MISSG180   112,840
100,000 or more SparkPoints
MISSG180's Recent Blog Entries

Tri report

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hubby Ferrett and I drove to Oregon, Ohio Saturday afternoon to pick up the race packet at Maumee Bay. I happened to arrive just in time to hear the orientation talk. Which included a talk about how there have been a number of deaths at triathlons. Not from drowning, but from people panicking in the water and having heart attacks. He told us how it was going to be intense and disorienting and that it was important to relax and pay attention to our reactions.

Okay, then.

After taking a look around, we checked into our hotel, then met up with dear friends Steve and Lea, who had driven down from the Detroit area to cheer me on. After a lovely dinner and a soak in the jacuzzi, it was early to bed. But somewhere in late afternoon and evening I noticed pain in my left foot, just to the side of the ball of my foot, below my toes.

At about 4:30am I woke up about halfway out of the bed, thanks to a crash of thunder that was the topic of discussion among runners the next morning. Dayum, that thing was loud. Fortunately, all the wild weather passed in the wee hours and by the time we got to the race site the weather was merely overcast.

Ferrett woke me up at 5:00, which was a damned good thing since I'd cleverly set my alarm for 5:20 PM--I am dumb. But thanks to Ferrett, we were able to have some of the complimentary breakfast and load Greta, who'd spent the night safe in our room, back on the car. We had a late checkout at the hotel so that I'd have time to come back and shower before lunch. I found myself limping a bit. Bending my toes up or down hurt.

Got my race numbers written on me, my ankle tag attached, and my wrist band--no race bib for this one. Ferrett walked with me while I warmed up. Then I slivered into my wetsuit and went down to the water to take some warmup strokes.

The water was really murky. Like, can't see my hand in front of my face murky. And choppy. This is when I realized that I hadn't spent enough time in the water, and that I should have gotten into it in my wetsuit, because it made me float higher and made it harder to lift my head out of the water and look around. But hey, it wasn't THAT far out to those buoys.

Then the race waves began. Elite men and men ages 19-29. Men ages 30-39. Men over 40.


Yes, all the women at once. I don't know if large group had an effect on what happened. But it might have been a contributing factor.

Because when I got into the water and started swimming in all those arms and legs, I suddenly went into a complete panic. I tried to swim the crawl, but I was gasping for air. I tried lifting my head to stroke and got a nose full of water. I finally had to roll over and start back-stroking. Even then I felt like I couldn't get my breath. The mass of swimmers left me far behind. And I couldn't swim in anything like a straight line. I probably swam an extra 30% of the distance zigzagging around.

But I didn't stay alone. Because just 5 minutes later, the Olympic-distance swimmers entered the water. So pretty soon I was surrounded by a lot of aggressive swimmers, definitely making things more difficult.

Eventually I reached the turn. It seemed like it took forever. I reached the second buoy and headed back toward shore. Still trying to turn over and swim freestyle, still not able to keep calm and keep my face in the water. Still zigging and zagging. I resorted to the side stroke and breast stroke, and slowly, slowly, sloooowly, the shore neared. At last I was able to stand up and stagger toward the beach. Olympic distance runners were jogging past me, but I was still trying to catch my breath. And my foot hurt. So my exit from the beach was...leisurely.

And Ferrett was there, cheering me on.

Change of shoes, and off on the bike. Quick departure. Except I manage to drop my chain right at the mounting spot. So, pulling over to get the chain back on. Argh.

The bike ride was...not brilliant. It was very windy, and I was slow as hell. And my legs were unhappy, probably not helped by the adrenaline mess from the swim. But I kept pedaling. And eventually the biking ended. Back into transition, off the bike. Staggered a bit, but stayed upright--yay! And Ferrett was there, cheering me on--awesome hubby!!

Change of shoes, and a wander to find the beginning of the 5k. As I walked through the transition area I was completely unsure that I could actually manage a jog--my foot wasn't happy about any of this. But once I actually reached the start of the 5k I manned it up and began my slow, crawling jog. I was being passed continually, but I kept chugging on. Lots of those people took a breath to cheer me on; it's one of the awesome things about participants, that they are so supportive. Finally reached the turnaround, and did my own cheering on of the few sprint people who were behind me.

Without any music to help my pace, I was having a little trouble keeping the pace up. And when I could see the finish line, halfway around the lake, there was a moment when I almost gave up and dropped down to a walk. But I doubled down mentally and kept up my excruciatingly slow jog.

