Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Esprit de She Naperville Triathlon Race Report

On Sunday, June 14, I participated in the Espirit de She Sprint Triathlon in Naperville.  The last time I competed in a sprint was in 2013 at the IronGirl race!  I was excited to see how my fitness compared to then.  Especially because I hadn't done much in the way of specific training for this race beforehand. 

Espirit de She Sprint Triathlon
June 14, 2015 
750m swim, 13.3 mile bike, 3.1 mile run

The day prior to the race was super hot and I spent the day picking up my packet and then helping my friends build a deck.  I was under the impression that I was going to hang out but Matt put me to work nailing in brackets.  I even had a blister from my work!  Dehydration did get to me a little bit and I ended up sitting inside cooling off and drinking water.    Since our friends lived closer to Naperville, we stayed with them on Saturday night to shorten our drive on Sunday morning.  

The weather did not get the memo that we were racing that day and I woke up to storms and more rain on the way.  Rain followed us all the way to Naperville.  I was less than thrilled to put my stuff in transition and race to say the least.  Since my wave was near the end, I ended up walking over to transition and leaving my things there in a plastic bag and heading back to the car to hang out for an hour and read my book.  Amy and I were texting and talking about our un-motivation to race.  

Eventually the rain cleared up! Alleluia! I never ended up getting body-marked because I couldn't find anyone doing it before the race so I just put on my wetsuit and got ready to race.  The swim is in a old quarry and the water is chlorinated.  It was quite a nice change from the dirty lakes where you can't see your hand in front of your face. 

With only about 3 minutes between each wave, my wait in line for the swim felt short.  My confidence in my swimming ability is growing so I finally told myself that I was not starting at the back and ended up in about the second row.  When the gun went off I sprinted into the water and started swimming hard. By about the first hairpin turn, I had separated from most of the group and found a good set of feet to follow.  We had to swim around quite a few people in the waves before us but I stayed on those feet.  I think I ended up coming out of the water 3rd in my wave.  I was happy with that and it's a reminder to me that I need to be selecting the more aggressive swim positions in future races.

Transition was a bit of a mess from the rain.  All my bike and run things were mixed together in one plastic bag so I had to dig a little bit to find my shoes, but it was all worth it to have dry running shoes and socks.  Bike out was a long, long way away from my bike which was quite a pain in bike shoes.  If I had paid more attention in the morning, I would have opted to run with my shoes in my hand.  

On the bike, I pushed hard.  It was a sprint afterall! Being about the 30th wave to start, there were a lot of people to pass on the bike course.  Triathlon bikes, road bikes, hybrids, beach cruisers, bikes with baskets--I saw them all on the course.   

And here is where I am going to do a bit of ranting. Espirit de She is a women's only race that markets itself as beginner friendly.  Don't get me wrong, I am all for getting people into triathlon and everyone is a beginner once, but what I am not all for is total disregard of the triathlon rules.  This race was USAT sanctioned which means I expected it to follow the USAT rules.  Rules help everyone race fairly and help keep all participants safe.  A few USAT rules include all riders must be wearing a helmet, no headphones are allowed, no drafting on the bike, and everyone must ride on the ride side of the road and pass to the left.  What I encountered on the bike course could be effectively described as a clusterf***.  Riders were strung out 3 wide across the road and generally weren't aware of the rules of passing.  I don't want to sound conceited because I am not some world-class athlete, but my Garmin data said I averaged 19.3 mph on the bike and when I was coming up behind someone biking less than 12 mph, that is not safe. Weaving in and out of other riders was not comfortable for me.  If I want to go on a leisurely ride, I can do that for free; I paid $86.40 to compete in this race and I was there to test my fitness.  I really wish Espirit de She would have emphasized the rules in their pre-race emails or at the expo. Ultimately, the burden to know the rules is on the participant though.  Espirit de She could have also had more course marshals or course officials out on the course encouraging participants to follow the rules. I've seen races do a great job of welcoming beginners while still maintaining the focus on safety and rule-following so I know it can be done. End rant. 

I had a strong bike and was able to dismount and start the long run back to my bike rack smoothly.  Although the pavement was very wet and I was warned it was slippery it was too late for me to slow down. 

The run was muggy but I was determined to run the entire thing.  No speed records were broken but I laid down fairly consistent splits (9:30, 9:29, and 9:13 according to my Garmin).  Running and I haven't been best of friends lately so it was nice to know I could still run. 

Swim: 11:24 (1:32/100m)
T1: 3:38
Bike: 41:36 (17.9 mph)
T2: 1:54
Run: 28:16 (9:06/mile)
Overall: 1:26:46

I found the distances to be slightly off compared to my Garmin.  Certainly, Garmins are not 100% accurate but I definitely did not swim nor run that fast. 

After the race, I checked out the goods with Kelly, Nicole, and Amy.  

Amy and I were rocking our Smashfest Queen tops.

