BISD Tri Recap 2017

So this past weekend I participated in the BISD Sprint Triathlon. This race is special to me because it was the first triathlon I had ever done back in 2011.  It lit the spark inside me and I had absolutely no idea back then how important triathlon would be to my physical, and more so, to my mental well-being!

You want to see some funny pics? These are the true definition of a tri-rookie!

first tri swim

first tri pre swim

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first tri run

Did you check out the cotton shirt and mountain bike? 🙂

I was hooked on entering this race and have done so every year since (except 2016 when I was in the depths of Ironman training). So, this year would mark my 6th time to race this fun little race.

I was glad that I was able to convince most of my friends to sign up last minute; it’s always more fun to have your people there with you!

bisd girls

I woke up from a very restful sleep and was excited to get the day started. Since this race is located in my hometown it was nice to have a 6:00am wake up call. I was also excited to finally be able to race in my Big Sexy Racing kit. This kit feels absolutely amazing. I love my Betty kits, but this one is actually comfortable. I never once had to readjust or even think about any discomfort from the moment I put it on.

bsr kit swim

We arrived at the pool just as they were opening the gate to set up our transition area. Soon, all of our friends started showing up and everyone started getting ready. Once we were all set, we took a few pre-race photos and said a wonderful prayer. Then it was show time!

BISD pre tri

tri crew bisd

SWIM:

I was seeded as the first female to enter the water for the sprint division (no pressure). I love this pool. It’s the same pool I used to swim/train/compete in with my high school team, so it is literally my comfort zone. As soon as Coach told me to go, I started my watch and I was off!

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The swim is a 400 meter distance where we zig-zag between all of 8 lanes (set at 50 meter length). Not too much to report about my swim other than I felt great and passed quite a few male swimmers as I made my way through.

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Out of the water and onto T1!

BIKE:

Living in Brownsville, it is a given that it will be a windy day every day in the spring time. I was not surprised to feel the wind coming in from all sides;  just your typical weekend riding weather. I had completely forgotten about my watch and figured I’d just use it to keep my pace when I hit my run.

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I knew the route of this bike course (13 miles), and so was not worried about getting lost. However, the roads that we ride on have a bit of unpredictable traffic and several traffic lights, so I spent most of my time praying to get all green lights.

Bike ride was over before I knew it and it was time to run!

RUN:

I knew I had worked my quads pretty hard trying to ride fast through the wind, so I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel during the run. What I did know, was at this point I was still the first female off the bike!

Keep in mind, in all of the years that I have done this particular tri, I have placed, but never won. I was always passed up on the run. I was determined to keep my lead this year.

I was surprised to find my legs felt good, I was not overheated, and almost feel light and bouncy as I ran (which never happens). When a race volunteer rode by me on his bike at about 1.5 miles into the 5k, he said, “You’re the first female I’ve seen on the course!” At this point, there was a bridge that allowed me to make a turn to see if anyone was behind me. No one in sight. This got me excited, “I think I can pull this off!”

Rounded up into the finish line and booked my butt through.

A wonderful little race to kick off my tri season 2017.

Once my own race was over, I got to cheer on the rest of my crew through their finishes. Of course Mike had finished way before me, and our friends who were volunteering told us they were pretty sure he and I were the first male and female finishers.

What do you know, when they announced awards the Gutierrez’s were first male & female! We knew this would be a moment that would most likely never happen again, so we took in our moment (even if it was at a little local sprint race, haha).

first male female

My beautiful mother and other girlfriends flew through the finish line, and wouldn’t you know it, practically every one podium’ed!

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Of course celebrations were in order that evening!

celebrate drinks

Up next: Ironman Texas is on April 22, and we are planning a road trip to spectate and cheer on all of the amazing people racing to become Ironmen that day. I can’t wait! We’ll be there in all of our Big Sexy Racing glory!

TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna

California Christmas Trip & Life Updates

Took a long blogging break, but I’m back! The last couple months of 2016 flew by and were full of some wonderful times including my best friend’s wedding, Thanksgiving break, my school choir Christmas programs, and an amazing trip to California for Christmas.

img_0343Sandie girl was the lucky dog picked to travel along with us! We had her registered as an Emotional Support Animal, and so she was allowed to fly with us. I get anxiety while flying & she really did help calm me down. She was an angel the entire trip.

img_1035We landed in Oakland at midnight Cali time, and after getting the rental car, didn’t get to bed til 2:00am (4:00am Texas time)! The next morning we woke up, had breakfast, and headed out on the drive to Yosemite.

