Saturday, July 10, 2010

From Marathoner to Triathlete

Okay, so when a complete strangers tells you that maybe you should update your blog, perhaps it really and truly is time to post an update.  So, here we go.  Hang on, it's been an "E-Ticket Ride" of a spring and summer since qualifying for the Boston Marathon!

February included another marathon - 26.2 with Donna:  The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer (Jacksonville, Florida).  My purpose there this year was simply to be the pacer for my long-time running partner and near-to-bestest friend and her sister.  Their goal was 4 hours, and it was totally doable.  The Donna is a great event and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a well run marathon.  Not-to-mention it is FLAT (except for that one bridge).  Did I mention it runs on the Beach?  Yep it does.  I will run this one for many years to come.  This month also finished up by helping another one of my training partners, Robin, get ready for the Snickers Marathon (Albany, Georgia) as her Boston Qualifying race.  Yes, sirree bob, she did it in splendid I knew she would.

March was kind of calm with the focus on getting back on the bike for distance (Blue Line 100 Century at the end of the month) and cross-training while throwing in a couple of shorter races to look for some PRs:  Springtime Tallahassee 10K (49:06).  April was much the same:  ramping up on the bike miles and turning in a 5K PR (22:45) at the Palace Saloon 5K near mid-month.  April was spectacular in that I was able to be on the course for the 3rd year in a row while Colin competed in the Red Hills Triathlon along with his ATAC teammates Alex Dehner (Team TRIMac) and Colby Allen. 

My wonderful husband, Mike, raced his first ever triathlon at Red Hills this year, and it was a treat to see all of them finish, and to have the Son waiting for the Father at the finish line.  All in all April was great, the weather held and offered us the opportunities to train during daylight and to not yet suffer from any serious heat.

May was not so kind to me.  On the 3rd I rolled (severely sprained) my ankle during a very normal 12 mile run.  The type of sprain kept me off my bike and out of the running shoes for not quite three weeks.  Those of you that know me well, also know that by Day 2 I was losing my mind and took up yet another endeavor...I began distance swimming.  Blech!  By the end of the first 10 days I was "pulling" nearly 2000 yards during my younger son's swim practices.  Pulling only because the flutter kick motion caused quite a bit of pain for a long time.  Much longer than I would have thought.  So, by the time I was up to that distance, I started toying around with the possibility of a triathlon.  But here again, I was not thinking about any old Tri.  I was thinking Ironman 70.3 Augusta (Georgia).

For the uninitiated, a 70.3 is classified by USAT as a "Long Course" triathlon.  Most of the rest of us call them a Half Iron.  A full Ironman (or Ultra to USAT) is 140.6 miles:  2.4 mile swim. 112 mile ride, 26.2 mile run.  Cut it all in half to get a 70.3.  Yes, the stupid pills that I thought were gone after my last Goofy (2009) apparently had reappeared in my vitamin sorter.  OMG!  Really?  What was I thinking?

So, envision this:  I am running/training/coaching with my friend who is going to race to qualify for Boston in October.  I am riding with the Girls Gone Iron for my bike legs, and I am swimming 2 or 3 mornings at 5:30 when my oldest is also in the water for practice.  Somewhere around mid-June I decide that a local sprint Tri might be a good idea just to see if I "hate" the concept of putting all three together in any one day.  I pick, foolishly, the 25th "tri-ing" of the Freedom Springs Triathlon.  It consists of a .25 mile swim, 10 mile ride, and a 5K (3-ish) run.  I have been warned about the COLD water in the spring and the weeds along the swim course.  But, I think to myself I have been swimming upwards of the 1.2 miles necessary for the Half Iron, surely I can get through a 1/4 mile swim.  I have ridden and run the bike and run courses in the past, so I was not really concerned about them.  Completely doable is how I approached this race.  I had (of's me) set a couple of time goals just for kicks and grins:  Best case:  1:10; Acceptable:  1:15; and Live with:  1:20.  I had pretty much banked on a 32 minute ride and a 25 minute run, so I was planning on a 9 or 10 minute swim.  All of that should have played out nearly to the minute.

My younger son and I arrived at Blue Springs in plenty of time to set up and get checked in and body marked.  I had a plan:  move slowly and in a relaxed manner until it was time for the pre-race "talk" and then go.  The water is very, very cold there.  But, I thought I had spent enough time (10+ minutes) submerged in the "freezing cold what was I thinking" water slowly stroking and trying to be in control of my breathing.  We paddled over to the start area and then tread water for 2-3 minutes waiting for the horn to sound.  I maintain that the treading of water and the weeds were my downfall.  Ha!  Needless to say, by the time I navigated the swim I was nearing the 16 minute mark and was not feeling to great about anything except that I had made it out of the water without anyone's assistance.  I shuffled to my towel, slipped on my flip flops, ditched my cap and goggles, and made my way in a slow jog to the bike transition area.  Got my gear together and on while listening to my baby boy and doll-girl (Savanah Crutchfield) tell me I was doing great.  I thanked them both, told them I loved them, and hauled my butt at full run out of T1.  I was in the "must make up that time" mind set, and make up time I was determined to do.

During one stage of this year's Tour de France, a commentator described one of the riders as "dancing on the pedal" while he broke away from a group and charged up a hill.  That was me as I took off.  I was up on the pedals trying to get up to speed in a big fat hurry.  I managed to turn in a 28+ minute ride thereby making up a few minutes that I had lost in the swim.  Now I was pleased.  I might actually be able to finish respectably.  I managed to get into my running shoes and visor without falling over and took off, again up hill, for the 3-ish mile run.  It is supposed to be a 5K, but I think it is really closer to 3 miles.  Finished the run in just over 24 minutes, again pleased that I was under my goal for that leg. 


Overall I finished in 1:13:54.  3rd in the 40-44 Female age group, and something like 63rd out of the pack.  I decided that was respectable enough to try (HA!) another Tri. 

Next on the list is the Jacksonville Sprint #3 on Amelia Island, August 7th.  Then, I will lay back and train like a demon for Augusta.  Yeah, it's still out there on the horizon.  Looks achievable.  What can I say?  I'm a freak.

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