Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Rambling Rose Race Recap

On May 17th, I participated in the Rambling Rose Super Sprint Triathlon. A super sprint consists of a 225 yard pool swim, 8 mile bike ride, and 2 mile run. The race is a super fun race geared towards women and especially first timers. You see all ages from girls 11 years old to older adults. People who have never done a triathlon to seasoned veterans.

I did this race last year and had a major fail. I got to the dismount line of the bike and could not get unclipped from my pedals and fell over pulling a muscle in my thigh and busting up my knee. It slowed me down a bit for the run but I still came in 4th in my age group. So close to a podium finish yet so far away. Ughhhh!

This year my swim has gotten faster and my bike has gotten even faster yet I wasn't running so the run would be what it would be. Coach Brooks gave me my marching orders earlier in the week and gave me my splits (53:30 overall time). Also, he said I would be on the podium. No pressure! My husband was also in agreement that I would make it on there there this year. Damn pressure on the home front too!
Swim Bike Mom. Sophie and me before the start.
 Normally, I am very relaxed and not nervous the morning of a race but not so this year. I got to the race super early and set up my transition area. I walked around and chatted up friends and helped my old college suite-mate with her set up-it was her first triathlon and she did amazing! (Whit, I saw your times and you did incredible and I am so proud of you!)
Heather, myself, Flat Ron Burgandy, Hot Rod Red pre-race.

They called for the swim start and I really thought I was going to vomit. I seeded myself in the fast group but put myself to the back which might not have been the best because I got stuck behind someone slower for about 2 lengths of the pool and I could not get past her for a bit. My goal was just to get out of the pool in 4 minutes and not throw up. I was out of the pool in 4:03 which might have been even better had I not been behind a slower swimmer and now I had to run in my bare feet about a 10th of a mile on concrete to the transition area. The run counts as part of the swim which sucks since my foot and concrete are not friends at the moment so it was a slow run dare I say jog or shuffle.  Time with run was 5:25.
Running out of the swim. My poor foot-ouch!
I fumbled in transition a bit even though I set everything to perfection by my bike. We will just say it was first race of the season jitters. The bike course is pretty hard for a race that is supposed to be beginner friendly. It makes its way through a neighborhood with lots of potholes and hills and then a left turn onto a busy road and then another left and then back into the neighborhood where the dreaded Carrington Hill is located. Carrington is like a bowl and at the bottom of that bowl is a bunch of potholes so going super fast isn't a safe option and the climb back out of the bowl is super steep and kinda long. The rest of the way back is mainly uphill so negative splitting isn't going to happen. The first 5 miles I was hitting 20 mph but once back in the neighborhood it dropped to 18.8 mph. Still fast considering but I would prefer to start slower and get faster. Anyway, I rolled into transition and got unclipped-yes! I got my bike racked after my handle bars got stuck on the end of the rack, more fumbling! Obviously I need to practise this more! Anyhow, I yanked my shoes on, grabbed my hat and race belt and off I went. Bike time 25:05.
I LOVE my bike!
The run is not too bad but there is one hill coming out of the Y parking lot. I ended up walking this hill a bit both times because my heart was pounding and I felt I needed to get it under control before I had a heart attack or vomited.  The run was uneventful and considering I haven't run in a few months I think I did ok. As soon as I turned the corner on my last loop and saw the finish shoot my stomach settled and I sprinted across the finish line. I looked at my watch and it said 50:46. That's 3 minutes faster than coach wanted-hell yeah!!! Run time 18:07 and official race time 50:57
Finished! Look at that heel strike-so bad!
Now the wait for reuslts began. At one point it said I was in 2nd out of 85 in my age group and 10th overall so we stuck around for awards. As they were calling my age group they called out third place, not me, then they called out second place, not me. This is when my heart broke for a moment. Then they called out frist and it was ME! What? How awesome! I was just gunning for third place coming into this event so to place first was a shock. While I am happy I still doubt my race skills and picked apart what could and needs to get better. Why can't I just be happy? One day the Negative Nellie will get out of my head and I will be good enough.
Guess no one else wanted to get there award but me.
 Anyway, what happens next? Well, I keep training for Beach to Battleship 70.3 and try and get some other distance triathlons on my schedule to make sure I go into B2B prepared. I think I will plan to do a few bike tours and maybe a century (100 mile bike ride) with my SBM teammate/sole mate Colleen in Maryland. I also qualified for Nationals with this finish so maybe I will do that too. I guess in a few weeks I have to start running again which scares the shit out of me because my foot was pretty sore after the 2 miles I ran on Sunday. All I do know for sure is that I am glad that the first race is over with and that I may hate super sprint distances as I hate that rushed feeling the whole race.

