For him.

Today is our anniversary of many years together and also Father's Day!  These two holidays happen on the exact same day every so often, and we really never get to celebrate properly.  Twice I think our anniversary has actually landed on IM Cd'A as well, when Greg was competing.  This time, it was a day beginning at 7 am to volunteer for our triathlon club's kids' triathlon until noon, and then preparing our home and a dinner for our fathers to celebrate their special day.  But, I still want to be a little mushy and just share a bit about my amazing husband, and the real dad of my daughter, Lyara...
I met Greg a really long time ago, when I was living an entirely different, sad life.  I had recently left a very physically abusive man, I was putting myself through college and raising my 4 year old daughter.  Greg was the brother-in-law of one of my closest friends, and attending the same college I was tutoring at.  Long story short, I eventually ended up working with Greg at college and one day he asked Lyara and I out to watch a kids' movie with him.  We went, and we never stopped seeing Greg after that first date.
 Dating me wasn't easy.  I came with relationship wounds; a small child; high expectations for a completely different, better life; tough skin and, well; lots of clothes.  Greg did not disappoint us.  He let me heal, tried to help and left me alone to do what I needed to do, when I needed that.  He fought hundreds of hard fights with my ex and ended up wounded himself sometimes.  He never. once. gave. up.  Never said he couldn't take any more and that we just weren't worth it.  Ya, he's THAT kinda man.
After 3 years of dating, loving on me and Lyara, Greg asked me to marry him.  Of course, you know I said yes :).   We had a spectacular wedding and then he wisked me off to an outrageous honeymoon in London. 
Twelve years later, I have more respect and love for Greg than ever.  He's a helluva husband and the best damn dad my daughter could have. We're nearly "empty-nesters" and enjoying the newlywed kinda life we didn't exactly have in the beginning, and having a blast!  Happy Anniversary and Happy Father's Day, my love.

The biggest little race.

Yesterday was the 27th annual Trailblazer Triathlon in Medical Lake.  I have raced there at least a dozen times, since it is basically the same race venue for three local sprint races each season.  Trailblazer is a unique race in many ways...it's part of a weekend of celebrations for Founder's Day in "downtown" M.L. where they also hold a three on three b-ball tourney, a parade, softball tournaments and probably an oiled pig contest as well ;).  The race begins at 2 PM, (which totally explains where Boise 70.3 got the idea ;).  The swim begins across the lake from the transition area, so you can either ride over in the back of a pick-up truck or swim the 400 yards across for your warm-up.  After the race, you can find your results posted on a two by four, then once you've figured out your placing, and if you made the podium, you go to the tent and ask for your awards medal and t-shirt.  It seems to host a very large participant turnout for a local sprint.  Even though it's quirky, it is also hugely popular and competitive, the biggest little race.

Our weather has been disgusting lately, providing us with a crap ratio of 1 warm, sunny day for about every 5 rainy, cold days.  We were lucky to feel our first 80 degree day in two full months for the race, which is totally awesome when your race begins at 2 in the afternoon and you haven't trained in any heat yet!  No reason to dwell on the details though.  A race is a race is a race and we're all in it together.

The 400 yard swim warm-up across the lake was fun to do with all our teammates, but we underestimated the time it would take us to get there.  We ended up wading in seaweed for about 15 minutes while we waited for the bullhorn to sound, signaling the race start.  It's a mass start and a straight line (if you can swim straight) to the exit ramp on the other side.  I swam in the middle of the mass, exiting the water with five other people at the same time, on a ramp built for one in about 7:45.

T1 was...eventful!  Although I feel my racing is progressing so far this season, I think my transitions are taking a landslide backwards.  I forgot to get my wetsuit pulled beneath my buns before I sat down to pull it off, then put my aero helmet on sideways with a side strap caught under the ear guard, making it nearly impossible to put on my sunglasses and then I knocked over the bike rack as I exited!  All of this in front of several friends, video cameras and spectators, no less. 

Despite having ridden this course many times, I still remember it as a "flat" course.  But, it is not flat, it's rather windy, rolling hilly, and like the wind changed directions, AGAINST us every time we changed our riding direction.  Anyway, I felt like I was sucking on the bike the whole time, but I think I was just working hard instead.  12.1 miles in 38 minutes even.

