Tag Archives: triathlon

Am I or was I?

Bike ride to the Hollywood Sign

Riding to the Hollywood Sign. Photo by Sarah Douglass

I realized tonight that I haven’t done a triathlon in over a year. I understand why I didn’t do any this past season, but I still feel a little twinge of — I don’t know… guilt? — at calling myself a triathlete at this point, seeing that I’ve got nothing on my race calendar for the next season.  I also haven’t signed up for any foot races in the same time frame. That seems like a long time to not participate in any competitive benchmarking. How much more time will I let pass before I sign up for something? At what point will I not be accurately able to call myself a triathlete?

I hope never.

Is it really March already?

The bottom line is that I didn’t sign up for the Malibu Triathlon last week, but it’s okay because I know there will be other races in my future.

February really is a short month! March snuck up on me quite like a ninja even through I was fully expecting it. In the last month I’ve recharged and reconnected with a few friends and explored some online territories. I joined  Quora and also made Foursquare my geolocation app of choice since BriteKite went away last year. Other services and apps on their way out are Stickam and Posterous.

This week I am ready to dive in to learning more about a couple more social media tools that I’ve not yet explored. Or at least I will as soon as I can find a username I like that’s not already taken. [/geek problems]

Falling into the new season

Nautica Malibu Triathlon (Classic) bike leg

Photo courtesy Andrea K. on Sept 16, 2012

A couple of highlights of my summer.

Nautica Malibu Triathlon is now completed. I managed a PR by 3 minutes and 39 seconds on the bike compared to last year. I’m in the best shape of my life right now, so I may as well do as many races as I can in the next month! Half-kidding about that.

Delving back into the music world, I decided to audition this year for the employee choir’s annual Candlelight Ceremony Performance in December. My dates to come soon as I’m not singing all 20(!) nights. I’m very excited about this. It’s sure to be an awesome experience.

Anything else? Oh yes. The 6th annual LA Chocolate Salon is happening today.

Hello, Fall.

Update 11/10/12: My Candlelight performance dates are Dec 8 – 9, 13, 15 – 16. Showtimes are 5:30pm and 7:30pm.

Fall starts with a true tri finish

After a small blogging hiatus I’m back. I’m now done with tri season– or am I? To keep from falling into triathlon world withdrawal like I did last year around this time, I’m ready to incorporate some non-tri exercise fun and other activities into my life. But before I wander down that new road, here’s my experience of completing the Nautica Malibu Tri Classic. I finished just under my goal time of 2:15 at 2:14:17.

Overall it was a great experience for me. The best part is remembering that SEVEN years ago I woke up at an unspeakable hour to voluntEAR at this very event. I helped corral the triathletes and as a bonus I got to gawk at a certain celebrity all I wanted– Let’s just call him… Mulder.  I also remember looking at all of the racers running into the Pacific Ocean like loonies on a crazy mission and watching in bemused amazement bemazement, thinking I’d never do something like that. I couldn’t observe the bike portion from where I was volunteering but I saw runners finish the third leg, crossing the finish line in triumph.

This year I got to be on the other side of that finish line. I left my house at 3:30 AM. Just after 5:00 AM I arrived at Zuma Beach after receiving multiple phone calls warning me of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) early morning shut down— from people awake at that hour and so thoughtful about checking on my whereabouts to make sure I would arrive okay.

I arrived and made the nearly 1 mile trek to the transition area with my gear and bike where I met up with my teammates and supporters. The beach was eventually packed with people and we paused for the national anthem sung by Sheena Easton. I saw other celebrities but didn’t know who most were as I don’t watch much tv, but I did recognize Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein) and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) from NBC’s The Office. Who knew they did triathlons?

The start of the race went swimmingly thanks to the tri team practices held most weekends this summer. Wish I had a more decent swim visual to share, but the official photo I have as proof of a great post swim to transition came out with me photo-bombed out of my only swim photo by a guy’s arm. Lovely. Well, at least it was a great swim! My best official one yet at 22 minutes 37 seconds. Perfect water temperature, perfect wave conditions, and no water unexpectedly inhaled. The majority of my other photos are from my bike leg.

The photos are no longer showing up, but my favorite bike photo was likely taken near the entrance of the parking lot 1.3 miles into my 1 hour and 04 minute spin up and down the rolling hills of PCH. I may look relatively comfy here, but last year when I tried clipless pedals for the first time, just sitting on a bike with a seat higher than the handlebars was scary. My feet can’t reach the ground from the seated position. And my shoes are clipped into the bike pedals. I’m used to riding this way now so it’s more fun than scary.

Know what else is fun? A photo of me levitating across the finish line. My run was slower than normal but not unexpected as I used most of my legs’ energy reserves to power up the hills on the bike. I did the tired leg shuffle for at least the first mile, knowing I could run it faster had I slowed down on my bike, but I still finished right on my base pace of 10 min/ mile for a 4 mile run so I’m happy about my overall time.

Again, a huge thanks to all the good people who supported me this summer in this endeavor, financially, personally, and virtually. You all rock!

Three more days!

3 more days!

It’s almost that time again. I’ve been getting quite a few “Are you ready?” questions this week. My answer is I am as ready now as I’m going to be Sunday.

If I were to take a ballpark guess at how long it’ll take me to swim 1/2 mile, bike 18 miles, and then run 4 miles– 22.5 miles total, I’d say 30 minutes for the swim and t1, 1 hour 8 minutes for the bike and t2, and 37 minutes for the run: 2 hours and 15 minutes.

I am not nervous (yet). I haven’t felt any certain way about this weekend aside from excitement. I’ve found it tough to envision past Wednesday of this week. Now it’s Friday and here I am with registration packet in hand and I’m expecting a familiar bought of race-induced insomnia over the next two nights. I have absolutely no plans on Sunday from 1:30PM-6:30 AM on Monday except to recover from the long, sleep-deprived drive back home. None of my non-tri team friends nor my family will be attending this time due to logistical difficulty, but I know they’re supportive of my efforts, no matter what and so I’ll just do my best and have fun with no extra pressure.

Strawberry Fields Triathlon: The Recap

Strawberry Fields ExpoI drove to Oxnard July 16 (Carmageddon weekend) with absolutely no traffic. This was amazing considering all the traffic warnings and delay notices. I arrived at Strawberry Fields Triathlon’s expo area before noon and spent the afternoon after grabbing my registration packet hanging out in my tri group’s booth and walking around the expo.

The booths are visible in the distant background of the photo above.

The expo had everything that I’d bought over the course of my last few triathlons and more. It’s good to know that the racing world will never lack a supply of racing belts — that elastic belt you attach your bib number to — or packets of sweet-tasting energy gels. I made sure to visit the sand and watch the waves and walk around the transition area before I went to my hotel.

Below is a view of the bike out area. It was a pretty long stretch of grass that we were expected to roll  our bikes along to the street and not ride them. Probably for the best. I wouldn’t want to try to clip in to my pedals on grass in a race. More photos are on my Flickr account if you click through on right side of the blog (Flickr Photos).
future bike lane

Heading back to my room, I did the usual Italian food carbo load– but it was a comfort food meal for me more than anything. Next I stayed up way too late and at some point I knew I had to shut my eyes and sleep so I did. I got up a few hours later and checked out of my hotel at 4:45 AM and drove to the triathlon area, arriving early enough to snag covered parking at the nearby Embassy Suites Resort.

I’d done this race before so I was fairly confident that I’d be able to beat my previous time. The weather and water conditions were touted as perfect. The plan was to beat my swim time and the other legs of the race by about 3:20 each. My execution of said plan was sub par. I was on the sand, ready to go with my start wave and when the megaphone beep sounded, off I went toward the Pacific. Getting past the wave break was fine, but as soon as I started really swimming toward the first buoy I looked straight ahead to sight where it was, turning my head into an oncoming swell and… inhaled. EPIC FAIL.

For the rest of the swim I couldn’t recover well enough to get a full breath of air into my lungs. I was wheezy and ended up resting twice for a few minutes trying to cough out the water on two different lifeguard surfboards before deciding I had been in the water long enough and made myself power swim freestyle into shore with what little lung capacity I had left. I wasn’t the very last one in the ocean, but I knew I was well behind my start wave by that point.

When I reached the transition area about 1/4 mile away from the water I was pretty ready to vomit. I pulled off my wetsuit and sat down until the nausea passed and changed into my bike gear. Fortunately that leg went much more smoothly and I recovered enough to beat my bike time from last year by 1 minute 18 seconds. For the run, I was a little out of it and ran the slowest I’ve ever run in an official race. Oddly enough today I ran 4 miles, walking a little to cross a small stream both there and back, and finished within a minute of the time it took me to run 3.1 miles on that race day.

I finished the triathlon. That’s what was most important. I was exhausted afterward and bummed that not only did I not beat my time by 10 minutes, I came in about 20 minutes slower. I still enjoyed my weekend there and cheered on my teammates who came across the finish line getting top places in their entry categories. I have to do this race again next year to prove that this year’s results really were a “fluke” even though my downfall was likely due to not setting foot in the ocean in about 8 months before race day. Lesson learned!

Post Race Plans

Since then I’ve been at the beach to do an ocean swim an average of once a week. Last week I had a much better swim but the water was freezing. Today it was warmer, but choppy with significant swells. I swam in to shore before I reached the 2nd buoy, upon the lifeguard’s rec, where I promptly got the front-load washing machine treatment with one wave that I saw coming as I exited. I had new goggles and was curious to see where I’d end up after the wave passed. I remained calm through the tumble until my head popped up through the surface and I saw the remnants of the wave’s white fizz dissipate before my confused eyes. I was still facing the shore, but my net distance gain toward shore was zero. I paddled some more until I stood waist high and trudged in.  At long last another ocean swim was completed.

There are only 6 weeks until Nautica Malibu, and I’m running my very first half-marathon in just over 4 weeks. I’ll likely run a few 10k distances and a 10 miler at some point before then. Maybe it’s just me but even 10 miles seems like a long run, let alone 13.1 miles. I know lots of people who have done the Disneyland Half and enjoyed the race so here’s to me trying something (else) new, hopefully with no Charley Horse(s) dragging me sharply awake and in pain the next day. If you have any half-marathon training tips, please leave in a comment.

It’s go time

bike rack

Stopped by the tri expo today in Oxnard. Tomorrow, Strawberry Fields Tri, here I come!

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