Saturday, June 23, 2012

Triathlon and the Single Girl

The official title for this blog is Sex Triathlon and the Single Girl, but when I saved it I noticed blogspot can't use strikethrough text in the title or to make the link...

and, well, Sex Triathlon and the Single Girl is an entirely different topic, indeed, and one I'm really not prepared to blog about!!! Though I bet my readership would skyrocket in a totally new audience!

Sex Triathlon and the Single Girl

This post has been swimming around in my head for quite a while, in fact, if you've spent any time around me in the last two years, whether you're single or not, I've probably brought this up with you. Why isn't anyone talking about how to manage your time and balance your life when you're SINGLE and doing triathlon? How do you manage your time, get everything done, and maintain your balance?

It's not uncommon at all to open a triathlon magazine or book and find at least a little snippet of an article on the topic of relationships and triathlon, from making sure you include time for your partner, show appreciation for all the things they do to pick up the slack created by your training time, even how to balance childcare when you are both training for events. Don't get me wrong, relationships are important and require conscious attention to ensure balance. I'm thrilled to know there are people writing about balancing triathlon and marriage/relationships.

But what about singles?  Google "triathlon relationships" and you get hundreds of relationship-specific articles on the topic....Google "triathlon single" and you get a link to the Fitness-Singles online dating website and a forum page from about why it's so hard to meet another single triathlete to date! In a section titled, Challenges for Women, Sally Edwards devotes three pages to guide women in maintaining healthy relationships in her book Triathlons for Women, but there's no mention about going solo. It's as if being single in triathlon is without challenge--it's NOT!

I'm certainly not alone here, being single in triathlon. In 2009, USA Triathlon initiated a study with TribeGroup to analyze demographics of American multisport athletes in a report titled The Mind of the Triathlete. Single triathletes (comprised of single, widowed, divorced, or separated and not in a committed relationship) made up 26% of the 15,000+ survey respondents. It's not a small group.

I'm not whining, I'm actually very curious about it! It's been 18 months of trial and error learning how to balance it all, and I'm certainly no expert. Unlike being in a couple or family household, all the responsibilities of living rest upon you:
  • Grocery shopping
  • Meal prep
  • Household chores and maintenance
  • Lawn care
  • Errands (the bank, DMV, etc, etc)
  • Laundry
  • Pet/animal care
  • Vehicle (I'm talking about the car here) maintenance
Some things you do, some things, well, you just have to choose the extent you will do them. Yardcare, for example...I can easily brick ANY workout with yardcare. I simply come home, all sweaty, change my shoes, and mow, edge, or works great. However, try as I might, I have not been able to look at a calendar, coordinate with the weather channel, and determine when it would be best to fertilize, aerate, or overseed my lawn--if I'm looking at the weather forecast, I'm planning long runs or bikes, not lawncare! I decided to just hire a company to do that; that's a cost of doing triathlon, for me. I used to do that stuff, I can't now.

I cook as if I live with eight people and then freeze it so I have food easily available when I get home from training and don't have the time, groceries, or energy to cook. Grains are cooked in bulk in a rice cooker, portioned out, and frozen for later to be quickly nuked. I have to REMEMBER to make time to go to the grocery store so I have fresh stuff at home to supplement this.

The one good thing about housework and tri training is that you're out more than you're home, so there's not a lot of time to make a mess to clean up! But some of that other stuff...washing the windows, dusting, pressure washing the outside of the house and's gonna take a while to get to, if ever this year. It's like if Carl's Jr. ever did a commercial for triathlon, "Don't bother me, I'm training."

And then you have to work. It's not a cheap sport, in fact calculated the cost from couch to Ironman to range from $8,000-35,000. Even after taking out the cost to purchase a new bike and wetsuit, after the first season the annual cost for nutrition, coaching, gym fees, race registration, massage therapy, travel, clothing, etc. add up to thousands of dollars per year. In fact, The Mind of the Athlete study noted the median household income to be $129,000, which makes sense to support the financial aspect of this sport. You do this single, all that cost is on you. I don't have a corporate sponsor, so I work, and I work extra when I can to pay for these extras. So when friends and coworkers comment on how into triathlon I have become, well, yes, it's incorporated into my wellness plan, recreation, social outlet, and vacations, because I have to be financially smart about it and combine them.

I can't stress enough the value of family and friends, though. Friends have bailed me out and helped with errands, picked up race packets, etc. Mother Superior, my mom, is hands-down the best triathlon registration guru on the planet, and has dealt with some pretty high-stress on-line registrations for quick-sellout races for me while I was at work.

And then there is that balance of rest, relaxation, the art of doing nothing...which is hard for Type A people to do. I learned earlier this year that fire station shift days don't necessary make for good rest days. I schedule rest days just so they get priority. And I really don't "do nothing" those days, but I am cognizant that they are intended to give both physical and mental rest. I combine these days with massage, yoga, catching up on housework, my blog, meditation, napping, and socializing. And they're really as important as training days are.

So, let's talk about relationships after all!

I'm dating ME! What does THAT mean?? It doesn't mean that I don't date or wouldn't get involved in a relationship, it means I am my priority. My calendar looks like a Tetris game with my training workout plan, work schedule, appointments, social activities--I have to schedule EVERYTHING!

Yes, I date, but it's worked around my priority schedule of work and working out, it's just how it is, take it or leave it. Sure I'm free that night, but I'm working the next day and I have to get up at 3:45 AM to hit the pool beforehand, so I have to be sleeping by 9 we can do that or you can pick a different date. You want me to come stay for a few days, no problem...just let me check to make sure there's a 24 Hour Fitness or a pool nearby, or can I get a guest pass to your gym, and I'm going to have to go for a long run or bike ride in there--you can join me or find something to do while I'm gone. It's part of the package of ME.

Triathlon has been and will continue to be a personal journey about discovering and celebrating me. I got a great kick out of a blog post on Run Oregon a few months ago, The Novice Runner: Sex and the Single Runner, where the author talked about the baffling impression people seem to have about single women getting into the sport of running:
And it does irk me a bit that so many people seem to think that I – and presumably, all the single ladies – who take up running are just in it for the dudes. Why can't a girl take up an expensive, time consuming and frequently unattractive hobby because she likes it? Must everything revolve around men all the time? Isn't it bad enough that most of them are faster than me, they don't have the expense of shopping for sports bras and their shoes come in cooler colors than mine?
High five, Nichole! I love her attitude and resolve for the sport. For me, it's not about meeting a new romantic partner, although it could happen and that'd be cool, it's a personal journey. Maybe someday I'll have to learn how to shuffle a relationship with triathlon and have someone to help mow the lawn and not ask others how they manage single life and tri. But my life is great, I manage all my responsibilities to the best of my ability, and am happier and healthier than I have ever been!

Single triathletes (male and female), let me know, how do you manage single life and triathlon? What are your tips?

"Does having sex after an open water swim constitute a brick workout?"

"I don't know, keep your heartrate monitor chest strap on when you do it and find out!"

-- anonymous conversation between two triathletes

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fungus Amongus

Ok, so here's the disclaimer right off the bat...This post is going to be about jock itch, because, well, I blog about my experiences in triathlon and sports related to triathlon, and this was my latest sports experience. If you don't want to read about jock itch, you can wait for my next blog which will certainly be about anything else!

Hi, my name is Cindy, and I have jock itch. Grrrr. Quite decidedly the most uncomfortable, embarrassing, frustrating, and painful experience I have had. EVER. I debated at first whether I was going to blog about this, and then after realizing that I had done some simple things that unintentionally set myself up for this condition, decided to share so that perhaps someone else would have the benefit of NEVER getting it.

I promise, I'm going to spare you a lot of the details, but a day and a half after I finished my 2011 Portland Marathon, a fury broke loose in my groin...everywhere in my groin. Unfortunately, I was at the beach on vacation, which was significantly hampered by this. I got some over-the-counter remedies and began treating it, but was still having problems by the end of the week when I returned home. I saw my doctor, who confirmed my diagnosis, and prescribed the same over-the-counter medications I was using, noting that this condition takes 3-4 weeks to clear up. 3-4 weeks?!?  Yes, boys and girls, 3-4 weeks.

What is Jock Itch?
Jock itch, or tinea cruris, is a fungal infection, the same as in Athlete's foot except for location, caused by common fungi that live on our skin: Trichophyton rubrum, Candida albicans, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, and Epidermophyton floccosum. These fungi proliferate in dark, warm, moist environments and cause jock itch commonly when there is moisture, warmth, and skin friction in the groin folds; and tight, occlusive clothing and undergarments that trap in sweat.

What did I do to cause this?
There are a couple things that I did that I am certain led to this condition.
  1. Improper washing of sportswear
I am big about personal hygiene, believe me. I probably overwash my clothes. I bathe everyday, sometimes several times due to exercise and after working in the yard, etc. I am careful with laundering my sportswear, particularly my spandex running shorts and pants and my swimming suits. I have always heard that you need to wash your spandex clothing in mild detergent and hang them to dry so the spandex fibers would not be damaged to ensure the fabric stays elastic. So I have always done this. The week before my marathon, I noticed that one pair of running shorts really smelled bad after laundering them. In fact, I spent one morning looking for an obviously dead mouse in my laundry room due to the smell in there and discovered the smell was coming my running shorts! I decided not to wear them until I could figure out how to better clean them, so wore my one-piece triathlon suit instead. I spent upwards of 6-7 hours in my tri suit, which wasn't properly cleaned (I didn't realize at the time).
Turns out, all of my spandex running clothing was probably teeming with fungus and bacteria from my laundering technique. I'd worn that tri suit in various lakes, certainly full of fungi, and for hours at a time in training and race events. I am now laundering my athletic clothing in a bleach solution and drying them on high heat. Guess what, that funky smell is gone now. I figure I can buy new clothing if the spandex wears out more quickly. The bleach and high heat kill the fungi that cause jock itch.
      2.  Poor placement of a heating pad
After my marathon, my front hip flexors (the muscles that you use to bring your thigh upward toward your core) were sore. I used a foam rollers on all of my leg muscles and tibial band, stretched, and massaged, but the flexors were still sore. So the first night, I decided it might be a good idea to apply heat to these areas. I grabbed my heating pad, which is huge and covered both areas and kinda tucked into my groin. Little did I know I just created an environment perfect for fungal incubation! I slept all night with that heating pad on...
So, friends, my advice...CLEAN YOUR ATHLETIC CLOTHING PROPERLY! and don't use heat on your groin... Even though I bathed immediately after I returned home from the marathon, I had so much exposure to fungal growth, along with additional heat and sweat during and after the race, that fungal growth had probably already begun. I noted a little "rub" down there when I cleaned up after the race, despite having used Glide prior, used some Neosporin on it, but infection had already started to grow.

Stepping off of soapbox now, gingerly....

Note from Cindy:

This blog post was written eight months prior to being posted...I was so terribly embarrassed by the situation and while I knew it would be helpful for others, I just couldn't get myself to post it.

It truly took three weeks to clear up, was nearly debilitating and excruciatingly painful. Fortunately I was scheduled for vacation so only had to use a couple days of sick leave from work, but it ruined my vacation. I actually lost 25 pounds because using the restroom was so painful that I avoided eating and drinking more than absolutely necessary for survival! Sleep required narcotics and I tried to sleep as much as possible to pass the time, as I absolutely could not do anything else. I did research on home remedies and tried them all, including applications of witch hazel, Listerine, isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, Tucks pads, thyme oil, tea tree oil, etc. etc. (yes, application of Listerine, witch hazel, and rubbing alcohol hurt like a mother!). There were times I thought I would go out of my mind. I finally convinced my reluctant physician (who is no longer my physician due to his reluctance to help me in this situation) to prescribe the anti-fungal Diflucan (fluconazol). It took two doses of Diflucan to completely clear up the infection, although my symptoms started to decrease about two days after my first dose.

My closest friends and Mother Superior knew about what happened after my marathon, and I've shared my story with some others, but as time has passed and with encouragement of my friends, I have decided to share my very, very personal lesson learned so that maybe, just maybe someone else does not have to go through what I went through!

Do Things!

