Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Nerd Day"

So.. I haven't blogged for awhile, and I typically blog about races. But I feel compelled to write today. I have a heavy heart... and need to express my thoughts.

Today, a friend posted what I first perceived as the most adorable picture of her son on Facebook. I absolutely adore my friend.. and her kid.. but as I looked at the picture and read the caption, I became very, very disturbed. The picture was of her son wearing polyester-ish pants hiked up to mid-belly, a striped shirt buttoned up around the neck, with slicked back hair, and thick black-rimmed glasses with a strip of masking tape holding the lenses together at the bridge. The caption said he was "ready for Nerd Day at school".

I immediately reverted to my childhood - to the days when I was ridiculed for being a "nerd." I couldn't help but wonder what teacher - what administrator - would condone such a "Spirit Week" activity at their school.

Make no mistake: this is NOT an issue with this young boy, with his mother (who inspires me greatly), or with the MAJORITY of students who participated in this "Spirit Week" activity. As eleven, twelve, and thirteen year-olds, they are INNOCENT and could never be expected to fully comprehend the bigger issue at hand here. That issue is the negative connotation that surrounds the word, "nerd."

Perhaps I'm hypersensitive to "Nerd Day" because I WAS teased... everyday... when I was their age. I was teased for having greasy hair (because I never had access to regular baths or showers or hygiene products); I was teased for wearing clothes that were too small or too tight (because I came from a single parent home in which my mom had a mental disorder,no job and thus, no money. We couldn't buy clothes and we relied on sporadic church offerings of food and clothing to provide for us); I was teased incessantly for my hygiene, for my crooked and cavity-filled teeth, for my socioeconomic status, for my appearance, for being quiet and for being reclusive (because I was ashamed of what I looked like and the fact that we didn't have money or even a steady home).

I would have been DEVASTATED by "Nerd Day".

I understand fully: I was/am the MINORITY. Most kids (and many of their parents) would never even think that a day so "innocent" would create such discomfort. For these children, "Nerd Day" is FUN... an opportunity to dress SILLY. But for those of us who were or are still picked on, "Nerd Day" is a chance for other kids to be permitted to continue the ridicule. I cannot imagine there weren't other children at the school today who were uncomfortable with or self-conscious about the day's theme.

The definition of Nerd is, "An insignificant student who is ridiculed as being affected or boringly studious." An alternate definition suggest it is, "an intelligent but single-minded expert in a particular technical field or profession." Neither is very "positive" (who wants to be called "insignificant" or "single-minded?").

As a teenager, I was PROFOUNDLY affected by Edwin Arlington Robinson's poem about a seemingly wealthy, happy and admired person who was quietly (and unbenowst to any other) battling inner demons, Richard Cory. The first 15 lines of this 16-line poem describe this man and his trip to town and how others saw him as being wealthy, educated and mannerly. The poem's 16th line then explains that after that trip to town, he "went home and put a bullet through his head."

I am reminded constantly of the dozens of young people across this nation who chose to take their own lives this past year after relentless bullying.

Like those victims and others, bullied kids are often too afraid to speak. I was afraid. I wanted to be "accepted" - by the popular crowd... by any crowd.

I still live today with the insecurities caused from the ridicule of my adolescent years and I still strive to overcome the feelings of insignificance. Even though I have become an "accomplished" scholar and athlete, I am still heavily moved by the story of Richard Cory today and feel it explains so much that is deeply rooted inside of me. Don't worry... I'm not going to put a gun to my head... but I have to admit it has sometimes been difficult to overcome those latent thoughts. That might partially explain also why I choose not to own a gun.

As educators, we have an obligation to protect our children. Administrators and teachers who condone and promote days like "Nerd Day" have most likely never been the focus of unwanted ridicule themselves. They may be oblivious to the fact that it may not be "fun" or "silly" for everyone. I also realize that some kids embrace the notion that they are "nerds." But we (especially as educators) need to protect those that do not. We must advocate for tolerance of all populations, regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status.. etc. We also have an obligation to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and to protect them from not only others, but from feelings of discomfort. This MINORITY are the group that need US the most...and that includes the "nerds."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm so wet.


