Sunday, November 8, 2009

Don't Waste Your Run....Hebrews 12:1-2

therefore, since you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow wearly and lose heart.

Today I went to Lisa and Kris's church to hear a Hebrews 12:1 sermon. (Heb 12:1 is our team scripture.) It was a wonderful! and practical message about a favorite passage of scripture. It is very applicable to us triathletes so I thought I would share my notes....

1. Run Inspired--looking back at those wittnesses ...people who have gone on before you and pleased God. life is a trial of faith. living by faith. running this race of faith. The testimony of their lives should inspire us to action. To run well! People are not perfect, (Noah, Abraham, Moses, David) God uses people who step up to the line. The rest is History. Don't waste your run. Run well. Run inspired.

2. Run Light--Looking inside yourself evaluation and removing excess weight. everything that would hinder your best race. bitterness, unforgiveness, attitudes, the list goes on. Serious athletes wear racing flats and run faster. drop everything in your race/life that doesn't support your goal of finishing well. Things that slow you down or leave you so weary that you don't run well. What are you holding onto? what's in your heart? and Where is your life headed? 1 Peter 2:1-2 talks about pursuing rightousness.

3. Run with Direction- -looking to Jesus He is our personal trainer. He has marked the trail so we know where we are running. How did Jesus enter this race called life and how he ran the race. How he crossed the finish line. He finished strong. John 4:34 talks about "nourishment" and that food is doing the will of God for our lives. Strong athletes know they need to take in hydration and fuel along the way. Don't skip the water stations. . Spending time with God in prayer is refreshment that you need for endurance. Finally, Jesus focused on the finish line and finished strong for the "Joy set before him" . In doing this, we run to please God. We run to make God smile :)

by the way.... I have been meaning to blog about my finishing my first full ironman. I have to mention that this same Hebrews 12: 1-3 scripture was very much a part of my training and journey. It took a lot of faith for me to train for Ironman Canada 2009. What did I do to achieve that "Stacy are an ironman! On long rides and runs I regularly thought about my goal and "fixed my eyes". I focused on nothing else but the "the Joy of the finishline" I didn't let obstacles become "hinderances"--"not growing weary and losing heart"Even in the heat of the marathon run. 2 timothy 4:7 was my mantra...Fighting the good fight, Finishing the race, and keeping the faith. and I did it. in every way. The journey all those months of training. The day of the race. I knew God was with me every moment of that day. He was coaching me. I was doing this amazing thing with him. I trained well and according to plan. but on that day i raced from my heart. And it was truly amazing. I will say that it was my favorite distance ever!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stacy Wingard "You are an Ironman"

I was reminded at our Teamfastt end of season get-together that i had not yet posted my race report so here it goes....
Ironman Canada began for me last August 2008 when I made the trip to Penticton BC to volunteer and sign up for the 2009 race. It was a step of faith. It was going to take alot of "growing" over the next year to be ready for the 140.6 mile distance. almost unconceivable. I knew I would have to become a different person in a few areas. After serious training from March thru August I was ready. I had become diciplined to the core. I put in every training day according to my plan. (working your plan the key to not becoming overwhelmed with the amount of training you will do. It gradually builds and by the time you are logging huge miles it's all in a days work...because you are accustomed to the routine) I had trained in rain, freezing weather, a foot of snow, and 103 degree heat so figured i was as ready as i could be. I arrived in Penticton with my friends and iron training buddies Nikki Bender and Clarise Mahlner. we spent the first couple days registering, doing taper workouts and trying to rest up. We met up with other ironman friends Kathryn Kleppinger and Jo Ann Sittig, and Cindy Rach. It was such a cool thing this year to come back as one of the athletes racing the ironman!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My First Half Ironman-Lake Stevens 70.3

I was more excited for this race than any other race I’ve done to date. If my count down on Facebook didn’t convince you of my excitement, I am sure my frequent jumping up and down and smiles for the last week would have. I am still a bit in awe of this ability and passion for triathlons that God has given me. Just one year ago I could hardly swim, had never ridden a road bike, and couldn’t run a mile without gasping for air. Now I am racing for 70.3miles! I don’t think I could have been more ready for this race, other than having done one already.

The morning started off EARLY. Not as early as some of my fellow teammates, thankfully my family actually lives in Lake Stevens. I woke up after 7 hours of sleep and ate a mediocre breakfast, a little oatmeal and a few bites of peanut butter and toast. Note to self: I do NOT like peanut butter and toast early in the morning. It is time to ax it from my pre-race menu. Next time I think I’ll stick to my Smart Start-Maple and Brown Sugar cereal and an egg. It has served me well before, why change it up? Around 5:20 I also ate a banana and just prior to the start, a gu.

