Pumpkinman Half Ironman Triathlon Race Report

Let’s start with a recap of how my past few months have been:

My training consisted of me spending more time complaining about how I much I dreaded swimming than actual swimming.

My biking consisted of some pathetic rides on the trainer while watching canceled scifi shoes like Terra Nova and Firefly.

My running was awesome but that’s because running is awesome.

My pre-day race routine was probably not ideal but in the grand scheme of things would not have made much of a difference.

Despite all the steps I took to fail, I did it! Yup, I’m a half iron (wo)man!

Finisah

How did it all begin? Well, almost a year ago, I decided to fork up $275 and many hours of my time to do this. I don’t know what I was expecting, I guess I had such a fun time doing a mini sprint tri that I thought I would love a longer distance.

More miles more smiles! Right? Right? right…

Plus all my cool friends were doing triathlons and I wanna be cool like my friends. All my cool friends are also running 100 milers, but that’s still a bit out of my league.

I had months, and months to prepare and yet raceday, September 7th, came in the blink of an eye. Well if that blink of an eye consisted of many months of swimming, a major bike crash that resulted in separated shoulder and a long winter of snow that refused to end.

Actually, lets get back to the race. The Pumpkinman Triathlon is a festival that consists of three events, A sprint tri on Saturday and Aqua-bike and Half Ironman Tri on Sunday.

So raceday, yea it completely sneaked up on me. My alarm was set for 5:30AM, early but tolerable. Waking up at 7AM to go to work is a nightmare, but waking up at 5:30 for a race is tolerable. I even woke up about 5 minutes before my alarm. My morning routine was short, I was already packed, so I just got dressed, fill up my water devices with water and told Tony we gotta go by 6AM.

It was about a 20 minute drive with parking. It probably took me about 10 minutes to figure out my timing chip and drag all my stuff to the transition area. Only athletes were allowed in the transition net so I my assistant ūüėČ waited for me outside.

I had about 15 minutes to set up my transition area and get into my wetsuit.

Start

But wait Liana, don’t you start at 7:21?

Yea, except the race has time cut-offs for everything. I had to pick up my timing chip by 6:30AM of race day, it was not included with our race number packets and transition area was closed by 6:45 for a mandatory national anthem and some messages that I couldn’t hear. So yea, I could have woken up even earlier but I picked sleep. So at 6:45, I was being gently told that I must depart from the transition area.

The end result?

My transition area looked like someone vomited up gear. I was so nervous that I kept rearranging all my stuff and trying to calm my breathing that I couldn’t focus and I haven’t even eaten anything yet.

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While the first 7 waves were starting, I decided to eat my white chocolate cliff bar because not having anything in my stomach would have been a huge mistake. I nibbled on my breakfast as I tried to spot the boeys and gauge just how far a .6 mile loop is.

Swimming Leg

The course is a 1.2 mile swim but it’s a double loop. So even though it’s a waved time start, your first look will always be packed.

Now I’m not going to lie, I was terrified of the swim, swimming in the Y is one thing. you can take a break every 25 yards, but with this, I wasn’t certain what I would be doing. In theory there’s kayaks and paddleboard people to the side. In theory you’re allowed to rest on those as I read in the rules. In reality, those kayak’s were close, but definitely not worth the extra 25 yard swim to rest.

I did have one new advantage. A wetsuit. My friend Lori let me borrow hers for the race (along with her trishorts). Now, I have to confess again, I actually have never, not even for a second took a practice swim in this wetsuit or any wetsuit. I was told it would be easier and I was desperately clinging onto the fact that this was true.

Start Wetsuit

My goal was to stay on the edge to avoid the more aggressive swimmers and getting kicked in the face. Because being a terrible swim and getting kicked in the face in the first mile of a 70.3 journey would probably have been terrible at best. However, I had trouble getting to the right side of the starting line and somehow ended up at the left, the inner loop.

Swimming start

I start swimming and the first thing I noticed was that my lower body just stayed up without me exerting a large amount of energy to stay buoyant. Yes, wet-suits are indeed awesome and if I ever do any distance swims, I will need to invest in one from now on. They’re awesome. Normally when I get into the warm, my lower body just sinks down so this gave me some reassurance that I just might be okay.

I did make one mistake. For the first 1/3rd of the loop, I was swimming with my head poking out because I was so nervous on the other swimmers and getting kicked. However, this completely ruined whatever form I normal have and I probably wasted a great deal of energy and time swimming like a drowning dog.

Swimming

Once, I realized that the world isn’t going to end if someone’s limb touches me, I went into a normal freestyle stroke and the rest of the 2/3rd of the first loop went great. I even continued onto the second loop without a stop. Because the second loop starts around shallow water you could in theory stretch your legs and stand up. I didn’t want to waste any time and just kept moving.