Where do I even begin this?

This morning I got up at 5am.. got ready... and went down to the lobby to catch the team bus to the race site (about 7K away). It was supposed to take us 15 minutes to get there.. but the stupid bus driver and Hungarian translator/tour guide/bossy woman Judit (there's no H on that) couldn't figure out how to get us close. We'd made the trip with Judit many times this week, but she was totally unprepared for the road closures... so that 15 minute trip took an hour. The Hungarians have absolutely no sense of urgency... and we Americans are entirely unpatient people. So that didn't go well. We finally stopped on this corner ... so that Judit and the bus driver that didn't speak a lick of English could argue with the police about letting us go drop off. We told Judit we needed to get off the bus.. and she told us no... that we could be arrested if we got off in a "no drop off" zone. She said, "i command you to stay". Judit was out there blah blahing with police for a good 5 minutes... and we're all restless in the bus... so I asked the bus driver to open the door... and we all escaped! It was a 2 mile run to get to transition from where we escaped the bus..... a pretty long haul with the gear bag.. and pouring rain. And unfortunately for us.. our bikes were checked in yesterday! By the time I got to transition, I had 10 minutes to get out and 15 minutes to race start. I also had a long line to check my gear bag in (only bike shoes and run shoes and race number allowed in transition). Thankfully, some Americans let me cut in front of the line (which surely would have taken 30 minutes) to check my bag. Then I had 5 minutes... realized I forgot my chip.. so had to run back to transition to get it (it was inside my bike shoe). I made it on the race platform just as my wave was walking down. Phew!

I started on the far outside right on the swim. The swim was shorter than the aquathlon - only 750m. I was glad I did the aquathlon because I knew what to expect with water temp. Freakin' cold! But I didn't seize up today like I did on Wednesday. Water temp was 15 Celcius. So ya... pretty cold.... and I had only my sleeveless wetsuit (note to self: bring both in future events despite what the website says about projected temps!). I felt pretty smooth on the swim. I was definitely in the top half of my wave (40 in my age group wave). I cratered a little toward the end.. got tight... but I sighted a lot better than on Wednesday's race. I was "content" with the swim... and really made a point of it on the last 100m to savor the experience I was getting. Wow... swimming in a bay of the mighty Danube River! (and the water is NOT blue by the way... more like brown... and very cloudy).

Transition SUCKED. It was such a freaking LONG run up to T1. Sand.. gravel.. and grass that was more like mud. But i made it.. and once I did I felt the actual time at my T1 post was pretty quick. ITU has a helmet on and buckled rule before you can even TOUCH your bike... I did okay with that... Opted for no socks with all the rain. Then the LONG run out of transition! haha

Bike was decent. It was soooo wet. 5" of rain in last 20 hours.. Crazy. Three "U" turns on the bike... I did okay with them. Only a couple women passed me (most passed me in that long T1).. and I felt FAIRLY strong on the bike. Avg 20.6 I think... so that's pretty decent for me. Course was pretty sketch.. not only wet but huge deep puddles, manhole covers and several smaller potholes and uneven cracks in the road.

T2 was LONG again.. of course. We had to dismount then run about 100m on the road... then another 300m on the wet muddy grass. I was fairly quick again once I got to my post... Not terrible.. but not super fast.

The run was gorgeous. We ran along the Danube.. and it was just cool. For the first time EVER (I'm embarrassed to say that) I ran the whole way without taking a short walk break. I really didn't even feel tight or anything.. and I had a good kick coming over the bridge over the Danube to the last 400m of the finish. It was pretty cool... the USA Coach was handing out USA flags for us to carry in to the finish once we crossed the bridge.. so that was awesome.

I have absolutely NO CLUE how I finished... or what my time was. I'm pretty sure I wasn't last... which means I met my goal! Really, this course was very conducive to my strengths ... and other than the rain, I felt I had a pretty good race. More than that, the experience was amazing. It was just really cool to look on everyone's chest and ass and see their name and the country they were representing... And even though I wasn't the fastest one out there, I will savor this experience. I met some amazing people... some great Americans that I'll look forward to seeing again at future National Championships. One of the top two USA girls in my age group only beat me by a minute or so... and she beat me by 5 in iowa... so I felt I legitimized myself... and why I was here.

It was a great experience, indeed... but I don't think Budapest in September will be on my travel plans anytime soon!

Thanks y'all!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Quad Cities Triathlon (Iowa)

Alright Alright.. I'm like A MONTH late on this race report... but I knew I'd get to it EVENTUALLY!

I decided to do the Quad Cities Triathlon last September after the OKC Redman. I qualified (barely) for Team USA for the Long Course World Championships in Immenstadt Germany at that race... but since I BARELY qualified and since I vowed never to do a long course race again (well at least in 2010), I turned my attention towards something I love... Sprint Races. I found out that the Quad Cities Tri (QCT) would be the Team USA world championships qualifier for 2010. So... I registered and several months later I was hopping a flight to Davenport Iowa.

My buddy Karen came along. Now something you should know about Karen. She's not only the best sport psychologist EVER.. she's the defending Masters National Time Trial Champion - two years in a row in fact - in cycling. She was an Age Group phenom in swmming in her home state of Indiana... and oh ya.. she ran competitively in distance events in college. Yup. She's amazing. Karen's hubby Sam hails from Iowa so she thought it would be a cool race to attend... and I was ecstatic to travel with her!

We flew into Moline IL.. with EPIC lightning shows outside the left side of the plane! We checked in to the ROACH motel... okay it was the Clarion but it might has well have been the Roach MOtel... it stunk.. had serious mold issues.. and our door never worked.. and the next day we went to ride the course (Friday). So there we are.. riding the 15 mile course... in Iowa... with black clouds to the west. Now keep in mind these aren't your typical black clouds... they are BLACK clouds. And we were trucking along at 25mph.. and they were catching us.. QUICKLY! It started to rain on us with about 2 miles left to go... and within 2 minutes, the storm was over the top of us. Now... again... keep in mind with these atypical black clouds came your not-so-typical storm. Imagine if you will 70 MPH SUSTAINED WINDS with gusts to 90 MPH. Yep. This was a "holy shitter". I was absolutely petrified. Karen, being from Indiana an all, was used to some pretty big storms.. but even this one scared her. We still had a mile to go before getting back to our car.. and Karen ducked in to a storage yard with some shelters. I kept riding.. thinking she didn't know where the car was parked. I remember her yelling .. "What are you DOING??" To which I replied, "The car is THAT way!!!!". She came back out on the road and at 3mph we continued to ride forward.. leaning about 30degrees to our left! We got back to where the car was parked and immediately went to a picnic shelter to sit out the storm. Unbelievable I tell you! Craaaaaaazy storm! Hail... heavy heavy rain (3" in all in about 30 minutes)... and very very strong winds. We found out the next day the same cell killed two people in Minnesota (tornados were everywhere in the storm.. but we didn't see any funnel clouds). That night more Tstorms struck the Quad Cities area. Every TV station was warning people to "take cover". I've never seen radar maps that RED and PURPLE.

The next morning was race morning. Perfect weather... although it was quite humid... and hot. And the ground was muddy. haha.

The swim was at West Lake Park. Lots of waves... and a time trial start. I wasn't a fan of this in the beginning. I figured by the time my wave got around, there would be 2,000 obstacles in front of me. But actually it worked out fairly well. It was organized... and I only had trouble getting around a few people. My sighting was pretty good I felt... and my time was fairly decent. For the 600 yards I was under 10 minutes... so I was pretty happy with that. Fastest time in the 40-45 age group and one of the top 5 fastest for all females.

T1 wasn't so great. I think I was 2-somethin... but I was okay with that. Had some trouble getting the new wetsuit off. Forgot the Body Glide! Definitely room to improve!