My dad dropped me off at the transition area around 4:45am. Needless to say it was still dark and a bit chilly. I ended up using my cell phone as a light to see the pressure gauge on my bike pump while I inflated my tires. Next time I am bringing a flashlight. I loved seeing and talking with teammates/friends in transition. I would have loved to have seen more of you, but that transition area was so big (the biggest one I’ve been apart of anyway). Around 5:40 Patty and I went for a short warm-up run and afterwards went looking for a couple of our friends. In doing so we walked right by the time chip area and realized that we had totally forgotten about picking up our chip. Good thing we walked by it. But then again I guess that is why they chose a spot near the swim start. It would be very hard to miss.

The lake was beautiful this morning. The fog was just resting on the top of the water. The only problem with this lovely site is you couldn’t see the buoys through all the fog. The race was delayed 10 minutes in hopes that some of the fog would lift. I am not sure that 10 minutes made much of a difference. What really made the difference in this swim was the crew line (a rope under the water that is used to anchor buoys to it for crew races) that stretched all the way out to the buoys. All you had to do was keep that line in view and swim, not much sighting needed. I’ll get to this more in a minute.

So my wave, 29 and under was the first female age group to start. As we walked down to the dock and the announcer told us to hop in. I totally forgot the warning my teammate, Nikki, gave me about NOT jumping in because it is shallow and you’ll just sink into a bunch of muck and nastiness. Instead, I followed all the other ladies as they jumped in and got to experience the muck for myself. I don’t recommend it.

My swim started out pretty smoothly. I got knocked around a little bit, but held my ground and position near that crew line and just kept swimming. I was getting pulled along rather nicely thanks to a fellow swimmer. About 10 minutes into the swim some girl came up from behind me and completely started whacking me over and over again and pretty hard. She was breathing to her left and I was breathing to my right. She must have seen me and obviously had felt me. I’m not usually one to smack people, but I so wanted to punch her square in the face and say “come on! What are you doing?” I just figured it wouldn’t be a very loving thing to do. Finally after a number of whacks I backed off and moved to the other side of her and found my groove again. It was a pretty congestion free swim until I ran into the guys’ wave (that had gone 3 minutes earlier). I had to dodge all of the breath strokers and power kickers. That was interesting. Anyway, coming in at the end of the swim I STILL felt great! I felt like I was working steadily and by no means using up all of my energy. I felt light on the water and like I was gliding very well. I was hoping for a 40 minute swim and was out in 37:37! Sweetness!

Coming into T1 I located my bike pretty easily. However, it didn’t take long until I started fumbling around. First of all, after I stripped my wetsuit I picked it back up and threw it by my transition bag. Why? No idea. I usually leave it right where it comes off. Next I struggled with clipping my race belt on with cold hands (should have just worn it during the swim…like some people do). Then I grabbed my extra gu packets and salt tablets and stuffed them into the back of my jersey. And that is only the extra steps I made in transition this time around. I felt like I was in there forever. However, turns out it was only 1:47 (still under two minutes).

Felt a little rushed/frazzled when I got to the bike mounting line. Probably because I thought I wasted a ton of time in transition. That and my legs and feet were numb making the process a little more challenging. I paused for a second after struggling to clip my foot in, took a breath and tried again…success. I loved seeing/hearing so many cheers from my family/friends/teammates. I cannot say it enough, but all of you helped pull me through this race. You guys are the best!

Okay, so now I am on the bike, dripping wet, riding up in elevation, and it is only 7:40 in the morning. Brrr! It was cold, some where in the 50’s to low 60’s. Finally, by mile 30ish my goose bumps started to go away and I could feel my hands, feet, and quads again. Despite being cold I felt pretty great on the first loop. Patty passed me somewhere near the start of loop 2 and gave me a shout out “come on Louise, lets go!” Thanks for the encouragement and extra push Patty! My first loop split was 1:32:00ish. My legs were feeling fairly strong once they started to thaw and I continued concentrating on just keeping a nice steady pace. However, close to the same time that I started warming up, my stomach started feeling full and my battle with nutrition began.