Swimming 2

There was about one instance when I wanted to take a little rest. My shoulder was starting to bother me and I was about halfway into my final loop. I was getting tired fast and at one point lost my stroke and swallowed some really nasty pond water. However, I looked at the distance between me and the kayaks and decided I’m better of swimming forward to the finish then resting. Before I knew it, I was in a shallow part where I could stand up.

Drowning Liana

I was ready to sprint through the water, until I felt like pokey on my feet. Yea, the shore of the pond is covered in mussels, so I delicately walked out of the pond and saved the sprinting for later.

Official time: 49:49 about 10 minutes faster than my training swims! (Overall 396/426) 

The hill climb sprint

So as I was getting out of the pond, I started immediately working on taking off the wetsuit

Sprint Hill

Before I could get into the transition area, I had a mini hill sprint. A volunteer was standing warning us to slow down because the area got so slippery and I guess a few people took some wicked falls. I just went on my climby way. I needed to slow down my heart rate anyways. Total time 1:46 (252/426 overall)

Sprint Hill 2

Transition 1

I don’t know exactly what took me so long, maybe it was pinning my number, changing shoes and removing the wetsuit but I spent almost 5 minutes in transition. 4:49 to be exact.

Transition 1

The one stupid thing that I would go back on from transition 1 would be taking my camelpak. In retrospect, it was a stupid idea and I didn’t get much use of it as I thought I would. I don’t get a ranking for transition time, but I’m sure I was on the longer end.

Bike¬†Leg –

I don’t know how to describe the bike part. You know when You have a dramatic experience and you mind kind of blocks out most of the memory and it almost feels like a hazy deja vu. That would be my bike leg. I made it. I did it. But there was no savoring the moment. It was just surviving.

From the beginning, I struggled with slowing down my heart rate. My legs and my whole body was so shakey that I had trouble clipping into my pedals.

Bike Struggle

Bike Walk

Still Struggling

Nothing like a personal photographer to capture every embarrassing moment out there.

The bike leg of the race is 56 miles and just like everything else on this day, it too consists of a double loop.

I remember right from the start, it was a bumpy ride.

Literally.

Very bumpy.

Since I started towards the end of the swimming legs and I was pretty much almost the last person out of the water, I was probably a good 30 minutes behind most riders. Combine that with me being a very novice cyclists, I was in for a scary ride.

The roads were not closed, not even remotes. About 75% of the course was a bumpy granite road with potholes, large cracks and absolutely no shoulder to get you space between you and the cars.

Now my first loop was okay. Eventually, I saw other riders who were probably on their second loop as I was doing my first. It was still relatively early in the morning so there was less cars on the road. However, I don’t have a fancy bike. I have a fairly minimum not even a brand name road bike. So every crack in the concrete, yea I felt that.

After mile 18 or so, the road even got nice. It looked like a recently repaved road. There was two aids stations, one around mile 4 and one around mile 20 that I passed by. I probably had a nice 16.5 mile pace. I’m no doped up Lance Armstrong, but considering I just swam the longest and fastest distance of my, I was feeling content with my pace.

My second loop was a nightmare. I just remember being mostly alone with the except or one of two fellow cyclists. I remember constantly being absolutely terrified that I was going to get hit by a car on this narrow road. Car literally kept zooming around me because both them and I had nowhere else to go. I felted stressed and drained for about 75% of the second loop.

I also remember most of all that I’ve been wanted to pee pretty much since I started this race. I finally gave in and took a stop at mile 40. Since the one bathroom they had was occupied by someone who seemed to behaving an even worse race than I was, I took that time to calm myself down, eat two hammer gels and stretch. My quads were absolutely killing me. I’m not sure from what. The course was hilly but not that hilly and besides that my quads hurt from the moment I jumped onto the bike. Maybe I used them in swimming? Still have no clue.

Anyways, my second loop was getting slower and slower and I heard rumors that I was one of the last 20 people on the road. Yea, that was fun.

I knew I was getting close to getting timed out. Yea, that’s right, the bike leg, a leg that I thought I would have some catch up, was the leg that was slowly almost disqualifying me from the race.

Relentless forward progress, I repeated. That was all I could focus on because the least I could do was try and finish. I was going slow, but I was still moving.

Total Time: 3:49:41 Overall place 421/426 (I have never been so last place in my whole life before)

Transition 2

I went into T2 with a very bruised ego. I was falling apart. If I wasn’t so focused on finished. If I took the time and evaluated my race at that time, I would have cried. However, I tried to remained focused. My transition 2 was just as slow as transition 1. By the time I finished the bike leg of the race; I was baked. I really felt like I had no will to continue besides my own stubbornness. I changed my shoes. I opted for my Mizuno Waveriders vs. Skechers GoMebs because if the running course was anything like the biking course, major potholes and a terrible road shoulder, I wanted a little extra cushion. I even took a minute to stretch and move my Garmin from my bike mont to my arm. I took a few more Shotbloks and then when I finally felt ready, I went off for my run, knowing I was probably in almost last place.

Transition 2

Total Time – 5:03

Running Leg

So as I got to my final leg, all that was standing between me and the finish line was a small little 13.1 mile run. A half marathon as some might call it.

I started my run, just like I started my bike. With a mistake. I took my phone with me for music.¬†Yes, technically we were not allowed to have any audio on us, but I was already in last place so I didn’t feel like I had much to lose at this point. I also was partly concerned that I was already disqualified for being too slow. However, within a minute of my run, I changed my mind and passed my cellphone to Tony as I saw him at the start of my run. And off I went.

running

My first mile somehow ended up being 7:30. Considering I was barely pulling 14MPH on the bike leg, this came as a complete shock. It also made me realize that since I was no longer in fear of my life and getting run off the road by a car, I actually have a lot more left in my tank than I thought. I decided to go with all I got. It wasn’t a lot, but I went with it all.

The running course was a 3 mile loop. It was a really boring shoulder of a road that we looped around twice. The terrible part was that it was repetitive and didn’t have much shade. The positive was that, I got to see some of my friends who were hours ahead of me. ¬†The terrible part was that I was never sure if I was passing people or if those people were on their final loop and I was still many miles behind them.

The great part was that the volunteer were amazing on the running leg. They were organized and had everything I needed available. There was Hammer Gels, Salt Tabs, cold sponges, water and coke (coca cola silly, not cocaine). Although, I think I would have totally accepted cocaine at this point.

The aid stations were about every 1.5-2 miles and I made sure to make use of everyone one of them whether it was a drink, or ice or just water to dump over my head, they were there and I used them and add that to the fact that I was in full out, OMG I don’t want to finish last mode adrenaline, I kept doing the only thing I could do, run. Run fast, run smart, and just keep moving. Uphill I slowed the paced but still ran and on the downhill, I pushed up my pace.

I don’t know the exact breakdown but I probably took a water or a coke every 3 miles or so. I took a cold sponge every chance I could and stuffed one in the back of my sports bra to cool my back and one in the front to cool off my chest. I was in serious heat. It was probably around 78 degrees with not a cloud¬†in the sky. Add to the fact that I already spent 4 exhausting hours trying not to die on my bike, I was more than mildly overheated. I didn’t grab any more gels, but I did drink more than a few cups of soda and a salt tab somewhere along mile 7.

I expected my run leg to be about 2 hours with each mile dragging on since I would probably be running 2 minutes slower than my normal pace. But I surprised myself. With each mile, I wasn’t slowing down. I kept expecting to hit a wall and having to walk like the other runners around me. Shockingly, the miles, even without any music or much entertainment were flying by. To be honest, I don’t remember what I was thinking about to pass the time, most likely not much. I was in full survival mode to run, run and be done with this race as soon as possible.

Before I knew it, I was in the final grass sprint area. I’m proud to say that as far as I’m aware not one person passed me on the run! Even if I did start almost last haha.

Finish sprint

Finish Sprint 2

Yes, I sprinted to that finish line.

Total Time – 1:47:47 Overall 89/426

Finish Line

The first thing I did after getting my medal was walk over to the massage area which I was told was already full. Made me a little cranky because when races advertise massages, they should be available to all participants not just to the top 20%. Us slowpokes pay the same race fee as the fast kids and I think we deserve the same service.

I pouted and walked to find Tony. And as you can see in my photo, I also decided that it’s too hot to continue wearing my shirt, belly fat and paleness be damned, I was overheating and needed to find shade. when we got to the eating area there wasn’t any place to sit, but there was still plenty of food left.

The race entry fee to the race gives you a turkey dinner, a la Thanksgiving style with stuffing, yams, mashed potatoes, cold slaw and all the other things I don’t normally eat because I’m just not a fan thanksgiving food. They also had a dessert area where I picked either a pumpkin whoopie pie or a brownie. I asked if I could take both and was denied.

So no massage, turkey dinner that I don’t really eat, and a dessert denial…

But then I found the beer tent with shipyard pumpkin and all became better. Although, I stilled wanted to go and take a brownie because the Pumpkin whoopie pie was pretty tasty and I kind of survive of sugar and beer.