And eventually I turned that last corner and headed toward the finish line. Steve and Lea were there along with Ferrett, cheering me on as I jogged those last few yards. Ferrett has a funny video of me staggering forward, snatching a cup of water from one volunteer, my finishers medal from another, pausing just long enough to rip off and return the timing chip from my ankle, and then staggering out of the finishers chute. I look completely grim and all business.

They were all waiting to hug me. I waved them off while I bent over, hands atop a traffic cone, and caught my breath for a moment. Then, still wet, sweaty, exhausted, I took those cheers and hugs.

On the advice of other friends who've done tris, they took me straight to food. As I described the event, Steve asked me, "So...did you *enjoy* this?"

I had to pause. Honestly, there were almost no moments of it that I can point to and say, "That part was enjoyable." But as a whole? It made me very satisfied.

And I'm already planning how to improve my training for the next one. There will definitely be more pool. And more open water swimming.

And, I fear, a trip to the doctor for an x-ray. Because this foot is not happy. Not swollen or anything, but definitely sore.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGLADY13 6/17/2013 12:00PM

    No doubt about it, the first tri experience is tough. Hooray for you! You did it. You stayed through the end. That Is An Accomplishment To Be Proud Of.


Report Inappropriate Comment
OPTIMIST1948 6/16/2013 9:37PM

    Hippy-hippy horray! There is nothing like your first one. You are a virgin no more! You faced down your fears and now you know the worst. It can ONLY get BETTER. Looking forward to hearing more about your journey!

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCIEVW 6/16/2013 8:49PM

    Congrats on your race, MISSG180. You conquered it! I laughed about the "women" wave.

Thanks for sharing our story. Try running outside without music once in a while. It's a great way to be present in right now, and to enjoy everything that is around you! Keep up the great work.

Report Inappropriate Comment

Meditations on my upcoming triathlon

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I am now fully equipped for the triathlon, having received my wetsuit in the mail. And having tried it on to make sure I could actually get into it. With black boots and a mask, I could be a chubby superhero:

Yesterday, as I was biking in the pouring rain, I contemplated the fact that there is a substantial non-zero chance that I will be in last place at this triathlon. This is not some kind of ploy to have people cheer me on or anything, it's just a reality: I am fat, I am old, I am slow. I do not mind being last, but I mind the reason WHY I will probably be last.

And it has nothing to do with my own fat/old/slowness. It has to do with the fact that most people who are in the shape I'm in, or even slightly better, wouldn't even consider entering a triathlon. Not because, "ugh, I'd never want to do that" -- which is a perfectly legitimate way to feel, as no one is required to participate in athletic events that don't appeal to them. No, it's because there are many people in this shape or slightly better who are thinking, "wow, I could never do that."

And that's sad to me. It's sad that people don't feel like they should participate in such events unless they are going to be good at them, and they will never get good at them because they won't participate.

I have seen this at pretty much every 5k I've attended, particularly the ones that are labelled "5k run/2-mile walk." I realize that the race coordinators are trying to make the event appeal to a wider audience, but there seems to be an implication that if you can't RUN for 5k, then you'd better settle for the walk. At every one of these events, I start out in the middle of a good-sized crowd of walkers and slow joggers. Then we get to the turn-around spot and suddenly I'm at the back with only a handful of people. After a while, that handful diminishes further as people who can't jog the whole way drop out. Some of them, no doubt, have a physical reason why they can't continue. But others would rather slink away and remain anonymous than finish and see a time that embarrasses them.

I say nuts to that. If it takes you 50 minutes, or 75 minutes to finish a 5k, you are still lapping the guy on the couch. If it takes me 4 hours to complete this sprint-length triathlon, I will still be able to say that I did it. And I will have fun, because I don't have to be young and thin and fast to enjoy my body moving and taking on a challenge.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NANHBH 6/18/2013 2:21PM

    Here here, Miss G! I agree totally with you!

I did my first race EVER at age 57 - because my Spark Teammates encouraged me to try. I came in 2nd place - because it was a small venue (300 racers) and there weren't many in my age category. After I accomplished that, I felt like I could do more. One of our teammates - JaneTris - encouraged me to do a triathlon. I finished 5th in my division - again, a small venue super-sprint with not a lot of women in my age category. But, I tried it and I finished. And I came back for more this year!

You look great in your wet suit. Did you like swimming in it?
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
OPTIMIST1948 6/16/2013 9:39PM

    I didnt see this post until AFTER you had your Tri, but I still think there is tremendous wisdom in accepting yourself where you ARE and moving forward from that.