The drive is about 3.5 hours from Oakland up into the mountains. We enjoyed passing the time by singing Christmas carols the whole way. Mike is obsessed with Christmas music; he even listens to it in the summer (I’m not kidding).

When we arrived to Tenaya Lodge (which is where we had spent our honeymoon 3 years before) there was no sign of snow. It was in the 40’s and I didn’t think we’d see any snow on this trip. But Mike swore to me it was supposed to snow the following day.

We got to our cute little cabin and got settled in. Then we headed to the beautiful lodge to see my favorite part:

img_1072img_1037This amazing Christmas tree! (I know the 2nd picture is crooked, but I wanted to show the scale of it next to a person standing). It’s huge and real and beautiful!

img_0348We found a couple of chairs right in front of live music and enjoyed a glass of wine.

img_1066We got back to the cabin, lit a fire and relaxed the rest of that evening.

The next morning we took turns walking to the gym because we couldn’t leave Sandie alone in the room. Mike went first and when he got back he told me it was getting colder out and to bundle up. I walked the half mile to the lodge’s gym, which is very nice. I did about a 45 minute workout and as I made my way back to the lobby I saw that Mike had been right, it had started snowing! And it was snowing HARD. I was so excited we were going to have a white Christmas.

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I was in awe of the beauty. Seriously breathtaking.

On Christmas Eve we got to take a wagon ride & Sandie came along too. They stopped at a beautiful little area where we enjoyed hot apple cider and roasted marshmallows.

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That afternoon the 49ers won their 2nd game ever and Mike was ecstatic. Sandie & I were super into the game too:

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We enjoyed the snow on Christmas day, taking Sandie around to take pictures and play in the snow.

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We had planned our trip to end with a couple of days in San Francisco. I was excited to head back to the city.

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We found a dog-friendly Happy Hour at this place called MoMo’s . $1 oysters, yes please!

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The next day we decided to drive to Sonoma (my happy place). It was as beautiful as ever. We were just going to go to Sonoma Square, and as we were about to pass Viansa (my favorite winery) I made a comment that I’d wished we could stop there. Mike made a quick right turn and took me in! I was so happy!

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It was a perfect sunny 60 degree day & this place is just so gorgeous!

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Enjoyed some delicious wine & headed into the little town for lunch.

On our drive back we stopped at a lookout point for a Golden Gate Bridge pic too. 🙂

img_1260It was an amazing trip that I’ll always remember & cherish.

And now…2017 and almost one month in! I’ve been back to work for almost 3 weeks and back on the regular routine. I’ve started tri training again, but I am not signed up for any triathlons yet. I am, however, signed up for the Austin Half Marathon on February 19. Need to start racking up some running miles on these legs!

I’m excited to represent Big Sexy Racing team this year, and was super happy to find out that I made Bronze All World Athlete status for 2017! So I HAVE to sign up for some Ironman-sanctioned events to enjoy my perks ;).

So there’s a quick little trip recap and life update!

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

Fake it ’til You Make it

fake-it

Well, September has flown by! Went on an amazing trip to San Francisco with my family & we had an absolute blast. Got to see the 49ers win their opening game too, which was an awesome way to kick off the season.

Back to reality & training for Longhorn 70.3. I’m about 5 weeks out and I’m feeling semi-unprepared. Ever since IMTX I have struggled to get my mind and body back into the training mode. I’ve tried to kick it back up since last week, but haven’t been able to ride my bike outdoors because my schedule’s been too busy. So I’ve just been riding my trainer in the garage (hot), and teaching my RPM class.

I’m also trying to up my running miles but this humidity is seriously killer. Even starting my run before 5:00am, it’s still 80 degrees out! Tomorrow I planned an EARLY long run (10 miles) with some friends who are training for the New York Marathon. So far, my longest run has been 6 miles, but I know if I pace myself, I’ll be able to do 10 miles alright.

Swimming has been alright, I’ve fit in 2 swims a week, but ideally I’d like to be swimming 3x a week.  As long as I’m getting in the water consistently, I’m confident about my swim.