I told myself that you may not be hungry, you may feel full, but you need this nutrition so keep it up. At mile 50, I forced myself to take my 4th gu and that ended up being my doom. I threw up, while riding, and not just a little but probably an entire 20 oz water bottle full of nutrition (500-700 calories) and hydration…GONE. Thankfully it all happened right before the bridge, the crowd, and the final water station. I grabbed another water bottle, but this time just to rinse my right arm and leg off as I was a sticky mess. (TMI? Sorry) I started thinking about what in the world I was going to do on the run. My stomach was still a bit in turmoil and my throat was burning. I drank some water during the last 6 miles hoping to get rid of the burning acid in my throat. Finally I made it back into town. My bike 3:09:14. I was hoping for under 3:10 which I accomplished, making that the fastest I have ridden that course.

Dismounting my bike was interesting. My legs were a little limp. I remember sort of trotting through transition to my racking spot. It took two attempts to rack my bike. I didn’t lift the seat up high enough the first time around. Apparently, my arms were a little fatigued as well. There was a little less to think about in T2- socks, shoes…run! Again, all of the support and cheering when I ran out of transition was AWESOME! I have the best family, friends, and teammates ever!

Almost immediately out of transition my legs felt fresh and strong. I was actually surprised by that, but I was ready to rock this run course. Only one issue, one BIG issue, how am I going to get more nutrition in to my now, fragile stomach? I had a gu in my pocket, but was completely terrified of throwing up again. I chose to forgo the gu. I didn’t even TRY it because I was afraid of getting sick again. That decision was the wrong one to make. Next time, I AM at least trying the gu! My first loop (6.5ish miles) split was 50ish minutes. No wonder I was passing so many people. That is a 7:45ish/mile pace. I passed two girls in my age group and was on the look out for more. I was feeling great, relaxed, and steady. Someone on the course even made a comment about my pace which was encouraging.

But after that first hill on the start of lap 2, I started to crumble. My run quickly turned into a jog and for the last 3-4 miles, a shuffle. I also had to use the restroom, but every time I got to a water station the honey bucket was in use so I kept going. Finally at mile 9.5 I waited for it to be unoccupied. That endeavor took about 2 minutes of my precious time, but I felt much better afterwards. My legs however, did not feel better. Those last 3.5 miles were the hardest 3.5 miles I have ever run. I wanted to walk so badly at so many different times. My feet were on fire and my legs just felt like dead weight I was struggling to lug along. I did walk at 4 different water stations, but only for 10 steps and only to down the entire cup of water. I still don’t have running and drinking simultaneously figured out yet. Every time I keep running and try to drink while pinching the top of the cup closed I get a little into my mouth but more sloshes up into my nose.

While shuffling my feet up one of the final two hills my head was telling me to stop and walk, but my heart was telling me don’t you dare. I saw a lady slowing tackling this hill and told myself just keep up with her and then “boom” she started walking. After trying to encourage her to keep going, I then told myself, “Okay, time to pass her.” As I was getting to the top of the hill I was thinking about that video clip of the women crawling to the finish line during their ironman race. For a time I thought I was going to end up crawling over the finish line as well. I was not feeling too good. During those final three miles I also spent some time thinking of Jesus and the indescribable pain he endured for me on the cross. I began thanking him for that and for giving me the ability to run and race for Him (not only in this race, but in life as well) and just asked for the strength and perseverance to push through this seemingly small amount of pain and finish this race. After the final water station I got this huge feeling of joy, realizing that I was going to FINISH my first half ironman. I think I managed to smile in that moment. Then with about 0.1-0.2 miles left I suddenly got dizzy and felt close to falling over. I thought to myself, you’ve got to get to that finish line…now! I just tried focusing on keeping my head straight. I think I even put my arms out, for a moment, like chicken wings to help me balance. Okay question? Who makes a finish line up hill? Haven’t we endured enough of them for one day? Regardless, I made it up that hill, that last incline, and finally crossed that finish line, standing up! I wish my face would have matched the joy in my heart.

My finish time was 5:50:15, just 10 minutes short of my 5:40:00 goal.

I learned a lot during this race and am so thankful for this experience. Honestly, at first I was a little disappointed with my finish time and discouraged by how fast the other girls in my age group were. How am I ever going to make it to the top of my age group? Then I was reminded of the bigger picture from my coach. Sometimes I pay too much attention to the numbers when there is so much more to this race. One thing, you cannot race your best without nutrition. The body simply does not work without it. Another thing is to look back and remember how much progress I have made in just this first year. Also, I believe that God has great purpose for me training and competing in this sport. And for that I am going to keep pushing myself, working hard, and having a blast all the while. With all of that in mind, I am proud of finishing my first 70.3 and I'm holding my head up high. Looking back, minus the nutrition battle I had a pretty good race. So believe it or not I am already looking forward to my next half ironman!

