Who doesn't love a good discount code? I know I do. But it HAS to be for a product I love and care about. So here are a few discount codes I have been granted thanks to products/races I love: ***
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A good pair of headphones are HARD to find in my opinion.
So what makes X-1 so special?
Inspired by the Bell X-1, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier, the team at X-1 set out to perfect a line of products that break down the barriers of sound, allowing athletes to harness the power of music regardless of sport or climate. Whether you’re a triathlete, swimmer, runner, kayaker, snowboarder, climber, weightlifter, or a gym goer, X-1 offers audio solutions that can withstand everything from trekking through the mud to running in the rain to diving 12 feet underwater.
They even have a special set of headphones designed for women.
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I purchased the waterproof headphone system so I could listen to music while training in the pool and they ROCK.
Use code DANIHOLMES-KIRK20 to receive 20% off your order!
For years Fenway Park was my second home. Growing up my dad took me to a ton of games, including over 13-consecutive Opening Days. During my senior year in college, I started working for the Red Sox. I was honored to be part of the Red Sox Front Office 2004-2006 and the 2007 postseason. I spent a lot of time at Fenway during baseball season and for a few concerts. When I heard about the Spartan Sprint at Fenway I wanted to take part ... despite being completely scared of the Spartan races!
So when Spartan offered me a complimentary race entry, I took it as a sign.
(Note: While I was given free entry to the race, all opinions are my own - ain't nobody got time for lyin'!)
I was set to run with my friend Beth, but unfortunately the week before the race she suffered a concussion and was unable to race. The fee to transfer a bib is $25 and I couldn't scrounge anyone up to take it off her hands so I opted to head to the race solo.
Spartan recommends you get to the race 1.5 hours before you start time (mine was 10am), but I figured that wasn't really necessary ;) so I had the wife drop me off at Fenway at 8:50am. I am a rebel like that. Plus I knew I wasn't doing bag check (it was a $5 charge for bag check).
I kissed the wife goodbye, she gave me some final words of encouragement since I was FREAKIN' out and I headed to collect my bib.
The check-in was set up on Yawkey Way. Step 1: pick up the 3 waivers if you forgot them at home. Thankfully I remembered mine after we left and went back to get them. :P
Step 2: Look up your bib #. Mine was 4199.
Step 3: Pick up bib.
I made my way to Gate A to enter Fenway. I was able to skip the bag inspection line and headed to the turnstile to enter the park.
I set up shop just past the entrance to figure out what I needed to do to be set up. It was 9am and I still had an hour til go time.
You actually didn't wear the bib for the Fenway Sprint so I stuck it in the back of my pants for safe keeping. :P You used the Spartan headband as your bib. I kinda liked that. The little blue thing was the timing chip. You secured it to your wrist by a yellow band (not pictured).
With an hour to go, I decided to take a lap around the park to see what the field/obstacles looked like. I was sort of jealous of the folks with earlier wave times as they were already done and showing off their bling. ;)
Ahhh I started freaking out more! There was a rope climb in front of the Green Monster and video of the race being broadcast on the Jumbo Screen. I was hoping that wasn't the case when I was racing. I didn't need to have everyone watch me struggle.
With new nerves building on top of the old, I opted to head down to the concourse and just pace. Haha. When alone, I didn't have people to chat with as a distraction so the minutes ticked by slowly.
Around 9:50, my 10am heat was called to the Start Area.
I befriended a couple in front of me at the Start Area. They had done a ton of Spartans so they helped calm my nerves. Also the boyfriend was kind enough to help me over the first obstacle. Yes there was a wall you had to climb over just to get to the Start. Thanks buddy!
10am wave was called and we lined up at the Start Line.
The butterflies were climbing from my stomach to my throat. I was wicked nervous, but told myself to take it slow and to HAVE FUN! I was there to prove something to myself and no one else.
The announcer counted us down: 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... GO!
And we were off. Climbing the stairs of the Gate B concourse to the Grandstand level. I was chatting with an older gentleman from our group as we made our way along the back of the Grandstand to the concourse where we hit our first official obstacle.
Big thanks to the volunteers who were there to help folks - especially solo folks like me - with the obstacles. Okay one obstacle down and a bunch more to go. :P
Once over the wall, we headed down the concourse stairs to Gate B, where we promptly took a right and headed back up the ramps to the press level. But we didn't just run up the ramps, we had to crawl up the ramps under the "barb-wire" aka bungee cords. Thank goodness I had my gloves with me as the little pricks on the concourse ground (paint job) were digging into my hands and knees. I do have some cuts on my knees where it went through my pants. Ouch! I am happy it was bungee and not real barbed wire!
On the fifth level, we ran out towards right feel and started doing stairs up and down the sections of the left field roof seats.
Can't beat that view! Yes that view made the stairs just a tad easier... well at least at the beginning.
Once through the left field roof seats, we had to carry a weight (wish I had a pic) from one side of the concourse to the other - do 5 burpees - then bring the weight back to where we picked it up. Think large terracotta rolo (yes the candy) looking item. There were two different sizes - one for guys (heavier) and one for girls (lighter). I am sure you could choose whichever you wanted but I happily went with the lighter one.
Yes another obstacle down!
We ran from the left field roof over to the right field roof seats. We again ran up and down the right field seats.
This is where I started crying.
There was Team Believe. They were working with a guy in a wheelchair. He was going to attempt to do the whole Sprint as a wheelbarrow. So his teammates would hold his legs/lower body while he crawled on his hands. WOW! I am gathering the gentleman ended up in a wheelchair after an accident as the team had a shirt with check boxes on it. They included "wiggling fingers again" and it was checked. The final box said "Walk Again" and it was unchecked... for now. Wow! Talk about an inspiration.
Along the right field roof I caught some pretty sweet pics of Boston.
Once at the Right Field Roof Deck, we had to do 20 overhead slams - again two different weight options available.
It was time to head back down towards the homeplate grandstands, where we carried a jug of water down a set of stairs, across the ramp above the concourse then back up the stairs to where we originally picked the jug up. The jug wasn't that heavy it was just the awkwardness of the container that made it sort of annoying to carry.
We then headed across the grandstand and down to the Vistor's Clubhouse. Boy it had been a few years since I had been in there. :P This time instead of chatting with my Cubs players, I was doing 25 pushups. Between each pushup you had to make sure to release your hands from the ground when your chest hit the ground. I went with the "girlie" pushups and knocked out all 25.
It was weird to run down the hallway to the Visitor's Dugout - again I remembered walking down there with Alfonso Soriano the last time I was there. Boy things change. :P
After making our way back up the seats, it was time to take on the Green Monster.
We ran up and down each section of the Monster.
Spectacular views again.
It was a single lane running path along the seats, but folks were happy to move out of the way if others needed to get by.
