Sunday, August 26, 2007

It's Taper Time!

This morning, I did my last long run before my 10K race in 2 weeks. I was supposed to run/walk 9K doing 4:1s, but the run didn't go as planned and I did just about everything: 4:1s, 3:1s, 5:1s, 2 minutes sprint and a lot of walking. It took me 1:22 to complete 9.4K. Needless to say, I walked a lot: 35 minutes running and 47 minutes walking. Not exactly what I wanted to do!

It was too hot, then too humid, then my lower back was hurting, then I didn't feel like running anymore... It was a bad day.

It is now time to taper. First, for my next Triathlon, which is next Saturday and then for my 10K race on September 8th. Exciting times ahead!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Life goes on...

I didn't update my blog for a few weeks. Time goes by so fast!

I'm getting prepared for both my next Try-a-Tri and my next 10K race, which happen one week apart of one another. Following my first triathlon, I got a cycling injury (thumbs) and I am getting a professional bike fitting tomorrow morning. I have only been on my bike once since my Triathlon and I'm looking forward to going out for a Stardust ride!

I've been running a lot. After my first triathlon, I went into panic mode about the Montreal rbk 10K on September 8th. I really want to run this 10K and I realized that I had a lot of work to do to get there. Since my first 10K at the end of May, i've been running 3-6K runs, but I started increasing my mileage and I did a 8K LSD this morning. Not being able to slow down when I run, I decided to take it from the start and try to keep that speed for longer running intervals. At first, I did 2:1s for a week, this week I did 3:1s and I'll be doing 4:1s this coming week. I should be up to 5:1s by the time I race in Montreal.

I seem to be on a roll right now with my running. The last 2 runs have been very good: 5K in 37:40 on Saturday doing 3:1s (almost a PB!!!) and 8K this morning where I was very disciplined and did all the 3:1s I was supposed to do. I have to admit that I have been more consistent in getting my 3 runs/week in and it's starting to pay off. I'll do my best to keep that up, even when the racing season is over.

I went back to the river for open water swims a few times. I'm still freaking out sometimes, but my performance on September 1st should be a bit better than the one on August 4th. This is all that really matters to me.

I've received the Fall schedule for swimming lessons offered by the city, and I'm pondering my options right now. I'll take a lesson for sure, but maybe I'll take two. I really liked how I improved with 2 lessons/week this Spring and having 2 different instructors may be interesting.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Impossible Made Possible - My First Triathlon!

I did it – I completed my first Triathlon!!!

I got to the race site very early this morning, and I set up my Transition area, just like everyone else – like I knew what I was doing!

And then, the long wait started… The doubts crept in… Right before the swim start, I didn’t want to go anymore and I almost started crying like a baby.

The Swim

I got into the water and I started crying a little bit. Just a little bit, to relieve some of the pressure. Not enough that anyone could notice, but I was really scared. I’m not sure what I was scared of, but I think it was probably a mix of the unknown and the fear of failure. What if I worked so hard and I didn’t achieve my dream? I would have been devastated.

I placed myself at the back of the pack and heard a girl telling her friend “I suck at swimming”. I really wanted to tell her: “YOU think you suck at swimming? Watch me”. It turned out that we both sucked at swimming, and we followed one another during the whole swim. She finished right after me. I was amazed that I wasn’t the last one out of the water!

The swimming was not fun. I’m not used to swimming outside, and it showed. The rules for this Try-a-Tri say that you could walk, as long as water was higher than your belly button. I did take advantage of this, when I needed to calm down (yes, I needed to calm down – during the whole swim, I was somewhere between panic and uneasiness). When I was swimming, I was mostly swimming on my back. JF told me I was not swimming in a straight line, it looked more like I was doing zig-zags… Confused

Eventually, the swim was over and I told a volunteer that the worst was behind me now. I saw Joe at the exit of the swim and he took pictures and gave me a high-five. JF told me that I wasn’t the last one out of the water. Woohoo!

I ran and walked to T-1. The last girl out of the water passed me during T-1. My swim time + run on the beach + T-1 was 12:45. For 200m, that’s a lot of time, but I will improve!

The Bike

I decided to ride Stardust even if I’m not comfortable riding it yet. It was the BEST decision I’ve ever made!!! I rode 20K in 52:39 Very Happy. This is unheard of me. The best 20K time that I got with the nameless hybrid bike was 1:03.

The bike consisted of two 10K loops. You went mostly on a slight downhill, and then you came back mostly on a slight uphill. The first loop was very speedy for me: I was passing many people, some of them being Try-a-Triers who beat me on the swim. I completed the first loop in 23:xx and I was Shocked when I saw this. However, the second loop on the way back was slowed down by head wind. I thought it had suddenly gotten windy, but I thought I was imagining this because I was tired. After the race, JF told me the wind did pick up during my second loop.

I started enjoying my Tri at some point near the end of the first loop on the bike. I was so happy to be riding Stardust and I loved the speed! At one point, I got passed by a guy with high-tech wheels. I heard him coming – sshhhhhhh – and I loved hearing that sound when he passed me.

