Buffalo Springs 70.3- Lost in Joy

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Another 70.3 in the books! Happy to say we all finished with smiles on our faces! You know it’s a successful race when you come through the finish line saying, “I’ll do this one next year.”

Friday, June 23, 2017

We were very fortunate to be lent an amazing vehicle for travel! Our friend Jorge Puig, who created the application Spornado, let us ride up to Lubbock in comfort and style. A huge plus was that all 4 of our bikes were able to ride inside the van with us. No worries about outside elements messing with our trusty steeds as we traveled!

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The drive, which by our maps projected to be about 10.5 hours, took us close to 12 hours because we were “hydrating” the whole way up. Plus, we stopped for lunch in Kerrville at this wonderful spot called Grapejuice.

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When we finally rolled into packet pick up, we were happily surprised to find a few more Brownsville friends who were signed up for the race as well.

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Checked into our hotel and then went to BJ’s for dinner. We went back to the hotel and relaxed, preparing to get a nice long sleep.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Woke up to a cool front that had blown in overnight. It was in the 60’s out! I wasn’t preparing for this weather and had not packed any clothes to keep me warm; only one long-sleeved top. We had planned to drive out to the race site and get a nice short practice ride on our bikes to get a feel for the hills.

As we approached the Buffalo Springs Lake park, the nerves started to creep up in my tummy. We were driving up and down some pretty steep and winding hills, so I started silently praying for confidence and courage.

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We parked at the “parking lot” which was located at the top of the first hill we would climb right out of T1 the next day. I was shivering from a combination of nerves and chilly weather. I told myself to suck it up, I’d be fine, and that I needed this practice to have confidence for the race the next day.

Without giving myself any more time to think or worry, we clipped in and pushed off.

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Climbing the first steep climb took all of my gears in the small chain. When we reached the top of it and came flying down the other side, I was no longer cold. It sure was fun! We ended up biking to the park entrance (about 3 miles out) and turned around to head back. Many other athletes were doing the same thing we were; getting a feel for the terrain we’d be tackling the next day.

When we got off our bikes back at the van, I was very happy we had done that practice. I felt much more at ease knowing what to expect (at least at the beginning) of my bike ride.

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Since we had brought our wetsuits with us, we figured we’d hop in the lake to do a short swim and get that “open water feel”.

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Cristina and I only swam out to the 1st buoy (which was probably 100m) and back, but we just wanted to feel the water temperature, current, and practice in the wetsuit. We were happy with how the water felt; refreshing, and calm.

Once our little bike and swim were done, we made our way back to the hotel to freshen up and then head out for lunch. We ended up eating at a good brewpub (even though we couldn’t enjoy any brews!) and then went back to the hotel to rest/ nap.

That evening we got to meet up with the rest of our Big Sexy teammates who would be racing. I was so happy to see Kris again, and Chris McDonald last minute decided to enter as a relay! We had a great meal at Chili’s and enjoyed each other’s company.

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The sun doesn’t go down til a little after 9:00 in Lubbock, and so it felt early even though it was getting late. I didn’t have a nervous stomach, I was just anxious that I wouldn’t get enough sleep. Luckily, I was able to close my eyes by 9:30pm.

Sunday, June 25, 2017- RACE DAY!

Alarm went off at 3:30am and I instantly checked the weather. No rain and a high of 80! God blessed us with a cool and cloudy day (ideal conditions for a race in the summer).

Got ready and made sure we had everything we needed. We were out and on the road at 4:30am exactly. Transition opened at 5:00, and we walked our bikes and all our gear down the steep hill in the dark.

I always say this, but I really love setting up my transition area. It gives me such a sense of peace and calm; I just focus on what I’m doing in that moment and that time. Then I take time to visualize my T1 and T2.

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Once we were all set up, we got our wetsuits on and made our way down to the swim start.

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Now this swim start was called a “wave start” which means you and your age group are to run into the water, theoretically “dolphin dive” in and begin swimming. I have never had a wave swim start, so this was going to be a bit out of my comfort zone.

SWIM:

Cris and I were in the same wave start (thankfully) and we were the 3rd wave to go in. We didn’t have much time to think as the gun went off and all hell broke loose.  At least that’s what it felt like to me. Imagine: being thrown into a washing machine full of smacking, punching, and kicking limbs coming from every angle.