Once on the other end of the Monster, we took to the stairs to head down to the bleacher concourse. We were met with a weighted rope and a resistance band to put around our ankles. We had to do 25 jump rope swings with the resistance band on.
I couldn't get into a rhythm to do more than one jump at a time, but I made sure to count out loud so I proved to myself and others that I did all 25. Note: no one was listening to me counting. ;)
With 25 jump ropes done, it was off to another wall obstacle. This time you had to climb along three walls, which were zig zag (does that make sense), without letting your hand touch the top of the wall or your feet hit the floor.
Now this would DEFINITELY be easier with a partner, which I didn't have. BUT I had volunteer Kathleen who basically helped keep me attached to the wall and suggested ways to make it from one side of the other (even getting around the corners) without falling off.
Thanks to Kathleen I made it to the other side, hit the bell and was on my way! But first... Wally selfie!
Now came the monkey bars. Most folks were putting one partner under the monkey bars and the other partner on their shoulders to "walk" across.
Again no partner, I opted to skip this obstacle and take my punishment - 30 burpees. Ouch - those were painful. I admit I didn't do
as much any burpee practice ahead of time. My bad.
We headed through the Aramark service tunnel to the loading dock/visiting player entrance to the javelin throw.
If you didn't hit the target on your first try, you had to do 30 burpees.
Not ME!!! I did it. I actually threw my hands up in the air to celebrate when I hit the target. The kid behind me was a little upset I took extra time to stop and take a pic, but I needed the proof.
Just across the parking lot was the next obstacle.
You had to pull the bag (50 lbs for ladies) up to the top of of the structure and bring it back down nice and gently so no slamming the bag to the ground.
It was time to leave the parking lot, head back through the service tunnel and up the stairs to the right field grandstand area.
Yes the stairs featured more "barb wire" aka bungee cord.
It was time to carry a sandbag up and down the right field grandstand area. The ladies' sandbag was 30 lbs.
While I carried the bag, I thought about my weight loss journey and how I used to carry 80 extra lbs on this body. I didn't even like carrying the 30 - keeps weight loss and weight maintenance in perspective.
Now it was time to head down to the warning track.
I owe a special thank you to a random high school guy who
happily helped me over the three walls on the warning track. ;)
I was envious of the folks who effortlessly hiked themselves up and over the walls, but I knew I didn't have the upper body strength to do that ... yet. Maybe someday but for now I will take any help I can.
Oh hey Fenway - you sexy beast you!
We needed to get up to the bleachers to get some more stairs in so only one way to do that ... cargo net!
One of the easiest obstacles of the day even for this girl with a fear of heights.
Thankfully years of sitting in the bleachers came in handy. I was able to get into a rhythm to run both up and down the odd sized steps. Once through the first round of bleachers, we were back down in the bleacher concourse to take the largest wall of the day. Ahhhh! I was freakin' out.
Again I relied on the kindness of strangers. There was a group of 3 guys at the wall and I convinced them to help the two ladies in front of me as well as myself get up and over the wall.
Well I made it to the top of the wall then promptly freaked out!!! I was up high and didn't feel comfortable falling down the maybe 12 feet to the concrete ground. I was going to have to live on the top of the wall, which wouldn't have pleased the people behind me.
I yelled to one of the 3 guys and asked if he could help me down. He obliged and with his help I made it safely to the ground. Thank you random guy! We headed back up the bleacher stairs and back down to the entrance to the field.
We were just three obstacles away from the Finish.
The rope climb in front of the Green Monster was the next obstacle and I zipped right past that one and took my 30 burpee punishment.
It was an out-of-body experience taking my picture in front of the scoreboard then doing my burpees. I actually was doing those burpees on the same spot where in June 2005 I received my 2004 World Series ring. Again, talk about a different experience in the same spot.
Once I pathetically finished the 30 burpees, I rounded the third base side of the warning track and headed to the box jumps. 20 box jumps on the smaller of the two boxes and I was off to the final obstacle.
Just a bunch of punching bags between me and the end.
DONE!! I freakin' did it! I only dodged two obstacle and tackled the rest.
WOOO!!!! Look at that bling!
The 3+ mile course took me 58:54 good for 2,860th overall out of 8,990, 795th among 4,154 females and 131st in my division out of 705. Woo! Not too shabby for this girl whose main objective was to survive and not get hurt! Both accomplished! :) I even had some fun too... ;)
After picking up my medal, I received my Finisher's shirt. I definitely liked getting this surprise at the end.
The Finish shoot brought you back down to the concourse level where I grabbed a water, a banana and a CLIF bar sample. I made my way through the folks who had already finished and people waiting for their heats to begin to the exit. I was going to walk myself to the Dunkin' Donuts in Kenmore so the wife could pick me up.
I opted out of getting my free post-race beer as it was at a surrounding bar and I figured it was probably something I wouldn't want anyway. I wanted to get a good beer with the wife.
I am definitely happy I went waayyy out of my comfort zone to attempt the Spartan Sprint even when my partner had to bow out. I loved competing the race Garmin free. I actually had no idea of time or pace or anything while out on the course. I focused on each obstacle when I came to it and truly took in the whole experience.
If I was going to do this again, I would make sure I had a big team of friends to do it with me. I was jealous of the teams of friends out on the course.
I definitely proved to myself that I am stronger than I think ... again!
I was beyond nervous before the race, but those nerves turned to fuel when the official horn went off.
So if you are thinking about trying an obstacle race, I do highly recommend the Sprint distance as a starting off point. Shorter mileage, no mud, plenty of water stops and a great test to see if you like obstacle races or not. Plus, the views of Fenway as the backdrop can't be beat.
Have you ever tried a Spartan Sprint at a ballpark or stadium?
FLAT and FAST run course. Oh hellz yeah - sign me up.
That may or may not have been a tipping factor in squeezing in just one more sprint triathlon in my 2014 race calendar. ;)
The Max Performance Triathlon Buzzard's Bay Sprint Triathlon on September 14 was a late add to the race calendar and I am glad I did.
I was supposed to have my first Max Performance Triathlon race experience in August at The Sharon Sprint Triathlon, but had to back out due to injury. Boo!
Race director Tim then offered me a complimentary spot at Buzzard's Bay Tri and I jumped at the chance.
(Note: While I did receive free entry in to the race, all thoughts are my own. Ain't nobody got time for lyin'!)
With the race occurring one week following my first half ironman (Pumpkinman), I was nervous about signing up for the Sprint Tri (since I wasn't sure I would survive the half), but decided to bite the bullet anyway.
The wife and I were able to sleep in until 5am since the race started at 9am. ;) Woo extra hour of sleep compared to the prior Sunday. :P
We loaded up the car and were on the road by 6 since the directions said it would take about 75 minutes to drive to the race.
