Sunday, July 24, 2016

Muncie 70.3 2016

The morning of my first 70.3 event was filled with a great deal of anticipation and nervousness. As with almost any big event, the night before my race was mostly just a series of groggy tossing and turning, watching the clock, waiting for the alarm to sound at 4:30am. I somehow found some sleep that night, and woke up in my normal routine of turning back over and falling asleep for another 15 minutes. (This was a good sign for a race morning, really...)

Hubby and I had already gone over to the venue the day before to check in my bike and stick around for the athlete briefing. So it was just a matter of getting on my race kit and making sure I had everything in my bag for the day. We left early and arrived around 5:30am, just as transition was opening. The parking lots were already packed full, so we were glad to be there to sneak into the secondary lot with ease. It was very dark and what should have been a quiet time of the morning was buzzing with athletes all over.

Lines for the "bathrooms" were long, and the morning air was cold. Getting in the water for my warm up swim proved to keep me warmer than standing out on the beach, but we eventually lined ourselves up to get ready for the gun. And it true IronMan style, the waves went off with exact timing precision. My group left the beach at 7:35am, the start for a long day.

I came out of the water at 47 minutes, 3 minutes better than my goal swim time. 1.2 miles down, 69.1 to go! Transition was slightly easier since it was a non-wetsuit legal race. I didn't have to deal with trying to peel it off, but did take my time to make sure I had everything I needed and was comfortable for the next leg of the event.

I could not have been happier with my ride. With a goal time of 3:30, I was so excited to come back across the transition line after 3:12. I felt great on the bike, and relished every moment the wind was at my back.  haha  It was a windy day, but the course was mostly flat and well maintained. We did two loops, and coming home after that second loop just felt so good!!

My run was more of a run/walk, just trying to get through the half marathon to that finish line. The day had turned very hot, and hydration was huge. I drank whenever I could, tried to keep myself cool with cold sponges, and ran whenever my legs would let me. I knew it was going to be a struggle for me, so I'd set a 2:30 goal time for my half marathon. The best I'd ever done was out here in Colorado at a 2:15, so it seemed like a reasonable goal if I was feeling good... I only missed it by 2 minutes, crossing the line after a 2:32 run, which was pretty darn good for how tired I was!

After all was said and done, I finished in 6:42:33. I had hoped to finish it all in 7 hours or less, so I could not have expected anything better. Coming up that last hill, I made myself find some running legs as I passed cheering fans and other athletes excited to finish. And as I crested the hill, there stood my family and friends, cheering louder than anybody, putting the hugest smile on my face. And as I ran down the finishing chute, I could hear my mom and sister yelling my name as I crossed that finish line. I am the luckiest person, I really could not have asked for anything better than what I got that day. I accomplished something that I really didn't think I could ever physically accomplish, had my family and friends there to cheer me on, and did it even better than I thought I could!

I'm not sure if any more 70.3 events are in my near future, it wiped me out more than I was anticipating and was so much harder than I imagined. The training was a bear, and life practically stops when you're spending all your time preparing for an event like this. But I'm guessing that the good memories will stick out a long time, while the pain and difficulty will start to disappear from my memory, and I'll be itching to do something again!! We'll see what's next...

To Indiana and Back

The drive to Muncie, Indiana was about seventeen hours in the car, so we decided to make it a two day trip, each way. After packing the car with my bike and all our other essentials for race day and for the trip, we set out for Kansas City on Wednesday, July 6th. We were blessed with great weather that first day, but not much scenery to help us pass the time.

Luckily, we had a destination to look forward to that first day, as we were having dinner with my aunt and uncle who live in the area. We met up at Blind Box BBQ, and had the chance to catch up after a few years of not seeing each other (way too long!). It was a blast, and we had so much fun talking, I barely had time to browse the menu before we had to order! We followed it up with a discount stay at Harrah's North Kansas City, which provided some interesting people watching, to say the least.

Day two was tough. The scenery was better, but I was getting anxious to arrive in Muncie, and was itching to get out of the car.  We made it to the hotel in the early evening, and I was more than ready to go find some good food to eat. We were lucky that not far away, Ball State campus was housing some real gems. We found a brewpub called Scotty's that proved to be so good, we went there two nights in a row!  haha

The drive home was horrible, I'm not going to lie. Getting back in the car to do another two long days was difficult. Stiff legs after my race didn't help, either. But we tried to stop a few more "tourist-y" places, to check out new cities and landmarks. We even took some pics at the St. Louis arch near the end of day one.