Report Inappropriate Comment
APPLESBANANAS 6/13/2013 5:53AM

    You look great in the wetsuit! I love the superhero comment. When I ran cross country in high school I came in last a few times, which was not the coolest thing back then as a teen, but it still was great to know many of my friends would not even attempt a 5k. Speed and finishing time is relative, but the ability to get up and move your body is absolute!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CHRIAMARIA1983 6/12/2013 6:19AM

    Quitters never prosper. You can't get anywhere if you don't try.

Report Inappropriate Comment
TATTER3 6/12/2013 6:03AM

    I love that thought...lapping the guy on the couch! Keep Sparkin'!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LUCKYDOGFARM 6/12/2013 1:29AM

    MissG, you are Awesome! For just a second I thought you were planning on biking in your wetsuit, since you were talking about it raining and all. Haha.
You will do great on your triathlon. Why? Because you are going in with the best attitude in the world!
I am looking forward to reading ALL about it!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BARDIC_GRRL 6/11/2013 8:05PM

    My first triathlon I was last place, and I had to have my cane transported to T2 for me.

This triathlon I was NOT last place, and I did NOT use a cane.

You go for the gusto, whatever!

Report Inappropriate Comment
PINKBEANBOO 6/11/2013 5:35PM

    I never thought of it that way but your right. Just because I won't be good at something doesn't mean I shouldn't try it. Great blog!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LISAINMS 6/11/2013 2:54PM

    You are going to have a great race because you are participating for all the right reasons. I wish more people would TRI it! I always say that it doesn't matter when you finish. It matters that you showed up, you went for it and you did finish. Have fun!

Report Inappropriate Comment
HILLSLUG98239 6/11/2013 1:50PM

    I'm nearly 200 pounds. I've told a LOT of people about my triathlon plans. No one, including the super-fit triathletes I've told, has given me the "you're crazy" look. No one has suggested I can't do it.

I talk a lot about how active I am. I know a lot of people at the courthouse see me coming & going on my bike and going out for walks at lunch. I'm hopeful that I serve as a reminder that fitness is not reserved for the thin. Fitness and good health is something we all deserve, and even fat people can make positive changes.

But I'm sure I'd be more of an inspiration if I was a superhero. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BLUE42DOWN 6/11/2013 1:13PM


Crossing the Finish line is what is important, not crossing it first or at the lead of a pack. Sometimes we forget that the goal doesn't have to be the gold medal for us to have done something pretty darned amazing.

And LOVE the super-hero pose. (Just need the towel cape. ^_~)

Report Inappropriate Comment
SPARKLISE 6/11/2013 1:12PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
NATPLUMMER 6/11/2013 12:20PM


Report Inappropriate Comment

Ride report: First weekend

Sunday, June 02, 2013

As I mentioned elsewhere, I took Greta (yes, my new bike now has a name--like, just as I was writing this!) on our

first ride together Thursday evening. In doing so, I made a number of mistakes, mistakes you should all learn


1. I'd ridden 19 miles in 88 degree weather earlier in the day, but hadn't bothered to eat much of anything,

particularly anything potassium-heavy, so I was starting with an electrolyte deficiency.

2. Despite the fact that I was on a new bike with a totally different riding position, I started our training

together by taking on a 21 mile ride. A ride that begins with 5 miles of gradual but unceasing uphill pedaling.

3. Despite knowing better, I jumped right up with the leaders and pushed myself HARD to stay with them.

By the time we reached the summit of the ride, I was hurting some. But from there, I knew it was an out-and-back

of very straight roads on rolling hills. Plenty of rest, and a chance to finally see what Greta could do.

And she was magnificent! On a minor descent, I was coasting at 19 mph! Coasting! I have no idea what her top speed

might be because I was too nervous to pedal faster than 22! Everything was brilliant!

Then we started climbing again. And that's when things went pear-shaped. My thighs began cramping and my wind

just...died. My back was aching as well. I had pushed through everything I had in those first 5 miles of climbing,

and I simply wasn't recovering on the downhills.

But I kept pedaling. I was climbing even the relatively minor grades at under 10mph, and the bigger ones I dropped

down into the 5-6mph range. At one point I just plain had to stop, get my feet out of the pedals, and just stand

and stretch for a few minutes.

Honestly, I felt worse then than I did at the end of the 81 miles I'd ridden on the first day of Pedal to the

Point last year.