Since it was 6am on a Sunday, we missed any sort of traffic and had an easy trip towards the Cape. :)
The beach was windy when we arrived. Sunny, but windy. All I could think about was the upcoming battle: the wind vs. me on my bike. I was sending out "tailwind" vibes ... hint: it didn't work. ;)
After checking out the beach, we headed to packet pick-up.
Since I am usually a slacker when it comes to checking out a race course in advance (I know! I know! Must change that), I took the time to check out the swim, bike and run courses on the large board inside the packet pick-up tent. Nothing as nerve-wracking as the previous week so I was happy about that.
The Buzzard's Bay Sprint Tri consisted of a 1/3 mile ocean swim, 14-mile bike and 5k run.
Once we got my packet (Go Bib #81), it was time to make our way over to transition. As we walked, I quipped to the wife how shocked I was that this was my 3rd triathlon of the year and 5th overall. I never thought I would do one let alone more than one. Pretty proud moment for me.
Until I was in transition listening to the athletes around me rattle off their Ironman totals and their times at the previous week's Pumpkinman Half Ironman. Oy! I didn't belong there. I wanted to run away and just drive home. But I quickly gave myself a mental slap to the face. Time and pace didn't matter. I belonged there because I wanted to be there.
With transition ready and plenty of time before the 9am kickoff, the wife and I headed back to the beach. I also wanted to get into the water and feel it out. I hadn't done an ocean swim in ages.
But first we take a selfie.
As we walked towards the water, we saw all of these rocks aka ouch on the poor feetsies.
I knew it would be a painful walk in and out of the swim course. I had a little chat with my feet and told them to DIG DEEP and not feel the pain. Umm not sure if my feet heard me or not, but I was going with it.
Right before the race meeting I put my pair of Oofos sandals down by the swim finish as there was a 1/4 mile run from there to the transition area (again found out about that morning of). Had I known earlier I would've brought a second pair of sneakers.
Note to self: always bring two pairs of sneakers to a tri. Just. In. Case.
The Max Performance group did a great job organizing the swimming waves. Volunteers each held up a cap color on a sign and we group together in a big 2-by-2 line. It really made it organized at the Start. The first group went off at 9 and my wave would be following at 9:04am.
We walked into the starting area 2-by-2 so the timing company could keep count of the number of athletes that entered the water.
The race started with us in the water edge up to our ankles. The countdown commenced and we were off.
Swim - 1/3 mile
The director, Tim, had changed the swim course (reversed it) so that we were swimming with the current (thanks Tim!). It was GREAT being back in the water. Swimming is one of my favorite parts so I was sad that it was only 1/3 mile. ;)
We made two right turns while out in the water. I made sure to hug towards the buoys, which kept me out of the way of many of the other swimmers.
I learned during Pumpkinman that I need to keep the top of my wetsuit un-velcroed. So instead of dealing with wetsuit/breathing issues this race, I got into my groove faster and felt stronger.
I took the second and final right, sighted the shore and gave it everything I had as there was another yellow capped swimmer right on my tail. Hello competitive side.
Once I could touch the bottom with my fingers, I stood up and started running towards the timing mat. The timing mat was up on the beach a ways, which meant running over some of the rocks. Thankfully there was some mesh covering a little of the path, but overall it still slowed me down coming out of the water.
There was a small kiddie pool where the beach met the asphalt so I made sure to wash my feet off before slipping on my sandals.
Why can't wetsuits be a little more flattering?
Thanks to the wife for catching this beauty.
Total Time: 10:16 Pace: 1:45/100 yds Overall Place: 62/294 Division: 3/21
I would call this more of a shuffle than a run. I did my best to just keep jogging forward, while not slipping in my sandals. I am so thankful I had them with me otherwise the 1/4 stretch would've been MUCH more painful.
I did my best to wiggle my wetsuit down and remove swim cap/goggles while on the move. Hello multi-tasking.
Total Time: 3:05.5 Overall Place: 138/425 Division: 7/27
I had a little problem getting my wetsuit off and wasn't sure if it was nerves or just my brain moving two steps ahead of my body. Either way I took a breath and worked on completing one step at a time.
Wetsuit off. Feet dried. Socks/bike shoes on. Shirt changed. Bike helmet on. Race belt attached. Portion of KIND Bar eaten.
I was sad to realize I left my Sparkle Athletic skirt at home. I felt naked without it.
Total Time: 2:09.6
Bike - 14 miles
Well bike we meet again.
I knew I wouldn't have sparkle skirt compliments on this race to entertain me while people passed me. Instead I focused on thanking every single volunteer I would encounter the rest of the race.
It was a great way to pass the time and put a smile on someone else's face.
I wish I was the type of person to post PROOF photos in a recap because my official race photos from the bike are hilarious. I am smiling like I have loved biking my entire life. Haha. Okay it entertains me more than anyone else.
The bike course was really beautiful. It was another instance where I wished triathlons allowed you to have your phone on you because I wanted to snap pics left and right. It was a picturesque New England day/scene and I wanted to capture it to share with all of you. Oh well. Luckily I still have them locked in my memory.
I can certainly tell you 14 miles on the bike passes quicker than 56. :P The final couple miles were directly into the wind. I felt like I was biking in place. I was wondering if I would actually make it back to transition. It wasn't something I had really practiced.
I just kept trying to keep the legs moving as best I could.
Seeing runners coming towards me gave me hope that I would make it back to transition.
And I did.
I really tried to focus on shifting during the ride. I am still learning when to use low gear, what to do while climbing, etc. At least I can take every ride as a learning experience. Like don't forget your fuel in transition. I was supposed to take the rest of the KIND bar on the bike with me, but left it on my towel.
Total Time: 45:51 Pace:18.3 mphOverall Place: 164/294 Division: 6/21
Since I needed more fuel, I took another piece of the KIND bar and a swig of water before heading out on the run.
Having everything already on from the ride meant I simply had to switch out bike shoes for running shoes.
Total Time: 1:30.6
Run - 3.1 miles
Hello my love. My legs were feeling a little shaky coming out of transition. I had done a 5-mile trail run the prior day and tweaked my right hamstring so this race I would be battling two sore hamstrings. Umm yay!
But I knew I could push through for a 5k ... especially a flat one!
The wind I experienced on the bike was still there on the run. Thanks for sticking around wind.
I wasn't sure what my legs would have in them, but decided to give it all I had since I would have some rest days coming up. :)
The course was beautiful as you weaved around the quant beach town by the water. There weren't too many spectators around so all I could focus on was my breathing and the breathing of the folks around me.