So to sum it up, I’m just going into this year’s Longhorn 70.3 with the “Fake it ’til you make it” mentality. I know that I’ll do what I need to do to be prepared in the next 5 weeks, and get my excitement and motivation up when race time comes. It is noticeably different when I’m training on my own (without my girlfriends), but I just have to remember how exciting and exhilarating it feels to cross that Austin finish line.

This race is no joke, and the first year I did it (2014) it was scorching hot, last year it was windy/choppy/freezing, so who knows what this year will bring. Either way, you know I’ll do my best to TRI WITH JOY!

 

Jenna

Tri For Old Glory Race Report

Tri For Old Glory was a blast! This was the first Olympic distance tri I’ve done in 2 years (my last one was the Gator Bait Tri in Boerne, TX). I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as my performance, but again, I had to remind myself that I signed up for this to have FUN.

Woke up Saturday morning and did an easy 1000m swim, just to stretch everything out. Came home and finished packing up. Mike & I hit the road (with our Sandie girl in tow) by about 11:00am.

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Arrived at our hotel (which was REALLY nice and dog friendly!) by about 3:30pm. Met up with my parents and we all headed to the race site for packet pick-up. Man, it was HOT!

We walked around a bit and checked out the lake and showed my parents where the transition & finish line would be. Everything is really close together so it’s very spectator-friendly.

Headed back to the hotel & organized our tri gear, then met my parents downstairs for happy hour/dinner.

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I was passed out asleep by 9:00pm, no joke.

RACE MORNING:

Transition opened at 5:15, so Mike & I were up by 4:15. Got dressed and had a pb&j Bonkbreaker for breakfast. We left the hotel by 5:10 and were at the race site by about 5:20. Luckily we met up with Gracie in the parking area (which is quite a walk in the pitch dark, carrying your bike so you don’t roll it through stickers in the grass).

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Got to transition site and set it all up. I was happy that my nerves were very calm. I was more excited than nervous to see how I would do that day. I expected the heat (especially during the run), but as the sun was rising we noticed a nice cloud cover which really kept things cool.

The race director held a quick pre-race briefing where he explained the swim route for the sprint and Olympic distances. Then he went over the bike route, which he told us to expect some crappy roads before we hit the farm roads. And finally the run route. He said to stay hydrated because this cloud cover would burn off by the time most of us were out on the run.

healey team

We met up with Team Healy and chatted around their tent set up. My parents showed up with Sandie girl & Bentley (their doggie). Before we knew it, we had sung the National Anthem, prayed, and were walking to the swim start!

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Got to say a quick bye to Sandie girl and got in line. The Olympic distance athletes would enter the water first and follow a 7-buoy 1500m swim in a counterclockwise direction. We were to seed ourselves by 100m swim time and it was a time-trial start which means each athlete enters the water about 3-5 seconds apart. I love time-trials because they are much calmer than wave starts.

SWIM:

I jumped right in and was off! This lake is a man-made ski lake, and so it has a very shallow border all around. I couldn’t see anything through the muddy/murky water, but I felt my hand swiping the bottom of the lake a few times. I tried to swim more towards the center of the lake where it was a bit deeper, so I could feel more comfortable.

I felt good throughout my swim, but I wasn’t sure of my pace. Got out of the water and looked down at my watch to see I swam it in 30 min; not bad!

T1:

Ran into transition and got all my bike gear together. It was still nice and cloudy out, so it wasn’t too hot yet. My transition could have been faster, but oh well. Was out of there and on my bike in under 2 minutes.

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Guess I was just so fast, mom couldn’t get a pic of my whole body, haha 😉

BIKE:

The beginning portion of the bike was the least pleasant because of those roads! Bumpyas all get-out! I saw a few water bottles that had been dropped along the way. About 1 mile into the bike we hit a steep and short uphill right after a right hand turn. Mike has just passed me up and yelled out, “Get ready for that hill coming up!” That was nice of him, haha.

Once we hit the farm roads it was chip-seal (ugh) and long rolling hills. Despite the bumpy, bumpy, bumpy ride, I really enjoyed the bike. I felt great with my uphill climbs, but I’m such a chicken on the downhills! One of my goals is to be able to stay in aero on the downhills. It was also surprisingly very windy! I guess I bring the wind with me to every race. When we finally hit Scull road (about 3 miles before the end) I was looking forward to flying down that hill. I shouted a “WOOOOHOOOOO!” as I rode down at 35 mph! What a rush! I was very surprised to see my average bike pace was 18mph, even with the wind and those climbs!

