Littlefoot Triathlon – Race Recap

Oh man.

This summer I planned to do no races, to enjoy my summer, and to go to more happy hours. And I have! I have spent a lot of time drinking beers on patios, sitting on the couch, working, and very little time working out. As a result I’m slightly squishier but a lot less stressed out than I was this time last summer.

But a few weeks ago Chris and I went for a bike ride and then I hopped off and did a short run. Just to see. Just to see how bad a brick might feel. But it was fine! I was hot and tired, but really, it was fine.

So on a whim, with no training, yesterday afternoon I signed up for the Littlefoot Triathlon, a tiny sprint tri that was this morning. (There were only about 150 racers.) I had done two random 5ks this summer, not really trained, and PR’d both! Maybe 2013 was one long taper I’d benefited from immensely.

Ha. Hahahaha. Oh, Past Mel. How did you get so dumb?

I actually had a lot of fun today, but I totally face-planted in the race. The very short version with random crappy iPhone pictures…

The approach:

Most of my gear came together pretty quickly last night except for 10 tense minutes spent looking for a stray cycling glove. (I have super crappy wrists, I need them even for a short ride.) My alarm didn’t go off (I set it for PM instead of AM) but Chris’s alarm woke me up and I got out the door on time. On the way there, I hit a bump on the freeway and in the rear view mirror watched my bike bounce out of its fastenings on the bike rack and slide dangerously close to flying off. Pulled over, adjusted, drove verrrry carefully the rest of the way.

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The swim:

Always my favorite leg, and I love the part before we start where everyone’s in the water chatting. I haven’t swam (in a pool or in a lake) in a year so I was impressed that I could swim a half mile with no breaks. It wasn’t fast, but I swam pretty straight and was able to pass some folks.

The bike:

Bleh. I think I have realized I do not enjoy cycling, especially on my crappy Target bike. The course wasn’t as hilly as I thought, but it was really curvy, so you had zero momentum going into the uphills. Also, my heart rate was like “WHY DID YOU JUST SWIM SO HARD FOR SO LONG? IS SOMETHING CHASING YOU?” and my heart rate would. Not. Come. Down. Not when I slowed down, not when I had water, not when I took it easy on the uphills.

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The run:

I got off the bike and my legs felt okay-ish, but again my heart rate was like “THIS IS NOT DRINKING BEER. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING??” And by this time it was really hot, and when I tried to run my heart rate exploded and I felt a little dizzy. So since I had no goals, and I was just here for fun, I decided to just walk the 5k. I could have kept up a run/walk situation but…meh. Meh. I say.

I smiled at other racers, chatted with volunteers, and drank a lot of water. It was hot. Then there were fewer people on the course and I got bored. I kind of wished I’d spent my $85 on a new dress.

The finish:

I realized at some point that I was the last finisher, and I felt badly because I think people really like to cheer for last finishers who look like they’re overcoming some hardship but trying really hard. People like it when the last finisher is really old or overweight but doing their best to sprint to the finish! I was just a healthy lady who was not trained at all and being kind of lazy.

When I got to the finish line I tried to nonchalantly saunter across, but the announcer stopped the raffle/awards to call me out, and I waved to the crowd. “Hi! Sorry. Don’t mind me. Are there any vegetarian sandwiches left?” (There weren’t!)

Maybe 15 seconds after I finished, I was slinking off to collect my stuff when the announcer called out my name for first place! Well, only place. In the sadly neglected Athena division. (That means I weigh more than 150 pounds.) I collected my award and marveled at the math that allowed me to be both first and last. Ah, well.

So there’s that. Ninth triathlon in the books. Kind of made an idiot of myself, but I had fun.

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Three footnotes if I could remember how to actually code footnotes:

One, I think I actually came in last place, which is kind of funny. It’s that thing people dread but it’s fine. No one points and laughs at you, you still get the same t-shirt. I’m kind of happy to fall on this sword if it means someone else who would mind doesn’t have to. But, I was also in the last wave, so maybe someone who started 20 minutes ahead of me actually took more time than I did. Who knows.

Two, I wish the Athena division was really a thing. I always sign up for it if it’s an option because seriously, regardless of how in shape you are, it’s just harder to propel 150 pounds around a course than it is 120 pounds, and I’m a big person! I’d like to compete against other big people. I’m tall and broad and the only time in my life I’ve weighed less than 150 pounds was a brief period after college when I engaged in some somewhat disordered habits. Other than that, I’ve fit into the same jeans since high school.

