Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm 23.

OK, I was 23 yesterday, and I will be 23 tomorrow. Not much is changing with that.

In fact, I am 23.6 years old. I decided to test my "Real Age," something I stole from a fellow blogger who was able to drop seven years from her "Real Age" in a matter of nine months! Go on the site, fill out all the questions and it will calculate your real age.

According to the site, my Real Age is 23.4! Hey, as long as it's equal to or less than my current age, I figure I'm totally happy with it. Looks like I'm right where I should be. It's suggestions for me: get a dog (no money or time!), monitor my blood pressure and heart rate (I know they're in the good category) and drive slower.

One big thing is it said I need to work on my diet. Not new news by any means, but I think I'm going to try to work on that. I'm not getting a real balanced diet, even though I have done a good job at controlling my moderation. Maybe I'll start monitoring what I eat and try to get the recommended amounts of things...Novel idea, huh?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Post tri post

It's been a little more than a week since I conquered the amazing task. I'm "over" the disappointment of coming in so poorly compared to everything else. Long story short, it bothered me because I have a history of being really bad at everything I try (bowling, art, music, sports, etc, basically anything that takes a "skill"). Part of my reason for racing was to do something completely uncharacteristic of me and be OK (mediocre is fine!) at it to break that pattern. That was one of my goals I did not accomplish. The lack of sleep and the emotionally and physically exhausting week I had had lead to that disappointment turning into a huge ordeal. I put "over" in quotes because I'm not sad about it anymore, but it's a bigger issue that I'm going to continue to struggle with for some time. We all have our baggage.

I decided well before my race that I would take a month "off" of training. Off is in quotes because I still plan to work out about four times a week, I just wanted to be able to vary my workouts a bit (zumba, elliptical machine, etc.) and get some weight training in. I love biking and swimming, and I can tolerate running, so I don't plan to cut those completely out, I'm just not going to ONLY do that. Beginning June 1 (or earlier), I'll be training hard core for my Olympic distance, which I plan on doing in September. My New Years resolution was to do an Olympic by the end of tri season and I've found a perfect one! I'm going to do that Redman in Oklahoma City. I didn't think they had anything shorter than a half Iron, but I had wished they did because it was going to be perfect timing and lo and behold, they do! If I decide I can afford it, I'd like to do another sprint distance this summer. I really enjoyed that length. Also, my sister, mom and I decided to run the Tulsa Run on Halloween. It's a 15k run, something I NEVER thought I'd do! But I figure I should be training at close to that length anyway for my tri in September, so I should be able to do it. We are all trying to convince our husbands/boyfriend to join in and make it a huge family event! We'll see.

So basically, that's my next 6 months. Enjoying the food I shouldn't be eating, shaking up my exercises, and then training for an Olympic Tri and 15k run! Shall be an interesting year...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Details, details!

My internet has been out, so I haven’t been able to give an update until now! Boo!

Let’s see. I need to give you a detailed description of my first tri! WARNING! THIS POST IS LONG!

Because of the funeral and things, we didn’t get down to McKinney until after 10 p.m. No bueno. I practiced taking off my wetsuit a few times because I didn’t want to struggle with that and lose time during the tri. Kayle and I talked for a little while, then we attempted (key word) to sleep. My alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. …ugh! Again, no bueno. So anyway, I eat, we pack up out stuff and get outta there! I rode down with my parents, so my dad had to drop me off like I was still in middle school. We went to get my packet (since I couldn’t pick it up the day before). I was number 119. It’s still on my arm and leg, as well as my age, if I ever forget. Kayle and I set up our transition area and then went to scout the swim course and go potty while the port-a-potties were still fairly clean. We met a bunch of other newbies and hung out until race time. My dad took a pre-race picture. I’m putting on my wetsuit:

Before our wave started, we got to get in the water. It was chilly, but not as bad as either of us were expecting. That is, of course, until we got out and were freezing! Nervous, too, naturally. Well, finally our time arrives and we are told we have 2.5 minutes to get to race start. All of a sudden, as soon as we jump in, we have 10 seconds before the race starts! We weren’t really to the “start” when the race started and more than half the girls were behind us. I got kicked and groped…a lot. I had to stop every few strokes to see if I was going in the right direction or to avoid a kicker. I think I lost some time with that. The swim was LONG. Much more so than I expected. The excitement and the open water made my lungs react weird, so it was harder than it could have been. We turned around and, BAM, all there was was sun! It was hard to see if we were even going in the right direction! My mom said a bunch of girls were swerving around and she didn’t understand why. I kept trying to see where the markers were. When I finally got the end of the swim, there were people there to help you out of the water and…out of your wetsuit! They yelled “on your back, we’ll do the rest” which is really dirty, but I let them rip my clothes off of me. The only problem was, then I had to run to the transition area (pretty far away, actually) with my belly jiggling. I put my wetsuit in front to hide. I saw my parents as I was running up and posed for this picture:

Unfortunately, as I ran by the blank look on my parents’ face showed me they didn’t actually see me. As I passed, I yelled, “you’re missing me,” and apparently, everyone laughed. My dad ran to get more pictures of me and they met me near the transition area (there was a fence but they could be close). I transitioned OK. It took me 5 minutes though. I messed with my watch for about 30 seconds before I gave up and left. Transition shot:
“Later Kayle!”

The bike course had a few hills. Mom remarked about the wind, but compared to what we did in that 33-miler, this wasn’t bad. The h ills were long, but not too bad. My ride was slow and I was passed a lot! Including by Kayle, who just always has to be one ahead. A 12-year-old passed me. Lots of guys, who all started after us ladies, passed me. It was a two loop course, and the good part about it was that the area where all the spectators were was downhill, so you got to pretend like you were faster than you really were riding. There’s really not much to say about the ride. My legs were tired and I didn’t want to give it all I had left because running is such a struggle for me. Dad got more pictures:

The second transition was quick because I didn’t have to do much. Just change hats, basically. Off I went. Another transition shot:
“Later Jessica!”

The very beginning of the run had a steep hill (I mean, we aren’t even out of the tri area yet) and I and a few others were walking (transition was tough on me) and this little boy commented, “Mommy, the runners aren’t running.” Thanks kid. The run was supposed to be “hilly and challenging” but there were just a few really short, really steep hills. We went in tunnels under the ground three times and those were the hills. To conserve energy (because I didn’t know what lay ahead), I walked those hills. I’m not disappointed I walked. I walked only 10 steps at any given time and only one the hills, when I drank water once and one other time. My right ankle hurt every time I pounded the ground from the first step and my left joined in about halfway through the run. My whole body was in pain the entire 38-minute run. Going through my mind was, a) Ow, b) this is the most amazing experience ever, c) I’m almost done. After the second mile, this guy passed me and said, “C’mon, we’re almost there!” I sped up slightly with that encouragement, but it wasn’t a pace I felt like I could keep. I was going slowly, but I could see Kayle ahead of me the whole time, going at my pace. Of course, being Kayle, she sped up when she saw how close I was. Still, she was not far off and that gave me confidence. I kept running. I didn’t think of stopping, just finishing. Since I was in pain, I didn’t think I had a kick left in me. I stressed the whole time about not being able to finish strong like that. I also thought about what I wanted my ending pose to be for the camera. I decided on this:

As my dad took this picture, my mom yelled to me, “You have 53 seconds to make it under two hours.” Of course, my mom’s time was wrong because I came in seven minutes under the two hour mark, but that’s cool. It made me kick so hard! I passed two people in the last 15 yards or so! It was really strong and I have no idea where it came from. I probably could have kept going at my speed and still made it within 53 seconds, but I wasn’t going to leave that to chance. I smiled a lot after.

Kayle and I are triathletes!

Like I said before, I was very pleased with my time when considering how I felt I’d do. My T1 could have been quicker and I think my bike could have been as well. I’m pretty sure I could cut a few minutes off just by having done it before.

Thanks for making it through my post!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I've joined the club.

I am a triathlete!

Kayle and I woke up early this morning and tackled our first triathlon! We both finished in less than two hours (personal goal). Kayle came in just two minutes ahead of me having passed me on the bike.

Here are my times --
Swim: 11:22.55
T1: 05:32.20

I was pretty pleased with my run. As you all know, I'm an awful runner. As I was finishing, my mom told me I had 53 seconds to make it under two hours (she was clearly off), so I bolted. I passed two people in a few yards. I had thought the whole run that I wasn't sure if I was going to have a kick left in me, but apparently I did! I came in well under two!

Unfortunately, my joy was halted when I saw how poorly I did compared. Before you say anything, I know I was competing against myself and it was my first tri ever, but most of the people we talked to were also there for their first, so I shouldn't have been so slow compared to every other competitor. It just hit me so hard because I worked for so long and I know most of those people did NOT work harder than I did, but still beat me. I don't really feel like I excel in much, so it was just another blow for me. I never expected to win, but coming in nearly last isn't so cool. I know I should be happy that I finished a race and I had time I was originally happy with, but I go back and forth with my emotion about this thing.

Anyway, I'm utterly exhausted (4:45 a.m. is way, way too early for Miss Jessica). I'll have more details and pictures in the next few days!

Now that you know that unathletic Jessica can accomplish this goal, you know that you, too, can finish whatever you set your mind to!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

T minus 2.5 days!

This will probably be my last pre-race post. Wish me all kinds of luck, please.

While I still plan to do the race, my plans have changed completely. Unfortunately, there was an awful death in the family. Nick's sister died in a car accident Tuesday. The funeral is Saturday afternoon, and my race is Sunday morning about four hours away. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers as they try to get through this difficult time.

Because of the change in plans, I did not get on my bike this week, but I'm OK with it. I ran a bit today and was able to practice an open water swim Tuesday before I found out the horrible news. Kayle and I met halfway between us and put on our wet suits (first time) and open water swam (first time)! It was freaking cold, and it was really weird to us how the water infiltrated the suit slowly and coldly. (My quote: "It's like I'm peeing cold," as the cold water ran down my leg.) At first, I was completely overwhelmed by being in such a large space, where frankly, I couldn't see underwater because of all the nasty. It was really difficult to adjust, and I was getting there when we got out. I still think the swim Sunday will prove a little challenging in that regard. I'm glad we got that practice in.

After my run this evening I am done training. If I don't have it by now, I probably won't have it. I actually haven't done a lot of transition work, so I think I'll still watch some videos and practice taking my wet suit off. There's just now a ton extra stuff going on.

Unfortunately, I don't think Nick will be coming to the race anymore. He's planning on staying with his family another night. I'm not going to say I'm not disappointed, I was really hoping to see him as I crossed the finish line, plus I think I deserve a kiss, if I don't vomit that is. But I know that if he needs to be in Tulsa, that's where he should be. I don't fault him, and he doesn't fault me for leaving town Saturday.

Finally, my goals:
1) Finish the triathlon. If this happens, it's a total success.
(My other two, I must say, I think will be challenging. I'm not actually sure which will be more likely to happen, so they are in no particular order.)
2) Finish the race, having run the entire 3.1 miles.
2) Finish the race in less than 2 hours, including transition time.

Wish me luck and keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

I just may be a triathlete when you see me next!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

T minus....ONE WEEK!

AAAAHHHH! I'm terrified.

I still haven't been able to do an open water swim! Kayle was totally planning on coming up here and we were going to head to the lake and do a quick swim Thursday, but no. Someone had other plans. As Kayle puts it, "Someone up there doesn't want us to do an open water swim." Wildfires. Multiple. And, as the reporter that I am, that kept me at work until 9 p.m. Not only that, but had that not been a factor, the smoke was so thick all around town (and even worse at the lakes), it wouldn't have been good for either of us, and the roads were blocked off. Great. I'm going to try to go out tomorrow or Tuesday because I for real need to...I've never swam in open water before! Or with my wetsuit! I'm a little worried about going out there by myself, though. Gah!

I biked and ran this weekend. As far as food goes, I didn't eat real well, but I made wise choices. We were celebrating my sister's birthday and Easter, so that came complete with fried rice, egg rolls, fried cheese wantons and German Chocolate Cake. Easter, of course, came with ham, deviled eggs (amazing!), rolls, a number of other foods and chocolate! They even had my favorite pop, but I chose water instead! Again, I made wise choices on my portions and never got above a 7 or 8 (I'll explain in a minute). I'm eating my amazing See's candy one per day until after my tri. I think that's reasonable. Real test, though!

The number thing is from a study I heard about. They asked people to rate their fullness on a scale from 1-10. One means practically starving still while 10 is about to burst...100 percent overfilled. They found that overweight individuals consistently measured themselves a 9 after every meal, while their average weight counterparts were a 7, not hungry, but not really full either. Now after big meals, my family always says what they are, which is usually higher than it should be (again, after big family meals, like holidays). I remained a 7 almost the whole weekend, which is always tough when there are about 10 different amazing things to eat! Try it out and see what number you are!

Monday, April 6, 2009

She's got the look, and race results!

Race results first:
As you know, Kayle and I tackled the Redbud Classic 33-mile bike tour Saturday morning. We woke up at 5 a.m. (OK, I'm only happy seeing 6 a.m. or earlier on two occasions: leaving for a vacation or Christmas morning!), got ready and headed out in the pitch black to OKC. We were two of the first people there, and we had no idea what to do, having never done a bike race before. Do you take your bikes up when you get your number? We got there about 10 minutes before the packet pickup was supposed to open so we sat in the car and waited. We saw a couple people head up there having left their bikes in the car, so we did the same. We went back and chilled in the car until it got closer to race time (we got there an hour before it started). Fortunately, our people-watching skills paid off because we also learned to put the number on our backs, which makes total sense. We had to wear long-sleeved shirts over our cool new tops because it was a bit chilly and pretty windy. After that was all done, we got our bikes out and headed to the starting line, after, of course, shooting a few pre-race pictures:

The race was hilly! I had no idea it would be. It was literally 33 miles of hills! The wind picked up about the middle of the race, as forecasted, but fortunately, it was a south wind and the majority of the race was east/west. About halfway through, as we had turned into the 30 mph gusts wind, a really nice guy suggested that Kayle, who was on her mountain bike, adjust her seat up to help her pedal better. Our halfway stop was just ahead so he waited for us and clicked hers up a few notches. Also, they had awesome granola bars there. When we started on the second half, thinking we'd have more down that up hills (since we had a TON of ups on the way there), Kayle was in a better mood as the seat adjustment had helped a lot! There, somehow, was just as many up hills, and they were tough. At about mile 26 or so, we turned south. As I turned, I noticed a huge hill and about halfway up the hill are about 15 people...all walking! I tried my best with all my might to get up that hill, but I, too, had to get off and walk. There were actually two massive hills both heading south into the wind. I wasn't even sure my legs would be able to finish walking up the second one! After that, another big hill forced me off my bike, but I still think I did pretty well. We crossed the finish line together at 3:32. Not bad, especially with all things considered. We got all got a medal, which I wore most of Saturday and Sunday. Hey, I'm freaking proud!
Later that day and the following day, my legs weren't too bad. They were tired, but not really sore. My shoulders, which starting hurting about mile four, have been pretty tight and sore, but I'm impressed with my body.

As for the first part of the title, I've got a story for you. During my long lunch break today, which is now, I went to the pool, like I've been doing a lot on Monday. As I was getting ready to get in, this man randomly asked me when my next event was. It took me by complete surprise! I explained that my first tri is in about two weeks (13 days!!!), and he started asking about it. He said he started racing about a year ago, so I asked if he had any advice. He came over and sat by me and gave me mostly transition advice for about 15 minutes or so. It was fabulous to actually talk to someone whose done it and be able to ask questions in real time. Of course, all the transition talk got me a little worried because I'm pretty unprepared for it. The craziest part about it was that I have no idea how he knew I did events. Do I have the "triathlete" look? Even the athlete look? Does he assume because I'm regularly there? I have no idea, but it made me feel kind of cool that he's noticed. Some vibe I'm getting off, or something. That's awesome. Really.

I've become a lot more comfortable in the past few months volunteering the information about my triathlon. I think I was hesitant for so long because I didn't really see myself doing it, or I thought people would think I'm silly or that I couldn't. I'm so close to proving those people wrong, and after a 33-mile bike tour, I know I can do it. Maybe now that I feel like a triathlete, it's coming across that way. Either way, I'm pretty uplifted by the whole event.

T-minus two weeks!
Wow, 13 days to go before my tri! I never thought I'd get here. I'm freaking out, people! Any last words??? This week, I'm going to focus on my eating still, but with Easter and my sister's birthday celebration, it's going to be tough! Workout-wise, I'm going to get my tough things in this week, so I can taper off next week. I did five 100m sprints at the pool today, and I'm going to do a brick tomorrow (3 mile bike, 1 mile run, x3). I'm also going to try to get an open water swim in, but if the weather doesn't cooperate, I guess I'll take my wet suit to the pool at the gym. I need to train in both! All last ditch efforts before tapering happens next week!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Saturday's goals

I didn't end up biking today. I know, I know! I don't need a lecture. It was cold and windy today, not to mention I didn't get off work until sunset because I went to a work-related dinner. Which, by the way, had an interesting story. I order a sandwich, toasted, and fresh fruit. I really wanted fries, totally craving them, but made myself make the right choice and get fruit. Little did I know, toasted meant really buttery and toasted (wouldn't have made that choice!). Also, they brought fries instead of fruit! And the guy seemed really surprised when I said we'd ordered fruit. So basically, they brought me fruit and told me the fries were a bonus...great. I ate about half of them! Again, I know, I know, but where am I supposed to have will power when they bring the very thing I'm craving and didn't order???

Tomorrow will be a busy day, too, but I'm mostly packed. I'm heading to Edmond and Kayle and I (and our boys) are going to eat some pasta. The race starts early (7 a.m.) Saturday morning, so we're getting up early and heading over there. It's 33 miles with six, I think, water stops. It's supposed to be mid-50s to mid-60s for the race and windy! My goals are:

1) Finish the 33-mile bike tour. If I do this, it will be a success.
2) I'd like to do it in less than three hours, but with stops and natural slow down as I get tired, we'll see.
3) Let's say doing it in less than 2:40 would be pretty cool. That's less than 5-minute miles the whole way...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

When things click

When things just click, it's pretty awesome. This week has been good, workout wise.

Monday, I was able to head out for a 16.5 mile ride. My longest ride ever, until this Saturday, that is. I figured it was half the distance of our bike tour, so I should see how it goes. Well, it went pretty well, actually! I got all ready to go and decided to ride out to Boomer Lake, where I often drive and park to ride, around it and ride back. The way there was nice and fast (with the wind behind me), but as soon as I got to Boomer, I saw a looming storm cloud I'd read about. I tried to rush, but of course, the wind was at my face this time. It was totally weird. I had wind coming at me and a storm chasing me. Crazy, huh? Just like Hooch. (Very few will probably get the reference, but Nick will smile because Hooch is crazy.) I'm telling the truth though. So anyway, this nasty looking storm cloud is chasing me the whole way home. I make it up the killer hill at the end of the ride and get inside with about 10 minutes to spare before the rain starts. (The whole ride took me 1.5 hours, which is what I expected.) This is what it looked like right outside my apartment when I got back:
Anyway, the shorts were great and worked well. I think I'll do OK on the 33-mile tour, especially with a few breaks. I bought some Power Bars to help me through it.

Tuesday morning I went out (even though it was cold) and ran for 33 minutes, straight! I know this doesn't seem like much since I've been training for so long, but the longest I've ever run continuously is 35:30, so that's good. I wanted to run for 30 minutes, but I wasn't quite back to the gym in time, so I went another 3! I was so proud, but my kick at the end was rather pathetic. I was tired after, but I think it was a great run all things considered. After the run, I did a few abs and then went and swam a 600m in the pool. Nice swim, too.

Today was an off day, but I can't help thinking about how well my bike and my run have finally clicked for me. Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote (I think) about my swim clicking and how I could just keep swimming all day? Well, finally the other two have, too! My bike's been so challenging since winter, and my run has always kicked my a**! I'm sure it's a combination of things, but I wish I knew why. Because eating well has that big of an effect on my workouts? Because my months and months of training have finally paid off? Because I was just having a great two days? Because it was double fluke? Because I'm that awesome? Because work isn't too bad this week so I'm in a powerful mood? I'm not sure, but I like it. Also, I've been very diligent about my abs and inner thigh workouts this week. Motivation has been up. Let's keep it up!