I TRI-ED!!

Yep...that's me!

Yep...that's me! The one with the cap and goggles!

It’s official…I’m a TRIATHLETE! I am no longer a “newbie” or “tri virgin”! I know, I can’t believe it either! I completed my first triathlon Sunday, Mother’s Day and my 44th birthday,  with 1688 or so other women! Way to go ladies!!!! It’s true…She swims…She bikes…She runs…She Rox!!!! Wooohoooo!

I experienced every emotion during this 3 leg race. From terror as I entered Bay Lake (yeah, swimming’s not really my thing!) … to exuberance as  I sprinted to the finish line with the crowd cheering me on! (Thank you to said crowd for powering me through!) My results were better than I expected, but then again, I really didn’t expect to make it out of the lake! My personal goal was to finish in under 2 hours and I did that! In fact, I finished in 1:48:59!  Not bad, for a first timer! 600th out of 1688 women! Yes I’m bragging just a little! Can you blame me? I’m still wearing my medal proudly!!

Here’s a brief run down of the race…after a night of pasta loading, an annual jammie (as in PJ’s) trip on the monorail, and a brief stint of homelessness due to being locked out of our cabin, we finally went to bed at 11:00P.M., only to wake up before the alarm at 4:30AM. Yeah, sleep was not a big priority for me. We had coffee and tried to eat, but evidently food wasn’t high on my priority list either! We suited up, piled on the golf carts and headed to the transition area. Nerves were jumping off all over the place! I set up my little transition area (complete with a birthday balloon that sings) and then wandered over to the lake to see exactly what a ½ mile swim looks like. By this time I think I was in shock, so I couldn’t tell you if I thought it was farther than I expected or not. I was comforted by the number of lifeguards and swim angels (people treading water with swim noodles for those of us who need a little help) strategically placed every 50-100 feet on both sides of the course. Surely, they would fish me out (no pun intended) when I start flailing about!

My loving family found me on the beach by the lake, and I nervously chatted with them while awaiting the start of the 1st wave.  You see there were 22 waves, each 3 minutes apart and each with a different color swim cap. I was in wave 6, yellow caps (not a good color for me), scheduled to start at 7:15A.M, just after the survivor wave, pink caps, my friend Suzi’s wave.  As I hugged my husband, mother and children and accepted their good luck wishes, I felt the nervous tension bubbling up and tears popped into my eyes. Who knew that I would get so emotional? Why? I am a strong woman about to spend the next 2 hours proving exactly how strong I am. Starting this adventure with tears is not what I expected!

So they call our wave into the staging area as the pink capped survivors walk into water. This wave gets an amazing cheer from the crowd! They are all women who have had or currently have cancer. When you think of what they’ve been through, you can’t help but get a little choked up! They are my heroes!  And here come the tears again! What is going on?

Swim?...check!!

Swim?...check!

So, here I am, standing in the sand, tears running down my face, watching my heroes paddling their way through the course, when I hear the announcer call the yellow wave into the water. Hey, that’s me! Before I knew it, I was in the water, and then I was swimming.  Again, I think I was in shock, so I can’t really tell you what my emotions were, but I was crawling along. It was crowded and people were everywhere, with arms and legs splashing about! I think I went into a slight trance, because the next thing I knew I was watching the ladies beside me stand up and walk out of the water. And sure enough when I reached my foot for the bottom it was there! I had done it! And I didn’t even need to noodle swim! WOOOHOOO! My swim split was 22:52…not bad for a scrappy swimmer.

With the hard part done, I was on my way to the biking portion.  But first I had to run (barefooted, mind you) through sand, across pavement, grass and even mulch to the transition area which was quite a ways away. The women in front of me decided that running was over rated, so we walked. When I finally got to my transition area, I quickly pulled on my socks and shoes, clicked my helmet into place and pulled my bike from the rack.

