Wednesday, June 18, 2014

First tri of the season = success

No, I didn't podium. 

No, I didn't PR. 

Have you guys not been reading my previous blog posts? 

But, my first race of the season WAS a success! 

Here's the race report:

Race: Rev3 Williamsburg 
Date: June 15, 2014
Location: Jamestown, VA
Race Type: Olympic distance: 0.9 mi swim, 24 mi bike, 6.2 mi run
Division: Age Group 45-49 
Time: 3:34

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My kiddos came with me this year for the race so I was super thrilled to spend time with them! Of course, when they realized they had to wake up at 4:15 am to go with me to the race the thrill pretty much ended. So, I had to find special things to do with them as a bribe, of sorts! 

As part of the bribe, we somehow ended up at the Yankee Candle store talking to Santa (don't ask!):

Anyone that knows me, knows that I screw up my Rev3 race tats almost every single time. I somehow forget to take the little plastic backing off first before trying to adhere them to my body. Here was last year's screw up:

And, this year's screw up:

Maybe one day I'll finally get it right!


We were up super early and at the race venue by 4:45 am (kids were only half way awake, I believe). On the way to the race venue, I received a text from my friend Jan that said: "Michelle's race verse: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 Cor 9:24." Although I knew I wouldn't win the triathlon on this day, my success (i.e. prize) would come from completing the race. That's all I wanted on this day: completion of the race.

It was great hanging with both my Team Z and Rev3 teammates pre race as always:

Teammates and the most wonderful race director ever: Eric Opdyke

Feeling some super shaky leg muscles as they flexed!

More flexing (while I'm not...)

Swim (0.9 miles): 35:31 8th in Age group
The swim felt great! The water temps were about 80 degrees and, since I have been training in my gym pool at 84 degrees (yep, it's hot!), 80 felt wonderful! No wetsuit means a great swim for me. Wetsuits are just too constrictive to me. 

I felt pretty comfy during my swim. It was the first time EVER (on anything longer than a sprint) that I didn't get a cramp of some sort during the swim. But, don't ask me to recreate that because I honestly have no idea why I didn't cramp. I've been trying to make adjustments to my swim form so maybe I'm finally doing something right! 

T1: 4:23
The trip from the water to T1 is pretty long and this year I decided to take my time up the hill so I'd have some energy for the bike because I knew that would be my fastest leg.

Bike (24 miles) : 1:27:33 6th place in Age group; 17.13 pace
Even a year later, I'm still not quite sure how to use the multisport feature on the Garmin. So, I really had no idea how fast I was going on the bike (or the run, for that matter). So, just like last year in Williamsburg, I basically raced "naked" again! When will I ever learn!
Overall, the bike leg felt pretty good but, if I would have had my Garmin, I think I probably would have pushed the pace more. Not too shabby to get 6th place in the bike, though.

T2: 2:11
Pretty uneventful. I did put on socks which I normally don't do and I had to actually tie my shoe laces (which I haven't done in YEARS at a race! There were times in this race where I definitely felt like a newbie again!

Run (6.2 miles): 1:24 8th place in Age group
I knew the run would be my toughest part. This is where I had to dig deep. During my training, I hadn't put more than 2 miles together in months. Each time I'd go out to run, I'd get emotional and break down bawling (you read my last blog post, right?). I was hoping my race would be different...but it wasn't. The first time I felt the anxiety coming over me, I stopped and walked. I could barely breathe. Then I heard my awesome teammate Brittany yell at me from behind. She asked how I was doing (knowing some of the things I've gone through lately) and I said I was SO GLAD she was here at this very moment! Truth was, God placed her there at that very moment. I was struggling...hard...and she helped get me through my first anxiety attack on the run. I stopped and walked again...then I looked at my arm...

My pain was temporary...

I started running again and a few miles later, the anxiety hit me again (you have GOT to be kidding me!!!). That's when God brought my teammate Kate into my view! I can tell her gait a mile away so I yelled at her in the distance! We high-fived as we went by each other and I knew everything would be okay from that point on. 

I walked a LOT on this leg of the race. Walking to calm down my heart rate from the anxiety and walking because my legs hadn't run this far in a long time. I ran into Brittany again and she said "Run the race with endurance" (a partial quote from Hebrews 12:1: "Therefore, having so vast a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and throwing off everything that hinders us and especially the sin that so easily entangles us, let us keep running with endurance the race set before us, "). I continued to plod closer to the finish line.

