This is Why I Hate Swimming

Aug 20

This is Why I Hate Swimming

Earlier this summer I wrote about the day I finally liked swimming. It was a magical morning in A Bay on the big island in Hawaii, and I saw tons of dolphins frolicking in the ocean all around me while I treaded water for 45 minutes and marveled at how I would have missed out on such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if I hated swimming and refused to swim out that far. My swim on Friday couldn’t have been any further from that moment in my life; in fact, had I seen a pod of dolphins during the Friday Night Swim race (which would have been peculiar considering the race was in a murky lake in Kent, Washington), I would have kicked them all in the face with my non-cramping leg while screaming about how much I hate swimming. Let’s back up a smidge. I was scheduled to do the Swim for Life swim across Lake Washington on a decidedly inconvenient day of the week (Wednesday) at a decidedly inconvenient time (7:30 am). The last time I participated in the swim was two years ago. It was the last big swim before Ironman Canada, and it was mostly a disaster due to how gloriously awful the swim conditions were (wind, heavy chop, strong waves). This year I wanted a better pre-Canada last hurrah swim and hoped to tackle the distance in under 1:30, which would give me a nice little confidence boost going into IMC. Unfortunately, I had to be at work early that day for meetings so I wouldn’t be able to do the charity swim. I told Teresa I was bailing and begrudgingly said I could probably do the Friday Night Swim race later that week instead. This “Plan B” swim option was a bad idea for the following reasons: It was an actual swim race, meaning I’d have a finisher’s time and would be pitted against people who actually enjoy swimming to the point that they sign up for standalone swim races, instead of folks like me who hate it but understand it’s a necessary evil if you want to keep doing these silly triathlons. It was at 6:00 pm on a Friday… …in Kent. So I...

Read More

Ironman Canada Training Camp 2012 Day 2: Hollandaise Was a Bad Choice

Aug 16

Ironman Canada Training Camp 2012 Day 2: Hollandaise Was a Bad Choice

So I survived Day 1 of the Ironman Canada training camp despite getting blinded and nearly being taken out by a car on the highway. I was still nursing raw eyes when I woke up for Day 2, but I was happy that I wouldn’t have to ride another 112 in the crappy heat. Unfortunately, I’d succumb to the heat in other ways, although my downfall was more due to my poor breakfast choice than the heat alone. (Still, I have to blame something other than my own dumb self, right?) With that said, let’s kick off Day 2 of my 2012 Ironman Canada Training Camp recap. Day 2: Eggs Benny is Not My Buddy My excitement for not having to swim on Day 1 was short-lived, as Day 2 started off with a 30 minute dip in Okanagan Lake. The swim wasn’t too bad, though–the water temperature was nice and I bullied a less-than-thrilled Steve to swim with me despite the fact that he’s not even training for anything (“I just like camps!”–Steven Hooper, 2012). After our dip in the lake, we had to change quickly and hop on our bikes for a 30-ish mile easy effort ride. I headed out with my peeps and immediately discovered that my ladybits wanted nothing to do with the aero position whatsoever. The crotchal region was pissed at me for yesterday’s century-plus sufferfest, so I resorted to sitting upright and catching wind like a human sail for the entire ride. My teammates left me in the dust but I was content to stay comfortable since I didn’t want a horrible sequel to Crotchfest 2012, plus I was trying to leave enough gas in the tank for my long run later that day (insert ominous foreshadowing here). When I got back to the parking lot, I was told by Teresa to rest a bit and eat a good meal before the team was going to start their run workout. She wanted us all to wait until the afternoon to begin running so we could hit the course at the hottest part of the day. Since we had a decent amount of downtime, we could eat a legitimate lunch. Teresa, however, being all...