I am still getting used to the multi sport feature on my watch so I spent some time trying to figure out what my pace was. At least I like math. (multi sport - something I need to work on in BRICK workouts in the future)
But we passed Mile 1 and I saw a sub 8-min/mile pace and was ecstatic. There are some days I can in tune with my body and can feel my pace and other days where I can't. This was the latter. So I trusted the Garmin and pushed on.
I briefly slowed at the halfway point to take in some Gatorade. The run on the asphalt along the beach offered no shade and the sun was out in full force. Just after the water stop you headed out on an out-and-back portion of the run, which allowed for some smiles and head nods to other runners.
I also like seeing what triathlon teams people are part of because it is all new to me. I wished I had more friends on the course as I witnessed the guy in front of my high-fiving and cheering on all of these folks he knew.
We did the turn around on the out-and-back portion and I may have told the volunteers, who were both glued to their cell phones, to liven up for the runners. I know I needed some extra encouragement. I made sure to say it as nicely as possible. :)
Home stretch time. A time again when I wish I had my phone out so I could selfie or chat with you all.
But I pushed on to the final mile. It was a straight shot to the Finish Line. We passed through a wind tunnel with mobile homes on either side. Folks were sitting out and cheering for us. I loved that.
I decided it was time to start focusing on the people around me and try to pick some of them off. Yes mental games I play with myself when I just want to sit down and have a beer with the spectators.
There were a couple of girls in my sight that I really wanted to pass.
I dug deep and pushed forward.
And you know what - it worked!!
I managed to pass two of them and caught up to another girl right at the Finish Line. More on THAT girl in a moment.
I was wicked happy to pass the Finish of my 5th triathlon and collect my Buzzard's Bay water bottle full of water!
Total Time: 24:10 Pace: 7:48 min/mile Overall Place: 100/294 Division: 3/21
Official Time: 1:27:01.3
Awesome experience! I had a great time and was really happy with my results.
I found out I missed out on 3rd place in my division by 0:0:0.1. Yes a fraction of a second away from the podium.
3rd in division: 1:27:01.2 Me: 1:27:01.3
OUCH! And the girl who came in 3rd in the division was the one I caught on the run at the Finish Line. It was like a real life photo finish. :P
Since I am never usually close to placing, it was a tough defeat. But I am still happy with my time.
Big thanks to my wife for taking all these photos and keeping everyone up to speed on the race through her #wifetweets.
It was also a pleasure seeing friends at the race:
Christine from Tedy's Team, who took 2nd female overall
John, who might be one of the most inspiring people I know
Before heading home, I cashed in my ticket for free BBQ.
I chose to split a pulled pork sandwich with the wife. Aren't I nice? ;)
I wish we could've stayed for awards and raffle, but I had to get home to pick my parents up from the airport.
Overall Tim and the crew at Max Performance Triathlon put on a great race. Lots of volunteers along the course. I do wish there were additional folks at the water stop since it ended up being used by the runners twice during the course and extra hands would've been helpful.
The swag was a tech shirt, little towel that could be used in transition and a water bottle. I do wish there was a pint glass or a medal involved. The screen printing on the tech shirt didn't seem to be done too well.
Also no beer or low-fat chocolate milk at the end. You know I like both at the end of a race. :P
But I would definitely sign up for one of these races again and recommend them to fellow Boston area friends.
What is a deal breaker for you between signing up for a race or not?
TOMORROW I will be turning the big 3-2! I am actually pretty excited for it since my 30s have kicked serious booty. Now I cannot wait to see what happens next...
So how can you help me celebrate turning 32?
Donate to Tedy's Team and help me #FightStroke in honor of my #1 Stroke Hero - my gramma.
There are two ways you can participate:
1) The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 3rd Annual 30th Birthday 5k Run-Walk Ramble
A $25 to Tedy's Team gains you entry to the virtual race, a printable bib, a Finisher's Medal and 7 entries into the raffle.
Sign up here!
2) Make a $20 donation to Tedy's Team and gain 5 entries into the raffle.
I have an anonymous donor who will match up to $1,200 raised by the Birthday 5k/raffle! Say whaa?? Heck yeah!
What does the raffle feature????
^A #Runner Shirt from the AMAZINGLY AWESOME Pavement Runner (value $25)
^ A 1BandID - great Boston-based company, which is an ID that attaches right to your GPS watch or shoe (value $19.99)
^ ENERGYBITS Sample Pack
^ 3-Pack of Perform Pain Reliever products (Roll-On, Spray and On-The-Go Singles)
^ One pair of ZENSAH Compression Leg Sleeves (value $39.99)
^A New Balance 3Axis Pedometer (value $29.99)
^ Runfellow "I Like Your Pace" T-Shirt (value $30)
^ A pair of Feetures Running socks (value $10.99)
*Remember list is still growing!*
Are you going to help me celebrate AND #FightStroke?
Annddddd the winners ARE:
If you didn't win, you can still register for the race and join the Slumbrew Happy Soles!!
I have a confession to make.
I, Dani Holmes-Kirk, am a Cambridge 5k race series addict.
That’s right. I feel safe to admit that here to all of you.
2013 Cambridge 5k Race bibs
The race director, Eddie O, is one of the nicest and most-dedicated folks I have met. When he asks for race feedback, he actually wants to know and you know what implements change. I tip my hat to him for that.
So far in 2014 I am two for three in the Cambridge 5k series races: inaugural Craicfest 5k (3/17) and Freedom Run 5k (6/1). I missed Sasquatch the trail race in July due to a conflict. My first time missing a Cambridge 5k race since 2012. :(
There is still time to register for the Big Bad Wolf, a 5-mile trail race in Ipswich, MA on September 13.
Which brings us to race #5 of 6 in the 2014 Cambridge 5k series ... the Oktoberfest 5k on October 5 at 9:30am!
Now the weather has not cooperated with this race in the past - usually raining on the day of - but that doesn't dampen the party whatsoever.
There is a new location for the Oktoberfest 5k this year - offering more space for racers to meet with friends and celebrate afterwards.
2013 Oktoberfest 5k
Join in for a "wunderbar" German-themed road race through Kendall Square, Cambridge to benefit Cambridge Family & Children's Service (CFCS).
The course is fast & flat and goes through the heart of Cambridge! Runners line up on Technology Square. When the race starts, runners turn left on Main St., left on Ames St., left on Broadway, left on Ware St., left on Harvard St., right on Portland St., then turn left and proceed to the finish on Technology Square.
The Oktoberfest crowd is a great mix of all fitness levels and paces. This group really gets in the spirit too.
Kim & I enjoying our beer & pretzel
I am wicked excited for this year's run as Eddie O took runners' comments on tight post-race quarters last year and has relocated the race this year. The crew needs room to rock the post-race dance off. Ya know? :)
So how can you get in on this awesome 5k action and run with me and some pretty sweet Slumbrew Happy Soles?