The last half mile of the race, however, was the most memorable. As a youth triathlon coach (and coach of my 8 yo daughter), I encourage (maybe even "encourage loudly") my athletes in races. Knowing this would be an emotionally hard race for me, my daughter walked about 1/2 mile from the finish line and met me there. She knew I was struggling physically when she saw me. She said "mom, I know you can run faster than this." I said "no, honey, not today." She said "okay, we can run slow but if you stop and walk I WILL YELL AT YOU BECAUSE I CAME ALL THE WAY OUT HERE TO RUN WITH YOU!" I laughed and said "okay, honey!" So, we ran...slowly...but, we ran. As we got up to the finish line she wanted me to sprint (which we normally do together)...but not today. It was just a slow run into the finish.

My amazing son was at the finish line taking pictures of us (which he knew I'd love!) and cheering me on!

Then, as I crossed the finish line, I threw up my hands and yelled a big "WOO HOO" in honor of my friend, Michelle. Seconds later, the waterworks began...and I freaked out the finish line volunteers...but...I finished.

Summary & Lessons Learned
  • If you want your body to feel good during and at the end of a race you should train for your race! Duh.
  • Read directions and learn how to apply race tats before screwing it all up!
  • Learn how to use the multisport function on my Garmin ASAP!
  • Teach my daughter how to become an entrepreneur because she will be a great triathlon coach one day!
  • Be thankful every day that my kids support me with this crazy triathlon addiction!

Friday, June 13, 2014

My first race of 2014

I'm unprepared. 

I know it.

I was supposed to race Rev3 Williamsburg 70.3 but dropped it down to the Olympic distance for this weekends race. That's how unprepared I am!

The past few months...okay, let's get real...the past two years...have been difficult. They say (yeah, I know, who are "they") the top 20 most stressful events in life are:

  • Death of a family member
  • Terminal illness (one’s own or a family member)
  • Physical incapacitation, chronic pain, or chronic illness
  • Drug or alcohol abuse (self)
  • Drug or alcohol abuse (family member, partner)
  • Divorce
  • Marriage
  • Loss of job or job change
  • Moving house
  • Change of school (primarily for children or teens, but this can effect adults, too)
  • Primary relationship problems (spouse or parent/child/sibling)
  • Persistent Relationship Problems, non-primary (difficulties with other family members, conflict and loss of friends, difficulties with coworkers)
  • Academic problems (poor grades, inability to retain information, problems with teachers, unable to meet deadlines)
  • Occupational problems (lateness, absences, problems with boss or coworkers)
  • Victim of abuse
  • Victim of crime
  • Criminal actions towards others
  • Abusive actions towards self or others
  • Extreme loneliness/lack of community membership or friendships
  • Severe financial problems (including tax problems!)

I've got a few of those (and then some) covered! So, not only do I know my stress/anxiety levels are really high right now but, I also realize my motivation to train because of my stress/anxiety is really low! That, my friends, is a bad formula for success...or is it?

I can either let my situations get me down or I can let them strengthen me (i.e. "success"). It's a CHOICE! I'm reading a book right now (thanks to my friend, Jan!) called "Choose Joy because Happiness isn't Enough" by Kay Warren. If I'm honest, I'd say that CHOOSING joy at this time in my life is REALLY difficult. Some days I just want to be mad/sad and stay that way!

Choosing joy is something I have to purposefully do each and every day. Will there be days of sadness? Oh, heck yeah. If I'm honest, there hasn't been a single run workout in the past (almost) 3 months where I don't just break down and start crying somewhere along the way. That kinda scares me for this weekends race. Not only from a standpoint of "will I even be able to make it through 6.2 miles of running because my run workouts have been suffering the most" but "will I be able to make it through 6.2 miles of running (or run/walking) without breaking down in a sobbing mess of tears!!! And then my stress/anxiety levels start creeping back up just thinking about it!

It's just where I am in my life right now. I get it. I try to hold it all together but there are days I just can't...and that's okay. My God, my family, my friends...they get it. They understand. I just hope the people at the finish line this weekend will understand, too! :)

So, this weekend, as I race my first triathlon of the season, I'm dedicating my race to people who have it way harder than I do right now. People who have lost someone very dear to them. I'll write their names on my arms. I'll pray for them now...during the race...and after the race. They are my inspiration for completing my race this weekend:

Ashley, Nick, Tori, Johnny, Zach, Benny, Melissa, Mike & Sam - you are my heroes. The lives of David, Michelle, and Jesse were taken from us too soon. They live on in our hearts and minds. I can't ever begin to understand your losses. I love you all!