If and when we decide to travel for the next big race (for either of us), we might do it a little differently... Airplanes do carry bicycles in the cargo hold, after all. Maybe that would be worth trying!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Joy of My "Retirement"

Once my time was completed at PI, I was able to figure out how to take some time off before starting out at Specialized. So I had four weeks between my end date and new start date to prep the house for our move and make final preparations for my Half IronMan.

The first day was really the only one that I totally took for myself. I spent several hours at the pool, lounging on the back patio and the couch, reading, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. My sister had just sent a copy of it to me for my birthday, and it was a method she was swearing by as she started to declutter her own house. I had already heard about the basic idea in the book from her, but reading through the full text gave me that spark of inspiration I needed to begin in our house.

Day two was the beginning of a 10 day process to declutter this place. I was skeptical that I'd have much to get rid of, as I feel like we purge bags to Good Will every time we move (which is a lot). But as I got started, I realized that I was hoarding ridiculous things all over the house. Starting with my clothes, and eventually ending in the garage, I purged at least 25 full 30-gallon garbage bags of belongings. Some of it was genuine trash, while most of it was able to be donated to the local thrift store.

I tried to sell what I could, but was super unsuccessful with this endeavor. After trips to Clothes Mentor, Plato's Closet, Play it Again Sports, 2nd Time Sports, 2nd & Charles and Read & Black Books, I only sold a few items and only came out $100 richer. All of the driving around with bags of items to sell, and waiting around for the stores to assess my belongings just didn't seem worth it. I spent two full days running all over town, and I think I'll just send it all to the donation pile next time.

Letgo and Craig's List also proved to be super frustrating this time around. We were certain that someone would want our fully functional 42" flat screen TV, but nobody believed that it actually worked! I had one person say they would come pick it up one night, but of course he never showed (and then he had the nerve to contact me again a week later to see if it was still available to him). So the TV and several other furniture items were donated as well. (I'm pretty sure the thrift store truck driver just got a new TV...  haha).

There are only a couple of items left on my list, and I'm at least partially into the sale of each. I sold a couple items on ebay, and I'm still awaiting payment before I can ship them out. But that should hopefully be finished in the next week. And last but not least, we have an appraisal set up for our piano next Friday. The appraisal will be done by the owner of a piano consignment shop, so I'm really hoping that he will then be able to take it and sell it for us. If not, I'm not really sure what the heck we're going to do about that one... So cross your fingers for us there!

I'll admit that the house feels kind of bare. After I purged all those bags of belongings, we also packed up as much as we could of the house, starting to stack boxes in the basement for the final move. The house is left with items that keep it staged for showings and keep it habitable for the hubs.

We head out to California tomorrow, and I am ready to get back to work. It has been an exhausting four weeks of purging, packing, racing, traveling and then prepping for my initial move. I'll be in a hotel for the first 30 days, and then we'll see where we end up! It will be hard being apart for the first month, and I hope that is all we have to spend in different states. In the mean time, I'll dive into the new job and we'll keep saying our prayers that the house sells soon.

Boulder Sunrise Olympic Triathlon

Sunday, June 26th, hubby and I woke ourselves up at 4:00am to head out to the Boulder Reservoir for my final "practice" tri of the season. Training for a Half IronMan somehow made this Olympic distance feel "easy" this year, and when the alarm went off, I actually rolled over and slept for another 15 minutes. I guess the butterflies weren't as prevalent, knowing that in just a few more weeks, I would have to do more than double this distance...

I started my swim in the middle of the pack and got a good reminder as to why I had taken myself to the back in previous events. Tons of kicking, splashing and pushing made the first couple of minutes tough. Luckily, I'd been through this a couple times before and just made myself find some patience and calm among the madness. And once the few minutes were past, I was able to swim a great time, coming out of the water right when I was hoping to.

I had some trouble with my wetsuit in transition. The dang thing just didn't want to come off, and I've always heard others say that this was their least favorite part of the race (trying to get a wet wetsuit off in record time), but I'd never really had issues with it... So this was a little frustrating, but I made it onto my bike in a good time and headed out for the roads.

My bike split was much faster than I was expecting. Apparently, all of that riding I did when my knee was keeping me from running ended up paying off! I was now ahead of my goal time, feeling great about finishing the race with just one more event to go!!

My run was not so successful though. All that riding might have made my bike leg that much better, but it sure didn't help me on my run. I missed my run goal time by 7 minutes, but crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face. I'd finished the whole event 15 minutes better than I was hoping!

Next year, I'll have to find some local Northern California races to do, but I will miss racing out at the Boulder Reservoir. It always presents its challenges, which make crossing that finish line so sweet.