Posts Tagged ‘Triathlon’

Note to Self: Do Not Do That Again

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

So, I signed up for a sprint Triathlon at Lake Lanier. I signed up early, because sometimes they fill up, and then life did what it does: It got crazy. T-ball and swim team. End of school programs and parties and gifts to buy. Todd’s new job that has already sent him to NYC twice and which keeps him away from us a lot. My bout with depression, which is ironic, really – I get depressed when I don’t work out. I was too depressed to get my shit together and work out. I didn’t work out, which increased my depression. Cue endless cycle. Feeling much better on that front.

Anyway, i thought about just bailing on the whole triathlon thing. I did some workouts for my training, but my heart wasn’t in them. I skipped others. But when it came down to it, I just couldn’t bring my self to skip on race day. So I went. And I am glad. There is a singular and unique feeling of having completed a race or triathlon; not much compares to it.

However – If you don’t get in all your training beforehand, or more specifically, if you don’t get in much training at all?


I knew i would finish. I had done one before, and i hadn’t died. I had done the same (almost the same) course before. I even had some grand ideas about beating last year’s time.


It was so not funny.

I wasn’t nervous before the swim. Although there are many people who freak about the swimming portion, i really like it. Kind of peaceful almost. Cool lake water, 8 am. I kinda like it. Plus, fat girls can hold their own with skinny girls in the swimming portion. But when I got towards the end of that, and got ready for the run to transition, I just knew: This was gonna hurt.

So, I hoofed it up to transition. I changed to my bike stuff. Still feeling fine, but just not feeling REALLY fine. Hopped on the bike, and headed out. I could tell almost right away – my lack of time in the saddle really hurt me. (Not to mention some ridiculous humidity.) The coolest part of the bike is probably crossing the big bridge at Lake Lanier Islands. Very fun to haul ass across that bridge on a bike. Not so fun? Big curving hill on Holiday Rd., and the killer on New Prospect Rd. I admit it – I thought about getting off and walking it. I thought i was gonna die. The rest of that out and back is pretty easy. A few rolling hills, but mostly flat and wide, with bike lanes and well-directed traffic, pretty scenery – farms and tractors and fields, mixed in with the crappy subdivisions, and roadside ditches dotted with Queen Anne’s Lace, which always reminds me of walks with my great Aunt Virginia, whom we all called Bubba.

I got passed a lot. A LOT. Not a good feeling.

I think my goal for the summer will be to try and get a bike ride in at least every weekend. And to find some riding partners, because I need someone to keep me honest, and get me up and out early. Also? Safety in numbers.

My son is reading my blog over my shoulder. Spooky.

Now he is laughing.

He is a bit of a goober.

More laughing.

Stop it, Rollie.

Anyway, I made it back and rounded the last corner. I saw Todd and the kids sitting on the sidewalk.

My Fan Club

It raised my spirits.

Got back to transition, put on my hat, and headed off. I was already feeling kind of done. Managed to run past the bulk of the crowd (shame is a powerful motivator for me) and then walked a while. Made a deal with myself that I would run downhills and flats, and walk the hills. I had some water in transition, so I skipped the first water station, thinking i would get water at the next one. Thought it was odd that it was unmanned and there were only larger water bottles (they were like 40 oz bottles of water, i think – huge-looking.) Last year, on the run, there were water stations at the end of the out-and-back. Not this time. No water. Broke my deal with myself to not walk when I got to the end and realized they had changed the course, and it wasn’t the end, and there was no water there either.

Saw my friend Megan (Tucker Represent!) and we walked awhile and she gave me some of her water. It was hot as hell by then, and most of the run was in full sun. Got back to the water station and all of the water was gone.


Walked for a while again. Started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, knowing it would be over soon. Saw the last hill, and ran it. Nice spectators along this portion gave lots of support. You just can’t slow down when you have people calling you out by number. “Go, 93! You got this!” and crap like that, really does help you when you are toast.

I was toast.