And a final THANK YOU to everyone who encouraged me along before the race even started and to all of you who were out on the course. Thanks for cheering me on even when I was struggling to find the energy at the end to even smile, wave, give a shout out, and/or a thumbs up. You all certainly helped push me along. And how about that cheering squad in town! I cannot tell you all how much I looked forward to being able to run, jog, or shuffle through there. Again, You guys are the best!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

26 Thoughts on my First Marathon...

  1. Waking up before 5:00am is tough, but I love to be up when the sun rises.
  2. For breakfast I had Erin Baker's granola and a banana...I seriously love Erin Baker's products (and I'm not just saying that because she's a sponsor!).
  3. It was a picture-perfect Pacific Northwest day for the inaugural Rock 'N' Roll Seattle Marathon!
  4. Since this was my first marathon, and I wasn't sure how I would do, I made two goals for my finish time--one more reasonable (under 4:00:00), and one more ambitious (3:45:00).
  5. It was overwhelming to be counted among the 25,000 runners, all there for the same goal--to cross the finish line.
  6. There were also 25,000 people needing to use the bathroom. I waited about 25 minutes for a port-a-potty.
  7. On the back of my hand, I wrote out my target pace for each mile.
  8. On the palm of my hand, I wrote Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through him who gives me strength."
  9. I have the most wonderful, most supportive husband in the world! Scott dropped me off at the race start in the morning, then waited for me at mile 17/20 to take pictures and cheer me on when I would most need it.
  10. The first 10 miles felt great; I ran at an easy, steady pace.
  11. Those who were running the full marathon got to cross the I-90 bridge, where the view of Mt. Rainier was incredible. It will forever be etched in my mind when I think about running my first marathon.
  12. As I was heading out on the bridge, a fellow Team Fastt teammate, Patty Bredice, was coming back in, and she called out my name. It was great to see a familiar face in the crowd.
  13. The most memorable band for me was the one I heard while going through the first tunnel--they were singing the song "Dancin' in the Streets."
  14. I hit the wall at mile 20. My legs felt like stone!
  15. I stopped four times on the course--three times to walk a little, and once to kiss my husband.
  16. Several times I saw medical personnel with a runner on the side of the road. Each time I thought to myself, "That could be me, but I hope it isn't."
  17. For the last 6.2 miles, I was in constant battle with my conscience.
  18. I lost quite a bit of confidence when I ran my first 10-minute mile at mile 22. Ouch.
  19. Throughout the race, I played leapfrog with a man wearing a Marathon Maniacs shirt.
  20. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I prefer triathlons to marathons. If I ever do another marathon (which I expect I will), I hope it's at the end of an Ironman :)
  21. Even though I was suffering by the end, I still finished strong for the last 0.2 miles, passing a few people on my way to the finish line.
  22. I had tears in my eyes as I neared the finish. I'm still not sure whether it was because I was overjoyed at completing my first marathon, or at the thought of finally putting an end to my suffering. Likely, it was some of each.
  23. I was disappointed that there wasn't any chocolate milk offered for post-race recovery. Alas.
  24. Afterwards, as I was stretching, the man mentioned in #19 came up to congratulate me. He said I looked strong most of the way, but faded at the end (which was true). He also said that this was his 78th marathon. He really is a marathon maniac.
  25. As it turned out, my timing chip didn't work, so I'm not listed in the official race results. But according to my watch, I finished in about 3:55:30 (it's an estimate because I left it running about a minute after I crossed the finish line). I'm pretty happy with it, though bummed about not being listed in the official results.
  26. I can't help but compare my races to the spiritual race we all run (or don't run)--and realizing how important it is to have people we know and love encouraging and pushing us along the way (and for us to do likewise). Thanks to everyone for their support, both in this race and in life. You rock!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Riding at the Olympics

This past week, my husband and I took a trip to the Olympic Mountains with my mom, who was visiting from out-of-state. As most triathletes know, it can be difficult to fit training into a vacation (or vacation into training, depending on how one looks at it). But for this trip, I ended up having one of the best bike rides I've ever had--a 12-mile hill climb up Hurricane Ridge! I was a little nervous about it at first (Would my legs survive climbing for that long?!), but once I got started, it was incredible! I was surrounded by God's awesome creation, and even though I was riding for 1 hour 20 minutes, the time flew by. When I reached the top, there were my husband and mom waiting for me, supporting me in this triathlon craziness we all love. I'm just glad I didn't have to ride back down--uphill is much more rewarding :)
"I lift my eyes up to the hills--
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth."

