What is this all about?

I started this blog to keep me accountable in my fitness and clean eating journey. My first post was in March of 2007 and I've been posting ever since. As you will see I've had many highs and lows...but this is all about the journey...not just the destination

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Danskin 2008 - Race report details

I woke up at 4:30 am to the sounds of thunder and lightning. I just sat there thinking - not again. If it rains today, I am not sure I will do this race. After last year's really wet conditions, I didn't think I would be motivated enough to pull it off. Luckily it was just thunder , no rain.

My favorite bag was packed- I double checked everything off the list: wetsuit, 2 pair of goggles (i had a bad feeling about my new ones), chamois cloth (great for drying off), lotion (to treat the post race ash:), my new cap , sunglasses, bike shoes,etc. All ready. I felt nervous but ready to give it my best. My stomach was really nauseous but I figured that was due to nerves and possibly due to the ice cream I had the night before:).

I arrived and was happy to find a plum but debatable parking space. It wasn't a driveway , but was a small space that looked like a small basketball court. My plum space blocked it just a bit, but I did not see a do not park sign and I asked someone else for an objective opinion about the space. He thought I would be fine. So there I parked. I did leave a very long note apologizing in case it was not a space. I left my hubby's number in case they needed us to move. As if.....

So I got to the transition area, set up and waited. I looked around and didn't see anyone I knew. Usually I see at least one person. The women next to me were pretty excited first timers. They asked me if I'd done it before and asked if I was nervous. I said yes and yes. The best advice I could give them was to acknowledge the nervousness before and doing the race. Don't fight it , work with it.

The Swim
I got to the starting area and really wanted to get in toward the front to get in the first few waves. Since I was in the mixed age group vs the specific age group (40-44), there were over 1000 people in my group split over 5 waves. I shimmied my way to the front. I ran into a woman that I've run into every year on the swim. We caught up on the family, friends and our training. We both laughed at the fact that neither one of us had been in the open water at all. We ended by saying that we would meet again next year, same time, same place.

So I'm in the water - getting used to it - happy that it wasn't too cold. I put my goggles on and had a bit of trouble adjusting them, but they felt ok. I had trouble getting the suction right on one side but it was time to go. I started out really easy, very leisurely - just trying to get my space. I didn't kick at all - the entire swim, just used my arms and kept my rhythm. I had trouble spotting the buoys because I really could not see. I think my contact lens was not in position for most of the race because everything was just totally blurry. I didn't let it bother me, I just kept going. I swam into the canoes a couple of times, but just kept on my merry way. I wasn't swimming hard enough to get winded, but for some reason I kept swallowing water. I was able to zone out a few times, thinking about the kids, work, my upcoming vacation. For a good portion of the swim, I prayed. I just thanked God over and over again for letting me do this- for allowing me to be able to do this.
I ended the swim , happy that my inconsistent training didn't impact my ability to finish and vowing to get in the open water before the next triathlon.

T-1
My bike was racked pretty far away from the swim exit, so I ran as much of the distance as I could disrobing in the process. When I got to my area, I was so pleased with how well everything was laid out. Socks in shoes, sun glasses on helmut, gu in pockets, phone in beeno bag etc. I kept my tri suit on , but added my race skirt - which has two purposes : concealing jigglage and holding my race number. I saw hubby and the kids right by my area. I was soo happy , I ran over to give them a hug. Then I got my bike and off I went. Felt very nauseous.

Bike
Nothing really to say - other than I loved it- I pushed pretty hard hitting 40 mph a couple times. Going over the bridge with the sun hitting the water ..ahh beautiful. I had to keep focused on the road and not focus on the scenery. I averaged 19.5 mph .

T2
I tried to be quick. I changed, caught my breath , got a Gu and I was off.

The run
Still nauseous and legs feeling very heavy, I jogged out of the transition area. I started running but after a few minutes, I realized that I didn't have enough gas in the tank to run the entire race. I know that my knees always hurt in the beginning and that I need the push through the first mile or so in order to feel good. I know these things, but in this case what I was feeling in the moment took over. So I sort of jog walked the entire 3.1 miles. I jogged a bit, walked a bit, jogged a bit , walked a bit. I saw several women with their music and I was kicking myself for not bringing DJ Steveboy. I know I can run farther and faster when he is with me.

Overall
It was a beautiful day for a triathlon - not too hot and no rain. I felt good about my effort - because I got out of it exactly what I put in. I was consistent with spin and less so with running and swimming. Plus I'm carrying 8lbs more than last year. I'm offering up no excuses - I got out of it what I put in. I didn't put in personal best effort and I didn't get personal best results -- except on the bike:)

As many people do, I have a little voice in my head that is very quick to tell me that I'm not good enough, or that I should have done better, tried harder etc. Not just for triathlons but for everything. After this race - I felt really good about silencing the voice- by feeling good about completing this triathlon. I'm a no excuses person and I could have used so many excuses for not doing it . I feel good about that.

Results:
Goal : Finish in bottom of 1st half - somewhere between 1:39 and 1:48
Actual : Finished in bottom of 1st half 1:46
Swim: 22:07 (Personal Record in 2007 -15;59 but shorter distance )
T-1: 6:09 (PR 2007- 4:07 )
Bike: 36:50 /19.5mph (PR 2008 by 4 minutes!!
T-2: 3:24 (PR 2008 by 32 sec!)
Run: 38:17 (PR 2007- 34:30 )

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About Me

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West Coast, United States
I am a christian woman, wife, mom to 2 great kids, a member of Delta Sigma Theta, A Jack and Jill mom, sister, daughter . I am also incredibly fit but wasn't always. I am a recovering fat girl - who takes it one day at a time.

Alonda the Triathlete!

Alonda the Triathlete!

The backstory-----How did I become a triathlete...