I rounded the corner to transition, and finally hit some shade. Came out of the woods to see my kids and Todd cheering for me, and Tiller ran out on the course and tried to run with me, which was cute, but I had to make her go back, which was kinda sad. Just running across the parking lot to the Finish line was about to kill me, and seeing my time, well, it was bittersweet. I was ten minutes slower than my last time, and last time I had a very time-consuming bike chain issue. But on the flip side, last time was much easier. This one was not fun. it was hard. I wanted to quit, numerous times, and did. (I count walking as quitting, I’ll be honest.) But I finished. It was by far the harder of the two triathlons I have done, and I finished. There is something very much of value to be garnered from overcoming the sincere desire to quit, the cramp in your side, the thirst gone unquenched, the numb feet, and most of all, the negative dialogue you have with yourself in your head.

There is something to be said for going through with something, because you know you will be better for doing it, even though you know it will suck some serious ass.

And in the end, what you gain from it is usually way more than what you gave on the course. What you gain from it is yours, all yours, and cannot be taken away. Ever.

Me and Megan, Post-Race

My First Triathlon, Part II

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

I am such a slacker.

So, after I racked the bike, took off my helmet, and slapped on my sunglasses and running hat, I headed back down the steep hill. The ingress and egress for the swim and run into and out of transition just weren’t well planned. As soon as I came down the hill past the pavilion, I ran past the stairs that go back up to the parking lot, and there were my kiddos and my husband. I almost busted a gut trying not to laugh and stop running.

Run Faster

Did I mention that my husband is really the funniest person I know?

So, after slowing down to say hi to my kids the comedians, I continued down the path for the run. You have to go down some stairs, across a wooden bridge, through the gate to the waterpark and then turn right to go up a hill. The hill is steep and I was not the only one cussing as I went up it. Luckily, the route was an out and back, so there lots of people coming down the hill telling us that the hill was the worst part of the run and after it, the rest was a breeze. They were right, but of course I didn’t believe them at the time.

This part of the race was also weird, because they had the “out” runners running on the left and the “In” runners coming back in on the right. It was like driving on the wrong side of the road and very disorienting. Once I made it up to the road, it was pretty smooth sailing. The hills were rolling. I wouldn’t even say there was much of a hill. I passed Shannon, coming back in, and we waved and she looked great. I saw Lucy about this time, too. I ran to the water station, which was at the turnaround, then got my water and walked through the turn, because I am not coordinated enough to drink water and run at the same time. Not sure how people do that.

There was a very thinned out group at this point, and it was easy to pass some walkers on the way back. I found that while I was tired, I was mentally pretty wired, and felt good about running most of the way back. The only exception to this was the last hill up to transition. (Seriously, folks. This is a short hill, but straight up, and very mentally discouraging for people who want to make a strong finish. Definitely my least favorite feature of the race.)
Had to walk up the hill a smidge, but made it to the top and jogged through to the finish.

Afterwards, I sucked orange slices and drank powerade and got my shirt. I hugged my kids and chatted with my friends.

We went home, I ate Los Hermanos and had a margarita as big as my head, then I napped for thirty minutes before going to Shannon and Matt’s in Cabbagetown for a very low-key post race celebration. We drank beer on the porch, ate pizza, took the kids and dogs to the park, kicked a soccer ball around, and swung on the rope swing. It was hot but relaxing.

Some more pictures from the day:

The bad part came when I got the results a day or so later. I did not do very well.
I came in 613th of 666 people. 64th of 71 in my age group.

I was extremely disappointed. I guess, going in, i thought that I would surprise myself. I didn’t. Granted, I had the bike malfunctions, but even with those, I would still only be about 50th of the 70 competitors in my age group. I swam the full distance, while some folks stood up near shore and ran part of the way. But I did not do as well as I hoped i would. Not even close.

734 Anne Johnson
MFT F 35-39 37
Swim: 0:12:21.808
T1: 0:03:30.704
Bike: 1:07:21.767
T2: 0:01:39.899
Run: 0:32:51.427
Total: 1:57:45.605

So, i beat myself up over it for a day or so, and now I am back on course. It is so obvious that the problem is my weight. I need to lose weight. I am putting up my sorry numbers, and my pictures of my fat ass finishing, as a reminder to myself that I need to improve. Maybe I will, and someday I will look at these and instead of being disgusted with myself, i will be proud of how much I have improved.

