Jackson County Triathlon Race Report - Long Course

John says 4:30 in the morning is too early to get up for a race. It is a little early when you have to wait for the sun to come up to pump up your tires.
For the last few weeks (or maybe months) I have had a hard time sticking to my training. Blame it on my job or whatever, I just hadn't trained for this race as much as I wanted to. Then, in typical pre-race fashion, I went over my predicted time and when I compared that to last year's results, that would put me at 2nd to last in my AG. Wow. So I set my goal time at 2:30 and hoped I wouldn't be last. That would be a serious mental blow at this point. I was going to race to finish, but I'm tired of that, I wanted to RACE. So I did.
Swim caps come with attitude. (Actually I was cold from a dip in the lake).
Scuba Steve! I can't believe he actually had a snorkel. I'm pretty sure that's against USAT rules. Then again, if you need a snorkel, the swim probably isn't much fun.
It was a 2 loop swim with a beach run. I prefer one long swim, but it was fine. My swim time was my slowest swim to date, but I'm going to blame it on the beach running.
After the swim, I hopped on the bike and tried to catch the ultra-fast women in my head. If I didn't pass someone, I was sure to come in last. So I biked hard and went pretty aggressively through the hills. I love passing men on expensive bikes, especially when I know their wave was at least 5 min ahead of mine. Here's a glimpse of the bike course. I really enjoy riding through the country and by the lake. The course was completely closed to traffic, which was AWESOME!! I thanked every police officer and volunteer I passed.
The Bridge of Death. Ok, so I'm exaggerating. We had to stop, dismount, and run our bikes across for safety reasons, and I'm glad the RD did it that way. This was right after some tight S-curves. I only know of 1 guy that wiped out and it was his own fault for not slowing down.

I had a great bike leg and then took off on the 5 mile run. My legs felt better than I had hoped but my stomach was acting up. Big surprise. I skipped the aid stations until the turn around point and by then my stomach was fine. I was passed by a few women, but that's typical. Come to find out, second through fifth place were within 2 minutes. But I couldn't have made that up (unless I had been training like I should have). It was probably my best race to date and I know I went hard and didn't hold back. I was 110/235 overall, 12/50 women and 5/13 in my age group. That's like winning for me. Not in last place by a long shot. Here are my overall splits:
S: 25:36 (2:33 min/100m)
T1: 1:29
B: 1:13:57 (20.7 mph!!!!)
T2: 1:22
R: 42:25 (8:29 min/mile)
Total: 2:24:47
I have to point out that I never have broken 20 mph for an average speed on the bike. But I also think I need to recalibrate my bike computer since it was way off the results from today. Good tech t-shirt that actually fits. I may do this one again next year and really try to make it on the podium. I will sleep happy tonight.


Pre-race rituals

Last night I went up to Smithville lake and swam with a co-worker who is also doing the Jackson County Tri. The lake was much greener than I remember and the bottom was slimy (good reason not to touch the bottom). I guess that's the downfall to warm weather. I see it as boot camp for my immune system. I figure there are women who pay good money for a seaweed body wrap - I should take advantage of swimming through it for free!

I decided an OWS the Thursday before race day is a good pre-race ritual I'm going to keep up. It felt great to be in the water and it really helps my confidence. I think my co-worker also felt it was beneficial. I haven't been swimming as much as I should due to limited pool hours now that school is back in session but I have no problems with six tenths of a mile.

And I definitely learned my lesson from the Bike Source triathlon - no BBQ at 9 pm the night before a race! I'll stick with the usual pasta or uber-thin all-natural pizza. For this distance I don't think I need to go overboard on the carbs. I've found I race better if I'm at a slight deficit.

Sunday is the big day and I'm excited. The race is sold out, so it should be a lot of fun. Although looking at last year's times, I really hope I'm not in last place in my age group. That would be a mental blow and it's a definite possibility. I just wish they had more race info on the website, like number/size of waves, beach start or standing water start, if transition areas are assigned or first-come, stuff like that. I like to have all the information beforehand. I'm such an engineer.

Here's to another race weekend!



It's a funny thing. I was going to blog about my severely blistered feet until I read some of the Leadville 100 trail race updates. While I was complaining this weekend about raw feet, these guys were enduring rain, sleet, snow, cold weather and high altitudes to run for over 24 hours straight. When these guys DNF, it isn't because of an upset stomach or lousy blisters, it's because their kidneys started to shut down, they broke a bone (or several), or had 2 bouts with hypothermia.

Makes blisters seem pretty ridiculous.

I've been having a hard time sticking to my training plans and finding motivation and I think my perspective on racing and training has shifted from where it should be. I remember when workouts were the highlight of my day and races were the icing on the cake. I remember when I couldn't run 2 miles straight and now 7 miles is a 'maintenance' run.

I also remember when I thought marathoners and triathletes were crazy and a 1/2 marathon seemed impossible. I didn't even consider a 1/2 Ironman anything a normal person could do. And here I am, three 1/2 marathons, three triathlons (one 1/2 Ironman) under my belt and I had lost the joy to train. I had ignored what I have already accomplished and stopped thinking about what I have yet to accomplish.

I think it's safe to say that all athletes get burned out from time to time. It just took reading about some of the toughest people on the planet, racing in awful conditions, to put my own trivial issues in perspective.

I have 2 more triathlons this season. My goal is to finish my first Oly dist and race hard my last sprint. I'm running in the KC 1/2 marathon and I will set a new PR. Then from October through February, I'm going to train for my first ultra - the Psycho WyCo 50k this winter. 2008 was my "Year of Big Mileage" and I don't see a reason to stop.

