Harvest Moon 70.3 Odds and Ends

My actual race recap for the Harvest Moon 70.3 was already 90 million pages long. These are random moments from that race that don’t really fit into a recap. Mostly so I can remember them:

The run up:

As we pulled up to the park the sky looked so crazy. It was like you could see the curve of the earth as the sun was rising. It was really cool.

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When I got to the table to pick up my packet I had the most awkward conversation with the girl about my t-shirt size. I always ask for a men’s small and usually this will fit me or it will fit Chris. I’ve never actually gotten a race t-shirt that I ever wore again so I don’t really care. But the girl was like, “You asked for a men’s small, do you want a women’s medium?” And I was just so in my own head and not prepared for this question I stuttered and stumbled way more than necessary. Sorry, nice lady at check in. My women’s medium doesn’t fit, but I don’t really care.

The lady next to me in transition was SO chatty. And normally I appreciate chatty. I am chatty. But I was so nervous and she seemed to chipper I really hated her in that moment. She kept telling people around us where they could put their number on their bike. Random.

The swim:

Pro tip: one way to fog up your goggles really fast is to cry while you’re wearing them. And at one point I thought my goggles were leaking but I literally think it was my own tears sloshing around in there. Ridiculous.

I drank some water on purpose in the lake. It’s Aurora’s drinking water so I figured it was fine.

The bike:

I put my gatorade bottles in the freezer the night before and then brought a small cooler to put them in during the swim. As I left for the bike leg, both were still frozen solid. Luckily it was so hot the first one melted pretty quick in my bottle cage. The other bottle was in my waist pack, and it still had a frozen chunk in the middle when I took it out at mile 28. That system worked really well.

On part of the bike ride two horses ran in their field, parallel to me on the road. Thanks, pacers!

On one part of the course I came to an intersection at the same time a big white truck and a red SUV approached. A police officer stopped traffic so I could go through, and I told him it made me feel like the president and he gave me a good laugh. I felt the same way when Chris was riding next to me on the run. Like this must have been how President Clinton felt when he was jogging with his motorcade.

There were kids playing in a ravine who waved to me. I also passed a skeet shooting range. I found the gunshots a little unnerving.

At one point a woman pulled up beside me and asked me why we didn’t see anyone coming back. “Well, it’s not an out and back course, so…”

There was a cow on the last stretch of the bike course. One of the race officials had to go out and chase him off the road. The cow looked grumpy and I was a little nervous he wouldn’t move before I passed. But it did.

The run:

I also left my hat in my cooler with the ice, thinking it would feel great and cold when I started the run, but I don’t remember noticing. I think it was so hot that the hat didn’t stay cold long.

As I was walking from transition towards the run course I was rubbing my ring finger with my thumb. My hands felt naked without the rings I normally wear. Chris noticed and pulled them off his keychain and handed them to me.

Aid stations:

Aid stations staffed by teenagers are funny. I approached one and about eleven or eight kids were all sitting down at a picnic table. As I approached one of them sighed and said, “Can somebody get up and get this lady?” Another station had more enthusiastic kids and one proudly proclaimed my gatorade had “NO bugs!” (I swallowed a few tiny ones in different cups of gatorade. Oh, well.)

There was a really cute kiddo volunteer at the turnaround/aid station on the bike course, maybe 10 or 11 years old? I said “Thanks for being out here!” And he said “Thank YOU for being out here! I couldn’t even do this!” He was very earnest and I wanted to give him a dollar.

As I approached the last aid station, either at mile 1 or mile 2, there were like six volunteers (the rest were already all packed up). They seemed really enthusiastic and asked “What can we get you?” I declined, grabbed my belly and said I was pretty full. Right after that it occurred to me that they were there just for me and it would have been polite to take some water.

The aftermath:

I came home on Tuesday and there was an envelope in my mailbox with my name on it and a 70.3 sticker inside! Chris got it for me from the Runner’s Roost.  It’s kind of big, I haven’t figured out what I should put it on yet.

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I have the most ridiculous tan lines. Really bad on my left leg from my pants and from my timing chip.