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I instantly knew my mind could go one of two ways: have a panic attack and quit (like I did in Kemah 2014) OR remind myself that it all pans out and we will get through this and spread out and everything will be okay. I chose the latter mindset, and yes, after about the first 200m we were more spread out and things calmed down.

Unfortunately my goggles fogged up almost instantly, and I didn’t want to stop to try and clear them up, so I struggled to sight the upcoming buoys the whole time. In my mind, I was weaving off course and thought I had completely lost Cristina once we had started our swim. But as I finally made my way to the swim exit and took off my foggy goggles, there she was right beside me! I knew this was a good sign and hoped we’d be able to stay the rest of the race course together like we did at IMTX 2016.

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Ran up the ramp, stripped off my wetsuit and made my way into T1. My bike was located in a very convenient spot and I was at the mount line with my bike in no time.

BIKE:

We were told to have our bikes already set in the small chain ring because that first climb would come up so quickly we wouldn’t have time to make adjustments. I had heeded that advice and let me tell you, this first hill (which we had not gotten to practice on the day before) was no joke. Not only was it steep and windy, but it was LONG.  So I had to make sure I spaced out my gears to be able to make it to the top. Slowly, steadily, and breathlessly I made it up.

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The first half of the bike course was varied with smooth straight shots of road, followed by short and steep up and downhills. Cristina caught me around mile 6 or 7 and I was happy to have her take the lead because she paces me better than I pace myself.

When we hit about 23 miles in, we turned off onto a farm road which was full on chip seal (meaning, bumpy and uncomfortable). My seat and legs were vibrating and I started to see Cristina drift farther and farther ahead. No matter what I tried, small chain easy gears, small chain heavy gears, big chain easy gearsmy legs would not respond with enough power to catch back up with her. That’s when I told myself, “My race, my pace” and didn’t let it bother me that I would continue the bike alone.

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I will say, once we got off of that godforsaken chip seal road (which we had to come back on for 10 more miles, mind you) the sharp and curving up and downhills were a welcome challenge and change. It was so cool to see what my body and little bike could do.

My butt had had it with the bike and I was ready to get off. I was so happy to see the park entrance again and actually looking forward to getting out on the run, because I knew I’d get to see familiar faces.

I sped down the final hill into T2 and left my signature mark as I transitioned into my run gear. Read my past race reports and you’ll know what my “signature mark” is ;).

RUN:

My legs and butt and back were so happy to be off of that bike. Even though the temperature was creeping up to 80 degrees at this time, there was no humidity and so it felt nice and comfortable.

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I started trotting along and decided to look down at my watch to see what my pace was. As usual, I had forgotten to click something or other, and my watch was not tracking my run so, oh well. My HIM run plan is always to run until I hit a water station and then walk the station.

This run course was 2 loops of 6.5 miles. Since I had never done this run course before, I just took it as it came. The only thing I knew was there was some “crazy steep hill” I would have to conquer twice, and I was told to do my best not to walk it.

There was no way I could mistake that hill. I saw it in all of it’s glory (almost reminded me of Mile 12 in the Austin Half Marathon). And I was determined not to walk it. I’ll tell you, I bet I was passed by people walking it, but I didn’t walk once. When I reached the top, I was about 4 miles into the run, and finally saw Cristina. We still had quite a gap between us and I wasn’t sure if I’d catch her, but I was happy to know I’d get to see her at the turn arounds.

Before I knew it, the first loop was done and I was heading out into my 2nd loop. At about 8 miles in, I finally caught up with my girl. I was so happy to know that we were going to have another finish line pic together.

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The rest of our run defined my mantra, “Tri With Joy“. We run/walked, but we did every step together and were so happy that our race was almost done and that we’d accomplished another amazing goal.

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We had about 2 miles left when we spotted our Big Sexy family! That definitely put a pep in our step!

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And then there she was, the finish line!

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Crossing with the biggest smiles of satisfaction. That feeling and rush of adrenaline and energy and accomplishment and pride. That is why I love triathlon so much.

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We had crossed the finish line with the exact same race time; down to the second! Even though our bike, transition, and run times had been different. That soul-tri-mates right there.

We all attended the awards dinner that evening where Chris McDonald and Mike Ramirez (the relay team) took a 1st place award!

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I am so grateful to have met such amazing people through this sport, and more specifically, through this team.

Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back for you next summer!

TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna

 

Longhorn 69.1 Race Report 2016

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So it’s been 3 days since Austin Longhorn 69.1….