And there were definitely women in that weight range who beat me today who decided to compete in their age group instead. They should have this cool plaque, not me! I mean, to each her own. Thanks for the first place/last place finish, ladies!

Three, race directors: you always run out of the vegetarian sandwiches or burritos! You should have more. I was starving and made a beeline for a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich when I left the park.
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Colorado Half Marathon – Final Thoughts

Just a few more things. One, after texting my mom a photo of my cousinfriend and myself…

That is what moms are for! This is why I would not be a good mom. My mom has always been a “You’re the prettiest! You’re the smartest! You are the best most amazing person!”

Whereas if my kid came in 1200th place I’d pull out my go-to: “Well, you’re good at other things.”

Anyways!

This is the medal we got. I love it because it’s big and heavy and I earned it. I don’t love that it’s three skinny dudes in tiny shorts. How about a little diversity? Lady runners outnumbered the dudes, and for the half it was by a ratio of two to one

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I very seriously considered signing up for the Colfax Half Marathon this weekend, but I opted against it. Maybe another in the fall, but I really need to focus on triathlon training.

Speaking of training…

One thing I have noticed in looking back at my training for this race? While I love working out in the evening and have no problem getting motivated to work out, my schedule just doesn’t allow for the time I need to train for a 70.3. I had something after work yesterday, today, Monday, and Tuesday. I’m not, like, oh I’m so super busy and important, but I am running out of hours in the day lately so mornings it is.

I signed up for a fancy gym that opens a lot earlier than my beloved public rec center. It also has towels! Which is nice for a girl who bikes to work with a bag that weighs about 25 pounds (yes, I have weighed it).

 So far so good, I’ve made it there four mornings this week, and it’s nice to be able to commence drinking beer immediately after work, though I am sad to not be having a beer immediately after I run.

It’s fun living in a swing state

I went to the rec center last night, and upon arrival realized I had forgotten my membership card, a lock for the locker, and headphones. Defeated, I went home, but I rallied! Put my Garmin on to charge while I changed clothes and chatted with my mom for a few minutes. Then I struck out to run and see how the ankle was feeling. By the time I got to the park by my house I was feeling pretty good, enjoying the sunset, and trying not to swallow too many gnats.

Until I realized that ahead the running path was cordoned off with police tape. There were cops everywhere, and a crowd was starting to gather. I moved off the running trail and passed some stern looking officers. 

I was thinking gang violence or at least some kind of shooting. I hesitantly asked, “What’s going on?”

 “The President’s coming.”

 “Of…the United States?”

 “No.”

 “Oh.”

 “Sorry, yes. That was not that great of a joke.”

 “Oh. Cool.”

 Word was his helicopter was supposed to land briefly, but I didn’t see or hear any helicopters as I finished my loop. Kind of a fun surprise, it would have been more fun if I actually got to wave. Or, OMG, if I had been at the random bar where he stopped in Boulder. (First photo: I wish so badly that was me.) 

Half Marathon Training (and Life) Recap – Week 10 – Still Injured Edition

So, my right ankle and I are in a fight. It’s being cranky, and I am bending over backwards apologizing and groveling and cajoling to try to make it feel better.

 

Monday – Minds Matter! Five more weeks until we’re out for summer! It’s fun, but I am ready for a break.

Tuesday – After three days of not running, tried running on my treadmill. Ankle Pain! Switched to the bike. Oh! And I went to a Temple Grandin book signing. It was pretty cool.

Wednesday – Swam a mile. Bright side to not running: MOAR SWIMMING. I think I will always be a 40 minute mile swimmer. No matter how much I swim I don’t seem to get faster.

Thursday – Tired! Watched tv shows on the internet. Did not do my scheduled 10 mile run because of The Ankle Pain.

Friday – Minor dog emergency! I took Harper for a quick trip to the park before a planned exercise bike workout, but he injured two of his paw pads and they were bleeding a little. Ack! He is totally fine, but it was scary and I was on the phone with the vet and trying to keep him from licking them too much.

Saturday – Swam 1,000 yards. I don’t like swimming for less than 30 minutes but I just wasn’t in the mood to go long. Decided I’d go for a 2 mile run to see how the ankle felt. I felt awesome until exactly 1.6 miles in and then I felt pain. Headed over to yoga with my friend.

