Oilman Triathlon Race Report

I’ve been wanting to write this race report for a month now, especially because I don’t want to forget a single detail of the day. My first half-Iron distance triathlon (not to mention my first triathlon of any distance) was a magical, wonderful experience. I started to say that it was the best day of my life, but then a few other days popped into my head that are better than any ole race…like the day I married Kyle (or the day he proposed). Or holding my nephew Harrison at the hospital just moments after he entered this world (I love all my other nieces and nephews too, but none of them did I get to meet so quickly!). Or pretty much every Christmas day, celebrating with family near. So yeah, this day was amazing, but it’s got nothing on the rest of life.

What I can say about it is that it was the best race ever. Hands down, no contest. My goals going into the race were:

1. Finish each portion of the triathlon within the cutoff.

2. Have fun and never stop smiling.

Both of these goals were far surpassed. Alright, enough hoopla, let’s get down to business.

The race weekend starting by going to a high school cross country meet on Saturday morning. After watching the kids dominate, we headed towards Montgomery for the Expo. The line for packet pick-up wasn’t overly long, but it was extraordinarily slow. The expo itself was very small, probably just about 4 booths from different stores. We got a few last minute needs (Bonk Breaker bars, Gus, anti-fog) and headed to the hotel.

Food Before Race

I’m always nervous the night before a race, but this was extreme. My stomach was in knots and my heart was racing. It was largely nerves, but also just excitement to be finally doing this! There were so many unknowns for the next day: I’d done only one real open water swim before, I had never swam in a wetsuit, I had never set up a transition area, and I have never done a triathlon. Eek!

Transition Area

The race was after daylight savings time, so we slept in til 5:00ish, but it felt like 6:00. I put on my number tattoos, packed up my stuff, and headed to the race. Parking took longer than expected, so there was just enough time to quickly set up my transition area. Kyle came in to help me and there were lots of other non-racers in the transition area, but a ref quickly kicked him out. Luckily we’d already talked it all through, so I knew what to do.

After one last potty break (in the hotel bathroom, which is infinitely better than a potta-potty!!), I slipped (and by slipped I really mean struggled for 10 minutes) into my wetsuit  and watched the earlier swim waves begin. Mine was the second-to-last group to start, so I had about 20 minutes or so. Finally, it was time to line up on the beach and wait for the start. I made some small talk with a couple women who were around me, and then it was time. We ran into the water and took off.

Ready to Swim Swim Start

When I first put my head in the water, I had a quick freak-out moment. I stood up, took a deep breath, and got to it. Once I got going, I really started to enjoy the swim. There were enough people around me that I didn’t have to sight too much to stay on course, but it wasn’t a big enough race to cause me to get hit or swam over. As I kept swimming, I was surprised to see that I was passing people, even people who had started in earlier swim waves from me (which I knew because people wore a different swim cap depending on when they started). This was encouraging, as I was originally concerned that I wouldn’t finish the swim in time. There were some moments where my mind started to get scared because I couldn’t just stand up if I needed to, but I just focused on counting my strokes and sighting every 10th stroke. Slowly I made my way through the course, and before I knew it I was running out of the water. There was no clock and I didn’t start my watch until later on in the swim, so until I saw Kyle I had no idea how fast I had gone. I was thrilled when I found out I did it in 47 minutes, much quicker than the 55-60 minutes I was expecting and well within the 1:15 cutoff! Yippee!

T1 was rough, which was expected since I had never done a tri before. My wetsuit got stuck on my watch and foot, so that took awhile. Once I was free of my wetsuit, I ran to my bike and started grabbing what I needed. Kyle was there to talk to, which was fun. Then I grabbed my bike and started running. After about 20 seconds of running, I realized I had forgotten to put all my food into my pockets, so I had to run back to my spot again and re-load. Finally I took off and started the bike leg.

The first part was shaded and pretty chilly. There were rolling hills through a park, and it was beautiful. I was keeping up about a 16 mph speed, which I was happy with. Around mile 20 though, things got a bit tougher. First, the wind picked up. Then, there was about a 15 – 20 mile stretch of pretty rough chip seal. My speed dropped, and I was struggling to focus. There was an aid station in the middle of all this, and the quick break to reload on fuel definitely helped. I also got to see Kyle a few times in here, which was fun.

Then suddenly something felt off on my bike. I never heard a pop or anything, but something was definitely not right. I pulled over, and low-and-behold my back tire was flat. I had everything I needed, so it only took about 5 minutes. It was tough watching all the people that I had been passing fly by me during the change though!