Psalm 121:1-2

Monday, June 15, 2009

Where is Boise?

Boise 70.3....a great race once you get there!

It seemed like a long way to drive ~ a quick plane trip sounded optimal. Lisa and arrived to the airport on time and we were at the gate...heck, she was even through the gate when they stopped me, called her (and a few others) back off the plane and told us their was a "mechanical malfunction". We were told to go ahead and leave but check back. We did just as we were told but when we got back the plane had left. No what? Quick thinking...we hopped on a flight to Spokane. Spokane must be close to Boise right? Once on the plane we looked at the back of the Alaska Air magazine to find out Spokane wasn't any closer to Boise than Seattle was. Who knew...wasn't Spokane and Idaho both east? Once in Spokane, we learned the next flight out was not until 4PM. That won't work...we need to get to packet pick up and rack our bikes. Drive? Nope...apparently it takes 8 hours. The laughter kept us going as we learned that SOuthwest had a flight out that would get us there just 3 hours later than our origianl plans. Problem though...the flight is oversold and we are on a wait list. Begging, pleading does work! They either felt sorry for us or just couldn't wait to get rid of us our boarding passes early. What a blessing...we were headed to Boise and things were looking up...briefly.

We've landed, lets get a picture! Where's the camera? Plane? Which one? Airport? Which one? I felt horrible...the Team FASTT camera was gone...or so i thought. After many phone calls I learned it traveled to Reno and then L.A. and would make its way back to Seattle. WHew! I didn't lose it (well, not for long) and i wouldn't have to 'smile' for a snapshot at every Kodak moment...and Lisa finds a lot of them.

Friday night is just a blur...and how do you get ready for a 2:00 start? It starts with sleeping in. No 3AM wake up calls. Sleep long, eat well and end the day with a race...perfect!

A cloudy day, nice breeze and no rain...not yet anyways. The swim was tough conditions with a lot of waves but eventually i exited the water and climbed the big hill towards transition. It was worth the climb...wet suit strippers everywhere. With a quick exit i was on my bike and heading down the fast decent. As soon as i hit the the bottom of the decent i felt my first raindrop. WIthin seconds the sky turned dark and the rain became a downpour. It never stopped but for those of us from the Pacific Northwest it was all too familiar. The difference being that it was 70 and raining in Boise ~ rather than the Seattle rain; cold and wet. It was a great bike the last 2 miles a downhill to the city. By then the skies were dark, rain became a torential downpour and shoes were sloshing.

Finally...T2...warm socks and dry shoes (even if only for a few steps). The rain did not keep away the spectators...cheering and yelling all the way to the finish.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Third Tri's a Charm!

Saturday marked the start of my first full triathlon season and my third tri ever. And this time I would get to race in TF blue! Needless to say I was stoked and couldn’t stop smiling. This day was also particularly meaningful to me as my 19 year old brother would be participating in his first triathlon.

I woke up bright and early after a very restful night of sleep. My family, who had spent the night to limit drive time in the morning, was up at the crack of dawn as well. My dad kindly made my brother and I breakfast while we gathered our gear and loaded the car.

I was really surprised by the absence of butterflies in my stomach this morning. This was a first for me. I think the lack of nerves might have partly stemmed from the fact that my brother seemed to have enough for the two of us. I felt like I needed to be calm and relaxed for him to feel more comfortable. I think that ended up helping us both.

The drive to Issaquah was so great. I was enamored by watching the sun rise this morning. It was so glorious cresting over the mountains as I drove along I-90. What a beautiful start to the day.

We arrived to the race at 5:35ish, were greeted by Tory and Tracy in the parking lot (Can I just say that I love this team) and then checked in. Saw Kris who kindly helped me place my bike number on my bike and then told me to take off my tire changing kit and reflector as they just added weight (thanks for the tip!). After getting body marked, I headed into the transition area. I did start to feel a little rushed by this point as I didn’t realize how long everything would take especially when you’re trying to help out a first-timer, even though it is only your 3rd time and you’re still figuring things out yourself. Good thing my brother is pretty independent and managed to set up most of his transition area by himself. He was even smart enough to pick the premo racking spot on the end! Lucky!

I got my transition area set-up, grabbed my shoes, found Tracy, and went for a 10 minute warm-up run. I used to think people who spend any amount of time exercising or “warming-up” before the race were crazy. I would think “What are you doing expending precious energy before the race?” or “Why would anyone want to get into the water before you had to?” Now I just laugh at myself for thinking that. Warming up is so important. I felt loose, refreshed, and eager to race after my short run and swim warm-up!

