Saturday, May 17, 2008


Friday, I crashed on my bike for the first time since the time I first tried my clipless pedals.

I had a family party to go to today, so I knew I had to miss my normal Saturday ride. I decided to make up for it by riding up the coast from Flip Flop for an hour and a half and turning around. I had a really nice ride, and enjoyed the lovely views, and tried out my new aerobars for the first time. On my way back, when I was about 45 minutes from Flip Flop, I went over some diagonal railroad tracks. About 14years ago I crashed going over diagonal tracks, and have always been super careful going over them since, but for some reason I thought I'd try my luck going straight over them, rather than squaring them off. Dumb move. I fell over.

I feel OK. I don't have any significant road rash to show off, just a small scrape and a bruise. Some guy came by and checked out my bike right after my crash, and declared it to be in good working order. I was actually not as freaked out about crashing. I'm kind of glad to get my first crash out of the way. It wasn't so terrible. I feel only slightly banged up today.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Parkside Aquatic Mile - Or Do I Suck at Open Water?

Here are my open water swimming creds:

1. First place - PMS Open Water Points Competition 25-29 age group, 2004
2. Second place - PMS Open Water Points Competition 30-34 age group, 2005
3. Trans-Tahoe Solo Swim - 11.5 Miles
4. Catalina Channel Relay

You'd think with all this practice, and by the fact that my favorite thing to do in the summer is swim out to buoys, I'd be a decent open water swimmer. But:

My mile time for a 1650 pool swim: 22:56.
My time for Parkside Aquatic Mile: 27:21.

I got fourth place in my age group for the the Parkside Aquatic Mile. Here are some times for the third place person:

1650: 22:28
Parkside Aquatic Mile: 25:18

Yes, she was less than 30 seconds faster than me for the 1650, but this somehow amplified into over 2 minutes faster for the Parkside Aquatic Mile.

Maybe I just had a bad race. Maybe I didn't pace myself well. Maybe I didn't sight well enough. Maybe I don't know how to draft. Maybe I don't take tight enough turns around the buoys. Maybe I should have warmed up. Maybe I went out too fast, and sighted too often, instead of finding a good rhythm. Maybe... Maybe... Maybe... Maybe I suck at open water?

This annoys me enough that I want to race again and see if I can do better. Next time:

1. New goggles, or at least spraying anti-fog into them.
2. Take a risk at trying something new and try to find someone to draft off of
3. Be aggressive in my turns around the buoys
4. Warm up beforehand

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hey, Mom, I Did This Triathlon...

Because I lived in and loved Flip Flop, I've wanted for years to do the Flip Flop Sentinel Triathlon. I've gone to watch it a couple of times. Last year, I sort of started training for it, thinking I might be able to get in shape for it in about 2 months. I barely knew how to ride my road bike at the time. I tried, even did the whole course over a weekend, but had pain in various parts of my body that convinced me I wasn't ready. I was pretty disappointed, but sort of made up for it by hosting a triathlon slumber party for Big L., Ultra-M, and Mojojoey, cooking for them the night before and cheering for them during the race.

The Wildflower triathlon is the same distances as the Sentinel, but everyone says it is way harder. W.F. is hot and hilly, the Sentinel is cool, with a rolling bike and a flat run. So now I feel satisfied in feeling like I've finished something harder than a goal I was afraid I might never be able to finish.

What made this a really great experience was hanging out with Team S., cheering for them, benefiting from their advice and experience, and seeing how happy some of them were for me as I raced and as I finished. Coach had to miss W.F. this year, but was clearly proud of me when he heard how I did. The kind of pride he takes in his athletes, even little newbies like me, is one of the many things that make him a great coach. I don't think I've ever felt so supported in any of the events I've participated in.

I had a nightmare two nights before that I did a triathlon, and everyone had gone home by the time I was done with 1 of 2 laps of the run. I was kind of glad I had the nightmare, because I knew reality could never be that bad.

I'm pretty pleased with my results. I finished in the top 40% of my age group. Somewhere in the back of my head, I was afraid I'd finish a lot closer to last place. It took me 3 hours and 24 minutes. In my hopes of hopes, I wanted to do a 3:15, but I was afraid I'd do more like 4 hours.

Top 40% of my age group? That's as good or better than results in a lot of my swims, and I've only just started with the triathlon thing. I'm not sure that makes me as good or better a triathlete than a swimmer, but I think if I can ever work out my shin splints thing (yes, I'm training and racing injured), I'd feel confident in thinking triathlon could someday be more my thing than swimming.

I can't say I'm prouder of this experience than swimming Tahoe solo, but it's more satisfying in a lot of ways. A woman at my work says "Now that you've done Wildflower, I think I can say you're an athlete. I wasn't so sure before." PBBBBTTTT!!!!!! When I did my first triathlon, just a sprint, a lot of people thought it was a bigger deal than a 6 hour swim in choppy, cold water. Swimmers don't get enough respect. I'll always hold open water swimmers in as high regard as people who complete triathlons. But I don't think it is the respect of clueless people that makes this satisfying. It's satisfying accomplishing something I wasn't sure I could ever do, something I thought might be beyond my abilities.

Thanks to Jocelyn, Michele, Tanya, Lorraine, Cindy (who was sooo helpful to me in setting up my transition area), and the rest of the team for your help and encouragement. Thanks to Tim for turning me into a triathlete.

Wildflower 2008

I'm still too tired to blog about the experience of Wildflower. But for the curious, here are the numbers:

Distances: 1.5 K swim, 40 K bike, 10 K run

Age/Gender (DivR) Place: 85 out of 214
Time: 3:23:49
Overall Place (OvR): 1493 out of 2396

Time 0:24:02
Min/Mi 25:47:00
DivR 22 out of 214
OvR 347 out of 2396

Transition 1: 0:04:18

Time 1:48:11
MPH 13.78
DivR 116 out of 214
OvR 1792 out of 2396

Transition 2: 0:03:14

Time 1:04:02
Min/Mi 10:18:00
DivR 106 out of 214
OvR 1609 out of 2396

Monday, May 05, 2008

Seaweed Girl - The Triathlete

This weekend, I did the Wildflower Olympic Triathlon. I'm too tired and busy to give a full race report right now. It was my third triathlon, but the first two were sprints. This my first Olympic length triathlon. When I did my first one, the Tri For Fun, I had a good time, and was happy I did it, but I couldn't say for sure that it was my thing. My second one, the Treeathlon, I was kind of, eh, about it. When I finished it, I wasn't sure it was my thing. I might be hooked now. More details later.