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My First Triathlon!

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's taken longer than expected to get this down, but here goes!
I can't believe I'm actually a triathlete. I remember I dated a triathlete in college and I thought, while it was super cool to date one, why on EARTH would someone want to do that? Three sports? One right after the other? Yeah, I'll pass. And now...well, now I love it!!
It was a beautiful morning. We were lucky with weather - well, I wish it had been colder...that way it would have been cooler for the run, but anyway - and our triathlon group got super lucky and our reserved bike rack was the first one next to the transition exit, so we knew we'd have a quick jump out of transition. We all got our stuff together, and then lined up for the start of our waves. Mine was the last one, since I was racing in the Athena group, so I had a little while to wait...which was fine. :)

(waiting for my wave...saying hi to my family)
I wasn't horribly nervous about the swim. I'm a decently strong swimmer, and I had my coach/trainer/dearest friend in my wave with me, so I figured if I could keep her in my sight then I'd be good. Of course, the closer our wave got...the more nerves kicked in.

(And we're off!)
The swim went really well. I felt strong and didn't get too freaked out by people bumping into me or the one lady who tried to backstroke over me. (Sorry for kicking you ma'am...but my fight or flight instinct kicked in, and was fight.) I stayed with my coach the whole way. She was on my breathing side, so I just kept an eye on her bright pink sports bra when I breathed and let her deal with sighting for the most part. We actually caught the wave that started before us, and were out of the water in 18 minutes. My legs were a bit like jello coming out of the water and in the run to transition, which I didn't expect, but I just kept going. I'll train for that part a little better next time, and try to toughen my feet up a little for the run over the rocks, because that sucked! lol!

Thank goodess for whichever of the girls brought this little cooler...there was no way I could have stood up and put my shoes on at the same time. Transition took about 3-ish minutes, which I'd like to shorten in the future, but I think it was pretty decent for my first time. I didn't dally or waste time....just kept plugging along. It was really nice to be so close to the exit of transition so I didn't have to run with the bike very far. I did almost get crashed into by another lady who didn't quite have control of her bike right after she mounted it, so that was a little heart-attack causing, but fortunately she got it under control right at the last second. Phew!
My husband and I had driven the bike course beforehand, and I'm really glad we did so I knew what to expect on the bike. It was an out-and-back with rolling hills on a two lane highway, so we dealt with some traffic. I'm glad I did some rides out on our main roads instead of just on the trail, because I think I'd have been spooked with semis passing me if I hadn't. One poor girl got spooked by a semi (which was actually being really cool, giving us a wide berth) and she actually fell and broke the chain on her bike. I felt really bad for her.
The bike itself was kind of a blur...I know I passed a bunch of people, even on hills, which was pretty cool, and a few people passed me - but they weren't in my division, so I didn't care too much. emoticon The most exciting part of the bike was in the last two miles. I was cruising the last downhill when all of a sudden I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my abdomen. I looked down to see that I'd hit a bee and it had stung me....while going 35 mph. Holy crap that hurt!! The bee either disintegrated or bounced right off me, because just the stinger was sticking in my shirt, and while I was trying to figure out how badly I'd been stung (I'm mildly allergic - but have never been stung while exercising, so I was nervous) I ended up almost crashing on the shoulder. I pulled myself back together just in time though and got back on the road. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful after that, and I finished the 20 mile bike in 1:16.

Transition took about another 3 minutes and then I was out on the run. The run actually almost did me in. I was NOT expecting the course to be as hilly as it was, nor did I expect there to be absolutely no shade on the course. It was a warm day and we were out on dirt trails and fire roads, so it was dry and sticky. I was pouring water on me at every aid station, of which there were three. The run just sucked. I need to prep better with heat training and more hills next year. My hopes for a 40-45 minute 4 miles were quickly dashed, but I felt better toward the end - or just had the intense, burning desire to be DONE - and ended up finishing the 4 miles in I think 50 minutes? Honestly there were moments on that run where I just wanted to stop and quit, so I'll take whatever finish time I could get. emoticon

I was never so happy to see a finish line! My family and friends were waiting there for me, so I got a ton of hugs and then had to steal my finisher's medal back from my 6 year old, then we waited for the awards ceremony for the Athena division because my coach had finished second! I cheered when they called her name, and then was quite surprised to hear that with a finish time of 2:35 I had finished strong enough for 4th place! I absolutely couldn't believe it!! I very proudly went up to get my award, all endorphin rush and cheesy grin.