Team prayer was great! What a perfect way to start my race. Seriously, the support from this team is incredible.

The Swim: Chaos! I was kicked, pulled, pushed, run into, etc multiple times but I confidently held my own. I never panicked! So different from my last race where I ended up swimming half of it on my back panting and gasping the entire time. As I rounded the first buoy I was hoping that a lane would finally open up as we were still clumped together and I kept swimming into road blocks (meaning other swimmers). I looked up after rounding the buoy and sighted my path with no swimmer in immediate view. I locked in and got in a groove. I was swimming pretty smoothly and felt like I was going at a great pace without expending too much energy. Every now and then I would brush up against someone to my left. It took me a couple of buoys, but I finally looked over and realized that I was totally drafting off of someone’s hip! That felt great, especially as I finished the swim in record time! A PR from my previous race by over 2:30 minutes.

T1: I located my bike easily thanks to the graduation balloon someone hung on the rack in front of mine. I exited my wetsuit in about 5 steps (still working on that 3 stage exit), slipped on my bike shoes, then glasses, helmet, and was off. I took a moment in the mounting area to clip my left foot in before pushing off and swinging my right leg over. For the first time I wasn’t frazzled, didn’t loose my balance, and most importantly didn’t drop my bike like I had before.

The Bike: My FAVORITE leg of the race! That no passing area in the beginning was rough! I wanted to pass so badly, but rules are rules. I caught sight of Tracy up in the distance once we turned onto East Lake Sammammish Parkway. Goal: catch and pass her. Reality: Easier said then done. When we came to the first hill, I passed a handful of people one of them being my brother. I didn’t realize I had passed him until he rode by me on the down hill while I was taking a drink from my water bottle. As he passed me he looked over and said, “I just love the down hills” I was like what, Luke! I quickly put my water bottle back and sped up to him, told him awesome job, and left him behindJ. There were 3 other riders that I kept ping-ponging with. They were great and so encouraging each time we passed one another. One of them even asked if Tracy and I were teammates. Then said “you should train together” I smiled proudly and said, “We do” At the turn around I finally caught and passed Tracy, but that didn’t last long as I was soon looking at the back of her Team Fastt jersey again and that was how it would remain.

T2: Amazing! Just last Wednesday I had no idea how to quickly mount my bike, let alone dismount my bike. After some practice, I was able to pull my feet out of my shoes, swing my right leg over and through, and taking off running with my bike still in motion. It felt so great to pass the 10 or so people dismounting their bikes as I came in. I do think I took my feet out too early, but that timing will come with more practice. I also realized that my toes were numb, making it a bit more challenging to stay on my shoes. I lost my footing a little when I first pulled them out and almost lost a bike shoe. Yikes! Got my heart racing for a moment, but I stayed composed and was able to regroup. I was out of transition in record time, :49 sec, for me and right on Tracy’s tail.

The Run: My LEAST favorite leg of the race. As we were running along path by the beach I saw Lisa snapping Tracy’s picture and then Lisa turned to me, took my picture, and then yelled “catch her!!” I totally tried, but “someone” had rockets attached to her shoes! My HR was in zone 4, 194-197 the entire time. I was hauling, well for me at least, but Tracy just kept getting further and further away. So I changed my focus to passing one runner at a time. I got an extra burst of energy at the turn around, picked it up, and sprinted the final bit through the trees to the finish line. My goal was to finish the run in 23:30 which I thought was still a stretch for me, but I ended up with a 22:19 run! I was quite pleased.

I ended up crossing the finish line in 1:12:06 which was over a 16 minute improvement from my last race! Aside from having a great race and a ton of fun, I loved sharing this day with so many teammates and friends!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Issaquah Triathlon - Tracy's Race Report

Triathlon season has officially begun! My first race of the season was the Issaquah Triathlon at Lake Sammamish State Park in Washington. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for race day. The view of Mt. Rainier on the drive from Woodinville to Issaquah at 5:30am in the morning was breathtaking. As the sun rose over Issaquah, filling the valley with its light, so the Holy Spirit rose in me, filling my veins with life as I prepared to run the course set before me. It was a course I was familiar with, as this was my third time doing the Issaquah Triathlon. It is a great course to kick off the season, and after a team prayer before the start, I was ready to race.