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I have a dot on the back of each hand from my cycling gloves. And then there’s the usual half moons that come from wearing something racerback over something with regular straps.

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We have an all-company meeting on Monday mornings. At the end we have a “Random five minutes” when people can share…whatever. Our CRO asked our CFO, “How’d your half-marathon go?” and she said it went well. And then my boss piped up with “Mel did her first half iron man yesterday!” And I said, “Yeah, that also involved a half marathon.” A little triathlon humor for you.

That afternoon I had lunch with a coworkerfriend. He’s an avid triathlete and an all around amazing human being and wanted to hear about my race. Surprise! I cried my eyes out as I told him about it.

That’s all. I promise I will stop talking about it now. 

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For someone who decided to quit doing races I sure do like reading and talking about them

After cheering at Saturday’s marathon and half marathon, I fell down a hole this week reading race recaps. (And I even saw myself a few times, that was pretty cool.)

But way cooler, I was struck by how many ways there are to run a successful race.

What’s cool is that there are so many ways to make it yours and to make it fun. And maybe your version of fun is running really fast or finishing with friends or taking a million pictures or getting the most high fives or sticking to your plan so you can sprint to the finish. I suppose, as cheesy as this sounds, that’s what makes running so great. There’s something here for everyone.

You know that Veggie Tales song where they sing about being busy?

So much for my post triathlon surplus of free time. Work is still super busy, and there’s something on the calendar every day this week.

  • Monday – Jason Mraz concert at Red Rocks
  • Tuesday – Uptown Restaurant Walk
  • Wednesday – Running Club
  • Thursday – Overnight houseguests
  • Friday – Happy Hour
  • Saturday – Could it be I have not one thing scheduled? This seems improbable but if it’s true I am going to brunch like a boss. I remembered I am headed to a dog park meet up with coworkers.
  • Sunday – Yoga for Cyclists workshop at Salvagetti. Pumped.

Definitely not complaining about any of this. I’m excited for all of it. And I’m not trying to say “OMG I am so BUSY!” (and by busy I mean important!) I’m just saying that the completely unscheduled weekend where all I do is I sleep in, go to brunch, and read a book is still just out of reach.  And the evening I fantasized about where I leave work right on time, come home, eat dinner and watch a tv show? Hasn’t happened just yet.

And while I promised myself all summer that once my half iron man was over I would only swim and do yoga for exercise, I think actually I might be running a half marathon in November. And I’ve only done yoga once this month. And I canceled my gym membership so I don’t have a place to swim anymore.

Oops. My calendar is full of fun things that I like doing. Oh, well.

Oktoberfest Sprint Triathlon 2012 – Race Recap

Good morning! It’s 5 am and I did NOT sleep last night because dogs were barkin’ and horns were honkin’ and I took a stupid afternoon nap that I think messed me up. Also, blatant “my hair is getting SO long and I LOVE it” photo.

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Most race mornings I jump out of bed, totally wired. Since this was more of a really really really just for fun race I was less pumped to get out of bed. It felt like my alarm went off right as I had drifted to sleep and I was definitely wanting another 20 minutes.

I ran through my packing checklist one last time, blended up a big smoothie for us to share and we were out the door by 5:45. As we got in the car I saw my neighbor friend putting her bike into her car too! She has been at three of the four triathlons I did this year, and we keep saying we need to organize some kind of club since our neighbors are all swimmers, bikers, runners, or some combination.

We got to Union Reservoir right as transition opened but apparently not early enough because we didn’t get to park in the close parking lot. Oh, well. Three minute walk vs. 20 minutes extra in bed? Easy call.

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Once we arrived we split up. Chris was volunteering at this race, not just spectating, so he went off to body mark and I picked up my packet and set up transition.

I recognized a gal at the packet pickup table from the end of the Harvest Moon (my first half iron distance two weeks ago). She is the nicest lady and we chatted for a few minutes about how I was a crying mess and she said, “I’m going to cry again, I was so proud of you for finishing!” I think the people at Without Limits (the company who put on this race, my last race, and many others) are the nicest. And it feels nice to be able to “shop local” when it comes to races as opposed to doing those put on by giant companies. Anyways.

The t-shirts for this race are like the least ugly t-shirts I have ever gotten. I never wear mine (I give them to Chris) but isn’t this cute? This is the back, and the front just has a small “Without Limits” logo. They don’t have nine million logos on them.

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I didn’t think about the fact that Chris would be up close and personal with so many fit ladies while body marking. Oh, well.

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But since I knew the body-marker, I asked if he could give me some extra art. Which is how this happened…

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So, I set up transition. I was glad we got there kinda on the early side because the line to get your timing chip got really long.

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Said hi to my coworkerfriend doing the race.

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And then I went down to the water and cursed myself for not bringing some throw away flip flops. It is rocky and horrible and my feet really hurt. I got in the water and waded around.

There was a lot of nervous energy in that lake. Before we started they asked for a show of hands for first time ever triathletes and it looked like a third of the crowd were first timers! I admit it was kind of nice to not be the nervous nelly and feel confident that I was going to enjoy myself.

I lined up with my wave and we were off! The buoys were spaced pretty closely so sighting was easy. I tried to push hard on the swim, to the point I got a small side stitch. But it was pretty clear I’d taken the last two weeks entirely off, and I ended up finishing a minute slower than last year. I got to use one of my favorite tricks: sighting off of someone who is breaststroking. They’re definitely going the right way since they can see, and if they’re next to you, it’s easier to see them than something in front of you. (Then again, I always come in close to last, so maybe don’t take my advice.)

I only got pummeled once by a swimmer from the wave behind me. Otherwise people were pretty good about personal space.

Chris was at the Run-Out at transition so I got to say hi on my way out of the water.

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Somehow I sent a ridiculously long time in transition. What was I even doing? It was close to five minutes. Who knows.

Onto the bike! This bike course is nice because it is flat! I really tried to push myself, and it was so different to ride not on hills. I was actually pushing myself to the point where I started to feel out of breath before my legs were killing me, which was different than the past few super-hilly courses I’ve been on. I liked it. I even passed a few people. (Not that many. And they were on cruisers or mountain bikes. But still!) I have to think if I had a non-crappy hybrid bike from Target I could be a speed demon on the bike. Anyone have an extra $1,000?

Off the bike I felt awesome and really tried to push myself on the run as well. I took two one minute walk breaks and tried to push to where I felt just a little uncomfortable. I ended up finishing the run at an 11:47 pace, which was exciting. I haven’t seen that side of 12 minute miles in a while and it felt good.

One thing about this race is that it seemed kind of quiet. Usually on an out and back run there’s a lot of “Nice work!” “Keep it up” and “Looking strong!” but this course was eerily silent.

I wish I had more to say but I don’t really want to say “I really tried to push myself” for a fourth time. I tried to go fast-ish but I didn’t feel like killing myself. I think my lack of soreness today means I didn’t really go full throttle.

I ate a delicious veggie burrito from Wahoo’s when it was done and congratulated coworkerfriend (who also had a great race!).

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Went home and put my new glass to good use.

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Contemplated how wearing a race bib always makes me feel like I’m a star-bellied sneech.

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And Chris poured me a congratulations-on-a-fun-season-ending-race glass of champagne.

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The end. I promised myself no more races for at least a year. I have spent too much time, money, and emotional bandwidth on them this year and I need a break.
I am taking suggestions for new expensive, time-sucking hobbies.

Denver Rock and Roll Marathon 2012

Chris and I cheered at this race together last year and had a blast. This year I knew five or six people doing the race (and it seemed like everyone on twitter and dailymile was headed there). I had planned to meet a couple friends around mile 4 to cheer again, but both ended up flaking so I camped out on the corner with my signs and my bell and made new friends with fellow spectators.

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I love cheering on marathoners (and half marathoners). It is so fun and so inspiring. Because unlike seeing random runners in the park or on the road, you know for everyone it’s Race Day!  And everyone woke up early and felt a little nervous and has some goal in mind for the day. It’s just a really beautiful way to spend a morning.