I need to give a shout out to my home girls Heather for shaving 12 minutes off her time from last year and Hot Rod Red for moving up in her age group and overall standings from last year. You ladies rock and I am so glad to get to train with you all on a weekly basis!

Until next time, CHEERS!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Wheels Keep Rolling

I haven't really shared how training is going for Beach to Battleship 70.3 aka B2B. I guess I need to get better about that since this is a blog about my traithlon journey.

Flat Ron joined us for the big wetsuit swim. No longer a wetsuit virgin!

The swimming is going great. I have been picking up my pace and feel pretty confident in the water. I no longer feel like a whale flopping around in the water. I did my first ever open water swim (OWS) in my wetsuit the other weekend. The real challenge is getting the damn wetsuit on but I found if you turn it inside out it goes on like a dream. When we swam out I never was panicked but I did find it hard to catch my breath. On the way back in I had no problems probably because I knew I was headed to shore. A few days later my coach took a teammate and I out to do another OWS and I felt so much better. No issues breathing! So why do I need a wetsuit for B2B? Well first off the water temp will be a bit cold making it race legal to wear one and second they make you faster and super buoyant. So yes, I need to learn to swim in a wetsuit plus OWS are so much less boring than pool swims.

Biking weather has finally arrived.
On the biking front I have been doing group rides every week with the Inside Out Sports crew. I usually head out with the A group which are usually a bunch of really strong, fast men but I keep up pretty well with them. So far I have been the only girl in their group. I wonder what they would do if I started talking about my lady bits? Anyway, those guys really push me and have gotten my pace up to about 18.1-18.2 mph on some damn big hills. That ride is actually super sucky on the hill front. Now that the weather is better I get to spend less time indoors on the bike trainer-thank you sweet baby Jesus! I would love to break up with my trainer but it comes in handy on rainy days and is good for those workouts when you need to do sprint intervals.

As for running, well that isn't happening right now. Word on the street is that I don't have to run till June. If the foot isn't better by then it is going to have to harden the heck up and just deal because I don't have time for it's nonsense. Right now I have on and off days with the foot. Some days it feels fine and others it does not.

My first triathlon of the season is May 17th. It's a super sprint and geared to the ladies. It's a fun little race and I am so excited to have an old college buddy doing it as her very first triathlon. She is going to do so fabulous and I am so excited to share that accomplishment with her. So what is a super sprint? It's the shortest distance there is and races range in distance. This one is a 225 yard swim, 9 mile bike, and a 2 mile run. Hopefully I will be done in under an hour. Last year I did really well but I was also running. This year I can't wait to see what I do because my swimming is faster, my biking is way faster, and my run, well it will be what it will be. I know I can bust out 2 miles so I am not really worried that I haven't been doing any run training.
Rambling Rose 2014 where my bike decided to throw me off at the end.
After that race who knows what I will do. I know I will have at least 1 or 2 Olympic distance triathlons and maybe another sprint distance as well. All these will help me gear up and fine tune for the big dance in Oct. I would also like to do a century ride with my sole sister (yes I know I said sole and not soul-pun intended) up in her area. She's got a full Ironman (140.6) on dock for October so she has some serious miles to put on her tires. Plus, I would like to feel what a century ride is like if I am even thinking about 140.6 next year. Guess I should discuss that with the coach.