With a silver swim cap to indicate the 29 and under age group, my race started out a little rocky. Alongside friend and teammate Louise, I was in the front near the center of the group, not the ideal spot for someone who isn't a really strong swimmer. I got kicked all around, and then took in an unexpected mouthful of water that momentarily paralyzed me. I coughed and choked it down, but couldn't breathe regularly, so I had to swim about a minute with my head out of the water, trying to catch my breath. All the while I was thinking, "This is not a great start to my race." But we must do what we can with whatever circumstance we're in. I eventually made my way to my favorite swimming spot on the outskirts of the group--it may add some time to my swim split, but it also adds a lot of enjoyment. I love the swim, but not when I can't actually swim. Despite the rocky start, I finished with a new personal record of 6:37.

My T1 went relatively smoothly, though there is room for improvement. I'm just not sure how willing I am to do the jump-on-your-bike thing, especially since I prefer the longer distance triathlons where the transitions aren't quite as important. Plus, I don't want to get injured. And it scares me!

On the bike, I was looking forward to racing with aerobars for the first time. I had also gotten a shorter stem so that my oversized bike was less oversized. I felt great, though wondered if I might have pushed myself too hard too soon. The turn-around point was a bit of a surprise because it was sooner than I had expected, which I'm assuming means that the bike course was shorter than in previous years. As I turned the bend, I heard a familiar voice just behind me, Louise! I had finished the swim just seconds before Louise, who then caught up with me on the bike. She is the stronger biker, something I'm trying to work on. :) She passed me shortly after the turn-around. There were actually four of us playing leap-frog with one another, until I leapt ahead at the dreaded hill, though Louise was always just behind me. There's nothing like a friendly push to make you go faster!

My T2 was less than one minute, which was way better than the previous year (1:21). This was the first time I attempted taking my feet out of my shoes before dismounting my bike rather than clipping them out and taking my shoes off in the transition area. It definitely saved me a few seconds, which is a lot in a sprint triathlon.

Then began the run, which I consider to be my strongest leg in triathlons, though it never feels that way when I start running in a race. I kept reminding myself that it's only three miles, which doesn't seem like much when you're also training for a marathon. But three miles is a lot to sprint! I kept pushing myself until the end, where I caught up with a man just before the finish line who started racing me as I passed by. I didn't think I had any more power left in me, but my competitive side took over as I raced this man to the finish line. Too bad I thought the first mat was the finish, rather than the second. Oops. The guy racing me noticed I had stopped sprinting and graciously nudged me to keep going. He even let me cross the actual finish line first, which I did while laughing at my stupid mistake. What a gentleman!

In the end, I beat my goal by ten minutes, with a finish of 1:10:43, though that was with a shorter bike course, so it isn't a perfect comparison, but a PR nonetheless. Yeah! And even though I didn't win anything, some friends of mine got me a delicious cake from Whole Foods to celebrate. You can't eat a medal, anyway.

Some things I learned from this race include getting a more appropriate position at the swim start, training harder on the bike, and remembering to keep my eyes fixed on the finish so I don't stop too soon, and likewise to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. It is for His glory that I race.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Easter Sprint Tri Continued...

Opps. I sent the post before I was ready.....

On May 3oth I am doing the Issaquah Triathlon and I am excited to try again. I have been doing more intense training and will mentally be more prepared for the cold weather (if we get some).

Even though I was terribly cold, it was exciting to see my friend finish her first triathlon and be the person that inspired her. Being involved in the sport of triathlon has so many positive attributes including bringing friends closer together. If my friend ever asks me to do a triathlon with her again, I will just suggest it be a little warmer and later in the season :)

Easter Sprint Tri

On April 11th 2009, I drove to Elma Washington to support a friend finish her first triathlon. Since it has been some time since I competed in this triathlon, I will make this short (although the picture says enough). The water was so cold my body could never get a complete breath of air. I think I only saw a small handful of people actually putting their heads in the water. My body was shaking on the bike portion and my feet were numb until the last ten minutes of the run. Needless to say, I will never do an early spring triathlon again (unless I get paid the big bucks). My face at the end says enough about how I think it went.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Mother's Day Half Marathon

It was a beautiful morning as I rose and began preparing to run the Kirkland Half Marathon, but I was worried. I had not gotten a run over 7 miles in in 3 weeks, my quads were screaming from a hard workout with Jenny 2 days earlier, and my hamstring issue was rearing its ugly head. I truly wondered if I would be able to run at all let alone finish the race. We began the run around 7:30am with my family looking on. My legs seemed to quiet down and I hardly noticed them. My husband and kids met me at around mile 6 with a quick energy drink and I was off again.

