Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Finding the Off-Season groove...

I am really having a difficult time figuring out this whole “Off Season” thing. I know that the goal is to not follow a structured training schedule and to take a break from the same old swim/bike/run routine. I know that it is good to train your weaknesses and to get more strength training in. But what I know more than anything else, especially after the last few weeks, is that this is not working. Truth be told, I have not had a set training plan since I trained for my first Triathlon and I have been just "figuring it out" since then. I feel like I would be more successful during the season and during this off season if I had more structure. I called a friend and asked for his help with putting together a training plan for me to start in January for my Ironman 70.3 race in June. And I think that I will be putting together an off-season training plan as well...

This is what I am thinking:
  • I have returned to my old love: KICKBOXING! … and I LOVE it still. It is the ultimate workout. There is a web special: 3 classes for $20. I LOVE a good deal!! I think that I will sign up for 10 classes and attend twice a week for 5 weeks.
  • I also have returned to the pool. Man, after not swimming for 3 months, I felt like I was sucking on a cigarette under water the whole time! It was HARD. I swam 500 meters and had to call it quits. I think that I will sign up for a 4 week swimming workshop that starts in a few weeks. Between now and then, I will try to get in the pool and get my mojo back. The workshop is only 1 day a week and I will try to make it to one practice a week.
  • I miss my bike so much! I have only been on it once since the dreadful Seagull Century and vow to get on it more after going to this bicycle-racing clinic on Sunday. I want to get faster, stronger and more skilled on the bike, and riding is the only way that this will happen. I need to purchase some winter riding gear and will probably ride as long as it is above 32 degrees.
  •  Running: I do like it... after the first mile or two. It takes me a while to warm up. I have only managed to get out for a run about once per week, but I need to increase that to 2-3 times per week. Maybe I will find a running buddy soon that can commit to running with me? I even suck at attending the track work outs that I was so excited about. I think the key is to get up in the morning and run, get it in at lunchtime or try to do it before the sun goes down. Once nightfall hits, it’s out of the question. A good idea is to run to kickboxing class and back. It’s 2 miles away. This way, at least I will run 2 days a week.
  • Weights: I suck here too. Adrienne may be able to lift with me on Monday and Wednesday evenings. I sure hope so, because GOD knows I need to lift but I can’t seem to find the motivation
  • I may be able to get my cardio and weights in if I like this Crossfit class that I am going to try out. If I like it and it’s affordable, maybe I will do this after my kickboxing classes end. The place is also 2 miles from my house, so maybe I can run there and back??
  •  I signed up for this unlimited boot camp for 1 month. It only cost $35. I don't know when it will start, but maybe I will do this instead of Kickboxing and Crossfit and run to where ever the meeting place is??

So, it sounds like I am all over the place and I suck at committing to everything. I am trying to come up with a plan. If I can commit to running to kickboxing classes and back twice a week (...or Crossfit... or Boot camp), sign up for the swim workshop twice a week and lift with Adrienne twice a week, I will be good. Oh, my bike? Perhaps, I will have to dedicate some time on the trainer in front of the TV until I can work that into the plan.... or maybe I will come up with a monthly plan?? Shit, I don't know. I need to just find my groove.... any suggestions/ideas?? I need help.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tales of the Seagull Century (100 mile bike ride)

First of all, let me just say that I have completed 1 century ride and that is really not necessary to do again, unless it will help me to get ready for a Half or Full Ironman. We did all of that and didn't even get a medal at the end? Why? Oh Why??

I really made an effort to do things with my supporters this year. Robin and Gladys have been very supportive of me in my Triathlons, so when they mentioned that they were doing running races, I signed up to run with them. The folks at the Cycling Club, BMWCC warmly welcomed me, Lisa, Rian and Maddy in to ride with them in order to help our cycling skills for our Triathlons, so when they told us about the Seagull Century that they were doing,we signed up to ride with them. I think that Lisa and I cussed and blamed Tania from BWMCC at least 10 times today for talking us into signing up!

Here is the breakdown of the hellish day:

Mile 1-23.5: Pace lines!
This was the fun part of the ride. I was really trying to ride in the pace line with the group, as it is much easier to draft off of someone in a pace line (each cyclist ride very close on the wheel of the cyclist in front of them and the first person takes all the wind for the group) than to ride alone. It was a challenge to keep up with them and not let our other folks fall too far behind. Rian and I stuck together and before we knew it, we were at the first rest stop.

Mile 23.5-43.3: Side winds
I started out riding with this guy from Fleet Feet and his crew until we turned a corner and the fierce side winds slowed me down. I lost that group, met a lady from a cycling club on the Eastern Shore, rode with her for a while and then jumped on a pace line with Black Ski, as the winds were getting harder to cycle through. They got me to the second rest stop. I felt no pain and wasn't tired at all, but was just tired of the winds. We were fair warned that the winds were going to pick up in the second half.

Mile 43.3-63.4: Cramps & Wild horses
We got both head and side winds, which made it harder to keep a decent pace. By mile 50, I got the worst cramp in my side. I pushed through, because it wasn't debilitating, but it posed as a challenge while battling the winds. I was starting to get tired by mile 60, as I had not been on my bike for any longer than that. Close to the rest stop, I looked up and saw the very steep Verranzano Bride that was going to bring us to Assateague Island. At this point all I could say was, "WHATEVER!" and just power up it. It was very pretty, but I didn't stop until I saw the horses. They were so calm and I took a great pic, although I was scared as hell. There was a sign that read that the horses bite and may charge you and all I could think about was the guy that got charged by an antelope. When I got to the rest stop, I ate some stuff and then I just laid on the ground in the parking lot!

Mile 63.4-84.6: Pimped slapped by the wind / Eat the pie Annie Mae!
This was the toughest stretch for us all! It was so, SO very hard! I had to pull over to take advil for my knees (which have never hurt before) and I was very whiny and asking Lisa why in the hell were we doing this?! I was really about  to cry when out of nowhere, this chic, Ruth, rode up and started talking to me. She had music, was very nice and interesting and 5 miles later I was all better! The winds were just BRUTAL. They were even stronger from the front and sometimes so strong from the side that it felt like we would be pushed off of our bikes! I was pedaling sooo slowly due to fatigue from all of the winds. It felt like I was constantly pedaling up a hill! I caught up with Maddy and we suffered through the last 15 miles together. We waited for everyone and before long, we were all laying in the grass after eating apple and cherry pie. We seriously contemplated getting on the "Quitters wagon" for a ride to the finish line, but somehow, we worked up the mental energy to keep going.