T2 was luckily less eventful, even though I did sorta forget which way to head out on the run.  Lucky for me, my BFF Dave told me which way was which and off I went.  Since I am such a lousy swimmer, I usually do the passing on the bike and the run, and very seldom get passed, but not today.  I really felt like crap for the first 2 miles of 3, and unfortunately got passed by some gazelle in my age group.  Big bummer.   However, after rounding the turn at the east end of the lake, I started to feel like I could breathe again and was able to hold my own.  2.9 miles in 22:10. 

Our triathlon club, Tri Fusion, showed up and enjoyed this race!  We had two mixed, fast teams racing each other (for funsies :) that placed 1st and 2nd, and several individual participants that placed in the top 10 overall, along with many supporting, photo and video taking teammies too.  Although I don't feel I performed my best (although I did try), I sure had a ton of fun before and after the race, getting to spend time with some of my favorite people doing something we all love to do.

One of my very talented teammates has been treating us like celebrities lately.  Dave has created a three part video of the Trailblazer Triathlon, featuring us!  I think I made the links to each of his videos work, try them out!  Thanks, Dave. Videos: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


Tri Fusion's Radiant Lake Triathlon

Quick and dirty...

Our multi-sport club, Tri Fusion sponsored the inaugural Radiant Lake Triathlon that was held on Sunday.  Amidst such a fun atmosphere, eccentric race venue, fabulous teammates competing and supporting, alongside some serious competition made this triathlon easy to enjoy!

Merissa and I pre-swim. Breathe in, breathe out.
1/2 mile swim = 20 minutes.  Good?  Eh, no idea!  I don't know the last time I raced an 1/2 mile swim.  Nothing to be proud of for sure, but I didn't drown either ;).

 Coming in from the bike.
13.9 mile bike = 42:36  Good?  Ya, I'll take it.  I pedaled hard enough to keep my HR in zones high 5 to low 6.  Right where I belonged.

Adjusting my number as I approach the finish.
3.1 mile run = 23:30  Good?  Sure.  Possibly the exact same time I ran last week at Iron Eagle tri.  Cheers for consistency, I guess.  Although I'd love to run faster.
Debriefing with my husband and sister-in-law.
Race Results = 1st in my AG and 4th OA woman.  Good?  Not bad.
No, I was not at a ski resort.  I just look like it :).  Podium.
Congratulations to all my Tri Fusion teammates: Greg (my man), Craig, Rene, Dave, Kurt, Eric(s), Cameron, Merissa and Jessi for workin' it at the race and making us look so GOOOOOOD!

A Lesson Learned.

Last Thursday I rode my bike to Deer Park and back, which is a routine route that I ride.  Usually, I have the pleasure of riding with my speedy friend, Tiffany.  However, she had a prior engagement and wasn't able to ride along.  So off I went, happy to be out in the beautiful evening sunshine.  About 15 minutes into my ride, I stopped at an intersection to wait for traffic to pass.  I unclipped both shoes, took a drink of water and set off again.  Stupidly, I didn't get my left shoe re-clipped on the pedal, lost my balance and took a spill.  My right shoe stayed clipped in, my bike fell on top of me, I got a bit scratched up, swore a little and moved on to finish a 2 hour ride.  When I got home, I  cleaned up and noticed some light bruises were appearing on both sides of my right knee, along with the scratches I already knew about.  Finally, although I didn't locate a bruise on my hip until Saturday, my right hip was stinging like crazy.  Fortunately, no serious injuries to worry about.
Fast forward to Sunday's Radiant Lake triathlon.  I hadn't really been on my bike since Thursday, but I did continue to ride 1:45 after I wrecked it that night.  So it seemed good to go for the race, especially since Greg (thank you, sweetheart) had changed my wheels and generally looked it over for me.  HOWEVER, at the race, about mile #2 of 14 of the bike leg, I heard an odd clicking noise and then my right bike shoe shot forward off my pedal!  With trepidation, I regained my composure and was able to "click" back into the pedal.  But when I did, it felt all floaty and not properly clicked in.  Kept riding albeit a tad gingerly.  About once a mile, my shoe would unclip and shoot out in front of me, I'd reclip and carry on.  I literally prayed every single time my shoe unclipped, "Please God, let me finish this ride before my shoe breaks completely."  At around mile 10, as my shoe floated out to the right, I saw that my cleat was all but disconnected from the shoe and out shot my shoe again!  So I made a plan...I convinced myself if my cleat broke off, I'd simply take off my shoe, pocket it and ride with my foot on my Speedplay pedal.  Why not, I only had less than 4 miles to go?  Luckily, the cleat held and I made it safely into T2.  As I rolled my bike into transition, a race volunteer asked me how the ride went.  I told him about my shoe.  While I was changing into my racing flats, he inspected the shoe.  We found that three of the four screws that SHOULD hold my cleat on my shoe, were actually missing!!!  My cleat was holding on by one screw.  This explained the floaty feeling, the disconnection of my shoe to pedal, the clicking sound I heard a few times while riding and the reason I kept coming unclipped.
This is not a post to make excuses of why I could have ridden faster or any other kind of excuse.  This is to say that I really, really should have checked all of my equipment before I raced on Sunday.  After falling over on my bike, while remaining clipped in, I might have suspected all was not well.  This was an important lesson to learn.  One I hope I don't have to keep re-learning through my own stupid mistakes!


