Lake Stevens Triathlon, Lake Stevens, WA – Sept. 6th 2014

As most of you might have figured out by now, I am not the fastest multisport athlete out there in my 40-44 age group, but I might have the most heart. One reason could be that I didn’t begin running, biking and swimming, let alone racing, until about 5-6 years ago. Before that, I let my spine injuries define my life. Such as it is, I also found out during this time that I am severely allergic to dust, most tree pollens AND have athletic induced asthma. Seriously it is like god is telling me, I shouldn’t be racing. OR he is telling me that I Get to show others, that no matter what is placed as an obstacle, in their way, that they can overcome it, like I do, and still enjoy so many things in life! It isn’t all about “winning” right? I wouldn’t know, but even getting on an age groupers (versus overall race winners) podium, does give me some gratitude for all the hard work I put in long after my teammates finish their workouts on the track (since they finish their mileage faster), or extra swim lessons, or even the bike work that I do in addition to my regular workouts. Hey, no matter where you are on your journey.. it truly is the time spent giving back to yourself that counts. Your health, Your happiness, Your energy, Your Life!

Race Report: Lake Stevens Sprint – Saturday, September 6th, 2014 CU Multisport Team Race

Pre Race: Pre: After enjoying a long season of racing (so grateful for my health) I got to race Saturday with many on our team. Went to bed early Friday night to ensure 8 hrs of sleep. Didn’t sleep great, but did get several hours in. Up at 4:45am, had a protein/carb shake, filled my water bottles and off to race. Drive was about 50 minutes and dropped our team tent off. Arrived at race venue 1hr 40 min early.. perfect to get packet, set up bike, review transition entrances/exits, use the restroom and do a warm up jog. Used my asthma inhaler* (more on this later), ate a honey stinger waffle, and got my wetsuit on. Beautiful day. Blue skies, sunshine, water was 71-72 degrees and a great way to end the season. Fun cheering on teammates and local people I knew who were already racing in the Olympic that started before I did. Thankful that my husband was able to volunteer at packet pickup. Thank you also to my girls Bella & Alessandra for handing out finisher medals at the finish line for over an hour -Thanks girls! It takes so many volunteers to put on a safe and good race and I am always grateful for those who donate their time so I can enjoy a day of multisport. Thank you.

*Note my feet.. I use free pedicure flips to wear to the start to protect my feet. Can throw away or ask a friend to save them.Arrived at race venue 1hr 40 min early.. perfect to get packet, set up bike, review transition entrances/exits, use the restroom and do a warm up jog. Used my asthma inhaler* (more on this later), ate a honey stinger waffle, and got my wetsuit on. Beautiful day. Blue skies, sunshine, water was 71-72 degrees and a great way to end the season. Fun cheering on teammates and local people I knew who were already racing in the Olympic that started before I did. Photo: Before start with teammate Amanda. *Note my feet.. I use free pedicure flips to wear to the start to protect my feet. Can throw away or ask a friend to save them.

Sprint: .25 mile swim / 9.8 mile bike / 3.2 mile run USAT Nationals qualifier

Swim: 14:10 9th ag
Many weren’t wearing wetsuits, but I swim faster with it.. and not sure who wouldn’t. You don’t have to kick as hard to stay horizontal and I can transition fast with or without it, so off I went, WITH mine on. Entered the water and forgot to get my goggles wet/lick them (in order to defog them). First mistake. Moved up to the front of the deep water start to get started right away. Started called 10 seconds, then “go” – no 3, 2 or 1, so I didn’t get a chance to get horizontal before the gun went off. Oh well, got going and noticed a lot of people vying for a line. Held my own and my breathing and tried to keep moving forward. After the u-turn back, the sun hits you square in the eyes. Knew it was coming so had my tinted goggles* (more on this later too) on. The course seemed long (and it was by several yards), but it had been this way in the past so I knew to expect it off an on. I am not a fast swimmer having just learned a few years prior, but completed a ½ mile swim in 16 min just a few weeks prior in a race, so know I wasn’t all that much slower to need an extra 6 minutes to complete half the distance.

Transition 1: 0:45 1st ag
Nothing to write home about. Love and feel confident about my fast transitions. Out of the water, goggles and cap off, pull them through the sleeve of my arm as I take top of wetsuit off, pull down to ground, step on wetsuit, while I simultaneously put on helmet. Grab bike and go. Ran out of transition past mount line to get out of many others way. Jumped on, turned first corner, then put feet in shoes, and off.

Bike: 31:25, 18.7 mph, 3rd ag
On bike and shoes on no problem. Had one bottle of water on the bike, and a honey stinger gel. Up first bigger hill no problem. Still had an 11/28 gearing from another event, so knew I could spin up easily. Had a fun realization that the hill just didn’t seem so bad. Years ago, this as the second race I ever did, so good memories of it. I remember thinking the hills were terrible, and today, they were no big deal. Nice to have those realizations sometimes to make all your hard work seem as if it is paying off. Passed several people on the bike, including at least 4 in my ag, which is always nice revenge for a slow swim, and what is usually a slower run off the bike. I gave it what I could, while my nose was running from allergies and my lungs seemed tight, but usual for this tree pollen filled time of year. Bike course is shorter than most Sprints with 9.8 miles versus 12.5. Would have liked the extra miles to put more distance between myself and 4 ahead of me that aren’t as fast on the bike.

Transition 2: 0:41 1st ag
Feet out of shoes just fine. Had to plan it ahead as there are many turns at the end of the course where you don’t want to be fussing while turning. So just did it early. Right before dismount line, right foot over back of saddle, swing through inside of bike, standing on just left foot, run off the bike just as bike is about to go over the line, done. Run into transition, second rack, so easy put away, wipe feet on transition towel as I simultaneously took helmet off (ground had lots of gravel and didn’t want it in my shoes), shoes on, grab glasses and number belt and run.
*Some day they will give out awards for the fastest transitions, and I will be there ready to collect mine ;). If you can’t run fast, you might as well be able to change from one sport to the next fast, right?!!!

Run: 32:19 9th ag
Headed out of transition feeling pretty good. There was another in my ag, that followed me out and she passed me right away. Should have had more water on the bike. I walked 4 paces and took in water at the first station since I was having a hard time breathing after a quick exit off the bike. It was warming up to be the 80+ degree day they said it would be. Beautiful run along the lake. Run hill, versus the bike hill, seemed longer than I remember from the other two times I raced this course. Oh well, no time to think, just run. Up and over the top, down to the water station, walked 4 more paces taking on water, then ran again. Heading down the hill I picked up speed and knew I could hold it, but just couldn’t it. I was doing all I could to keep my HR down and breathing under control.

Finish: 1:19:22, 7 AG/36 OAF
Coming towards the final turn, I passed #6 in my ag and couldn’t hold it. She took me in the final stretch (normally my time to shine, as I am not afraid of pain at the end, when I know I can get help after crossing the line.) I just couldn’t do any more than I did. So settle for that. Something wasn’t right this season. My legs didn’t hurt at the finish, so why couldn’t I breathe.* (Read below for why) 2 years ago, when I was focusing on short course, at the same race I was 5min faster, on the podium in 2nd ag.& 17th OVF. so 7th was hard to swallow. Swim was 4 min slower, bike 1 min faster, run 2 min slower. Also didn’t qualify for USAT nationals with this finish (only done 2 triathlons this year due to Duathlon racing and only this one was USAT sanctioned.) So might do one more race this season to see if I can qualify, or let it go this year and be grateful for my Duathlon racing again next year.

Take-Aways: Race with friends and teammates! It is soo much more fun seeing familiar faces out on the course, cheering you on, and their families and friends there too, who cheer for the entire team. Helps keep you motivated and misery loves company, right?!

*Check your gear as you are packing it up. Don’t assume that the goggles are still in the sleeve of your wetsuit, when you pulled them through during transition. Lost my newer, and pricey, goggles I loved on the ground. Even saw them when I was headed to get my gear from Transition, took a double look, and thought “nah, mine are in my wetsuit sleeve”, and kept on walking, versus checking my suit right away. Of course someone took them, so out goggles. Better than a helmet or something, so learned my lesson.

*Check Expiration Dates. For being someone who prides herself on organization and checking things.. today wasn’t my day.. or rather my summer. My lungs were burning today and they haven’t been great in training either. To think of it.. all summer (could be last 6 months), I have felt like my allergy or asthma condition, must be getting worse… I decided to check my inhaler’s. My asthma inhalers all expired 5/13. I know they have some sort of half-life post expiration.. but it is the same ones I have used ALL SUMMER including in Spain at worlds. CAN’T BELIEVE I have been using two old inhaler’s to train and race this season. But they are pricey so use them till they are done.. and clearly didn’t check the expire date inside the canister (the outside prescription didn’t show it.) Hoping that with a “fresh” one, I will actually be able to do something. The run was pathetic and swims haven’t been as fast as last year either, due to my lungs.. my legs felt okay so know I could have pushed more. I crossed the line and bent over for a while like I did at all races this summer, more than normal. Whatever “normal” is when you work hard. Hopeful new inhalers will help. If not, I just had a slow season, and recovery from long distance/ endurance racing last year, hasn’t come back, YET.
**GREAT NEWS: I trained last night on the track and was ~1 min/mile pace faster in every interval I did. Wonderful news for sure, that I figured out the cause of my fatigue and breathing issues, once again – AND I am stronger and faster than my times have been showing.. but not without some regret that it took me so long to figure it out. Well, I won’t ever do that again :). Lesson Learned for sure! Hopefully someone else will learn from my mistake.

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