Read More

Ironman Canada Training Camp 2012 Day 1: Blinded by the Climb

Aug 06

Ironman Canada Training Camp 2012 Day 1: Blinded by the Climb

The last weekend of July was my team’s Ironman Canada training camp. It had been a couple years since I had ridden the course (the last time I trained on it was when I raced the event in 2010), so I was really anxious to dust off the ol’ cobwebs and re-familiarize myself with the area and see how much my fitness had improved in the past two years. I was also excited to hang out with my teammates–even though we were going to be working our asses off all weekend long, it’s still fun to spend time with your friends and enjoy each other’s company away from the stresses of the real world. The camp consisted of three days, which I’ve broken into separate posts. Here’s a recap of Day 1: Day 1: What Doesn’t Kill You Just Half-Blinds You Canada camp was scheduled a bit differently than Coeur d’Alene’s training camp. At Coeur d’Alene we swam, then rode the course, then did a brick run (and the day bested me because I was battling a fever and a cold and chumped out after 80 miles on the bike). At Canada, however, we’d start the day off by tackling the bike course, then doing a 20-30 minute brick run. No swimming? Boo-yah! I took off with my cycling group from our hotel. It was going to be warm (mid to upper-80s) but not as hot as the ridiculous training camp back in 2010 (when temps hit 97 degrees). I was supposed to stay in zone 2 for my ride but my stupid Garmin didn’t charge overnight so I had to ride “naked,” so to speak, and went without heart rate information. It was actually kind of nice riding based on exertion/feel for a change, but I was mildly disheartened when the guys all took off as if they stole something and left me, Aimee, and Leslee behind. It was hard to tell whether I was going out too easy or they were going out too hard, or if they were just riding comfortably while I was sucking it up. Not helping matters was hitting Richter about 2 hours, 3 minutes into my ride, which was a few minutes...

Read More

Aloha, Crosswinds: My 2012 Honu 70.3 Race Report

Jul 19

Aloha, Crosswinds: My 2012 Honu 70.3 Race Report

So you’re aware that Hawaii was crazy windy and that after my race I almost fainted on Linsey Corbin, but you don’t know how the actual half Ironman went because I haven’t gotten around to writing it yet. My bad–juggling a new job and Ironman Canada training ramp up has been a bit crazy and I haven’t had a chance to blog much lately. But enough with the excuses, I’ve got posts to write and they’ll spill out of my sun-baked brain and onto a keyboard sooner or later. Here’s how it all went down… The 2012 Lance Armstrong Ironman Lance Honu 70.3, Sponsored by Livestrong Oh, was this the race that Lance Armstrong was at? They made such little fuss about him that I barely knew he was there. (I’m kidding–Ironman totally and unabashedly gargled his ball.) Anyway, the morning of the race I woke up, showered, sunscreened, choked down breakfast, gathered my bottles and gear, and hopped in the van with my housemates to head to the race start. I got to transition and went through the standard ordeal: Pumped up my tires Checked my bike computer Arranged my bottles and fuel Used the portapotty Slathered on more obscene amounts of sunscreen Lubed up my nethers I went down to the beach and got body-marked. This race likes to use fancy stamps for your numbers to make athletes feel as if they’re at the World Championships despite only having to do half the distance. I had a really smudgy stamp and a volunteer captain came up and scolded the person who was helping me for using an inferior stamp on my glorious arm canvas. She spent a few minutes painstakingly cleaning up the ink smears around my numbers, and when she finished I promptly returned to transition and coated myself with another layer of sunscreen. (I wasn’t about to get Cancun’d again so I sacrificed number readability for not getting skin cancer.) Jas and I wandered around, avoiding Lance’s entourage and the surrounding crowd of gawkers, in an effort to find his parents so we could hand them our pre-race gear bags to hold onto. We eventually found them on the beach at the swim start, so...

Read More

Boston Deferrals Need to HTFU

Apr 20

Look, I get that it was unseasonably warm on Monday and that it made for hotter than usual Boston Marathon race conditions, but deciding not to race or deferring to next year because you didn’t like the temperature is just laughable. If you’re elite or athletic enough to be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon, you can deal with a hot race. There are thousands of runners who would have killed to race on Monday, regardless of the conditions, and you’re telling me that you’re too big a diva to run when it gets to the mid-80s? Gimme a break. A higher than usual percentage of racers (3,863) didn’t even bother showing up to pick up their numbers this year. Obviously a portion of the no-shows could be folks who had injuries (as was the case of a friend of mine who tore her hamstring and was unable to race) or had a situation pop up where they couldn’t race (a family emergency, work conflict, etc), but the rate was higher than in previous years. Of the 22,426 runners who did show up to pick up their numbers, 427 deferred, which is even worse than not bothering to show up in the first place. You travel all the way to Boston, pick up your number, and then decide that you’re going to chump out and run next year in the hopes that temperatures will be more to your satisfaction? Ridiculous. Yes, I know it was hot. I know it was uncomfortable. I know that overall times were slower than previous years and that more people were treated for heat-related ailments (cramping, exhaustion, overheating). But that’s the nature of racing. You sign up for a race not knowing what’s going to come your way. You can do the training and prepare for it as best you can, but there are certain factors you can’t control on race day that you just have to deal with. Do you think the 2011 Ironman Canada athletes wanted to race in upper-90 degree heat all day? Obviously not, but they showed up at the start line and powered their way through like champs, and they raced 140.6 miles in adverse conditions, not just...

Read More