Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The word "marathon" isn't in my dictionary.

Yeah, that's what I used to say. Of course, that was 3 marathons ago...

Many years ago I was looking for a good way to lose weight (okay, I'm STILL looking for a good way to lose weight but, that is a story for another time). It had been about two years since the birth of my first child and the baby weight wasn't coming off as quickly as I had planned. I wanted my college body back and I was determined to find a way to do it!

I tried getting some workout videos and even went as far as letting Billy Blanks work me to death in his Tae Bo program. I thought, hey, if I can do Tae Bo then maybe I should try Tae Kwon Do (TKD)! Although I enjoyed TKD, I always felt that it wasn't really helping me slim down but rather bulk up. Yeah, I could kick some booty in the sparring ring but it really wasn't what I was looking for to help me slim down.

One day I was chatting with a friend and she suggested that I start running. I laughed - out loud - and explained to her that I couldn't even run around the wrestling room (very small wrestling room) as a warm up for TKD. After a few short laps I would be so out of breath I could barely perform my warm-up kicks! A runner, not a chance! She encouraged me to go out and give it a try "for her."

Her suggestion to me was to throw on my running shoes and head out the door. I should run until I felt I couldn't run anymore then stop and walk. Then, after I caught my breath and felt like running again, pick up the pace and run some more. I was running to the crack in the sidewalk then walking to the lamp post then running to the fire hydrant then walking to the crosswalk then running then walking then running then walking. I came home and immediately got in my car to see how far I had gone then I rushed back home and called my friend with the news that I had run 2 miles my first time out! Her first words to me were "YOU ARE A RUNNER!" Again, I laughed...out loud!

It felt a little crazy thinking I was actually becoming a runner but I wanted to challenge myself. I always love a challenge so I considered my first 5K. As I began training, my friend gave me several pieces of advice along the way. One of the best pieces of advice was to get a gait analysis at a running store and get good shoes. That was really key to my decision to continue running because now I felt more comfortable in my shoes and I wasn't so wore out after my runs (well, not at the pace I was going anyway...).

Several months later I ended up running my first 5K. I was excited about the feeling of crossing the finish line and it encouraged me to sign up for longer distances. I guess you can say I officially started calling myself a runner after that race in 2002. I began signing up for 5K’s, 5 milers, 10K’s, half marathons and then by October of 2003 I was training for my first marathon. What, a marathon? Was I crazy? (yeah, don’t answer that one…) What had I just gotten myself into?

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to run my first marathon due to an injury but I didn't let that stop the goal I had in my mind to run a marathon. In October of 2004 I ran my first marathon - the Marine Corps Marathon (Washington, DC). What a wonderful race; great organization, great crowd support...I couldn't ask for more. Well, maybe I could ask for one more thing: Gatorade instead of Poweraid at the water stops. One thing I knew prior to the race but didn’t follow through on was the “rule” that you aren’t supposed to change your race-day routine from your training routine. Of course, after 20+ miles your mind sometimes isn’t functioning quite the same. So, I ended up, shall we say, "leaving my mark" 9 times on that race course. Yeah, you heard me - 9 times - but I was determined nothing was going to keep me from finishing that race so I said a little prayer and ended up crossing the finish line and became an official marathoner!

After having a second child, I decided it was time to make up for the horrible run time from my first marathon so, in 2007, I entered two marathons in the same year. Long story short, I have cut my marathon time not by minutes but by over an hour!

So, I accomplished what I never thought I would. Not only have I added the word "marathon" to my dictionary but now I was ready to move on to something bigger. What would it be? There are local ultra marathons just waiting for me to sign up. Would I be brave enough or strong enough to finish a 50 or 100 miler? I seriously considered it. However, there was a bigger bug out there that was ready to catch me. I knew I could run...I didn't have a good bike but I knew how to ride...I've been swimming my whole life...HEY, what if I consider a triathlon??? Well, that is exactly what I did. In 2008 I competed in five triathlons and after winning some hardware in my division I knew this was the sport(s) for me (yeah, I have a competitive nature!). And, dare I say it…the word “IronMan” isn’t in my dictionary?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

BRATS Salute to the Military Tri - Race Report

Racer: Tracy Endo
Race: BRATS Salute to the Military Tri
Date: Sunday, May 24, 2009
Location: Warrenton, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - Sprint Distance
Age Group: Female: 40-44
Time: 1:36:31
Age Group Place: 3

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Race Report:

Race morning

Craziness! I had set my alarm on my cell phone (my normal mode of waking) for 4:50 a.m. but for some reason decided to set the alarm on my watch for 5:00 a.m. just in case. Well, it's a good thing I set that second alarm because, for some unknown reason, my cell phone alarm didn't sound. I was all prepared to grab a few things and head out the door but I also had to wait for my son to gather his items since he was a last-minute racer in the kid's tri. So, we got a little of a late start. Thankfully, my GPS said the race was only 40 minutes away (compared to the hour which I thought I would have to drive). So, we made it there on time. There was a lot of confusion at this race. I, along with many other racers, parked in a certain parking area only to be told (after we had all unloaded our bikes and were getting ready to walk over to the race) that we had to move our cars. This became delay #2 for me. So, we move our cars and get our gear down to the transition area. Many of us started walking over to get our markings but then had to turn around to get our actual bib in order to pick up our chip. Delay #3. Even though the delays were small they all started adding up and I found myself rushing at the last minute to get where I needed to be and that put me under a little more stress than I wanted at the start of the race.

Swim (300 yds) + Transition 1: 7:48

I'm still bad at guessing how fast I'm going to swim but this time I felt I had a better idea than before. I was seeded pretty close to the front so I was a little worried about that. However, once I got in the pool (outdoor pool...I thought it was going to be indoor...) there were only 2 people that passed me. So, I guess I wasn't too far off. I felt I could have done better in the pool after spending all winter following the "Total Immersion" program but I still felt is was an acceptable time.

Probably one of the slowest transitions I've had in a while. Had a short run to transition. Once I got there, my legs felt a little wobbly, I didn't make fast changes, but it was satisfactory. I'm not sure about the exact breakdown of swim vs T1 but I think the swim was in the 5:45 area and the rest was T1.

Bike (12.4 mi) + Transition 2: 47:32 Average speed: 15.7 m/hr

Not the bike ride I expected. First, I had an issue with my tire which I thought I fixed before the race. My tire wasn't lined up correctly and the brake pad kept touching it making it difficult, at times, to pedal. On top of that, I haven't been in the saddle much this year thanks to the lovely weather and my lack of desire to ride in the cold. There weren't any major hills - just rolling hills - but my energy was almost drained half way through. I couldn't believe how exhausted I was at this point in the race. After about 1-2 miles of huffing and puffing I finally got a burst of energy and started peddling away. It wasn't the bike ride I wanted but it would have to do.


Not too shabby. Everything seemed to go just as planned...only slower.

Run (3.1 miles): 38:14 Pace: 12:20

Well, the good news is, I actually finished the run. The bad news is about 1/2 mile into my run my IT band (that's what I'm assuming it was) started giving me some MAJOR PAIN! I've never had IT band issues and the pain I was feeling was a pain I've never had before. I stopped and stretched a little, walked a little, ran a little, had pain the entire time. The pain went from bad to worse to bad to "I can deal with this for 3 miles." I prayed that God would let me cross the finish line and I would give him all the glory for this race. I had to drop my pace considerably and I had an obvious limp but, I crossed the finish line with my limp! YEAH GOD!

Summary and lessons learned

Always set two alarm clocks
Always stretch...stretch...stretch...