Monday, September 29, 2008

First Triathlon...


My first triathlon was this weekend and it was so much fun! This is going to be a long post because I want to remember everything.
I had been training for 4 months for the See Jane Run Triathlon and the day was finally upon me. I was feeling pretty nervous for a couple of days before the race. On edge, not able to concentrate, with a million things to do before Saturday. On Thursday, after picking up Skyler from school, we drove out to Oakland to the See Jane Run store and picked up my race packet. Then I had to stop by the bike shop on the way home to get my brakes adjusted. On Friday night we met up with my friend Carrie for a carbo load dinner. Then home to pack my bag and get everything ready.
On Saturday I woke up at 6am and got dressed in my swim outfit (tri shorts, a sports bra, and a tri top) with warm clothes on over (it was 57 degrees outside). Then I got all my water and electrolyte drinks together, quickly made a bagel with peanut butter, grabbed a banana and hit the road. I was meeting at my friend's house at 6:30. We arrived at the lake (Shadow Cliffs) at about 7:15. Our wave was hitting the beach at 8:20am.

I had been feeling really anxious about the swim so about 9 days before the race I started positive imaging. As I fell asleep at night I would envision getting in the water, slowing down my breathing, taking each stroke, rounding the bouy, crossing the lake and heading toward the other bouy, etc. until I was exiting the water feeling great and strong. Well, I think it totally worked! When we got to the lake I wasn't nervous about the swim AT ALL! I even brought a little anxiety spray that you spray inside your mouth and I didn't even need it.

After setting up our transition area, getting our time chips, and getting body marked we were ready. A friend of ours, who was originally doing the triathlon with us but got injured, showed up to cheer us on and take pictures. Thanks Tracie! We walked down to the beach and got in the water to warm up a little and get used to the temperature. Then they were calling our wave to get into position. This is us just before warming up. I'm in the middle, number 327:

The water level was really low in the lake this year so we had to go into the water a ways before starting. This meant we were standing on ground that isn't usually stood on because the water is usually too deep. Let me just tell you, it was DISGUSTING! It was like standing in pudding up to your knees. Every step you sunk down into...something. Everyone was happy to start swimming so we wouldn't have to stand in it! I did the swim in 12:26 (1/4 mile swim). This is really good for me because each time I had practiced the swim in the lake it had taken me 14 min. That's me on the far left in the pink cap starting my swim:

The bike was pretty easy. Nothing to really report. I had taped some food to my bike so I could eat it during the ride and I think that really helped. It was 11 miles and I did it in 40 minutes. It normally would take me about 50-55 min. to ride 11 miles (I'm not a very strong bike rider) so I was very pleased with this time!

This was a lot easier than I had anticipated. I felt great and maybe it was the food I'd eaten on the bike but I had more energy than I thought I would. It wasn't too hot so I was able to push myself a little more. I did walk some of it because there are about 4 hills on the course that I wasn't about to run over. The 3 mile course took me about 38 min which is a little longer than usual but I'm attributing that to the hills.

Here we are afterwards with "Super Jane."

Of course we had to buy some comemorative gear to celebrate our success:

All in all, my goal was to finish in under 2 hours and I finished in 1:36! I'm very happy with my time and I had so much fun. I couldn't have done it without my 2 friends right along side me and my friends on the sidelines cheering me on. And of course it wouldn't be the same without the free celebratory beer afterwards!

It was a lot of fun and I can't wait to do something like it again!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fall Decorating

I just love Fall! I'm so happy it's officially only 2 days away and that the weather is starting to chill around here (we even had a few sprinkles last night!).

I was inspired by Chris to work on my Fall decorating this weekend. Here's what I've come up with so far.

These pumpkins are ones that my mom bought me for Christmas last year so this is the first time they're out and in my kitchen. Sorry about the ugly sweet potatoe sitting next to them!

These are on my mantel in the living room. They may not stay there though. The mantel is a little narrower than I thought and these are breakable. I love them with the clock that my friend Tracie got me for my birthday though!

This is my favorite Southern Living item. She stays up year around but just happens to fit in with my color scheme and with Fall!

This is another Southern Living inspiration. I bought the urn from my favorite SL at Home rep then had her over to put together the arrangement for me. She just has an eye for these kinds of things. This also has been up all year but I just love it! It's in my entryway.

I got these pumpkins from Target today! I just love them and wish I could afford to go back and get more. Can you tell I love pumpkins?

Now I just need to work on my front porch. I'm thinking of something like this:
Do you think it's a little much??

