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.

No races for one year

I did four triathlons in the summer of 2011 and another four over the summer of 2012. Each year in August I hit a wall where I was Done. Tired of training. Tired of passing on happy hours to go to the gym. Tired of getting up early on Saturdays to swim.

In the spring, it’s really tempting to sign up for races. Your have the year laid out at your feet and early bird pricing on registration fees. There are a half dozen races I’d love to do. And it’s a bummer not to be able to put anything on my calendar.

But yesterday was beautiful and warm. I was going to go for a run, but I emailed a friend instead and asked if we wanted to convene a meeting of the Ladies Walking Club. (Basically an hour or so of chatting plus four miles plus of walking.) Our walk quickly devolved into grabbing beers at the Denver Bicycle Cafe instead.

And I didn’t have to stress about missing a prescribed workout from my training plan or the fact that and I had not run one time this week.

I’m a little embarrassed by how little I’ve been exercising lately, but happier with how I’m spending my free time.

Motivation, where art thou?

What I should be doing today:

Swimming, cycling, running, even  some other cross training, pretty much anything to get my heart rate up.

What I’m doing instead:

Internet! And I ate a bowl of ice cream. And I gave my dog some good pets.



I got to this point last summer too: I’m totally and utterly 100% out of motivation. I don’t really want to do anything. There’s a gym bag packed next to my feet, but I’m playing around on my computer. Clearing out old photos off of my phone. I moved all my tumblr posts over to wordpress. Thinking about how I have some work stuff I want to get done this weekend. Lalala.

Okay. I’m getting up and leaving…now. For real. 15 days until Harvest Moon!

Run, run, run, run, run, run awaaaaay

I had the best run of my entire life last night. So of course I really didn’t want to go. I hemmed and hawed and spent a lot of time getting ready. I bargained myself down to a  3.5 mile loop and promised myself that’s all I had to do.

But Cheesman’s running loop is magic. It’s shaded, it’s soft gravel is easy on the joints, and it’s just curvy enough that you can’t see too far ahead of you, so it doesn’t feel like you have long to go. The track is 1.44 miles around, so it doesn’t take very long to tick off a “lap.” There are a zillion runners and other people around. There are some uphills but the payoff in the long gentle downhills that make you feel like a super speedy running rockstar are the best.

I love this park and ended up running until I couldn’t see and until I thought about how my mother would scold me if she knew I was running around in the dark this late by myself, with one headphone in no less.

I ended up doing four laps of the park, a little over eight miles total including the trip to and from my house, in about an hour and forty five minutes. And I felt awesome. I would have kept going but it was nearing 9pm.

It feels like I have been training for one thing or another forever, and progress has been very gradual. But it occurred to me…I’ve been training for a Half Iron Man for almost six months. Of course I can run 8 miles no problem. So that’s kind of awesome.

The Hills

Riding your bike up hills is more fun when you sing about it. This stretch took two hours, but it really did fly by.

Can you pay my HILLS, can’t pay my telephone HILLS, can’t pay my automo HILLS then baby maybe we can chill…


My baby don’t mess around when she’s biking HILLS because she’s biking HILLS


Sheep go to heaven, goats climb up HILLS


Party climbing up these HILLS tonight, everybody just have a good time

Chris is not going to get to do my 70.3 with me. He has a back injury that has recently become aggravated, and running is just not okay. He has kindly been “crewing” me. Picking me up late from the gym, having dinner ready for me (or a glass of champagne), washing the bag of tupperware I dump on the kitchen counter at the end of the day.

And, most kind, riding along at my pace to keep me company on bike rides. And contributing his fair share of hill-y lyrics.

Oh, and carrying the beer back from the store, of course.

70.3 Training – Scoping out the bike course

So, I haven’t really posted a lot about this, but I am definitely in the thick of training for my 70.3 in September. (If you like reading about the details of other people’s workouts (I do) I post all of mine on dailymile.) It kind of feels like I live at my gym.

Saturday morning we drove out to ride part of the race’s bike course.This was my first time driving on E470 and I really wish someone had videoed Chris and I trying to figure out how the tolls work, because there are little toll booth like things with big signs that say DO NOT STOP, and the lanes are just labeled “Express Pay” and “License Plate Toll.” Totally not helpful. We’re like, So…will we pay these when we register our car next year? Surely they won’t mail us a bill for $1.25, right? I missed the exit…how do you turn around on a toll road? I DON’T KNOW! As a household of bicycle commuters, sometimes we get really mixed up when it comes to cars.

Back to the purpose for our visit, though. I have read about the crazy hills at the beginning and end of this course and I wanted to see what I was dealing with.

Expectations adjusted accordingly. I only rode 14 miles but it took over an hour since I was in my granny gear going up and clutching the breaks for dear life going down. You can kind of see the hills in the back of this photo of me, but yowsers.