I picked up a few freebies from the vendors including my favorite vendor Dunkin' Donuts.  And then made the long trek home to shower.  

Cost: $86.40 (signed up early)
Pros: Great swag--two Moxie biking jerseys
Cons: minimum focus on the rules
Would I do it again?   I'm not sure yet.  The price isn't bad but I'm still irked about the biking situation

Friday, May 15, 2015

Five Things Friday

Happy Friday! We survived another week.  Actually this week flew by for me! I have no big plans for this weekend so maybe that means my bathroom will actually get clean. Maybe.

Here is the five for Friday! 

1.   I've been following the Whole 30 diet for a little over 2 weeks now. It's.....meh. And I certainly haven't been perfect. It doesn't seem fair to have to give up chocolate AND bread AND alcohol. So I had some beer. The Whole 30 website says I am supposed to start over but screw that. I have eaten some really good salad including this one with spinach, tuna, avocado, tomatoes, and hearts of palm. I received a can of hearts of palm in my goodie bag from the Whole Foods class. I hadn't tried them previously but I really like them! #wholefoodies

2.   I went back to my hometown the other weekend to see my high school's musical.  I participated in drama every year of high school and always loved the spring musicals.  This year my cousin Shannon was in her first play -- Spamalot.  It was hilarious! And they did such a great job! 

She even got to wear some of the same outfits that I wore!

3.   The end of 2014 was so busy that I missed most of the book clubs! But I have been trying hard to make it to the meetings in 2015.  I made it to the April meeting at Jackie's house for "How to be Parisian" and many delicious French-inspired dishes.  The book wasn't my favorite but it was a really easy read and enjoyable.  I made these Carmelized Onion and Goat Cheese Crostinis which were a hit.  I think you can never go wrong with carmelized onions. 

Now if I could only get the May book from the library.  

4.  Matt has been working a lot...it's planting season. I kind of hate it. He's home tonight so I am happy  (yay for rain :) ) When he has been home he's been making good use of our tiny charcoal grill.  We don't have a gas grill at the new place so $35 at Home Depot got us this nice charcoal number.  I love the smell of charcoal and I really wish I wasn't on this stupid diet because it just makes me want to go out there and roast a marshmallow.  

5.   My grandpa celebrated his birthday on May 10!  We hoped to have a cookout at the park but it was just too chilly so we went to my grandparent's house instead.  I made him a card!

It says "A big birthday needs a big card".  ps my grandpa really likes squirrels. 
We couldn't quite fit 95 candles on his cake so instead we went with 14 because 9+5=14

I am so lucky to have this guy in my life. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Meal Prepping with Whole Foods

The other weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a blogger cooking class hosted by Katie and Whole Foods Northbrook. This class was focused on easy meal prepping and quick weeknight snacks.  So we received two recipes that were freezer-friendly and could be cooked up in a slow cooker. 

Amy and I partnered up and headed out into the store to collect our ingredients. First we hit up the produce section to grab some veggies for our stir-fry and veggie chili.  Then we moved over to the bulk section.  The bulk section at the Northbrook store is huge and puts the one at Kildeer--the Whole Foods that I shop most frequently--to shame. We picked out a grain for our stir fry and decided to try something new and went with wheat berries. I am really excited to try out a new grain. 

Plus we picked up a few spices to go with our chili. 

After weighing and labeling our ingredients we headed to the checkout. 

Before we got started with our prepping, Chef Sara showed us proper knife techniques and demonstrated the best way to cut an onion (by leaving the root on to hold your onion together)! I've been using the technique since and I love it!  

Then Amy and I got to work chopping our ingredients for our recipes.  I worked on the veggie chili while Amy prepped the stir fry.  

We made sure to save all our vegetable peels and scraps for the vegetable stock we would need for our stir fry recipe. 

Chili ingredients and veggie scraps
Once everything was chopped, we split each of our meals into two freezer bags.  Then we added the wet ingredients like canned tomatoes.

Before starting on our snack recipe, we dumped all our of veggie scraps into a big stock pot. Stock can basically cook and boil down all day long to get the most flavor in your stock.  Most times when I cook a chicken or a turkey, I will cook down the bones and skin and meat scraps into a broth with a few carrots, onions, and celery.  It is a great way to get more out of your food and broth can be used for just about anything! 

We didn't have all day to cook our veggie stock, so Sara just did a quick stock  by boiling for about 20 minutes.  All the liquid is then strained to get the flavorful broth. 

Veggie remnants
We did not leave empty-handed either.  Each participant left with a bag full of goodies; my bag included olive oil (perfect timing since I just used up an old bottle), hearts of palm, a can of salmon, and red lentils.  I have a killer salad recipe in mind for all these ingredients.

I'll make sure to share the recipes for the freezer meals when I cook them! 

Thanks so much to Katie for inviting me to this event and Chef Sara for a great class!
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