I think now is a good time to tell you about the bikes that the women use in this race. Most experienced triathletes have invested hundreds and some even thousands of dollars on the latest, greatest and lightest bikes, with teeny weeny tires, that threatened to break the speed of light, and clip in pedals, which seems like being hand…well…foot-cuffed to your bike. Even some newbies rented these super light, super fast bikes. But for some of us, we just used what we had and for me that was a clunky, heavy mountain bike with thick tires and a hint of rust. Oh, and did I mention that the brakes rub? Yeah, that means I have to push harder to travel the same distance.  But it’s a bike… and it’s my bike!

Bike? Check!

Bike? Check!

So, we had to walk the bike out of the transition area and down the bike path until we reached the pink “mount line”. But, most women stopped as soon as they saw the line, and tried to hop on their bike, only to be reprimanded and told to mount after the pink line. So it was a bit of a traffic jam, but cleared quickly. We rode out the bike path and onto the service roads throughout Disney. Now, living in Florida, there are a couple things that are certain…it’s usually hot… sunny with a chance of rain… and flat…as in no hills. So, how then, did the organizers of the bike portion of this race find not just one, but multiple hills to torture us with? Don’t they know that there are no hills for us to train on around here? And the hills weren’t placed at the beginning of the ride…no…it was towards the middle and end, when our legs were already rubber. As if that weren’t bad enough, the course required us to make U-turns, really tight U-turns, which are tough when you’re on a bike and surrounded by bikes…not to mention doing this while being foot-cuffed to your bike! But after about 49 minutes, I was done with the second leg of this adventure!

After returning to the transition area, I racked my bike, took off my helmet and quickly covered my matted hair with a hat (bad hair day doesn’t even begin to cover it), downed some Gatorade and headed out… music free…for my favorite event…the run. OK, so let me fill you in on my running experience. I love to run! I love to run to my music! I run to the beat of the music that is playing in my ear. But, I was told that if I was caught with an ipod, I would be disqualified, and all my hard work would be for nothing! So, I made the decision to run naked, yeah, that’s what I feel like when I run without music. But, I set off strong, using my breathing as my beat. I passed up the first water table and just kept my pace and breathing steady. I felt good and strong as I ran down the bike path. After what seemed like 3 miles, I heard a volunteer tell a runner that was already on there way back from the out and back course that they were halfway there. WHAT?!?! I was still on my way out and I felt like I should be done! Where’s my music?!?!?! I need some Green Day and Bon Jovi!!

Run? Check!

Run? Check!

As I came around the first of two U-turns, I saw a woman with an Ipod! Wait…what…she has music? How could this be? I had to hold myself back from tackling her and taking her Ipod! Son of a …..arggghhhhhh! So, I swallowed my anger and frustration and picked up the pace. I needed to get this over with! Then, I saw Suzi up ahead, walking, due to a knee injury, and I picked up my pace to catch her! As I caught up to her, we turned onto the final ¼ mile! Only a couple more minutes and we would be finished with this whole #$%^^$ adventure!  We could hear the crowd in the distance and the cheers were getting closer with every step! Suzi was running through the pain…you go girl! Before I knew it, I was in the shoot with hundreds of people lining either side, cheering loudly! The adrenalin kicked in and I took off at a sprint to the finish line! I don’t know if it was the desire to finish the race or the desire to get away from all the eyes starring at me, but I turned it on and I was DONE!!!! WOOOHOOO!!!

After taking a moment to turn in my timing chip, collect a flower and a medal, I hugged my mentor-friend-survivor, Suzi, and the tears were rolling again! The emotions were unexpected and uncontrollable! I found my family and hugged all of them tightly, relieved to see them again and not from a stretcher! We made our way over to the food pavilion and waited an hour or so until the transition area opened for us to claim our bikes. The adrenalin fizzled and the lack of sleep started to make itself known! I was tired, not physically, like I thought, but emotionally.  Warning…this race really zaps the emotions!

In retrospect, my 1st triathlon was rewarding, exhilarating, surprising, frustrating, phenomenal and inspirational!  It was so much more than I expected, and by far the best birthday gift I could have given myself! I am proud of myself, but most of all I am relieved! Relieved not only that I finished, but that I didn’t make a complete fool of myself in the process!