This is what I rode yesterday:

This is the profile for the whole course:

For such a flat city, they sure do know how to find hills for races.

The road itself here is a much smoother ride, but to stay out of traffic we were riding mostly on the shoulder with all it’s bumps and debris. I assume I will be able to spend more time in the road during the race, and I hope that will make me feel less like I’m about to fly off my bike and into the air at any moment on the downhills.

The uphills felt okay. I forgot my cycling gloves, and my hands and wrists were killing me, otherwise we’d have ridden further.

I have nine weeks left until the race, and I hope to make it out to this course several more times and ride the entire thing at least twice. I’m starting to get excited. For the race, to get my life back, and for the bragging rights.

Weekend Update

This past weekend was gloriously unscheduled. I have had it staked out on the calendar for months for my annual Ladies at Little America weekend. LALA!

The Little America Hotel is a magical hotel resort in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It’s so close. It’s so cute. It’s so fun. And it’s so cheap. I never know how to really give a good sense of the place. On the one hand, it’s the nicest hotel in town. On the other hand, that town in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The lobby is all fresh cucumber water and plush couches and a gigantic marble fireplace. But the rooms have toile bedspreads and gilded mirrors and lots of white wicker. It’s like as nice and fancy as a hotel staffed by Cheyenne teenagers on summer break can be. The ice cream cones are 59 cents, and the gift shop sells things like black denim jackets with rhinestone designs. There is a real stuffed penguin at the entrance. It’s ridiculous(ly awesome).

I am not great at remembering to take photos, but I found these in my phone:

  • swimsuits, sunscreen and magazines (I only wore one, but I like to have options)
  • a silly amount of “roadtrip snacks” (for three people…for a 90 minute trip…)
  • the pool
  • some old ladies toasting with white wine


The weather was awesome on Saturday, but Sunday morning it was chilly so we packed it up early. I got home by 12:30 and had enough time to go for my first real brick of 70.3 training: a two hour bike bide followed by a 30 minute run. I had planned to do a spin bike-treadmill workout at the gym, but since it was cooler I took it to the streets. Or, I took it to the bike path at least. It was hard but doable and made me feel like maybe I won’t totally crash and burn in September.

I really thought I was going to rally and go to City Park Jazz Sunday night but drinking beer and listening to music in my house is almost the same thing, right?

Oh hey, Boulder Sunrise. I didn’t see you over there, hanging out on my calendar for this weekend

I keep forgetting I am supposed to do an Olympic Triathlon on Saturday. Last summer I did this same race at the peak of my training. I worked hard for months and then…kind of had an awful race.

This year I’m like…”Well, I’m in pretty good shape. We’ll just see what happens.” So I can only assume I will dominate, right? That’s what happens when you have worn your wetsuit twice so far this year and have gone on exactly one non-stationary bike ride? (Besides commuting.)

I should really drop down to the sprint.

Welcome back to my life, ugly wetsuit

Open water swimming opened today! I swim in Bowles Reservoir, where Mile High Multisport hosts swimming from 7-9:30 on the weekends and 5:30-7 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This year I got a season pass so I can go as many days as I want. I have to go nine more times to make the pass cheaper than the drop in rate. Fine by me because I frigging love swimming outside.

I 100% stole this picture from google image search. This is Bowles Reservoir, but it didn’t look like this today. It was gray and raining pretty hard. One more reason swimming is better than running or cycling? Rain doesn’t really ruin it. The walk from the car to the locker room was chilly, but once you get in the water it’s hard to even tell it’s raining.


When I did my google image search, though, I found this drawing I made of the reservoir last year. Those are swimmers wearing bright yellow caps. You have to wear a bright colored cap, that’s a rule!

I felt super rusty. I had a false start with my wetsuit and one of the legs was all twisted. I also pushed a nice thumbnail gash into one of the legs. Oops. Maybe I did it subconsciously since I hate, hate, hate my pink wetsuit. It works fine as a wetsuit, it just looks like a 1980s barbie wetsuit to me.

Fancy photo collage of my ugly wetsuit, two pictures from this morning and a race photo from last year:

It’s always hard to put your face in the water for the first time, and it took me a long time to warm up, but after 20 minutes or so I was feeling pretty good and transitioned from flailing and gasping to swimming and breathing. I definitely need to practice my sighting, but it felt good to be swimming outside again. Nothing against the lap pool, I love that too. But I wish I could take a picture of the view from the middle of the reservoir. It just feels so cool to be floating around out there.

And there is not a more friendly group of people than those you meet at open water swimming. Everyone wants to talk to you about your races and their own races and to compare notes on gear.

Aaah! I just feel so good and happy and looking forward to MOAR SWIMMING this summer.