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Mt. Rainier Duathlon 2012 Race Recap: It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn

The Mt. Rainier duathlon was May 6th, so it’s a bit belated to be churning out a race report but I’m doing it anyway so DEAL WIF IT. It was the fourth year I’d be doing the short course, and I’ve grown to enjoy the race quite a bit (it doesn’t hurt that I’ve placed in my age group every time I’ve done it, largely due to the fact that there’s no swim segment to substantially drag down my overall finish time). I thought for sure this year Teresa would finally succeed in forcing me to do the long course version of the race (I’d managed to dodge it in previous years due to 1. Being a noob, 2. Being stubborn, and 3. Being injured), but she surprised me by encouraging me to do the short course race because I had enough long distance races on my plate this season and she thought a fast, short race would be good for me. Over two consecutive weekends I drove to Enumclaw and rode the duathlon course. The once-mighty Mud Mountain Road climb now seemed totally manageable thanks to experience/familiarity with the route and because I’ve grown to become a halfway decent cyclist. A week before the race I felt comfortable and confident and was looking forward to the event. And then, as what often happens, three days before the race life decided to kick me squarely in the ladyballs. I won’t go into details but basically an unexpected and profoundly shitty event occurred and my focus immediately shifted from racing to dealing with this sudden hardship. I abandoned my workouts and drowned my sorrows in lots and lots of booze. Thursday and Friday night consisted of drinking with friends and stumbling home from the bars. On Saturday I pinged Teresa and told her that I wasn’t in the best mindset for the race, that I had skipped workouts and was boozing it up instead of taking care of my body, and whether I should still do the duathlon. She talked me off the ledge and, ever the optimist and eternally my ardent cheerleader, encouraged me to “get back on the horse” and “channel my rage” on race day to push me across the finish line. I sucked it up and decided to follow coach’s orders. Despite having endured such a shitty week, I figured enough was enough and that I needed to get back on track, so what better time to re-establish some order in my life than to wake up and race. I behaved myself Saturday night, partaking in a single glass of wine at a friend’s birthday dinner and trying to reintroduce more traditional forms of hydration so that I wouldn’t make a complete ass of myself at the race the next day. On Sunday Jason, who was nursing an injured knee and thus wouldn’t be racing, acted as my sherpa and helped me get all my shit together before we headed out the door. I met up with my teammates and we griped about how cold the race always is before lining up to start. (I never know what to wear for this race so this year I opted to dork it up with a TN performance tee, arm warmers, black tri shorts, and tights. I think my hastily assembled attire was the byproduct of my “Fuck it, this week sucked so I’ll just throw on whatever I can grab so I can get this race over with” mentality.) The long coursers took off and I waited around with my short course peeps, one of whom recognized me as the “Mediocre Athlete,” which made me chuckle. I’m...
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Stings, Sun, and Second Place: My 2012 Rev 3 Costa Rica Race Report

Yeah yeah, I know you all have organized a hunger strike until I got my Costa Rica race report up, but this thing called “work” and “real world” (as in real life, not the umpteenth season of MTV’s Real World…though I do confess to harboring a guilty pleasure for the Challenges) have taken precedence lately so I haven’t had much time to blog. Sorry! In any case, I’m here now and will share my race report with you, my loyal readers. (Especially Jim, who has reduced himself to watching the same episode of American Idol twice in one day because he’s so restless for content. Holy crap.) Arriving in Costa Rica So yeah, back to Costa Rica. We arrived the Tuesday before the race, smelling and looking as if we had taken three planes and a red-eye itinerary to get to Guanacaste. Because Jas and I pack like champs, we only had to check our bike boxes (thanks, Kirsten, for letting me borrow yours!) and managed to shove everything else into carry-on luggage (tank tops and shorts don’t take up that much space). Unfortunately, American Airlines deemed it necessary to charge us an “Are you fucking kidding” price of $150 per box each way. Destination races ain’t cheap, folks. Our rental house was in a little town called Potreros, which wasn’t very far from the host hotel and the race course but sat atop a ridiculous 10-minute climb that requires a Canyonero to safely traverse. If I had to do the race again, I wouldn’t stay atop Mount Doom because it was too much a pain in the ass to get up and down the rickety-ass road all the time, but it did make for a memorable stay (plus, the house came with a dog named Cookie, whom I fed dog treats every chance I had). Pre-Race Workouts Mark, Teresa, Jason and I decided to do a 30-minute run near our house to shake the travel stiffness out of our stinky, tired bodies. The run went something like this: All of us: *gasp* *wheeze* *heave* *shuffle* *sweat* Me: “Oh look, my heart rate is at 176 already.” The hills were no joke, the terrain was ankle-rollerrific (in fact, Teresa did roll one), and it was hot as shit outside with zero cloud cover. Such a lovely taste of what’s to come on race day! Later that week we took our bikes to the Westin Playa Conchal to ride the hardest part of the bike course. Transition area would be set up in one of the Westin’s parking lot, and athletes would have to mount their bikes, ride over a 100-yard stretch of gravel, then climb a few daunting hills over the course of about 2.5 miles to get out of the resort. From there, we’d turn onto the road and enjoy a relatively flat three loops before heading back into the resort and climbing more hills to get back to transition. When we suited up to ride, it was impossible to ignore the remarkable heat as well as the discouraging gusts of wind. Since we were in the middle of the region’s dry season, we expected warm temperatures but it was unseasonably warm (the race website advertised average temps being in the upper 70s, but it was mid-to upper-90s the entire time we were there). Also, the wind was unusual for that time of year, and we were all a bit nervous about having to battle nasty gusts on race day. I strapped on my brand-spankin’ new aero helmet (now I can look like a sperm on wheels!) and tackled the climbs as best as I could. The hill...
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Cancun 70.3 2008: A Look Back on My Sunburned Achievement

