Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Long(ish) Run Adventure, sort of

Today I had a longish run on tap.  Kel, who is building up for Rev3Tri Cedar Point FullRev (Go, KEL!!!) went out for a long bike this morning, so I decided I would head out early afternoon for my run.  Of course, right about when I decided to go the thunder rolled in and it started raining.  It was also super hot!!  AND my head was hurting.

It was almost like I was trying to convince myself not to go.  I even tweeted about it, but after a few minutes I decided I was just being a baby.  I waited for the thunder to move off in the distance, and while I did that I mapped out one my favorite run routes to see if it would be the right length for my time.  It was PERFECT, so I headed out in the light drizzle looking forward to some time to myself.

We live in a pretty big development and my runs almost always take me past the golf course.  Just past the golf course there is a dirt mound, affectionately known as "the hump" at our house, that connects to Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area which is a great place to run because you can run on roads or trails, it's super shady and just beautiful.  I usually go "over the hump" on most of my long runs as does Kel.

Well, today I went over the hump and about 50 yards ahead there is a little dirt parking area.  I saw a man standing there facing the road with no shirt on, which I thought was a little odd, but I guessed he was just enjoying the cool rain.  I went a few more steps and then realized he was enjoying a little more then the rain...he was, ummm, enjoying himself!!!

I know!!!

My first instinct was to yell at him, but I quickly thought better of that and just did a 180 and went right back over the hump.  I hadn't even run a mile at that point, and was so shocked and annoyed I didn't even know what to think.  Then I realized my whole route was messed up because there is no way to get where I wanted to go in the time that I had unless I went over the hump!

(Let me just say at this juncture, that the more I think about this the angrier I get.  We take our kids bike riding over there all the time.  I can only imagine the questions we would get if our boys had seen that!  Another point is that this area is regularly patrolled by police and park rangers!  I can't even believe this guy was just standing right out in the open!)

After I got my wits about me, the sun came out and it got super steamy, so I decided I would run on the shadiest roads in my neighborhood.  It turned out to be an interesting run, because I ran on roads I wouldn't have normally gone on.

It turned out to be a pretty good run, but I feel like my eyes have been tortured by the view today.  Hopefully I will be able to sleep!!!

On another note, we had a wonderful family weekend after a busy week.  I got a last minute call to play with the Buffalo Philharmonic on Wednesday and Thursday, so I was in the car a lot those two days.   Totally worth it, but I was exhausted come Friday.  As I got up at 5 a.m. on Saturday, I definitely took note of the irony of getting up earlier on the weekends for training.  Ah, the life of a triathlete.

We finally got around to celebrating Mr. Noah's 5th birthday officially with an awesome Spiderman/Batman cake (he couldn't decide) down at my in-law's camp on Cayuga Lake.  He was a happy camper for sure.

I can't believe he is 5 already.  He is really becoming such a wonderful little soul.  While I was on the trainer in the garage on Friday, he danced in the rain for my entertainment.

Isn't he just the cutest?

I hope you have a wonderful week and keep your eyes open on your next long never know what you might wish you hadn't seen!!

Happy training!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Do's and Don'ts of Ironman Spectating...with kids in tow

Kel and I made a spontaneous decision last week to head to the hills and watch Ironman Lake Placid yesterday.  I called around and found a campsite that we could pitch a tent on, we packed the car and we were off.  I think both of us were hoping it would be a fun weekend for the boys as well as for us, and it was...mostly.

However, I did learn some lessons that I thought you might benefit from.

Do make sure you have some fun activities built into the weekend for your kids to enjoy and remember.  For ours playing with fire seemed a good choice...

Don't expect your children to fall asleep easily when sleeping in a tent...with people yelling and having fun outside...and fireworks going off in the distance.

Do make a plan for getting to the race site that involves knowing where to park and where the best sites for spectating each event are.

Don't be disappointed if you miss the race start because your husband declared it would be a very bad idea to wake your children, who didn't get to sleep until well after 10 p.m., up at 5 a.m.

Do try to schedule in some flexibility to your day so the kids don't get crazy bored and begin sliding down a sloped concrete wall and rip their brand new shorts to shreds because you are busy watching the start of the 2nd loop of the bike.

Don't expect your children to be impressed with Ironman athletes, bikes or anything having to do with the race, and especially don't think that having a cow bell will change how they feel about cheering.

Do bring an entire backpack full of snacks and treats including lollipops to bribe your children with throughout the day.

Don't expect the snacks in your backpack to be enough to support said bribing.

Do bring lots of cash to buy popsicles and cotton candy and t-shirts and other crap to keep your children from having a total meltdown.