Just for the record, while my perspective on distance has change, Ironman athletes and ultra runners are two groups that will never cease to amaze me.


The Most Ridiculuous Ticket Ever

While riding through DeSoto, KS last night, I heard sirens. I had ridden farther into town than usual. I typically turn as soon as I get close to town. I looked back and saw a cop car, lights flashing behind me. I figured he was just going around and I kept pedaling. Sirens again. Ok, so I pull over and sure enough, they took my driver's license (ran it for outstanding warrants for good measure) and wrote me a ticket. If you look at a large version of the ticket, you'll see I was "Unlawfully operating an '08 Trek bicycle."
Turns out I was riding on a street where bicycle riding is prohibited. No, I wasn't on the highway, I was on a 2-lane low volume road out in the country where the speed limit is 45 mph. And there were no signs posted from the direction I was riding, only on the way out of town. I was headed back since there's no alternate route anyway.
The best part is that after they issued me the ticket (court date is 8/25) they actually loaded me and my bike up and ran my ass out of town. Hence the back-seat car ride. They dropped me off at the border with the adjacent town, which ironically enough, had a "Share the Road" sign posted on their stretch of the same road!

So my first traffic ticket in the last 10 years is for riding on my damn bicycle. It would be a whole lot funnier if the ticket wasn't $100! My riding buddy thought it was hilarious since we've ridden that road numerous times. Criminal, is my new name in the office.

What can I say, I'm just a badass.


Psycho Night 10k Race Report

Friday night, I ran my first official trail race. Just a baby race, compared to what some of these guys run. I wasn't really sure what I was getting into, or how fast I would be under race conditions, so I started at the back of the pack. I felt a little out of place. At least my shoes already had mud on them. Copious amounts of bug spary and I was ready to go.

No timing chips, no starting mats, just a couple of bright orange cones, a few words of wisdom from Bad Ben, the race director, and ready, set, go! I realized about 10 steps into this that I was a little TOO conservative in my starting place. I tried passing a few people but it was difficult with rock crossings. I managed to get beyond a mother and her two daughters before entering the bridle trails.

I was just starting the first hill when I heard it - the sound of whining. If you've ever run with the Nerds, you know that whining will result in being buried in a shallow, unmarked grave next to the trail. I couldn't believe it. I looked at my watch -3:08 minutes into the race and one of the girls was already complaining! I thought, this is going to be a long 6 miles if this keeps up. At 4:15 I heard the mother offer to walk. At 6:20 they started walking and 7 minutes into the race, I never heard from them again. At least it was over quickly. I didn't notice any shallow graves on the way back, but then again, they're unmarked.

I met Barefoot Rick, easily distinguished by his lack of footwear. The highlight of my run - I had just passed Rick going through some rocks and got to the first of the muddy areas. To my right, I see a guy go down and hear Rick shout with child-like joy "Yeah!! Shoe-sucking mud!" as he ran right through the middle, passing me in my vain attempt at solid footing. Barefoot Rick and I leap-frogged for much of the race until the end, when I passed him going down a rocky slope. I can't believe how fast he is barefoot.

I was able to pass a few people on the first half of the course. Passing is much more difficult on single track trails than any road race. You actually have to plan and think about it.

The trail wound through the "Triangle" and I think I was better off in the dark, because then at least I wasn't tempted to try to figure out where I was or what direction I was headed in. Passing was out of the question and I was glad to follow someone anyway. When I think of trail running, the Triangle is exactly what I think of. Although, you have to wonder if the trail creator was in some kind of chemically altered state when that trail was designed. That's an entirely different conversation.

Out of the triangle and on the way back, I made up a lot of ground and passed a ton of people. I met a few of the Mud Babes and talked with a few other groups. I was practically skipping on the down hills. I'm sure someone was waiting for me to do a face plant, but I was having way too much fun to slow down. I figured if I did fall, I deserved it. Having trail shoes is a definite advantage.

I finished strong and felt I could have gone harder - there were just too many unknowns. I had a near-perfect Friday evening - trail race, followed by a hot shower, cold beer, and ice on the knees. If only I didn't have any blisters, it would have been perfect.

Turns out, I finished 4th out of the ladies (out of 31). Damn, so close to placing. I think next time I'll start closer to the front and really give those Mud Babes a run for their money. :) John joked that I should give up this triathlon stuff and get into the trail running circuit. While giving up triathlons is out of the question, I think I am going to try to find a trail marathon next year and see where that takes me. I'm trying to PR in the KC 1/2 marathon this fall, but after that I may be done with road races.

Except for triathlons, of course.


Dirty Shoes

Actually, now that they're dry, they look relatively clean. DH and I did a little over an hour at WyCo this weekend and had a blast. There's an easy way around high temps - run early, just bring lots of water. I'm really looking forward to the Psycho Night Run this Friday. And the spider webs weren't nearly as bad this time. I really love running Fester's Wander, for anyone that might be heading out that way. Complete shelter from the sun, too.
I realized I have less than 3 weeks until my first Olympic distance tri. Yikes. Time to get serious again. Tonight I have 25 miles on the bike scheduled. I think I'm going to head over to Longview Lake and bike the course. I'm planning on hills and I'm sure I won't be disappointed.
I did 2000m in the PV pool last night. I would have done more except I got tired of people with poor pool etiquette. I miss the ISU days with clearly posted rules and lanes categorized by speed. Ah, college. That and I forgot my water bottle, so I quit when I was thirsty. I suppose pool water was an option but I prefer my chlorinated water without sunscreen and deodorant residue. Can't wait for the lake water, nice and warm this time of year!