Tomorrow I’m doing the Rev 3 Costa Rica half Ironman. It’s my first race of the season (I am so not used to doing a triathlon in March), but it’s also my first tropical destination half Ironman since I did the Cancun 70.3 back in 2008. That race was my second ever half Ironman and technically my first “proper distance” half Ironman since I had done the Victoria half earlier in the year, which adds up to just under 70.3 miles. Before I race tomorrow, I thought I’d finally publish my race report of the now-defunct Cancun 70.3 (they moved it to Cozumel, which now has a half and full Ironman distance race) that I raced during my first season of trying out this crazy sport. My Cancun 70.3 Race Report (or as I like to call it, the “Eff Jason for talking me into doing this” Half Ironman) Arriving in Meh-hee-co Como se dicen en México, survimos (as they say in Mexico, we survived). Jason and I got in Friday early evening for the race on Sunday. Some of my teammates were surprised we were arriving in Mexico so soon before the race, but honestly, after having done it both ways (I got to Costa Rica on a Tuesday and the race here is on Sunday), I prefer the “get in a couple days before the race” mentality. I kind of feel like I’m wasting part of my vacation by sitting around not doing much when I fly in early. I’d rather stay longer after the race and enjoy my time laying out on the beach, slurping tropical boozy drinks, and exploring/doing activities than staying out of the sun, constantly hydrating, and keeping off my feet. I had made it roughly four feet from the airport before grumbling to Jason that we will never do another destination race again (three and a half years later, 2008 Rebecca is scowling at 2012 Rebecca for breaking her promise, as I have not one but two destination races on my schedule this season). Between the two of us we had a big suitcase for our clothes, another suitcase for our race clothes, two duffel bags full of fuel, helmets and accessories, and two giant bike cases containing our deconstructed bicycles. Lugging all of this crap required some serious muscles and patience. I was soaked with sweat from the combination of heat, humidity, and gear muling. When we got to the official race hotel, we took a hooker’s bath and attempted to put together our bikes (Jason was still rockin’ his dad’s old Klein, which took him and Mark an eon to take apart since it probably hadn’t been disassembled since 1985, and I was riding my old coworker’s Giant road bike). After 90 minutes and repeated grease markings on the rug and floor, we were successful. Hooray! (I later spent a half hour trying to scrub the room clean of incriminating bike grease and realized that I would never, ever get away with murdering someone. Considering how much grease and grime I left all over the room just from assembling a crappy road bike, I’d have hair, fingerprints, sweat droplets, and probably my wallet because I’m that stupid all over a crime scene.) The race hotel itself was kind of crappy. They overbooked so we didn’t get the room we requested. Instead of a king-sized bed we got two doubles. The hotel staff helpfully suggested that we push the beds together. Just like in the 1950s! There were also little ant-like bugs that enjoyed crawling around our bathroom sink. I made it a mission to squash all of the ones I...
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Seattle Half Marathon 2011 Recap: Gone with the Wind