Well Eddie has been generous enough to give me not 1, not 2, but 5 race entries to give away to you lovely people!
Here's how to enter:
Giveaway will run from Friday September 5 (7am ET) to Friday September 12 (10 am ET)!
Winner will be announced on Friday!
I. Freakin. Did. It It's still surreal.
I am a Half Ironman Finisher!
Well I ruined the surprise ending. What? C'mon ... we know this story is like the movie Titanic. We all know the ending, but we tune in to hear all the good stuff of how we got there. Well I guess there isn't a lot of "good stuff" when a movie ends in everyone dying. Oh lord I am off track...
So the morning of the race began with a 4am wake-up call. I thought wow I got to sleep in compared to the 2:30am wakeup calls for the Run Disney races. :P
The alarm went off and I went through my normal morning routine on my phone: checking
Once that 15 minute ritual was over - it was time to face the day. Oh and that tiny way out of my comfort zone race.
I jumped out of bed and immediately ran over to get my outfit on - thank you OCD for having it all laid out the night before.
The morning was a blur. I tried to answer text messages and check my mental list over and over before heading down to breakfast at 5am. Thank you Comfort Inn for opening the complimentary breakfast at 5am rather than 7am for the racers.
Our plan was to be checked out of the hotel and on the road by 5:15 and you know what - we did it. Go us!
I was terribly nervous on the drive over the race as all sorts of situations buzzed through my mind.
The hotel was a quick 15 minute ride from the hotel and there seemed to be limited traffic until the final mile before the race, which was to be expected.
We easily parked - thank you volunteers - and made our way to transition.
As I brought myself over to transition to get body marked (number and ages on the body) I noticed other folks had the timing chip on their ankle, but I never got one.
<<Insert panic attack #1>>
After simply asking someone about it, I realized I had to get it day of. Phew!
I decided to set up my transition area before getting my timing chip. As soon as I walked into transition there was my friend and fellow Team Got Chocolate Milk team member John! Oh was it good to get a hug from that man. He is a huge motivator and inspiration of mine.
Normally I would have a nice pic of my transition area to post here, but I was a tad too nervous to snap one. #BloggerFail
The wife and I headed over to get my timing chip and I ran into my friend Robin. She is a rockstar Weight Watchers Success Story, Ironman and overall badass. I bothered the crap out of her during my training. :)
It was great catching up with Robin and a nice distraction. I headed into transition to grab my wetsuit, goggles and swim cap since it was 6:18 and transition would be closing at 6:30. We decided to head down the hill to use the port-o-potties near the water before the 6:45 mandatory race meeting.
I was able to catch up with other friends racing as well including my former Weight Watchers member and training buddy Darcie.
We listened to the announcements from race director Kat before her daughter sang the National Anthem. There was a little forgetfulness on the lyrics, which is understandable, but the whole crowd picked her up and finished the song singing together. :)
Once that was all said and done the elites were getting ready to kick off at 7am. Eek! My wave started at 7:11am.
So I had the wife snap a final pre-race photo and I sent out my final social media messages before handing the reigns over to the wife.
I do need to take a moment to thank my wife for keeping everyone up to speed during the race and rocking the #wifetweets!
I looked over and there the clock read 7:06am. Shit! Time to get into my corral. I gave the wife a final kiss and was off.
The nerves were erupting and overtaking my entire body.
I was standing in the water with the other ladies in my corral just thinking: "Enjoy this!" "You paid to do this." "You will be okay."
Then the horn went off...
Swim - 1.2 Miles
The start of the swim always makes me nervous as a bunch of folks are plunging in at the same time heading for the same goal.
I immediately felt like I couldn't breathe. I tried to pull down the zipper of my wetsuit, but it didn't help. Instead I unvelcroed the top of my wetsuit and everything felt okay. Phew! I told myself to get in my groove. And it happened.
The swim was a 0.6 triangle that we would do twice. Once I made the first left, I felt alone in the water. Like the other racers had fallen away... until I bumped into the age group in front of us. :P
But I felt like I was swimming a consistent race. After the second left, we were heading back towards the shore before doing the triangle again.
As I came to the shore, I looked up (the wife said she spotted me doing that) and noticed that another age group was starting the race JUST as I was coming around for my second loop. Really people? Poor timing on my part.
The second loop started out blindly as the sun was hitting the sky at a really awkward spot for us trying to spot the buoy.
I decided to cut to the inside and hug the buoys to try to avoid the mass of swimmers. It seemed to work well for me until I realized there was another pink cap that was pretty much in stride with me the whole way. She was on my left hand side. (I later learned that that person was a Chocolate Milk teammate. Ha!)
But it helped me stay on point.
I realized during the race I was spotting well and limiting my zig zag swimming that sometimes happens during Open Water Swimming.
Once I took the final left, the entire focus came on the shore. I couldn't believe that the swim was coming to an end. Not that I had any idea of time since my couldn't see my Garmin at all in the water.
I had heard that the water would be super weedy while leaving the water and it was true. I was all caught up in my arms and legs as I tried to get out of the water.
As I started to pull down my wetsuit, I hit my Garmin and saw a 34:xx on the swim. I was elated!!
Total Time: 34:34 Pace: 1:39/100 yds Overall Place: 109/425 Division: 3/27
**Can I just add how STOKED I was to see 3rd in my division in the swim? Clearly doing my swim workouts in meters when they were meant to be in yards (aka extra swimming) paid off!
I had decided I would take my wetsuit off before the run/walk up the mini hill to transition. It was a cool experience to get myself up the hill with all of the spectators on the side. I saw the wife, as well as, my best friend and niece. It was what I needed with 1/3 of the race over. :)
I knew I would run/walk/hustle up the hill. I wasn't about to waste energy on something like this this early on in the race.
Thankfully the hill was all grass without any stones so running up barefoot wasn't a problem.
Total Time: 1:36.8
Once again thanks to John who helped me figure out which rack was mine. I quickly got to my station and did the best change I could. I decided to wear my cycling jersey and my camelbak on the ride. I wanted to feel as comfortable as possible on my weakest leg. I had already put open luna bars in the back of my cycling jersey before the race so that was set.
I chatted with John about the swim and even saw my niece while I got my bike ready. She tried to get out of her stroller to see me. I wanted to just stop there and hang with her, but I pushed on.
Thanks for the pic John!
John caught me chatting with a woman in my lane asking if my niece was my daughter. :)
Total Time: 2:23.3
Bike - 56 miles
The portion of the triathlon I wish I could skip. :P
It is no surprise that the bike leg is my weakest and my least favorite so I really tried my hardest to get out there with a positive mindset.
I immediately wished I had music with me. I know it is not allowed in triathlons, but boy it would help.
It really was a gorgeous course so I tried to soak that in as best as possible.