Finally, I was finishing up with the last few miles of the ride. As I came into the transition area, I had another first-time-triathlete moment. At the line, the workers were putting their hands up telling me to stop. For whatever reason, I had it in my head that I had to stop AFTER the line, which is backwards. As soon as I got off my bike after the line, I realized what I had done wrong. I said “sorry” as I ran off, and luckily there was no penalty for my lapse in judgement. You can see the lady telling me stop in the picture below…and me just riding on by her. :)

Bike Finish

All in all, the bike turned out to me much slower than I had planned with a time of 3:57. But my main goal was to finish and to be happy, and I definitely accomplished that.

Kyle was near my spot in T2, so again we got to chat while I got ready. He laughed at me that I was sitting while I put on my shoes and whatnot, but it seemed like a good enough way to do it to me. I originally put my number on backwards, so I had to change that. I also had some trouble getting my hair up, but other than that there were no major issues.

T2

The run was the icing on the cake. I was still feeling strong and happy. I had been careful to eat and drink a ton throughout the ride, and I think it made a big difference. The run course was 3 loops that were shaped like a figure-8, which meant that you ran by the finish line 5 times before it was actually your time to finish. I actually liked it that way, because it meant you got to see lots of people, including my husband who I saw about 12 times on the run alone! And the 3-loop course helped me to split the run into 3 very manageable chunks of about 4 miles each.

As I ran, there were a few times that I felt nauseous and a little sick, but as I kept eating and drinking it went away. I talked to lots of people as I passed them, which (after 5 hours of not talking to anyone) was wonderful. The strength I felt on the run was a stark contrast to how most people around me appeared. I was laughing and joking with spectators and other racers, while most people around me looked like the walking dead. I kept expecting to crash like so many other people, but I just kept feeling good. The run flew by, and suddenly it was MY time to take the turn to the finishers chute. I was so proud to have not only completed the race, but to have kept my head up the whole time and to have never stopped smiling. After months of training and anticipation, I did it!

Run2

Kyle was right there at the finish. We walked around a bit, got some grub, and sat (sitting felt sooooo good). Unfortunately, it was mid-afternoon on Sunday, we were 4+ hours away from home, and we both had work the next day so there wasn’t much time to relax. We loaded up my stuff and headed home.

Finish

One surprising thing about it all was how un-sore I was the rest of the week. My marathon took much more out of me! I was tight the next day or two, especially if getting up after sitting for a long time. But by Wednesday I felt ready to swim/bike/run all over again!

So, long story short, I’m definitely not done with triathlons. I might have even caught the 140.6 bug…

Done!

Oilman Texas Triathlon:

Swim: 0:47

T1: 7:16

Bike: 3:57

T2: 2:23

Run: 2:26

Total: 7:20:56

Almost Race Day!

I’ve had this post floating around in my head for awhile, but haven’t had the time to sit down and type it up lately. On a side note, a big shout-out goes to my dear husby doing pretty much all the chores at home while I’m busy teaching, taking classes, and triathlon training. I seriously couldn’t have managed without him. Okay, cheesy gush-fest over. Onto the actual point of this post.

1045206_10200604083518175_766876607_n

I haven’t mentioned it, because I haven’t been blogging, but my big fall race is coming up this Sunday. Eek!! It’s the Oilman Texas Triathlon, a half-iron distance race (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run). The plan was to do a couple sprint/Olympic distance tri’s first for practice, but that just didn’t happen. So I’ll just be winging it as I make a Half Iron distance my first ever triathlon. Not what I’d necessarily recommend, but I’ll be fine. Because I really just don’t have a choice.

With all the training for this, I’ve had lots of long, boring workouts. 4 hours on a bike by myself on one road. No one to talk to, no music, just aching back/legs/butt/mind. I’ve come to the point of talking to myself, singing to myself, anything to pass the time. There’s also been countless swims watching a black line on the bottom of the pool, lap after lap. There have been long runs, but those aren’t nearly as tough for me anymore. Because running is fun!

1233617_10201111871252551_902712464_n

These long workouts really make you mentally tough. They’re not always pleasant, but I’ve been learning how important it is to push myself even when my mind is telling you to stop. To endure complete mental boredom. To be alone with my thoughts for hours on end. To learn how to deal with the negative thoughts that creep in, and to override them with positives and self-motivation.

Honestly, it’s been a battle for me. I get bored pretty easy and have a short attention span. I get antsy if someone takes too long to play their turn in a board game. If I have dinner ready and it takes Kyle a minute to get to the table, I practically have a breakdown waiting to eat. Let’s just say, I’m not a naturally patient person (thank goodness for God’s grace and patience with me!)