Now for my ramblings because I did say I will have some ramblings. Next week we are getting a fancy chicken coop built for my ladies. They normally free range and then go into their little coop at night but after another of my girls was murdered by the neighborhood hawk I had to literally coop them up. So Monday we are having a guy come in and build us a bigger home for my ladies and their new friends. Ssshhh, don't tell Super Nerd because he doesn't know about the new additions.

The ladies-Sybil(RIP), Mary, Edith, Henrietta
I will try to get better about updating the training. Hope you lovelies have a terrific weekend! Shake n' Bake!!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

I Might Be A Swimmer

I will be the first to say that I really do not like swimming (well maybe). There is usually one aspect of triathlon that every individual does not like. Some hate the run, some hate the bike, and like myself some hate the swim.

I grew up at the beach so I know enough about swimming not to drown and things like open water swims do not scare me. Actually, the idea of a snake slithering up next to me in a lake scares me but drowning or waves or getting swam over does not. Yes, I make no sense. I have irrational fears what can I say? Anyway, back to the point, I did not swim on a swim team so lets just say my technique was not the greatest nor the most efficient.
Someone needs some vitamin D!

My first 2 years of triathlon I just struggled through. I was not fast (still not) but I got the job done. Thank the lord the swim is the shortest part of any triathlon. I did take swim lessons from my former coach last year and that helped a lot with my form. I still feel like a frenzied whale when I swim but that's my own self conscience mind at work. It doesn't matter how many people tell me I am a good swimmer, I will never believe them. I know, I am ridiculous!

That's me with my arm barely out of the water.
Anyway, since I have not been running due to my plantar fasciitis my awesomesauce coach has me in the pool a lot more. My times are slowly but surely getting faster. I think when I started this triathlon journey my race pace was 2:12ish per 100 yards and now it ranges from 1:45-1:50 per 100 yards. Last week we changed my stroke up and while my shoulders were getting the workout of their life my times were faster with less effort. I wasn't huffing and puffing which is one of the things I fear in the pool. I don't mind being winded on the bike or the run but on the swim I fear I will drown from lack of breath. I will say I am starting to enjoy my swim workouts and very rarely miss a swim. I smell like chlorine all the time and my skin is dry as the Sahara but I could care less.

So maybe I am not like all triathletes in that I don't hate one aspect. I will just say some are more of a struggle than others. While I might not be super fast at least I finally enjoy swimming. I might even say I am a swimmer. I can not wait till open water swims begin (well except for the swamp scratch some people can get) just for a change of pace. Hopefully a snake will not slither up next to me. If that happens then it's "peace out" and back to the pool I go.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Mums Weekend Away

My BRF's and I just got back from Asheville, NC where we ran the Asheville 1/2 marathon on the Biltmore Estate. We signed up back in November when things were going ok but man did it all go downhill a month, perhaps more out from the race. Injuries, injuries and more injuries!

We left Saturday-can I get a woot woot up in here!?! I know Trooper and I were most excited to get away from our toddlers for a few days and have some time with just adults. Despite rain the road trip was fun as we listened to old school rap and acted like thugs. Thugs driving a Volvo station wagon. The only thing that would have made us more legit is if we had some gold and diamond grills that read "Mom Life".

Anyway, we were staying at the Doubletree right outside of the Biltmore Estate and luckily for us where the race expo was being held. We all know we really stayed there for the warm, delicious, chocolate chip cookies-priorities! The race expo was ok but not the best. I was super excited that Balega socks were there but sadly they didn't have much of anything. I was hoping to add some new colorful socks to my overflowing collection. I will say this race gave the best swag especially since it was a small race. We got gloves, a neck warmer thingy that could be worn a million different ways(if you are short enough I an convinced you could wear it as a tube dress), a nice race shirt (oh we also got a training shirt when we signed up), and some other little things. There was even more stuff at the finish but I will get to it later.

The night before we roamed round the city and did some shopping and some freak...I mean people watching. Holy shit there are some interesting looking people living in this city. It was fun to play the game "Hillybilly or Hipster". I am not sure which won out because there is a lot of both.

So race morning came all to early. We hopped on the shuttle and rode onto Biltmore Estate. For a moment there was a slight fear that we were going to be dropped off in the woods and shot but then the bus made a turn and the race start was in sight-thank you sweet, baby Jesus! It was chilly but the restaurant and the creamery had sections open for racers to come in and sit by their heaters. These types of niceties you would never find at a large race.  My foot was also glad that I got to sit down and take the pressure off of it for a bit since my plantar fasciitis was no better.
 Right about the time the sun was coming up over the mountains the race started. into the second mile we hit our first long hill and boy was it a lovely. I think it was close to a mile long and just climbed and climbed. Now, I was very under trained and the few runs I had done in the last month were on flats or the treadmill with no incline. I proudly made it up that damn hill. The race traveled the roads up to the Biltmore house where we got another long uphill and then the house came into view. We ran through the gardens and around a pond into a back field where some of the grounds horses were grazing. There was also a deer who decided to race. I think it safe to say he won! We then followed the French Broad River around the back of the Estate. Around mile 10 you could see the finish and about mile 11 you were like where the fuck are we going. The only ugly part of this race came between miles 11 and 12. It was not developed and on uneven dirt roads plus I just felt like I was never going to get to the turnaround point. That's where I mentally lost it and my foot was getting angry. I took a bit of a walk break and then got my shit back together and crossed the finish line in one piece. Not only were we given a beautiful wooden medal but also a fleece blanket with the race logo stitched on it. Not many races give you fleece blankets so this was a nice perk. The race had really good post food including doughnuts and hot chocolate. This was not any of our fastest races because we all were sporting some kind of injury and thus had not put in the training. I did not care because it was the first time in a year that I just ran for the fun of it and enjoyed the race.

Another perk of the race was the entry pass back onto the Estate which we partook. Biltmore was having a Dressing Downton exhibit through out the house so we did that tour and saw some of the most gorgeous dresses. Why we can't go back to dressing like that I do not know. We also went to the winery. My foot hurt so I went and sat outside while Red and Trooper did a wine tasting. We had dinner reservations at Tupelo Honey but we cancelled that and hung out on the Estate a bit longer. We were all tired and just wanted to relax. We ended up ordering some damn good pizza from a local pizza place and watched TV back at the hotel. We are such riveting people!

 Overall, I would highly recommend this race. It was beautiful, had great support/amenities, and a great medal and swag. I plan to do it next year injury free so I can push myself a little harder. Hopefully, I can get a few more friends to join me and make it an even bigger weekend.

PS, there is also a full distance. Next year they are doing the full and half on separate days or you can do both for the challenge!

Monday, March 9, 2015


I had the privilege to attend the Swim Bike Mom Traincation at the end of February with about 30 other lovely ladies. The event hosted by Swim Bike Mom herself, Meredith Atwood (http://www.swimbikemom.com/) and Coach Brett Daniels from PTS Sports (http://www.ptssports.com/) was held in Panama City, Florida. Here is my blow by almost blow of the weekend.

My lovely and funny as Hell teammate Colleen (http://crabcakesandironman.blogspot.com/) from Maryland made the five hour trip to Raleigh so we could make the remaining ten hour trip together. The trip almost did not happen as Raleigh got several inches of snow dumped on it Wednesday night into Thursday morning. We lost electricity during this time. Thank goodness for gas logs and a generator.

Colleen and I had never meet but I was not concerned because I liked her humor so I knew we would get along. Her mother was concerned I was an axe murderer and that this whole thing was a shame but I am happy to report Colleen is still alive and kicking. As I had predicted we got along like peanut butter and jelly. It was like I had known her all my life. I just wish she lived closer. I already miss her very much-I love you Colleen!
Colleen and I being silly
Anyway, we stopped overnight in Georgia so we didn't have to do the whole ten hours at once. We arrived in warm sunny Florida the next day, got checked in and like all good triathletes went for a run on the beach. Did I mention how warm and sunny it was? Scratch that shit, it was cold and cloudy. The moto for the weekend became "Fuck Florida"!
Running on the beach
Activities didn't start till that evening. We had a meet and greet followed by a keynote speech by Meredith, training/race day nutrition by Brett, and injury prevention by Jack Jones also of PTS Sports. One of my favorite parts was meeting some of my other witty and lovely teammates Therese, Sarah, Margaret, and of course the ring leader Meredith. Meredith is so down to earth and very funny. She is definitely not too big for her britches which I love about her. She is actually very humble and doesn't realize what a big deal she is in the tri world.  Really, everyone there was just as nice as can be including the two token men folk Brett and Jack.
Me and Meredith aka Swim Bike Mom
The nutrition portion was really great as I need to work on fine tuning mine. I tend to do ok in practice but then race day I get hurried and don't follow my plain like I did in training. This sometimes does not work out too well for me especially if it is hot. It's something I am going to try and get better at this year especially since I have a 70.3 on the calendar. I also enjoyed the injury prevention segment as it taught me some new exercises to add to my repertoire. Can you say hip hikes!?!

The next morning we meet up for a swim. Now if you remember from earlier I said it was cold and that morning was no different. As we drove up we noticed that there was no indoor pool. What the hell? Now since Florida is typically a warm state this is fairly common. The pool itself was heated but the outdoors was not. Lets just say it was a wee bit nippy out when stripping down to your bathing suit in the wind and cold. The pool was much warmer. I stuck with the B group and worked on drills and such which is always a good thing for me. I wouldn't have minded being with the experts as they got to do more of a workout but that's ok as they probably would have mowed me down.
Biker Chicks
Sportin' my new windbreaker
Out of the pool and onto the bike. It was really windy out so I put myself with the B group because they were not going as far and sometimes wind pisses me off. The course was totally flat besides a few douche grade hills and a bridge. When we got to the turn around I ended up joining group A for a longer, faster ride. I am so happy I did that as I got to ride with Brett and some other great riding ladies. I stayed up with Brett most of the ride and at one point he turned to me and asked if I wanted to go faster. Well, hell yes I do. Despite the strong headwinds we were hitting between 18-20 mph. I was so proud of myself for keeping up. Brett also had kind words about my skills so that made me feel good too.
Group ride
After our ride we had a brief break and then had a short clinic on improving our transitions. The wind really started kicking up and the temperature was dropping so we didn't spend too much time which I think everyone was ok with. We returned to the resort and showered then met up for a seminar on crushing our 70.3 by Brett. It was really informative and I cannot wait to put some of his tips to work this season. We had a group dinner and then off to bed because lets face it we were all tired. So much for drinks on the deck.

The next day started off with a run clinic. We learned some good drills and warm up exercises do do before we started running. I headed out with group A because they were running more my pace. I turned around at the 3 mile mark because my foot was still bothering me so no need to aggravate it more. I did manage a negative split and ran the last mile at a 9:27 pace. Foot be damned. Some people put their wetsuits on and swam in the Gulf after the closing remarks. With temperatures in he 50s I decided to skip out on that fun. I had enough of being cold.

It was a fun weekend and I loved meeting so many fun ladies but mostly getting to met a few of my teammates. Colleen, Therese, Margaret, Sarah, and Meredith I miss you all already! Love you ladies to the moon and back!
SBMAT 2015: Margaret, Me, Therese, Colleen, Sarah, and Meredith

Monday, February 16, 2015

It's Good to Have Friends

I am a pretty lucky girl in that I have 2 BRF (best running friends). There is Trooper who I cannot convince to do a triathlon (yet) and Hot Rod Red who is my tri partner in crime. These 2 ladies are the ones who get my arse out of bed and make me workout and even if they are only there in spirit. If I don't train I feel like I am letting them down.

So Hot Rod I meet years ago when I had just gotten out of college and lived in an apartment. She lived the floor beneath me with her now husband. At the time neither of us were runners and at the time had no plans to be one. As goes, life happened and I moved to another apartment and we lost touch for many years. We came across each other in Panera and started chit chatting (that's Southern for talking) and discovered we both ran and the rest is history. There have been few races I have done without her. Luckily we have the same goals and like to challenge ourselves so we are perfect for one another. Hot Rod doesn't mind going out for a ride when it's 30 degrees either. Ok, well she does mind but she sucks it up and joins me anyway-that is true friendship! Oh, and she has a sick sense of humor and doesn't mind peeing in the woods. Don't worry people I come ready with toilet paper. Any good girl scout (ok I wasn't really a girl scout) comes prepared!

Trooper is a friend I meet via a Facebook group. I was looking for runners for our relay team and she replied that she was interested. We meet up for a run one morning and she said some four letter words and I thought, "Yes! You are my people.". She also has a son that is Sophie's age and is a stay at home mum so we have a bunch in common. She has actually become one of my very good friends outside of running. I also like Trooper because she comes across as quiet and then she lets out a zinger. A requirement for my friends is that they have a wicked sense of humor and understand my dry not always PC humor.

These ladies mean more to me than they will ever know. I can bitch to them, tell them all about my bowel movements, share personal thoughts with them and they don't judge. If they do judge they sure don't say anything and they keep hanging out with me so they must like me. I can have a suck day running or biking and they are ok with that-no lady is ever left behind unless we say to go on. They are my best friends and I love them with all my heart. I never tell them that because I don't want it to go to their head. I guess if they read this they will know (lies, it's all lies!). 

Thank you Tropper and Hot Rod for being my BRF's and beyond. I lurve you! Blah, now I need to go take a bath and wash all the sappiness off of me!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sporty Spice

Who doesn't love the Spice Girls? They are after all one of best selling female groups of all time having sold over 85 million records worldwide. I mean they have some catchy tunes, fun dance moves, and with five distinct personalities you can identify with one of the members.

Back in my twenties I could totally identify with Posh Spice aka Victoria Beckham then Adams. I loved her designer outfits and love of high heels. She represented the upper-middle class background with refined taste and attention to the finer things in life. In my twenties I loved fashion and thought if I owned a pair of Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo shoes I had reached Carrie Bradshaw status. The twenties were all about labels and trying to impress my friends. Basically, I was frivolous and only cared about material things.
My shoe closet. Most of these no longer get worn.

Now that I am in my 30's and knocking on 40's door I no longer think Posh Spice is the bomb. A friend of mine called me Sporty Spice the other day. Back in the day I might have kicked her in the shins and told her to F off. Now, I resemble that remark! These days I could care less if I have the nicest purse, shoes, or clothes. Give me a pair of leggin's and a comfy pair of kicks and I am a happy girl. Most days I look as if I could go work out at the drop of an expensive chapeau. My favorite store is Athleta and my local running store. Although Anthropologie runs a very close second. A girl has to get dressed up every now and then when the occasion warrants such.

2 of the many pair of running shoes I wear on a daily basis.
So why the change in personality? Well, I think most of it has to do with my hobbies (triathlon) and the fact I stay at home with a 2 year old who could care less if I am wearing sky high heels or running shoes and doesn't know the difference between Prada and Target. She would probably tell you Target is the best and to be honest I would agree. I've learned that my friends could care less what labels I am wearing and vice versa. The friends that do care about these things I find I no longer have anything in common with and I am totally fine with this. I value friendships and family and my health over labels. Those are the things that are truly important.  I would rather get in a good quality workout then give my credit card a good workout. I would rather sit down with a friend over hot tea and knitting then go get a mani followed up by a shopping excursion. I would rather spend the day antiquing with my sister and mother than flipping through fashion magazines. When it is all said and done moments with friends and family will last longer than moments spent shrouding myself in clothes.

So Posh while I can respect you and your love of fashion I am just going to have to identify with my girl Sporty Spice and her tough girl attitude. Zigazig ah!!!