Don't try to wait for one more person you know to go by instead of getting some lunch for your children.

Do take breaks from the race action to explore the town and go into gift shops where your children will want something completely impractical and then melt down in front of other spectators because they aren't getting it.

Don't think that you are the only parents that struggle with your children on race day.

Do scout out prime viewing locations that include some sort of grass, shade and either other kids or some sort of dog - the dogs are great. Oh, and a porta-potty close by never hurts.

Don't be afraid to call it a day even though you really didn't get to watch anyone finish because your children have really gone past the point of no return.

Do remember to smile and keep everything in perspective and be glad that you got to see what you did because it is totally inspiring.

Don't forget to indulge your children every now and then and see what they come up with.  Check out Ryan's series of self-portraits shot while waiting for our dinner in Old Forge on the way home.

Do be thankful for every day (and long night) with your children, and know that if you really want to watch the race, leave them with Grandma, but if you want to enjoy your children take them with you.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Musselman Half-Iron Race Report

Okay, so this could be really long, or maybe not.  It really just depends on how hot it is...

Oh, wait a minute, I'm not actually racing anymore, even though I still feel a little bit hot from yesterday!  Anywho, here you go, with just a brief recap of the whole weekend and then the nitty gritty for those of you who like all the deets!!

I rolled into beautiful Geneva on Friday night with a beautiful full moon over the lake to light my way.  I had been able to score a free place to stay right in the middle of all the action thanks to Mark.  Up early on Saturday morning to run the TriSlide TriPit for the sprint tri, which was so much fun.  Basically, Mark and I got to lube everyone up with TriSlide.

Here's Mark preaching the gospel of TriSlide.
We hung around to watch a bit of the sprint race, since we knew quite a few people who were racing.  Here is a pic of the swim start.

I was trying to be super good about resting my legs, eating and hydrating the way I should have been.  I knew it was going to be hot on Sunday, so I was pretty anal about doing what I needed to do for myself to insure I would have a good race.  That meant I had to bug out before the end of the sprint so I could get my carb load meal in before a rehearsal for the Musselman Arts Tri.

Mark and I took the task of the carb-load very seriously.

After a huge breakfast, I shot over to pick up my packet and take a shower, then off to rehearse with the dancers for the concert.  Threw an athlete's meeting in there, and then the concert, with lots of sitting and relaxing in between.  After the concert, I laid around for about an hour and a half in my Recovery Pump and read and dozed before I headed over to the athlete's dinner and over to the race site to check in my bike.  Then it was back to my room to prep for the race and hit the sack as early as I could.  I'm spending a bit of time on this, because I want to point out that what you do before race day has a huge impact on the race itself.  Despite the fact that it was a fairly busy day for me, I really put my race first in all my decisions.  I sat down as much as I could, I made sure I had the meals I needed when I needed them, etc.

This little gem was awaiting me at my transition spot when I checked in my bike.

Race day came early and HOT!  I didn't even need a long sleeve shirt for the early morning, so I knew it was going to be a doozy of a day.  I got to transition with about an hour before it closed, so I calmly loaded my nutrition and got ready.  The whole morning, even right up to the 30 seconds before the start of my wave, was marked with a intense sense of quiet calm for me.  This was my 4th half-iron race, so I wasn't at all fearful about the unknown.  I imagine how I felt is how many seasoned athletes feel before they begin - heavy with what they know will be coming, excited for it to be under way, and confident in their ability to complete it.

I was in the 5th wave, the only all-female wave.  I thought, for some reason, that was a good thing, but I quickly realized that the girls can be just as physical as the boys!  The water was super choppy, with wave coming at us head on until the first turn.  Add that to a lot of bumping into one another and vying for position, and it turned into a pretty tough swim.  After the first turn, I felt like the water cleared a bit, but then we started to run into the slower swimmers from the waves in front of us.  All in all, I swam strong even though my time was not as quick as what I was hoping for.

Swim:  38:05 1:48/100yards

As I got to the boat ramp, a man literally pulled me up to my feet, which was pretty awesome.  I took a second to get my bearings and then booked it to my spot. As I ran through the entrance to transition, I had huge cheers from the Train-This teammates who were volunteering in transition.  I felt like a rock star!  My TYR Cat 5 wetsuit came off without a hitch thanks to my TriSlide, and I was off!!