(My coach and I just after the ceremony.)
Afterward I grabbed some food and waited for the rest of our team to finish and then got my free post race massage, which was AMAZING! Gosh, those massages are totally worth it, because I didn't have any soreness the next day.
So now my award is up on my medal wall as another motivator for me to get up and run in the morning. I'm still surprised and so pleased I placed. It was such an adventure though, and I'm so glad I did it! Next year's goals include an olympic distance triathlon for sure....after that, we will see how it goes. emoticon
Thanks for listening sparkies!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LISAINMS 9/24/2012 11:32AM

    Way to go on a podium finish for your first tri! I have also been stung by a wasp while on the bike leg. Such an unnecessary distraction! Glad you did not experience a reaction. I'm not allergic, it just hurt like heck. Congratulations on your first race - I hope it's the first of many for you!

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    LOVED this blog... some running friends from SP are becoming triathletes so I'm thinking of it....

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NATPLUMMER 9/21/2012 3:24PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JENNIK2 9/21/2012 3:05PM


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FITFOODIE806 9/21/2012 1:26PM

    Congrats!!! It was so much fun to read this, just makes me want to go race! You did incredibly well and it sounds like you had a blast even with a bee sting. That's crazy!! I am super happy for you.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRICIAE2 9/21/2012 1:19PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ELOQUENTZ 9/21/2012 1:12PM

    Great job!

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Nine Months...Really?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Has it really been THAT long? Gosh, I swear it was just yesterday. Have faith, my sparkies, that I didn't give up and quit....I've still been running and exercising, I just haven't been on SP. Life got away from me I guess. That's all I can really think to say. The "doing" became more important than the "tracking" and time slipped away. Of course, the tracking is what keeps me accountable, and while I've still been working, I haven't seen nearly the progress I had whilst I was tracking, so here I am, yet again. So, where have I been since we talked last?
Well, I ran my half marathon! I was so happy. Running in Monterey was amazing, and I'm so glad to have chosen the Big Sur Half Marathon for my first big race.

The whole experience was amazing, and while I had hoped to have a better time, I was pleased with 2:40 for my first half marathon. Yes, I said first. I was bitten by the HM bug, and I've come to love the race and the distance.
While I was still recoving from "The Great Tripping Incident of 2011" I came to really enjoy least in class at the gym, so when our Holiday Bonus came in the adoring Hubs and I bought new bikes!

Cycling is so much fun! We are very lucky to have some amazing expanses of bike trails here in Sacramento, so we take advantage of them weekly for rides together. This, and my already strong love of swimming gave me the flicker of an idea to try triathlons, and I'm excited to say that my first triathlon is in September. I can't believe it!
Food and eating are still my weak points...which is a large reason why I think I need that accountability of tracking and having my online support system with you to keep me going. I'm excited to be recommiting myself to the other half of this healthy lifestyle I've been building for myself, and I'm working hard to build a stronger nutritional foundation.
Here goes nothing!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NATPLUMMER 6/20/2012 9:24AM

    emoticon What a great picture!!! Congratulations!!
Glad you're enjoying the cycling.

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JULESRULES78 6/20/2012 7:25AM

    Way to go! I am so glad to see you did a half marathon (I've dreamed about the Big Sur) and taking up cycling is awesome. Another something I still need to get into. I need a bike first emoticon I still track my exercise, but tracking food has become a real hassle since transitioning to a plant-based diet. Mainly because I have not take the time to enter my recipes into SP like I did when I first started.

I look like you are doing great and I am so happy to see that you have adopted fitness as part of your life. That is great!

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MRS.LAND 6/19/2012 7:54PM

    AMAZING!!! What an inspiration! I am just starting to run. I am hoping to run my first 5K on Labor Day (the Birmingham Color Run), My ultimate goal is to run a 1/2 marathon. Maybe the Rock & Roll half in New Orleans next march. Time will tell. Good luck with your endeavors and keep up the great work!