Next challenge…hmmmm…I think maybe the Disney Marathon in January!  What do you think? Care to join me? Come on…you’ll only regret it for a little while!

Tri-24 Hours and Counting! OMG!

14744721_861d14d9fcOK, so by this time tomorrow morning I will be swimming along side 2000 of my new bestest friends! Can’t you just picture it? 2000 women wearing some form of pink and big smiles, leisurely swimming across Bay Lake. All 4000 arms (did I do the math right?) moving in unison, as if we had choreographed this entire ½ mile swim down to the last breath. Now, wake up from your dream and reality will be kicking you, no…rather it will be kicking me in the face and the stomach! This is more along the lines of what I am picturing for the SheRox Triathlon!An all out fight to the finish with women dragging themselves out of the water all bloody and bruised! HELP!

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that Sunday, May 10th is a huge day for me! I’m going to be celebrating Mother’s Day…as  I am a mother and I have a mother, (who happens to be visiting this week! HI MOM!), I’m turning double 4’s (you see it sounds better than 44! Right?) and I’m competing in my first ever, triathlon.  WOW! I have a lot going on! And if that weren’t enough, I decided at the last minute on Thursday, that I would surprise my husband and do a makeover on his home office, while he was away on a business trip! What was I thinking! Huh, I guess I wasn’t! But I did complete it, with the help of my Mom…Thanks Mom…and it looks GREAT!! He was surprised…but now I can’t get him out of there!

So, I’m leaving in a few hours to get checked in to the hotel, tour the course, check in my bike and browse the Expo! YIKES! I thought this day would never come! And now all I can think about is what I’ll feel like once it’s over! I am really excited, but more so to have it over with than to actually do it!  Is this wrong?

I will keep you updated with my progress! Wish me luck!

AAAGGGGHHHH! 13 Days!!!

Swim Girl, Swim!

Swim Girl, Swim!

Only 13 days left until the BIG DAY!!! And by BIG I mean GINORMOUS! It’s my B-day (44-yikes), Mother’s Day (My Mom will be in town, YEAH, and hopefully the kids and husband will be showering me with love and praise) and of course the SheRox Triathlon!! I am starting to freak out now! A little something is flipping in my stomach, and no I didn’t have Mexican food last night!

I guess I should get moving on this whole brick training thing, huh? For those of you that aren’t familiar with bricks, they  are training sessions that include 2 activities back to back, or… if you’re a glutton for punishment, then back to back to back to back… so as to prepare your body for the transitions in the actual race! I wrote about my first bike to run brick a while ago. It was a very strange feeling and, I’m sure, really funny to see! Unfortunately for you…and fortunately for me…no one has surfaced with video of that hilarity yet!

I DID IT!!!

bike_riderGood Monday morning to you! I had a wonderful weekend and I just couldn’t wait to tell you that I finally did it! Yep that’s right…I did all 3 sprint distance events (.5 mile swim, 14 mile bike and 3 mile run) all in one day and with less then 30 minutes (or so) in between each. So I actually did what I like to call the “You CAN Do IT Triathlon”. It was a relief knowing that I can do all 3 events back to back and still live to talk about it!!!

The order was a little mixed up! You see we were being green (it is almost Earth Day) and rode our bikes to the pool at the high school first, which was about 7 miles. After a little conversation which made for a really slow transition, we did the swim, which was a wonderful “clear water” swim in a beautiful blue pool. No dark and murky lakes with monsters for me! Then, we had a little granola bar break, before biking back home. I really hadn’t intended to run after all this, but as I was closing in on home, I thought that this would be a GREAT opportunity to prove to myself that I can do this!! So I parked the bike, grabbed my iPod and hit the pavement for a 3 mile run! WOW! My legs were DONE!!!

So, what did I learn? Well, I know that the swim is going to be the hardest part for me! I can swim, (that is, if your definition of swim is keeping your head above water) but I’m not fast and therefore will probably be in the water FOREVER!!! The biking portion will be fine… not fast but adequate. You see, I don’t have a “super fast tri bike” in fact my bike is a crossover that looks more like a mountain bike and is really heavy with fat tires. Not exactly what you want in a triathlon, but I don’t want to spend a ton of $ on a new one! So I will make due! The run yesterday sucked! But it was 3:00PM and the sun was blazing down with no wind relief at all! Thankfully I cranked my music and just went into my auto-pilot mode. I am going to have to sneak my iPod on the Big Day! I realized that I can not do the run as tired as I will be without my music to power me through!

I came home from all this, famished and parched! I really must make sure I eat along the way and HYDRATE!!! (And I don’t mean with lake water! Swallowing the lake is not a good idea!) I need to make sure I have plenty of water and snacks in the transitions so that I can keep my energy up! Maybe I will give those gel packs a try! I hear they are a little icky, but definitely give you a boost! I wonder if I could stomach it? I will give it a try and let you know!

Have a great week!!!

Lose It

Lose It!

Lose It!

Ok all you iPhone and iPod Touch users, I’ve found an app that I can’t live without! And I think you won’t be able to either! It’s called “Lose It” and it’s a free (yup that’s right, I said FREE) application available at iTunes. Why is it so great? Well, it helps you Lose It…weight that is! You set it up with a few simple questions about your current weight, and your goals whether it be to lose, gain or maintain. From this information, Lose It sets up a per day calorie intake goal. Then, when you eat you simply enter it into the app. They’ve made it really easy, because they have databases with the most popular name brands and restaurants. Can’t find your favorite Tofutti Fudge Bar? No worries, you can enter it in from the nutrition info on the box. Have a special recipe, but don’t know how many calories or fat grams… it’s OK, because you can add it. Adding a new food or recipe is a breeze!

Now comes the best part!!! It also tracks your calories burned through exercise. And I don’t mean just those burned through aerobics, spinning or running. It also counts calories burned through house cleaning, vacuuming and (whisper) sex!  I know….it is SOOO COOL!!! So, imagine you have made it through dinner and you’re at your limit for the day, but you’re still a little hungry. You forgot that you actually cleaned the house and vacuumed the carpet. Enter those in and BOOM…you have another 150 or so calories you can eat!! It actually makes you want to exercise and clean!

Well, I originally started this back in February and did great tracking for a while, then went on vacation and let it lapse for a week or two. Then, I started again a couple of weeks ago, and have been diligent about logging everything! AND, I have lost…drumroll please….5 pounds! Whooooohoooo!

So if you have an iPhone or iTouch, I highly recommend this application!

How was your Fat Tuesday?

fat-tuesdayYesterday was Fat Tuesday! A day filled with excess in preparation for the 40 days of deprivation that begins with lent at the stroke of midnight! This is suppose to be a day of eating and drinking and excess. But for some reason I decided that I would blow it out with exercise instead of food or drink!! Not with the intention of giving it up for 40 days, mind you, but it just felt right!

I set out for an innocent bike ride, only my third in the “recent” past! After a very long, 90 minute ride the day before, I decided that I would ride for about 30 minutes and then run for 30 minutes. Sounded like a great plan! A little cross-training to ready me for the impending triathlon! I set off on my little ride, thinking that it would feel easy after the previous ride! OH BOY WAS I WRONG!!! I got 2 minutes into my ride and my legs were SCREAMING at me, already! You see, my legs didn’t really like the previous ride! And the fact that I was making them do it again, made them rebel! We struggled a little but finally found a gear that they would tolerate and we set out! It was a beautiful morning in Central Florida, blue skies and sunny, but cool with an occasional gust of wind.  Once my legs and I got warmed up, it felt great and I contemplated going a little longer. But the plan was to run too! So I begrudgingly turned around 15 minutes in and headed back to the homestead to begin phase two of my exercise excess day!

I felt great as I rounded the corner into the driveway. I was excited to head off on foot for my 30 minute run. But as I got off my bike, I noticed something was different! My legs got very angry again!!!! They refused to work properly! I think they knew what was coming! I tried to walk my bike into the garage, but my muscles weren’t having any of it! The term “rubbery” doesn’t even cover it! I, being a Taurus and, therefore, stubborn as hell, decided that I WAS doing this and my legs would just have to get over it! I grabbed my iPod and set out. As I walked down the driveway,  I noticed that my ankles were frozen in a flexed position. I have never experienced this feeling before! I cranked my music and started on my way. But my legs again complained! And this time I knew they meant it! I could barely pick up my feet! My stride was similar to that of a very old person with groin problems! I got a couple hundred yards from my house and I started to think that there was no way I was going to be able to do this! And even if I could, it would take me 4 hours to finish the 3.5 miles I usually finish in 30 minutes. But Fat Tuesday excess and my Taurian stubborn streak took over and I pushed on! It got easier the longer I ran! My legs finally relented and fell into the step. The run was actually very relaxing as I wasn’t pushing for time! I just wanted to finish two sports back to back.  I returned home and was surprised that I actually ran a better time than I had expected.

I am now wondering how in the world I am going to be able to complete a 1/2 mile swim (who knows how long that will take), followed by a 16 mile bike ride (at my current rate 90 minutes), and then run a 5K (usually takes me about 27 to 28 minutes)!!! This will be somewhere around 3 hours of exercise back to back! How will my legs react, then? Will they allow it? Maybe they were just rebelling because they thought that Fat Tuesday would be a vacation for them! Here I sit still wondering what many people wonder on the day after Fat Tuesday…”what have I done?”

Gizmos and Gadgets

So I usually depend on my husband to figure out the latest and greatest when it comes to technology. But I’m beginning to realize that I actually NEED technology for my training! I’ve been using the Nike+ kit and iPod combo for a couple years, now. I LOVE IT!!! I enjoy my music while I run and the fact that I can gauge how fast or slow I am going just by pushing a button is wonderful! I can’t wait to get home and transfer my run over to the Nike+ website! And when my miles get posted into all my challenges, I am in HEAVEN!!!

But what about biking and swimming? Are there gadgets available for these sports too? I realized exactly how much I needed said gadget yesterdcomputeray while on my bike ride. The training plan was to ride for 45 minutes. No problem, but how far did I go? What is my average pace? How many calories did I burn? I returned home feeling a little out of sorts not knowing my deets. So I set out to find some gadgets to help me out!

Turns out that there are these cool little bike computers, we’ll call them bike bling. You attach them to your bike and they will calculate not only mileage and speed, but calories and fat burned, too. Really? And it will even tell you when your bike needs a service! What? Where have I been? How did I miss this amazing advance in biking technology! Oh yeah, the last time I rode a bike…I was 12. So now,  my dilemma is which one should I get. How much is too much? I am not a professional cyclist, just a mom who is hoping to survive her first triathlon. I think I will start with the basics! I can always upgrade it later!

Swimming is another story! I guess my Lucky Brand bikini isn’t going to cut it when it comes to swimming laps, huh? The last time I had a Speedo, I was 6 and I put it on backwards. Come to think of it this might be why I stopped swimming! Anyway, I guess I will need to invest in the latest and greatest Speedo or Nike racing suit. But this one will have instructions on how to put it on and maybe just a little sparkly swim bling!

I also saw this little case that clips onto your goggles and holds your iPod shuffle, so you can still listen to your music while swimming! Major swim bling! Cool, but then I would have to buy the case and the shuffle, because I have an older style nano! Maybe if it kept track of my speed, distance and stroke it would be worth it! And what about the goggles? Can’t I use my cheap ones from Wal-mart? Do I need nose-plugs and ear-plugs? I guess I will find out after my first swim!

I could spend thousands of dollars on all these gizmos. But I won’t! I am a minimalist at heart! Well, a semi-minimalists…a girl has got to have her bling, right?