Sunday – Bailed on a meeting of the Ladies Walking Club because it was a cold and windy and busy Sunday, went to yoga again. Both Saturday and Sunday’s classes were hard and I am still sore.

Since I’m less than three weeks out from my first half-marathon (and the registration fee was ridiculous) I’m feeling pretty grumpy about my ankle. I even went to acupuncture yesterday for the first time to see if it would help.  It was an overall pleasant experience, but I don’t know. I’m not sold, but I’m not a total skeptic. Chris swears by it, but he’s generally a lot more…eastern medicine-y than I am.  I’ll see how I feel in a few days and maybe go back again next week.

I’m a unicorn!

Half Marathon Training (and Life) Recap – Week 9 – Injury Edition

Monday – Work, volunteer, followed by a committee meeting. One of those glorious days when I leave the house at 6:30 am and don’t get home until 10. It’s for the kids!

Tuesday – Happy hour/book club, plus it was snowing! So I walked to work and called that a workout. (I mean, my bag does legit weigh 25 pounds when loaded up with my gigantic work laptop and all my other “essentials.”)

Wednesday – Most Glorious Run of My Life ™ The weather was perfect, I had new shoes, and a girlfriend with juicy boyfriend stuff to discuss. (Not that juicy.) Three miles followed by beers on my stoop. I win at life.

Thursday – Left for a 4 mile run but called in quits after only 2.5. My right ankle was killing me. Ow. Not cool.

Friday – I glared at my ankle and willed it to feel better.  Oh, also houseguests arrive. This hardly even registers as an event anymore as I am essentially running a hotel this year.

Saturday – Really, really, really wanted to go swimming but Chris talked me into brunch at Parallel 17 instead, followed by yoga. Brunch at Parallel 17 was not as awesome as swimming. Truly. And then a super fun fundraiser that night! Wore great high heels but did not dance in them for fear of further injury. Glared at my ankle some more.

Sunday – Still feeling a little twinge in my ankle though it’s much better. Went on a five mile meeting of the Ladies Walking Club and then to yoga.

Once again, you would never know I have a triathlon coming up in two months! Swimming and biking? Neverheardofem.  Resolved: that changes this week. Seriously. Also, I’m going to switch back to my old shoes and see if that helps the ankle.

Only four weeks until my half-marathon! I want like a teeny tiny 13.1 sticker so it doesn’t take up too much room on my Nalgene. (And, to be honest, I read too many running blogs so 13.1 miles doesn’t seem that far anymore, just far for me.) Also so I can save room for a big 70.3 one at the end of the year!

Half Marathon Training (and Life) Recap – Weeks 7 and 8

Week 7

Wanh wannnnhh. Not quite as much of a face plant as the week I only ran once, but disappointing nonetheless.

 

Monday – My regular Monday night volunteer gig.

Tuesday – Two miles on the treadmill, break for an HOA meeting in my living room, back downstairs for one more mile to make three.

Wednesday – I cannot for the life of me remember what happened this day. I have checked my calendar, my email, my twitter, even my credit card activity. It’s fair to assume I probably sat on my couch and drank beer.

Thursday – I discovered that from my house to Cheesman park, four laps of the park and back is exactly eight miles. (Please don’t use that information to find my house and murder me.)

The last mile was all downhill and I got excited and pushed too hard. My knees and ankles and hips started to crackle and pop. Once I stopped I was hobbling and having a very slightly hard time finding my words. Like, I couldn’t say the word “cyclist.” Over and over I could only come up with “bicycle rider.”

Friday, Saturday, Sunday – My faux in laws were in town! (My “common in laws” is more clever but when people try to tell me Chris and I are married by common law it makes me all rage-y so I don’t want to encourage that. Probably a post for another day, but reader’s digest version: you can’t get married by accident.)

Week 8

Monday – After having family in town all weekend on the heels of a tough work week, I was happy no volunteering tonight! (Our kids were on spring break.) Sat on the couch. Drank wine.

Tuesday – Three miles! New route in my hood. The weather was perfect.

Wednesday – Went to an amazing art show put on by kids and teens at the Athmar branch of Denver’s public library. So. Cool. (Look at this cool bookshelf mural they made! All the books are made of strung together copies of sections of pictures, see?)