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LALMEIDA 6/19/2012 6:49PM


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Reunited (with running) and it feels so GOOD!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I am, once again, a runner!
Two months was far, far too long. One month of struggling and pushing too hard to overcome "The Great Tripping Incident of 2011" and not really coming out of it, and then another month of no running whatsoever to finally, actually HEAL. The good news was that the Doc told me my knee was strong and there was no structural damage. YAY! So I took the time off he recommended. I hated it...hated every second, but I did it, and I'm so ridiculously glad I did.
I've been back to running for 4 weeks now, and things are feeling good. I'm turtle slow - apparently the injury and the month off managed to ruin the running base I'd built, so I feel like I'm starting from scratch, but it just feels wonderful to be hitting the road again.
To try to stay healthy (i.e. NOT increase my mileage too much, too soon) and to give me a goal, I signed up for a *gulp* half marathon. I'd been toying with the idea before the injury, and the run isn't until the middle of November, so I thought, why not? Yeah, we'll see how this and my brilliant ideas.
Training is actually going well though. Recovering from the injury and stepping back into my shoes is actually FORCING me to appreciate my long runs....I can't run them fast(er) and I'm not supposed to, so my long slow run is currently my best friend. (Don't ask me how I feel after my weekly 2 miler on Tuesday...THAT'S where my lack of speed frustration comes in)
ANYWAY, I'm always on the lookout for fun new places to run that aren't the hilliest locations known to man (hello people, I'm supposed to live in the VALLEY, not the FOOTHILLS) and this weekend I came across a fantastic little run on my 5 miler. It's called the Humbug-Willow Creek trail in Folsom CA, and even though it's a "trail" it's actually paved and is quite nice. On new routes, I always manage to get lost in my run - finding out where each twist and turn takes me - but yesterday's run brought a kind of peace I haven't felt since the long run that ended with "The Great Trip". While these photos are not mine (found from Google) they may give you a little idea of how much I fell in love with this trail...

As evidenced by "creek" in the title, you wind around, next to, and over an awesome little creek and marsh through pretty much the whole run. This is one of the fantastic bridges you can run/bike/walk over on your path.

You weave over and around a pretty awesome abandoned railroad, and even though you're close to the main road in several places, you don't feel like you're in the middle of a growing city.

Getting lost in scenery like this is one of the things I love best about running!

A bonus to an awesome run location? I ran my whole five miles without ONE walking break...major bonus!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JULESRULES78 9/7/2011 8:39AM

    I love getting lost in the scenery too! So glad to see that you are back to running and that you have set a goal for yourself! Great job! BTW, my half marathon is in November too emoticon

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NATPLUMMER 9/6/2011 10:17PM

    Yay for running again!!! I'm off running right now (wonky foot) so I totally feel you.
Yay for a HM!!
Beautiful trail!!

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ROBYN168 9/6/2011 9:00PM

    Glad you are feeling good and back in the swing!

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APIRLRAIN888 9/6/2011 5:57PM

    woohooo just in time for the best time to run

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I miss my running shoes...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Not running sucks.

It wasn’t until I couldn’t run that I realized just what running has brought to my life – both mentally and physically. I’ve been super stressed…work is insane; husband lost his job, son is starting kindergarten, money concerns, yeah…ALL of it has been fun rolling around in my head. And what has been the loudest thought beating a pulse through my brain? “I need to run.”

I NEED to run? When did running go from a “have to” to a “need/want to”? When did running become my escape? When did it become the way I cope with everything? I can’t tell you when it changed…or even how. I just know that somehow running clears all the cobwebs and lays all the issues out before me, like nothing else can. When I run, everything is so clear. When I run, the problems are like the hills I’m running – I can address them, attack them and conquer them, leaving them behind me.

But what happens when the problem is that I can't run? As you may know, I injured my knee/lower leg in some freak tripping incident in the last quarter mile of my 5 mile run two Sundays ago. It didn't hurt immediately - I actually finished my run - but by day's end I was limping and the knee was weak. Do I know what's wrong? No. Yeah, I should go to a doctor....sadly, due to the aforementioned hubby's lack of a job I can't really afford an MRI and all that good stuff right now. It's not swollen - never has been - nor has it bruised. I can walk fine now (spent three days limping like I've never limped before), I can swim, cycle, use the Arc or Eliptical....but no running.

I'm whining...I KNOW I'm whining. I can exercise just fine, I can keep going, so why the hell amd I whining? Because the only thing I want to do is run.

I know I need to heal...I have no idea what needs healing, but I know healing must take place. I'm whining because I feel like I'm watching all my miles of progress slip away while I sit here with ice on my leg. ARGH! I'm frustrated! If I'd done this to myself through overtraining, too many miles or something related to me pushing too hard, it would somehow be easier to take, but the fact that I derailed myself with about an inch and a half of curb and not picking up my foot far enough....well, that's almost insulting.

