Thursday, August 16, 2012

TriGirl Sprint Triathlon Race Report

I decided to give the TriGirl Sprint triathlon a try for a few reasons:
  1. It’s an all women race, so there’s a nice, welcoming vibe there.
  2. It’s a smaller race. Unlike the race the hubby did last weekend, with 1,500 people and tons of tri groups represented (meaning it’s pretty competitive), TriGirl limits the participants to 500. It doesn’t feel quite as competitive, as this race tends to have a lot of first timers.
  3. It’s somewhat shorter than some of the other sprint distance races, which was perfect for my post-hip injury return to triathlon. Only a 300 yd swim, 11 mile bike and 3-mile run…it seemed very do-able to train for without overdoing it and re-injuring myself!
  4. They give good swag!  The race organizers are awesome and they run a well-organized race.  The swag is just the icing on the cake. 
Just a sample of the swag given at packet pick-up - the shirt, socks and key chain.  They also gave a tote bag, hammer gel, etc.

The Hubs suggested that we ask my parents to watch the kids, so that he could ride to the race with me and be my personal cheerleader. So, as always, I got all my gear together the day before and woke up in plenty of time to eat breakfast and head to the start. As we were driving along, the Hubs asked if I had my water bottle…”um, no” was my answer. Doh! Luckily, we were able to stop at a convenience store on the way where I could grab a sports bottle of G2.

Once we arrived, I set up my transition area. I was pretty close to the run in from the swim, as well as the bike in and out, so that was good. We headed over to the water, where I managed to get in not one, but two short warm-up swims. Something I’ve noticed in the few times I’ve been at the pool before this race, is that it takes me awhile to feel warmed up and get my rhythm. After my 1st warm up swim, I just wasn’t feeling it, so I went back in one more time and after that I felt pretty comfortable.

The water - perfectly calm...just how I like it!  And a gorgeous sunrise!

The Hubs and I hung out, watching bits and pieces of the Men’s Olympic Marathon on his iPhone. It was perfect, because it gave me something to distract me from the race. Meb is my favorite of the three Americans racing, so I was super happy that he was hanging out toward the front of the pack. Before the race started, the Hubs informed me that Ryan Hall had DNFed. Bummer.

Waiting for the race to start

Finally, it was time to head to the start. Luckily, I ran into fellow tri-blogger, Jill, while waiting for our wave to start. It was great to have someone to talk to for a bit. Before we knew it, it was our turn to get in the water. The downside to having a race with a lot of first timers? I kept swimming into people who had stopped to tread water, stopped to grab a pool noodle (yes, the life guard had these), etc. The swim felt extremely crowded and every time I never really managed to get a good rhythm going. But, it’s a short swim, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I am happy to report that I did not have any of the open water anxiety that I have been plagued with in the past, so that is a good thing.

Almost time to start..yes I'm being a goofball and waving

I headed out of the water, relieved that the swim was done! T1 didn’t take long and I headed out on the bike. It always seems to take me around 2 miles to get my heart rate under control on the bike. The bike course on this race is very pretty – lots of trees and nature. The downside is that there are a ton of turns! I would get my speed up to 19 – 20 mph only to look ahead and see that I’d have to slow down to turn again. At the turn around, I was pleased to see that my average pace was 18.7 mph.  Apparently, I slowed down a little in the 2nd half...maybe all those turns?

This is my "hallelujah that's over" smile...yes, I feel this way even for 300 yds!

I finished the bike and headed out for the run. Once I had gotten out of T2, I saw the Hubby and realized that I had not taken the Hammer Gel that I was going to take midway through my bike. Doh! But, it was only 3 miles and I figured I would be okay. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect on the run. I had only done one brick, and my runs lately have been slow and a combination of running and walking. At CB&I last year, my run pace was around a 9:28 minute mile (good for me!). I suspected my average pace now would be between 10:30 and 11:00 minutes per mile. I was pleasantly surprised to look at my watch and see that my average pace was holding steady at 10:05…and that was with me walking through the two water stops. The run is an out and back. Going out, you are in the sun for almost the 1st full mile. But then, you are rewarded with not only some shade, but a softer running surface. The final mile is the worst, because you are not only getting tired, but back in the direct sunlight again. Sigh. But, I was determined to keep running no matter what. I tried to speed up a bit as I approached those final few meters, but I’m not sure I succeeded, lol!

Heading out of T1...telling the Hubs that I forgot my gel!

The finish - a welcome sight!

Heading to the finish - yahoo!

Finally, I was done! The volunteers gave out our medals , a cold wet towel and a cold bottle of water. It was heavenly!  It was great to have the Hubs there waiting.

Me and mymedal...and my "real" coke reward, yummy!  I only had half, but it was delicious!

The medal up close

My final results:

Swim - 7:47.3
T1 - 1:24.1
Bike - 35:31.0 (18.6 mph)
T2 - 0:53.5
Run - 30"09.5 (10:03/M)
Total Time - 1:15:45.5 (11th of 55 in AG)

Overall, I think I did the best I possibly could, especially considering my training has not really been up to where it normally would be. Looking back, I could have not walked through the water stops. Or maybe I could have placed myself in a different spot at the swim start. Other than that, there’s really nothing I could change that would have allowed me to perform any better at this point in time. On one hand, I am happy that I don’t seem to have lost that much fitness in my hip-related hiatus. At the same time, I can definitely see areas for me to improve.

Will I do more tri’s this season? Maybe. I have two 10k races, a 10-mile race and 2 half-marathons between now and January. That really feels like a lot. Plus, the Hubs is training for a 70.3 in early November – trying to balance both of our training schedules, work, and family time is going to become more difficult as his workouts begin to get longer. (Not to mention all his IMTX training after that!) I may be doing good just to get in my 4:30 am training runs, much less biking and swimming. Plus, I want to continue to focus on the weight loss and strengthening.  But, I’m not going to say for sure that I’m not doing more tri’s this season…who knows!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


Howdy from San Antonio! I have been on vacation, glorious vacation, all week! But, I did want to give you a glimpse of what I've been up to. I'm using the blogger mobile app, so I am sorry if this post doesn't look quite right.

First, we spent Sunday cheering for the Hubs at his triathlon. He did an awesome job! And, it was his birthday, so of course we had to celebrate with lunch afterwards!
 On Monday, the kids wanted to see where I work..not exactly what I want to do on my day off, but we made it an adventure complete with a trip to the tallest building in downtown Houston, a ride on the light rail and a visit to the Museum of Natural Science!

Next we headed to San Marcos to visit the in-laws and now we are in San Antonio relaxing and getting ready to visit Shamu at Sea World. Ahhh,'s going by way too quickly!!

Oh, and I have been working out! Sunday we had rain, which foiled my brick workout. Boo! On Monday, I went to the 5:45 am spin class. On Tuesday, I did the Brazilian Butt workout and swam. On Wednesday, the hubs and I ran in San Marcos - where every run is a hill workout...whether you want one or not! We'll see if we continue to fit in workouts on Vacay.... :-)

Our attempt at a family picture...a finger in front of the lens and the kiddos being silly!

Ready for some Dinosaurs!

At the Hall of Palentology...The Kiddo was scared of the skeletons, but the Munchkin love them!

Enjoying the "Lazy River" and pool at our hotel in San Antonio

The Lazy relaxing!

Making smores by the campfire...not on my eating plan, but I had one anyway!

Frosty adult beverage..also not on my eating plan!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Random Facts Friday – the Olympic Version

1. I am addicted to the Olympics! And, I am secretly excited that the Kiddo shares my enthusiasm. Every morning when she wakes up, instead of watching Disney Channel or Nick, she wants to watch the Olympics. It doesn’t matter which sport is on, she wants to watch it. This is forcing me to watch sports I wouldn’t typically watch and I have to admit, I am liking it! I am learning all about field hockey, badminton, judo and water polo. Of course, I can’t wait to see the marathon and triathlon!

Go Team USA!!!  (source)

2. I wanted to go to the Olympics…but don’t all kids at some point? At age 12, I remember watching Mary Lou Retton bring home the gold. At that point, I had only been taking tumbling at my weekly dance classes, but I suddenly wanted to be an Olympic gymnast!  It was a rude awakening to find that at age 12, I was too old (and too tall) to fufill that dream. But, it didn’t stop me from taking gymnastics lessons and getting several years of enjoyment from the bars, beam and floor exercise. I hated the vault. I also remember watching Wide World of Sports on Saturdays as a kid and seeing the Tour de France. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to be the 1st woman to do that?”

Mary Lou!!!!  Those leotards were da bomb!  (source)

3. I was in love with Mitch Gaylord when I was 12. He won my heart when he won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. And then he made the movie, American Anthem…I was smitten for sure!

The 1984 US Men's Gymnastics team  brought home the gold!

4. I also love the winter Olympics. Like a lot of people, figure skating is my favorite. And yes, I even sported that famous Dorothy Hamill cut as a kid. To this day, the “Battle of the Carmens” between Katarina Witt and Debi Thomas in the 1988 winter games is still the most memorable to me. Even after Christi Yamguchi won the gold in 1992, Tara Lapinski in 1988, and Sarah Hughes in 1992, the Carmens stand out. And who can forget the drama of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, ack! By the way, Debi Thomas is now an Orthopedic Surgeon.

Debbie Thomas (source)

5. The commercials during the Olympics are THE BEST! Seriously, they make me cry. Have you seen the Proctor and Gamble ones? Holy cow. I also love this one from Nike:

Are you watching the Olympics? What are your favorite sports to watch?

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

I'm Alive!!!

Hello, I am still here.

I apologize for being a bad blogger. My laptop at home crapped out and I find it hard to make myself go upstairs and use our desktop at home. I was sometimes blogging during my lunch breaks, but I’ve been using those to work out! I am trying to get back to regular posting again, I promise.

