Sunday, August 21, 2011

Friday Night Swims and Lake Stevens....delayed!

Friday Night Swim races at Lake Meridian are held twice a year now and land perfectly with the athletes prepping for Ironman CDA and Canada. Since the focus is on my swim I signed up for the 2.4. We arrived early, just to allow for more time to stress over which division to participate in (rubberized or not). Flashbacks of Rev 3 Portland where the temps were 73.6 and feeling warm in the comforting Torque had me debating the actual 75 degree temps of Lake Meridian up until the final minutes. Webb reminded me that this was to be “fun” and no pressure so I figured, if I get hot I could just slow down (what a concept huh?!). I got myself the fresh out of the box TYR Hurricane and TYR tracer goggles and got in a quick warm-up. The water was very “comfortable”. Rumor had it that the first few buoys on the way out can be difficult to site so I played it safe for the first ¼ of the swim, swimming side by side another athlete and leading the first pack of 6 or so swimmers (which had some speedy non-wetsuiters in there). The rumors were true as we could not find the “green” buoy anywhere (the line-up was orange, then green, then yellow, repeat). A kayaker came over to get us as we were way to close to shore. Fellas it’s a good thing there wasn’t a lululemon nearby or we would have really been off course. Never leave me in charge :). By the first turn buoy I finally felt comfortable to swim on my own so I settled into a normal 2.4 mile swim pace and kept myself in check until half way through the second loop to make sure I was not boiling. In the final quarter I added in more power in my arms and a little more bang to the kick to finish it off (Hard to believe if you know how I swim-all legs. Hand me a pull buoy and I drown). I landed first place which got us a huge apple pie that kept my husband happy for days, three to be exact! To note for fun, second place is a cinnamon roll and third a stack of cookies. Always trying to fatten up the podium! (Pie at end of day two!)
Two days later was the Lake Stevens 70.3. We put together a girl relay team with the plan of having a blast. We were the final wave to go off and it was only 3 minutes behind Mark’s wave. I think he stressed all night as to “when” I would catch him. We joked that I would get in front of him and pull him a bit. All joking aside I figured there would be no way we would find each other, UNLESS he followed coach’s instructions of staying on the inside of the buoy line. Relays are always an unexpected abundance of athletes of all abilities. I started out steady to see if there were any “current-collegiate-swimmer-type swimmers”. There was one but not even close to the buoy line where I started. So I swam solo for a bit until catching the wave ahead of us, then the swim went by quick, I felt like I was play frogger in the water trying to dodge swimmers. About a ¼ of the way headed back “home” I saw Mark (he followed instructions :)) ahead of me in his purple cap. It immediately made me laugh…..his fears had come true! Oh, there was so many things going through my head to do to him, but I didn’t want to affect his race, remember this was all about fun for me, he had an agenda (ie: Worlds 70.3). I came up to him on his left, ughhh….he breathes to the right. So I stayed with him stroke per stroke for 5 or so strokes just waiting for him to look over. It was a no-go; he was racing a dude next to him and not even considering looking left. Thinking “I could whack him in the head” OR more kindly I will just get right in front of him, the annoying wife just wanting to say “hi”, and if I do something really obnoxious he WILL notice me. Backstroke it is… I did some backstroke with a super-grin and he finally acknowledge my existence in the smelly lake of Lake Stevens. It was LOVE. I continued on and got out of the water knowing my swim time would not be pretty because I felt like I was “playing” the whole time, never really thinking of racing. I checked my watch and it read 28:xx. That sounded about right, until I later remembered (okay, I looked at ironmanlive) and forgot I had started my watch a minute early. Somehow I managed the fastest women’s split of the day! The timing chip was quickly off and handed to my great friend/TNM coach/training buddy Bridget Jones! She hammered out the bike and buddy Karen ran a half ironman PR. We were women relay champs!!! Yeah! Very upset we don't have a photo of the three of us :(

And Double-Yeah to Webb for qualifying for Vegas…bring on the heat and hills and for me the suntan!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Islander Aquathon I

Although I am banned from any big races, I have received the okay to do some smaller events. I am avoiding the swim/bike/run all together stuff for now, but don’t be surprised if you see my name on a start list of a local tri at end of season :).

The Islander Aquathon consisted of a 1000yd swim and a 10K run. After looking at the results from last year this race would take me right around an hour which is PERFECT for my fitness right now (run course differed this year). We have been working on building up my swimming right now to build up a solid aerobic base, as anything over 2 hours on the bike or 1 hour on the run leaves me exhausted for the remaining portion of the day. I would be sleeping my life away if we had any other plan!

As usual, the decision to race would be last minute. It fell on a Wednesday and the Friday prior I had Remicade and the doctors attempting a new medicine (DHE) to help prevent the post-treatment-migraine-ER-visit-chaos. After 1cc of the DHE (prescription called for 10cc) I had the worst reaction to medicine ever. Jaw went numb, then chest, then closer to my sternum, then began sweating profusely, followed by excessive vomiting (sorry guys!). Needless to say, it didn’t work, and by 2:30am on Sunday morning we cashed in our frequent flier miles once again to the ER. Was feeling fine by Tuesday and wanted to race. I have accepted this now as my just “normal” routine and want to play when by body says play.

By 5pm Wednesday it was a gorgeous 70 degrees so we strolled to Mercer Island to let me race for CHOCOLATE (the grand prize).

(The trusty fast TYR Hurricane wetsuit and myself!)

The swim: I started out fast on this two loop course, okay, maybe too fast….as I dove back in I was a tad nauseous (typical two loop fashion. ie: ironman CDA) and had to slow it down a tad to keep some fuel in me. I was happy to land my one and only goal of the day of having the fastest swim split!

So lucky no one passed me as I was “sitting” in T1 trying to get my wetsuit off, not on purpose, but because I literally fell on my booty trying to get it off using the “tap-dance” style that needs to be re-perfected for sure.

(gorgeous trail run through Luther Burbank Park)

The run: 4 loop hilly up and down on gravel, on grass, on pavement, and on sticks. On loop two I ran into a girl who had made a slight wrong turn landing us side by side. We ran within two feet of each other, taking turns on leader, for nearly three loops. It felt good to be “racing” again and especially to be pushing the pace while running! By the middle of the third loop I will admit, I was D.O.N.E. The goal going in was to just run as this would be my longest run in some time. I found out the girl I was racing was one loop behind me, “phew”. I backed off, or just slowed down in general, and enjoyed just smiling while running!

(On the podium with great speedy friends!)

It was so much fun to be out racing, to push the pace again, and to have so many friends out there! The Luna Chix-Seattle were “manning” each corner and seeing each one of them FOUR times was a treat! And then super-buddy Kirk Sall was there to witness my victorious fist-pump. And of course to have so many teammates and Mark (reminding me of “no-pressure, just fun”) too made the day such a blast. And SO much chocolate we got to bring home!!!!!
The same event falls again at the end of the month…..hmmm….I can’t wait!

*On the medical front we are stopping the Remicade and switching to Humira (assuming insurance gives us the okay). These are self-injections every two weeks with the first treatment being in the ER (lets hope this is the last ER visit for eternity). Fingers and toes crossed that this will have way less side effects, in less than six weeks we will know!