My friend Mike was a hero, though. He kept looping around and checking in on me, giving me encouraging words but

not hanging at my shoulder and nagging. And I got back on the bike and began pedaling again.

It didn't get any easier. By the time we were climbing toward the apogee of the ride, the highest point in the

county, I was just lost in the pain of the cramps, the breathing, the heartrate, the back pain. The good thing was

that I could tell that none of this was injury-threatening pain. Just glycogen-deprived misery.

And so I made it to the top of that hill. Mike was there, cheering me on. "It's all downhill from here!" he

yelled. And mostly it was. There were some minor uphills, the kind that I had barely even noticed in the past.

This time, each one was a tiny bit of hell. We finally got to the last couple miles, which were all downhill. I

pushed my pedaling speed up so that I was going around 15. There will be other days when I take that part at 20 or

more. But it was not this day.

This day was all about struggling, pushing beyond what feels like the outside boundaries, and then accomplishing

the task anyway. It was a humbling lesson in proper preparation, but also an exhilerating lesson in the power of

the will to keep pushing. I staggered back into Mike and Patti's house and gulped down fruit smoothies like there

was no tomorrow. In an hour I was recovered enough to drive home.

I lived to ride again.

Ride two was on Saturday. Erin and I were signed up for a 5k run downtown, so I suggested that we bike the 10 miles there, do the 5k, then bike home as a good training exercise for triathlons. Unfortunately, Erin didn't get up early enough to ride, so I rode in without her and she drove in. We completed the 5k (her in record time; me...not last!!), and then had enough energy to do the Cupid Shuffle at the post-run party!

Oh, and I ate bananas.

When we parted, I got on my bike and headed home. But with Captain America filming in Cleveland, one of the two major routes west was closed, and one of the only two exits from the parking area was closed. I was able to escape, though, via the one open sidewalk.

The wind on the way home was blowing against me so hard that I honestly think I could have gone backwards if I weren't pedaling. It was a grind, but I felt much better in this second half of 20 miles of riding than I had in the second half of Thursday's. And, finally, I pulled into the driveway.

Followed shortly by Erin. Traffic was so bad that I actually BEAT HER HOME. I was completely exhausted, though, and pretty wiped out for the rest of the day.

This evening I decided to take Greta out again. I took her on our first ride through the MetroParks together. And for the first time I really felt like I was actually using the clips effectively. It's a very different muscle motion and I can feel that I'm going to be sore in new places. After 15 miles of riding hard, I eased back and cruised the last 9 miles home. I was worried about the climb out of the park because I was having some cramping issues in my left leg again. Then I realized that much of that was coming from the fact that I was only stepping out of the pedals on the right, so my left leg was never getting a stretch out. I took a 3-minute break at the bottom of the climb and then made it out pretty easily. The climbing is both easier and harder: easier because Greta is so light, but harder because she doesn't have a super-low "granny gear" that I can just spin without using much muscle. But building more muscle? Not tragic.

So, since I got her on Thursday, I've put 63 miles on Greta. I'm going to take her back to the bike shop for a couple minor adjustments (moving the seat back, decreasing the reach on the brakes), but I absolutely love her!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANETRIS 6/10/2013 10:29PM

    Sounds like you and Gretta are having a great honeymoon together!! Your riding adventures sound like a blast. Here's to a summer filled with them!! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SIMPLELIFE4REAL 6/3/2013 10:15PM

    I am glad you are loving your bike so much!

Report Inappropriate Comment
TATTER3 6/3/2013 12:38PM

    I have a personal relationship with a lawn mower that's similar to you and the bike...LOL. Keep peddling and I'll keep pushing! Love it!

Report Inappropriate Comment
NATPLUMMER 6/3/2013 11:01AM


Report Inappropriate Comment
DOGLADY13 6/3/2013 7:15AM

    Oh my goodness! You are a cycling animal! And never mind glycogen deprivation - how did you deal with the heiney-itis? That's a lot of miles on a hard, skinny saddle. LOL


Report Inappropriate Comment
OPTIMIST1948 6/2/2013 8:36PM

    New toy fun! Sounds like a great first weekend!

Report Inappropriate Comment

So pretty!!!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Meet my new baby! I have been wanting a road bike for some time, and I managed to get a great deal on this one! I picked her up yesterday afternoon, and even though I'd ridden 20 miles in the 85 degree temp in the morning, I *had* to take myself over to the Patti's Paladins training ride.

Which was, as always, humbling. I am slow, slow, slow and the riders are fast, fast, fast. Also, riding 20 miles in 85 degrees and then not bothering to eat anything containing potassium. Or carbs. I bonked a bit, cramping up.

But I made the ride and LOVE my bike! I will need some seriously training up on the new riding position, but it's wonderful!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANETRIS 6/6/2013 9:14PM

    Beautiful new wheels!! I say slow and steady finishes the race! That is my motto... Enjoy the ride! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment


Report Inappropriate Comment
MSANITAL 6/1/2013 4:25PM

    Love it .. I was going to get the Pink and black, but I picked the Teal and gray.. anyways enjoy your new bike.. ride on

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Congratulations both on the bike the ride. I am so happy for you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOGLADY13 6/1/2013 9:30AM

    Wow. Very nice! Ride her in good health!

Report Inappropriate Comment
OPTIMIST1948 5/31/2013 10:11PM

    so PRETTY! Defiently an "Instrument of Fat Destruction!"

Report Inappropriate Comment

    That is beautiful. I know a good road bike really makes the difference.

Report Inappropriate Comment
NATPLUMMER 5/31/2013 1:54PM

    Very pretty!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
.DUSTY. 5/31/2013 1:29PM

    emoticon It's a emoticon May you two have many, many happy miles together:)

Report Inappropriate Comment
BARBARASDIET 5/31/2013 1:09PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
LADYJ6942 5/31/2013 11:50AM

    Woo hoo, enjoy

Report Inappropriate Comment
MHEDIN2 5/31/2013 11:45AM

    Sweet! I love the color scheme! And kudos on two rides in one day!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Now that's one hot bike! You definitely can't go wrong with pink and black - awesome colors! Sooooo glad you treated yourself to her. Wow when you can leave one biking session to go to another one - all because of a bike - you know you are doing something right.

Great job and wonderful picture of mom and her baby - even matching colors! Looks great!


Report Inappropriate Comment
LAUGHINGLATINA 5/31/2013 11:02AM

You got this! Congrats on your new wheels!

Report Inappropriate Comment

A cross between "Squee!" and "What was I thinking?"

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Well, I have done it. I've nailed my colors to the mast, so to speak.

I have actually registered for my first triathlon.

I'm registered for the Maumee Bay triathlon in Oregon, Ohio on June 16. I am signed up for the sprint distance: Swim 750 Meters, Bike 20 Kilometers, and Run 5

Nevertheless, the statistics on this event are pretty clear:

1. It's barely 2 weeks away;

2. I will have to be there by 7am. Oregon is about 2 hours away, so I will have to be up around 4:30 in the morning to make final preparations and head out; and

3. I am in no way "trained" for this event.

I haven't been in the water since February. At that time I swam the distance in laps pretty easily. But this will be an open water swim, and I haven't done one of those at all. I will have a wetsuit, at least--open water without one could be downright dangerous. But I have had no practice in getting into or back out of a wetsuit, and I won't be getting the wetsuit for another week.

Each one of the events is a distance I have no worry about. It's the combination of them that's going to be the challenge.

And I am doing this alone. Erin will be out of town. In some ways, I'm sort of glad--no matter how cumbersomely slow and awkward I am, no one will be watching me. On the other hand, when I finally stagger across the finish line there won't be anyone there to provide any sincere pity claps.

Still, once it's done I will have bragging rights!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OPTIMIST1948 5/31/2013 5:08AM

    Oh no. There willbe plenty of people cheering you on the last few painful feet to the finishline. You are going to be working longer and harder than anyone else and while you wont be the fastest, your victory is just as real as anyone else's. (. I've written a bunch of tri blogs if you want to get a sense of the event. For a first-timeer view, you may want Hunter Mt,, which was just about a year ago.)

Report Inappropriate Comment
NANA2PRINCESSES 5/30/2013 7:10AM

    Good for you! Good luck! Will be watching for the victory post!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DESERTDREAMERS 5/30/2013 12:02AM

    Go, Grrl! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
TATTER3 5/29/2013 10:12PM

    Good for you!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOGLADY13 5/29/2013 9:56PM

    Yeah!!! Go you!!!! It's not as awful as it sounds. WooHoo! Wish I was closer, I'd come out and cheer you on.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SNOOPY6180 5/29/2013 5:41PM

OMG. Good luck!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BARBARASDIET 5/29/2013 3:32PM

    Crazy! But good luck!

Report Inappropriate Comment
NATPLUMMER 5/29/2013 2:58PM

    Wow!! Good luck!

Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 Last Page