Monday, September 21, 2009

Sandman Triathlon Race Results for 2009

I finished Sandman just before 10 a.m. Results were in my email box at 11:38 a.m. That has got to be a record! The awards were still going on at Luna Sea down the street! Amazing!

Anyway, Here are my results from yesterday's race:

Sandman 2009 Total time, 1:54:50.35

The breakdown:

Your Swim time was 20:25.20 (1000 meters) in a very rough ocean

T1 2:54.45
Your Bike time was 50:29.55 (14 miles)

T2 1.21
Your 5K time was 39:40.15

The weather was perfect. It was cool, about 65 degrees, sunny and a it windy. It was a fun race, although I was fatigued on the bike (not enough training on the bike). To my surprise this time was nearly a PR. I'm not sure why, but I decided to wear a wetsuit. Big mistake. I hate swimming in a wetsuit. I knew that but thought for some reason this time would be different. I spent alot of time freaking out in the water because it was so tight around my neck I felt like I was choking. Believe it on not, I almost quit on the swim. I was so panicked I wasn't sure I could do it. I spent alot of time not swimming. Grabbing at my neck, floating on my back trying to calm down, doing side stroke.Then, I decided that quitting wasn't an option. And that I wasn't going to die from it being so tight around my neck, so I might as well swim faster so I could get the damn wetsuit off faster. In the end everything was OK, but I do have a wetsuit for sale!

Sandman 2008 1:55:28.15
Sandman 2007 1:54:17
Sandman 2006 1:57:53.8

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Good News, My First Ever First, VBLA Race Report

I know, delayed results. But what do you expect for a somewhat neglected blog?

Last week 5 of us girls from Richmond, drove to Virginia Beach to swim in the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Series 3k swim. Result: all of us had a great race! Three of the girls were testing out wetsuits for Ironman Flordia. Me, you know I'm not a huge fan of wetsuits, so I swam Plain Jane. Luckily, I did remember to put on sunscreen!

The water was perfect, calm, rolling waves, and a clear day. It was beautiful. No jellyfish. And, I had a pretty good swim. For the first time EVER I came in first in my age group in a race. Now, to fully understand this, you have to know I was totally excited about this even when I though I was the ONLY one in my age group! Imagine my surprise when I saw that there were actually 5 of us.

Here are my results:

Holland 3k, 40(overall) 1(age group)51:16:00 (3k time)26:04:00 (1.5k split)

I came in 40th overall of about 60 swimmers. And, I had a negative split!
They lost my registration, and had to write me in at the last minute -- so hence my botched name, but I'll take it anyway!

If anyone is looking for a well run open water swim, this is it! The 5k is August 23rd. I highly recommend it! When the race is over, the guards even drive you back to your car in the lifeguard truck. Nothing like riding down the beach at 20 mph with the wind in your face to realize, wow, that really was a long swim!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Race Results: I Love the Tavern

The I LOVE the Tavern Triathlon race
results are finally posted!
Good news! I did PR on the race overall, but
most importantly, I PR'd on the run, which was my goal.
I was the third Athena out of the water on the swim.
And I had the second fastest bike split.
It is so obvious to me now what I need to do:
work on my RUN! Although I PR'd, if I was 2 minutes
faster I could have placed.
I did give it my all yesterday. I felt great and
had alot of fun.
I LOVED seeing all those TRIgirls out on the course,
and I loved getting to cheer on the other athletes.

Here are my stats from the last
3 years of the Tavern race:

2009 2008 2007
Swim 750m 15:42 15:29 18:43
T1 1:40 2:44 2:53
Bike 18.89 1:06:07 1:05:24 1:04:10
T2 1:43 1:57 1:04
Run 39:38 42:06 40:52
Total time 2:04:48 2:07:39 2:07:40

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I LOVE the Tavern Tri Race Report

It was a beautiful day for a triathlon. After a 15 minute delay and a slight shortening of the race course, for the first time ever I started a race on land. Typically, we tread water for 3 minutes and wait for the gun to go off. This time we were still making our way down to the water when I heard 10 second -- beep!
And we're off!