Before yesterday I had never actually run the Seattle marathon or the half marathon. I had tried to convince Jas that we should sign up in previous years, but he never wanted to because it sounded terribly unappealing to him. I don’t blame the guy; the race is three days after Thanksgiving during a supremely shitty time of the year to be running outside in Seattle. Despite his yearly disinterest, however, this time he finally agreed to sign up for the marathon since he cut his triathlon season short and wanted something to train for before diving into Ironman training. Meanwhile, since I was finally healed of my running ailments and was once again able to run relatively well, I wanted to do the half marathon. I hadn’t run a standalone half marathon since Eugene in May 2010, and since I had only been running strong for 2 1/2 months, I didn’t really have many expectations going into the Seattle half. It’s a tough, hilly course that isn’t typically PR-friendly, so although I was hoping to run 1:45 or better (my previous best was a 1:46:46), I figured I’d be satisfied with a sub-1:50. Jason, meanwhile, was hoping to finally have a “good” marathon (his words), as he usually ends up cramping towards the end and has to compromise speed for the last few miles due to his size. This time he’d be racing 40 lbs lighter and with a ton of mileage under his belt, plus he figured the cooler temperatures would mean he’d be less likely to cramp, so he was excited and nervous for Sunday to roll around. On Saturday we did our customary “Ugh, I’m feeling so tired ahhhh why does my foot hurt oh god I’m getting sick aren’t I man this race is not going to go well” freak outs and lazed around the house hydrating and acting like hypochondriacs. We also agonized over what to wear for the race. Naturally, since the weather had been relatively mild for the past few years, weather forecasts called for supremely shitty weather on race day because we were unlucky enough to sign up for the race this year (no joke, I was watching the news and the meteorologist actually said Sunday was going to be “sucky”). It was projected to be warmer than usual temperature-wise, but it looked like we’d have to battle rain and wind, so Jason and I were scratching our heads and putting way too much effort into what to wear: Underarmour shirt and a long-sleeved shirt with tights and gloves! Wait, no, just an underarmour shirt and a t-shirt with a pair of shorts Well hold on a second, what about a long-sleeved shirt and shorts No, tights and a t-shirt! Or I could do tights, pants, underarmour, long-sleeved, gloves, a hat, a parka, a hazmat suit, ski pants… This went on for about an hour before I ultimately muttered “Fuck it, I’ll just figure it out tomorrow when I’m half-awake” and we went to bed. The next morning we woke up at 5:45 and ate breakfast (I got my “race day” coffee, something I haven’t ingested since July’s Rev 3 triathlon). I went with the uber-dweeb getup of tights, run shorts, an underarmour shirt, and a TN Multisports t-shirt and also packed a cheap pair of gloves to wear. I grabbed my fuel and some dry clothes to put on after I was done because the genius organizers decided to start the half marathoners at 7:30 and the marathoners at 8:15, so I’d have to wait around for 2+ hours after my race for Jason to be done and didn’t...
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The 2012 Race Schedule Has Been Set (It’s Like a Fantasy Football Draft, Only Lamer)

I know it’s only November, but Teresa has me training like my “A” race is right around the corner (and it kind of is since I’m running the Seattle Half Marathon). I’m a bit nervous about having such a jam-packed 2012 race schedule after coming off a fat and injured 2011 season, but I’m feeling good and the coach seems pretty confident in me, so it’s game on, beeyotches. Behold, my 2012 race season (aka, the last year I get to race in the glorious 25-29 age group before being thrown to the fast and strong 30+ assholes): November 26th: Seattle Half Marathon This will be my first half marathon since the Eugene half in spring 2010, where I PR’d on a relatively flat and fast course. I’ve never done the Seattle half or full marathon despite having lived here for over 10 years. There’s something about the course being difficult and the fact that it’s during a typically shitty time of the year weather-wise that hasn’t struck me as being terribly appealing. However, a ton of teammates are racing the half and a lean and fast Jas is hoping to run a 3:30 or better in the full, so I decided to woman up and race it too. It’s hard to say what I’ll bust out on Sunday–I’ve been running well lately, which is a refreshing change from how slow and painful my runs were for the first half of 2011. I’d like to do 1:45 or better, which would be a PR for me (on a tough course, no less), but as long as I have a solid, strong race, I’ll be pretty happy. March 18, 2012: Rev 3 Costa Rica It’s happening, folks! Jason and I are going to kick off the tri season waaaaaaay too early for my tastes by doing our first half Ironman of the year in freaking March. I bet my first outdoor ride and open water swim will be the week we get there, right before the race. The trip will actually end up being relatively inexpensive since I used miles to book our plane tickets and we’ll be sharing a house rental with two other couples. The pricey part will be hauling our crap and the race registration. One thing I’m not thrilled about is that people complained the swim was way long last year (the top swim time was 10 minutes slower than typical, which means my slow-ass swim time will end up being like a half hour worse than usual if they don’t correct the course for this year’s race) and some swimmers got stung by fucking jellyfish during the race. WHAT. I wasn’t aware of this before booking my trip. Oh God. If I get stung by a jellyfish (and you know I will because I’m the Mediocre Athlete with the worst luck ever), that’s pretty much a race ruiner right there. Oh well, at least I’ll get to hang out in Costa Rica with my friends and boyfriend. May 2012: Mt. Rainier Duathlon Teresa will probably make me do this again. The only conundrum is whether I should try and defend my title one last time in the short course before I have to age up next year or if I should graduate myself to the long course since it’ll be better training for Canada. On one hand, the long course will be a better workout. On the other hand, GHETTO TROPHYYYYYYYYYY. Decisions, decisions. June 2, 2012: Honu 70.3 My second tropical destination race of the year. I fully expect the winds to be atrocious and the heat/humidity to be brutal. A lot of teammates will...
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