Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's all about the bikini (Aquathlon #1)

So after 2007's IMAZ disaster, I quit doing a lot of training. I went into the Deuces Wild race 10 lbs heavier than the month before. Yes, when you loose motivation for awhile and don't train and eat like crap, that happens. The problem is, I spent most of 2007 like that and knew I had to go into the IM training for 2008 lighter. So I followed a challenge on from October to December and lost those 10 lbs. Then during IM training I went through that body-conversion thing where the number on the scale was the exact same but the body type changed. I went into IMAZ feeling great and wearing skinny pants. So now my goal is to not gain those 10 lbs again. After this IMAZ I kept up with swimming 2-3x per week, hit the mountain biking hard in order to cram for Deuces Wild, and ran a bit. So far so good.

This week the City of Tucson aquathlon races kicked off. What is an aquathlon? It's an 800 yd pool swim followed by a 5K run at Randolph pool (Reid park). I've been following this little summer series ever since I started triathlon. Most of the time in the past I've worn tri shorts and a swim top. But the more I exercise the more I dislike soggy tri shorts on the run. If biking is involved, it's not too bad because they usually dry by the middle of the bike ride. But they still aren't the most comfortable thing for running. I've been spoiled by the oh-so-fresh and airy feeling of running shorts.

The alternative attire for the aquathlon races is to just run in a swim suit. I practiced this upstairs one evening. The one piece suits kind of pull in the torso when I run, and my 2 piece suit is actually more comfortable. The top can rotate independently of the bottom when the torso twists and moves. But I wasn't sure about running in a city park in nothing but a bikini and running shoes. So I asked my friend Bizzy about it, as she races in these outfits. I was worried about bum coverage, but she said it's not a problem. Ok, I guess I'll take the plunge. Besides, the races are at night.

So last night I get to the aquathlon and I see what folks are wearing in each wave and I'm the only one in the old school triathlete bikini outfit. Lots of tri shorts w/ swim tops. I was hoping Bizzy would show up so I wouldn't be the only one, but alas she was absent. So I would have to go it alone. Besides, this was motivation to keep training. Ironman training had done the body good, so it was time to enjoy being able to wear an outfit like this for the first time and not be as jiggly as before. If I stop training, the jigglyness will return. Down with jigglyness!

Overall the race went well and my suit stayed in one place. I found out that the bottom of the suit doesn't crawl up once it gets wet. When it's wet it sticks to the skin and stays in place so things don't get too cheeky out there. A dry swimsuit is another story. It was a bit strange to run in a public park in this getup on a shared-use path with walkers, bikers, rollerbladers, and strollers, but in the end it wasn't too bad. I think I'll stick with it as long as the suit fits.

So on to the actual race report.

I need to pay to do a speed workout, otherwise I don't do them. So the aquathlons are a good deal. I got there super early expecting a huge line, but walked right in a little before 6pm and was one of the first sign ups. It was nice not having to stress about the line. I set up my towel in the transition area and spent the rest of the time hanging out and socializing with Jennifer, Jaye, Holly, Alejandra, and a bunch of other Tri Girls. Jennifer hasthe coolest swim watch and Jaye has hilarious stories of what she puts in her race belt bag for marathons. Holly and Kyle were so cute because they were there alone with no kids (I hardly recognized them without the jogger stroller!) and this was their "date night." You know you're a triathlete when date night is an aquathlon.

I got in my swim lane with Ash Trudinger-Smith and another guy, and Ash stole spot #3 right away in the rotation. I decided I'd go first because I secretly wanted to go faster than my projected time of 14:45. We got in and the water was cold! More motivation to go faster. The lifeguard yelled "go!" and we were off. I tried to do good open turns at the wall like Coach Jeffy has been showing us on Sundays and felt pretty smooth. The 800 went by pretty quick and I hit my split button on my watch and hopped out of the pool. 13:50for the swim! Holy cow! I've never swam that fast before! Got to transition and did the sock trick, put my shoes on, and ran out with my glasses and hat to put on while running. 33 seconds in transition. Yeah baby! Like I said, it's all about the transitions for me. :)

I started the run and this little girl in a swim suit and capri pants was in front of me. Dang she was fast! The only reason I could pass her was because my legs were twice as long. I dodged my way through walkers, skaters, and strollers along the path. I was tryingto push it hard on the run and hit the 1 mile chalk mark at 8:47. No way! Fastest mile yet. A guy (who I later found out was named Doug) passed me on the back side of the course and there was no way I could catch him. I finally made it to the turn and my new goal was not to get passed too much on the second half. Ash caught me after mile 2 and I tried to keep up for a little but couldn't hang. He'll be my new rabbit to chase in these races. Is it ok if your rabbit is a guy? I faded a bit somewhere around Claim Jumper, but after the turn at the tennis courts I tried to push it in all the way to the finish. My secret time goal was 45 min, which would by 1 min faster than my fastest time from last year. I crossed the line in 42:13!! 4 min faster than last year's best! Walked it off and talked to Michelle a bit at the end to avoid going to the puke zone.

When I got home I calculated my average pace at 8:58 for the 5K. Definitely my fastest yet. I had finally ducked under 9 min/mi average. Justbarely, but all that matters is that the average now starts with an 8. Just 2 years ago I was happy to get to 10:30 min/mi average for a 5K. When I did my first aquathlon in 2005, I finished it in 56 minutes. No lie, the results are still there on the site. So it really does get better over the years if you keep training! I remember I felt so slow when I first started these, but it's true that when you build up a base over time and push yourself hard youstart to get faster. For me it's just taken several years to do it,but I'll take that over none at all.

Maybe it was the bikini.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Setting Sail for Show Low

Someone has already stolen And it sucks. It appears to be abandoned, drifting the seas like a piece of wood from the deck of a ship that sunk long ago. I could do so much better. But alas, the name has been taken, and was taken long before I started blogging or doing triathlons. So I simply chopped off the IM portion of the address with my cutlass and here we are with

Now that I have my new blog setup and fully of saviness, I shall start filling it with stories and pics of my new adventures. Oh how nice it is to be free of the monotonous "Training Week X Plan" that the old blog had. That's Ironman for a daily bowl of soggy cornflakes.

So what have I been up to this whole time between April 13, 2008 and now? Well, training when I feel like it, that's what. Not following any sort of plan, and mostly cramming on the mountain bike in an attempt to get ready for Deuces Wild. I have begrudgingly kept up some sort of swimming each week, and running is, well, let's just say it's a good thing the trail run is less than a 10K.

I stayed true to my words at the Ironman finish line of "Ironman sucks. I'm going back to XTERRA." And that is what I have done. Ironman is over and there will not be another one for a very long time, if at all. New sights have been set on the horizon and that is XTERRA. The goal for the rest of the season is to pillage as many points in the southwest that I can in the women's 30-34 age group to get the invite to XTERRA Nationals in Tahoe. All I want is the invite, which I hope comes on pretty paper because it will get framed and put on my wall. Then I just hope to survive the race, and hopefully not be an embarassment to the sport. And of course it helps to have a fellow crazy person along the way, so my friend Liane is doing the same in the women's 35-39 age group. She's been to Tahoe before, I have not. So now we must go together. My only advantage is that I'm in the baby-maker age group, which usually has less people.

You'll notice the only non-XTERRA tri on the calendar for the rest of the year is the SOMA half Ironman. I have it there for a few reasons. One, I need the challenge of something big-volume but less than full IM to train for. And two, I still need to beat that race. Each year has had some sort of disaster. I'm hoping this year SOMA will be meeting the business end of my sword.

This week has been spent packing and getting ready for 2 weeks of XTERRA. Tomorrow we leave for Show Low for the Deuces Wild XTERRA on Sunday. Gotta get there early for a camping spot at the lake. This year I'm not doing the Olympic on Saturday. Just the XTERRA on Sunday. Zac is going to relay the XTERRA again by doing the bike portion, and our friend Shari (who can be convinced to do any crazy race) will be doing the swim and trail run portions. Then Zac and I will hit the road visiting Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley, and Natural Bridges National Monument. The following weekend is the Four Corners XTERRA in Farmington, NM. This race has a bizarre swim, run, bike format. We shall see how that goes. So stay tuned for some (hopefully) spectacular pics and some good race reports.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The new blog

Yes, this is the new blog. Time to move past the IMAZ theme and work towards new goals and have new adventures.