Mile 83.6-101: Only the strong survive
I was just so sick of the winds by this point that I was just mad as hell! I decided to just power through the last 16.4 miles, as the winds were not going away. I drafted off a few folks and just got it done. I met Delores Simmons from Tri Unify in the last 5 miles and we brought it to the finish line together. I have never been so happy to see a finish line!

Here is a pretty cool video that Lisa made. That was me laying on the ground at about 5:23 in the video.

Lessons of the day: #1. Get bike shorts with padding in the front #2. The wind is really not your friend #3. There is no sense in me doing another ride like that unless it will help me to prepare for something bigger that will produce a medal at the end

Monday, October 10, 2011

Navy 5/Army 10

I signed up for a few running races, to actually make myself get out and run. Truth be told, I really don't run a lot to prepare for my Triathlons, which must change. Although, I am completely over training for any event due to burn out, I am sticking with my race schedule (minus the 1/2 marathon in New Orleans). Since my last Triathlon 4 weeks ago, I have completed the Navy 5 miler and Army 10 miler. I can say that I am consistently slow, but my endurance has improved. 

On September 25th, I completed the Navy 5 miler in 1 hour and 5 minutes. I really surprised myself by running the entire race, minus one water stop. My legs hurt in the first mile and a half, but by mile 2, I was in my groove. I ran a 13 minute mile, but I finished and felt really good that I could go the distance without all of the walk breaks that I usually take.

I ran a few times before the Army 10 miler race today, but quite honestly, I am just burned out. I want to do this stuff because it is what I WANT to do, not because I HAVE to get ready for a race; I want to exercise, not train. The thought of being ready by a date on the calendar stresses me out and takes the joy out it for me right now. I really had no IDEA how I was going to complete the 10 mile race today. I have never run further than 6 miles, which is usually hard for me. My plan was to take it 2 miles at a time, stop for water and repeat 5 times. I found myself rejoicing at every mile marker sign, but I only stopped for water every 2 miles. I am extremely proud of myself for running the first 8 miles with only stops for water, but after that... the story changed. Man, the 14th Street bridge/ I-395 broke me! It was uphill and UN ENDING...! I saw Lisa about 500 feet in front of me and it was my goal to just catch up to her. When I finally did, I am sure that I mean mugged her and she said, "I don't have anything left". We walked in silence together for a little while and then did a run/walk/shuffle-like thing for the last 2 miles. I was so happy to see Pier and Gladys there cheering us on!! They gave me the extra push that I needed to get to the finish line. I finished in 2 hours and 13 minutes, which equates to another slow 13+ minute mile run. Slow but steady, and finishing is all that counts for me.
I really have the desire to keep this running thing up and get faster. I joined a running club and will meet for track workouts this fall and winter. I plan to keep my running endurance and build upon it. Wish me luck!

Next up: Seagull Century (100 mile bike ride) on Saturday. And then, nothing scheduled until March 17th! :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

How OLD are THEY?!?

So, it's been 18 days since my last Triathlon and I have started my "off season" plan after a 10 day exercise hiatus. My first day out, last Wednesday, I planned on going out for a 5 mile run. MAN! My shins hurt like heck (I wasn't wearing my compression socks), my hip started hurting, my right achilles felt tight and I felt a blister forming. The blister was so bad, that I stopped to take out my orthotic insert. I managed to run the 5 miles, with a few stretch breaks and walked about 3 blocks, but I did it. I went on to take a kickboxing class the next day, rested the next two days and then it was time to knock out the Navy 5 miler last Sunday. On race morning, I realized that the orthotic that I had taken out of my left shoe was actually for my RIGHT shoe, hence the blister and hip pain. Duh! You would think that at my age, I would know my left from right, huh?

The Navy 5 Miler: I ran the entire distance with no breaks, except for water at mile 3! I am so dang proud of myself! My legs did hurt in the beginning, but I kept pushing, There was a steep hill, but I powered up it. They ran out of water at mile 4, but I was almost done. My legs got tired in mile 4, but I stayed positive and talked to Risa to take my mind off of it. And the BEST part? I think that I did it in about 1 hour! Man, that is a huge accomplishment for me! :)

I took a weight lifting class on Monday, but wore some cutsie sneakers without my orthotics or ankle brace and apparently the squats, dead lifts and lunges were too much for my ankle, because I had some serious ankle pain while walking on Tuesday. I rested on Tuesday, took plenty of Advil and iced it up. It's a good thing, because I needed the energy for Wednesday! I took a weight lighting class (with proper shoes, orthotics and brace) at lunchtime and then went on for a 20 mile bike ride that evening. The guy that I rode with, Tedd, wanted to check out the Curtis Trail and boy, oh BOY! I was not ready for the rolling hills on this trail. I thought I was doing something by going 18mph, but Tedd apparently thought that was slow, because he passed me up going 21 mph. Humph! It was just what I needed, if I want to get faster and stronger on the bike.

Today, I went out again to attempt a 5 mile run, but my shins had another plan! I had to walk by the 1/2 mile mark, but I was determined to cover the distance! My goal at this point was to try to maintain a 15mph pace while walking, just in case I have to walk during the Army 10 miler in 10 days. I managed to do so and it hurt, but I completed 5.5 miles today. The only issue was that my left foot hurt! It was hurting in a weird place like my orthotic was rubbing or my shoes were worn in that spot. Once I was done, I came home, changed out of my wet clothes and headed straight to the shoe store. When the lady saw my shoes she asked, " How OLD are THEY?". I felt a little embarrassed that they are almost a year old, but I think they looked so bad, because the mud didn't come all the way out when washing them after The Nations Triathlon. So, I got myself a spanking brand new pair of shoes, a new sports bra and a foam roller and I was on my way. I can't believe that I have a TEN MILE RACE in only 10 days. YIKES!!!