The bike seemed to go pretty well for me too... It was an out and back... and I seemed to pass a lot of people - men and women. I was only passed by 2 women total... and only one of them was in my AG.. so I was content with 2nd place heading into the run.

T2.. okay... a pretty quick transition at 1:10ish. could be faster.... but it was a pretty big transition area!

Now the run. I suck. I really suck. It was super hot... and muddy... and the trail was pretty narrow in parts.. and getting around the water holes was a task. This dude in front of me totally bit it... huge splash! :) The humidity was totally kicking my fanny too. I did NOT have a very good run .. had to walk a couple times to get my wheezing under control (note to self.. bring inhaler to race!!!!)... 9:10 mile pace. Definitely know what to work on, eyh? I ended up 5th in my AG... qualified for Worlds.

Oh.. and in case you're curious.... Karen kicked ass. She beat a couple of the pros... en route to 2nd in her AG and 5th overall female. Yup... I keep fast company! She's so awesome!

So... I'm registered.. and I'm going to BUDAPEST HUNGARY in September. I figure I had to be top 15... so placing top 5 is a little more respectable. I've got a lot to work on between now and then, though.... I need to get faster... My Budapest goal is to not get last... and to RUN the RUN. :)

One last thing... ERIC SARNO is the BEST RACE DIRECTOR EVER. Period. Period. Period. The attention to detail in this race and the race management was EXCEPTIONAL. This is the MODEL for which I will instruct my students!!!! Safety was a paramount concern... and every detail was directed towards that end.. which made for an INCREDIBLE race experience!

I'm out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Redman Half Iron Race Report

Well... I'm done railing on the Halfmax people. If you want to read about that, go ahead and read my next entry. After a couple days of thinking about things, I just want to forget Halfmax ever existed. I want to remember what turned out to be my best half iron in a more favorable light....

I arrived in OKC on Thursday afternoon and the race was on Saturday. My good friend Vicki came with me so we figured we'd do a little sight seeing before the race. This trip was really special for me because I was born in Oklahoma and my father is buried there. Even though I have been back for more than three decades, it was something very special for me to go "home".

I picked up my race packet on Friday afternoon and thought it was a little weird that there were no timing chips given out. But the race meeting clarified that the chips would be given out on Saturday morning. Phew. But I really wasn't looking forward to standing in another line. Not sure why they couldn't just have it organized enough to have our chips in the race packet. Because of that, I decided to get to the race a half hour earlier than what I would normally do. That meant getting up at 4 and getting to the race site by 5. Race start was at 7am.

It was a good thing... I arrived at the race site.. checked on my bike (I had left it in transition the night before) and got the tires pumped up by the AWESOME folks at Schlegel Bicycles - who were there to provide race assistance (they also received my bike from Fed Ex, put it together, tuned it and are shipping it back for me!). Then I went to stand in the LOOOOONG line to get my chip. Really, the line moved pretty fast. I only was in it for about 10-15 minutes so it wasn't too terribly bad. I returned to transition, put some finishing touches on my "spread" and then headed for the portapottie line.

Only FOUR PORTAPOTTIES in transition. FOUR. For about 1000-1200 racers (half and full distance events going on simultaneously). I met a fellow blogger, Cody the Clydesdale, in line so I had a nice chat with him while I waited in line. I've been following his blog for a couple years now so it was nice to run into him. The portapotties REEEEEEKED though... I was gagging BAD in there and just held my breath and got out of there asap!

Three minutes before the first wave (full iron distance folks) were set to go off, the RAIN came. I'm talking RAIN! Boise was bad... but this was downright MISERABLE. It must've rained 4" in 30 minutes! It was an all-out downpour. The race director postponed the start of the race and threatened to make it a swim-run-swim after reports that some of the bike course was flooded. We had about an hour delay through all this... brrrr.... but thankfully they were lenient about letting us go back into transition and get clothes. Bad thing is they were all SOAKED. I finally started the race at about 8:36am.... with instructions that the bike course was still flooded in parts and there would be mandatory dismounts at those locations.