I have mentioned the bike is my weakest leg so I really tried to get myself in the positive mindset.
Which immediately went away as about 6 people zoomed by me on the bike. Sweet - it is going be like that all morning.
And it was.
Here is where I won the bike course: my Sparkle Athletic skirt.
I lost the number of people who passed me, but 9 out of 10 of them complimented me on the skirt while they did it. So at least I had people to say "Thank You!" to. Hahaha.
One woman nicknamed me "Pumpkin Diva!" Ahh I loved it.
I definitely got dubbed Best Dressed my many a passerbyer as well.
At first being passed frustrated me, but then I kept telling myself: "Do you. Be you. Do your own race. Let them do theirs."
The rolling hills were thankfully not as big as I thought they were while driving the course the day prior. But they definitely took some out of me.
The bike course featured two loops.
The volunteers and cops did a GREAT job holding up traffic since the roads were open during the whole race, which originally freaked me out.
They were nice and complimentary.
So I knew I would be on the bike for hours and I wondered how one handled the bathroom situation. Well Robin had said you just pee on your bike. Ummm excuse me?
Well I tried it. And it didn't work. Haha. I tried multiple times since I had only seen one port-o-potty during the bike course. I knew if I got off the bike I would NOT want to get back on.
I held it.
I am proud to say while on the bike I was able to drink from my water bottles on the bike while moving AND eat while in motion.
I have been biking for just about a year so I am still learning.
I laughed out loud at how excited that made me.
I saw the 30 mile marker and BAM! I got all excited then realized I still had 26 miles to go.
So on the second loop, which featured just as many hills I tried to really enjoy the Maine scenery.
Multiple times I wished I had my phone on me to capture the sights. There were so many quaint cottages I wanted to capture, but wasn't able to. :(
And really I missed updating you all with my mid-race ramblings.
While my times might not be amazing race-wise, I was so proud with how I was doing on the bike.
Until I hit Mile 40 and thought UGH 16 more miles. That is when my positive mantra started failing. :P
So out came my singing - Frozen, Disney songs and some Taylor Swift.
Not sure how the folks passing me thought about that.
Additionally while out on the bike, I saw 5 people on the side of the road with flat tires and busted bikes.
Boy did I ask my angels above to look out for me in that time. I just asked: "Please don't let that be me."
When I roared past Mile 50 I knew I was in the home stretch.
But for me 6 miles still felt like forever. haha.
I was really proud of where I stood. I was well ahead of my sub-4 goal. I kept my Garmin on my wrist the whole time so I wouldn't be constantly looking at it. I was however doing a lot of math in my head with my cyclometer.
The bike course shut down at 12:30 and by my calculations I would be off the course by 11:22. Phew! An hour to spare.
As I took the final mile into transition, I saw folks heading out on their run. Oh was I jealous.
The roads were ROUGH coming into transition so I just wanted to be on my feet again.
I could tell my family was so happy to see me as they were just as worried about the bike portion as I was. I was waiving to Joanna, my niece, in this photo. :)
A big part of the bike that scares me is the downhill. Going fast down the hill gives me some serious anxiety and pictures fly through my head of me hitting something and heading over my handlebars, etc. But on that day I decided to trust myself and the bike and use the speed. I knew I would need it to get back up the hills since this course was seriously rolling the entire time. So Bravo to me for overcoming that.
Total Time: 3:24:56 Pace: 16.4/mph Overall Place: 361/425 Division: 18/27
** My goal was to hit at least an average 15/mph so I was wicked happy to see something better than that. And as you can see by my places, I have some serious bike improvement.
All I could think about was peeing. Haha. So as soon as I re-racked my bike and switched to my run gear I was in line at the port-o-potty in transition.
Thanks again John!
Best decision of the race was hitting that port-o-potty! Haha. I can tell you that far into the race the skirt was a tad annoying. :P But I made it work.
I quickly threw off the cycling jersey and camelbak and replaced it with my Team Chocolate Milk t-shirt and race belt.
Total Time: 3:13.4
Run - 13.1 Miles
I grabbed the Essentia water they had for us and chugged it. So refreshing. As I took the right turn out of transition I saw my whole support crew. I was wicked excited to see my dad since I hadn't seen him when I came out of the water. He was driving up that morning from Boston and I really didn't want him to miss anything.
Woo! I was wicked excited to be on my comfort zone ... the run! I knew that even if I had to run, run/walk or walk I was in a place where I felt confident.
I think I was a tad excited to be out there since my first mile was 8:07 min/mile pace. I knew I couldn't keep that up the entire run so I would have to slow it down.
I hadn't looked at the run course so I didn't know what to expect. The run was also two loops so I had the first loop to see what it was all about.
The rolling hills were still there. Haha.
As was an out and back course. I was happy with the out and back as it meant lots of other faces to smile at, cheer for and wave at.
It was funny seeing so many folks that had passed me on the ride still complimenting me on my skirt. ;)
I am happy to say the first 7 miles were all sub 9 min/mile pace, but then around Mile 8 the pain in my left hamstring really started to bug me. This is an injury I have been dealing with since May and I knew it may flare up.
I was happy to see my BFF and the niece at the Mile 8 turnaround. I needed that familiar boost.
So starting at Mile 8 I started a version of the run-walk method. It bothered me how much of a mental game it became at that point, but I tried to will myself through it.
I saw the sub 6 time slip away, but reminded myself that this was my first Half Ironman so I really couldn't beat myself up over whatever my time was.
During my second loop, I saw a lot of familiar faces on the course so I had folks to talk to and check up on.
I had promised myself that I would walk through every water stop (all 10) and I did.
In those final few miles, I opted to walk up the hill and run the downhill. In the moment, I was angry at myself, but I had to be kind.
When I saw Mile 12, I knew it was the home stretch. The was the end of my 20th half marathon and the final mile of a long 70.3 mile journey.
The race thought it was funny to put a large hill during that final mile. Har har. I tried to use the spectators to push me up and over the hill. No literally I asked to jump into a baby's stroller to get me up the hill. But for some reason they refused.
Once I made it to the top of the hill, it was "all downhill from there." And it was. I made the final turn into the Finish shoot and there was my BFF and her daughter. They ran with me for a few yards before I made the trek down the grassy hill.
I saw my wife and dad and may have uttered: "I am going to puke" since it was straight down a grassy hill. ;)
There was the Finish Line seconds away from me.
Then it was over.
Total Time: 1:59:22 Pace: 9:03 min/mile Overall Place: 180/425 Division: 10/27
Official Time: 6:06:03.4
I was wicked happy to see the first medal volunteer I could to place the medal around my neck. Oh it was glorious.
Thanks Barry for my special 2nd personalized medal!
The race also gives you a Finisher's t-shirt after you get your medal. I was in such a daze that I didn't understand what they were saying, but I gladly took my shirt. :)
I can say the Finish was surreal. So much time and months were spent training and worrying about the race and then it was over.
Thankfully I had these amazing people waiting for me with hugs and love.
How cute was she??? She did NOT give me a good look when she first hugged me. Apparently I smelled. ;)
Once the BFF and the little lady departed, we headed straight towards the beer tent. I have priorities folks. :P
The beer tasted sooo good. :) It was great recapping the race with my dad and wife.
I even got to see two Got Chocolate Milk teammates: Jaquelin and Kevin!
While we enjoyed our beers and listened to the awards ceremony, the wife enjoyed the thanksgiving dinner I got with my Finish and I caught up on social media.
I missed all of you while out on the course.
There was only so much time I could spend there before I needed to get some real food.
We headed back to the transition area so I could collect my belongings, got into the car, drove my dad to his car (spectator parking was 1/2 mile away) then headed to Shipyard Pub for lunch.
We enjoyed a great meal and some more celebratory beer before taking the drive back to Massachusetts.
Now the immediate question is: Will you do it again?
Honestly, I don't think so. I just wasn't a fan of the bike portion and it is over half the race for me.
Maybe if I move to a flat state, I would try it again, but as of now no.
Next question: Will you do a Full?
Oh hellz no. Again see the bike portion. I just couldn't imagine getting out there and going on a 7-hour bike ride some Saturday.
During the course of training for the Half Ironman, I did a ton of double workout days and a lot of early mornings. I missed social events and time with my wife. I don't want to do that again.
Again things can change, but that is my position now.
Overall, Pumpkinman was a great time. They did an awesome job with volunteers and aid stations. The spectators were sparse for the bike portion, but decent for the run. The volunteers were upbeat and I made sure to thank every single one I saw while out on the course.
Am I happy I took the leap outside of my comfort zone? Abso-freakin-lutely!
Can I successfully check this off my bucket list? You know it.
Now point me in the direction of the tattoo parlor ... time to add the 70.3 to my foot tattoo.
Have you done a Half Ironman? What was your favorite part?
Boston Summer Nights are made for 5ks along the Charles River. Thankfully Racecancer is giving me six chances to take in the glorious views of the water during the Boston 5k Summer Series. August 14th marked the fourth installment of the race and the weather was perfect - 6:30pm start for Women's Only 5k and a 7pm start for the Co-Ed 5k.
I got there a tad early to walk around and take in the sponsor tents. Since I have the season pass for the race series, I use the same bib for all 6 races so I didn't need to pick anything up.
The week prior to the race I experienced a quad injury, which left me with 5 forced rest days. For those that read this blog, you know that is unheard of in my world recently. ;) So it was tough.
The 5k would mark my first run since the injury so my goal was to take it easy.
But I am a horrible pacer when trying to take it easy during a race - I get swept up in the adrenaline of a race. I turned my Garmin over so I wouldn't be tempted to quicken up my pace if I felt I was running "too slow."
I was excited to be testing out my New Balance gear for the first time in a race - I had previously worn it for cross training and practice runs. Aren't those Foam Fresh 980s sweet?
Just before 6:30 I moved myself over to the Start Area for the Women's Only 5k.
My goal? Make it through pain free.
Race Director, Alain, spoke to the crowd briefly and shared a moment of silence for a member of the community's family member who had passed away from cancer. After the moment and race instructions, we were off.
The good thing about a race series means you become very familiar with the course. Knowing the course means less focus on going the right way and more about taking in the views.
Mile 1: 8:09
Even when the Garmin buzzed at Mile One, I went against my instincts and didn't sneak a peek. I was feeling good and wanted to focus on that.
Thankfully there wasn't any quad pain during the race. Now the pesky left hamstring pain took the forefront. I guess it was masked the week before by the quad pain.
It is a lingering pain from May and I know with more rest it will heal ... which I can do once the Half Ironman is over.
I want to commend the 5k for having two water stops on the course (Mile 1 and Mile 2). It is greatly appreciated by the runners.
Now I am doing this race alone and without music so it is all me and my thoughts during the run. ;) Which is a tough thing sometimes. The self-doubt and negative talk can come out in full effect. Trying to banish it is what I am working on.
Mile 2: 8:06
I passed on the water at the second water stop, but the volunteers were cheering everyone on loudly. Something I truly appreciated since this stretch of the race is a little light on the views/fan fare.
As I took the left onto the Arsenal St bridge, I smacked right into two guys standing with their bikes in the middle of the path. The race takes place on an open bike path, but I don't think these guys were ready to share the road. I let them know that there were a bunch of runners behind me and to make sure they stay on one side of the road.
It is all about sharing the road path folks!!
Once over the Arsenal St bridge, you take a left and head straight back to the Start on the path. This is a shady area along the water, which is great for a selfie break.
Now this is why I tell people to take multiple shots. Not every one will be a winner. ;)
(Read more at Mid-Run Selfie)
Mile 3: 8:04
I made sure just before Mile 3 to readjust the outfit before crossing the Finish Line. Gotta look good for those Finish Line photos. ;)
Very good for having come off rest and keeping it conservative.
After grabbing some water and stretching, I was debating taking part in the Co-Ed 5k as well (women's entry gets them into both races), but decided to keep it smart. I had the Falmouth Road Race (7 miles) on the Sunday and didn't want to risk any further injury.
But I did make sure to cheer them off.
It was a great turnout and I know folks had a great after party at Miller's Boston Ale House with Clown Shoes on tap.
I celebrated my 5k with my Chocolate Milk at home. At some point I will make it to an after party ... well I have 2 chances left. :P
Speaking of the next Boston 5k Summer Race is September 4 and you can register here (6pm for Women's Only and 6:30 for Co-Ed).
Will I see you there?
Signing up for the triathlon and training for it seemed like the easy part once I started thinking about how much STUFF is needed for Race Day and the transition area.
Where to begin?
Step One: Lay out everything I need for Race Day
I find it helpful to lay my gear out by category.
Category 1: Outfit.
My Got Chocolate Milk Tri Kit, my Garmin watch and aSparkle Athletic Skirt.
Not pictured Zensah sports bra.
This will be my base for the day, except I will NOT be wearing the Sparkle Athletic skirt in the water.
Now not everyone will have a tri kit and that is A-okay! I didn't have one for the first year of racing in triathlons and only have one now thanks to Team Chocolate Milk! ;)
Category 2: Transition Area.
I love to use my Asics towel as my base. On top of that base goes all accessories, fuel and “just in case” stuff. I like to keep a water bottle, a handheld water bottle (if I want it for the run), a KIND bar, my ENERGYBits and sunglasses.
Category 3: The Swim.