My shoulders hurt during the ride, as did my lower back. I made a mental note to go get a proper fitting ASAP.

My bike time, including the 20K, the walk to/from transition to mounting line, was 55:50. I was 51st after the run, 43rd after the bike. Very Happy

Here I am, coming back from the bike and heading into transition. JF asked me how I was feeling, I told him “this is so hard!” and he replied “You’ll whine when you’re finished. Keep moving!”. Now, this is not what I call “great support”… Wink

The Run

I was expecting the run to be hard, and it was. I followed Sara’s advice and although I had my foot pod and watch, I didn’t turn them on to track my run. I totally ran by feeling: walking when I needed to, and running when I could. The run/walk was uneventful until I saw Jesse close to the 1K mark taking pictures – I did my best to smile for the camera!

At the turn around point, a man made me laugh when he told me he was trying to draft off me. I told him he shouldn’t do that, unless he wanted to walk a lot! He laughed and he ran passed me. Very Happy I started to realize that I would finish this thing past the 3K mark. I knew I would make it under 2 hours (which was my original goal) and that maybe I would even finish under 1:50. I thought that I would officially become a triathlete in the next 15 minutes and it cheered me up.

This is when I saw that stupid hill, and Jesse taking pictures at the top of it. Just my luck... there was no one around me, so she was shooting pictures of me from 100m away!!! I had planned on walking up half the hill and then run the rest of it, but Jesse messed up my plans. Twisted Evil I sucked it up – the things you do under peer pressure – and started running up the hill, while Jesse was shooting. As soon as I passed her, I took a walk break. Twisted Evil

A few hundred meters later, I saw Joe, who shot pictures of me going a slight downhill – much better - and then… I turned a corner and there was the finish area! JF was waiting for me 300m from the finish line and when I saw him, I almost started to cry. I was very happy! I picked up the pace, and then took another walk break. About 150m from the finish line, people were cheering me on and one woman told me to give it all I had left. I answered “but I have nothing left!” and I started running again. I didn’t stop until I passed the finish line.

I finished in 1:49:44, in 44th place (out of 51 participants).

I am a Triathlete!

I spent over 20 hours training in the water in the past year. I biked for 323km. I ran a little less than 400km since I started training for my first triathlon, a year ago. These numbers don’t seem much to me – but they tell me how much I can achieve if I put more effort! Very Happy

I would like to thank all my friends of Running Mania for instilling the triathlon dream in me. I would never have dared taking up this challenge if it wasn’t from the great inspiration that I got on this Forum. I truly believe that I am surrounded by angels, who help me push myself to reach the unreachable, and achieve the impossible. Thank you Running Mania.

Today's T-Day

I'm nerveous this morning, but not as much as I expected... It's probably all going to implode when I get to the race site... I think I'm in denial right now.

I can't wait for the Tri to be started, because only then, will I stop worrying and start enjoying. A race report will follow later on today.

Friday, August 03, 2007

16 hours away from my first Tri...

I picked up my race kit today. I guess this means that I'm really going to do this tomorrow! I'm torn between excitement and fear, but I suppose it's normal to feel that way.

After my last post on this blog, I received the following quote by email and it changed my perspective on this important milestone in my life:

"Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it's because you've started to think of failure."

I realized that I was preparing myself in case I failed to complete my first Tri or not live up to my own expectations. After thinking about this for a while, I decided that in this case, failure would be to not race tomorrow. Finishing last wouldn't mean failure, because I would still have faced my fears and kept moving in spite of it.

As long as I show up and I do my best, I will have succeeded.

Tomorrow, I will Tri. I will prove myself that I am stronger than I think I am. I will move forward with everything that I have. I will enjoy the moment. I will conquer my fears!!!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

T - 3

We're 3 days away from my first Tri and I'm stressed out. It probably doesn't help that I'm on vacation by myself and have all the time in the world to stress about it. I'm not sure what is stressing me out... I can't put my finger on one thing, so it has to be the fear of the unknown. I'm losing sleep over this and I'm upsetting my digestive system with all this unnecessary stress.

Today, i'm going to go for my last bike ride before the Tri and then to the chiro to get some pre-race ART. My calves and shoulders desperately need some hard work... Tomorrow is back to work for me, which is fine with me as it will make me think of other things. I can't believe how this Tri has taken over all my thoughts!

I think I feel like I have something to prove. I wouldn't say I need to prove it to the world, but I need to prove it to myself that I can be a triathlete. I probably was the least likely person to ever complete a Triathlon, but here I am: trained and ready to bike and run, less trained and less ready to swim.

Is that possible that I've become a whole different person since that night when I swore I would take care of my health? Is that possible that the fear of dying that I felt that night turned me into a determined athlete? Whenever I look back, I can't believe how far I've come. It's been quite a journey for me, from couch potato to runner, then from runner to triathlete. Triathlon training is the hardest thing I've ever undertaken, and I can't see any better reward than "wearing" the "Triathlete" tag at the end of this week.