Wow, it's amazing where life can take you! Two years ago I wouldn't even IMAGINE I'd be getting ready to do my first Half Ironman next month. I'm also just blown away by the great people triathlon has brought into my life, the joy it brings, and the opportunities that present themselves seemingly out of the blue. This has been an amazing two I overusing the word amazing? Amazing is a common thread in my blog, is even in the name of my developing website,, and my twitter name (TrimazingCindy), and it truly describes my state of awe!

With ultrarunner Scott Jurek
The day after the Blue Lake Olympic Triathlon I had an opportunity to meet an amazing athlete (this is my celebrity encounter I teased about in my last blog!), Scott Jurek. Scott is a record-holding ultrarunner, in that he runs a minimum of 100 mile events, primarily primitive trails at that. He's also vegan.

I received a Facebook invite from the Herbivore Clothing Company to meet Scott at a reception they were holding for him. It was a great intimate venue, complete with vegan snacks from his new book Eat & Run. When I arrived, there were four of us! How awesome to have one on one time with him to talk and really get to meet him.

My message from Scott Jurek
I hadn't read his book yet, so I got a copy and approached him to sign it for me. Scott was absolutely approachable and down to earth, and not like any celebrated athlete I'd met before...he wanted to talk about me, not himself. Our conversation was him asking about me. We talked about endurance events, running and triathlon, he wanted to know how long I'd been vegan and why, and he was really interested in the fact that I was a firefighter. He asked excitedly, "Do you know Rip?!?" meaning Rip Esselstyn, the vegan Austin (Texas) firefighter who authored The Engine 2 Diet. He was really looking forward to meeting him and then said, "You could totally be the female counterpart to Rip!" Cracked me up!

After searching for the perfect pen, Scott signed my copy of his book, and I love what he wrote--"Do Things Always!!" A theme running through his book is, "Sometimes you just do things," it is his mantra, used to get him through tough times, to pull from deep inside, to take advantage of unexpected opportunities that present themselves, to make hard decisions. Little did I know I would need this just a few days later...

I have been formulating my plan for next year's racing season...yes, already! I had been planning on doing the 2013 World Police and Fire Games in Belfast, Ireland August 2013; everyone around me knew this, I've told everyone I knew, started designing my tri kit for the Olympic distance triathlon I'd be competing in. I'd been tossing around the idea of doing a full distance Ironman too, after seeing how my Vineman 70.3 goes, but had nothing specific in mind--it was kinda on the back burner. Last Friday afternoon, however, threw a monkey wrench (yes, Dad, a left-handed monkey wrench!!) into everything! As many of you know, the World Triathlon Corporation announced Friday the inaugural event of Ironman Tahoe (IMT), September 22, 2013 and that registration would open MONDAY at noon. Wow, did the buzz start immediately!

I felt excited and nauseated simultaneously. What an opportunity, to participate in an inaugural Ironman event. Moreover, it's being held three days after my birthday and would make up for the Irongirl sprint triathlon I had to cancel the day after my 40th birthday last year. It seemed like a sign.

I was at work when I got the notification. I went outside and sat on the bulkhead behind the station in the sunshine to think. My crew came out and inquired what was up and we talked about the pros and cons, my concerns, and they encouraged me to do it. I was still not convinced. Walking back into the station, I decided to do one of my favorite summertime things...sit on the front bumper of the fire engine in the apparatus bay and watch the world go by. As I sat there, I thought about all the tough things I've done...the firefighter recruit academy, starting triathlons, etc and how I overcame challenges, both physical and mental. I kept hearing Scott Jurek say, "Sometimes you just do things." I was worried about the's a tough hilly course at high elevation; the swim wasn't a worry, and the marathon is an unheard of flat course. Suddenly, in my peripheral vision, a very old Hispanic man appeared, pushing his bicycle up the hill in front of the station. When he was directly in front, he looked over at me, flashed a great big smile and then gave me a thumbs up, pumping his arm in the air as he did it! That's a sign! He got to the edge of the driveway, put down his bike and gestured for me to come over to him. I thought, "Oh my goodness, he looks just like Ketut Liyer, the Balinese Shaman from Eat, Pray, Love (a pivotal book for me)...he has something to tell me, to guide me? He searched though his bags...he couldn't talk. I waited, it had to be a sign. He searched and searched and I patiently waited until he found what he was looking for and thrusted a business card for his landscaping business and pointed at the fire station's front lawn! Boy did I get a huge laugh at myself! But, I still think it was a sign...I was worried about the bike and his appearance was important.

I decided over the weekend, with help from Portland Triathlon Club friends, swimming friends, and Mother Superior, to sign up for Ironman Tahoe, my first full distance Ironman. This decision means postponing the Police and Fire World Games until they come to the US in 2015, but that's ok. I will need to really work on my bike skills, will get a tri-specific bike at the end of this season, and work with my many friends also going to IMT on cycling and do altitude training around the Pacific NW. Mother Superior had the stressful task of registering for me and I'm in! Woo Hoo!

A couple of things to share about the Blue Lake Triathlon two weeks ago...

This  YouTube video came out this week, it's really cool. They had these little remote control helicopters at the event filming everything, so it's a great birds eye view of the course.

And just an image to remember to take in the joy of friend's 10 year old son doing his first triathlon at Blue Lake. What JOY on his face, and it was there for the whole event!

May you continue to be amazed, Do Things, and remember the joy of the event...ALWAYS!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bound to Happen Eventually...

Well it was bound to happen sometime....a race without a PR. It's not like it's a bad thing though, I learned an enormous amount from my 2012 Vancouver Half Marathon--and I needed this lesson.

I felt so fantastic race morning. Nutrition, check, stretching, check, perfect weather, check. I've been training well, my run in last weekend's Oly tri was strong and a fast pace. I lined up with PTC friend Sherrie at the front of the 8:00-10:00 pace wave and planned to run my race plan to complete a 9:15-9:30 paced half marathon for a 2:01 event time, a PR from last year's 2:13:14.

As the race started, I saw Sherrie in my peripheral vision starting super fast. I thought, "Wow, Sherrie, yikes, you're going really fast!" I made the first turn, keeping up and then looked over to give her a WTF look and saw that it wasn't Sherrie at all, that I'd been paced by some complete stranger in a similarly colored shirt. The start is uphill. I checked my Garmin and saw I was doing a 7:30 pace!! I checked myself, felt fantastic, thought, gosh I should slow down, but thought, hey, money in the bank for later. About 1.5 miles in another runner asked what distance we were at and I told him and noted to myself I was doing an 8:30 but able to talk comfortably with him at that pace, and kept it up...still running uphill.

I ran through water stations, grabbed GUs, felt super. The sun was starting to break through clouds but I felt comfortable. We started up Evergreen with the hill and suddenly my legs were lead. Mile 7, midway up the hill, I started to walk. I felt chilled. I got to the top of hill, started to run, and really couldn't and walked to the top of the final hill. I knew I had a downhill from there to the Vancouver Firefighters' water station at the railroad tracks. Last year I remembered getting a 8:00 mile in that section and looked forward to making up time from my walk. However, when I got to this section, I was lucky to push a 9:30 downhill and knew I'd burned myself out at the first half of the race.

I ran to the big turn at Wintler Park and then walked/ran the rest of the way in...more walking than running. I was concerned that the heaviness sensation in my legs and chills were signs of electrolyte deficiency and dehydration, thinking perhaps I hadn't reloaded properly after my triathlon the weekend before. I decided to double up on Gatorade at all water stations from then on, instead of water. Sherrie caught up with me at mile 10. I decided to use her as a pacer, but honestly couldn't do it. Mentally, this was very hard for me. I was having problems doing my math, kept calculating my distance remaining with 12 mile total distance instead of 13.1, was really struggling. A little later, at mile 11, another runner came up and started asking about the Tri Club due to my tri kit; I started using her as a pacer. She wanted to talk while we were running and I just couldn't keep up with that. I told her, "Hey, I'm going to walk...I tried running someone else's race other than my race plan." I just wanted to finish. I realized I was going to be just over my PR at this point and there was no way to make it up.

I walk/ran the rest and finally ran the last mile into the chute. I came in at 2:19:22...drat.

Final turn to the finish line
Honestly, though, I needed this race, especially before Vineman 70.3. What did I learn?
  • Plan your run and Run your plan.
Stick to it. My biggest issue was having a single discipline event. Not having a swim and bike prior to the run, I felt amazing at the start. I was able to run super fast. I had the fastest 5- and 10K ever, but I didn't pace right for the long haul. Plan for a negative split and DO IT. My endorphin rush from great performance from the start lead to racing HUBRIS and I melted my wax wings flying too close to the sun...
  • A race is a terrible training run.
I was reading through some blogs about Ironman training (watch for an update as to why in my next blog) and in a particular section about training pitfalls was a note that races are not training runs. The adrenaline from a race event, the music, the people, the rush, will ALWAYS push you to perform at a higher level than you would on a training run of the same distance and course. I recognize this now.
  • Rehydrate and reload electrolytes following events, especially if you are stacking events.
Feeling chills during warm weather running is a sign of exhaustion, dehydration, and low electrolyte levels. I actually had a wobble after the turn at Wintler Park, which I knew was electrolyte related. I will remember to push fluids and electrolytes after events from now on to adequately replenish.
Onward and upward and always learning!

Oh! One more lesson learned...ALWAYS print out your registration receipts and take them with you to packet pickup. This is the second event this season where I was not on the registration roster when I came to packet pickup. Had I not had copies of my receipts and registration confirmations, I would have had to pay again to participate in the event. I hope this isn't a sign for this year...

Big news and a celebrity encounter for the next blog. You won't want to miss it!

Safe training!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oly Oly Oly! Blue Lake Olympic Tri Race Report

Blue Lake Olympic Triathlon, Blue Lake Park, Fairview, Oregon, June 10, 2012 - 3:03:27

I did my first Olympic distance Triathlon this weekend, and it rocked! I was thinking this morning that it might be my preferred distance now, as I really liked the endurance challenge it gave over the sprint distance. Hmmmm, I might really be certifiably tri-crazy now!

The Swim - 0:35:57 - 1.5 km (0.93 mi)

Water temp was 64 degrees, so I opted to go sleeveless. This was a great decision. I was plenty warm enough and felt the increased range of motion and comfort made up for any loss of buoyancy. This was my longest open water swim ever, and I hadn't had a chance to do any practice open water swims prior to the event, so I wanted to minimize any mental hindrances.

Ambient weather was perfect, about 53 degrees air temp, 62% humidity and dropping, 3.5 mph wind speed, mostly sunny. There was quite a bit of sun glare on the lake, but as I've swam here many times (sprint course only), I was used to the sun glare and familiar with sighting with it.

I felt strong and consistent during my swim, never felt fatigued or stressed. Just kept a constant pace, had great mental talk the whole way about swimming my own race. I did experience a few moments of calf cramping before the second turn, but I was able to deal with it without stopping my swim by merely swimming several strokes with my feet flexed instead of pointed, which immediately stopped the cramp. The first cramp was in my right calf and I think it was due to some mental attention on my timing chip strap which I had noticed was around my ankle and exposed, not under my wetsuit (I noticed this prior to the swim and decided to leave it there, it was perfectly secure and fine). That focus led me to think about my ankle and worry momentarily about my chip for some unknown reason and probably changed my kick somehow. As soon as I recovered the cramp in the right, I felt a pang in the left, again, probably due to change in kick. It only took a few seconds and then I made myself stop focusing on my chip strap and calves and had no more issues. Funny how the brain works!

At the final yellow buoy near the exit I began to kick more vigorously to engage my legs to prevent any wobblies or dizzies. I swam until I was grabbing sand, stood and ran up the ramp and all the way into the transition area. I felt great!

Notice how fuzzy and erratic my Garmin map is? I decided to wear my Garmin on my wrist rather than under my swim cap this time. The pathway isn't as clear, but really, I just want the time data and this gave me a much more accurate time than starting it early and shoving it into my swim cap.

T1 - 0:04:03

This is kind of a slower T1 time for me, about 13 seconds slower than Midsummer Sprint last year. I struggled a little putting my shoes on for some reason. I did something new...I taped a running light to the bike rack that flashed red. This way I had a flashing light coming into transition toward the front of my bike rather than only the one on the back of my bike. I missed my bike coming into transition at Beaver Freezer and decided to try helped!

The Bike - 1:21:20 - 40 km (24.85 mi)

 Yes, I tried something new on race day...a few things actually...I know you're not supposed to do that, but this was a training event in preparation for my Vineman 70.3, so I was trying things in anticipation of that event (there, my justification!). 

I had aerobars installed on my bike this week, an early Christmas present from friend Pam. They seemed to work out great. I actually was pretty comfortable in aero position, got some low back stress about mile 22, but simply got out of aero and into the hoods for a few minutes to stretch and felt better. Aerobars also gave me the ability to hydrate much more efficiently, as I added an aerobar water bottle, so all I had to do to drink was to move the straw forward to my mouth rather than reaching down for a frame bottle. Waaaayyyy better! That alone increased my hydration during the bike portion.

I didn't like having to move arms out of aero to shift. Am asking my bike mechanic to find bar end shifters for me.

I removed my hand pump from my bike frame and carried a CO2 inflation system in a frame bottle. This allowed room for a feed box on my top bar at the front tube. I dumped several packs of Cliff Blocks into it prior to the race and simply grabbed a block every 15 minutes or so when I remembered. I grabbed one when I first got into T1 so I was eating while changing. This worked great.

Cadence Sensor
I finally installed the Garmin Cadence Sensor on my bike the night before the race. I should have done it sooner, I know, but I just simply kept running out of time to figure out the worst instructions ever for installation! I ended up going on YouTube, if you can believe it, and got it installed. From spin class, I determined I needed to be 80-100 RPM, or at least be consistent. I ended up with an average 84 RPM and 17.3 mph.

I will be doing some more research on optimal efficient cadence. The bike portion is getting to be my weakest leg as honestly, I've not had any bike training. Being my second year and needing so much help with the swim and the run, I've just relied on the fact that I could cycle, but it's time to get some technique training. My last sprint at Blue Lake had an 18.2 mph average, so I've slipped.


T2 - 0:02:23

I actually could see the top of the light I taped to the bike rack so honed in quickly to where to return to in T2. Along with my red light, I taped a packet of Cliff Shot energy gel that I'd partially torn the top off of. I grabbed the packet and took gel as I ran out of transition, after a gulp of water. Again, this was a little longer transition time from last year, 15 seconds. I'm thinking that my transition times might be a little slower due to longer swim and bike distances. They aren't too out of line when I compare them with others in my AG/Division, in fact, my T1 was fastest of all and T2 3rd.

The Run - 0:59:43 - 10 km (6.2 mi)

Felt super strong in my run, particularly in the first half. I was hoping to do a negative split, but I must have turned off the auto-scroll on my Garmin so didn't have pace displaying during the run. I ended up with a positive split. However, I did run a GREAT pace, 9:31 min/mi average moving pace and 9:41 overall pace! I am super thrilled with this. I was first in my AG/Division with this run! 

Click to enlarge

I had encountered some shin splint sensation in my left leg about mile 3 but ran through it, telling myself it would work itself out, and it did. I then got a side ache on the right afterward and ran through it, able to tell myself that the left shin pain went away by running through it. Side ache didn't really go away, but I just ignored it.

I ran through all water stations, grabbing water, drinking and rinsing out my mouth while running, for all but the last water station, which I walked through. This was new for me.

1st Place Masters Athena!

The result? 1st place Athena 40 and Over! Totally rocked! I felt great, ran MY race and it paid off! I absolutely enjoyed this race. I'm feeling strong, well trained, and ready to rock Vineman 70.3 in 34 days!

Oh, and by the way...not only was I racing for me, but as a part of the Portland Triathlon Club for the TriNorthwest Club Team Challenge. Take a look at this! There are some people missing from our count, and we've just got word that the Portland Tri Club WON the Team Challenge! Way to go PTC!

Click to enlarge

PTC Women's Masters rocked the house!

Cindy Werhane, Sue Moote, Sherrie Austin, Christine Ernhardt, and Me

My next event will be the Vancouver Half-Marathon, June 17, 2012. I'm looking forward to the longer run in prep for my first Half Ironman. Woo Hoo!

Until next time, wishing everyone safe training and great events!