After the Army 10 miler on 10/9, I have the Seagull Century (100 mile bike ride) on 10/15, a half marathon on 10/29 (which I am thinking about skipping for various reasons). After all of that, for the next 3 months it will be all about weight lighting (the goal is 3 times a week), running, cycling (weather permitting), swimming, kickboxing, boot camp and whatever the heck I feel like or maybe just resting. I am looking forward to not having a structured training schedule, but want to focus on weights, cardio and my diet in hopes to shed some pounds. Training for my Ironman 70.3 will officially start on February 1st.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


So, I believe that since I can actually complete a Triathlon that I am a Superhero! Well, apparently I am only a legend in my own mind, because I have been reminded that, it is NOT reality. I took a 10 day hiatus from all things Triathlons... and to be honest, from all things exercise related until today. I have the Navy 5 miler  race in less than a week and needed/wanted to get out for a run. I decided to run to the National Mall and back and very slllooowwwlllly banged out a little more than 5 miles today. Man, my hip started to hurt, I felt a blister forming, my shins hurt in the first mile or 2 and my right Achilles even started to tighten up. What the heck?

So, I decided to go to a Power Yoga class (I should have been warned by the name). Man, this class kicked  my BUTT! I can't for the life of me figure out how I can complete 5 Triathlons in a season and wind up sitting on the floor looking at all of the Yogi's and wondering why I can't do that!

What challenges me only makes me want to get stronger, so I will be a yoga/pilates/kickboxing/etc. fool during this offseason! I want to exercise and not train for a while. There is a distinct difference. I don't want to lose my Triathlon base of fitness, so I will continue to run/bike/swim too. But, Diet/Cardio/weights are going to be my main focus, because I want to actually LOOK like I am doing all of this stuff.

Next up: Ironman 70.3 on June 10, 2012

I will continue the journey and blog my way to my Half Ironman race. Please stand by... off to do the Down Dog!

Tri Becca

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Nations Triathlon

I completed my  eighth Triathlon on September 11th. Ever since then, I haven't even wanted to WRITE the word "Triathlon". Last year, I completed 2 sprint (shorter distances) Triathlons and an Olympic distance (nearly twice as long). This year, I think I got a little excited  too darn excited and filled up my calendar with races. I have completed 2 Sprints and 3 Olympics and I am doggety doggon TIRED! Now, I have the Navy 5 miler, the Army 10 miler and a Century (100 mile bike ride) and a Half Marathon. Just who in the HELL came and took over the rational side of my freaking BRAIN? I tell you what, I am now focused on my diet, running and weight lifting, because I'll be damn if I keep doing all this stuff and not LOOK like I do all of this stuff. Humph.

Pre Race:

I am so burned out with racing that I didn't even prepare. I trained a little bit, but I had no idea of anything race related until the day before. I usually don't drink too close to race day... well, not drink that MUCH too close to race day, but not this time. I awakened on Saturday morning and had to deal with being a little hung over from drinking too much and Karaoke with friends on Friday night. I pulled it together, rode my bike to the host hotel, racked bike, etc., and was ready for whatever race day would bring.

The Swim: Canceled

The swim was cancelled due to a week of heavy rains that brought a lot of debris and other nastiness to the Potomac River. There were actually logs floating in the water along with a camel back and heaven knows what else. I hear that there was a sewage leak into the river too. Yuck!

The pre race music was GREAT! Looks like I was the only one not taking the race seriously, huh?

T1: My fastest YET! I didn't have to deal with being wet and weary from the swim, so I was quite the speedy one! Time: 3:13

Bike: 25 miles

I thought that I was going to NAIL the bike. Well, I had to make sure that my bike was working properly, because even though I thought I was going super fast at times, these folks were BLOWING past me. In my defense, it was very crowded on the course, so at times, I could not be as speedy as I wanted to be and be safe at the same time. My time for a 25 mile bike ride is very consistent. I always finish a little slower than I want to. From here on out, I want to ride with folks that kick my butt on the bike and make me feel like I am chasing them the entire time. I also plan to strengthen my legs  during this off season too. I think going on speed rides, weight lifting and losing some weight will all help me to be faster next year. Time: 1:26 ( I wanted to finish in 1:15. Maybe I will do even better than that next year?)

T2: I actually did better than ever on my T2! Go me! Time: 4:20

Run: 6.2 miles

I can honestly say that I did run to prepare for this race. I did not run enough and definitely didn't ever run fast, but I can say that I did more than I usually do before a race. But, I didn't do many brick (cycle then run) workouts at all. WHY don't I run more? WHY don't I do more brick workouts?? Yeah, that is what I am always asking myself on race day. I had the usual plan to walk/shuffle/skip/run and I actually ran a little more than I did the other stuff, but I was consistently slow as usual. I was very happy to see the large crowd of Tri Unify folks at Mile 1 and then I had a NICE surprise cheerleader between Mile 1 and Mile 2, which made me have an extra pep in my step/run. I sang more than ever on this run. I am sure that I came across as a little obnoxious with all of my songs that I made up and sang out loud, but it helped me. It was very nice to see Lisa's husband about 500 meters before the finish line. I ran across that finish line like I was going to take my place on the podium to receive a trophy. Time: 1:23 (I want to finish in 1 hour or less next year)

I always like to take the time to pose for the supporters!

I was happy to be done with a very long Triathlon season. Like Lisa's daughter says: "You got a medal, so you WON!". In my mind, I win every time I cross a finish line.

Total time: 2:57 (I want to finish an entire Olympic race in 3 hours or less next year)

My smiles are always the biggest after a race!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I am an Iron Girl!

The Iron Girl Columbia race is one that usually fills up within 24 hours (this year it filled up in FIVE hours), so on November 1, 2010, I signed up for the race, which was on Sunday. The plan to race was temporarily cancelled when a friend planned her 40th birthday shindig in London this weekend. Well, after Delta Airlines and Mother Nature thwarted my travel plans (and some hemming and hawing about whether or not I wanted to race after the disappointment behind the trip) I completed the Columbia Iron Girl Triathlon today!

