Monday, May 5, 2014

My Second Triathlon - A Disappointing Finish but Many Lessons Learned

I finished my second triathlon, but was rather disappointed with my results. I am going to chalk this one up to a great learning experience and move  on.

My husband and I traveled down to San Diego Saturday night. We checked into the hotel, had a fabulous dinner at a nice Italian restaurant and were in bed nice and early. I had laid out my clothes and backpack so all I needed to do in the morning was get dressed, eat a small breakfast have some coffee and be on my way. I again, was nervous for the event but was also excited.


The transition area for this race opened at 5:45, but here is the kicker - It CLOSED at 6:45, 45 minutes before my wave began. I thought I would have time to hang in the area and prepare myself for the race.  I was not aware that I had to vacate the transition area so soon. When I arrived at 6:00, almost all the space on the racks was taken. I was able to find about 18" of space and a square foot on the ground for my transition area. This was OK for me and I started making use of my little space, but then they started to make announcements of the transition area closing. By the time I waited in line to go to the restroom, I had 3 minutes to don my wetsuit and be out of the transition area. Again, I was OK but it added a little stress before the race. I just put the lower half of my suit on and left right on time. For this case, I should have been in line for the transition area 1/2 hour before it opened to get a spot. In the future I will pay close attention to transition area times. 


I spent plenty of time getting my wetsuit on while waiting the 45 minutes for my wave to go off. The swim portion started in the water, so I was able to get in 10 minutes early, let some water in my suit and get acclimated to the water. I was feeling very confident about the swim since I have been focusing on swimming and swimming a mile each workout. WELL, I had the same experience as my previous race. I got in 25 yards and was completely out of breath. I was not  just a little winded I was gasping for breath. It was incredibly frustrating! I kept letting water into my suit to loosen it up, but it really constricted my chest and I couldn't get a good breath. I did the breast stroke through the entire course - ACK! I just wanted to tear the suit off and swim without it. I am going to look for a male wetsuit given that they are wider through the chest. I have wide shoulders and a chest and most women's athletic apparel is not made for my body type. I realize now it is not my fitness level that is the issue in the water since I am much more confident with my fitness base this year. I will be looking for a suit and swimming in the bay often to prepare for my next race.

Swim Time 15:46 
400 m

I was so happy to get out of the water and on to the bike.


In transition 1 I was very anxious to get on the bike. I was out of my suit quickly, dried off, put on my shoes, helmet, glasses, chest strap grabbed a Fig Newton and was off - I forgot to put on my Garmin, so the chest strap did me no good at all. 

Transition 1 Time 3:22

I loved the bike portion of the race and feel I did fairly well. I was trying to let go of the swim disappointment and just enjoy the ride which I did. I love my new bike and felt very strong on the course. 

Bike Time 40:46
10 miles

My last transition was pretty quick but I knew I was in trouble right away - Achilles 

Transition 2 Time 1:38


I knew right when I hit the ground that my achilles was not healed enough for the run. I had actually just stopped limping on Friday. It was very painful to run and I shuffled along refusing to walk. I probably looked more like a zombie than a runner. It was incredibly frustrating to see my age groupers passing me as I hobbled along. Our age groups were marked on our calves so I knew exactly  who I was competing against and losing spots to. I just wanted to make MOP, but realized I would be BOP as each person passed me. I kept on shuffling and did finish which would have been fine last fall, but now I want to improve my performance and cannot do so injured. My injury has really left me missing running. A year ago I never would have said that still being on the couch and all, but I really miss the great workout and trying to improve my fitness base and time. So - I need to get serious about healing so I can get back to it.

Running time 41:58  
personal slowest time ever!


Even though I did not perform well, I really enjoyed the KOZ Spring Sprint. It was such a fun course to swim, bike, run and the volunteers were just fabulous. Another wonderful thing about this event is the mini and itsy bitsy sprint for kids. It was such a happy, family fun atmosphere with everyone from 1-80 participating. I will definitely try this one again next year and will definitely improve my time. 

