Iron Girl Race Day Recap… The Run

As I was saying… the sun was shinning and the wind was at my back. Man-was I pumped. You would think one would be tired after swimming in a typhoon and riding a bike through a wind tunnel! Just kidding, it wasn’t all that bad, it was behind me now. I was smiling, laughing, yes tearing up, and chatting with the ladies along the route.

The route was fast and flat, a small turn around and then head back to the finish!

I have to say, I was pushing it. Didn’t need that Gu I had in my pocket, I was running off of pure excitement, Joy, and adrenaline!

I chatted with one or two ladies who were passing me, we said things like “you are awesome, keep it up!” and “See you at the finish line!”

Before I knew it the run was over! What the heck, the whole race was over! The race that I had prepared for for how many months, swimming many times a week, running, more times a week, and trying to bike as much as mentally possible. It all paid off, can I tell you (you probably already guessed this) but I am tearing up right now! I probably will each and every time I re-read these posts.

The excitement, the exhilaration, the joy of going through the finish line is so amazing, everyone in their life must once feel the feeling of working hard to complete a goal and then completing it, and completing it well. It is a feeling of a life time, it is addicting and it makes you say – I am ready for another!

I finished, man did I finish! I was so pumped with adrenaline I think I talked with over 50 women and met the winner. She was so nice! Competing in a race or sport that you love makes you a happy person. I swear. As Reese Witherspoon’s character ELLE WOODS in Legally Blonde put it “…exercise gives endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands!”

Happy people just don't kill their husbands!

Happy people just don’t kill their husbands!

Up next… my race times and how they compare to my pre race goals!

Iron Girl 2013 Race Day Recap… The Bike

Jogging out of the transition area, hit the line and jumped on my bike. The gears were too low, so (and here is where my user error occurs) I proceed to ‘cross my chains’ What? YES. Now my pedals would not move forward. Any of you out there that have had a 6 gear Iron Man quality bike know that when your chains cross, you are not going anywhere till you uncrossed them. I am not an experienced rider, if I were I probably could have stayed on the bike and shifted till I was in the clear, but I had to dismount. Not, though, before I gave a big smile to the camera guy and rode past him. Can’t have a bad picture, now can we?

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Dismounted, not many riders passed me, I clicked my gears and hand pedaled my pedals until I was clear to go, I think this took about 6-8 min off my time. Lesson Learned. And off I rode.

The wind was at my face, side, back, and other side, ( that is called ‘coming from all directions’, thank you narrator in my head) and I pushed. The view was so pretty, the Bay on one side and trees on the other, the sun was shining down and the sky was light blue. I was having an experience of a life time! I pretty much passed everyone, all you could hear was “passing on your left” as I passed each Iron girl. I hit the turn around and kept up the pedaling. “Passing on your left” was what I said, and “you go girl!”, “right on sister”, and a few other motivational phrases were yelled back to me. Before I was completed the bike I was passed by probably 3 ladies. I was pleased!bike pic 1

Into the transition I went, quick, quick. Pro-compression visor that matched my Pro-compression socks, CHECK!

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NUUN at the ready, Mike’s recovery drink and a GU and I was running out of the transition area. I waved to my parents and down the road I went.

The wind had died down now and at my back, the sun was shinning and I was pumped for the run!

Iron Girl 2013 race recap… The swim

When I last left you, I was watching the waves and the other swimmers head out to complete their Iron Girl task Accomplishment.

The course was a straight shot across a small inlet area. As I watched, I was shivering, both from shear terror anticipation and from the freezing cold wind. It was a chilly windy morning. I had decided against the wet suit and decided to wear x2 top and Castelli bottoms. It was a good choice for a few reasons. Mainly because it was easier in the Porta pot!

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Also because they didn’t ride up the entire race!

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My friend Kate and I realized that though the race was running late, I had only a few minutes till my age group started! Kate is 10 yrs my jr. and started a few waves behind me.

As quickly as I couldat the speed of a turtle in bare feet, on medium sized stones, I got myself down to the start and stepped into the water. (I noticed later that I cut my heal and my toe on that little jaunt, oh well)

The water felt warm compared to the air, I believe the race heads said the water was between 65-68 degrees. I was glad it felt warm and proceeded to get in up to my neck. My age group competitors were PUMPED! So, in typical Erin fashion I teared up and send out loud whoops and excited yells. (everyone was doing it, come on!) after about 15 min in the water, waves pushing and pulling, women yelling (and crying) with excitement- WE WERE OFF! The first part of my first Tri sprint!