There were 3 other ladies of Tri Unify that met up before the race and we tried to stay positive throughout the torrential downpour before we got started. We looked fab and were all smiles despite the rain. Ken showed up to offer his support, as usual.
Lisa, Terri, Me and Cassandra

The 1100 meter swim (which is long for a Sprint Triathlon) went well. The water was calm with no crazy current and choppiness to make me loose my lunch like in the NYC Triathlon. The only thing was, I kept feeling like my Tri shorts were sliding down and I had to stop stroking twice and do a little wiggle like movement to pull them up before sinking into the murky lake. I went my usual slow and easy pace and started to think about how I was going to get my swimming speed up, once I saw women with other colored caps passing me that started after me. I ran out of positive stuff to think about and was more than ready when I saw the swim exit buoys. Time: 32:42

Getting mentally prepared!

Me and Cassandra

Done with the swim!
T1: Maybe I will get a change of heart/mind next year about transitions times. I never really like to rush, as is evident by my time. I've been told that they should be less than 5 minutes. Time: 7:43

I had mentally prepared for the 17.5 mile bike course and had been out there on the crazy hills of Columbia in the past. However, I was concerned about this "Mount Albert" that everyone was talking about. I didn't go too hard on the bike, as I had been fairly warned of the crazy hills on the run. I think I paced myself nicely and even provided some free therapy to a lady along the way. I came up with this "WE GOT... THIS!" song that I sang out loud on the hills of Mount Albert and Homewood. This one lady caught up to me on the down hill and told me that she was looking for me to sing on the last hill because "she needed me". I told her that, "She didn't need me, because she made it up the hill without me and that sometimes we look for things that we already have inside ourselves". She asked if I was a life coach. Time: 1:17

T2: There was nothing impressive here. This should be my fastest transition time, but it's NOT!
Time: 8:12

The 3.3 mile run was just WRONG. I don't know who in the hell planned that course, but it sucked elephant nuts. The hills man, THE HILLS! I found myself skipping, shuffling, making a stop in a boathouse bathroom, walking and a little bit of running. I finally made it through. Time: 49:56

It was a nice event, but I doubt that I will be sitting at my computer on November 1st signing up again.

Total time: 2:55

Monday, August 8, 2011

New York City Triathlon

Although I had a fall down a flight of wet slippery stairs on my way to the race, vomited before the 250 meter mark of the swim, risked getting DQ'd after cursing a race official on the bike and taking a pill from a fellow runner in hopes that it was really a salt tab during the run, I can report that I am FINISHER of the 2011 New York Triathlon!
I was so proud to earn this medal that I wore it for HOURS after the race

Pre Race:
   Three of my friends decided to take the road trip with me to New York City from Washington, DC on the morning before the race. Shelita and Adrienne stayed over at my place on Friday night and Pier was ready to roll when we pulled up at 6am on Saturday morning. I laughed more in less than 48 hours with these ladies than I have laughed all year! We had a blast at the Expo making signs for race day. I made dinner reservations for the evening before the race at Bocca de Bacco which turned out to be a fabulous dining experience, to include great food, the waiter dancing for us and even giving one of my friends a sweet kiss before leaving.
Hanging with Shelita, Pier and Adrienne at the race expo

Shelita and Maximillion from Italy

Race day:
   The alarm went off at 3:15am and I felt ready! I got it together and trekked down to the geographically challenged race. The shuttle bus took us to transition, but dropped us off about a mile away from it. It was rainy and I slipped down a flight of slick stairs in route. I wasn't injured, but it is just not the way you want to start your race day. I realized just how much the DC Triathlon has me spoiled with their well laid out transition area. It didn't take me long to set up my transition and off I was for the 1 mile trek to the swim start in the rain. Every other race that I have completed to date was with my buddy Dawn, and this is when I really started to miss her, as we always walk out of transition together. I was glad that it was raining so my tears of loneliness would be washed away by the rain. I found the corral for my swim wave and I must have looked like a sad and lost puppy when my friends found me. I quickly cheered up, the sun finally came up, the rain started to subside and off I went to embark upon another Triathlon journey. 
My personal cheering squad: Pier, Shelita and Adrienne

My cheering crew cheered me up and turned my frown into a smile

All set and ready to rumble!

The swim: 1500 meters
   The swim start was changed to a time trial start. They walked us out onto a barge, lined us up 3 deep and 20 across, had us sit down on the edge of the barge and blew a whistle for us to jump in. We were notified that the Hudson River was salt water and that the current is very fast, but boy was I in for a SHOCK. I had not been paying attention to the water before jumping in and apparently there were rescue boats out there swaying back and forth pretty fast. I was expecting salt and a current and have competed in a race in the ocean before, but this was very different. I just could not get a breath in       without being slapped in the face with a swell of water. I tried to change up my stroke and managed to breast stroke a bit, but trying to time the waves became almost impossible. I even tried to side stroke, but I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I thought about back stroking, but noticed that the water was going over people's head while they were back stroking. I started to wonder how "lucky" I was for actually getting selected in the lottery for this race and about how my friends would be if I couldn't finish the race. I was starting to feel sick, and realized I never felt this way besides the first time that I was on a boat. After battling negative thoughts, trying to avoid panic, feeling the worse case of motion sickness and ingesting way... too much salt water, I vomited. ALOT!!! I started to tell myself that  I could and would get through this and that I had to do something different as I passed the 250 meter mark.  I thought about swimming at Sandy Point one day last year in choppy water and was instructed to just ride the waves and try to time the waves. So, I came up with a plan to stroke, ride two waves, breathe and then stroke on the other side and do the same. There was a lot of ruckus in the water and I could tell that others were in trouble by the amount of screams, whistles and relief boats that were dashing around, but I stayed in my "zone". Before long, I passed the 500m mark, the 750m mark and when I saw the 1000m mark and didn't feel sick anymore, I knew that I would make it out of that water. My thought as exiting: "I will never do this race again!". Time: 29:20 

After the swim

   My friends were right there as I exited the water and I did my usual smiling and waving when I have spectators watching me, but I was not looking forward to the half mile run back to transition. Getting to transition was so long that I knew that I had to be quick. The T1 time is long, but I will chalk it up to the time it took me to get there. Time:13:31