Pizza and beers after at the Walnut Room, and our group of 12 or so somehow accidentally overtipped by like $50. You’re welcome, server guy at the Walnut Room!

ThursdayNine miles in Wash Park! My belly was not feeling awesome and I almost bailed after five miles but since I was over half way done, I really just wanted to finish and not have to try to find another day to do the nine. Two, um, extended “rest stops.”

Anyone else run while listening to the Dan Savage podcast?

Friday – Happy hour! Followed by going back to my office to eat some delicious leftover pizza from the fridge.

Saturday – Got all my stuff out to swim but then I putzed around the house too long, lost track of time and missed my window. Went for a 3 mile run with a girlfriend and then we met two other friends at yoga.

Spent the afternoon on a patio with my friends drinking beer at the Denver Bicycle Cafe and eating salads from Serioz next door. Went and saw Jewel (Who will saaa-a-aave your soul?) And then we hung out at our place and my neighborfriend brought his dog over to play with Harper.

Sunday – Tried to run 3 miles but I was so tired and it was so hot I bailed at 2.5. Finally plunked down $130 for a yoga class pass and then discovered my favorite teacher is no longer teaching there. Half considered asking for my money back. Didn’t.

Brunch at Strings. Groceries. Target.

This week was great! I think I have learned that four runs a week is one too many for these legs. I’m also regretting every week when triathlon season draws nearer and I don’t swim or bike. But in the meantime I’m still falling in love with yoga and not ready to give it up.

Five weeks left to go! Yikes!

Half Marathon Training – Weeks Five and Six!

Week five – Did I seriously only run once this week?!

Monday – I had Monday off from my regular volunteer gig and I plowed through 60 minutes on my exercise bike!

Tuesday – Book club and watched the Bachelor with a friend.

Wednesday – I was going to make up my three miles today, but I desperately needed to catch up with my best friend so we could swap notes on people who suck.

Thursday – Meant to run four miles, but misjudged the distance and ended up back at my house after 3.7 without the motivation to run around the block for .3 miles.

Friday – Chris’s birthday! I faked him out and we ordered Thai food and I got him a lame card and a sweater off the clearance rack.

Saturday – Swam 1,000 meters, went to yoga. Pretended to go for a run in between but really went and got a cupcake for Chris’s real birthday, which was a surprise night out on the town, a cute card, and a real present.

Sunday – Madness! This day was way overbooked, breakfast with a friend stretched into two hours, it was the only day we could go mattress shopping, and we needed to clear out a part of our house where we’re starting a remodeling project because the contractor was supposed to start the next day. But of course he didn’t. A blog post for another day.

Week six – Seven miles! And I learn to rest.

Monday – Five hours of watching the Bachelor and talking smack. Team Courtney!

Tuesday – Couldn’t even eek out three miles. Tired and grumpy about dodging so many off leash dogs. I threw in the towel at 2.7.

Wednesday – Impromptu doggie play date/folks over for dinner!

Thursday – Seven effing miles! Without music after the first 20 minutes because my iPod batteries died. Hard! Freaking! Core! Followed by the fastest shower of my life and still showing up 20 minutes late to dinner at a friend’s.

Friday – Sat through a high school musical. Bless their hearts. The student I went to see was amazing!

Saturday – Ran 3.5 miles! Brag: that’s 16% more running than scheduled! Went to yoga with a friend. It was one of those classes with lots of “Om”s and talking about universal life vibrations. Sigh.

Lunch, a nap, and then I spent the evening on the patio at the Denver Bicycle Cafe drinking beers.

Sunday – Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. Sunday I rested. Well, I actually convened a meeting of the Ladies Walking Club and we covered five miles. But I gave myself the day to catch up on work and eat a leisurely breakfast and take a bubble bath and not make the whole day about cramming in workouts and just happened to end up going for a long walk it was glorious.

I know there are people with like 9 kids and four jobs who run nonprofits and who are generally way more busy and important than I am, but I work hard and I rarely just give myself a full day off and it felt amazing.

Like, re-think my whole training plan amazing. As I remembered how completely burnt out I was at the end of last summer, I thought Sundays off might be the ticket to avoid that this year.

Tomorrow my long run is up to 8 miles. Yikes. Random thought: it is strange to run more miles than my round trip commute for two days. I rarely have any practical need to transport myself more than 3 miles from my home.