The first things I noticed as I swam, one person immediately needed help, waves were all up in my face, and everyone was saying “sorry”, “sorry”, “sorry”. We were kicking each other or slamming arms down on others and simply letting the accosted know that we cared and didn’t mean it. Ladies can be so nice, when we want to be!

Back with my head in the water-Man, the waves were huge! I caught a few in the face and decided it was breast stroke/Tarzan swimming water. I swallowed more sea water than my share on the swim. I rounded the first marker and my fears faded. It was still very rough but I had a little heart-to-heart with myself.

I said “Erin. The only way you are getting out of this water is to swim!” So I did. (Gotta love those self heart-to-hearts they get me every time)

Girls were dropping like flys grasping for floats or help. I found out later some competitors threw-up or just out and out cried there way in. I have to admit I did choke on the water smashing into my face from time to time…and if I had my wetsuit on I know I would have felt nauseous.
I saw the beach and gunned it the best I could, trying to ride any possible waves to shore. Hit my hand one, two,three,four times to the beach got up and ran. I had made it safely to shore. I shook someone’s hand and gave a high five. Trying not to tear up (yea, it’s a thing with me) saw my parents

20131101-085035.jpgand with a huge smile and a wave I was off to the change into my shoes and hop on the bike.

Into the transition area I thought of all I’d read. Drink, shoes, wipe down, only get on the bike when allowed- helmet must be on or disqualification! Transition went so smooth and I was through the corral and on the bike.

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With a ‘user error’ bike start, (uugh me) the bike went great.

The bike…Coming up.

Iron Girl 2013 Race day recap… Finally

Part one…before the swim

The morning started at around 4 am. Oatmeal maken, bag packen, clothes putten on all went smooth. We were out the door and on the road to Sandy Hook, NJ.

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I had placed my bike in the transition the night before but the Iron Girl people suggested all be parked and ready for the race by 4:30-5 am. We parked and walked and walked and (you guessed it) walked to the race transition bike rack area. It was quite a long dark walk. I like to remember it as a beautiful star filled warm up.

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Bike and transition area set I hit the Porta pot a bunch of times with all the other ladies. Speaking with the other competitors I learned that compared to most I had probably over trained for the event. One women who had never completed even one running race didn't do even one pool or open water training. WHAT?

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We had a wave start, in water start. I walked myself down to the swim Porta pot and met up with my friend Kate. We stood in line for about an hour and had to run to the beach and I was ready to go.

But first I want to tell you about the water conditions. The water was white cap rough. Large waves. The other swimmers going out looked much slower than I expected. It was because of the waves. I found myself thinking of my training and that women who didn’t do even ONE swim session pre-race. Oh man, poor her. Preparation is important!
Stay tuned for the swim recap!

Pre race contemplations, days before my first triathlon

So, here I am, the Thursday before my first triathlon on Sunday. I have trained for 3 months; where I

have completed 4 training open water swims.
1. 4th lake Adirondacks, NY (used wetsuit)
2. 4th lake Adirondacks, NY
3. Atlantic Ocean, Kiawah Island, SC
4. Blue Marsh Lake, Leesport, PA
(5. non-official, Hudson River Swim)

-completed 3x weekly swim sessions
-completed up to 50 miles a week runs
-completed not as many bikes as I should have but accomplished two 90 minute rides

I think I have the conditioning covered.
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Regarding the nutrition, I have had my ups and downs this summer. I lost some weight, regained some weight and am settling right in between at this point. I can’t say I am happy about it but I am lighter than when I started.

I met with my Personal Trainer Katie last week, she took my measurements. Yep, the slight weight gain increased my inches – BUT – my muscles are stronger and not as tight as I was 6 weeks ago. I am also running faster! My typical training run used to be between a 9:00 – 9:30 min mile for up to 6 miles. NOW it is between 8:30-9:00 min. miles for training runs up to 6 miles and that is after a bike or a swim. So, I have to say – I am happy!

Ok, so like I said, and like the title says “Pre race contemplations, days before my first triathlon” I have set the following goals and I am excited to see where I land on race day.

The event is 1/2 mile swim in the bay, 10 mile bike, and 3 mile run.

Plan C (worst case scenario)
Swim 30 minutes
T1 5 minutes
Bike 50 minutes
T2 5 minutes
Run 30 minutes
Finish time 2 hours.