T1:  1:45

Once I was out on the bike course, I felt super strong.  I was monitoring my heart rate, but racing by feel, and I felt great!  My perceived exertion was much lower than what my HR was showing, so I just went with it.  I didn't even feel hot until about halfway through the 56 mile ride.  I was super strict with my nutrition (EFS Drink and Liquid Shot), but at one of the aid stations I meant to grab a water and ended up with a bottle of Heed.  I wasn't overly concerned because I still had an extra bottle of EFS, so I just mixed the two in my aerobottle.  Well, it didn't taste too good, and then I started burping like crazy.  From now on I guess I will stay away from the Heed and stick with what I know works best for me!!

I had a secret goal of averaging 18 mph on this course, which would be a half-iron PR bike split.  About halfway through I was at 18.6, but I slowly watched that drop as I went through a hilly part of the course.  I knew, though, that there were some more quick parts to come, so I kept my head in the game and just kept pushing.  I did see quite a bit of drafting on the course, which was disappointing, but the course marshals were out in full force and many people received penalties.   All in all, this was the best bike leg of any triathlon that I have ever done.  I had a great time, had very few down moments, felt comfortable but still like I was riding hard, and nailed my nutrition, with exception of the Heed.

Oh, yeah...and I met my secret goal!

Bike: 3:07:47 18.0 mph

I was in and out of T2 thanks to many cheering teammates, and onto the run course feeling nice and strong.

T2:  1:50

I was greeted by Kel and the boys about a quarter of a mile into the run, which was so nice!  Unfortunately, I had the camera, so he wasn't able to get any pictures.  One of the nice things about Musselman is that it is super family friendly.  The run course goes right by a splash park that is in the park, so the boys got to play and Kel had a prime seat to watch the runners. I could tell just into the first mile that it was going to be super hot.  I found out later that it was 95 degrees and there were no clouds!  I made it my priority to load up on everything I could to keep me cool at every aid station.  Ice cold sponges?  I'll take two! Water? Yes, and I'll take another for my head and then another!  Ice? Yes, please, and another for my sports bra which I then ate the ice out of until it melted. Sprinkler to run through?  OH YEAH!

I immediately teamed up with Todd from D.C. and Heather, who I met at Green Lakes Tri in June.  The three of us ran comfortably together, although by mile 4 it was just me and Heather.  We stayed together until the stone hill right before mile 8, when she had to start walking a bit before I was ready to.  Thanks, Heather, for keeping me company!!  I would love to run with you anytime!  It's amazing how the miles tick away when you are with someone.

A little over halfway through as I was going through an aid station, I was focused on getting my cup of ice and my foot rolled down off the road and into the grass, and BAM! I went down.  The poor girl who was about to hand me a cup just yelled, "She fell down!" in a panicked voice.  I just popped right back up, grabbed my ice and kept on moving.  Leave it to me to fall down on the run, at an aid station, no less, so I was actually walking!!  I hit my knee on the road and scraped it up pretty good, so now, in addition to my sponge shoulder pads and ice-enhanced sports bra, I had blood running down my leg.  It actually didn't really hurt, but I have to tell you, I felt pretty hard core!!

Now, I have to tell you, my goal for this race was to go under 6 hours.  At the start of the run I checked my running time and knew it was going to be really close.  As the miles went by I still wasn't sure if I was going to be able to hit it.  By mile 10 I realized that I would have to give it everything I had to even have a shot.  I ran hard.  I was playing leap frog with a woman who would run faster than me than slow to a walk.  At one point she said to me, "Kelly, you know how to dig deep.  Keep it up."  That was the last time I passed her, but I held onto those words.  I know how to dig deep, yes, I do.  From that point on, the only time I slowed was through the last two aid stations.  By mile 12 I realized that my goal was slipping away, but I pushed it anyway.  This picture taken with about a half mile to go pretty much says everything.

I ran hard to the finish and gave it everything I had.

Run:  2:14:12 10:05/mile

Total:  6:03:39

So I didn't make my sub-6, but I still had a PR and by far the best "racing" I have ever done.  My head was in it, and I felt strong.  The heat definitely played a big role in my run time.  I know I have a better half-marathon in me, and am looking forward to testing myself in October at Rev3Tri South Carolina.

Musselman is a great race.  I love the hometown feel and the family focus.  I highly recommend this race to anyone looking for a great half-iron event.  A big thanks to all the volunteers and spectators for cheering and helping!  A big shout out to all of you who left messages for me on Facebook and Twitter!  I know it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it really means a lot to me!  Thanks to Coach Mary who believes in me even more than I believe in myself. Also big thanks to my Team Trakkers sponsors, Kestrel, First Endurance, TriSlide, Recovery Pump, TYR, and All3Sports.  And most importantly, thank you to Kel and my boys, for giving me the support I need to get my training done and cheering for me all the way to the finish line!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Musselman Quickie

Stick a fork in me, I'm done!!  