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Since I’ve declared a one year moratorium on races (after tomorrow’s) I think I’m going to try to volunteer and spectate at some of the big races around Denver. I may need to spruce up my signs, and I definitely need a new bell. Ringing my bike bell hurts my finger, and it kind of broke after an hour. I downloaded a cowbell app on my phone but it also stopped working. #bellfail

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Unfortunately when I got home I arrived to see this lovely scene. (I only left them for two and a half hours!) Harper is a 95% well behaved dog, but when he has friends over (we’re dog sitting) he likes to tear up soft things. Oh, well. I was just saying we’ve had this comforter forever and it could probably use replacing.

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I can’t stay mad at these sweet faces. When we adopted Harper we won the dog lottery. He is cute and well behaved and doesn’t really bark or chew stuff up. If he occasionally decides to ruin an old comforter, I still count us as lucky.
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Nice work, racers. Maybe I will run this next year. I mean, next next year due to my race moratorium. I keep forgetting…

Obligatory Pre-Race Post About Goals: Oktoberfest Sprint Triathlon

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I am doing a sprint triathlon on Sunday.  I’ll be curious to see how this goes. It’s appropriate to taper for more than a week, right?

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On the one hand, after already completing a sprint, and Olympic and a half iron this year, this should seem “easy.” On the other hand, I haven’t worked out in two weeks (save for one three mile run) and I’ve really only increased my endurance this year, I got nothing for speed. Last year I completed the run leg of this race at a 10:50 pace. That sounds like magic to me right now. I haven’t run that fast in months and months. (The usual caveat about that being fast for me, I’m slow, blah blah boring.) It would be fun to PR, but I just don’t think I’m there. 

I’m kind of torn. Should I try to push as hard as I can? See what this body can do? Or cruise along at my usual happy Mel pace and be there “just for fun”?

A coworker is also doing this race, and I’m not gonna lie. How close I am to beating her might determine if I really “sprint” or not. 

I’m kind of jealous of everyone running the Rock and Roll in Denver tomorrow. Seems like that’s what all the cool kids are doing. I will be hanging out just past mile four cheering, though!

Looking forward to it

It feels to me like 2012 is gaining speed and suddenly we’re hurtling towards 2013. There are only about 14 weeks left in the year, and we will be out of town or entertaining house guests for two of them. Coming up:

  • I have one more race! The Oktoberfest Sprint Triathlon on 9/23, then I’m officially retiring. Forever. Or at least a year. It’s too expensive and stressful. Did you know there’s no rule that says you can’t just go swim, bike, and run for free on your own?
  • Booklover’s Ball  is October 6th! I am casually keeping my eye out for new dresses. I love (love) the one in the center but one, it’s super expensive, and two, I’m trying to imagine what kind of bra I’d wear with it…

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  • The holidays are coming! We’re taking a week off to go see Chris’s family in Alabama and then my whole family is coming here for Christmas. I cannot wait.
  • I have no idea how this happened because I’m not a huge concert person but we have three more on the schedule before the end of the year. We’re going to Jason Mraz at Red Rocks and then Alanis Morissette at the Paramount Theater.  No, I don’t have particularly modern or edgy taste in music. But I have loved Alanis since I was 13 (and she was 21). Seventeen years later, I still adore her.

    And then we bought tickets to the Lumineers New Year’s show at the Ogden. It feels way too hot out to have new year’s plans already, but we had to jump on it since the show sold out pretty quickly. I’m obsessed with them lately, and the theater is within walking distance. So new year’s plans, check!

  • My birthday is at the end of November! I’ve just been referring to myself as a 30-year-old all year anyways but it will be official.
  • Chris is winning an award! They’re having a lithe shindig for him at the end of this month.
     
  • What else, what else? Book club, Quarterly HOA meeting, my (always epic) company Christmas party, Chipotle’s free festival in City Park, a few happy hours already on the calendar, Minds Matter is starting again for me every Monday, Chris’s company picnic, maybe another try at a run club, Election Day, and an invitation to a very important 3 year old’s birthday party. 2012, you guys. Almost over!