I have been debating about being super positive in this race report, or being honest. I have always worked hard to add a positive spin to any triathlon race experience. I search for motivational quotes, scriptures, song verses, etc. And going into this race (my 4th Half Ironman), I actually was feeling pretty prepared. I had gotten more long runs under my belt, a few good 50+ mile bike rides, and my last swim on Friday was a PR!

I was actually excited to see what I would be able to do with this beast of a course in Austin. My past two race experiences were filled with many moments of joy. 2014 was my first Half Ironman experience here and though it was hot, I enjoyed it. 2015 had unexpected windy weather which made for a choppy swim and slower bike time, but again, I enjoyed myself throughout. 2016…well, I’ll stop beating around the bush and get to it…

Saturday, October 29:

Woke up to a 4:15am alarm, packed up the car and Mike & I were on the road to Austin by 5:00am. I couldn’t help but notice how foggy the entire drive was. We arrived at the Expo center around 10:30am. By that time the fog was just starting to clear out…(foreshadowing)…

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We stood in line for athlete check-in, (well, I stood in line…Mike has AWA status so he skipped the line…anyway) got all our gear and shopped around a bit. The athlete race briefing was at noon, so we had just enough time to stop by the Normatec booth and enjoy 15 minutes of heaven in those compression boots.

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The race briefing had no surprises to it: same rules, regulations, and routes as it was last year. The meeting was held outside this time and I felt myself baking in the noontime sun…(foreshadowing)…

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We took our bikes to the T1 site and checked them in. I was happy to see my race number 1937 was in the exact same spot it had been my first year in 2014. I thought this to be a great sign.

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We decided to walk down to the lake where we’d be swimming the next day. There were a few swimmers out in the water and it was so beautiful. The water was warm, smooth, and calm. Mike and I were wishing we had thought to bring our swim gear with us! Oh well, save it for the next day…or so I thought…

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Since our bikes were checked and all the race-site to-do’s had been done, Mike and I stopped by Whole Foods to make ourselves a nice salad as well as pick up anything we would be needing for breakfast the next day. We were both feeling calm, cool, and collected, and both talked about how we were excited to see how we’d do the next day.

Checked into our hotel and got our gear bags ready. Since there are two transition sites at this particular race, packing your gear bags is a bit more tedious. Still, it only took maybe about 20 minutes before I had it all laid out and ready to go.

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3 of our friends who would be doing the relay met up with us and we all headed out to an early dinner at BJ’s. I got my go-to Ahi Tuna salad along with many chips and dip during the appetizer course.

Back to hotel room and in bed asleep by 9:00pm.

Sunday, October 30, RACE DAY:

Woke up at about 4:10 and checked the weather right away. 67 degrees and would be heating up to about 88 degrees by 2:00pm. Although hot, not too bad for race conditions. No wind makes for a way better race day.

Got our tri kits on, ate an almond butter Clif bar, wrote out our race numbers and ages on our bodies (no hiding your age in triathlon; it’s there large and blazing on the back of your calf for all to see) and set off in the car with all 3 gear bags.

Got to the expo center and walked our run gear bags to T2, where we would be parking our bikes and taking off for our run. I took note of where my rack spot was and met up with Mike. We got into the school bus which shuttled us to T1.

Mike and I had arrived with PLENTY of time to set up our transition areas and then wait for the race to start. My favorite part of pre-race is setting up my transition area. It allows me to calm my mind and mentally map out what I will be doing.

We were set up, with tires pumped and gear laid out with about an hour and a half until myself and then Mike’s swim waves were scheduled to enter the water.

Met up with our other friends Natalie (who would be swimming in the relay), Norma (biking in the relay), and Lulu (running in the relay), along with Chuy, who would be competing in this particular race for the 8th time.

We talked amongst each other, and as the time drew nearer for the first swim wave to enter (7:30am) it was announced that due to incoming fog, start time would be delayed.

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Long story short…it was about 8:30am, DENSE fog, and no swim wave had stared yet. My swim wave was supposed to start at 8:35am, but at this rate, I had no idea what time I’d begin my swim.

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Finally the announcement was made: the swim was cancelled. Everyone let out a harmonious moan as we were told that the race would consist of the bike and run course, and that we would all be starting in time-trial fashion (2 at a time) in the order of our race bib number.

Mike was number 378…I was 1937…

I couldn’t complain too much because Natalie had been robbed of her entire race, and poor Norma’s bib number was in the 4,000’s…

So, with that decision called, we sadly said goodbye to Natalie and made our way to our bike rack spots. Norma waited with me as we watched the racers slowly walk their bikes to the mount line. I was VERY happy to see my sorority sister Alison at the same bike rack I was! She had mentioned being interested in this race but I never knew she actually had signed up! That was a happy reunion.

I looked at my watch and saw it was about 10:30am and I still hadn’t mounted my bike. This put me about an hour 15 minutes later than I had expected to start my bike….

BIKE:

Finally I got to walk my bike to the mount line. Since there were so many of us all clustered together, it was a bit chaotic to get started. In fact, a race volunteer actually grabbed my seat and pushed me to start (kinda like when my mom taught me to ride a bike, haha).

I was happy to finally begin this course!

Let me sum up my bike experience in a few words:

CROWDED. WINDY. HOT. THIRSTY. HUNGRY. ACHING QUADS. OVER IT.

I had not planned my nutrition for such a late start. In Texas, late=HEAT. Also, where did this wind come from?! I had to pull over twice to refill my drink, and when I hit about mile 40, my stomach began to growl. A hungry stomach during an endurance event is never a good thing.

I don’t want to try to make any excuses. This course kicked my ass. I remember it being testing on the legs, but I really think the heat set into my legs and I was just absolutely aching when I hit the 40 to 50 milers.

Also, we were all riding on top of each other. Drafting rules went out the window. There was never a moment where I was spread out from anyone. Every time I looked back to pass a rider on my right, 4-6 riders (the 30-34 men age groupers) would be speeding up upon me. Made for a bit of frustration.

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Anyone who has ridden this course knows that they save the killer hills for the end. This was no surprise to me. I rode my small chain from miles 50-56 to try to let my legs spin out for the upcoming half marathon ahead of me.

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I spotted one camera out on the course and flashed my fakest “TRIWITHJOY” smile. Ha.

T2 (Which technically was T1):

When I finally dismounted my bike and began walking my bike to my rack spot, the urge to pee came at me ferociously. This is not something new and I pulled the “pee on the groud as you sit to change your shoes” move I had done last year. No shame…covered my pee spot with my run gear bag (as I had done last year) and made my way out to begin the run.

RUN:

As I ran out I spotted Lulu waiting under the relay tent and gave her a wave and a smile. “Here we go“, I thought as I trotted my way down the energizing spectator crowd at the run start.

As hot as it was (about 1:30/1:45pm), it felt good to loosen my quads up from that killer bike ride. I refreshed my mind and began my pump-it-up playlist of running songs in my head.

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This run course is a 4 mile, 3 loop course which is nice because you get to see spectators several times (especially if your family and friends are there to cheer you on). The downside to this layout is that your legs have to take on the steep up and downhills several times.

My first loop was actually pretty great. I ran to each aid station and walked and filled my sports bra with ice cubes and drank up water, Gatorade, coca cola, and ate pretzels before starting to run again. I spotted Mike at about mile 3 and was so happy to see him. He said he was just about to start his last loop (LUCKY)…

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As I made my way around for my second loop I spotted Lulu still waiting under the relay tent. This got me a bit worried about Norma and I sent up a prayer for her. I also got to spot Carolina running during this time and was happy to see a familiar face.

At about mile 6 I felt that old familiar feeling: my left foot was beginning to ache in it’s arch. EVERY YEAR I end up having the arch of my left foot swell, but only on this course. I don’t know why, it may be because this course is more like trail running than running on a street. Either way, the discomfort set in and I knew I’d need to just fight to ignore it.

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(My swollen foot after the race.)

I spotted Mike as he was about to make his way into the finisher chute and was so happy for him.

Last loop was pretty rough. As I ran, I racked my brain to think happy thoughts. How I am so lucky to be here and have an able body. How God placed this passion in my heart for a reason and not to take it for granted. How I may be inspiring someone else.

But let me tell you, it was hard. And I went into a dark and ungrateful place for approximately 2 minutes.