The bike: 25 miles
   We were informed that there would be a steep climb to get out of transition and then a quick sharp left turn and I was ready for it. Well, that was until I got behind a girl who was weaving back and forth up the rain slicked, steep hill and it was hard to judge her next move and I almost crashed into her  near the top of the steep climb. I thought to unclip quickly to avoid crashing into her and of course she kept going and I was stuck trying to get started again near the top of a hill. There was a race official there SCREAMING at me to DO NOT STOP! KEEP GOING!!! I told him that I couldn't and he kept screaming and then I screamed back at him to SHUT THE F@&K UP and then he said calmly, "well, just walk the bike up then!".  I was lucky enough to get to the side of the street, pushed off the curb, got going, made the sharp left and off I was. I immediately thought about whether or not my un-sportsmanlike conduct would get me DQ'd, but I kept it moving. I was very happy to see my friends close to the start of the course cheering and taking photos. I have trained hard on the bike since my last race and I felt prepared. I said ON YOUR LEFT so may times, that I grew tired of saying it. Although, I have to admit that I was passed by two different guys with a prosthetic leg, one guy with two prosthetic legs and a chick with no legs and in one of those bikes where you just use your arms. I was informed of the steep climb in mile 7, but it was longer than expected. Actually, the whole course was tough and it took me longer than ususal. I thought that I handled it well and maybe I went a little too hard, considering I had a 6 mile hilly run to do next. Time: 1:45:32

Finishing up the bike ride

   Once again, it took a while to get to the transition area and you had to slow down about a mile before getting there. I probably took a couple of minutes longer than I wanted to in transition, as my legs were tired! Time: 6:51

The Run: 6.2 miles
   I had heard that the first mile of the run was down 72nd street and there were a lot of spectators and great energy until getting to Central Park, where it falls silent. My plan was to walk up the hill out of transition and even if I had to do the "slow as molasses shuffle" to the park, I was determined to run the mile to the park. My legs were HURTING. I saw a lady struggling with the run and I kept trying to motivate her to just run to the park with me. I saw my friends again and Shelita even ran with me a little. I shuffled and smiled and gave thumbs up to all of of the spectators and tried motivating this lady although I was hurting. Man, I couldn't get to that damn park quick enough! Once I entered the park, I noticed that the lady who I was trying to encourage had New Orleans written on the back of her leg and we became fast friends. Her name was Maria and she kept thanking me for helping her get through the first mile and when I told her that I was hurting, she gave me a salt tablet. I had taken one of these before, but this one looked different. She told me that it would help my legs and that maybe I was dehydrated. I was so desperate at the time and after seeing her pop one, I said, "I'm trusting you" and popped the pill. It immediately made the back of my mouth tingle and I got a little scared, but low and behold, about 20 minutes later, my legs stopped hurting. I was sad to see so many of the people that I sped past on the bike, blow by me on the run. I promised myself that I would work on running more, so this doesn't continually happen to me. Maria and I committed to getting through this race together. She doesn't do well on hills and running downhill makes my shins hurt, so we mixed it up and suffered through it but ended up walking a lot. We stopped at every hydration station and probably walked the entire 4th mile. At the beginning of Mile 5, Maria asked me what got me into Triathlons. This is right when I started to hyperventilate a little and start to question my sanity. Maria had me taking some deep breaths and worked with me through it. It was so hot and I was so, so very tired, but we picked it up in the second half of mile 5. We saw the finish line, picked up our speed, I saw my friends there cheering, waving signs  and taking photos and I crossed the finish line! My thought: that was my hardest race to date. My legs hurt with every step that I took! I got my medal, finishers towel, some hydration, looked for my friends and off I was on the mile walk back to transition. Time: 1:27:48

Running down 72nd Street doing the "slow as molasses  shuffle". My legs were KILLING me

Maria and I bringing it to the finish line

These guys were trying to gain on us and beat us to the finish line!

The New York City Triathlon was my hardest race to date. But I finished it, and I guess that is all that matters. Some people were not so fortunate. A 64 year old man and a 40 year old woman died after suffering a cardiac arrest in the swim and 26 other people had to be rescued from the water.

Total time: 4:03:01. One day I would like to complete an Olympic Triathlon in 3 hours: 30 minute swim, 1:15 on the bike and 1 hour run with much shorter transition times. One day....

This has GOT to be the happiest finishing photo ever!

Tri Becca

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Who's the boss?

My body has proven to me again that it is the boss of me. Yeah, forget what my mind wants to do, my body is BOSS. I did a hellish hill workout on yesterday with the PG Running Club and 3 of my fellow Tri Unify training buddies. The run up hill to begin the hill workout was a beast. I am slow as frozen molasses and always manage to end up dead last, but I did not quit. I am convinced that if I keep showing up, I will get better/faster. Ken was awesome with passing along tips, Quintin was a great motivator and always managed to tell me that I looked good or something positive right when I needed to hear it, and Lisa was cutting and cussing me with her side eye look for getting her out for a tough workout.

I had a master plan to go riding with the BWMCC cycling crew today but my body had other plans. As the day progressed, I felt soreness setting into my legs from the hill workout  and the multiple Tequila shots that I had last night was starting to catch up to me. I planned to come home, pop some Advil and then take a 1 hour nap. I set my alarm, but when it rang, I turned it off and fell back to sleep while mentally preparing for my ride. I was so upset when I awakened, as I was so looking forward to riding with this group again. When I started to walk around, I noticed that my legs were no longer sore, the Tequila was out of my system and I was ready to ride. I sent a text to a few folks, but  no one was available to ride at Hains Point with me, so I rolled out alone. My plan was to ride 5 of the 6 mile loops and try to keep a cadence of 85. I had to do some positive self talk while out there and reminded myself that I was not out there to leisure ride and that I would be racing alone in the NYC Triathlon, so this was good for me. I ended up riding 28 miles and felt great about it.

So, the master plan did not work out, but going with what my body needed ended up being the best plan of all. It's so funny how your body will tell you that it needs to rest when we don't have the sense enough to do it on our own.

10 day count down until the NYC Triathlon....