All of that being said, I am proud of myself for picking a goal and sticking with my training and seeing it through to the finish. I will improve. I will.

I Did It

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

I survived. Swim was fine, but different than i thought it would be. Bike was hard as hell. Run was a breeze. Not that I ran fast, but it seemed way shorter than a 5k. I had my wonderful husband and kids to cheer me on and other friends (both old and new) there running theirs for the first time, too. I had the pleasure of seeing a friend show up just because. That meant a lot.

It was nice to put my mind to something and then accomplish it. It was nice to have so many people cheering me on.

Full race report when I have not had five beers and am not exhausted. Going to take a hot bath, while drinking a beer, and reading vampire novel.

Rolling With the Punches

Friday, May 29th, 2009

So, i am doing a triathlon a week from tomorrow. I am trying not to panic or get wigged out by the fact that my family obligations have shot my training all to hell. I have gotten in two workouts this week. I know that nothing i do now is even going to have an impact on my performance. So frustrating that I’ve worked out and prepared for this and then everything went to hell in a hand basket in the last few weeks of my training. I guess that is just life.

So, i am going to go ahead and do the damn thing. I know I can finish the distance. I just think it is going to be a lot more painful than I planned on it being. I know I will probably have to walk parts of the run, which sucks; My main goal is simply to finish; my in-the-back-of-my-head goal was to finish the run having not walked a bit of it.

I guess sometimes success is not about preparation, but more about having the stones to do something that intimidates you and for which you are unprepared.

Flying High on Legal Drugs, a.k.a. Endorphins

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

I really picked back up on my workouts this week. I have been doing them for the last month or so, pretty consistently, but the last week, they have just been great. I had a wonderful run on Sunday morning in Chattanooga. (Pretty sure I could move there if they had decent public schools. There’s just something awesome about living next to a river and mountains.) I did a “faux tri” at the gym on Monday. Tuesday was a bike and run brick (and my biking felt not terrible.) Today, a half mile swim and 2 mile run. I guess it’s the endorphins making me feel tired and like i could still conquer the world.

Oh, did I not mention the Triathlon? I am doing a Triathlon on June 6th. I am pretty excited, feeling pretty ready. If you are reading this and have ever thought about doing one, you should bite the bullet and do a sprint one with me this summer. Especially if you live close by, as I would love to have a training partner sometimes.

You know you want to.

Letting Go

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Last week, after weeks of being sick, and missing workouts, and just generally getting behind in my training for the half-marathon in March, I was getting downright depressed. I think it was a combination of not working out regularly (loss of endorphins), not feeling good, along with the other stresses of parenthood, work, and home. I was just blue. There were a few times I didn’t really want to get out of bed, or if I did, then I would just want to lay on the couch. I could feel depression sucking everything good out of my life. I know depression – I have been depressed, and I have dealt with depression in those I love. I recognized the signs. I also recognized that even when you recognize the signs, you don’t just snap out of it and feel better. I am lucky that I have only one time been so depressed that I just wanted to give up, and when I couldn’t pull myself out of it.

In the course of all this, I realized that one of the problems was me beating myself up for having gotten behind in my training. I was at the point where i didn’t feel like I could ever catch up, and that I would do worse than my first race or worse, injure myself trying to play catch up too fast.

I was drying my hair, and I made an executive decision. I would just forget about the race in March.

It was like a weight was lifted. Here i was beating myself up about not meeting a goal that I had put on myself. No one else had chosen that goal for me; I chose it for myself, and all the guilt I felt was my very own doing. Why would I do this to myself? The answer to the problem was right in front of me. I just let it go.

So, i scrapped the idea of doing that half. There will be tons others. And i turned around and decided to start small again, pick a 5k that is coming up soon, just to keep me honest, and pick a Sprint Triathlon that I want to do, and start training for that.

I feel a hundred times better. I am lucky that my depression was situational, and I could fix it. And taking one thing off my plate really did solve the problem.