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I let Tony have my food since it was paid for in the race fee and throwing it out would have been a waste.

Total Results and Ranking

Total Time :

Overall Place: 342/426

Gender Place: 122/180

Division Place: 10/12

My final thoughts on Pumpkinman…

I haven’t done a lot of triathlons so I’m only comparing it to running events. But overall, I found it very poor value for what it costs. I’ve gotten pretty good where the majority of my marathons cost me under $75 with the exception of Boston which is $150 and it’s Boston so I suck it up. But personally, because I don’t enjoy triathlons and because of the experience I had due to my training and experience, I thought the ¬†70.3 race was poor value for my money. I think my race fee with the something or other 1 day membership was $275 and the only thing it provided was lifeguards, kayakers and a few paddle boarders on the water. I’m not even sure if they were paid or volunteers. I know triathlons require more logistics and more insurance but I don’t know what else there is. Maybe, I’m missing something. The bike and running course was open to traffic. I saw one police detail the whole time. Everything else, from the turns to the aid table are volunteers, free labor. Yes, I know the Gatorade, the timing chip, the hammer gels cost money but I just don’t see how it adds up to the cost of the event. I’m sure if I loved swimming and biking as much as I love running, it would be totally worth it but I don’t so I’ll just have to stick to what I enjoy.

The one big thing that I would like to mention is that I thought all the volunteers were great and helpful and all the fellow race participators were great sports and very encouraging to one another.

I don’t regret participating in this race. While I can’t say I’m thrilled with my time, it was a worthy experience that I will treasure for a while. You should always tri ūüėČ everything once.

Will I ever do another one again? While I see plenty of sprint tris in my future, I don’t think I’ll do another half ironman or longer distance event again. While the actual event was sort of fun and I loved the challenge of it all, the training made me absolutely miserable. At the root of it all, I love running and having cut back on that for biking and swimming made me cranky. Also, I’m pretty sure that I’m allergic either to the Malden Y or chlorine because my skin would always burn in the pool. Regardless, I already canceled my Y membership and probably the only way I would ever sign up and train again would be if I had a training buddy for those long rides on the road that I never did or had a super flexible schedule so I could hit the pool when it was empty and get in bike rides when there was less cars out there.

Weekly Recap – ONE MONTH BEFORE PUMPKINMAN!!!!

Weekly Recap

When I see others training for events, I always wonder how many hours and miles they put into their week. For me?

When I train for marathons it’s 50-60 miles which is about 7-8 hours if there’s no trail miles…

For the triathlon? Specifically this 70.3 I’ve been targeting 8-10 hours. Sometimes I come close to 10 hours but usually I don’t make it. I had high hopes of going into 12-15 hours a week, but the 10 hours a week alone is close to burning me out.

In the end, the best weekly hours of sweat should be whatever leaves you feeling the most energized and prepared. I could be a better athlete and do more morning workouts, but I find myself craving more and more sleep.

My goal is to finish and I’m working on that being enough. Type A personality take a back seat!

This week my mileage dipped below 35 miles, a minimum that I used to try to hit within 4 days. However, I did hit 10 hours of “training” and 102 miles of sweat.

Monday – Rest (Traveling and errands day)

Tuesday – 10 Mile Run (8 miles on incline 3 and 2 on incline 2) average pace was 8 minutes but the first hillier 8 were a little faster and last two were around 8:15 pace to cool down.

Also did an evening swim after avoiding the pool for a week once again. 42 laps (2,100 yds or about 1.19 miles) in 65 minutes with up to 4 people in my lane. If there’s one thing the Malden Y has prepared me for, it’s swimming in a large crowd with people limps constantly whacking you.

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Wednesday 8 miles at 7:48 pace. Stayed on incline 2 because my legs felt pretty tired from Tuesday. I realized just how tight they were when I tried to line them up against a wall.

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Harder and more painful than it looks!

Thursday – 50 minute spin and 10 mile run

Spin class went okay. Had some trouble with the bike I was on… Very squeaky but I tried to make the best of it. Around 17 miles per that meter but who knows how true that is. I did a runmute home after work with a little bit of a hail storm 3/4ths into it!

Check out my instagram video – Running is hard enough without giant ice balls gunning you down. Who needs an ice bucket challenge when you can just run in a hail thunderstorm while the sky is still bright blue. The run ended up being 8:24 pace for 10 miles that excludes the hail storm pause.

Friday – Rest day It wasn’t planned but we went out to celebrate Tony’s birthday on Thursday so I was a little tired and I also discovered that I have 9 episodes of pretty little liars to watch. So you have one guess

Saturday – 51 miles bike and 3.2 mile run!

I did an indoor brick workout. I’m ashamed to admit it but I don’t do my long rides outside. I feel like I don’t get to train as hard or well when I’m constantly stopping for lights and other cars. So yes, I do my long “rides” on my trainer even when the weather is gorgeous because you know the outside world? It truly is a scary place but mostly a slow place without police detail. Instead I found some movies and shoes to watch on Netflix.

But it’s not easy. As soon as I got on the saddle, my mind just wasn’t into it. it’s hot and my brain was coming up with alternatives to ditch my “ride.” Maybe I should go run or maybe I should go swim instead? Or cook a 10 course meal while cleaning out my closet. Luckily, I stayed put and played around with some music and different movies. Finally about half way into my workout I started to get into it. I have to admit that hour three was my favorite. Sometimes you just need to fight through the wall to find eureka moments.

I was on such a high of fighting through the wall that I decided now is a perfect time for my first brick workout! 3.2 miles on the treadmill in my basement because I wanted to finish watching my movie. It wasn’t fast but it was a running speed. So 51 miles according to my Garmin for 3 hours on the bike and 8:21 average pace for a 5K earned me a break and helped me avoid swimming for another day.

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To reward myself I justified why it’s okay to only swim once a week and made these tasty treats instead stuffed with ground turkey!

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Sunday – 1,950 yard swim

I thought I would spend my Sunday with a long run but the sunny weather made me sluggish. Finally when I knew I only had one hour to go until the pool closed, I dragged myself to the Y. I compromised to 20 laps, 30 minutes and then I can call it quits for another week.

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but when I got there, the pool was empty! Something you almost never see at my Y. I’m used to swimming with 4 other people in my lane, not just me myself and I.

Before I knew it, my 30 minutes changed into until the life guard kicked me out in 53 minutes with 39 laps. One of my faster swims yet!

Overall I’m happy the effort I’ve been into the other two legs of my race next month. This week I have a 50K trail race so I have an idea that my running numbers might go up ūüėČ

>QOTD
How many hours a ¬†week do you “train”?
What are you training for?

I hate the term training, I’m not in the army and I’m not a pro so if anything it’s a hobby. That’s why the word “training” or “train” is followed by air quotes.

Weekly Recap – The week Tabata handed me my butt on a silver sore plate

The theme of last week can be summed up into one word. Soreness. ¬†But let’s start from Monday,

Monday – 8 Miles 7:38 pace on the treadmill

and on a side note, my little garden pepper plant flowered! I really hope I get at least one pepper.

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Tuesday – 45 minute tabata class, 45 minute spin class and concluded with 30 minutes of swimming! Busy day!

What is tabata? It’s basically a high intense interval workout. You do a move for 20 seconds rest 10 repeat until you get 4 minutes. The actual moves and how many you do are up to the instructor. I couldn’t do anything with push-ups because of my shoulder injury so instead I just did more squats.

Since I haven’t started to feel any soreness yet, I did an evening spin class followed by 30 minutes of swimming. I’m still slow and my shoulder is cranky, but I try to get out there and get used to the water.

 

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Wednesday – 5 miles run 7:48 pace
Squats + lunges after not doing them for a year means I am literally limping around the office. Taking a single step by day 3 was worse than torture. Trying to get up was an even bigger pain. After sitting at my cubicle all morning. I stiffened up and felt terrible. I did try to shake myself out a little bit with a 5 mile run. Actually, I was going to 8 but 5 was all my soreness could tolerate.photo 2 (9)

Thursday – 45 minute spin class

I had all these glorious plans of running or maybe a power hour spin class. Instead, I could barely get myself out of bed. I did finally make it to spin class and for 45 minutes I felt a million bucks better until I went back to sitting. Other than that, instead of working out, I did lots of napping and trying to eat as much protein as possible. I don’t know if it helped, but I like to pretend it did. Plus salsa and eggs are like the best thing in the world.

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Friday – 1 hour swim 2K yards

Technically my swimming time was more like 57 minute but let’s just round it up.

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My favorite candy in the world. I recently picked some up when I went to visit my parents in upstate NY, because the Walmart there is the only store that carries non-stale ones.

And yes, I took a mental vacation day on Friday. Ran errands, got my hair done, sacrificed a perfectly good hair day for a swim.

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I don’t know why I’m glaring, call it a mild heat stroke.

 

And I have no regrets…

because when you go to the pool in the middle of the day, the only person you have to share a lane is yourself. Yup, all the screaming kids, the dbag who only swims in fins and the crazy but baller lady who does breast strokes in a shower cap generally tend to not be there on an early Friday afternoon. It actually made swimming pleasant. I even hit up the hot tub and sauna afterwards for shoulder therapy.

I don’t like to brag, but I would make a killer stay at home cat mama.

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Saturday. Р8 mile run 7:55 pace

I posted this on instagram and I’m sure many agree, but I struggle so much with staying motivated to run in the summer. My mind gets so easily distracted with the heat and summer BBQs, that three hour runs in the morning is the last thing I want to do. I wasted 2 hours before I finally made it out the door for an hour. It’s shorter than I wanted to, but I did make it outside so I’m happy with that.

Sunday – 4 trail miles 13 minute pace that involved being lost followed with 1,000 yards of swimming. 9.1 evening miles at 7:58 pace.

So cut my trail run short so I could get to the pool before the masses woke up. Saw a hairball the size of a cat which doesn’t sup[rise me much.

After my swim, heading to the beach to check out some baller sand sculptures!

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And I concluded my day with a 9 mile run because it just felt like a nice night.

 

QOTD

How was your weekend? 

Ever been to a sand sculpture competition?

NYC (lack of) Marathon Training Week 6 and How I learned to use clip in pedals

Last week’s training was so nonexistent that it doesn’t even warrant it’s own post.

Monday – Ran 6 Miles

Recovery run after Mt. Washington. I recovered by making pizza!

Tuesday – DOMS!!!

Delayed onset muscle soreness is no joke!! I couldn’t even get out of bed and I was sick too.

Wednesday – Ran 6 Miles, swam 1,000 yds

I don’t know how, but I got the energy to run 8 minute miles. ¬†I also swam a bit after work but it was my first time using swimming earplugs so I had some difficulties. I found I missed hearing all the sounds fully and sometimes I would knock them out.

Thursday – Ran 3.5 Miles

I was going for 10k but I felt awful half way through and stopped.

Friday – Nothing

No excuse, I just got dressed to run but then ended up not leaving the house.

Saturday – Biked 60 Miles

Overslept my time to run but instead I learned how to bike in clip in pedals

Sunday – Nothing unless walking counts

Walked about 7 miles at the Cape in Provincetown between the town center and beaches,

How I learned to use clip-in pedals

First, I want to say they’re clip-in pedals and anyone that calls them clip-less is confusing me since they are anything but lacking in a clip. Now for the steps

Step 1, either on a trainer, or with someone you trust hold the bike, test clipping in and out. While you’re doing that, take extra steps to avoid ramming yourself into certain um sensitive areas with your seat because that my friend is highly unpleasant.

Step 2 Practice with one pedal!

Yup, I’m a complete and total pansy! Clip in pedals felt and still feel very unnatural to me. I rode with one normal shoe and one clipped in shoe for 15 miles because I was that scared! While having control of one foot, I practiced stopping and going with the clipping foot. I found for me personally that clipping in and getting yourself going was harder than clipping out.

Step 3 – Make the transition

I didn’t want to give up my security shoe but I was starting to noticed that my right foot was feeling a lot more tired than the left. I knew that if i was going to make it home, I needed to balance my feet. Ideally I wanted my right regular shoe but I left that at the campsite. Yup, I was traveling with two bike shoes and one regular shoe.

And you know what?

I made it. I’m not a pro. I had a few close calls but I biked through it. I biked 3 times my normal distance. The time isn’t really reflective of pace because it includes all learning. I did have the advantage of practicing on a paved flat rail trail so that was nice. Do I think I’m ready for city streets? No, not yet, but I think there’s hope for this scaredy cat!

Weekly Recap – Triathlon Training Week 1

So on Monday I decided to just jump straight into triathlon training. ¬†After all I have two major obstacles: ¬†I don’t know how to swim and I have a fear of riding my bike fast or on streets with cars. Yea two perfect skill sets to start with a month before a triathlon.

My new chalkboard that I made!  I like to get ambitious with my workout plans and if I go through on half of them, I call it a happy successful day!  Things most likely to not make the cut? Anything that has an AM in the front.  ZzzZzz.

Monday – 10 Mile bike, 3.5 Mile Run, 650 yds swim
I reintroduced myself to the Y.  I biked 10 miles on a stationary bike (which I learned on Sunday is nothing like a bike) and then ran 3.5 miles.  Everything felt easy, too easy.

In the evening I came back and decided to attempt to swim.  It was ugly.  Very ugly, I swam or kicked at a rate of 25 yds at a time, for 13 round trip laps or 650 yards in about 30 minutes.  Yea, I might drown.

Tuesday – 11.26 Miles Run
Running day!  6.5 miles on incline 3 on the TM and an easy 5.26 miles in the woods with my TARC friends.  Love the evening easy runs!

Wednesday – Bike 25 min, run 3.2 miles, swim 800 yds
I don’t know how far I biked, but it couldn’t have been far. ¬†One of those stationary Livestrong bikes with no meter (how annoying!), a brick run afterwards. ¬†Yea, I learned why it’s called a brick run, my legs did not want to go. ¬†Swam in the evening and did 16 laps this time in 30 minutes for 800 yds. ¬†Yes, I’m the world’s slowest swimmer.

Thursday – 7 miles
Busy day, frustrating day and took some anger out on the treadmill.

Friday – 1,000 yds swim
35 minutes of swimming.  It was so hot outside that I actually enjoyed the swimming and decided to skip out on the running.

Saturday – 20.2 miles
Long runs! O how I love my long run days. ¬†There’s really nothing better than being on the road (or maybe a trail) with a pair of shoes and your breathing.

I got to preview the Mizuno Wave Sayonara¬†and of course the first thing I did after taking them out of the box was run 20 miles. ¬†The shoes felt like they weight less than half my Waverider 15s and I got a little carried away for how hot it was, but I’ll get more into the details in a new post later this week for shoe reviews.

10 Miles – 8:05 pace ~ 8 Miles – 9:00 pace ~ 2 Miles 8:00 pace (TM)

The first 10 miles went great, I felt fast as a cat or a ninja but it was also 80+ degrees and I was running without water and dehydrated myself enough to pay the price for the next 4 miles as I ran home. I could have stopped at a convenience store to buy water, but I’m a masochist and like to push myself to suffer. ¬†Had several glasses of water but the damage was done. ¬†I had really no motivation to run fast, so I took it easy with 4 more miles outside, until I decided to go into my woman cave in the basement. ¬†I was determined to finish with at least 20 miles. ¬†Once I was in my basement, even without an AC it was cool enough that I was able to pick up the pace for my last 2 miles!

Sunday – 7.8 mile bike, 1,000 yds swim, 5 mile run
A workout for each meal! ¬†Biked 7.8 miles on about 40 minutes outside while battling my fear of cars. ¬†Also learned that biking on a stationary bike at the gym is not the same. My quads were so sore by the end of the day that all I could do was roll around the floor whining. ¬†Swam for 35 minutes at the Y before lunch. ¬†I wasn’t getting faster but I did attempt to do 100 yds at a time without touching a wall! A few successes! ¬†And after dinner Tony and I ran, or something like that in 90 degree heat. ¬†I will run through the heat, but it won’t stop me from complaining about it, each and every time!

Total Running Miles – 50!

Total Feelings – Jack is in empathy with me!

We have a whole week of weather going from 88-93 and humidity. ¬†Can’t wait!

Biking the Catskill Scenic Trail

Tony and I are visiting my parents in their summerB bungalow. B B Usually we just sit on the porch drink some vodka and eat some pickles Russian style; however, this year we decided to make an effort to do some nature things. B On Friday we decided to actually use our bikes. B We had aB similarB plan last year but ended up not touching our bikes the whole weekend after dragging them down for 5 hours from Boston.

So Friday we got up, got our stuff together and drove the 70 minutes out to the Catskills Scenic Trail. B In upstate NY, every thing is over an hour away! B The CST is almost 20 miles with an additional 7 miles that have been recently added. B The path used to be a rail line that ran from Bloomsville to Grand Gorge and isB no longer being used for freight. B In the 1990s it was reborn through a “Rails to Trails” project. B SimilarB to what we hope to do with the Bike to the Sea path that will eventually go through Everett, Malden, Lynn, Swampscott and Revere. B The CST is open year-round for horseback riding, bicycling, jogging, walking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.B With its wide path, gentle grade and durable surface, the Catskill Scenic Trail has become an ideal recreational destination as it traces a leisurely path through stunning Catskill Mountain terrain.

On our drive up, we got a little hungry and stopped by a “General” store. B I tried to order a 6 inch vegetable sub but instead this is what I got served.

Yea, clearly Tony made the smarter choice with his pizza. B Total fail.

Luckily as we continued driving, we passed by something familiar and safe.

Yes, correct this would make it our 2nd McDonald’s stop in 15 hours. B I got anB unsweetenedB ice tea the size of my head and Tony reunited with his Angus Snack Wrap love. B I don’t know how I wouldB surviveB without extra-large drinks! B Mayor Bloomberg, I drank my heart out!

We did finally after a few confusing turns find the trail head to the Catskills Trail in Bloomsville.

We biked past bridges

Past fields and mountains

We didn’t know how far we would make it up this 26 mile trail as whatever we biked there, we needed to bike back!

After 10.8 miles we finally called it an end and turned back around. B I was also getting paranoid about how my road tires were doing on this mix of rock and packed dirt trail

Tony used a mountain bike while I huffed and puffed on my littleB Jamis Coda Femme, my baby city hybrid.

Overall we both survived the 21 mile bike ride. B It only took us 3 hours. B I bike slower than I run. B It’s sad, I know! B The CatskillsB ScenicB trail is not a concrete trail so using a road style hybrid was difficult and I was always a bit paranoid. B I did deflate my tires to keep less pressure on them and that seemed to work.

Don’t tell Tony but I want to one day return and do the full 52 mile round trip! B Maybe when it’s cooler (it was 85 degrees outside). B Okay I lie, I’d prefer to run it but B I know that won’t happen for a while!

Mountain bike or road bike? B I’m a hybrid type of gal. B I like the versatility and I’m not really a big Lance Armstrong wannabe so I have no desire for speed on concrete unless I’m in my running shoes.

Bike to the Sea Fundraising Ride

On Sunday was the 20th annual Bike to the Sea community ride. B When I lived in Somerville, aside from walking, biking was my primary method of transportation, especially to Brookline & Cambridge. B Upon moving to Malden my bike has been gathering dust in the basement. B I’m ashamed to admit that I am not brave enough to share the road with cranky Northshore drivers. B Cambridge, Somerville & Brookline did a fabulous job adding bike lanes and making their neighborhoods more bike friendly. B I know Malden is a long way from bike lanes but I still dream that this trend will hit the other side of the Mystic River. B There’s a lot of work, but Bike to the Sea is a step in the right direction.

I’m copying & pasting with someB paraphrasingB a little bit about the Bike to the Sea project from B2C’sB website.

“B2C promotes the development of a bicycle and pedestrian trail from the Malden area to the beaches of Lynn and Revere.B The trail will begin along the Malden River in Everett near the proposed TeleCom City where it will connect to trails heading to Boston and Medford. Heading north to Malden, then east, the trail travels past the locations of the old Maplewood and Linden rail stations to the spectacular vistas of Rumney Marsh in North Revere. Local families will be able to pedal to the Saugus Ironworks or the Saugus River and then to a pathway along the Lynn Waterfront that will connect to Nahant and Revere Beaches.

The largest ride of the year is “Bike to the Sea” held at the end of June. Over 100 families and friends join us for a ride to the beach escorted by local bicycle police. Funds raised at B2C Day have been donated to develop a preliminary design and cost estimate for the bicycle trail and an aerial survey. B2C volunteers regularly participate in local bicycle fairs held by the schools, Junior Police and the Kiwanis. Members also promote safer streets for bicyclists, better parking at MBTA stations and bicycle commuting to Boston. B2C works with MassBike, Rails to Trails and East Coast Greenway.”

Sadly the weather for the 2012 Bike to the Sea was not the greatest. B However, several of us still made it out, bikes & helmets in check. B To get to the start of the trail I had to bike 1 mile from home. B I was a little bit nervous since this would be my first time biking in Malden. B Luckily it was 8AM on a Sunday and all the usually crappy drivers were not out andB aboutB yet.

There was a lot of dust on my bike that’s been sitting idly calling my name. B I wasn’t even sure I still knew how to ride a bike!

The bike ride started on what will soon be the first mile of the Northern Strand trail.

After 10.7 slow escorted miles everyone made it to the beach!

I shivered and munched on some blueberries as we waited for everyone to reach the beach andB assembleB for the return trip. B While I was shivering wishing I had a parka with me, some crazies went for a swim.

The bike trip ended at the Dockside. B There was promise of pizza. B Not sure what happened but we were greeted with salad and pasta instead. B When you’re hungry, food is food so I munched in two plates worth.

There was even cake!

After the cake, pizza came out. B So we eventually did get our promised pizza. B You would think that munching on pasta and cake would prevent everyone jumping for pizza once it came out an hour later. B Nope!

I had a mile bike ride back to home. B This time the scary drivers were out and about. B Sadly I had to use a combination of sidewalks and roads to make it home safely. B There’s not that many pedestrians in Malden so as much as I hate sidewalk biking it was not the worst crime in the world. B I saw these little cute fellows on my return trip.

If you live in the Boston area specifically: Everett, Malden, Revere, Saugus, Lynn area please check out and support the Northern Strand Trail. B More information about the Bike to the Sea project is here. B If you’re from Lynn please talk to your mayor and city officials. B Unless I misunderstood, at the moment Lynn is the only community that hasn’t agreed to the Northern Strand Trail proposal and is part of the hold up.