The swim was great. I've never tasted water so good. Seriously... that was CLEAN water! It was fairly warm, too... about 74 degrees. Wetsuit legal. I didn't really have a good swim.. but I enjoyed the swim! There were lots of slower swimmers from waves in front of me and I just didn't have a great stroke going.... but I was enjoying the water so much I didn't care. I knew I was going slower than normal.. but whatever. My swim split was 32 something... slow for me, but again I didn't care.

T1 was wet... and muddy. I did my best to keep the feet clean... and off I went on the bike.

The bike course was, well, interesting. Because of all the rain, there was really only one single bike lane to ride in... to pass you had to really pick your spot.. and also to be passed! The rain had left so much standing water than you couldn't ride behind anyone even if it were draft legal... and you couldn't move much to the right because you'd sink! haha. But it eventually got better. There were lots of rolling hills - NOT the 7 foot hills the race guide described... these were pretty decent rollers. I didn't really care about that.. they were just nuissance hills.. not "get out of the saddle" hills. What did bother me was the poor road conditions for for about 20-25 miles of the course. It was ROUGH chip-seal stuff in parts... and a lot of folks lost bike parts, bottles, etc. On the bright side, the volunteers were FANTASTIC... the aid stations were FANTASTIC.. and the cops at every corner were FANTASTIC. My bike split was about a 3:03.. pretty good considering the fact we had to dismount at mile 6 and run on soggy grass for a while (took me about 2 minutes to do that) plus all the other water we had to maneuver around. For as much (little) biking as I had done, I was content with the split.

T2 for me was SLOOOOOOW. I was soaking wet.. muddy... and wanted to just take my time. I put on dry socks... HA.... ate a banana and off I went.

The run for me was super harsh. It was a 2 loop out and back course... very few trees.. around the lake. Hardly any spectators out there.. just the aid stations. I've been nursing my Achilles injury so I knew I probably wouldn't be able to run hard... so I ran very slow and steady. For the first three miles. Then I really began to hurt! I shot my mustard packets... a couple gels.. but really I was bound by the tightness and discomfort in my Achilles. I had to do a walk/run thing.. and the final 4 miles was just miserable. But I kept on going... knowing the finish line was coming.

I finished in 6:08... a PR for me. I had set my goal to break 6 hours in this race... something I certainly would've done if healthy. I was on track to go a 5:50 after the bike... but just broke down on the run. I'm okay with that.

All in all, an okay race. I just really wish it wouldn't have ended for me so miserably (see next post). I was fine with the race... just not with the terd that ruined it for me afterwards. It's too bad that I'm thinking more about that than the positive outcomes.

Ten Random Thoughts About the Redman:
1. The water was the best open water venue I've ever swam in. Clean, crisp. Could've bottled and drank that water!
2. I now know what a plantation is. Beautiful houses on huge acreages .. green, gorgeous...
3. I peed on the bike. YES!!! I've never been able to do it! Ya, I had to slow down and it took about 9 attempts... but I did it! Coach Kris would be happy.
4. I can blow snot rockets equally well out of both nostrils. There was a lot of that going on during the bike with the weather conditions and all. I'll probably be sick later this week though.
5. Humidity sucks. God it sucks.
6. No portapotties on the course. Not on the bike; Not on the run. No way I was using those in Transition again,
7. Timing Chips... give 'em out with the race packets. We don't need another line to stand in (and stress about) on race morning.
8. Got a massage after the race. My first ever. Not bad... Thanks Chad and Heritage College Massage Therapy students.
9. People in Oklahoma are all nice.
10. Paying the $14 extra for the more spacious seat on the airplane after the race is TOTALLY worth it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Halfmax National Championship: A Race Summary

So yesterday I did the "Halfmax National Championship" in Oklahoma City. The race was advertised as the national championships for the half iron distance and would be as part of the Redman Triathlon.

We had to "qualify" to get to race in the Halfmax division. I qualified last October at the Longhorn Ironman 70.3. Afterwards, I received an email notification from the people at Ultramax that I had qualified for the "national championships".