I know I have highly suggested picking goals and meeting them. It gives me great joy and power to pick a goal and follow through with it. But sometimes, i think the harder lesson for me is the one about learning when to let go, when to drop one of the many balls I juggle.

I’m still going to be a little sad come March when everyone is running, though.


Thursday, January 10th, 2008

I hate New Year’s Resolutions. I never keep them. Ever. Okay, I did make a NY resolution to quit smoking and it stuck. Twice. The first time I quit for two years and then I decided I could have one when I was drinking and then suddenly I was smoking again. A couple of years later, though, i decided enough was enough. I quit in January of 2002, and this January makes six years I’ve gone without one, which is more than I can say for a certain Creeker who would have had me beat by years if he hadn’t given in to drunken nostalgia one fateful night in December of 2006. That is surely bad karma catching up with him for teaching me to smoke in the first place.

Blame others. That’s what my family does.

Anyway, in the spirit of New Year’s Resolve, here is my plan for things I’d like to do this year.

Open-Ended Nebulous Stuff:

Watch Less TV, Write More
Be more Patient, especially with the children
Not raise my voice as much with the children
Be more consistent with children’s discipline, (in particular, Timeouts.)
Go Out More
Be more positive

Measurable Goals:
Lose the stupid weight already!!!!
Run at least 1 10k
Run a Half.
Do my first tri.
Complete three short stories that I am happy with and make sure other people read them, rather than hording them and telling myself I am not good enough.

The hard one here is the tri, because of the need to have real time on the bike, and that requires TIME. Time is definitely my difficulty, management-wise. I am amazed that people with children ever become serious athletes. (Steph and Nat amaze me, pretty much daily, with their dedication and time management skills.)

Okay, the letting people read what I write part is hard, too, because I am pretty self-conscious about it, and the first go-round did not go very well. I am going to bite the bullet, though.

Anyway, that’s what’s up for me this year. Make sure to ask me how I’m doing, so that I am embarrassed into action every once in a while. I have a funny feeling that this is going to turn into a “Todd picking his hangnails” situation. When Todd and I first started dating, I noticed he wore band-aids on his fingers a lot. I did not like that. Band aids are gross. So, he admitted that picking at his hangnails was a bad habit he would like to quit and for me to tell him if he was doing it in front of me, because sometimes he didn’t even realize he was doing it. I don’t think he realized back in ’99 that he would still be sitting next to me on the couch in 2008, and I would still be telling him to stop picking at his hangnails.

Taking Me Down a Notch

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

A funny thing about kids is how they take you down a notch, at just the right time, usually when you are feeling really good about yourself.

Yesterday, rather than do my usual run, I decided to do a little test of myself. My friends Natalie and Steph are both running the Hansgrohe Triathlon in a couple of weeks, and I had thought about doing it, but decided that I was taking on too much too soon and declined. I have always wanted to do one, because I love swimming and because I get bored easily, and I think training for three sports sounds a lot more fun than training for only one. In fact, before Nat and Steph decided to do this one a couple of months ago, I was already eyeing one for either May or June of next year (there are a couple that time of year just for beginners). In preparation for that, I had already starting swimming and biking on my cross-training days in my run schedule.

When I found out they were doing this one in August, I was so tempted to try it with them, but I am pretty glad that I decided to wait until next year. Travel, knee pain, and a host of other engagements between that time and early August would have made me a basket case. That being said, I have been following their training and getting very excited for them. Their last couple of posts have been about estimating their times in the race, based on trials they did in the last few weeks.

Well, I have many flaws, and one of them is a highly competitive nature; I haven’t met many games, matches, fights, or challenges that I didn’t like. Obviously, this can be a good thing at times, and it is not to say that I am not a graceful loser, because I am. One of the many lessons learned by playing sports as a kid is that there is always someone better. (I wonder at those professional athletes who are so good that they never had to learn this very valuable lesson.) But I really don’t like to lose, and I love the act of playing, racing, and meeting in competition. (By the way: One thing I do not like is to be chased, as in a game of Hide and seek or Kick the Can. It scares the bejeesus out of me, even if it is just a game. It is right up there with snakes, flying, and wet paper.)

An interesting thing about running was that I first took it up to a) lose weight and b) to give myself some competitive goals to shoot for, because I so miss the competition that I was constantly experiencing growing up. I am mentally a better person when my body is physically worn out. Odd but true. As I ran more and more, though, I realized that I was slowly morphing into a more competitive runner. I am not a good runner when compared with those who have been doing it for years, or people who are in tip-top shape, but I am slowly and surely beating my expectations for myself; I am improving.

Anyway, the point is that I saw that they were testing how well they were going to do in this triathlon, and I immediately felt the need to know a) if I could even finish the distance and b) what my time might actually be. So, when I got to the gym, I did the distances required to finish the sprint triathlon that they are running in August.

I didn’t push myself as hard as I could have, because I didn’t know how my legs would react to it on the run. I definitely could have done the swim faster. By the bike, i was worried about the run, so I put it on random hills, level 8 (because I remembered that is what Nat had done, I believe) and took it pretty easy, not remotely doing it at top speed. Also, riding a stationary bike is, frankly, fucking boring. I got distracted from my mission, watched a little Oprah, and forgot to push it very much. It didn’t matter that I took it slowly, because either way, my legs felt like i was wearing concrete fucking ski boots by the time I got to the run. That first half mile was sucky beyond belief, but after that, the legs seemed to come back to me and I actually ran pretty well.

My results:
Swim – 400 yds – 7 mins 49 secs
Bike – 13 mi – 39 mins 50 secsRun – 3.1 mi – 35 mins 02 secs

Steph posted a link to a site that calculates your estimated triathlon time based on time trials and your weekly training mileage. I could barely figure out how to use the thing (what the hell is a 20 minute time trial, and are they even talking about the bike?), and I haven’t really been training or keeping up with my biking or swimming mileage, but this is what I came up with. I plugged in my above times, except that for the bike, I had to figure out at what speed I could do 20 minutes of biking, based on how fast I did the 13 miles. (Why don’t they just have you bike the 13 miles and put that time in?) I put in the minimal allowed training mileages.

I came out with a final time of: 1:37:15. Not exactly on par with Nat’s or Steph’s estimated times, but then I didn’t expect to be on par with them – they run ridiculously fast compared to me. Evidently, the calculator also adds time in for the transitions, or something.

I really wasn’t shooting for a particular time. I really just wanted to do the distances and see how it felt, if it was harder or easier than I thought it would be. Mostly, I wanted to know that I could finish it. I learned both that I could pretty easily finish, that I have a lot of room for improvement through just giving it more, especially on the bike, and that my ability to improve on the run would vastly improve my finish time. Running is definitely my weak link – there are people who run 7 and 8 minute miles and I am still doing more than ten minute miles. And then there is the weight. I need to lose at least a good 30 pounds. All in all, though, I kind of like the idea of having plenty of room for major improvement. I also looked at the 2006 results for the triathlon they are doing, and I was a little stunned to see that I was right around in the middle of the times. I could do this, and not come in last. I could do well. So, of course, I am a little bummed now that I’m not doing it, but I’m just telling myself “think how much better I could be in another eight to ten months.”

I was pretty elated when I got to the restaurant for dinner afterwards. Todd had an after-work drinks thing, and I decided I was too tired to go home. We headed over to La Casita, where i ordered a modest, weight-watcher’s friendly meal, and a beer (not so WW-friendly, but light!) The kids ate their weight in beans and rice. I was feeling good, full of endorphins and accomplishment. I knew that if I wanted to do the triathlon, I could do it, and that I even had a base time to work from and strive to beat. I looked forward to taking the kids home, giving them baths and putting them to bed, and then showering and lounging on the couch, making love to Tivo and a couple more beers.

I paid the check, stood up, downed the last of my beer, and took Tiller’s hand to help her down the step on the patio where we were eating. As we came down to the lower level of the patio, she pulled up, stopping in her tracks. Then she projectile-puked all over the patio floor, with about six patrons looking on and in smelling distance. Like I said, just when you are feeling good, kids know how to take you down a notch. Fucking awesome.