Plan B (middle of the road scenario)
Swim 25 minutes
T1 5 minutes
Bike 45 minutes
T2 5 minutes
Run 28 minutes
Finish time 1 hour 48 minutes

Plan A (pie in the sky scenario)
Swim 23 minutes
T1 4 minutes
Bike 43 minutes
T2 4 minutes
Run 27 minutes
Finish time 1 hour 41 minutes

What ever I do will become my base line so I really, I just want to finish without my shirt ending up around my mid-section with my belly hanging out, my helmet be on straight for the photos, and I get through the finish line with a smile and a tear of joy!finish line

Now briefly, back on nutrition. oatmealIt is without a doubt completely unlike me to not have everything planned to the complete ultra second, my clothes, my shoes, my hair, my visor and my nutrition timing. But this go around, I guess since I am so wacked out because I have very little clue what to expect on race day, my brain went blank. So I am thinking I’ll do some Nuun, (Baby Nu-nu, as my niece and nephew lovingly call my Nuun bottles), two scoops of Mikes recovery shake, and a Gu gel just in case. I think I will be fine, it’s only 2 hours right? I’ve trained for much longer than that on less. Oh yea, I’ll eat oatmeal and a banana before race time.  The night before I think I will do some vegan mexican. Yea, that will work.i want my potty

I’ll talk more later about my big stress of this whole thing in another post. (Don’t get me wrong, I am loving every minute.)

I want my baby nu-nu.

I want my baby nu-nu.

So, what do you think? Are those reasonable plans? Any tips or tricks of the trade you want to pass on to me?

Returning home from my vacation in the ADK

As you know from the “Recap: My first open water training swim” post, you know I was just in the Adorandak Mountains. If you follow me on Twitter you saw that I was diligent in posting how I got up every morning but one to get my runs in, I swam like a good little Triathlon/Marathon training crazy girl.

I actually find relaxation from doing my daily workouts (relaxation and a sense of accomplishment really), so I make time even if it means waking at 5:30 am every morning, just so I can get my workout in. Call me crazy, but I love it!

The other things I did were, hiking, Rocky Mt. Trail head1going to a water park, water parkand white water rafting. (I also ate tons of ice cream!)

Training by the numbers the week I was in the ADK went like this:

3 hikes
2 open water swims (800 meters each time)
1 white water rafting trip on the Hudson River
34 miles run

Do you enjoy completing your workouts when you are on vacation? Does everyone eat tons of ice cream when they are are on vacation?

Recap – My first open water training swim

4th Lake

4th Lake

My first open swim happened a few weeks ago in the Adirondack Mountains, not far from the location of the Lake Placid Ironman. In fact, I saw a few athletes that I thought were getting in their last bits of training before their event last weekend.

From my previous post, “Prelude to my first open water training swim” I was anxious and nervous to get out in the open water and get my head wet; worried that a lake monster might come up from the depths, but that never happened.

The day we arrived at our destination and got settled in, I got myself right into my wet suit and my niece and I headed to the ‘beach’ (I unfortunately don’t have photos of me swimming, because every time I got myself outside I forgot my phone, Sorry!)

The first day in the lake the water was chilly, though I had my wet suit on my face and arms, which were not covered by the wetsuit, felt the cold and upon submerging my whole body, I had to gasp for air because it was so cold. With my goggles on I looked at the bottom of the lake and found it to be friendly and soft and got to my swim.

The water was rolly and a little rough due to the boats going by and the wind and I found that I was feeling a little nauseous. I got my swim in but it was much harder than a pool swim. I think perhaps I was pushing really hard, much harder then I thought, and was feeling dizzy and just exhausted as I finished up my swim.

During my swim, my goggles fogged up bad and I had to keep stopping and clearing them.  If I didn’t clear them, I couldn’t see, and for some strange reason, that made me feel like it was harder swimming. I did see a fish and I didn’t get scared. Getting my wet suit off was a chore and I got completely wet! As I was walking out of the lake I felt this, sploosh, and a whole bunch of water came rushing down towards my legs inside my suit. I think I didn’t put it on right!  Overall I feel it was a success, I believe I need to push harder in the pool to make sure I am ready for the race, and I am no longer worried about getting out into the water.

I swam another training swim in the lake but this time did not wear my wetsuit, I didn’t feel nauseous and the swim actually felt easier. I had forgotten my watch so just did as many laps as I had completed the first day. 

4th Lake at Sunset

4th Lake at Sunset

All-in-all, first open water training swim was a success. Next one comes the end of August at the beach, I am thinking about maybe NOT using my wet suit for the Sprint Tri in September…. we will see!

Are you supposed to get wet inside your wet suit during a swim? Do you prefer open water swims to pool swims, or pool swims to open water swims?