Saturday, August 30, 2008


Last weekend I participated in "The Mother of All Relays". What a kick in the pants good time! I was part of the team "Headhunter Voodoo Dolls" from my club, Lacamas Swim & Sport. 12 girls, split into 2 vans, covering 197 miles in less than 2 days. I was in Van 2 along with DeDe (best van captain ever!), Lisa, Juliet, Sondra, and Nadine. We met up at the club around 11am and headed over to the FredMeyer in Sandy, OR for the first major van exchange point. Van 1 had started much earlier in the morning up at Timberline Lodge to kick off the event. Each person runs a total of 3 legs and we continue to leapfrog each other all the way into the beach at Seaside, OR. You sleep when you can (which isn't much) and you eat what your body can tolerate (which isn't much).
Van 2 Ladies:

I had been given Leg 11, which is actually Leg 11, Leg 23, and Leg 35.

Leg 11: 4.39 miles, ranked easy.
Time = 00:48:35 (pace = 11:04/mi)

This leg was mostly flat, but really hot and stuffy. It went along the Springwater Trail in East Portland, along Johnson Creek. The trail had many homeless guys along it and I was thinking that running this during the evening wouldn't be much fun. The odor from the creek (or was it from the transients) was a bit overwhelming at times. I saw very few other runners, which was a bummer. I just remember being hot and cranky. Not the best way to start out the relay for me. My predicted pace was 11:11, and I ended up with 11:04. I hoped I would do even better, but I'm okay with that time.

Leg 23: 4.18 miles, ranked easy.
Time = 00:40:02 (pace = 9:35/mi)

My second leg was MUCH better and more enjoyable than the first. We were tired since we hadn't napped at all since the start, but it was during the night and the temperatures were cool. This leg was also pretty flat, but had more of a rolling nature. I like running in the dark on unfamiliar roads because I can't see the hills coming and I can't tell how long they are. That's a good thing for me. My estimated pace for this leg was 10:44 and I blew that out of the water with a 9:35!!!

Leg 35: 7.28 miles, ranked hard.
Time = 01:26:36 (pace = 11:54/mi)
My third leg was my longest and most difficultly rated leg. There was also no vehicle traffic allowed on the course (i.e., no van support and no water aid), it was half on paved trail and half on loose gravel, and mostly in hot sun since all of the clear-cutting allowed for zero shade. I LOOVVVED my second run, but this one was pretty cool too. Mostly just because I was exhausted, it was hot, and I was able to push my body to stick it out and not walk.

My pace was a little bit slower than my predicted time (11:22), but considering I was going on no sleep in 35 hours and had only eaten 1 PB&J in the last 18 hours (long story, but my stomach was NOT happy with me, so I pleased it by not feeding it), so I did pretty fantastic I think.

I was carrying a 12oz container of Gatorade and hadn't taken in much when I came upon a young guy that was in a really bad way. He was walking slowly and sort of stumbling along. I offered him some of my drink and when I actually saw his face and realized how bad of shape he was in, I wouldn't leave until he finished it. I was so happy when I saw him cross the finish line only about 5 minutes after I did!

After my last leg, we hauled ass to the beach in order to cross the finish line with Nadine and get our group photo taken.

Afterwards, we all sort of disbanded and went our separate ways to shower and get ready for an evening of partying on the sand. Ken (best fiance ever and driver for Van 1) and I were staying with Sondra, RustyBalls, and DeDe at a 1,000 trails campground not too far away. It was awesome! After cleaning up, we headed to the party and gorged ourselves on yummy food and plenty of tasty adult beverages. Finally at around 11pm we headed back to camp for a much needed night of sleep.

Evening activities:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Off Season = Running Season

After some debate, I decided to call Blue Lake Sprint Tri a couple of weeks ago my finale for the season. I love competing in triathlons, especially since this has been such a rockin season for me. But my body is tired, my mind is tired, and quite frankly I'm feeling more than a bit worn out. My checkbook is too...entry fees are not cheap!

But with the off season comes many opportunities to work on areas that need a little attention. For me, the big obvious area is RUNNING. One glance at my triathlon splits will tell you that. I'm typically top 20-30% out of the water, 50% or so on the bike...and then about bottom 5% on the run. So....this girl is gonna do some running. In a big way.