So it’s been a process adapting to long workouts. I didn’t just wake up one day and do a 4+ hour workout. At one point 30 minute runs were mentally tough for me. But as I keep training, what was once the hardest thing ever slowly becomes an easy workout. I remember my stomach being in knots the night before a 12 mile run. Now I look forward to a 12 mile run as a fun, shorter-than-normal long-run. The only reason that I enjoy the 12 mile runs now is because of months of enduring runs that I didn’t always love and that were TOUGH.

I’m excited for the day when a 60 mile bike ride is nothing. It’s certainly not there yet for me. Right now, to be completely honest, the 60 mile solo rides have been a pain-in-the-booty. But I know if I stick with it, one day they’ll be a walk in the park. Because our minds are capable of so much more than we think.

So many people say they hate running, but I really think it’s just that they’ve never stuck with it long enough to start enjoying it. Long runs and hard workouts can be an acquired taste, but I think with enough time pretty much anyone will become addicted.

Because in spite of all the brutal workouts, I’ve had even more amazing ones. Long runs gabbing with friends. Dominating a hard, fast run with paces I didn’t think would be possible. Running in beautiful scenery (by the ocean, up a mountain, or just a lovely fall day in Texas). Covering a further distance than I’ve ever biked before. The feeling of accomplishment that comes from good workouts, big training weeks, and great races just cannot be described.

528211_10200285360870308_827348084_n

Life Lately

It’s been a bit since I’ve written on here. I must say, I miss it! Unfortunately, the following activities are more important to me than blogging, and right now they’re taking all my time:

My teaching job

The 2 graduate classes I’m taking

A small coordinator position I recently accepted with the children’s ministry at our church

Leading the Bible study with my husband

Training for a half Ironman this November (eek!!!)

Sleep

I’d say the order of importance is pretty much as I wrote the items up there. I’m really left with pretty much no time. But, we’re all busy, so enough about that. What you really want to know is what I’ve been up to, right?! I know you’re just dying to find out.

Since we talked last, I took a trip to Illinois, did an open water swim in my parent’s lake, got super delayed on the flight back because of a bird on the windshield (we waited hours for a maintenance man to show up with Windex and wipe it off), had a cold, have done some awesome workouts, watched Illinois win a football game, did not watch Illinois lose the game, and decided to do a half-Iron distance tri in November.

Yeaaahhh, a half Iron. I was originally going to wait until the spring, but then I figured I’d go for it now. Because, why not?! My long ride is sitting at 45 miles and my long run is at 12 miles. That means I have plenty of time to get my long ride up to hopefully 80 miles and the long run up to 15. Oh yeah, I’m also swimming. But that’s boring. I am swimming at least the distance (1.2 miles) about twice a week, so I should be good there. I still haven’t done a triathlon at all, so unless something special happens my first tri is going to be this half-Iron. Is that stupid? The only answer I’m accepting to that question is a resounding NO, because I’m pretty pumped about this race.

Because every great blog post must have pictures, here I am petting goats at Tanners with my wonderful nephew who is ROCKING kindergarten right now.

Feeding_goats

 

Also, in case you’re wondering, I’ve now experienced a tornado in a cubicle. I handled it justt fine, it hardly even messed up my hair. So I’d say I’m no longer scared of these Texas tornadoes. No big deal. Haha, riiiight.

tornado_cubicle

 

Now I’m off to an early bed time before another fun-filled week! What about you? What’s going on in your life?

{Race Recap} Hustle for Health 10k

I’m so bad at writing race recaps. Personally, I love reading people’s super detailed race recaps that include every little detail and photo-document each step. But I’m when I’m writing out every detail, I always feel there is no WAY you all are interested in all of this. Plus, I am terrible at taking pictures. It’s not until I start writing this post that I think of all the things I should have photographed. One of these days, I’ll learn. But probably not.

The race was the Hustle for Health 5k/10k. It’s in it’s 4th year running; Kyle and I both ran it last year. I’d say it was definitely bigger this year!

The night before any race, my stomach is always in anxious/excited knots. So, I pretty much tossed and turned all night, constantly dreaming about running and the race. I was up an hour or two before the alarm but didn’t feel like getting up, so I just lay there waiting for it to be time to get up and RUN.

Once we were FINALLY up, I downed some water and got ready. The whole stomach-in-knots thing made eating not easy, so I just took a GU with me to take before the race. Nothing too eventful, except that I almost forgot my shoes. I thought they were in the back seat, but they weren’t. Luckily, I checked and realized they missing. While barefoot running is all the rage these days, it is something I am NOT all about.

