Thursday, July 30, 2015

Door County Triathlon Race Recap

Two race recaps in one week. I'm on a roll.  This afternoon we leave for a short trip to the Tennessee Smoky mountains with Matt's family so any additional blogging is not likely to happen.

A little over a month ago, Kelly mentioned she was buying a bib for the Door County Half Ironman on Sunday, July 19.  The Door County Triathlon allows participants to transfer their registrations if they aren't planning on racing and quite a few people were trying to sell their entry.   So on the last day that transfers are allowed I bought a bib for $100 plus the $20 transfer fee! That's a good price for a half Ironman in my book!

Door County Half Ironman
July 19, 2015
8:00 am
1.2 mile swim, 56.3 mile bike, 13.1 mile run

I was already planning a half Ironman double in August--racing Ironman Steelhead 70.3 on the 9th and Pigman a week later on the 16th. So I wasn't really feeling ready to tackle a half Ironman quite so early but I figured I could use the race as a long training day.

Kelly found us a super cheap campground less than 10 minutes from the race site. Matt and I headed up late Saturday morning but not before stopping at Cabela's to purchase an air mattress! I need to camp in style!

Choosing the healthy route before a race is always important, so it makes total sense that we chose Arby's for lunch. I'm a sucker for curly fries.


Door County offers day of packet pickup so we didn't worry about rushing to the race expo that night.  Kelly was already at the campground so once we arrived we got our air mattress set up and enjoyed a Spotted Cow before dinner.  When in Wisconsin, right?

After a scenic dinner in Egg Harbor, we picked up some DINO wood before building our campfire to make some s'mores before calling it an early night.


Thankfully the weather cooled off nicely and I got a fairly good nights sleep.  Matt, however, was convinced he wouldn't need any blankets due to the heat and ended up stealing my one blanket halfway through the night. How rude!

The birds woke us up before our alarms on race morning so I made use of the quarter showers to rinse off the bug spray before donning my blue race kit.  Breakfast was a bagel and peanut butter provided by Kelly because I did not come prepared. 

Getting to the race site, packet pick-up, and tattoo application all went smoothly and soon I was racking my bike in transition.   Race numbers were assigned at packet pickup so I was #927 and that netted me a pretty good location in transition.  After making a quick note of where swim in, bike out, and run out locations were, Matt and I headed over towards the swim start. 

I put my wetsuit on while Matt took super attractive pictures of me
Thankfully Kelly and Brent found us before my swim start.  The bay had 18 inch rollers which made it the choppiest water I had ever swam in.  When the gun went off for my wave, I told myself the worst part would just be swimming out and once I was swimming parallel to the shore it wouldn't be so bad.  That turned out not to be entirely true but it helped get me through the swim.  The race had A LOT of lifeguards out in the water which I was very thankful for!  As I was approaching the second turn buoy I got really confused as two turn buoys were very close together and I was unsure if I was supposed to go through them or what.  A lifeguard ended up bumping me with his floaty and telling me I needed to go around both!  I fully admit fault here because I did not look at the provided course videos which would probably have cleared up the confusion for me.  

The chop in the swim meant I swam not straight at all.  And at times I would look up to sight and only see a swell of water in front of me and no buoys. I never felt panicked or out of control swimming but I was glad to be getting out of the water.  The swells definitely affected my swim time and I am fairly certain I hit a personal worst swim time. Yippee!

T1 went quickly thanks to a great wetsuit stripper!  Bike mounting went smoothly and I was off for 56 miles.  I spent the first few miles settling my heart rate down and rehydrating.  The bike course was very scenic and most of the roads were in good condition.  I enjoyed not having to make any 180 degree turns.  Aid stations offered water and Gatorade endurance formula which I took advantage of because the weather was warm and getting warmer. My goal on the bike was to stay comfortable and set myself up for a strong run.  Rumors swirling around before the race indicated that it was a hilly course and though there were a few rollers I wouldn't consider this course hilly.  I never had to get out of the saddle to climb.  


Near the end of the bike I started getting a headache and figured I wasn't taking in enough water and salts so I chugged a bottle of Gatorade.  By the end of the bike my headache was gone! On the bike I ate one BonkBreaker bar, one Honey Stinger waffle, and one Clif Shot Gel plus a few bottles of water and maybe 2 bottles of Gatorade. 

T2 was another fast transition into my running shoes and visor.  I forgot my race belt so I had to pin my bib to my top.  I won't forget my race belt in the future.  Once I started running, Matt pedaled up to me on his bike and told me that I was doing so good (I told him that I did not expect to do well!) to which I replied that I still had a half marathon to run! 

Running intervals worked well for me during the Ironman and I decided I would run 1 mile then walk for 30 seconds plus I walked through all the aid stations and up the steep hill at 5.5 and 9.5.  This method worked out great and I was able to keep even pacing through the end of the race!  Making it my best and fastest half Ironman run yet!  

At each of the aid stations I would take a cup of water, drink a few sips and dump the rest over my head, chug a cup of Gatorade, and dump ice down my top and my shorts.  Yes it is weird to dump ice down your shorts but it really helps me to stay cool.  I never felt too hot during the run! On the run I ate a Gu and a packet of Gu Chomps.  The hill at 9.5 was steep and it slowed my pace down a lot but there was no way I was running up that thing! My heart rate was high just walking! The popsicle aid station around mile 11 was clutch! 

The finish is down a big hill so I picked up the speed as much as I could but my quads were burning. 

Shockingly even splits
I came flying into the finish!


Immediately after the finish there were dunk tanks with cold water which I happily climbed in to cool off.  Then I got my medal and found Matt while we waited for Kelly and Brent to finish.  Having Kelly and Brent chasing me all day was great motivation to keep running! 

Results
Swim: 43:02 (2:13/100m)
T1: 1:57
Bike: 3:07:20 (18.0 mph)
T2: 1:36
Run: 2:16:05 (10:23/mile)
Overall: 6:09:57 (13/25 in F25-29)

I am thrilled with my finish.  Matt mentioned how stoic I was before the race and how he knew I was really nervous.  And I was! I felt very undertrained for this race but I think not having a time goal actually helped me relax and race smart. 

Race twinsies!

The post race meal included BBQ pork sandwich, an ear of corn, and 2 beers! Spectacular post-race food in my book. We hung around for a bit but the sun was hot and I could already feel the sunburn on my shoulders.  Plus with the long drive home we wanted to get started earlier rather than later. After another quarter shower at the campground, we packed up our stuff and headed home. 

Half Ironmans make me famished so we stopped for dinner at Titletown Brewing in Green Bay.  


My very first poutine was fantastic
I enjoyed a cold Kurty's Hop Monster which was basically named after me and destroyed a spicy elk burger.  I couldn't resist taking a selfie with the Donald Driver statue outside!



Cost: $120
Pros: Awesome course, great post-race food, and great atmosphere
Cons: choppy water
Would I do it again?  Definitely!  The cost is great and I thought everything was well managed.  Next year we want to stay for the tiki party on the beach!

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. 

Results
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. 

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