of fun!

I know deep in my heart I will be sad and disappointed if I don't do the race. Shane says he's in, he's just waiting to do Community Fund so he doesn't have to spend the funds right now. If it fills up before I end up on Active.Com plopping $550 on the race, then I guess that's what I'll do now.

I'm also hoping that the bike race we're doing in 2 days will fire me up a little. Get me going and fired up for the next year.... I know I love Ironman, but how fun does a 6hr ride really sound right now is really weighing on me. Maybe taking a year off wasn't such a great idea? Has it made me loose my mojo?

Or, I wonder if finally having all the injury pain subsiding a bit is outweighing the benefit of crossing that finish line and hearing your name followed by "you are an ironman."

I'm not a wishy washy person by day, so hopefully I can get out of my head & figure out what it is I really want to do!