So... excited.... I registered for the race! The nice thing about the Halfmax was that they offered an Athena and Clydesdale division - at least that's what I thought. Why else would they have qualifying times and why else would they say they would have awards to the top three in each division including Athena and Clydesdale?

So. Fast forward to race day.

Nothing out of the ordinary leading up to the race. There was the Halfmax division, and then there were general entry slots. One of the race officials emailed and said the Halfmax would be scored separately... and she also told me that they would be awarding to the top three spots in each age group and in athena and clydesdale. The race guide said the same thing... and so did both the Halfmax website and the Redman website.

It didn't happen.

I talked to the Ultramax/Halfmax guy and he said he didn't have anything to do with it... He said they just sold the naming rights to the people at Redman and that the "national championship" thing is just a naming rights thing... and suggested it's not "real." He started off nice (when I told him my timing chip didn't work - he fixed the problem)... but didn't like my questions about the advertisements of Halfmax I guess. Annoyed and having no answers to my questions, he threatened to disqualify me if I kept asking him questions. Wow.

My view of Halfmax = a SCAM to get people to the race.

I'll post more on my race later. The race was good.. and I need to give props to the Redman folks. More on that later.

I'm out... and about to catch my flight back home!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

'09 Pocatello TRIathlon Race report

Another one in the books!

I learned a few things by doing the Pocatello Triathlon! First... I learned that if I take a break once in a while and don't race every weekend, I have more fuel left in the tank. Second, I learned there are a handful of people out there that actually READ this crap I'm writing... so I need to watch my Ps and Qs! Haha!

It was definitely a stressful week before the race! Not only was I hosting my brother's three kids from Texas, Brent and I also embarked on a NASTY project ... re-roofing the house! Although I didn't actually get up on the roof to help out with the tiles, I stayed enormously busy being "mom" to 10 kids .... my brother's three, and the others that were helping with the roofing project! By "being a mom" I mean shuttling kids to and from football practices, going to the store to get snacks, cooking lunches and dinners, taking the kids swimming in the afternoon... Holy Crap I could not do that on a daily basis! A week was enough! Props to y'all out there who do it every day! The roofing project started every day at 6am and didn't end until well after 10pm... minus about three hours in the afternoon where they needed a break from the heat! I'm still tired thinking about it!

So... Needless to say I really didn't train much the week of the race. But that was okay.

I hadn't raced since Boise Ironman in June... and despite amazing urges, I told myself I wasn't going to until the Poky Tri. I needed the break! Last year I burned out bad before I got to the Texas Ironman... so I figured if I just took it kinda easy through July I'd have something left for my big race in Oklahoma City in September. So ... I ran the Sawtelle Fun Run in July (a 5K) but minimized the miles elsewhere in an effort to stay mentally fit. I also have a nasty case of Achilles Tendinitis that I've been nursing so the break was especially necessary.

Race Morning: Up at 5:30... and left the house at 630. I left a lot later than I would usually do because I had talked one of those roofing kids into doing the race the day before! haha! He was talkin' some smack and I had to show him up!

I got to Ross Park and the place was already packed. I couldn't find a good transition spot ... at least one that wasn't surrounded by Mtn Bikes... so I asked the race director if he'd let me transition by a tree that was still inside the transition area. He said sure... and I was set!

The Pocatello Triathlon is a reverse tri... so the run was first. Even though I cannot control my overall place (at least I don't like to set my goals that way b/c I cannot control who else shows up to race!)... I still hoped to finish top 5... or better yet top 3. I cruised out to an easy pace... with the intent still being to have a good "B" race... not to overdo it... and to stay as close to the top 5 as possible - knowing that I would probably make up a little time on the bike and a little more on the swim.

My run was decent... a beautiful and AWESOME course through Upper Ross Park and on the AMI Trail back to the Cheyenne Crossing and then back up 2nd to T1. I felt pretty strong, really... not my best 5K, but good. I entered T1 at 25:30... took about 40 seconds to get my shoes and helmet on and off I went on the bike in 5th place overall.