So apparently I cut off the most important part of the swim attire – goggles. Ha. So my swim gear includes goggles, swim cap (usually one issued by the race itself), wetsuit and a towel to clear off my feet to transition to the bike.
Do you like the sweet Nestle towel I have? I got it when the Nesquik Bunny visited me back in March.
Category 4: The Bike.
Once I maneuver the wetsuit off – hopefully without falling – and the feet are dry, it is time to secure my Sparkly Soul headband before putting on my helmet. You can get penalized if you are moving with the bike and not having your helmet on so I make sure it is one of the first thing I put on for the bike.
With the helmet on, I will put on myZensah compression sleeves, attach my race belt which will already have my number on it and slip into the shoes.
NOW if you do not want to wear the race belt - again A-okay - you can also throw on a shirt or singlet during transition, which will already have the number pinned to it. This is your call and what you are more comfortable with.
I actually like to throw a singlet or tank on over my tri kit because well the tri kit isn't very flattering especially when went. :P
Category 5: The Run.
The final transition should be the easiest. Bike shoes and helmet off … visor and sneakers on.
Once I give everything a once over – adding the race bib and bike number – it all goes into my big IKEA bag (yup classy) and it sits by the front door. This way I won’t forget anything. I put everything in the bag by category, which makes setting up transition on race day a breeze.
I personally like bike gear closest to front of towel, food/energy/fuel in the middle and run farthest away. Play around with the set up of your transition area to see what works for you.
My bike helmet isn't in the transition picture since I keep it on the handlebars with my Garmin, which is already cued up to MultiSport. :)
It has taken me a few
tries tris (see what I did there) to get it right, but now I have a good system. It is always up for tweaking, but I am getting into the groove.
I hope some of these tips can help you prep for your next triathlon.
Soooo remember when I decided to go waaayyyy out of my comfort zone and sign up for that teeny tiny race they call a Half Ironman? Yeah that teeny tiny race is just 2 months away.
Ahhhhh ... commence freak out!
Prior to signing up, I have completed two Sprint Triathlons. Yup - that's it. I guess I was going for a go big or go home type situation there.
I felt lost at the beginning of training. I wished I could afford a coach, but it wasn't in the cards.
Thankfully NYC Running Mama suggested the book pictured above.
This book offers a ton of different training plans from the beginner to someone trying to land on the podium at their next Sprint to Full Ironman. All levels and distances are covered. Phew!
I'm not really sure what level I am at so I went with intermediate for now. I thought it was a decent guess. Right?
Can you tell I am getting wicked scientific in this training cycle? :)
So let's break down the different parts of the Half Ironman?
I owe a HUGE thanks to my parents for starting my swim lessons as a baby. I may not be fast in the water, but I feel comfortable there. I love getting into the water, tuning out the world and feeling light as a feather. There is no weight issues in the pool or ocean. Now, I know weight, etc affects the speed and outcome, but I don't feel self-conscious when I am in the water. It takes that anxiety away from me ... even just for that small period of time.
I am quite the sophisticated swimmer as I jot down the workout on a sweet post-it note that is usually soaked through by the cool down. ;) The book does a great job of breaking down the purpose and benefit of each type of swim exercise. Am I 100% sure I am doing it correctly? Nope. But I am trying my hardest and I know that the meters adding up is the most important thing I can do.
Trying to condition my body to get ready to swim 1.2 miles before doing those other two little sections.
While at the Heartbreak Hill Running Festival, Sarah Reinertsen - one of the most inspirational athletes around - shared how she exhausts her arms on the swim during her Ironman because you don't really use them the rest of the race. I am trying to take that to heart during practice swims by using the arms as much as possible and resting the legs. It is giving me something to focus on and improve.
So far in training I have swum at least 1 mile straight and felt comfortable. On race day, I will need to swim the 1.2 miles in less than 1 hour to continue on in the race. Those time limits are always looming in the back of my head.
BUT, I know pool swimming and open water swimming are very different so I am working on putting on my big girl pants and getting out into the open waters...
By FAR my weakest portion of the triathlon. Well it is also my least favorite so those two things could go hand in hand. :0)
I made a pledge to work on my biking this winter so I set up the free-to-me (thanks old tenant) bike trainer. :)
It was a great way to cross train for the marathons when I didn't want to leave the house. Or a way to watch a show I wanted to watch, but be productive while doing it.
I am working on following the training plan, but tweaking to fit my needs and plans on the weekend. But in May I started taking the bike outside.
I get very worried about falling off the bike and getting a flat tire. I am still not used to shifting the gears and now clip pedals. Last month, I purchased new pedals that have clips on one side and are flat on the other so you can still bike in sneakers if you want. I want to have the options. Ya know?
Thankfully my friend Darcie is a more experienced biker than I so she and I have gone out on some long rides together.
On July 4th came the biggest bike ride of my career, over 30 miles while working on clipping, hills, shifting, riding in traffic and inclement weather. And you know what? I survived.
Now I know for the race I will need to up the speed. I think we figured that we will need to keep at least a 15.0 mph. Now on this day, we were dealing with stoplights and people on the bike path so I think we were going an appropriate speed outside of those moments. But, speed is something I need to work on.
Hey, I am happy with the progress I have made thus far.
I tested out the camelback on the ride and it was perfect. I am not comfortable enough taking my hands off the handlebars to take a drink - damn balance - so the camelback allowed me to stay steady and hydrated.
I also knocked off my first fall. Now it wasn't a huge fall. Okay it happened while I was at a stop, but I got it over with. :) I successfully clipped the right shoe out, but forgot about the left and over I went into a nice piled of mulch. Ha. Darcie was the only person who got to witness it.
It felt great to tackle such a big ride. I know I have a long ways to go, but I am going in the right direction.
Let's just say I never thought I would be least worried about running. ;) I have been battling a left hamstring injury for a while so the running hasn't been my main focus. I think my body is pretty conditioned right now and I am trying to focus on the swimming and biking as much as possible to keep the cardio up.
I know once the leg feels better I will need to get back into the BRICK workouts - 2 parts of the triathlon back-to-back.
I'm hoping by now no matter how tired I will be I can make it through a half marathon. (Again never thought I would write something like that)
The timing scares me the most. You must be out of the water in 1 hour and done with the course in 8. So when my music died in the water the other day, I spent the entire time working out "worst case scenarios" in my head.
Okay if it takes me 1 hour to swim and 3 hours to run that gives me 4 hours to bike. Etc Etc.
While I work on the physical training, I know the mental needs even more help. The confidence needs to be there on race day since there is no music allowed in triathlons. So for most of this it will be me and my thoughts together ... alone ... for hours. I will need to stay positive and focused. Oh and singing to myself. That is a given.
So with two months to go, I will continue to improve, to study, to learn and to push my limits.
Adios comfort zone ... hello Half Ironman!