In February 2006, I went on a ski trip with my new colleagues from work. On the way back, I sat next to a girl named Wendy - a really friendly woman who talked about her experience as a newcomer to Seattle. She told me how her main source of making friends was through her workout buddies. She also mentioned that many of her friends participate in triathlons and that (get this) I should consider doing one too. I thought she might have been delirious from all of the skiing. I assured her that I was not the one. She obviously had mistaken me for someone else. Perhap my heavy coat prevented her from seeing what was underneath (50 lbs of extra weight and lots of evidence of no exercise). She continued with this crazy talk, speaking of how fun it is and how supportive the Danskin Triathlon is. I wanted to be sure that she and I were thinking of the same thing... Triathlon (swim bike run -some huge number of miles -all on the same day right after each other). Yup this was it. I chuckled and told her to have fun.
A few weeks later at the office, she mentioned it again. Now at this time, I had been contemplating joining my company sponsored health club (PROCLUB) and in particular the weight loss program called 20/20. After all, I had really packed on the pounds. I arrived in WA 50lbs overweight and pretty unhappy with myself. I actually started to think that completing triathlon would be a good goal...impossible but a good goal. I decided to go for it. At the same time I also decided to join the weight loss program. My first meeting with my trainer ..Anthony Parker was on 3/14/06. I told him ..in all of my fatness, that I wanted to do a triathlon. He looked at me and said hmmm, ok.
I began this really intense workout and nutrition program and began building my endurance. My first meetings with Anthony consisted of walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes and then doing stairclimber or eliptical for 15 minutes. Followed by a bit of strength training. I did this 3x a week (between 6am and 7:30) and then worked out on my own 2 other days. I had absolutely no endurance and could not run for more than 1 minute. Over the months, my endurance grew ..slowly at first then more rapidly. I also figured that I needed to improve my swimming skills if I was going to swim for 1/2 a mile. I took a Total Immersion Class.. which teaches swimming efficiency. Let's set the record straight here... I could swim well enough to save myself if I was thrown off of a boat. I was a decent (not great) swimmer. At the start of the class, I could do 1 (that's right ONE) lap and then I started breathing heavy. At that point I new the triathlon was totally out of reach. After all 1/2 mile was equal to 20 laps. I left the 1st day of class feeling scared and dismayed that I was too aggressive. Maybe I should have set my goal for 2007.
The next week's class, I asked the teacher what I needed to do to build my endurance. He said just keep at it, it will come. You know what, it did. Each week I got better and better. 4 weeks later I was able to swim 9 laps. I then started swimming before my workouts with my trainer (a little crazy but hey). My trainer was pretty impressed. I also started biking on the weekends. In fact in May I did a 30 mile bike ride as a part of the Tour De Cure for Diabetes. I really love biking...:)
Ok so I still had not tackled the most difficult part, the running. Not only could I not run but I absolutely hated it. I started adding running to my treadmill work. Anthony suggested intervals. We started with 2min run 2 min walk . I did this for weeks extending the time and the speed. I was up to running at 5.5 and walking at 4.0. Then Anthony said ..let's see if you can run a mile. I thought he was kidding. I did not think I was ready for that. This was May 5th (a day after my birthday). Guess what I did it. And I didn't feel like I was going to die. I was on top of the world. All day I had a little extra spring in my step. I just kept replaying in my head the "goal attained" message on the treadmill. I just could not believe it.
I kept it up, continued working out 5x a week. I took another swim class "Triathlon Swim Training" to help even more. This class was filled with drills and specific swim workouts. I really saw progress. By the end of the class, I was able to swim 28 laps. Now the challenge was to swim in Open Water. That's right. The triathlon was going to be in Lake Washington.
I finally felt like I could really do it. I didn't have a specific time goal , my goal was to finish. The week before the race I was sooo nervous. I was doing mini triathlons with a few really good girls. I kept up with them during the swim but one bike ride was particularly hilly and....they left me in the dust. I felt so bad and really began to rethink whether or not I should do the race. I spoke to one of the girsl about my bike performance , and she said that my bike was holding me back. That day, I decided to retire my 35lb mountain bike for a 19 lb feather light road bike. Boy what a differnce. This was a risky thing to do so close to the race but it worked for me.
The other thing to mention is that I met up with a wonderful group of women called the Soul Sistas. They are a group of African American Women of all ages who participate in triathlons and bike races. They are so awesome.We (the soul sistas) took pictures the day before the race... I'll post when available.
So the day of the race..... Everybody in the house is excited and up. My kids and my nieces - who were visiting from NJ are all up and ready to root me on. I left early so that I could get ready.The goal was to meet me by the swim finish. This was alll pretty tricky because there were 40 waves of swimmers starting every 3 minutes. All I can say about the swim is that it felt much longer than 1/2 a mile. I kept focused and didn't get nervous. I focused on keeping my breathing relaxed. It worked ...and by the way I wasn't the last swimmer in my group YEAHHH. I don't know how it all worked out but as soon as I finished my swim, I saw them. Byron , Tyler, Paris, Ahlia and Ivy were all waiting there for me with the most beautiful handmade signs saying GO MOMMY, Go AUNTIE, I love you. It was so terrific. Once I saw them I was energized.... Now on to the bike.
The bike was the best part of the entire race. I love my bike and I love to fly down the road. The entire 14 miles of the race was closed to traffic. Our longest stretch was on the express lane of one of the largest highways. Imagine flying down a highway with nothing in your way (but other riders on your right). It was so amazing. I was going pretty fast but could have gone faster - but wanted to save my legs for the run.
Now the run... I hate running and I am really bad at it. I am slow and not terribly efficient. After biking hard for 40 minutes, your legs are really worked up. During the after bike run, your legs turn into "bricks". They are heavy and hard to move. If you push through , you can get over the feeling and get into a stride. Well I also felt pains in my knee. So instead of running the entire 3.2 miles I decided to walk run. In the end it was actually fine - but while doing it I was a little disappointed. Danskin is great because there are so many supporters on the way. Cheerleaders who are yelling "go for it" from their back porch. It was just what I needed. In fact I heard Destiny's Child Im a survivor , on my way and that was what I used in my head to keep me going.
So when I realize I am about 1/2 mile from the end, I start getting super excited and very emotional. It is all coming together now -- all the training, the visualization of actually crossing the finish line and my waiting family. I got on my cell phone to cal my husband, just to make sure he was at the finisth line. He cracked up that I called:)
When you come close to the finsih line, there are all these spectators lined up waiting for you. It is so great! I ran through a narrow entry to the wide finish line area. And there they were.. my family (My hubby, kids and neices) - with signs and smiles. When I crossed the finish line, my name was announced and the official put a medal around my neck. Well I just lost it and started crying. I could not believe that I had just completed a triathlon. I was officially a triathlete.

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