Overall Time 1:43:21

I will wait to see how my achilles is healing before registering for the Redondo Beach triathlon next month. I am hoping a month will be enough time to heal.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Getting Ready for Sunday - Spring Sprint Triathlon

It has been a bit difficult being consistent in my training lately due to my daughter's illness and an achilles injury, but I am trudging along. Due to my achilles issue, I have been focusing more on swimming and biking in order to keep my fitness level up. This Sunday, May 4th, I will participate in my second triathlon. I am getting a bit nervous.

My husband and I will travel down to San Diego on Saturday which should be a nice evening out for us.  Since I am just a few days away, I have begun packing for the race.

 On top of the triathlon checklist I downloaded, is a spot to write down 3 goals for the race. After a bit of thought,  here are mine:

- Get out of the water under, or as close as possible to 10 minutes
- Make sure I pee before the race to eliminate transition stops :) ( made that mistake during my first triathlon)
- Finish in the MOP ( middle of the pack)

Here are a few photos of my race preparation.

All my items collected on the bed.


wetsuit, 2 pairs of goggles, chapstick, assigned swim cap, towel, and alcohol for post race ears -I will add a warm bottle of water to wash my feet off on the morning of the race


jacket, helmet, water bottle, gatorade to mix into water bottle, fig newtons ( I don't like gels)


shoes and socks will be on for the bike section and my race shirt, shorts will be worn during the whole race. I just add my cap and run. 

I am hoping to do well in this race. I have one scheduled almost every month this summer and hope to move up to the Olympic distance in December. After this race and The Tour of Long Beach ( 30 mile bike ride) that I am completing next week, I will be increasing my training time in order to improve my race performances throughout the year. 


MAY10th - Tour of Long Beach (30 mile ride)
JUNE 8 - Redondo Beach Triathlon
JULY 12 - June Lake Triathlon
AUGUST 17 - Long Beach Triathlon
SEPTEMBER - Need to find a race
OCTOBER - Seal Beach Triathlon
NOVEMBER  - training for first olympic distance
DECEMBER - Palm Springs Triathlon ( possible Olympic)


Monday, March 10, 2014

"IT" Happens - and It's All in My head

A few weeks ago, I had a major backslide -  no exercising, bad food choices and a few too many glasses of wine. Well, I paid the price for that with a new 5 lbs added. Even though it took me just a week to put that on, it's taken me 2-3 to take it off. Ack! It was if the "old me" came and possessed my body again. Well, now I am back in the groove and tweaking the diet a bit. The planning last week has also helped me get back on track.

After realizing the damage that I quickly did, I was mentally beating myself up over the slip. I was seriously worried that I was reverting back to my old ways and would stop training. When I wrote about my experience to my fellow friends on BeginnerTriathlete, I was surprised that so many indicated that they also have weeks like mine. I guess I always assume that everyone else training for runs, triathlons and other races are perfect in their diets and training schedules.  It was nice to know that I am not in this situation alone and that everyone has a bad week now and then.  I am also realizing that it's OK to occasionally stray from a diet and don't have to be so rigid. I just have to work out a little harder the next day.

In a nutshell, all these perfect expectations are just in my head and my inner conversation. No one is perfect so why do I expect to be?  I am sure there are others who have these same expectations and struggle with keeping a balanced outlook. Ah, something else I need to work on while finding fit.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Regrouping and Planning

Well I thought I was on my way to do a half marathon in March, but as I started investigating my race info, I realized I registered for the WRONG race - DOH! I accidentally registered for a race at the beginning of February. When I went to sign up for the CORRECT race in March , it was already closed. SO it was time to find another race and regroup.

Since it is almost March, I thought that waiting until May for my first race wasn't a bad idea.  I found a triathlon in San Diego May 4th. Now, I am back to multi-sport training instead of increasing my running distance. I found another plan on Beginner Triathlete and will use that until my first race. After the May 4th race, I am thinking I will start working on an Olympic distance plan to continue to build my endurance in all three sports.

I bought a cute little planner at Michaels, to keep as a training journal/planner. It is the Project Life planner by Becky Higgins. It is a perfect size and I spent my Sunday, mapping out my training and races for the year.

I ,of course,  put some decorative things in here. I actually found out about this planner through a Facebook planner group I belong to " We Love EC". We are somewhat planner addicts so this was an inexpensive fun purchase for me. I am looking forward to using it on my journey. 

 I had my first day back in the pool today. It was great to get back in the water, but I really need to find a larger pool to increase my distance and be able to track how far I am swimming. I think I will try Cal State long Beach on Friday.

Just keep moving!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Plans for 2014

After my triathlon, I realized that I really need to build a much better aerobic base and push myself a little more. I know I will never be the front of the pack type of athlete, but I do want to do better.

For Christmas, my husband bought me a MIO heart rate monitor, I checked it out but what I really wanted was a Garmin 310xt.  To my surprise they were on sale after Christmas and I traded the heart rate monitor for the Garmin. Not only does this baby keep track of my heart rate, but it has a GPS system that tracks my run, bike and swim paces, calories burned, route, elevation gain and all sorts of interesting data. AWESOME! This has been a great tool to keep me tuned in to my speed and my heart rate (intensity).

Here is a thorough review and information on what the Garmin 310xt can do. DC RainMaker Garmin Review

I have found a mentor group on (BT) and am enjoying not only the great advice, but just discussing everyday training/ issues with this group of people. We were all encouraged to set our races for 2014 and I have done so starting with a Half Marathon in March - Yikes! I am definitely building up my running base, but know I will be a bit short for the Half Marathon. I am OK with that and will do what I can.

Here are my races for this year.

March - Huntington Beach Half Marathon
April - Napa Valley Triathlon ( maybe)
June - Redondo Beach Triathlon
July - June Lake triathlon
August - Long Beach Triathlon, Mammoth Mud Run
October - Seal Beach Triathlon
December - Palm Springs Triathlon

Now to hit the road. Sometimes I get discouraged knowing how far I have to go, but I need to keep reminding myself of where I was just 6 months ago. I need to just keep moving forward.

I Actually Did It!

I completed my first triathlon! I have been crazy busy and have not been able to keep up with my posts, but I am hoping I can change that as I continue my journey with multi-sport training.

My First Triathlon

On October 19, I woke up at 5:00 to begin my preparations for my triathlon. I had a bowl of oatmeal with strawberries, egg whites, some coffee and water to fuel my race. I was not very nervous at this point and was a little more concerned about check in and what to do with myself rather than the race itself.

I loaded my bike and my bag with all my gear ( wetsuit, shoes, socks, 2 water bottles ( one to rinse my feet and 1 to drink) , fig newtons and a towel) in the car. It was a cool foggy morning and as I headed out the moon was still bright in the sky and the streets were very quiet with little traffic.

As I entered the parking lot, people were unloading bikes and gear by the street lamps and disappearing into the fog. I unloaded my car and set off to check in starting to feel a little nervous about being late. I was SO early I really had nothing to worry about. The race was incredibly organized and I found a spot for my transition area. I was surprised to find that those with road bikes and tri-bikes were parked in a separate transition area closer to the exit. As I set up my area, I started a conversation with the gentleman next to me. It was his first triathlon as well and it was nice to talk and relax a bit before the race. As the sun came up and the fog started to dissipate,  it was time to put on my wetsuit and prepare for the race.

My family soon joined me as all the entrants were gathered on the beach. My good friend Kim also came along to support me for this event. I was so grateful to have my family and friend there to talk to before the race and help keep me calm.There was a warning about sting rays in the bay but I was a little more concerned with sharks. Being a Discovery Channel Shark Week junkie, I knew that the Great Whites migrated through our area in October. One was spotted one beach down just the day prior to the race.

We moved on down the beach to the starting point. I got into the water to adjust my wetsuit and get acclimated to the water a bit. Another racer had been stung by a string ray so I made sure to shuffle me feet as I got into the water. We were lined up in heats according to our estimated swim times and I stood with my group. I was SOOOO nervous that I had to do some deep breathing exercises. My husband kept talking to me letting me know it was all good. Then I moved to the front and the race began.

I went into the water and immediately had to pass the guy in from of me. Going around took a little more effort since he was a big guy. Next race, I will know to get ahead of large dudes. Around the first bouy I had to switch to breast stroke to get my breathing under control. As I looked up I thought I just had 2 more bouys to go. The pack was also starting to string out and all I could think of was staying close to 2 other swimmers so the sharks would not get me:). I kept swimming and realized that I actually had to make it around 3 more bouys and was a little disheartened but kept switching to freestyle whenever I could to improve my time. Before I realized it was time to hit the beach. My husband greeted me out of the water and said he was surprised that I came out so fast. Now it was 300 yards up the beach and into the transition area. I jogged and started pulling off my wetsuit.

I reached the transition area and immediately removed my wetsuit. I had no difficulty doing so and was soon washing my feet putting on my shoes and socks, on to my bike and out of the area. I ate 2 fig newtons, had a drink of water and was on my way.

The bike trail was a straight shot up and back but there were 2 areas where the trail was flooded. My shoes became wet almost immediately, but that didn't really bother me. What DID bother me were all the people passing me on my bike. I did well in the water only to be passed by so many on the bikes and was determined that my next race, I will have a road bike. The bike ride really went quickly and I was back in the transition area again. I had to stop to pee and realized that this is something I should have taken care of before the race. Lesson learned.

Now it was time to hit the road or in this case the sand. Ugh! the trail was not down by the water on hard packed sand but at the top of the beach in deep soft sand. I started running and soon was completely out of breath and slowed to a walk. Man! what a torturous way to finish the race. I kept the pier in view and would run when I could, but soon my feet were aching and felt like bricks. My shoes had been wet when I started the race and now they were loaded with wet sand. Another runner and I commiserated that we would gladly take 5 miles on the street rather than this torturous 2 in the sand. As I reached the pier,  I realized , again, I had farther to go than I anticipated and had to go under the pier and farther up the beach. DRAT! I kept up my run walk and turned around to head back toward the finish. I just kept thinking, go faster but my feet weren't cooperating. Finally I hit the mid point of the beach and saw the finish line. My husband once again came out to cheer me on and encourage me to run. As I was running, I saw my kids and their friends running along the sides cheering for me. That gave me a boost and.. at last, I crossed the finish line. I had done it- completed my first triathlon.

I wasn't a fast finisher, but I did finish. I received my medal, posed for a quick picture and then went to my transition station to load up. I was tired and very proud of myself. I had set my goal, worked for it and completed it. Now it was time to regroup and set my next goals and find my next race. Unfortunately, that won't be until the spring.

After the triathlon, I realized that I had put in the hours to train, but not necessarily the intensity I really needed. Going forward I will need to work on intensity and building a better aerobic base. BUT,  I am no longer a couch potato. I am a runner, swimmer and biker  - AGAIN!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pretty Much Freaking Out!

The triathlon is just 2 days away and I am starting to freak out! Normally I am a pretty mellow person, but this has now got me worried.

I ordered a wetsuit over 2 months ago to be able to swim in the bay and adjust to the ocean. I just received it a few days ago and my first try in the water was a total FREAK OUT!. The suit makes my butt and feet so buoyant, that they feel like they are above water and pushing my head down. I only swam about 50 yards and was completely out of breath, struggling with the suit, my form completely gone,  thinking WTF am I doing? I muddled through the swim, but thought "Oh My Goodness" I can't enter the triathlon like this. It would be so .. so... lame -  hence the freak out. The suit is also very tight in the chest which I am sure added to the breathing difficulties.

I actually used to be a lifeguard for many years and am comfortable in all different types of water. How can I go out in this race and struggle to move forward and hardly be able to breathe? Due to the weather and water temp, swimming without a wetsuit is not an option. Soooo... I have 2 days to get used to working with this suit. I thought the run would be the most difficult part of this race, but if I can't get this swim down, the whole thing may be a total debacle.

So, I went on and asked the fabulous people of the community forums for help. Apparently this is a normal situation for the first experience with a wet suit. Today I will try and work on making sure the suit is on properly, make a few more adjustments suggested by the wonderful folks at and hopefully get my swim together.

This disaster in the water also has me questioning my fitness level. I have been putting time into training, but may not have been putting in the intensity needed for a good aerobic fitness base. True I was actually going from a "couch" to tri situation, but I thought I was doing better than my performance suggested yesterday. I think after my race Saturday I will have a lot to wrap my head around in terms of where I go from here and how I train in the future.

Wish me luck - I am going to need it!