T2:

Was NOT looking forward to the run because, as the race director had predicted, the clouds had burned off and there was blazing sun. I changed into my visor, running shoes, and grabbed my mini hand-held water bottle for pouring on my head.

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RUN:

I’ll describe my run as a “shuffle trot”. I didn’t want to gas out too early, and my heart rate really spikes in the heat, so I just trotted along. It seemed to be working for me because I slowly but surely started passing people up. The run course is a 3 mile loop, so it’s hard to tell who is doing the sprint or who is doing the Olympic because you don’t know if they are running one or two loops.

There were only 2 water stations (which wasn’t enough for me with the heat!) but I had my hand-held bottle that I used to spray myself, and I was thankful I had it.

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I kept an eye on the calves of my competitors (age group numbers, of course!) and handn’t seen anyone in my age group around me. I had no idea where I stood in the race, but as I was passing the last mile I felt someone right behind me. I could hear her every step and breath and was so tempted to turn around, but I never did. When we turned off to head into the finish line area (about .2 miles away from the finish) she yelled out to me, “Are you doing the Olympic?!” Me: “Yes! You?” Her: “Yes!”

And then I kicked it up and “ditched and dashed” (as we like to call it) through that finish  line! Glad I did because I ended up placing 3rd in my age group, and if I would’ve pooped out and let her pass me I wouldn’t have podiumed! 😉

For the sake of embarrassment, I won’t post what my run pace was…hehehe.

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Overall, I really enjoyed that race. And I PR’d 7 minutes faster overall since my last Olympic tri! I’ll definitely be doing it again, Redemption Racing always puts on the nicest tris!

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After the race we cleaned up and headed to Gruene (our happy place) to celebrate. I was so happy to meet up with my dear friends Lexie & Kash (who are expecting a baby in October!)

A wonderful start to my birthday month!

TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna

 

 

All things are possible

We leave for The Woodlands, TX tomorrow. I’m very excited and ready to get this done. It’s been a long road, challenging my physical capabilities and even more so my mental strength.

I never would have imagined that God would place this dream in my heart. I have just started reading Joel Osteen’s, “Your Best Life Now”:

Are you willing to change your way of thinking? Will you take the limits off of what God can do in your life? God is saying get ready for more. Make room for increase. Don’t become satisfied with where you are.

Ask God to put some fire in your spirit. Enlarge your vision. If you believe, all things are possible.

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TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna

 

Patience

patience quote

I’ve always considered myself a fairly patient person. I have been working with children since I was about 17 years old (when I started teaching swimming lessons to 4-year-olds). This is also my 7th year of being an elementary music teacher where I teach children from age 4 to 11. You HAVE to be patient to work with children.

I am also married to Michael Gutierrez….enough said.

49ers game

Just kidding babe, I love you!

But training for an Ironman has taught me a different type of patience. Not just a “social skills-type”, but a time-management patience, and a patience with my mind and body.

on bike 100 mile

When we started hitting the “peak training” weeks in our training plans, the LONG workouts showed up. 3, 4, 5, and even 6 hour bike rides (some on the trainer, some outdoors). Long, double-digit mileage running. A minimum of swimming for an hour straight 3x a week. I’m sure that anyone who’s human could get easily bored and burned out by it all. Not to mention those who are employed full-time!

cycling-rec-room-essentials(Trainer essentials for a LONG ride)

But as the workouts were checked off and the weeks ticked by I needed to do an attitude check. I needed to remind myself that all of this is part of the story. The race is the reward (if you can believe that) for all of those workouts where I just wanted to quit (and sometimes did). But I just set the alarm for the next day and got at it again; doing my best to get done what I could in the time that I had.

This past weekend was our last long run and long ride. On Friday I had an Earth Day program with my 2nd graders and needed to look nice, so I didn’t do a workout that morning so I’d have time to do my hair (for once). I also work later on Fridays than other days, so the last thing I wanted to do was get that LONG run in….but I did! I just started running, and running, and running, not caring my pace or how many miles I got in. I was PATIENT with myself and got it done.

after 2 hr run

In my opinion, patience in my mind and patience with my body is what is going to help me meet that goal: crossing that finish line. One of my favorite sayings is, “Just keep moving forward“…that’s what we have to do. Keep moving forward and have patience, trust, and faith that we’ll get there.

18 Days out!

TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna