15 May 2010

A Break

I got to go to Atlantic Beach, NC Friday after work. I was meeting a college friend for her bachelorette party. It was good to see her and a few other college friends. When I showed up they asked what I wanted to drink, and the typical response almost emerged when I thought to myself "no kids, no man, sleep in tomorrow..." I'll take a pina colada please.

We had a nice dinner and by nice, I mean I had to fish one of the ladies out of the men's room as she started a conversation with the men at the urinals. It was funny...sort of. Afterwards it was fun games back the hotel and a restful night. I slept in till 8:30, which was magical, then got a long ride in.

It was time to face the wind daemon. I talked to him, told him he was not going to beat me down this time like he had in South Carolina. I told him to screw off and grow a pair because I just wasn't going to take it any more. And I didn't take it, I kicked that winds butt. Now honestly it wasn't nearly as bad as it was in the SC 1/2, but it was a start to facing the deamon. And I survived. I felt pretty good and I was happy at the end at having been able to stay focused and strong. A step in the right direction.

On a bad note, my last water bottle fell off my bike and was run over and busted at my turnaround...when you're on a rural road that runs between islands, there is no where to stop for water. So I had to stop at the beach access lots and get water out of the sink in the women's room. There were only two such stops on the way back in, so needless to say I was a little dehydrated this afternoon.

On my way home, I let the windows down, turned the radio up as high as it would go and I sang as loud as I could. Even when I didn't know the words. It was refreshing, revitalizing and fun. Then Pink's song "Rockstar" (I think that's the name) came on. And I found myself dancing in my seat with the hugest grin on my face as I sang the chorus the way Brayden and Ryan would have sung it "Guess what, rockstar, got my rock moooooonnns. so what, I having more fun, cause I'm a rockstar!"

I got my rock moons back this weekend.

08 May 2010

Early Mother's Day

This morning I was woken by Brayden at 6am...he climbed into bed with us and tried to go back to sleep but it was useless. So the tv was turned on. At 6:30 Ryan came meandering in...with a huge grin on his face. "Good morning mom". He joined us all and after 5 minutes of tv he says "I'm hungry mom".

Do you want to go downstairs and get breakfast buddy? "Yeah, I'll be right back." And he left the room. I knew he was going to get something and bring it back. When I was at home with them, it was not uncommon for him to go get a box of cereal, bagels or fruit chews from the cabinet and bring them upstairs for everyone to eat while we watched cartoons. This morning was no different. When he came back into the room carrying the lucky charms, with an even bigger smile on his face he said to me "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, here you go". "Wow, did you bring those for me?"..."Uh, no they're for me and Brayden but you can share with us."

Cool, love it. Best breakfast in bed I've ever had. This was followed up by a Swedish massage and facial, then lunch with my mom. It was nice...very nice.

So during my massage, while on my tummy, my stomach was growling crazy. It was loud, like the screaming child in a restaurant, it would not stop. I felt bad for the lady giving me the massage. Just when I was about to apologize to her, it growled again....oh wait, that wasn't me. It was her. Ha, no apologies needed. At least it wasn't gas I suppose.

Better yet was coming home to a house that Tim had tidied up. I love my boys.

Happy Mother's day to all the old, young and about to be moms!

03 May 2010

Try Charleston 1/2 IM Race Report

Ahhh, how do you start a race report of a race gone sour? I guess like this:

I did what I could. But after 5 years of racing triathlon, I had my first truly bad race. Not all bad, but disappointing and riddled with mental error. Was I nervous before this race, we all know the answer to that. I had put a lot of pressure on myself for this race. Was I physically prepared, more so than I've been for any other triathlon I've raced. Was I mentally prepared...mostly, but not entirely. And the one thing a coach can't do for you is train your mind. You can hear the messages all day long, but until you process them for yourself and take ownership over them, all the conversations, pep talks and coaching are no good. And what I found out this weekend, racing is just as metal as it is physical..maybe even more so.

I was nervous before the start and even Tim said that he noticed I was not thinking clearly as we got ready to head out of the hotel for the race site...it was just a manageable nervousness though, nothing like my first race ever, or my first half. I got a good warm up run in before hand and was nutritionally square. I got in the water and when the horn blew, I went. I felt good in the water and at the end of the second lap, although a little tired, I felt like I could have gone another two laps. Out of the water, passed up the wet suit strippers and onto the bike.

