Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Universe Does Not Want Me to Swim Today

AARGH!

I had plans to meet Lina to swim and do a core workout today.
Pics from my 8 mile run with Lina this past Saturday. 
Normally, I would go to the Master's swim club at Fuller pool, but it's at 5:45 am and I'm working 3p-11p this week, so it's a little too early.  (Doubly so because I stayed late last night for an emergency surgery that came in at 10:30pm so I didn't leave work until 12:30am and didn't get home until 1am-ish)

Anyway, our plan was to meet at my gym at 8:30am, since I have a few guest passes.  We get there and the parking lot is completely empty and suddenly I remember that they are having their annual closure for updates and remodeling this week.  D'oh.

I was pretty fixed on swimming today because I ran and lifted hard yesterday, and my knees (both!  My left IT band started acting up after a backpacking trip last weekend!) haven't been behaving super well.  I pretty much have a rule that I don't run back to back days anymore.  Plus, swimming always seems to really help my legs recover when they're sore, and alleviates knee pain too.

I figured we'd just go somewhere else.  Fuller pool: no lap swimming at that time.  Veteran's pool: no lap swimming at that time.  YMCA: pool is being drained, and their pool is member's only anyway.  Mack pool: closed.  NCRB: closed.  CCRB: closed.
I was so freaking frustrated!!! There was literally no place to swim in Ann Arbor this morning!  I was almost ready to drive to Brighton and swim in the lake, but ultimately went home.   Fuller has lap swim at 12:15pm today so I'll go to that, but now I have to go by myself, which is a little sad.  I may have thrown a small temper tantrum in the parking lot.

I feel better now.

(PS: I posted a race report today too, so go ahead and read the post before this one if you missed it!)

Race Report : The Legend Trail Half Marathon


August 2nd was the Running Fit Legend trail race.  I had been planning on camping there Friday night and running the 5 mile race in the morning to complete the "serious series".  However, my stupid boyfriend who was supposed to be my camping buddy forgot that he had to work on race day, and bailed on me a few days before the race.  So, despite already paying $20 or so to camp, I decided to just stay home Friday night and make the 1.5ish hour drive in the morning.

When I got there, the weather was cool and beautiful.  I had been doing lots of fast running recently (again, thanks to the damn bf pushing my pace.  Boys ruin everything :P ), and the thought of going balls out for a 5 mile trail race after all the fast running I had already done that week just didn't sound appealing.  So I transferred my registration to the half marathon after I arrived on race morning.




I ended up wasting lots of money on this race, what with the transfer fee and the wasted camping money.  It ended up costing me $100 total, even though registration for just the half would have only been like $45 or something if I had actually planned properly.  Oh well.


I had never run a trail race over 5 or 6 miles, so this was something new!  I had heard before hand that the trail wasn't particularly technical, nor was it terribly hilly, so I figured it would be a good first trail half.  The only downside was that the course apparently gets wet/muddy when it rains, but it had been dry in Ann Arbor for quite some time leading up to the race, so I thought I'd gotten lucky on that front as well (spoiler alert: just because it didn't rain in Ann Arbor, doesn't mean that it didn't rain in Laingsburg).



I didn't have a goal at all for this race.  I just wanted to run and have fun.  Wasn't really planning on "racing", but of course that sometimes just happens in the heat of the moment :)

The 5 mile race started first, followed by the 10 mile and 13.1 milers.  I got a video of the 5-mile start.

They lined us up (or attempted to) by pace behind the start line.  I lined up at around 9:00-9:30 min/mile.  I took off at a comfortable jog at the start.  I didn't want to make the same mistake I made at Flirt with Dirt where I went out way to fast and was way too aggressive with passing people.  At this race I only passed people when it was blatantly obvious that I was having to slow down to stay behind them.  If it was borderline I didn't make a move.

I ended up running in front of a couple from Fenton and we chatted for a good bit of the first part of the course.  It made the beginning go really fast.  We're facebook friends now :) Runners are the best.

As for the course....it was mostly flat and not very tricky footing-wise, as had been reported....but.....it was SOOOO muddy!  Apparently it had rained all day Friday in Laingsburg.  There were puddles and sinking soft mud pits and places where there was no traction at all.  It was fun though!