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Listening to the weird feeling

It's really weird, but I do not feel like getting on my bike. I sure hope that I am not getting burned out! After all, I do have the NYC Triathlon in 2 weeks and the Nations Triathlon in 7 weeks. I had to scrap the plans for the Irongirl Triathlon this year due to a trip to London. This is weird for me, because I love riding my bike and I am not tired or anything, but I just don't feel like doing it. Perhaps, it's because I got all mentally prepared to ride on yesterday and drove almost an hour away to start the ride and it stormed on us! I was a good sport about it, kept smiling and made plans to ride again today. But here it is, 6:45am and I am canceling. I never cancel on a bike ride. I feel bad, because I gave my word to Diane, but I also feel like I just need to listen to my body on this one. Plus, I get weird feelings about things and usually when I listen, I avoid an accident or some kind of foolishness. So, off for a run. Maybe. I know that I should do something, but maybe I won't. Maybe I will just pick the whole Triathlon thing up again tomorrow? I have been going hard with training for a while now. Laundry all of a sudden sounds like a much more appealing thing to do today and maybe church and grocery shop and this Day party. Yeah, I think I will have a normal persons Sunday. I am sure that after taking Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, I will feel like a bum and want to get back to it. Let's hope that is the case and this is not burnout in the making.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The bike ride of many firsts

At the beginning of this week, I started to really freak out about my upcoming Triathlon in New York City on August 7th. I think the things that made me really nervous were all of the unknowns and not having a buddy racing to figure it out with. I wrote to the Tri club and asked for people to come out to an open water swim with me so I can try swimming without a wetsuit again in case it is too hot on race day to wear a wetsuit. I then wrote to two guys who did the race last year and asked if I have been riding hilly enough courses to get prepared. Tarus wrote back and invited me to come out on a hilly ride that he and the fellas ride on Wednesdays. I should have been weary when he told me that it was "an hour of power". Well, let's just say that I had some firsts....

  • This was the first time that I rode in 100 degree weather (well, it was actually 98 degrees and 101 with the heat index... same difference)
  • It was the first time that I sweat so much that bugs started to stick to my arms (GROSS!)
  • It was the first time that I literally called out to Jesus OUT LOUD while cycling up a hill
  • It was the first time that I wanted to avoid another hill SO BAD that when we took a short cut and the bridge was not down, I got off my bike, took off my shoes, walked across slimy rocks with my bike on my shoulder. YES I DID.
  • It was the first time that I realized that this Tri stuff ain't for no punks or prissy chics
Here is a picture of the darn creek that I walked across/in/through :

When we rode up to that gate and I saw the pavement on the other side of this creek and Tarus told me that the only options were to cross the creek or go back up a steep hill, I didn't think twice. WHAT have I BECOME? I don't know if I was a punk for avoiding the hill or a warrior for doing it the way we did it. Maybe I am both? At least I didn't fall. The London subway lady voice was playing in my head "Mind The Gap"...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No excuses!

You know, many people may think that we are insane for doing this "Triathlon stuff, but the more and more I think about it, it is all a mental game that can really affect your outlook, position and attitude toward life. Please allow me to preface this post by admitting that I have had two shots of Patron plus a margarita with Patron after a very hard work out, so it may be the licka (liquor) talking. However, I usually speak the truth in the state... and I am warming up some food now..But anywhoo....

I am not the fastest or fittest but I have that "Can't stop won't stop attitude". Yeah, I could take a break because I suffer from shin splints, but I don't. I just wear compression socks (as HOT as they are) to help to minimize the pain. Yeah, sure, I could take a break because I still have a sore ankle when I wear heels for too long, but I don't. I just monitor how long I wear my stilettos and wear (a hot azz) ankle brace when I run. Sure, I could continue to swim, bike and run alone because I feel like I am too slow to keep up with others, but I don't. I try to get people that are faster and better than me to train with, because I know that I will get faster and better by training with them.

So, I guess the reason for this post is to tell all of those people that are full of excuses of why they can't do something to quit your bitchin and get with it, IF you want to do it. Sometimes, you have to realize that you really just don't want to. If you want to be extraordinary and do something that only a fraction of the people in the world do, and feel like a superstar after crossing the finish line, then "man up" and stop with all the excuses. I mean, how can you use "the dog ate my homework" line and you don't even own a dog? Really? There are no excuses. Either you are and want to be extraordinary or you don't. Period. There are plenty of people out there that have one leg, one arm, a family a full time job, a new beau, a problematic or sick child, struck with cancer... you name it, that's out there. Just own up to the fact that you don't want to or you don't believe that you can. Those are the only reasons, and both are okay.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On to the next one

I am back to training for my next Triathlon: The New York  City Triathlon on August 7th. It will be another Olympic Distance Triathlon and I am nervous, as it will be my first race without any friends. I guess it will be fine after my disappointment with my last race, the DC Triathlon on June 19th. I finished which is always my goal, but there were a lot of folks that came in town to race with me and some of them didn't even wait for me at the finish line. They just finished their race and rolled out. My girl Dawn, Fred and Bill waited for me but I was not happy about the other 4 that left me. So maybe racing solo in the NYC Triathlon won't be so bad after all.

In the DC Triathlon I completed the Olympic distance race which was a 1500 meter swim (a little shorter than a mile) a 25 mile bike ride and a 10K run. I took my time on the swim and felt like I could've kept going after it was done. The ride wasn't bad but it did get a little lonely on the second loop, as the Sprint racers were done, it started to rain and there were just not that many people out since I took so long on the swim (50 minutes). I completed the ride in 1 hour and 33 minutes, which was just 3 minutes short of my goal. The run was just as planned, as I didn't really train for this leg of the race, so there was a lot of walking. I didn't get really fatigued until mile 5. This is when I started to question my sanity, was desperate for the finish line and was really upset after seeing one of the guys that came in town to race with me leaving when I was only at mile 4. The last 1.2 miles of this race was tough, but I finished. I should not have let the fact that some people left me and some of those that waited were ready to go right after I was done, spoil my victory, but I did. Oh well. I was proud of myself for earning my 4th medal (2 Sprints and 2 Olympic distance races)!