Iron Eagle Sprint Tri

Sunday I competed in the Iron Eagle sprint triathlon in Cheney, WA.  This race was my very first triathlon back in 1998, when I took the "triathlon training" course at EWU and then raced at the Iron Eagle for the final exam.  I have fond memories of the race and the race director is an old friend of ours.  Since 1998, I have raced there at least 4 times and always enjoy it. Afterward anyway :).  I was fortunate this year to race with my husband, some teammates, Rene, Merissa and Dave and watch my brother-in-law finish his first triathlon eva.  Yay, Gary!
 Thank you to Trish & John for taking the great pictures at the race & counting my laps!
The swim is 500 meters and is in a pool.  Not my favorite choice to race in, but I thought it would at least allow me to measure my swim progress by comparing it with the 500 yards I timed myself doing a month ago.  Because of course, I didn't remember that EWU's is a meter pool, instead of Whitworth's yard pool.  Whitworth is where I swim Monday through Friday, and also where I timed my 500 at the end of April.  Needless to say, I shouldn't have asked my friends Trish and John during the run, what my swim time was.  Carry on though, right?  Later I would find out my swim was an 1:10 improvement over the 500 pool swim I raced last year and a mere two seconds faster than a month ago. 
 After making it safely into the field house, I put on my new (to me) aero helmet (Thanks Greggy!!!), race belt and shoes.  I managed to screw around in T1 trying to put gloves on wet fingers, to eventually give up the cause.  Unlucky for me, this was captured on film and can be viewed on Dave's blog.
I know I need a more aggressive fit.
Iron Eagle's bike portion is an out and back, relatively flat course that takes you headlong into the wind and provides a pretty solid tailwind back.  I pushed myself hard on this bike ride, never worried about the effect pedaling my legs off might have on the forthcoming run.  I ended up completing the 10 miles ride in 32 minutes.

T2 went much more smoothly, as I just had to take off my helmet, change my shoes and grab my visor to put on while running upwards.
The run starts out going straight up a dirt hill and out the main road from the college.  This year, the wind was at my back going out and eventually downhill, and forcefully and unfortunately inmyface running back uphill and the down to the finish.  Whatever the elements were, I ran as fast as my legs would carry me for 3.1 miles and finished the run in about 23 minutes.
The scenery wasn't too shabby, especially if you like farmland.
After doing the sprint entirely on feel, because my Polar is dead ...we didn't get any results when the race ended!  The Iron Eagle is raced in waves and I was in wave #3.  The director and his crew don't take splits and provide a somewhat shaky approximate finish time.  There is one gal sitting on a rock at the finish line, who asked me for my race number a short time after I crossed the finish line.  Yes, this race is VERY low key!  I know that no one in my wave passed me and that all the women were behind me during the race.  However, I don't know my "official" overall time or placement.  The only reason I know my splits is because I have fantastic friends that timed my swim and run, and I caught my bike time on my computer. 

Finally though, despite not having a lot of precise data I am fine with my performance.  And I know that I have many other "tests" of fitness in store for me throughout the season.