The bike was the same as in previous years... and out and back towards Inkom. The wind by Century HS was intense.... I struggled to hold on... but I was happy because I was catching #4 and could see #3 ahead. I managed to pass the 4th place girl before the turnaround... and got the 3rd place girl about 1 mile from T2 (although she passed me right back when I slowed for traffic!). I knew that 3rd place girl was a GREAT swimmer... so my task would be to pass #2 in the pool... I could see her ahead on the bike so I figured I had to make up about 2 minutes or so.

Another 30 second transition and into the pool I splashed! I just happened to jump into the lane with the 2nd place girl. It was purely by coincidence but I was happy I did. I lapped her 4 times during my 500 ... and I got out of the pool before her so I was pretty sure I'd wrapped up 3rd place overall. BTW my swim was tiiiiiggggght! Ow. I guess I spent a little more than I wanted to on the run and bike because I was all stoved up and couldn't breathe well enough to insert flip turns! haha! Oh well! It was still a decent swim time even with the open turns.

So... overall I was the third fastest female... and I was 1st Athena. Not bad for a 41 y/o!!!

Even though the Pocatello TRI isn't the biggest out there, I really enjoy this race. It's my hometown race,.. so that's cool.... but I just really like to see all the new people who come out to race every year! Beginners inspire me tremendously because that was me three years ago! By watching them, I'll never forget that exhilerating feeling of crossing the finish line in my first triathlon. It's just awesome to what I felt in each of their faces! I was also incredibly inspired (and continue to be!) by the young girl who won the race. Erika.... a 17 y/o from the Driggs area that I know will someday be an Olympian! It's just spectacular to see such strength from such a young person... Someday I hope to be able to watch her on TV and brag that I only lost to her by 7 minutes in the Poky Triathlon! haha!

Oh... and that kid I talked into racing? I beat him. By 11 seconds!


Oklahoma City next month. It's the Halfmax National Championships. I qualified in Texas last year... and I'm looking to EXPLODE on the nice flat course! This is my "A" RACE for the year... the one I've been looking forward to for the past 11 months. My goals are to break 6 hours... and I figure I can do it if I go sub :35 on the swim, sub 3:00 on the bike... and sub 2:20 on the run!

But to do that I gotta train. HARD this month!

I'm Out.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Boise Ironman 70.3 Race Report

Okay. So it's been a week since the race. I've had plenty of time to think about it. And to dry off.

This race was unique with a 2pm start time. I actually LOVED that.. because I really don't sleep well before the early morning starts. Who does? By the time you get the nerves settled and get to sleep, the alarm's blaring and you're in a rush to get to T1. So I absolutely loved the full night's sleep... having breakfast... and mosey'n on up to the swim start!

The swim took place in Lucky Peak Reservoir. Having grown up in Boise, I was quite familiar with what to expect up there.. chilly waters and a bit of current. Really, the temperature wasn't bad at all. Someone said 62 degrees... which is AWESOME! I wore a sleeveless wetsuit and had no trouble at all with body temperature! I did have some trouble with the swells, though. Right after we started, I got kicked or hit in the face... and that made my left eye super sore... not to mention that my goggles on that side filled up instantaneously. I swam about 200 yds before stopping to fix it (or attempt to)... wanted to get away from the mass! By the time I rounded the first of the three buoys the swells were pretty bad. I remember seeing a jet ski out there and blaming the guy on it for causing so much turbulance. But it wasn't his fault.. it was just the stormy weather rolling in. As I rounded the second buoy there was a kayak there "rescuing" a swimmer in my wave. We were the first wave after the pros.... and this gal was ahead of me... so she must've been a decent swimmer... but the conditions on those skinnier girls was probably a lot more than what my big frame had to deal with! I remember her saying "no.. I'm done!" ... and then the guy in the kayak waved for a boat to come over. The 600 or so yards between the 2nd and 3rd buoys was crazy. I just kept getting sucked out away from the straight line I thought I was swimming. Lots of other girls were stopping a lot too so I didn't feel too bad. I figured it would be a lot better on the homestretch after the 3rd buoy but it wasn't.... instead it was much worse. I felt a little sea sick to be honest... just kept going UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN. I kept stopping... to fix my goggle and to get my "bearings". My swim time was pretty icky as a result... 39:02. I'm sure I wasted about 3 or 4 minutes with all the stops. But oh well.. I was just glad to be done with that leg! I kept thinking... I'm gonna quit after this swim... but I trudged on.