Since June 19th, I have only been on my bike 3 times (12 mile, 50 mile and a 18mile rides), swam once (1200 meters) and surprisingly I have run a few times. On two occasions, I ran 3 miles in 24 minutes! That is an awesome accomplishment for me! I plan to run a whole lot more before my next races (NYC Tri on 8/7, Iron Girl on 8/21 and Nations on 9/11), as I have a half marathon coming up (10/29) and I also need to get to running more to help slim down a bit.

There are 14 people interested in training for Nations with me. After my last experience with so many people racing, I will just be concerned with myself and not give a rats ass if anyone waits for me to finish on race day. I guess my idea of a team and support is different from others and that is disappointing. I do want to finish faster and will start doing more speed drills in all 3 sports, but I realize that this is an individual sport, even if you do know others that are racing. I have put together a training schedule for us and I hope that some folks come out to train... and if they don't, that's cool too, because I will get it in regardless. On to the next one......

The plan: Swim Mondays, Track workout on Tuesdays, Cycle and some bricks on Wednesdays, Swim on Thursdays, rest on Fridays, Cycle on Saturdays and Run on Sundays. I plan to get a few more of everything in or will probably show up before the meeting time for the group to do a little extra. I will also incorporate some kettle bell work outs in to the mix too to help tone up.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Quitting is not an option

After riding on yesterday and today, I could really be okay with not getting on my bike again until race day in 1 week. However, I will ride again on Wednesday since I have some folks interested in coming out to Hains Point.

Yesterday, I did an open water swim without my wetsuit at Sandy Point in the Chesapeake Bay. The water was very choppy, but I still managed to keep my positive self talk going as I swam. I can say that I did it again and if it is too hot to wear the wetsuit on race day, then I will be just fine. Swimming without a wetsuit is definitely harder!

After the swim, Lisa and I headed out for a bike ride (I was thinking that we would ride a max of 15 miles) when we saw a group of cyclist roll up. Before long, we were saddling up and off to ride 20+ miles with our new found friends. The pace was about 19mph on average and I think that I did a pretty good job keeping up.... except for on the hills. I was going with the flow, but as I started to slow down on the hills, they were picking me off and passing me up one by one. The group consisted of 7 men and 1 woman, so I felt that I had to represent and not make these guys think that they are more fit than us ladies! At the end of the ride, I surprisingly was not tired, but kindly accepted the ride back to my car.

Prior to going out with the crew of cyclist that we met on yesterday, I told Tish and David that I would go out for a 27 mile ride with them this morning. I really don't think that I ate enough prior to this ride or the day before, but I still went out with David and Darren (Tish punked out on us, saying that she had other plans). I was not aware that their street was a steady incline and made me want to quit by the time I got to the top. I wanted to quit again before mile 3 and by the time we got to mile 10, I wanted to turn around and go home. See, these guys ride this route every Sunday and between me not having that much experience riding hills, the 20 mile ride that I did the day before and not having enough nutrition on board, I was a negative, whiny, wanting to quit chic at mile 10. David honestly warned me of what lied ahead and told me turning back was even more hilly. I wanted to call Tish to come and pick me up! But being the positive person that I usually am about all of this stuff, hearing David say, "you'll be all right. You just have to have a positive attitude", made me change my whiny ways and saddle up again. It was my turn to lead, as they change the lead person every 5 miles. So, not only were we about to embark upon the most hilly part of the ride, but those two would be drafting off of me. Just great! I realized that quitting was not an option, sucked down some water, ate some Gu and got going....

I think that I cursed more on this ride than ever before, but I did it. In total I cycled 26 miles today (after cycling 20 miles and an open water swim on yesterday). What was the take away lesson? Quitting is not an option!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Today's ride with Tri Unify

I started to question my decision to schedule a bike ride today when I saw that we were under a heat advisory. It felt like 100 to 105 degrees with the heat index. I asked fellow Tri Unify members to join me and I was a little nervous that I would go through all of the preparations to get there and everyone would punk out on me due to the heat. I sent out a few texts and 2 people told me that the heat wasn't stopping them from training. I had been hydrating all day and got ready for what was going to be a hot one.

I decided to drive instead of ride, as I didn't know what to expect once Tarus said that he would put together the workout. After I somehow crossed the Potomac on my way to Hains Point, I ended up being late, but was happy to see 3 others waiting for me when I arrived. Before long, I looked up and we were a group of TWELVE riding! I was quite impressed with myself for initiating a ride and getting that type of response. Tarus asked if I will do this weekly, and I think that I will. Last week 2 others rode with me in the rain and this week twelve of us rode in the heat. I think that we have a pretty dedicated group. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tour de Cure

On this past Sunday, I cycled 33 miles for Diabetes. I have raised $645 to date (just a little short of my $700 goal). Although it was hard, I never wanted to quit... at least not until I reached mile 20. That always seems to be my breaking point: the dreaded 20th mile! I seem to loose any motivation at that mile marker and really start to question my sanity and why I decided to ride that far...

It was quite easy to motivate myself to keep pushing, as this was a Charity ride. A few people gave donations and asked that I ride for their family and friends... some even asked me to ride for them. I thought of my Mom and how she had a stroke recently. When the doctor told me that this is consistent with what happens with Diabetes patients, I knew that fundraising and riding was not something that I was going to back out of!

When my alarm went off at 5am and every 5 minutes for the next 30 minutes, I started to question if I should do the ride. I was sleepy and it was looking like it was going to rain. I had just had my hair done and didn't want to get it rained on. I was nervous because I did not know if the route had crazy hills and if the group that I was going to ride with would leave me in their dust. I thought about all sorts of reasons why I should not go. I got dressed and said that I would at least show up for the group picture and would leave if I wasn't motivated to ride. When this young girl that was wearing a red jersey which read, "I ride with Diabetes" told me "Thank you for riding for me, I teared up, said "Thank you" and headed to my car to get my bike. I was in!

I was still nervous, but a little happy that the two guys showed up with mountain bikes and I knew that I could probably take them and the chic that rode with us. She was lean and all, but I thought that I could take her! Mind games, I tell ya... mind games... I thought that they were all out for joy ride and was trying to take it easy to ride in a group at first, but then I had to break away. My motto is, "if you're gonna do it, then DO IT!". We finally got out of the neighborhoods and when we hit the trail, I TOOK OFFF. I had to get in a little speed work, so I left them. We all caught up at the rest stop and probably rested a little too  long. The guys were all goo goo eyed for the Coconut Water girls and so, we hung out.