I'm thinking maybe Portland marathon in October. That's right folks. I'm crazier than you thought. After my half ironman I realized that I was doing the same mileage as some friends training for Portland. So I hopped onto their schedule for the heck of it. Last week my long run was 15 miles. The two weeks prior to that it was 13 miles. Tomorrow I get to do 16. Next weekend is Hood to Coast. Huh, who would have thunk...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Think Happy Thoughts

I have some bummin' news to report. Our fellow triathlete, K-Dawg, was injured a few nights ago in a freak accident at his house. I'll let him tell the icky details, but it basically involved him bravely chasing intruders away from his house and falling while jumping his own fence...and breaking his hip. He has been in the hospital for a few days trying to get well enough to go home. He has pins/screws holding him all together, but it's going to be a long recovery process. He needs your happy thoughts and prayers. With some hard work and favors from the Big Guy, he'll be back to training next year. GET BETTER SOON K-DAWG!!!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Midsummer Sprint at Blue Lake

Mid-Summer Sprint Triathlon
Distances: 800 meter (0.5 mile) swim, 12.5 mile bike, 3.1 mile run

This race wasn't really on the schedule for the year, but a sprint distance sounded fun and some other Headhunters were doing it. I'm a lemming, what can I say. Also, my friend Bill was tri-ing for the first time and I thought it would be cool to come out for some support. For the first time that I had a choice, I decided NOT to race in the Athena category (women >150 pounds) and instead race in my real actual age group -- F 25-29. I knew I didn't have a chance in the universe to contend with skinny 20-something year olds, but I wanted to give it a shot!

Bill and I after the finish (photo credit - Bill's wife, Melissa):

The day/night prior to the race I was in McMinnville for my friend Angie's bachelorette party. Now, at no time during the party was I ever "drunk". However, glasses and glasses of wine prior to a race does not suit me. Especially since I don't really drink anymore. I woke up with a nice little hangover and a really bad attitude. I probably would have bailed on the race, except that I had Nadine's race packet and she was counting on me to show up with it.

After arriving about 45 minutes later than planned, I pulled into Blue Lake park and proceeded through the normal pre-race rituals: set up transition, chat with nervous triathletes, rearrange transition, pee, rearrange transition, stare at the water, pee, put on wetsuit, lube up, get in the water and pee, line up to start.

I was in the 2nd wave and placed myself in the front, inside. In bigger races I would get mowed over here, but I figured best to battle it out with some dudes rather than fight my way through some slower crowds of swimmers. This turned out to be a wise choice. I had mostly clear water until we started catching up to the first wave.

I focused on taking nice long strokes, and making sure to get a hard pull with good follow-through each time. This worked nicely until I got tangled up with a really big dude. He wasn't fat. More like he left me wondering if he ever played for the 49ers. We tangoed and duked it out for a little while, and then finally parted ways. I then swam until my hands touched sand, then popped up and ran through the Red Bull arches on into transition.

My fastest T1 time here at Blue Lake. For the first time ever I left my shoes clipped into my bike and put my feet in while riding. It was flawless (thank goodness).

I got up to speed and put my feet in pretty quickly. Then I focused on keeping my cadence up and not dropping speed. This was tough when the headwinds hit, but I kept telling myself I couldn't go below 18mph. A dropped below a few times, but made up for it when the wind was blocked by homes/trees.

Not a single girl passed me on the course, and only a handful of guys sped by. It was fun to be passing people. It made me feel fast, although after looking at overall results I maybe wasn't as fast as it seemed. It was fun though!

Next season I need to do more sustained speed work in training. And ride more. I did a lot of riding earlier in the season, but I have only been on my bike twice since the half ironman. I just needed a break from the saddle, ya know? I was 7 seconds slower than the last time I rode this course, although I do think it was windier this time.

I took my feet out of the bike shoes before dismounting and then ran quickly through transition. My time seems slower than it actually was, but I did stop to drink a fair amount of water. I was so dehydrated from the previous night!

I dropped down the most spots during the run, but it's the leg I'm the most proud of.
1) This was a 5k PR for me.
2) For the first time ever I kept a sustained pace below 10:00 min/mi.
3) I actually passed someone and was only passed by 2 women (1 was my coach and another was someone in my AG who got me 0.1mi from the finish line).

Me coming down the finish line (photo credit - Julie Seale):

I am so proud of this run, but have so much room for improvement. I have my work cut out for me this winter!
Headhunters, post-race:

I had a poor attitude coming into this event, but I'm glad I was able to turn that around and push myself to do well. In turn, I ended up enjoying myself. And...I ended up with another podium finish!!!! Final results:
Female 25-29 age group -- 3/12
Overall females -- 12/50
Overall -- 105/205

Swim -- 15:34, pace = 1:57/100m (2/12, 76/205)
T1 -- 02:28
Bike -- 38:01, pace = 19.73 mph (2/12, 93/205)
T2 -- 01:56
Run -- 30:24, pace = 9:49/mile (10/12, 170/205)
Overall -- 1:28:23

Huge congrats to:
Julie, who got 1st place female overall.
Denise, who got 1st place masters female overall.
Bill, who finished his first triathlon, and kicked ass doing it.
Kevin, who did well in all 3 legs and came in with a great time...and ran the whole way despite knee injuries.
Nadine, who made huge improvements on the swim and did great overall.
Denise, me, and Julie, with our awards:

Here is Julie's glass plaque. Do you notice anything UNUSUAL about it??? She's a "traithlete"...