Thursday, September 25, 2008

Second Yoga Class

I had my second yoga class this week and the experience was quite different from last week. I was able to make it through the sun salutations without breaking a sweat, although I was comfortably warm as was expected. We then did the warrior poses like last class, and I was able to make it through the whole set of sequences without having to stop. My arms felt tired, but not exhausted and shaky like last time. A few poses later and we were back to side planks. I tried to lean on my scraped up elbow, but wasn't able to without pain. So I did the side plank from my hand and was able to hold the pose for the whole duration. We switched sides and since I was successful doing the side plank from my hand on the one side, I had to do the same on the other side.

At the end of the class I was tired, but not exhausted like last class. My obliques were sore the next day, and my shoulders were a little achy, but again, not like after last class. So, I think it's safe to say that I've made improvement, and I look forward to next class.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yoga and Weights

With my season over, I decided to let it all hang out last week. No tracking my food intake; no gym; no nothing. It was nice to let things slide for a few days.

As of yesterday I started my post-season/pre-winter phase which involves yoga once a week and weight training twice a week (and tracking my food intake again). My gym offers a couple of yoga classes and there is one class that is at a convenient time of day that I decided I should attend. Yesterday's class kicked my butt! My hands were sore after all the planks we did, and my arms were like jello. With my injured elbow I was a little limited because I couldn't do the side plank with my arm extended, but I could do it with my lower arm on the ground, but that involves leaning on the part of my elbow that's scraped up and still sore. So, I missed out on some of the poses, but for my first yoga class in several years, I accepted that.

Today my shoulders ache. That suggests that I am lacking in shoulder strength, but I'm not too surprised. I haven't done any weight training since April, and little of my exercises then involved shoulders, so they didn't get stronger. I'll have to make sure I change that this time around. Core strength is another area that I'm lacking, so I have at least two specific targets for this phase of my off-season.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Time For A New Zoot Suit

A couple weeks ago I noticed that my swim suit wasn't fitting like it used to. It seemed to be a little loose; the stretched out kind of loose. I've had the suit for several years now - a Speedo reversible. I decided it was probably time to start looking, so I grabbed a couple of catalogs and looked online at TYR and Speedo.

In the meantime, while I was trying to figure out what numerical size I was, my suit seemed to exponentially get worse. I noticed that there were definite wear spots in places and the material was quite saggy. I was sad to see this since I really enjoyed using that suit. When I did my open water swim, I could see the sagging material when I pulled off my wetsuit.

So after trying on a few sizes, then thinking maybe I was ordering one too large based on the body measurements, I finally settled on a size 36 and color and placed an order. My new suit will be a TYR Green Elixir. I have retired my old suit and will drop it off for textile recycling when I head up to the recycling center one day soon. *Sigh* It was a good suit, but I must move on. I haven't had a new suit in a few years so the change will be nice. Maybe I'll even swim faster.

Update (09/17/08):
I picked up my suit today and it was blue. I had told them that green was my first choice, with the additional choices or blue or red if they were sold out of green.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Delaware Diamondman Sprint Recap

I participated in the Delaware Diamondman Sprint Triathlon on Sunday, September 7th in Bear, DE. This was my first Piranha Sports Series event, and the closing event for my season.

My husband and I drove out to a local hotel after Tropical Storm Hanna had passed through the area. Packet pick-up and the first-timers meeting had been moved to earlier in the day so I decided to forgo getting to the Bear area in the afternoon and instead got there in enough time to check-in to the hotel, grab dinner, and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Dinner was at the TGI Friday's at the hotel and it did not agree we me. The Cherry Limeade with the Bruschetta Chicken Pasta didn't play well together and I thought my stomach might throw it into reverse. I kept everything down and hit the hay around 9:15p.

I awoke at 4:15a. I had brought Quinoa for my pre-race meal, so I heated up some of it and grabbed some water as well. I got my stuff packed up and headed off to Lums Pond State Park. I arrived at the park at 5:30a; it was pitch black. I wandered through a tree line and found the white tent where packet and chip pick-up was located. I wasn't told where the body marking and transition area was, and could see barely 10 feet in front of me, so as I wandered back to my car I asked a fellow triathlete and he confirmed that the buzz of flashlights I had seen a ways past the white tent was where it all was. I grabbed my gear, got marked, and set up my transition area. The sun was starting to come up at this point, so it wasn't as hard to see.

I had plenty of time to relax before the pre-race meeting at 6:45a, which didn't actually start until 7:00a. Following the meeting was the National Anthem, and then the walk down to the start of the swim. There's some discrepancy as to the distance between the end of the swim and the transition area; I've read 0.25 miles and 0.4 miles. Nonetheless, it was a long walk.

At this point I hadn't decided what to do about my wetsuit. At the race meeting we were told that the water temperature was 78 degrees the day previous; I was told by my body marker that the air temperature that morning wasn't as cold as the water was going to be, and it was chilly that morning. I didn't have a chance to touch the water before the start of the race, so I grabbed my wetsuit and headed down. Jeff, Kristin, and Jon were on their way, but not due to arrive a bit close to the start of my wave of the swim. I had my phone, keys, and sandals (for the long transition) and wanted to hand off the first two to someone. I realized while I was putting my cap on that I had forgotten my ear plugs back at home.

I watched the blue cap wave (just before my wave) head out into the water a little earlier than I had expected, and I missed part of the pre-swim speech because I was waiting up the hill for my spectators. I called Jeff at 7:51a, left a message to tell him where my stuff was, the headed out for the swim. As I hit the edge of the water my heart sunk - the in-water start was way out in the lake. I paddled out as slowly as I could, but ultimately missed making it to the start area before the whistle was sounded. I put my face in the water and came out with two eyes filled with pond water.