The race was about 1 mile from our house, so the drive over was pretty quick. Once there, I was immediately excited to be at a race atmosphere. The first thing we did was head to packet pick-up. I was registered as a male named Mrs. Robson. I figured my gender should at least be correct,  so I took care of getting my gender changed.  Guys are great and all, but I’m all about being  a girl.

I found my friend Brittany, and we headed off to warm-up. We ran an easy mile, then I took the GU and was ready to race!

I almost ran the wrong race. The 5k and 10k start together, but pretty much immediately the 5k goes left and the 10k goes right. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this and started heading off with the 5kers. At the last minute, I saw a bunch of people going right and realized I might be going the wrong way. I hollered out to anyone around asking which way the 10k was. Everyone pointed me in the correct  direction (I guess they all got the memo), so I got back on course.

running-10k

The first 3 miles of the course are pretty hilly. I tried to go out easy, hoping that I could pick up the pace for the last 3 miles. Unfortunately, I was getting tired by the last 3 miles and couldn’t find any more speed in my legs. My pace didn’t really pick up at all, and I ended up with a time of 57:xx.

The best part of the race was getting to see so many friends! Pretty much everyone I know in Sherman was there, and several of them were running pretty near me most of the race. Others were working the aid stations, and even more were there cheering me on. It was fun to feel so much support!

resting-after-the-race

 

After, we rested, ate lots of food, and waited for the awards. I was SO close to getting an age group award. I missed 3rd place in my age group by 12 seconds! There wasn’t really any one around me, so I didn’t have a big race to the finish. If I had known I was so close in time to someone else, I definitely think I could have shaved 12 seconds off my time. It would have been great hearing them announce “Mrs. Robson” getting an award. Just like I’m at work. :)

But, someone else did get an award! Kyle was first in his age group and 3rd overall for the 5k. Heck yeah! This is especially impressive because he’s only run twice in the last 4 months due to an injury (he has been swimming and biking though).

kyle-10k-award

He did great, and I’m so happy he had such a great race!

{Weekly Recap} Aug 19 – 25

This week I had a 10k race planned for Saturday, so I wanted to take the week pretty easy so my legs would be ready to go. However, this wasn’t a big goal race, so I wasn’t willing to do an all-out taper.

Monday: 2 mile run followed by a 1600 yd swim

Since Sunday is my long run day, I often take Monday as a rest day. I decided to add an easy workout to the mix, because I seem to bounce back quicker from an active recovery than no recovery. I was supposed to just swim, but I saw a couple friends on treadmills. Not wanting to miss the chance to catch up with friends, I decided to do a short easy run before the swim. It was totally worth it.

Tuesday: 5 mile run

Just an easy 5 mile run. Not too much to report, because I really don’t remember much about it. Sometimes all the miles start to blend together.

Wednesday: 45 minute trainer ride and 7 mile run

I rode on the trainer in the morning with Kyle. It was just an easy, fun ride where we watched CNN. I know I should watch the news to be informed, but it is such a depressing way to start the day! School shootings, kidnappings, kids killing for fun, war…it’s all so dang-dong-alicious scary! From now on, only Lifetime movie and funny tv shows are allowed in the morning.

The run was a 2.2 mile warm-up, 7 X 600m repeats with 1 minute full recovery, and 2 mile cool-down. The first repeat was at 8:49 pace, and I ratcheted the pace down on each to end up at 8:25 pace.  It was an easy workout, which was the plan because of Saturday’s race. The goal was simply to get some speed into my legs, but not tire them out. I’d say it was a sucess.

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: 25 minute run followed by strides

Just shaking out the legs. Super, super slow.

Saturday: 1 mile warm-up followed by a 10k race

running-1ok

I’ll give you a full race recap later. The short summary is I didn’t quite make by goal time, but I’m still happy because it was my first 10k which means…GUARANTEED PR!! My time was 57:xx, and my goal time was under 55 minutes.

Sunday: Off

I was supposed to ride this morning. But we got some tickets to the Cowboys game for Saturday night, so we decided to stay up late and nix the workout. Totally worth it! That stadium is GINORMOUS. I think by writing ginormous in all caps, it helps you to really grasp it’s hugeness, right?!

cowboys-game

 

This morning we had some fun in that we became official members of our church! We’ve been going there for quite some time, but just hadn’t finished the last step in membership. We love our church and are excited to have a church family.