One of the worst mud crossings of the day.  Picture by Michelle Monroe
I didn't carry my phone, and don't have my own pictures of the course, but DetroitRunner took some, as did Michelle (@MichelleKMonroe on Twitter).  Michelle was kind enough to allow me to share her photos, which you can access here:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/125831469@N05/sets/72157645733124669/  As you can see, the course was actually quite lovely when you weren't crawling through pits of mud!

I was a muddy mess by the end of the race!  (During the race, I actually scratched my leg on some brush while passing a dude, and had blood running down my leg in addition to all the mud, which seemed super bad ass, but my sweat washed all the blood off before I could get a pic.  Bummer).

Ended up getting 2nd place in my age group and just a schoche over 2 hours on my first trail half!  (2:00:17).  
At the start of the day, the shoes were blue and the legs were white!  ;)  Schwag, clockwise from left: age group award glass, half marathon finisher medal, serious series finisher glass, serious series finisher medal. 
Thanks to Detroit Runner (Jeff) for taking the photos of me! 
After the race I realized I should have brought a change of clothes.  And a swimsuit so I could get in the lake.  I at first thought I was out of luck, but then remembered the "emergency gym bag" I keep in my car.  Unfortunately I had failed to restock it after I last used it, so I didn't have clothes, but I did have swimming stuff and a clean pair of shoes in there!  I hopped in the lake to rinse off, which felt amazing because it had gotten quite warm by this time.  Then I headed home.  In my bathing suit.  And stopped at a gas station wearing a swimsuit and sneakers.  Because I'm super classy.

So...I had fun at this race! I probably won't do it again, just because it's a little far away for my taste, and for what it is, but I could be convinced if I had people coming with me.  In terms of the Serious Series, the Trail Marathon (I did the 5 mile) in April was definitely my favorite, followed by this one, and last was Flirt with Dirt in Novi.  I really did NOT like Flirt with Dirt.  Enough that it will keep me from doing the Serious Series again.  I will definitely do the Trail Marathon in the future though.  Next year I think I'll do the half there instead of the 5 miler.

Still, I got lots of schwag at this race since it was the final one in the Serious Series.  The shirt I don't love (white; yuck), but it fits well so I will wear it, at least around the house or to bed.



Modeling the shirt and PJ shorts and tired eyes :P 
Close up of the Serious Series finisher medal. 
Close up of the Legend Half Marathon finisher medal. 
And with that, I complete this blog post.  Somebody give me a pat on the back or a cookie or something for writing a post! Please stay tuned, as I'm dogsitting at my ex-husband's this week and may be cranking out all the blog posts I haven't written over the past month or two.  They may come two-a-day.  Or more. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Tri Goddess Tri Recap

June 22nd was the Tri Goddess Tri sprint and mini triathlon put on by Epic Races.  It was held at Portage Lake in the Waterloo State Recreation Area.  This was my 2nd "real" triathlon, my 4th if you count two indoor ones that I completed over the past year.  I registered for the sprint distance, which was a half-mile swim, 10.7-mile bike ride, and a three-mile run.  The race is marketed toward women only, and really focuses on first timers and beginning triathletes.  

PRE-RACE

I went to the race with my friend Rachelle, who was tackling her first ever triathlon.  We have been running buddies for a couple years and run similar paces, so I am glad she is getting into swimming and biking so I can have more training buddy options :)  

This race had assigned transition slots based on bib number.  At the other race I did you just showed up and it was first come first serve.  I'm not sure which I prefer.  First-come, first-serve seems a little more fair, because those who put in the effort to get there early can get the best spots with easy in/out access.  On the other hand, assigned slots means I can sleep in and not worry about whether I will have a hard time find a space or not.  I guess I prefer the assigned slot method for now.  Less stress = win.  

I don't get as nervous about triathlons as I do about running races, probably because I don't yet have a feel for what kind of paces/speeds I should be aiming for.  I just kinda show up, go hard, and see what happens.  My main source of anxiety at tri's is just making sure I don't forget anything! 
Me at my transition spot

Another transition shot (this was about half of the transition zone) 
SWIM 

The swim at this race was a staggered start.  I have yet to experience a mass swim start at a triathlon.  (There was a mass swim start at the 1-mile open water swim race I did last year though).  They lined us up by age group and then sent in swimmers one at a time every couple seconds.  It was a little bit chaotic because you couldn't really hear the announcer at all but it didn't matter too much.  The important part was that we were getting in the water one at a time, and that leads to less kicks in the head!  There was a timing mat that started your chip time as you left the beach and entered the water.  I swam out to the first buoy and rounded the corner and didn't realize I was sighting the wrong second buoy, so I went a bit off course for a while before I corrected.  This swim was probably the smoothest open water swim I've experienced so far (out of the 3 races in open water I've done).  I never gotten any panic or anxiety really, like I usually do when I encounter fish, seaweed, and another "fun" underwater surprises.  I guess I'm finally getting used to it! There was a lot of seaweed forest in the course, which was annoying to swim through/on top of, but it was okay.  

Tactical error at the start of the swim, wherein I dove in without my goggles on.  Oops!  Stand up, put on goggles, restart.  :) 
Coming out of the water. 
Such cool pictures!!  
The "swim time" included the run to the transition area, which was actually pretty far, I thought.  And painful.  I hate running barefoot on pavement!  Your swim time ended when you crossed the timing mat at the entrance to the transition zone.  My official swim time= 20:22. Rank= 6 out of 30 in age group. 

TRANSITION 1

I wore my tri suit throughout the whole race so I just had to dry off a bit, put on socks and cycling shoes, helmet, and grab my bike.  I don't really like rushing through transition, I find it stressful.  I wasn't lollygagging by any means, but I also wasn't "in it to win it" so to speak.  My T1 time= 1:50.  Rank= 10 out of 30 in age group. 

BIKE 

I actually don't really remember too much about the bike ride.  I remember kind of leap frogging with this girl for the first half of the race before losing her (behind me!) in the 2nd half.  It was a little bit weird on the bike course because toward the end I seemed to be passing a lot of people who were going a lot slower than me, who you wouldn't have expected to be so far along in the course at that time, but I think they were the duathlon folks.  This course had a few hills, compared to the pancake flat bike course at the Sylvania Women's Only triathlon I did last year.  It was also an out & back so the sharp U-turn at the end was kind of annoying.  It was a changed course though, due to potholes, so I'm not sure what the "normal" course was.  Bike time= 33:51, 18.1 mph avg.  Rank= 3 out of 30 in age group. 

When you match your bandana, tri shorts, handlebars, and fingernails in neon green, you go faster.  True story.  


TRANSITION 2

This one I had to change shoes into my running shoes which always takes me FOREVER.  T2=1:16.  Rank= 21 out of 30 in age group (oops). 

RUN

My legs didn't feel nearly as dead coming off the bike as they did last year at my first tri.  That was a good thing.  :)  The run itself was a lot of trail!  They had warned us that there was a section of trail, but it was actually a really large part of the course.  According to my Garmin, the run course was a bit short of a full three miles.  Run time= 22:20, 7:27 min/mile average.  Rank= 2 out of 30 in age group. 

Race face! 
FINISH

I ended up finishing in 2nd place in my age group with a final time of 1:19:40.  This race was really cool because there was an actual podium for us to pose on!  The downside was that it took FOREVER to read through all the results (4 deep in each age group in both the sprint and the mini-sprint).  

 Me and Rachelle post-race.  One of me in my "superhero triathlete" stance.  Annndd the ribbon matches my bandana too.  So much win. :P 

Post race crowd

A real live podium! I find it sort of amusing that the three of us in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place are standing at pretty much the exact same height, despite the different sized boxes.  1st place is a short girl, and 3rd is a tall one!  Funny! 
This is the combined map from all 3 legs of the event from my Garmin.  For a zoomable map and splits and such, see: my training log on RunningAhead.com
SCHWAG

I thought the haul at this race was great!  There was even an *actual* packet to pick up.  It's been awhile since I've seen stuff in a race pickup bag.  Nowadays it's all "virtual race bags" with coupons and stuff.  

The pre-race packet.  

LOVE the shirt!  So cute! 
It does run super small, but they warned us about that.  I got the large and it fits perfectly.  
Age group award glass.  We were allowed to choose between several options for our prizes, including jewelry, a glass, and...I forgot what else.  Obviously I went with the glass.  
Cute medal, albeit super hardcore girly. 
SUMMARY

Great race, especially for newbies.  Lots of fun, laid back vibe, lots of help/instructions to get you through it.  Love the shirts, medals, awards, etc.  Would definitely do it again.  They should offer an olympic distance! 

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