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Archive for the ‘triathlons’ Category

I’ve never thought of myself as an athlete. I’ve always been a slow, somewhat sluggish, full-figured sort of gal. But I started doing triathlons a couple years ago and I suppose that means I’m an athlete now, no matter how slow, sluggish, or full-figured I may be. I’m not one of those triathletes who eats healthy and is all fit and fast and never gets out of breath. I’m one of those barely-walk-across-the-finish-line-but-feel-triumphant-anyway sorts of triathletes. And I love it.

I stopped biking and swimming right after the last tri in Sept, while continuing an occasional running schedule (in fact, getting worse and worse with each occasional run). We’ve been to Hawaii, Ethiopia, St. Louis, Chicago, San Diego and Las Vegas. Needless to say, I’ve fallen a little behind with my training, and I’ve eaten everything I could get my grubby little hands on. And can I tell you, it is more than a little depressing when you go from being able to run 5 miles to being able to barely run two. Ok, I said I was an athlete, not that I was a good one.

The the fun thing about triathlons is that you work, and sweat and strive and succeed… and then the tri happens and it’s like hitting the restart button. And if you try harder, maybe you can do better next time. The next tri I’m planning on is the Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon at the end of May. It’s a great course that Sean and I have done before, and I am aiming to kick my previous time’s ass. Which shouldn’t be too hard, considering I came in dead last in my age group.

Well, this week was a good start to my journey to the next tri – 3 runs, a bike and a swim. The runs were short intervals : 2min walk (4mph)/2min run( 6mph). Times 5. Which is a lot worse than I used to do, but you gotta (re)start somewhere. For the bike (my first time in the saddle since October!) Sean and I biked to his work – a nice, slow 25 miles in the frosty morning. Then I topped the week off with an easy 30 laps in the pool, just trying to get the feel for it again.

Feels pretty good to be moving again. AND!

I’ve been having the worst lower back and hip pain. For weeks. Which didn’t help my running progress at all. I would have to take pain killers just to make it through my days of sitting at the computer (sitting with a bum hip = no fun) and my short runs. And sleeping? Forget about it. And then – a miracle.

There I was, stretching my hip after a long shower, trying to get the ache to mellow out and I hear a quiet “click” as something pops into place in my hip. Now, I don’t want to jinx it or anything, but I think it’s healed! NO PAIN for the first time in two months! I feel reborn.

Hallelujah!

Now I’m ready :0) Lemme at that treadmill!

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As always, I am behind on my story-telling, but I ant to tell the stories anyway, lest I forget.

The weekend of May 16th, my parents and brother came up for the weekend to support Sean and I in our first-ever-together triathlon experience. We had a great time with the fam, and loved the tri. Hopefully this will be the start of a tradition!

My folks got into town on Friday the 14th. I had been tirelessly cleaning our apartment all week (I may have mentioned this before, but it’s truly amazing how hard it is to keep a tiny, cluttered space looking tidy). In all my efforts I ran out of time to make dinner. Plus, in a typical Liza miscalculation, I thought that they would arrive late (they told me so!) so I decided to take the rare Friday off an organize a girls’ night gathering.¬† I figured we’d go to get dinner, I could show them my wedding dress, and then we’d be all done by 11ish, which is when I expected my parents. Imagine my surprise when I called my parents at 7, on my way out to dinner, and found out they were a mere half hour away. I managed to have enough time to grab dinner to go and say hi to the girls, at which point my folks swung by, picked me up, and we headed back home.

After a whirlwind trip to the supermarket (which I only mention, because I found it hilarious how at the mention that I bought¬† “only one pizza” for dinner, the road-trippers panicked that there wouldn’t be enough food, and proceeded to run through the supermarket grabbing anything they could think of. “Liza, you don’t have yogurt!? How can you not have yogurt? WHAT, no tomatoes either!?”….and so forth. This was particularly funny because they were going to spend an entirety of 15 hours or so actually in my apartment, and most of those hours they would be asleep) we came home and ate dinner. We ended up devouring two pizzas and half a chicken, and my fridge was still stuffed with more food than it had seen the entire time Sean and I have lived there.

