Sunday, May 31, 2015

I'm Not a Sprintah...

Due to availability, time, location, etc I decided to do 2 sprint triathlons this season in addition to a 70.3 and 140.6. The first was yesterday. It was the Blalock Lakes Sprint. I did the Olympic there last year and someone forgot to remind me, I didn't want to do it again. Here's why: The lake is dirty (not toxic, dirt-y). The ride is tough with lots of hills of which I truly only enjoy the down. The run is sunny and hilly. HILLY. Did I mention the hills?

Now, this year unlike last year, I have been running hills. Also unlike last year, I have been climbing hills on my bike. Every.Single.Weekend. Just sayin'... My usual strategy for a triathlon: Don't drown. Don't crash. Finish upright and smiling. Coach had other ideas: Put the pedal down and don't let up until you finish. Ugg, Coach, I'm not a sprinter!

This race had the feeling of a family reunion: friendly faces, lots of support. Humoring my race day OCD, Leah agreed to drive down with me an hour earlier than her original plan. However, that gave us prime spots racking our bikes and plenty of time to socialize and warm-up.

As I wait for our Ironwilled kits from Champs-Systems to come in, I was able to quickly snag this Fusion Sports top customized to represent Ironwilled: Women who TRI.
I also wanted to show my support of my coaching team with my Dynamo Multisport cap!
Sunscreen was applied and my transition was sent up. A quick warm-up and it was time start the events. I was the second to last wave to start. When it was our turn, I looked around and realized I was in the front row. I took a giant step backwards and to the side to get out of the way. Swimming is not my strength and there was no reason to put myself in the middle of the mix when it wasn't necessary. I started to the side as was recommended last summer and in I went. Coach: Swim hard. The distance of 600 meters is not an issue. I actually swam almost 5x that recently. It was the intensity of the swim I had to wrap my head around. (It was the intensity of the entire race I was trying to wrap my head around.) I swam with purpose, I swam with effort. I found my way in towards the buoys and when someone wouldn't stop grabbing and slapping my foot, I may have just kicked her off me. Steadily I started catching the back of the pack of previous waves. Out of the water I went.
Thanks Mike and All3 Sports for the picture!
I don't practice transitions so I was pleased at how quickly I got out. Stacy was up in Raleigh cheering on the 70.3 so Coach Mike from AVC Endurance took her role for her. All I hear as I'm running into transition and trying to get my shoes on is Mike, "Hurry up, Shawna. this is a RACE!" I bust my butt to get out of transition, I'm sure practice would help.
Thanks Mike for the pictures going and coming back in to transition!
On to the bike course... Coach: You have an immediate hill, settle in to you bike and let everyone pull away from you. Then when you crest the hill, pick them off one by one. And that was how I attacked the bike course. Easy, steady up the hill, and then power down. I don't think dad liked hearing this stat, but my fastest pace was 32mph, of course it was down hill! The bike was hard as I came out of the swim with my heart rate elevated and it never came down. I played leap-frog with a few people. They would pass me on the up, I would pass them on the down. Stacy would be proud, I rolled right up the to dismount line before I got off my bike.
Coming back in on the bike I spotted Nadya and gave her a big wave!
Another okay transition, did I mention I don't practice this? Out on to the run I went. My buddy Mike from All3 was standing in such a way that he could see the bikes come in, the runners finish and people start their run out of transition, but he didn't see me. So I yelled, "Mike, where's my love?" Well Coach Mike and All3 Mike apparently heard me so I got 2 big booming cheers, score!
Coach Mike and me before I realized my timing ship was on the wrong leg.
The run was tough. Straight up a hill like the bike. Coach: Push the run. What do you have left? My initial thought on the run was that I had nothing left. I left it all on the swim and the bike. I remember thinking last year that my pace slowed on each mile. It was different route as it was 6.2 miles not 3.1, but this year I NEGATIVE split! Apparently I did have something left. Now, it also helps that the elevation drastically changed with each mile. The most climb was in the first mile, but I had significant drops in pace in each mile on the run. The run is an out and back so I was able to cheer on and high-5 quite a number of people I knew.

I know it doesn't look like it, but I am running in hard. One day my feet will come off the ground!
As I finally spotted the last hill before the descent to the finish line I came across the young man (17!!) who won over all, his buddy and Coach Mike. The boys were cheering everyone on and Mike rode a bit offering support as I finished as strong as I could. The boys were terrific. (Side note: I found them later and told them how great it was to have them out there and if they were wondering if it mattered to anyone that they were out there cheering, it does! Please keep doing it.)

Meanwhile, I hear cowbell and see coach Dan from Endurance Concepts and he tells me the guy ahead of me said girls can't sprint. That's a crock because as I pass the guy in front of me, I realize he can't say anything right now. However, it was enough of encouragement to pick off the only person in front of me. I sucked it up and left it all in the last bit of the course.
My buddy Brad is the one with the big grin, it's always terrific to see him at races.
Thank you Nadya for the picture!
Hey Coach, I CRUSHED IT! 6 out of 10 in my age group. So what? I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Followed my race plan and kicked my own ass!

Icing on the cake...I got to see a TON of Ironwilled ladies!

We hung out and waiting for Leah to get her bling for earning second in Age Group (my age group too :( ). She's a extremely strong athlete!

Then it was Waffle House for brunch. And that, is how you wrap up a good race day.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pass Them Like You Love Them

I was invited to participate in a social media blitz to generate discussion over the hashtag #PassThemLikeYouLoveThem. This started after a tragic accident the week leading up to Ironman New Orleans 70.3 in 2014. Meghan Degan posted a blog talking about motorists responsibilities and cyclists responsibilities.

This weekend in Kentucky, a cyclist was hit by a drunk driver. Mark Hinkel didn't do anything wrong except be outside on a weekend day riding his bike. Mark was a husband, father and grandfather.

This weekend in Atlanta, Dinah McClintock was riding a well known cycling route and a car pulled out in front of her. She hit the car and sustained such injuries that she was airlifted to the local trauma center.

This weekend Maria Cristina Fárez, a 20 year old up and coming triathlete, was hit and killed in Ecuador while on a training ride.

Please pray for these families as all this happened THIS PAST WEEKEND! THIS PAST WEEKEND!

I haven't referenced those who have already lost their lives this spring. The list is incredibly upsetting and long.

As a triathlete, I pledge to ride legally and respectfully and to share the road with you as you drive your car, walk your pet or enjoy your run. I pledge to run against traffic and be mindful of sharing the road with cars and cyclists. I pledge to open water swim only where it is safe to do so.

As a coach, I pledge to teach my athletes and promote amongst those I interact with, the same guiding principals: share the road when you are training and when you are driving.

I implore you to pledge to pass each and every cyclists and runner (even the selfish ones who aren't sharing the road with you) like you love them. Why? Because someone, somewhere does.

I get that you may not know me and since you don't know me, how can you love me? But you will have to trust me that I'm really quite loveable....

See these people below? They love me. Please don't be the reason I don't get to celebrate the next family event with them.

Join the conversation on Facebook by liking the page. #passthemlikeyoulovethem


Monday, May 11, 2015

Gulf Coast Tri, Race Report

Nah, you didn't miss anything, I didn't race this weekend, but I did go to the race.

It all started a few weeks ago when some friends said they were going for the weekend and would do the sprint then cheer the 70.3, did I want to join? I stated I couldn't go because it was quarter finals for high school lacrosse. After some rolling of the eyes and gentle nudging, I agreed to take the weekend off from lacrosse and get some much (MUCH) needed beach time. To know me, is to know the beach is my happy place.

Here's my objective this time around with Ironman training part deux: Have some life balance. (Proud of me Dad?) This doesn't mean take my training any less seriously, but it does mean work it around life, not work life around it. Step 1: Put travel plans into Training Peaks. Step 2: Pack sunscreen (step 2 works better if you actually use it).

I headed down to Panama City Beach late Thursday night. Stacy was already down there. We compared notes and Friday morning we woke up and went for a ride. Stacy is a very strong triathlete and thankfully, a very good friend. We took off for what was supposed to be a 3:45 hour cruise. My issues, construction, etc and it took much longer. I really need to start identifying what is causing some rides to go well and what is making the others so tough. I'm not one to quit and Stacy isn't one to let me (told you she was a good friend). We kept plugging along. Gas station to gas station. Making friends with the locals. Pictures on top of bridges. Ice cream sandwiches and Subway. But it got done.

I was supposed to then run a 15 minute brick. I'd been texting with Coach much of the morning and sent him a text I was done my ride and I wasn't running. This conversation then happened and the end result...I shuffled for 10 minutes.

The rest of Friday was toes in sand and Corona time. The Gulf was perfectly refreshing, clear and nothing like the last time I saw it on November 1, 2014! We soaked in every moment.

Saturday morning was race day for Stacy and Lane. I had made the decision not to race and as rough as my legs felt that morning, I was very glad I hadn't changed my mind. After getting her transition set up, off we (Stacy, Nadya and I) went to bring some cheer and distraction to the athletes about to begin the 70.3.

I got to see some friends I was looking for and some I didn't know were going to be there.

Off the 70.3ers went in to the water and out they came. After spotting most of who I was looking for, I took off to get my hour run in. I headed out on to the bike course which allowed me to continue cheering. Even better, as I was coming back in, the sprint had started and I got to see Stacy and Lane, even if Lane tried to run me down! I did some math and realized that they both would be coming back before I could possibly finish my run (it was a 9 mile ride) so I kept an eye out for them and was able to grab a picture of Stacy and give Lane a high-5 as he went by.

Back to the finish line and I got to cheer them both in while hanging out with IRonMan and his awesome daughter. A nice leisurely breakfast and it was time to hit the run course of the 70.3.
She didn't come close to eating half of it!
Good lord it had gotten hot! The athletes that finished this race are all amazing no matter what their time was. We got to see lots of friends on the course and motivate lots of new friends! Cheering at races is becoming more fun than racing them. I have Stacy to thank for introducing me to this.
My friend Karen is amazing!
One gentleman asked me if we were angels, fairies, or what? I told him we were whatever he needed us to be at that moment! I explained that we just want to provide some motivation, encouragement and maybe even a bit of a distraction to help the triathletes finish up their race strong.

After the race, more beach time. Seriously, it doesn't get better than this. It was very tough to come home. I really wanted to stay and just be a squatter. I wonder if anyone would have noticed...

Sunday morning Lane and I took off for a nice leisurely 90 minute ride down Front Beach Road. We chatted the entire time and then stopped at Publix on the way back. I could have ridden all day.

Breakfast and then my first OWS (open water swim) of the season. Just like the ride on Friday, Stacy would pull ahead of me and at given intervals would either swim back or wait for me to catch up. Lanes bounced between staying with Stacy and staying with me. The water was so clear we could see straight to the bottom. Which was awesome and terrifying. As we were swimming a shadow caught my eye. I looked over and there was a school of about 8-10 fish that were each at least a foot long just swimming along. I grabbed Lane's arm. He asked if it was cool or terrifying, I said yes! A moment later, the fish caught up to Stacy. She picked her head up and started yelling at us... We laughed and said we saw them too. We agreed it was much cooler after they were gone.

All in all, a great weekend of beach time, friend time, and tri time!
Allie, Sally, and Lane :) :) :)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Second One...So Different Than the First

I'm just about 5 months out from my second Ironman race. And it feels weird. Things are so different this year. I'm working with a different coach who writes different workouts and it's my second not my first. It will be Louisville, KY not Panama City Beach, FL so the bikes are very different. I'm not having anxiety about the swim this year, now it's the bike.

Nadya took this picture before we started our ride on Saturday.
I think my coach is trying to turn me into a cyclist whether I like it or not. Yesterday was a 3 hour ride, today 3.5. I feel like I'm starting over on my bike and it feels like everyone else has been riding all winter. This weekend, I did something else that's new to me and took me very far from my comfort zone: I rode alone.

Before all of you who love me jump down my throat for riding alone, let me explain I rode a route I rode with others a few weeks ago AND it is a highly traveled cycling route. Both days I knew many people who were in the area riding, just not with me.

This is my dilemma for riding friends (and I do have a couple) don't ride my pace. Faster or slower, it doesn't matter, it would impact one of our workouts. I put on my big girl panties and took to the road. Today I rode alongside of a galloping deer for a little bit.

Yesterday was good, but today particularly, cars were super friendly. I'm not a swift climber and one probably had to come to a stop as they waited for me to climb a hill on a bend in the road. AND when I finally crested and they could see around, then they passed me.

If you read this and are not a cyclist, read my friend Meghan's blog from last year. And if you are a cyclist, read her blog and make sure you know your responsibilities on the road too. We all need to share the road.

It's been a tough start to the tri season. Lots of lacrosse games this season. I ended up doing games in SC, NC, TN, KY, GA and AL. Good thing cars are meant for driving and I'm liking my CX5. He and I have put about 27k miles on him and he's not a year old for 2 more months.

Things are amazing with Ironwilled: Women Who Tri. It is now an official USAT Tri Club and an Ironman Club. We are ordering custom kits that Moonlit Creative designed... Ah-MAZ-ing! Turned out there were many women without a local club to belong too. I'm glad they've found a home.
Can't wait to wear this kit for Lake Logan and Louisville!
And finally, we all know my weight is a constant battle for me. Well, it's up. And I get weight is just your body's relation with the gravitational pull, what-ev-er... my clothes don't fit. I'm the only person I know who can keep the schedule I keep and GAIN 10 pounds... what the hell! I went to the doc and she altered my thyroid meds a little. I went shopping today for new clothes, it wasn't enjoyable. A good friend reinforced what I already now, I need to journal my food. I might not be eating enough. Not enough and gain? That makes no sense to me.

5 months out to Louisville. I've been sick all week (like took 2 sick days and gave up two days of lacrosse sick) and am finally feeling better. Submitting my exam this week for my USAT Level 1 Coaching. Getting my USMS Level 1 and 2 Coaching in June. Starting a youth tri club. Still working my day job. And no dates to report on.. must be 'cause I cut my hair....