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Virgo Celebrations

This past weekend was filled with birthday celebrations. First, on Friday night, all my girlfriends got together for our annual Virgo Birthday Dinner. There were only 2 Virgos there. Myself and a friend:

but there were a couple that had Virgo children and the rest were just along for a fun dinner. We went to a new Mexican restaurant in town, ordered a pitcher of Sangria, and just enjoyed each other's company. Afterwards we went outside to talk for an hour or so. When we all get together it's hard to leave at the end of the night because we're having so much fun!

(Inside joke on the pose...please excuse the silliness!)

Then Saturday night a good friend of mine was celebrating her 40th birthday in the city (San Francisco) at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. Here I am with the birthday girl on the left:

She was in the Harry Denton suite and Harry Denton himself came up to wish her a Happy Birthday! We hung out in her suite for a while where we ate dinner and birthday cake and then headed up to the Starlight Room for a little dancing.

It was a really fun night! Happy 40th Gina!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Practice does not necessarily make perfect...

On Saturday, See Jane Run put on a practice triathlon to get us ready for the real thing in 3 weeks. It was meant to be just a training day, no pressure, just to get us used to the course and to practice our transitions. It was going to be an early day but I was really excited to get some practice on the course, try out the swim, and test my transitions.

WARNING: This is going to be a long post. Mostly so I have record of all my notes and thoughts. If you're not interested in reading all the boring details about something you would never do anyway, just scroll down to see the pictures. Those are always my favorites to see!

According to the email they sent out it was supposed to be 1/4 mile swim, 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run. My friend Carrie and I got there and set up our transition area. Hers was much more organized than mine but it totally worked for me.

After setting up our transitions we hit the beach for a motivational talk from some training coaches and LUNA Pro Triathlete, Linda Gallo. With 100 degree temperatures looming in the near future, they finally started the practice, 30 minutes late.

As you've probably read in the past, I have a real problem with swimming in the lake. I'm trying to talk myself out of it, trying to have some positive conversations with myself but so far it's not really working.

The lake water is REALLY low right now and the See Jane Run people apparently didn't tell the Regional Park we were even coming so there were no bouys. Instead of the 1/4 mile swim we were told to swim one length of the lap lane which I think is 140 yards. The water there is only chest high. This is good because if anyone panicked they could just stand up, hard though because then you're tempted to stand up instead of actually swimming it.

I'm assuming I was feeling a mixture of anxiety about the lake and adrenaline from doing the practice but I could NOT catch my breath once I hit the water. The funny thing about swimming is you actually have to hold your breath in order to swim properly. When you can't catch your breath, you can't hold your breath, and you can't swim! I probably only did about 3 strokes of freestyle the whole way. It was all breast stroke and side stroke. Anything to get me through it!

Everything else went pretty smoothly. I passed 3 riders on the first hill out of the park which is huge for me. I don't pass anyone! And this was evident in the rest of the bike ride (which ended up being about 8.2 miles) where I was getting passed up like I was standing still! I just kept telling myself "I'm saving myself for the run. All these women are going to die on the run because they're putting it all out there on the bike." I'm not sure that was actually the case but it helped me mentally.

The run started and my calves were a little sore and throughout I had a side ache (which I've only ever had when I'm trying to run too fast.) I've never had sore calves after getting off the bike but maybe I was pushing it a little harder than I thought I was. I also didn't have a lot of fuel in my body. I had only eaten one egg and a corn tortilla for breakfast and no snacks along the course (it just didn't sound good to eat at any point but now I know that was probably a mistake).
The run (which ended up being about 2.67 miles) included a lot more hills than I expected and it was HOT. It ended up being about 101 that day but I'm not sure what the temperature was at this time. No water was provided on the course and I didn't bring any with me so I tried to just take it easy and go as fast as I could without hurting myself. There was a lot of walking and I saw Carrie once during this portion so that was fun and a motivator to keep going. Here we are after the run.
In the end it was fun and a little bit hard but mostly scary to think that I have to do 3x the length of that swim on race day. I know I can complete the swim. I do it twice a week, just not in the lake! I need to figure out how to get the adrenaline out of my system, or at least in check, before I start the swim. I think that will help a lot. I'm so thankful that I have friends to do this with. There's no way I would be able to push myself to do it alone. Friends are a great thing aren't they?!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my birthday and normally I wouldn't advertise that but I just had to pass on what my darling 5 year old gave me. My husband asked what she would like to get mommy for her birthday. "A toothbrush and toothpaste!" So, that's what I got. This coming from the girl that LOVES her toothbrushes and even sleeps with them, so to her, it's a pretty special gift.

I got lots of great phone calls, emails, and gifts dropped on my doorstep from loving friends and family. And my husband got me a pretty special gift too:
This is not the exact necklace but very similar except that instead of rubys it has Aquamarine stones. It's beautiful! I'm so lucky and aside from having a touch of a cold, it was a great day.