After some talk and story-sharing, Sean and I left to spend the night at Jess and Johns and gave my folks and Alexie the apartment.

On Saturday we miraculously collected enough bikes for all of us and went on a ride to Los Gatos along the creek trail:

alexie

family

family

We biked all the way down the trail, got sushi for lunch in Los Gatos, then continued on all the way to the dam! All in all it was 16 miles, and I was proud of the folks for making it so far, especially considering how long it’s been since any of them have really biked. After the ride we took quick showers and went to Sean’s parents’ house where we had a delightful dinner and hang out time. In the evening we all went to Gilroy, where we had booked hotel rooms because it is closer to the triathlon site. I passed out instantly but overall didn’t sleep too well. We had to get up at 4:30 and were at the race site by 5:30.

I was super nervous, as this was only my second race ever, and it was much bigger (and longer) than the first race I’d done. Plus, it was chalk full of pros – people darting around on their carbon-fiber bikes and such made Sean and I very self-conscious of our heavy hybrid bikes and the attached racks – Sean even had fenders on his bike!

It was a beautiful day out – chilly, foggy, fresh. Perfect for a race! We found spots for our bikes, got the wetsuits on, and got ready to go. The hour before the race went by in lightening speed, and before we knew it it was time for Sean to line up. The swim was first – 3/4 miles around a natural peninsula in the lake. They went by gender and age group, and Sean’s group was second. Nervously I watched them go, while I tried to warm up and calm down at the same time. Then it was time for my group. I started out to fast and was too anxious, and it took me a while to catch my stride and get a good rhythm. The water was cold, but not bad at all (especially compared to the ocean swim I did in the last tri!) and I found myself going along at a decent pace, for the most part staying in line with my group-mates. I liked that it wasn’t super crowded because of the way they paced it, but I still got the occasional elbow in the forehead from people passing by.

I tried keeping an eye on the buoys, which were our markers, but it was hard for me to keep going the same direction – I found myself pausing a lot to get my bearings and make sure I wasn’t swimming off in the wrong direction. I feel like I could have done it faster if I was better at staying on track. It felt like it took forever, and the swim is certainly the most anxiety-ridden portion of any race, just because it’s so dis-orienting and you can’t just stop to get your bearings. I was glad when that part was over.

Next came the 16 mile bike ride around the reservoir. It was super cold at times, being dripping wet as I was, especially on the downhills. I like the bike part a lot, even though I was constantly getting passed by people who started swimming way after me. I was going faster than i had expected to, though, which was encouraging. Plus, the route was really nice – beautiful rolling hills and only one really bad uphill followed by a long and winding stretch of down.

My family had been planning to show up a little late (because getting up at 430 is just ridiculous), and I saw them standing by the finish/start line right as I was coming to the end of the bike portion. I gobbled down an energy gel and got to running. It’s always a weird feeling at first – running after biking gives you major jelly-leg syndrome, and my legs were completely numb from being soaked and biking around. Oddly enough, I think that help, because I just got into a rhythm and started going. I was completely warmed up by this point (obviously!) so the running was a lot more painless than I was expecting. I paused at every mile marker to walk a minute and have some water or gels (they had stations with people handing stuff out) and found the whole thing went by quite fast. I was dreading the long time it normally takes me to do 5 miles, but I barely noticed it, I was so high on endorphins. Towards the last mile I started wearing down, but at that point I saw my mom, who had walked up the road to meet me. She ended up jogging with me the last mile or so, which gave me the energy to keep going. Thanks mom! :0)

All in all, I finished a half hour faster than expected (as did Sean) and was really quite proud of myself. Mostly, I was thrilled that the hard work I put into training paid off – so what if I was second to last? I know for a fact that I did better than I would have at any other time in my life, and that is very encouraging.

MHST2010

After the tri we all went out to lunch, and then we parted ways. The family headed back to San Diego and I….probably slept the rest of the day. Except for going to a work meeting, which made me very cranky, and was kind of an anticlimactic way to end such an eventful weekend.

Now, I am training again. Doing mostly running though, as that’s my wort sport. Looking forward tot he next tri!

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