We took off again and at the 20 mile mark, I started to get tired! We stopped for another photo shoot at mile 23.

I knew that I had to finish this thing and had to quit playing with them, so I took off and left them again. I played a little game and tried to pick off every chic or dude that I could see in front of me. I got passed by quite a few people and tried to keep up with them, but ended up eating their dust. I keep pushing and before you knew it, I was DONE!

I played around and cheered other folks on and then about 10 minutes later, the others rolled in.

We got some grub and stretches and even hung out with  a little character that I had never seen before, Doc Broc! He made me so happy!

I brought my stinky self home, showered up and hit up Travel Diva's Anniversary party. I tried my best to not look as tired as I really was. I think that I clean up pretty well!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all of those that supported me! Yall ROCK!

Tri Becca

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Time is running out!

While, I have managed to keep up some level of fitness over the last few months, I have definitely not been training hard consistently for this Triathlon in 3 weeks. The thing that I have not done is train for the distances (1 mile swim, 25 mile bike ride and 6 mile run).  

The swim: I have only swam a mile once (1600 meters), 1200 meters once and 1100 meters once since September. I plan to really pick up my distances in the pool over the next 3 weeks and always swim a mile up to 2000 meters 3-5 days a week to get myself ready.

The bike: I have cycled 20 or more miles a few times, but not consistently at all. I rode for 23 1/2 miles today and was WORN OUT! I have to cycle more and get to the point where I am not completely spent afterwards, as I will still have to run 6 miles after the 25 mile ride on race day. I am cycling 33 for Diabetes education and research next weekend and I am no where near ready. I need to be on that dang bike like every other day getting myself ready!

The run: This is the part that is really a joke. I have not been running consistently and definitely not covering the distance. I have a plan in place for this. The plan is to run as much as my I can stand between now and race day. On race day, I will run to a water stop and take a break and  repeat to get through it that way. The water stops are about 1 mile apart. I will focus on running 1-3 miles over the next 3 weeks and just make it do what it do on race day.

This is the first time that I felt this unprepared for a race. I will finish and get another metal once I cross that finish line, but ti won't be pretty and it sure as heck won't be fast.

I feel a big difference in my energy level this year, as I have been trying to monitor my caloric intake more. I had much more energy last year when I ate more.  Getting proper nutrition without gaining weight is a big challenge for me.

I plan to make the New York City Triathlon my A race for the season and really pick up my training. I feel that I will have my ass handed to me after this race in 3 weeks and that will make me train harder to be prepared. I have to get to the point where I am cycling at least 25 miles twice a week and running 5 miles twice a week to be prepared. I am learning who I can really count on to get trainings in and am more comfortable with training alone when I have to. I also want to start incorporating more cross training like boot camp, kickboxing and dancing into my schedule too. I think if I mix it up, it won't get mundane and it will make my Triathlon training easier, as my endurance will be greater.

This week wasn't so bad (run 1 mile on Monday, Swim 700 meters and run 1 1/4 mile on Tuesday, swim 1100 meters and walked {my ankle was achy}2 miles on Wednesday, cycled 23.5 miles on Thursday.

The plan: walk/run 3 miles on Friday, Dance and swim 1600 meters on Saturday (hopefully with Tri Unify), Brick workout on Sunday with Tri Unify, swim 1 mile on Monday (at disgusting gym), 30 mile bike ride (hopefully with Tri Unify) on Tuesday, Run 3 miles and swim 1 mile on Wednesday... and figure it out from there

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What makes a Triathlete

It's not about how fast you go, it's about taking on a challenge and never quitting. There is no turning back.  It takes perseverance, dedication, and endurance. If it was easy, everyone would do it! This is what makes me feel extraordinary, like a super hero... except for when that little old 60 year old lady passes me by and tells me to have quick feet and straighten my back out some when running up a hill, and says, "Let me show you". Then, I see HER as a super hero and aspire to be like her at 60.


PeasantMan (practice) Triathlon

On Sunday, Lisa and I completed the PeasantMan (practice) Triathlon. We did the Sprint race, which didn't feel much like practice to me. It was the real deal Holyfield! The day before, I drove up to participate in the Open Water swim clinic. There was a 500 meter course set up, which I completed with ease. I was quite impressed with myself, but I was a nervous wreck leading up to this day. I did go to the Wilson pool the night before and swam 1200 continuous meters to prove to myself that I could do this. But, it took a lot of good positive self talk before hopping in on Saturday. At no time did I get tired or panic and I finished feeling refreshed with a low heart rate! My mentee Rasheem was a little ambitious for his first time in open water and swam 2 laps for a total of 1,000 meters! I was like a proud mama! He finished all disoriented looking with wobbly legs, but he did it! I got dried off and waited for Lisa to arrive.

There was supposed to be a big bonfire that night, but we had to turn it into a plain ol' cookout. Lisa brought the largest marshmallows that I had ever seen and we made s'mores on the grill. Some people joined in on the fun. We conversed with several new Triathletes and met this really cute couple that are now married after meeting in the 1st grade. We hung out until about 9pm and then headed out of the woods to our hotel that left a lot to be desired. It was only for a night, so Lisa and I tried our best to ignore the blood stains on the bathroom wall, adjust to our doors being on the outside, no concierge to call on if needed and pretended that there was no weird pissy-like smell.

Race day

Lisa and I got up, stumbled around and whined about why in the hell we were doing this. Before long, we were on our way and got all posted up and people watched. The race start was a running beach start which was pretty cool (this means, we all lined up on the beach and when they said "GO!", we all ran into the water and dropped down to start swimming). I kept my cool in the water and made it through the 750 meter swim. The bike ride was adventuresome and made me wonder why I haven't been training more on the bike. The run was fun, although I walked a bit. I just made it fun and talked to other racers and volunteers along the way. All in all, it was a great race and it let me know that I have to really pick up the pace so I can double the distance in 6 weeks.