Then, for some reason (and this is super random) the song “Go the Distance” from the Disney movie Hercules popped into my head. Yes, I am an elementary music teacher. But I have no idea how I remembered every word to this song. It brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face as the lyrics ran through my head…

I have often dreamed of a far-off place, where a great, warm, welcome will be waiting for me. Where the crowds will cheer when they see my face, and a voice keeps saying, “This is where I’m meant to be.” I will find my way, I can go the distance. I’ll be there someday, if I can be strong. I know every mile will be worth my while. I will go most anywhere to find where I belong.

Super cheesy, I know. But it did the trick. Before I knew it I was headed down the finisher chute with a huge smile on my face and a spring in my step!

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And there you have it, Longhorn 69.1 done.

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Sadly, my friend Norma was pulled off the bike course on mile 47. Praise God it was not because she was hurt. The race officials had to pull everyone off the course by 2:30pm to open the roads back up to traffic. I KNOW she would have finished if she had been allotted the time she deserved. Due to Norma not being able to complete the bike portion, Lulu was unable to complete the run portion. All around, an unfair ending for my friends’ relay. I am so sorry.

I am ready for rest and a break from the required training for awhile. I have hung my hat for this Longhorn course and am ready to look elsewhere for a new 70.3 to compete in. But 2016 was quite a doozy in my Ironman sanctioned races, and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. These experiences have all made me stronger, mentally most of all.

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So I will continue to go the distance and TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna

 

Magic In Misery

 

 

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I came across this quote on pinterest and I liked it a lot. If you know me, you know that running is not my favorite. The only reason I run is because it’s part of triathlon. I have friends who absolutely LOVE to run and I never understood them. Running beats me up; as I run I’m aware of the aches, pains, bruised toes/ toenails creeping in. My heart rate rises, my throat goes dry, I start sniffling and coughing…

But this past Saturday morning, I set out for my last long run before Longhorn 70.3. I wasn’t sure if I would end up running 6…8…or 10 miles. I just was going to run off of how I felt. Luckily, it was not such a terribly humid morning, and as I hit 4 miles I started to look around and notice the beauty of the sunrise. I also noticed my breathing was still easy and steady, and that my legs felt fine underneath me.

4 miles turned to 6…and I still felt fine. 6 miles turned to 7…8…and finally 9! I was satisfied with 9 miles (more than I expected I would run) and was pleased to feel not as beat up as usual.

The reason I kept running was because I took my mind out of what I was feeling physically, and started to send up grateful prayers. A year ago (while training for this same race) I was in a lot of pain with my tendonitis. This year, (knock on wood) the pain is gone. I took time to thank God for the renewed motivation He has restored in my heart. I feel confident and ready for this year’s Longhorn.

Yesterday was my last long ride and I participated in the Rotary Ride. 56 miles from Brownsville to Port Isabel and back. It was beautiful weather and minimal wind, so it was ideal conditions for a long ride.

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13 days out til Longhorn 70.3! It’s time to ease up on the training and begin the tapering (yesssss)!

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TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna

Taper Week!

Sorry it’s been a long while since I last updated.  To be honest, I was waiting to find out about the Team Betty 2016 results.  We were supposed to know by Friday….it’s Monday and still we have not heard anything.  To say that I’ve been antsy and anxious is an understatement.  I know that I’ll be fine if I don’t make it, it’s just this NOT knowing either way is driving me nuts.

But in other news….

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It’s RACE WEEK!

Yes, my friends, the week where our nerves are through the roof and our bodies are restless.  We are supposed to “taper” or pull back on our training this week, but as endurance athletes, it always feels weird after having spent so many hours, weeks, and months in training mode.

I do feel MORE prepared this year than I did last year.  Probably because I have done the race once and so it is not the “unknown”.  I’m trying to just “trust my training” and keep a peaceful positive attitude.

So here we go!!!!

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TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna

Stop using the word “only”…

“We’re only running 6 miles tomorrow”

“I only swam an easy 1500″

“It’s only a half ironman”

I was talking with Cristina yesterday morning after a grueling TRX class, and we were talking about our training plan.  We realized that sometimes we discredit ourselves when it comes to the amount of activity we really do.   Being a triathlete (even an average age-grouper like myself) puts our perspective on exercise and training on a much different level than your average person.

One of my goals is to not beat myself up about having a “slow” day during any of my trainings.  As the saying goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy”.  I need to remind myself of this.  Not only comparing myself to others, but comparing myself to myself!  There will rarely be a perfect race day.  The whole reason I tri is to do it with a happy, joyous, and grateful heart!