I stopped using a latex swim cap when I started swimming in 2006. I got tired of the latex caps pulling on my hair when I wore them, so I switched over to silicone which I absolutely love. There's a big difference between those two caps, aside from the hair pulling - thickness. With my hair pulled lower than it usually is when I swim and the thickness of the cap much thinner, my goggles weren't as tight as they needed to be, and there was no way I could fix it while in the water. Lose a contact and I would be done (although I did have a spare in the car). To compound matters, my wetsuit had already started to wear me out from the swim out to the start area and what flailing I had done in the water after the start.

I took some time to catch my breath and try to make a reasonable decision. I was ready to call it quits. A fellow swimmer and one of the volunteers in a boat asked me if I was all right because I was breathing quite rapidly. I said I just couldn't catch my breath. Since the wetsuit was an issue, it had to come off, so I pulled it down to my waist. That helped me relax because the water was cool on my skin. Unable to put my face in the water because of my goggles and my rapid breathing, I resigned myself to the back stroke.

My goggles were severely fogged up because of the water that had gotten in them which made sighting hard to do, but some how I made it through the swim. I had a volunteer escort on the way in because I was one of the last swimmers to come in. Once I touched the silty bottom with my hand, I stood up and started wading through the muck. There were two volunteers in the water to help people step onto the hidden edge of the boat ramp. I got onto the ramp without a problem, and was thrilled to see Jeff waiting for me with my sandals.

I had a good 60 second cry once I was on dry land. I didn't have the energy to jog to the transition area, so I walked with Jeff and let out all my frustrations from the swim. A therapy session of sorts. I noticed in the transition area that I was one of the last bikes there. My heart sank again, but I knew there was nothing I could do about it now and I'd have to make up time on the bike and run. With my emotions in check, I was ready to head out on the bike.

The bike route was essentially a folded loop. We went out-and-back in one direction, passed by the transition area half way through, and went out-and-back in the other direction. It was nice to have the transition area ride-by because the spectators were able to cheer for you. I remember three woman who didn't know me screaming "Looking great 399!" and "You go girl!". That put a big smile on my face. Then I rode past my little group and they added to my motivation.

Everything was going great until... I came up to a part of the course where there were railroad tracks and a right-hand turn. There was a line of six or so cars backed up on the road, and the cyclists were hitting the shoulder per the officer's direction. The tracks were at an angle to the road, so I had to adjust my path of travel so I wouldn't get eaten up in the lines. No problem. At some point an officer gave the go-ahead for a car near me to make their turn down the road I needed to be going down. They apparently forgot which pedal was the accelerator. I slowed down as much as I could, didn't unclip thinking they would accelerate some time soon, but hit their passenger side bumper and fell to my left side. The officers asked if I was all right, and I told them "yes" as I gathered myself back together and headed off.

I checked myself over and found an oozing scrape on my left elbow and some road rash on my left knee. A mile or so down the road an officer pulled up next to me and asked if I was all right. I told her that everything felt fine She recognized that the officer at the intersection had goofed and there was nothing I could have done. She told me to "keep up the good work" and headed off. The rest of the bike was uneventful, but it made me wonder what was going to happen on the run.

I transitioned from the bike to the run with no problem. I was tired, but only had two miles left to go, so I put it in gear and headed off. The run was an out-and-back in the campground area. Shortly after getting through the tree line, I walked for 10 seconds to gather myself and grab a quick breather. I was pleasantly cheered on by the other runners, and I returned the favor. It was the last few miles of our race and we were all far from finishing in the top of our respective age group; we were just trying to survive. I hit the turn around point which had a water station, so I grabbed a water, walked so I could down a gulp or two, then continued on. I was thrilled to finally be rounding the corner of the tree line and headed for the finish line just 100m ahead. They called my number and name over the loud speaker, and everyone cheered me through the finish. I picked up my finisher dog tag, turned in my chip, and met up with my group. My race day was done.

Lessons learned:
- For goggles, the tighter the better
- Add ear plugs to the gear list
- No wetsuit needed in 77/78 degree water
- Do longer swims in the wetsuit
- One serving of Clif Bloks/Luna Moons is good for the bike (two is too many)
- Luna Moons have too many pieces to eat; Clif Bloks are less hassle

I haven't decided if I'll do this one again. The silty, marshy waters edge is tough to navigate, particularly with the boat ramp. The end of the swim to the transition area is longer than most races. The bike was flat and fast and fantastic; the run was nice as well. If I hadn't had the time and equipment issues in the swim, I may not have minded the things I mentioned.

Once I pull out my watch times and get the official chip times, I'll post them here.

Update (09/10/08):
Overall Place 166/177
Gender Place 70/75
Age Group Place 10/12

Swim - 0:39:35 (0.6 mi + long walk)
T1 - 0:03:13
Bike - 1:07:12 (17.5 mi)
T2 - 0:01:55
Run - 0:21:06 (2 mi)
Total - 2:13:00 (9.08 mph)

Friday, September 05, 2008

First Open Water Swim

This morning I went to Greenbrier State Park to test out my open water swimming skills. It was my first time with the wetsuit on in quite a while, and my first open water swim practice. They have an area near the shore roped off for swimming. While it's not truly open water, it's a close enough approximation.

I didn't have any problems with the wetsuit or the sighting. I found that sighting after breathing was the technique that worked best for me because I could breath normally, then move my head to the front, sight, then put my head in the water where it belonged. I can definitely see how it will tire out your neck and back after a while. As well as the wetsuit wearing out your shoulders.

It wasn't as much practice as I wanted to get in before the race, but it'll have to do. It's better than nothing I suppose.