I'm trying to not spiral into emotional eating or letting the rest of the life stress get the best of me. I'm trying to keep on track and just work through the healing, but I can feel The Road and The Run calling my name. This is what I see, every time I close my eyes, and I want it back....

Thanks for listening to me's been a tough week and a half. I needed to try to get it all out of my head and this was the best way I could think of.
Spark Love!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PRACHI17 6/22/2011 2:06PM


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NATPLUMMER 6/22/2011 1:48PM

    emoticon emoticon

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REEKU731 6/22/2011 9:11AM

    Aww honey!! I'm SO sorry!! I'm the EXACT same way! I don't know when that obsessive switch happened - but running is my therapy now and there's no going back! Its my chance to shut my brain off and just enjoy the silence for a little bit. When I don't have it, I go absolutely neurotic until I can run!

I'm sorry to hear about your injury. Are you able to handle a slower jog/powerwalk interval workout perhaps (like 60 seconds of jogging followed by 60 seconds of walking repeated 6-8 times)? Or maybe decrease your distance and only go for about a mile at a slower jogging pace? When I'm feeling like I might be pushing overtraining, I'll slow down my runs as much as I can and it seems to help a lot. Even though its not the longer distances that I enjoy, I find that even just a quick dash of a mile can clear my head enough to make me feel better.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JULESRULES78 6/22/2011 9:05AM

    Your feeling about running echo my own: running is my sanctuary. There is nothing like being alone with your own head, and for some of us running is the chosen activity that provided this. I am so sorry that you have been missing it! I am glad that you are doing other activities to maintain your fitness, even it it is not the same.

When I first started running a lot this, is how I felt only about running. Now I feel the same way about strength training! It gives me a chance to get out some aggression and/or stress and if I miss it, I am a mess.

Again, sorry about your accident and I hope you recover soon. I know it seems stupid to say, but everything happens for a reason. Even if we don't see the positive in it at the time, we will eventually know the purpose. emoticon

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May Progress Report! Photos!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

It's May Progress Report Time!!

You'll notice I had to change the way I post the pics...unfortunately they're not cooperating with the monthly side-by-side anymore, so you'll see each month together. I'll have to figure out another way to post them to be side-by-side, but for now, here goes. :) Most recent are at the bottom:

Initial Photos - October 2008 - 206 lbs

January 2011 Photos - 186 lbs

February 2011 Photos - 180.8 lbs

March 2011 Photos - 176.6 lbs

April 2011 Photos - 171.6 lbs

May 2011 Photos - 169.8 lbs

I've lost a few more inches overall from last month to this month, but other than that I can't really *see* a difference between the two. Here's a side by side...April is on top, May is on the bottom.

I need to get back to strength training. NEED to. I just need to set a goal, work it back into my schedule and stick with it. I'm 5 weeks away from Kauai, and I can't say I'm bikini-confident yet. (Except, of course, for these lovely progress photos. lol)

Running feels great! I shaved another 21 seconds off my 5K PR in today's race...came in at 31:14. I still want to get under 30, but that'll be a goal I just keep chipping away at. I'll post a Race Report tomorrow about the race, and my running in general.

Have a great night sparkers!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOELLIEMAE 6/11/2011 3:16PM

    Awesome!!! All that hard work is paying off BIG time :) way to go my friend!

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WOLFKITTY 6/5/2011 9:19PM

    Wow! I think your changes are dramatic! :D Very cool, thanks for sharing pictures!

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JULESRULES78 6/5/2011 9:02PM

    You are doing great! Good job!

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JREA24 6/5/2011 8:23PM

    Moving right along.

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    You look amazing! Keep it up!

emoticon emoticon

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SPINNINGDIVA 6/5/2011 8:01PM

    emoticon You look amazing. You are doing an emoticon job! Your pictures are very inspiring and I love how you have taken pictures of your monthly progress. I think this is an excellant idea and may actually adopt this idea that way I will be able to see my progress over time. Keep up the emoticon job!!

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NATPLUMMER 6/5/2011 7:58PM

    Wow!!! You are looking fabulous. The abs are awesome!!
Yay for a PR!!! Excellent race time!!

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MEXGAL1 6/5/2011 7:57PM

    Looking good! Keep up the good work!

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DOING-IT4ME 6/5/2011 7:56PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
You look great- can definitely see the differences- keep up the great work!!

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