So when November 8 rolls around, and I slide that swim cap over my head, goggles over my eyes, and wade into Decker Lake, I need to remember how lucky I am to be there.  To have an able body.  And to TRI WITH JOY!

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TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna

Longhorn 70.3 Race Recap 2014

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So I was going through my old journal from last year and I found my Longhorn 70.3 race report!  I thought that it’d be nice to put it here on the blog and then in a month, when I do the same race again, compare my experiences. So…here goes! (Warning: LONG POST)

Saturday, October 25, 2014:

Set the alarm for 5:00am.  Packed up whatever was left and we met up with Jeremy and Cristina at a gas station.  Jeremy had typed up a very detailed itinerary, and we dropped a copy off at my parent’s house before we hit the road.  Mike and I listened to Joel Osteen radio and talked all morning.  We only stopped twice for potty breaks and arrived at the convention center packet pickup a little before noon.

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So happy to be out of the car and in Austin, TX!

We went inside and got in line for packet pickup.  There were so many vendors all around with all you could imagine you’d want or need for a triathlon.  The check-in went smoothly and they gave us all we needed.  We decided to go drop our bikes off at T1 and then come back and look around.  We drove over to the T1 site which was the same spot it was when I did Iron Girl in 2012.

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We found our rack spot (my number was 1813) and racked our bikes.  We had to be careful not to roll our tires on the grass because there were stickers.  After we got those all set up we went back to the expo and looked around.  I got the white dry-fit long-sleeved race shirt with all the athletes’ names on the back.  We had “lunch” off of all the Bonk Breakers and beef jerky samples, which was kinda funny.

Jeremy, Cristina, and I made our way to the athlete race meeting at 3:00pm.  It was held in the same arena where we would be running through the finish line.  As I sat, I stared at the finish line imagining if and when I would be running through it the next day.

The meeting was pretty thorough in explaining everything we needed to know and expect.  The race official got up to speak and warned us about breaking the rules (especially on the bike) and being given a penalty card, which would result in having to sit in the penalty box.  After all his explaining he made me a little nervous, but Jeremy told me not to worry about it too much.

After the meeting was over, we got in the car to head to the hotel, but made a quick stop at HEB for breakfast foods.  We decided to get what we always eat before a race: bagels, almond butter, and bananas.  Then we finally went and checked into the hotel.  As soon as we got there we organized the 3 tri bags they had given us.

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We had a “Morning Clothes Bag” that we put all our swim stuff in, a “Bike Gear Bag” and a “Run Gear Bag”.  It took a lot of thought and concentration to make sure everything we needed was in each bag.  But I’m glad we got it done then.

Luckily, there was a really nice little restaurant right next to our hotel.  So my parents, Jeremy’s mom and sister, and Mike met us there. (My husband wasn’t staying in the same hotel with me because he wasn’t racing.  He stayed at his buddy’s house.)  They all ordered beers while Crisitna, Jeremy, and I put strawberry lemonade Nuuns in our waters ;).  Dinner was really good, I ordered chicken tacos and they were delicious.  My mom had made me this awesome bracelet with 13.1 tags that had an inspirational quote from all of my closest friends.  This was for me to wear during the run portion, and read a tag at every mile.  It was perfect and made me cry.

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We all said goodnight and went back to the hotel.  I took a quick shower and we were all in bed by 8:15.  I took my ipod to help me fall asleep.  Surprisingly, my stomach wasn’t super nervous and I had a pretty decent sleep.

Sunday, October 26, 2014:

RACE MORNING! Alarm went off at 4:00am.  Jeremy wanted us to leave by 4:45.  He got up and showered while Cristina and I tried to get around.  I slathered on the Chamois Butter…(all up in there), haha.  Jeremy started packing up the car while Cris and I mixed our water bottles and made the bagel breakfasts.  We left a little after 4:45 and took our breakfast with us in the car.  I tried to remain as calm as I could, but I could only get about 1/4 of the breakfast eaten.

Obviously it was still pitch dark when we got there.  We took out all our 3 bags and walked to T2 to leave off our run bag (this race has two different transition locations).  We were to tie the run bag to the bike rack with our race number.  I made a mental note of a tree that was behind a gate to mark where my spot was.  I had to go to the bathroom from nerves, so we did a quick port-o-potty stop, then headed to the school bus that would take us to T1.  The bus was really quiet; you could feel the nervous energy of everyone around.  The bus dropped us off quite a ways from T1 and we had to walk across a field in the dark.  I made sure to watch every step, didn’t want to twist my ankle before I even began!