So what’s going on with me?

A funk. Not a workout funk, but just a funk in general. Career is kind of blah right now…that’s all I’ll say about that. The Hubs and I are contemplating moving to a different neighborhood due to a new expressway about to be built a few hundred feet from our front door (boo!). The nutrition and weight loss are still going well – I am about 1.5 lbs from my goal weight and feeling much leaner and less “puffy”. The Hubs and kids are doing great! The best part? We are all on vacation next week – yippee!

How about the workouts?

I have really ramped up the workouts. I am running 2x during the week, and then again on Saturday with my running group. I ran 6 miles with minimal walking (only 1 minute at each mile) last weekend and felt pretty good. I can tell my endurance is nowhere close to where it was last year, because I felt as if I had just run 15 miles. But, my hip felt pretty good and I feel like I am building my base back up.

I have also been attending a boot camp style workout during lunch at the gym twice a week. I am very fortunate to have free access to a gym at work! These lunchtime gym sessions are one thing that make the workday a little more bearable. Anyway, the instructor is awesome – she incorporates weights, lunges, squats, push-up and running into a full body workout. I love it!

I decided to change things up a bit with my workouts. Back when I received the results of my 1st MRI, the doc made a comment about needing to strengthen my glutes. Well, I bought a workout DVD set that promises to do just that – the Brazil Butt Lift from Beachbody.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I love Beachbody. I’ve done Slim-in-Six, P90X and Insanity. I love them all! I figured I’d give this workout a try, especially since they have a 30-day money back guarantee. Let me just say, after the 1st workout, I was sore for 2 days. In a good way. As in my booty, inner and outer thighs, quads and hammies all HURT! It’s awesome! There is a bit of cheesiness to the whole thing – the instructor, Leandro Carvhalho, explains everything well, but often says things like “stick out your butt, don’t be shy… be proud of what you’ve got!” and is quite happy about this workout (you can tell by the silly grin on his face). The girls in the background have those plastic smiles the entire time, while I grimace and grunt as I do the same workout. And the “butt” is often referred to as your “bum bum” (pronounced boom boom). Other than that, this is a killer workout that works not only the glutes, but the inner and outer thighs, the hamstrings, the quads, abs and lower back. I am only on week #3 of the plan, so I haven’t seen any dramatic results just yet. I’ll keep you posted.

The other workouts I’ve been doing are biking and swimming. This is the 3rd week I’ve been able to get to the pool at least 2 times. And, I have been biking on Sundays. I know I need more bike time, but I have trouble fitting it in. I am scheduled to ride the “Tour de Cure” in late September…it’s only 44 miles, but I haven’t been on a ride longer than about 35 miles since my comeback from the hip injury!


I decided to go ahead and sign up for the TriGirl Sprint triathlon on Sunday, August 12. I am trying to tell myself that I am okay with being slower than last year..that I have just gotten back into training after 5 months of dealing with an injury. But I’ll admit, deep down I am not that happy about it. I just keep telling myself that if I get back into this carefully and be smart about it, I could be stronger next year. Honestly, I can’t seem to find my mojo to get excited about triathlon this year. I think part of it is because I am slower and I feel like I’ve been out of it for so long! I am hoping this race will help me find that passion again. I chose this one because it is a smaller, shorter, all women’s race. It has a somewhat laid back, communal feel to it, which is exactly what I need at the moment. Oh, and the medal is pretty awesome, too.

Future races?

Well, it took me a long time, but I finally decided that I would do some shorter races this year. Again, I am trying to get my mind right with the whole “you are recovering, don’t push it and accept that you’re slower and have fun” thing. I decided to branch out and do what’s called the “Texas Bridge Series”. It consists of two 10Ks, both labeled the “toughest 10K”, because they go over some pretty big bridges. Yeah, I will be walking. But, it’s worth it, because each race awards a medal to the finishers! (BLING!!!) The finale of the series is a ½ marathon. If you complete all three of the races, you receive a 4th medal. (MORE BLING!!!)

I am also signing up for the Ten for Texas. The main reason I am doing this one is because it is just minutes away from my house and several folks from my running group will be doing it. And, they have a great post-race party. There are no medals in this one, though.

I would love to do the RunGirl ½ Marathon. Unfortunately, it is either the weekend before or the weekend after the bridge series ½ marathon. Again, if I am trying to be smart with my recovery, and ½ marathons 2 weekends in a row might not be a great idea.

Anything Else?

We are hoping to get the kids involved in The Woodland Running Club’s junior program. The program meets 2x per week and the kids run a mile, by March the kids will be ready to run the kid’s 2k that occurs in conjunction with The Woodlands Marathon and ½ Marathon. After completing that race, the kids will have run exactly 26.2 miles. They receive a 2K medal, as well as a 26.2 medal from The Woodlands Marathon. Cool, huh? It will take some coordinating of our own training schedules to get the kids to the meetings, but I think they will have a lot of fun and make some new friends.

What races are you gearing up for?  Have you tried the Brazil Butt Lift?