Out of the water I ran.. up the carpet to the strippers - stopping on the way to give my puppy Bristol a kiss! The wetsuit strippers did their best to pull my wetsuit off (only one guy went one way with my right leg while a girl when the other way with the other leg giving me a cramp!) and into transition I continued to run. My T1 time was 3:02... not super fast... but not super slow for me either. I was content with that... I didn't sit down and tried my best to hustle through.

Off on the bike. And the adventure! Okay. The initial downhill was not wet. That was the first 4 miles or so. Then it started raining. And the wind started blowing. We had a few climbs... one up to the Birds of Prey area... and they challenged me. There were marshalls everywhere on the downhill sections. Coming down from Birds of Prey they posted no passing zones. People still passed. I was scared to death! By this time it was a torrential rain... and pea sized hail. The water on the roads was pretty significant.. and that road was like a corkscrew at times... so I wanted to be extra cautious. ON the backside of BofP area the rain REALLLLY started coming down. We were riding through a good 1-2 inches of rain on the roads... into thick black clouds littered by lightning! That was a treat. By mile 35 the wind became more of a factor too. By mile 40 I was getting cold. But then we wound back around by the airport and I KNEW we were in the final stretch. The entire run I kept telling myself I was DONE at T2!!! A lot of other people were saying the same thing as we chatted causually on the bike! It was absolutely MISERABLE out there. But something happened as I was riding down Federal Way and then Capitol Blvd. I was getting TOTALLY inspired by all the people.. and my sense of humor was returning. I was SMILING.. and cruising about 24 mph once again! I got to T2.. thinking I would cramp but didn't as I got off my bike. I remember I was pretty bummed because my splits were sooooo much slower than my goal times. By the time I hit T2 I was 20 minutes behind where I wanted to be... and not confident at all because the run, my nemesis, was coming up.

I jogged my bike into my T2 area... where my hubby and Bristol were standing by just outside the fence! I cracked a few jokes about my oncoming cold... possible pnemonia... and then laughed as I put "dry" socks on. Ya. It was still raining! My feet were completely numb! Off I went on the run!

Right out of transition I started running with a guy - Nate. He was running a pretty good slow pace. Now... keep in mind I have NEVER completed a triathlon by running the whole way without stopping. NEVER. not even a sprint triathlon. It's a mental thing... I just know I can't do it. But Nate and I were talking... and kept talking... and he inspired me. And at mile 11 I was STILL RUNNING. We were holding about a 9:45/mile pace.... just right. I wasn't even TIRED! I wasn't breathing hard or anything! I couldn't believe it! My right foot stayed numb for the first 8 miles... and really I was feeling okay. I kept challenging myself to "do another mile..." and Nate kept hollaring at me if I fell behind - which I did at mile 9. But I caught back up at mile 11... by that time Nate was struggling a bit and so hopefully I inspired him a little. We did a little walking between miles 11.5 and 12.5... just to get our "finish legs' going.. and then I finished the half marathon in 2:18... and the race in 6:16. That was a PR for me.... which I was ECSTATIC about because I had such a miserable swim/bike.

So... the crowds in Boise were TREMENDOUS! the streets in BoDo were jam packed with people... and so was the greenbelt for the entire run! There were packs of people on almost every corner on the bike, too.. and the swim start had another couple thousand spectators! What an incredible experience that was! It TOTALLY blew away Florida.. Texas... or anywhere I had been.

If you are looking for an amazing course... amazing support... look no further. I didn't want to do this race because it was in my home town. But it ended up to be an experience I will never forget. Weather and all.

Wow. I'm still glowing.