We got into T1, got body-marked and went to our bikes.  There was another girl in front of me that I started a conversation with.  I never caught her name, but it turns out she was from Ireland and this was also her first 70.3.  As we were setting up, another girl a couple of bikes down from us started making a big scene about not being able to clip her bike shoes in beforehand (they weren’t allowing us to, not that I even know how to do that!)  But it was kinda ridiculous that she was trying to show off she had a “pro card” and didn’t bring it for this race, blah, blah, blah.  Thank God she left shortly after that.  Jeremy came over and pumped my tires (he’s always taking care of us girls at every race).

It was pretty chilly and we found a log to sit on.  We still had about an hour until the race was going to start. Jeremy’s mom and sister came and met with us.  The sun started coming up and the sky and water were a beautiful pink color.  I was shivering because I was so cold, but also probably from nerves.  I tried not to look at the water because I didn’t want to get too freaked out.  My wave was to begin at 8:30am (the first out of our little group) and it was already 8:00 and Mike still wasn’t there.  I really wanted to see him before I started.  Luckily he got there around 8:10.  I gave him my morning clothes bag and put on my wetsuit.  Amazingly, my stomach was way calmer than I expected.

70.3 wetsuit

It’s go time girls!

SWIM-  I made my way down to my swim wave.  I had a neon yellow swim cap.  I said bye to everyone and went to stand in my crowd.  I slipped off my cheapie flip flops and left them in the grass (everyone did that).  I tried to pump myself up by talking to girls around me.  I was freezing and had to pee so bad.  But as soon as we waded into the lake, three good things happened: 1) the water was warm, 2) my wetsuit had me buoyant so I barely had to do anything to tread water, and 3) I got to pee…A LOT! And it felt great!  We were only treading water for about 4 minutes before they blew the foghorn and off we went.

I had positioned myself near the back of my wave, which I think was good because I wasn’t overwhelmed and was never smacked or kicked.  I had brand new goggles that I had never used and they never fogged up on me which was perfect.  The awesome thing about the swim was it was marked with a buoy every 100m which really kept my spirits up because I could feel my progress.  I passed up a few swimmers, but I wasn’t too worried about that.  I just wanted to feel good and keep moving forward.  Before I knew it I had passed the last buoy and was on my way out of the water.  As I was running out and started taking off my wetsuit, I spotted my parents and Mike right away.  It was great to see them.

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T1- The run from the lake to T1 was pretty long, and when I got to my bike, I finished taking off my wetsuit and sat in the grass to towel my feet and peed right there in the grass…haha.  Got my bike shoes on, helmet, sunglasses, threw my swim stuff in my transition bag and ate half a Honey Stinger.  I had to carry my bike all the way to the mount line (which, lucky for me, wasn’t too far).  My parents had made their way to the mount line and were cheering me on as I clipped in and took off.

BIKE- I embarked on my 56 mile bike ride!  The first thing I noticed was that the road was extremely bumpy at certain spots and other people were starting to get flats right and left.  This was my out-loud prayer while going over all of those dangerous bumpy patches, “God keep me smooth and keep my safe.”  Somehow that made sense to me.  I was just praying for God to guide me on the path that would lead me to no flats.

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There were signs marking every 5 miles or so, and I had also had my Garmin clipped to my bike so I could keep track of miles.  I wanted to be sure to eat something every 30 minutes or so.  I passed the first aid station (Mile 15, I think) because I still felt pretty good.  But then around Mile 17, there was this crazy steep short climb that was so tough!  When I reached the top of it, I unclipped, parked, drank water and refreshed my back with a stretch.  I didn’t stay for long, I just needed that quick break.  Felt good and went back at it.  I passed quite a few people (and quite a few people passed me) and I never saw the race officials there to enforce the drafting (which was one less worry).

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At about Mile 22 there was another aid station.  This time I pulled over, ate a Gu, filled my water bottle with fresh water and stretched.  It probably took about 3 minutes, but I needed it.  Once we hit the 30 milers the course got a little crazy.  Lots of bumpy FAST downhills and lots of climbs.  I stopped once more at the next aid station and ate another Gu, drank, and ate a bag of chomps they had handed me.  I knew I was getting near the end and kept thanking God for keeping me safe and from getting a flat.  At one point I freaked out because I heard the sound of air escaping quickly, and I could’ve sworn I got a flat, but I looked up and saw someone on the side of the road changing their own flat and using their CO2 cartridge.  That was the biggest moment of relief when I realized I had a false alarm.