I had heard bad rumors that there was a headwind on this pancake flat course...but the first 25 miles were nice. A slight tailwind, smooth, flat and comfortable. I felt good, controlled and confident. I was hitting my nutrition spot on, then it happened and I wasn't prepared for it. At 25 miles, we made the turn around and literally as soon as we turned the median of the road, the headwind stopped us in our tracks. I say "we" because every person I saw that had already made the turn around looked as though they were sitting still. "To be sure, I'm in better shape than that" I thought...then I found out, Uh it's not that they are in bad shape...the wind is that bad. I tried to stay strong because I knew we were turning off the main road and though that would get me some relief...but none was to be found. There was only about a 4-5 mile stretch during that last 31 miles that was not in the head wind. At one point I started singing "99 bottles of beer on the wall" to try and take my mind off of it until I lost count of how many bottles were left because the wind was blowing me around. My rpms just kept getting lower and lower...down shifting to try and let my legs recover and still no relief. The last 6 miles were never ending...and I was mentally spent.

As I came into T2, I commiserated with a gentleman on my rack about it and tried to get ready for the run. Tim was talking to me from the side "this is what you've trained for Angela, let's go have a good run." I heard him and I was trying to believe him. As I ran out of T2 smothering sunscreen on, I tossed the bottle to Tim and decided to try and focus on what Marty said. Start the first 3 easy/comfortable, get into the groove. Then, "if you're feeling good, move into a moderate/fast effort just like in training." That was the plan and I was getting it done. Miles 1-3 were at my right at my goal pace...and I felt good. Forget the bike. So, it was time to move into the moderate/fast effort, right?

Here's where my racing inexperience got me. Being a volleyball and softball player, there really isn't any strategy to game time, if you know what I mean. With racing, whether it be running, biking, swimming...pick your type of race...strategy and game plans are vital, especially once you get to these longer distances. Before this weekend, my strategy was always, put an effort in that will allow you to finish...so I never pushed. But now that I was trying to best my time, I needed a strategy. So, what did I do, I went for the moderate/fast. Well, correction, I dropped my mile pace by 30 seconds per mile...no comments please. At the time I said to myself...wow angela you can do that after that bike...you go girl. Except for after a mile of that pace, an a scorching hot day, in a course with no shade (with no heat training as of yet), my legs said stop.

So I stopped at the next aid station. And from that moment on, my miles got slower and slower and then I stopped again and they got slower and slower.I remember looking down at my watch (which I don't normally wear during races) and thinking "if I can just hang on to a 10 minute pace, I can match my 5:45 from November)...then I looked down again at the next mile marker saw the reality, I was not even going to make 6 hours and I had an emotional breakdown. I was sobbing like a baby...until of course another racer would pass and I would shut up. That lasted for about 5 minutes.

Enough already, shut up and finish. One step at a time, just get your butt across the line and be done. And I did. But as soon as I saw Tim waiting for me in the final 1/4 mile...I broke down again. The one person that would get it, he had been there himself and I knew I could just let it go. He ran with me to the finish where I continued to hang my pathetic head, tears streaming and snot flowing. The only people that wanted anything to do with me at that point were Tim, Brayden, Ryan and my mom. My dad, God love him, didn't know what to do or say...nor did I. It just wasn't my day. I had put all my energy into what it would be like to beat my time and never thought about what it would mean if I didn't. I mentally withdrew after the bike and made a very bad decision on the run that cost me being able to salvage my race.

Positive outcomes/lessons learned:
1. Swim was still an improvement which is encouraging
2. Bike, despite the headwind, was feeling very strong
3. Race nutrition was great and I physically felt great
4. Let bad things go in the race, don't dwell
5. No more wearing a watch or if i do, don't focus on it
6. When coach says pick it up to moderate/fast...that doesn't translate into 30 seconds/mile faster...duh
7. Bad days happen
8. Prepare for the unexpected

So I'm done wallowing now. The big fish is at the end of September.