It was hot.  Very, very hot.  No clouds and 95 degrees hot.

Did I mention it was hot?

I didn't quite meet my goal of sub 6 today, even though I felt strong.  I know I've got it in me though.

Final time:  6:03:39

More details tomorrow...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Gratitude

A couple of Mondays ago was the beginning of the first full week of no school for Ryan, so I called it the first "official" day of summer.

It was terrible.

The boys were at each other all day.  I was grumpy.  They ended up spending lots of alone time up in their rooms, and despite that I still got nothing done and was in a bad mood when Kel got home.  I decided right then and there that I could absolutely not spend the summer like that.

I thought about what I would do to help myself enjoy the summer and everything it brings.  Here in upstate New York, summer is brief but beautiful, and I wanted to be sure to fully hold onto every good thing about it.  So I created a morning ritual I have named Summer Gratitude.

Each morning, I think of one thing I love about summer.  One thing that only happens in the summer time.  They are simple things, like waking up to a window full of green leaves with the sunlight streaming through, or enjoying a cold glass of iced coffee on my back deck.

I've been posting my daily thoughts of gratitude on Twitter and Facebook.  I'd love to hear what all of you are grateful for this summer too!  Join the conversation by following me on Twitter (@TrimommyKelly or follow #SummerGratitude) or become a fan of My Life as a Trimommy on Facebook.

One thing I'm positive of is that we can create more positive thoughts by being thankful for the small things!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Sunday Report

One week until Musselman!!!  I'm getting super excited.  I rode the course with Mark on Friday, and we were lucky enough to meet two cyclists out on the course that totally pushed us!  It was kind of funny, because Mark and I both showed up in our Trakkers kits (not planned) and our Kestrel 4000s and then we met Jen and Michael in their matching kits and bikes! I don't think I have ever ridden so hard!  I was doing all I could to stay on the back of that train!

Thanks Jen and Michael!!

Sweaty me and Mark.

This was my last big week...I'm officially in taper mode!  I even have a day off tomorrow.  I plan on sleeping late, playing with the boys, getting some shopping done, and laying low.

Here are the numbers:

Swim:  1h 13m 3900 yds
Bike:  6h 19m 37s 107.59 mi
Run:  3h 15m 2s 19.26 mi

Total:  10h 47m 38s

Personally, I have had a tough week.  Do you ever go through certain times in your life when you just don't feel like you are where you should be?  Very vague and cryptic, I know, but that is not because I'm trying to be that way, but because it is shadowy even to me.  I've just been feeling a little blah about my parenting and about my kids and about my house.  I think I need to do a deep clean in more ways than one.  I'll start with picking up all the crap and the toys off the floor of my house, and then maybe I'll be able to see the problems a little more clearly.

Needless to say, I realize we all have moments like this, and I know they come for a reason, and I have faith that once I'm on the other side I will definitely be wiser.

Have a wonderful week!  Happy training!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

No, it's definitely not Sunday

How did it get to be Tuesday? and July?  My usual reports are late, late, late, and my only excuse is that I've been busy doing my trimommy thing!  I guess that is a pretty good excuse.

Along with training the past week, I've been trying to make summer fun for the boys, and have also been playing quite a bit with Symphony Syracuse.  I also have some upcoming performances that have prompted me to actually practice!!  I also ate a few too many treats and ended up not liking the scale this morning at all!!

Whenever I weigh myself and I don't like it, I try to move the scale to a different spot in the desperate hope that it was hardly every is!  Don't you just love my optimism, though?  So, with less than two weeks until Musselman Half, I will tighten up my eating a lot - no treats (well, not too many treats) and really paying close attention to hydration, training and recovery fueling.

My training is going really well.  I'm feeling very hopeful and confident going into the race.  I've had some great runs the past few weeks, which is doing a lot to boost my confidence in my run fitness, which is where I was most nervous just a month ago.

Here are my numbers from last week:

Swim:  2h 7m 6400 yds
Bike: 6h 35m 39s 112.20 mi
Run:  2h 29m 23s 15.51 mi
Strength:  30m

Total:  11h 42m 02s

...and my numbers for June:

Swim: 12.14h  33780yds ~ 19.2 mi
Bike: 23.49h 373.6 mi
Run:  12.27h 71.02mi

Total:  47h 54m

On another note, I received some interesting news this week that opened up a lot of possibilities for me in regards to triathlon.  I'm not going to go into it just yet, but suffice it to say, I have a lot to think about.  I'm nervous, but excited at the same time.  It will certainly be interesting to see how everything plays out.  It is times like this that I find if I just flow with things and approach them with great faith, the right decision becomes very clear!!

Have a wonderful week!