I finally approached Mile 50 and was so excited to finish…except it was a super rolling uphill.  I had to get out of my saddle a lot.  There had been this girl going back and forth with me for awhile, and when we got into the 50 Milers I came upon her and said, “We’re almost done!” and she goes, “Tell me that at mile 10.” all rude!  So I just passed her up.  Finally I made the turn into T2.  By looking at my watch, I had decided I wanted to start my run around 1:00pm, and I was very close to that.

T2- T2 got me very confused.  For some reason, I couldn’t figure out how to rack my bike facing the right way (now I know it wouldn’t have mattered).  So I wasted some minutes running around with my bike.  I sat down to change my shoes, drink some water, throw on my visor and took off.

RUN- What was awesome about the run was that it was 3 loops.  So as I began my first one, I spotted my cheer crew.  That really pepped me up!  It was HOT at that point!  As we made our way out the gate and turned left, it was an uphill!  Turns out there were quite a few hills on this run as well.  Luckily, there were about 5 water stations on the loop.  So I stopped and walked at each one.  I saw Jeremy halfway through my first loop (he was finishing his second!).  As I rounded back into my second loop I finally saw Cristina.  We hugged and encouraged each other.

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At about Mile 7 I felt my feet starting to ache.  A weird feeling I hadn’t felt before.  It felt better when I walked, but I was really trying to keep my pattern of only walking at the rest stops.  I had a little bit of everything from the aid stations: pretzels, orange slices, cola, water, and ice that I would pour down the front and back of my top.  I couldn’t wait to start my 3rd and final loop, but this time I walked a bit more.  I walked on a couple of the uphills.  My feet were still aching but I knew I was almost done.

Finally, I made my way towards the finish! I had imagined the finisher’s chute so much during my training and I was finally heading towards it.  We went from outside to inside, so I took my sunglasses off and sped towards the finish.

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I couldn’t believe it, I started crying tears of joy!  The lady who gave me my medal said, “Don’t cry, you’re making me cry!”

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I spotted my crew and was so happy! My feet ached so bad, so as we were waiting for Cristina to come in, I sat on the floor.  I was so happy to be done and was surprised that I didn’t feel so bad!

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So that’s it! I had a great first 70.3 experience and I’m praying that this year will be just as enjoyable!  Longhorn 70.3 2015 here I come!

TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna

I think it’s working!

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So, last week I ended up running my first long run (10 miles) since Febraury!  All of my tendonitis pain had started after I had run the Austin Half Marathon last February, and so I hadn’t run more than 6 miles at a time since then.  I was glad that I was able to run 10, and was actually feeling okay at work for the rest of the morning and afternoon. (I wore compression socks under my jeans), and I really think that helped prevent pain.  However, when about 5:00pm hit, I started getting a stabbing pain in my hip flexor on my bad leg (which is a new pain I had never experienced before) and it got me worried.  I got home, foam rolled my hip flexor, and iced it before bed.  Luckily the pain went away and I was only just a little achey on Saturday.

Sunday Laura and I had a great ride and run brick.  The day started off beautiful and cool!  I got a staple in my back tire around mile 8 and had to call my husband to turn around and change my flat.  But I paid close attention to what he was doing so that I had an idea of how to do it myself.  That’s always my biggest worry: getting a flat on a race day!  I need to prepare myself!

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After our long ride (about 50 miles) we threw in a short 2 mile run.  My legs felt 100 lbs each and it was getting HOT, but we did it!  The countdown to Longhorn 70.3 is on: 4 weeks and 2 days out!  I’m a little bit nervous about the run, but more excited than anything else.

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Sunday afternoon was spent with family watching the Packers v. 49ers game.  Even though our team isn’t doing so hot, it was so good to spend time with my neice Aubrey!

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I have gone to 3 ultrasound therapy sessions and so far I think it’s working! What I mean is, I have been able to do activity with minimal to no pain since Friday.  I want to believe this is what I need and that my leg is healing.  This has to be it!

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I took a rest day yesterday and went to ultrasound therapy after work.  Felt good all night and got up for an easy 2000m swim this morning.  Hopefully we can keep the healing/training going!

TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna