One of Those Days

We’ve all had them–I’ve certainly had my fair share, like when I set out to ride the Lake Stevens course a couple times and made it 10 miles. Or when I set out to ride 82 miles and made it about 30 and nearly froze to death. Sometimes you just have one of those days where you set out to do something and the forces combine to eff up your ess so that you have the worst day imaginable as one thing after another goes wrong. Yesterday was one of those days for me. I had a speed run workout scheduled, so Jas and I headed to the Greenlake track on our lunch break to bust it out. The plan was to do a 20 minute warm up, then two miles all out with a five minute recovery, then 4×100 at my previous all out pace with a three minute recovery, then a 10 minute cool down. Total workout time: 1 hour. I started my warm up then began my hard effort. It sucked. Bad. My stomach was really sour and I felt like I didn’t have any speed. I stopped after one mile, figuring I’d do my recovery and then I could do another hard mile. I started my recovery time and the sour stomach went into overdrive. My easy set quickly incorporated some “awkwardly mosey over to the portapotty and unleash the fury” time (at least there were portapotties nearby — I wasn’t about to fail my #1 goal). When my stomach quieted down, I left the portapotty and dejectedly made my way back to the track. Okay, so my two mile hard effort was kind of a bust, but at least I could do my 4×100 sets, right? I started one and had a decent lap time, then did a recovery lap. During my second lap the stomach acted up again, and once again my recovery lap included a sprint to the bathroom where I had to do the walk of shame past the same tennis players who I had just passed five minutes ago. I felt like waving and announcing, “Yes, yes, it’s me again. Yes, clearly I’m having some sort of bowel issue. Thank you for noticing. Yes, I have seen Anna Kournikova on The Biggest Loser. Uh, no, I don’t really like her more than Jillian. I mean, she kind of sucks and she’s got the crappiest team, so…you know what, speaking of ‘crappiest,’ I really gotta go. Again.” After Wave of Number Two #2 came and went, I managed to bust out a super sad cool down mile, figuring that the workout was a complete bust considering my guts weren’t letting me run hard. Instead of 7-7.5 miles, I managed a fairly sad five. We drove home and I had some soup and some tea to try and quiet things down, then I headed to the allergist to get my weekly shot. I needed to get a swim workout in but wasn’t sure I’d make the swim time at our gym, so later that evening after my shot I headed over to Medgar Evers to drop in on their lap swim time. When I got there, the employee recharged my parks & rec card and was about to scan it when I looked over at the pool and noticed an unusually large amount of pre-teens occupying the lanes. Me: “Uh, is lap swim going on right now?” Employee: “No, it’s a youth swim clinic.” Me: “Oh…how long does that go for?” Employee: “From now until 6:30.”┬áDamn it all! Me: “Does lap swim start after that?” Employee: “Yeah, from 6:30 to 7:00.” Oh,...
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Issaquah Sprint: Return of the Bec

Recently I did the Issaquah sprint for the first time since 2008. It was my first triathlon of the season and the first race I was doing without my Big Friendly Giant racing alongside (meaning ahead) of me. Jason had signed up to do the Boise 70.3, which was a week after Issaquah, so he served as my cheering squad and gear sherpa for the day. I signed up for the event when I arrived, so no awesome shwag for me. Oh well, I have enough crappy finisher’s t-shirts to last me a while. I puttered over to my transition spot to set up my crap while the race organizers blasted the sleepiest “pump you up” music ever. After hearing Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and a mini-marathon of Police songs, I wondered whether I should be racing or watching an end-of-the-episode, post-breakup clip montage from Dawson’s Creek. The girl racked next to me realized she didn’t have a pair of goggles, so I lent her an extra that I had. We joked about the less-than-stellar music playlist before I headed out for a warm up run. I jogged down to the swim start and realized how different the race was set up this year compared to when I did it back in 2008. For one, we were swimming at a different beach. The transition area was also set up pretty far away from the swim exit, so it was going to be a longish T1. After getting lubed up and pulling my wetsuit on, I got in the water to do a half-ass warm up swim. Sweet jesus, that lake was cold. It was colder than Greenlake, which I had swam in earlier that week. Rebecca no likey. “Oh well,” I thought, “I can survive a measly 400 meters. Remember when you swam 2.4 miles in August? Sure, you were 10 lbs lighter and in better race shape, but this won’t be so bad! Plus, it’s not even your ‘A’ race so stop giving a shit and just get this nonsense over with.” Roughly fifteen hundred wave starts later, it was finally time for my group to get in the water. I squirted out one last pre-race pee before the air gun went off. Time to race! Swim Summary I took off amid a cluster of females, my nerves and adrenaline propelling me along at a fast (for me, anyway), unsustainable pace. I swam for a while, and when I eventually looked up, I realized that the group I thought I was keeping up with had, as usual, left me behind. Boo. My swim felt kind of tired and lethargic, which was a big ol’ bummer because I had a good pool workout earlier in the week and a decent open water swim. Of course my arms chose race day to be all, “Screw this, we’re tired.” It was at that point I decided that 400 meter swims suck. I only have one swim speed, which is “mediocre.” That speed becomes more embarrassing the shorter the distance. Swim time: 0:09:22 (2:20/100 meters) Wow, talk about tragic. Even though I was faster than my first attempt at this race three years ago, I was really disappointed when I crawled out of the water and glanced at my watch. I had expected to be a minute to 90 seconds faster (even 30 seconds on the slow end). Later, however, I found out from a couple people that the swim course was most likely measured wrong and that we had swum more than 400 meters. My teammate Kim compared swim times from this year to previous years and...
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My First Triathlon: Flat Tires and Lessons Learned

Tomorrow I’m doing the Issaquah sprint triathlon. Fun fact: the Issaquah sprint was my first-ever triathlon three years ago. In typical Mediocre Athlete fashion, my first race didn’t go so well. Basically, I should be able to PR tomorrow by about 45 minutes unless my leg falls off or I get abducted. I thought I’d offer up an exceptionally belated race report so you have an idea of how my first-ever triathlon went way back in 2008 — enjoy! Back in 2008, I was training for my first half Ironman, the not-quite-half-Ironman-distance New Balance race in Victoria. I was a sorry sight, riding on a borrowed road bike with mountain bike pedals and swimming even more terribly than I do now. I was basically the Tai to Teresa’s Cher if this were the movie Clueless. Teresa urged me and Jason to do the Issaquah sprint triathlon so we’d have a little bit of race experience going into the Victoria half Ironman. Since it was my first tri, I was ridiculously nervous. Swim Summary The swim was a teeny tiny 400 meters — it would take you longer to get your wetsuit on and off than it would to actually swim that distance. Of course, I was convinced I was going to drown. I swam with a handful of other girls in my age group, stopping at every buoy to gasp for air and gaze longingly at the shore. Swim time: 10:29 (2:37/100 meters) As embarrassingly crappy as my swim was, it marked the only time I’ve beaten Jas during the swim portion of a race. Since this was his first ever open water swim, he panicked and flailed in the water and I ended up edging him out by a minute or so. (Check out the only Mediocre Athlete post my lazy boyfriend has ever written for a recap of his swim from that race.) Transition 1 My transitions have always been decent, even from the get-go, and my first race’s T1 was a respectable 2:14. I think I’m just anxious to get out of my stupid wetsuit as quickly as possible. No matter the reason, my transitions aren’t that bad. Bike Summary I hopped on my borrowed bike and made my way along the 15-mile course. It’s an out and back and I just puttered along with all the other racers. I didn’t have a bike computer at the time, so I had no idea how fast I was going or what my cadence was (it was probably pretty shitty). I momentarily went the wrong way when I followed some schmohawk who took a wrong turn, but thankfully the race volunteers quickly corrected us. When I was a few miles from transition, I was descending a hill when I noticed an odd noise coming from behind me. “That doesn’t sound normal,” I thought, so once I got to the bottom, I got off the bike and checked my rear tire. It was dead flat. Great, I’d gotten a flat tire during my first triathlon and not only did I not know how to change a flat, I didn’t have any tools or spares with me so I couldn’t even attempt to figure it out. I kind of stood there for a while, not knowing what to do, before eventually click-clacking down the road while pushing my neutered bike. Eventually my teammate Beth came along and, bless her heart, stopped to try and help me. She had a spare tire and tools, but the only problem was she didn’t know how to change a flat, either. We both fumbled around for a bit and got as far as taking...
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Damnit, Kinetic

When I first started this nonsense sport, Teresa lent me an extra bike trainer she had so I’d be able to do indoor rides. It was a sad little thing that Jason wasn’t allowed to use because I was convinced he’d snap it in half. After a couple seasons of slumming it on the little trainer that could, I finally shelled out major coinage for a Kinetic fluid road bike trainer, the luxury sedans of trainers. It’s supposed to be one of the quietest trainers on the market, meaning I’d be able to ride and actually hear the movie I’m watching without having to blast the volume up so loud, my neighbors want to murder me. The first one I bought had some B.S. problem where some hole wasn’t drilled properly, forcing Jason to hammer the screw in all janky-like. You’d think shelling out a few hundred bones for a pricey hunk of metal meant it would be engineered properly, but I guess that’s not the case. Despite the minor setback, I was pretty stoked to finally be rollin’ on a “grown up” trainer, and a whisper quiet one at that! …or so I thought. About six months after using the trainer, one day I hopped on my bike for a spin and my Kinetic promptly sounded as if the Inception buzzy noise had personified, gotten stuck behind my wheel, and was being slowly and tortuously ground to death. I tried to ignore it at first, but this stupid noise got louder and louder to the point where I was blasting Teen Mom 2 at full volume in a futile effort to hear whiny girls and their baby daddy drama over the honking whir of my trainer (yes, I watch Teen Mom — it’s part of a Scared Straight program for my uterus so it doesn’t try any funny business). Eventually I gave up and hauled the bright green abomination back to whence it came so I could swap it out (REI, you mofos have the best return policy ever). Thankfully, the apathetic customer service rep was fine with me exchanging the nearly year-old trainer, so I grabbed a brand spankin’ new one and brought it home. Jas offered to help me set up Kinetic 2: Electric Boogaloo, but when he unpacked it and began assembling it, he noticed something wrong. Kinetic, you’ve screwed me again. The new trainer came with a screw that was, inexplicably, too short to fit through the one hole it was designed for. You’re kidding me! This shit is worse than Ikea — I expect some discrepancies when I’m buying hard-packed sawdust passing as furniture for a fraction of the cost, but when I’m plunking down hundreds of bucks for a hefty piece of machinery, I (foolishly) figure that all the pieces are manufactured properly. Rather than have an entire department in REI hate my guts, I opted to go to Lowe’s and shell out 15 cents for a replacement screw. Afterwards, Jas was able to get my trainer working properly and I’m once again riding in relative quiet…that is, until it borks again (which, considering my luck, I fully expect it to do). Of course, Jason’s trainer has given him zero problems while I’m on my third one. Oh well, the best I can do is cross my fingers and hope that the Kinetic plays nice so I can ride and watch my crappy action movies and trashy TV in...
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Frozen Out of the Tour de Blast

Frozen Out of the Tour de Blast

A week after the huge steaming dump known as Ironman Boise, Jas and I embarked to Mt. St. Helens for a “redemption ride,” as we affectionately referred to it. We signed up for the Tour de Blast, an 82 mile ride that consisted of climbing 42 miles up Mt. St. Helens and then turning around to fly back down it. We were all gung ho about making this ride our beeyotch after Boise’s wind gusts slapped us around. Unfortunately, for the second weekend in a row, things didn’t go according to plan.

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