Unfortunately, with the strong current, many of the men from the 2 heats prior were still trying to make there way forward and those of us in purple caps who were faster had to swim over both red and yellow caps. There was lots of confusion, and this was both the most contact I'd ever experienced in a race and also the gentle-ist nicest elbows and feet I'd ever encountered. Yes we were all climbing over each other in an effort not to be swept downstream, but we were being polite about it.

As I climbed out of the water, slightly disoriented, and ran down the trail through the woods, someone shouted that I was the second TRIgirl out of the water. I grabbed my bike and mounted it only to have lots of trouble clipping in. About 5 people passed me as I tried to clip in, and thankfully, I didn't fall.

The bike course was full of passing and getting passed. I was pretty tired starting the big hill at the turn around, but managed to have a good bike leg anyway. For next year I need to remember, I only need one water bottle and no bike gloves. I think both those things slowed me down.

My goal for this race was to PR on the run especially. Typically, I go all out on the swim and bike and don't save much for the run, but today I was able to hang on for the run too. I have no idea if I PR'd but fact that it was a cool day helped immensely.

The trail run was fun but took a bit of concentration no to trip on the roots. Lots of people passed me! I mean lots! But, these were they guys getting the awards.

Before I knew it they were saying I had .6 miles left and I ran it in as hard as I could. I knew there was a chance I was in the running for a medal if I picked up the speed, but all I could do was all I could do. I had a strong finish, that left me wanting more for my next race. So, more hard work, and a goal, that next year I'd like to bring home a 3rd in Athena. This is the second race this season where I've come in 4th -- which is totally fine -- but makes me think If I work at it there is no reason I couldn't get a third. The 3rd place winner beat me by about 2 minutes.

Yet another opportunity to set a goal and work towards it and set a good example for the kiddos! Oh, those kids! I absolutely LOVE seeing them cheering me on during a race! I'm so grateful their dad brought them out to cheer!

My time was 2:04 something. The past 2 years it has been 2:07 -- So I got a PR, despite a a strong current. I'll post my splits when I have them.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Getting Ready: I LOVE the Tavern

I'm getting excited, it's race weekend -- I LOVE the Tavern Triathlon, my favorite local race.
Friday night is the open water swim practice with the Richmond Tri Club, Saturday is packet pick up and setting up the TRIgirl Training team tent for race day, pack my race bag and Sunday, 7 a.m. is race day!
This is the third year they've held this race and I've done it each year. Looking back on my race report from last year is funny -- I PR'd by ONE SECOND! That is completely crazy for a 2-hour race!
This year, my goal for the race is simple -- have a good time, enjoy it -- and especially enjoy the run. The swim is easy to enjoy -- it's in the James River, mostly against the current. Typically I feel at home in the water, even if it is muddy and filled with flying elbows. The bike is beautiful, and wild, mostly country roads, with one incredible hill. I hope that I fly up that hill like I did 2 weekends ago when we practiced the course -- and I hope in flying down it I enjoy the ride and don't break - despite hitting 36 mph.
The run, is a trail run, through the woods and out in to a neighborhood and then back through the woods. I love the shade that the run offers and the privacy of the trail for a moment, in between the runners passing me. This year I've been making stride in my running and I've incorporated trail running into my training for the first time. I'm hoping to feel strong on the run -- really strong and have a great finish. Oh, and a PR, if only by one second, would be nice too!
Stay tuned for the report on Sunday.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rocketts Landing Triathlon (Duathlon)

Just wanted to take a second to post the results from the Rocketts Landing Triathlon. Actually, I should say duathlon -- because the swim was canceled after a very rough James River made about half of the first wave of swimmers drift downstream from the buoys, missing the course entirely.
Here are my race results. Not pretty, but for my first duathlon, I'll take it. There is nowhere to go from here but up!
2 mile run 24:58, 40k bike 1:38:39, transtition 1:43, 10K run 1:25:06
Total time 3:30:24

This was the most beautiful race course I've ever seen. I can't wait to do it again next year, as a triathlon!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Why I've let Daydreams Back into my Life

My friend John Sarvay (you know they guy who inspired me to start writing a blog in the first place) just started his sixth blog. I know. Crazy, like he doesn't have enough to do with a new baby!
Anyway, the newest blog, Floricane, is actually about his new business -- focusing on leadership coaching, organizational development, and creative facilitation. He just wrote this amazing post on daydreaming.
I've always thought daydreaming was indulgent and stopped myself from it whenever possible. Kind of sad, I know. Only recently, have I allowed myself to daydream. How has it changed my life? I don't know. I dream at night more. I hope more. And I feel more too. Actually, come to think of it, I think I deprived myself of daydreaming for so long that in allowing myself to do so -- I overdid it a bit! Funny how that happens? I guess it is just one more reminder that balance is the key! In the past 3 months, daydreams have played a critical role in my life and my future. They've allowed me to see posibility, hope and in one case even frightened me! It's amazing what your mind will do if you just let if off the leash once in a while.

Sarvay quotes a recent article on the topic in the Boston Globe:
In recent years, however, scientists have begun to see the act of daydreaming very differently. They’ve demonstrated that daydreaming is a fundamental feature of the human mind - so fundamental, in fact, that it’s often referred to as our “default” mode of thought. Many scientists argue that daydreaming is a crucial tool for creativity, a thought process that allows the brain to make new associations and connections.

The article in particular talks about how in society today we tend to use television to occupy our empty time, which keeps us from daydreaming and being creative. Daydreaming actually take practice and being able to notice insight within that daydream is key to it being productive.

For me, daydreaming (or not allowing myself to) has been a weakness. Something I was never taught to value. But isn't it interesting that our body knows what it needs. Which brings me back to the focus of this blog -- triathlons. The one time I have allowed myself a sort of daydreaming state is when I excercise. Especially swimming for endless hours or biking for endless miles. Then it is no cooincidence that I've chosen to be an endurence athlete. Before triathlons, the only other time I allowed myself to do this was when I would go for long motorcycle rides whenever I felt "antsy". And that is what the article talks about next:
Every time we slip effortlessly into a daydream, a distinct pattern of brain areas is activated, which is known as the default network. Studies show that this network is most engaged when people are performing tasks that require little conscious attention, such as routine driving on the highway or reading a tedious text. Although such mental trances are often seen as a sign of lethargy - we are staring haplessly into space - the cortex is actually very active during this default state, as numerous brain regions interact. Instead of responding to the outside world, the brain starts to contemplate its internal landscape. This is when new and creative connections are made between seemingly unrelated ideas.

"When you don't use a muscle, that muscle really isn't doing much of anything," says Dr. Marcus Raichle, a neurologist and radiologist at Washington University who was one of the first scientists to locate the default network in the brain. "But when your brain is supposedly doing nothing and daydreaming, it's really doing a tremendous amount. We call it the 'resting state,' but the brain isn't resting at all."

Recent research has confirmed the importance of the default network by studying what happens when the network is disrupted. For instance, there is suggestive evidence that people with autism engage in less daydreaming than normal, with a default network that exhibits significantly reduced activity during idle moments. In addition, more abnormal default networks in autistic subjects correlated with the most severe social deficits. One leading theory is that atypical default activity interferes with the sort of meandering memories and social simulations that typically characterize daydreams, causing people with autism to instead fixate on things in their environment.


What these studies all demonstrate is that proper daydreaming - the kind of thinking that occurs when the mind is thinking to itself - is a crucial feature of the healthy human brain. It might seem as though our mind is empty, but the mind is never empty: it's always bubbling over with ideas and connections.

One of the simplest ways to foster creativity, then, may be to take daydreams more seriously. Even the mundane daydreams that occur hundreds of times a day are helping us plan for the future, interact with others, and solidify our own sense of self. And when we are stuck on a particularly difficult problem, a good daydream isn't just an escape - it may be the most productive thing we can do.

So, this is a new goal for me. Allow myself not only to dream, but to have daydreams. And I'll encourage my kids to daydream too. In fact, I think I need to make some time for my husband to go paint, I have a hunch that is where he gets his daydreaming done.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

For Every Curse there is a Blessing: Elite Performance & Trauma

I read an article in the New York Times yesterday that just made my jaw drop. It's an article about psychiatric consultant Michael Miletic and his theory that many elite athlete's incredible focus and ability to perform comes from one of the strangest places:
He theorizes that the highly adaptive abilities of successful athletes were often formed to create a sense of invulnerability in the face of early physical and emotional hurdles. Thus, the seeds of success for some athletes -- perhaps as well for some opera singers, police officers, test pilots, surgeons -- are sown in trauma, often including physical abuse.

''Now don't take this as a blanket statement,'' said Miletic recently in his Birmingham office, ''but I have seen a significant proportion of high-achieving athletes who have come out of abusive homes. Their ability to block out pain and fear, to dissociate from their emotions, comes from their adaptive tactics to the trauma of their childhoods. It's a form of compensation.

I would argue that in order for these athletes to make the best of this traumatic childhood and turn it into something positive, they might also have to have the "resilience gene" as well.

If you read this story (and it is worth the read) you'll learn about how a hockey player lost his signature shot and found it again. And in an interesting turn of events, it turns out that this athlete could put his strong work ethic acquired from intense sports training and apply it to the work he needed to do in his therapy.

The player's willingness to be treated -- he asked his family to leave the intensive care unit so he could talk to the young psychiatrist -- and the superficiality of the insights he offered turned out to be typical of Miletic's future athletic patients. So was the thoughtfulness and enthusiasm; the player approached his initial psychotherapy with the same work ethic he brought to physical training.

But he resisted the trip into his unconscious mind. The hockey player ascribed his suicide attempt to outside pressures; the fans and news media expected him to lead a subpar team racked by dressing-room dissent. Because of this pressure, he said, he had become so unsure of himself that he even suspected his fiancee of having an affair with a teammate.

It was not until the second year of therapy that the player was ready to deal with the repressed trauma that had led to his breakdown. He had become anxious because he was soon to be married and a father, and that had stirred old ghosts.

So for me this was a fascinating story. I am no elite athlete. But I certainly can relate to this story. I wonder how many other elite and endurance athletes gain an edge from the disassociation they learned during their traumatic childhoods. It seems to every curse there is a blessing. And it is stories like these that make me keep looking for the blessing at every turn.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Goals & Remembering This is Why I Tri

I met me goal for December, just barely. I made it to 2 Maramarc workouts each week (one bike and strength training and one Saturday brick) and in addition I ran at least one other day a week, sometimes even two. I just barely made my goals, because today, I found out I have strep and have had it for the last 8 days. No wonder workouts have seemed harder and I've been struggling to keep my head above water.

But, it's the workouts that keep me sane.

This week has been one of the toughest weeks in my adult life. I try to keep things in perspective but it is hard. I draw strength from my friends. From my incredible husband and my children. And from music. And, workouts clear my head and set me free if only for a moment.

This is not the first time that training and triathlons have helped me turn an important corner in my life. I try to remember why I swam across the Chesapeake Bay and why I've decided I will do an Ironman one day. It is because I can. I have the dream, the desire, and the drive to conquer my biggest fears. To be stronger than I ever thought I could be. And to always do the right thing no matter how much it hurts. Without triathlons, I'm not sure that I'd know how to bear this pain. But they have taught me to look to the finish, to see the big picture, to keep perspective and to keep my head up. They have taught me that my strength can be found in helping others and in confronting my biggest fears.

Tonight, I learned about another inspiring woman who feels the same way. And so tonight, I remember nothing is easy. And that challenges can be incredibly inspiring and an incredible source of strength. And that maybe things like this change you forever. And probably they should. And just because something hurts doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. And just because you feel alone doesn't mean you are. There is always room in a hurting heart for hope and for inspiration.

"The biggest fear I've ever had is dark water," she said. "And the biggest urge I had was to face my fear. That's why I decided to do marathon swimming. "... I imagined myself doing it. I believed."

.....[She], conquered the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim three times, using her fear of the ominous, murky deep as motivation to quickly churn through the 31-mile course along the Harlem, Hudson and East rivers.

When she first plunged into the chilly waters in 1982, she'd never swum more than two miles at a time. The water was so "black and yucky," she couldn't see her hands in front of her. She swam through old cardboard boxes, melons and rats.

"One of the other competitors ran into a corpse," she said. "They didn't finish."

But Clark did finish. Last.

She completed the course in 9 hours, 30 minutes and couldn't wait to try again. More than a year later, she posted a record time of 6:52.15, faster than any woman had gone before.

"I was that inspired," Clark said. "Marathon swimming isn't important, but the lessons are. One of the lessons I learned is that facing my fear is a parable to facing issues. Persevering, finding power in my weakness. My biggest weakness was dark water. That fear was the fuel made it possible for me to swim."