As I came up on the pedestrian bridge that crosses over 405, I saw the mountains spread out before me, the sky an almost iridescent blue, and the lake reflecting it perfectly. Just as my breath was escaping me, "Hallelujahs" the song by Chris Rice came on on my mp3 player. Don't know if you know it, but it paints all these beautiful pictures of creation and refrains, "My soul wells up in hallelujahs." I am and was in awe, not only of the beauty before me, but within me - that God has so designed our bodies to work together, to put all its faculties into the goal of running a race. My soul did well up in hallelujahs! And it didn't hurt that from that vantage point, it would seem that it was all downhill from there!

My hamstring wasn't particularly happy towards the end, but it held up. It's so much easier running a race than running alone. Those 13 mile runs alone are just killers (at least for me). I actually felt quite good running yesterday (although that's with 24 hours of rest I say that!) I was just wasted for the remainder of the day - and crampy.

I think next year I'll opt for the breakfast in bed before running a half marathon. (Read "I'll take the day off!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

My First TT

That dreaded alarm clock went off way too early this morning. The sun wasn’t even up yet. I managed to finally roll out of bed at 5:10 after hitting the snooze a few times. I quickly ate some breakfast, got ready, and loaded the car. When I walked outside I realized that this was not going to be a warm sunny day like I was expecting. But I still got into my car smiling, after-all, today is race day!

During the drive to Auburn I was surprised by how calm my nerves were. Part of that might have been due to the fact that I was in a caravan and didn't have to think about where I was going. I was definitely way more excited than nervous for this new experience of time trialing. We arrived super early and got prime parking spots on the road with plenty of room in between our cars to set up all 9 bike trainers. When I hopped out of the car, I quickly realized that a hat and a hood sweatshirt would have been a great addition to my wardrobe choice this morning! It was cold. So with chattering teeth, I checked in. I was anxious to get on my trainer and start warming up.
Warmed- up easy on the trainer for about 35-40 minutes chatting and listening to all the conversations going on around me. It was great to be surrounded by such awesome people and teammates. I felt so blessed to have so many supporters surrounding me, especially when it was my first time at this. It is so much easier to relax!

My start time was 9:17. I got off my trainer at about 8:50 as Lisa kindly reminded me to take my dreaded gu. Good news is, I had a raspberry flavored one (apparently if I were to have a favorite this one would be it), got it down in three quick sips with a little water, and best of all NO GAGGING. You should have seen my grin, I was pretty happy about that. Oh, the small joys in life.

I headed to the start at about 9:10. Then I had to get back out of line to change my gears, after another friendly reminder (thanks Lisa), I realized I was still in my small ring in front. Pulled up to the start at 9:16, clipped in or so I thought, then with 15 seconds left I pulled up my right foot and realized it wasn’t clipped in. I got a little frantic for a second, but readjusted clipped in with 5 seconds to spare and then I was off! I could hear the wonderful cheering of Sandy (you're awesome) from behind who would be leaving just a minute after me and later end up passing me (you speedster) J.

The ride was an experience. I have never pushed that hard for that long! My goals for this first time trial were to push as hard as I could, stay in my drops the entire time, and hopefully maintain an average speed of 20mph. I had no idea how challenging it would be to keep up that pace especially when the wind, at times, was trying to blow me over. I kept telling myself that my legs are strong and keep pushing it.

My turn-a-round was, lets say, a lot less than perfect. When I was getting close, one of the volunteers put up his hand like I was supposed to stop. I was so confused…this is a race here, why would you be telling me to hold up? So I slowed up a little, grrr, until he pointed me to the official turn around. After the turn around I noticed who he was a holding his hand to, the car that was "apparently" behind me. But, it had to have been way behind me because it was still pulling up to him after I had turned around. I probably lost 30 seconds through that whole thing, but lesson learned!

On the way back I was really trying to focus on my breathing, steady strong pedaling, and staying low. My drool soon started flapping in the breeze, appealing I know. Then I tried to spit even though I am a terrible at it and of course it ended up all over my front and shoulder. No good. Probably won’t try that again.

Anyway, I tried picking up the pace the last few miles as best I could (which really turned into not slowing down) and sprinted to the end once I caught sight of the finish. Crossing that finish line felt so great!
As for my legs, they were complete jell-o. After hearing about the race from those who were back already, I put on my running shoes and ran for 20 minutes. It didn’t take too long to warm-up, and the run back felt great. It was good to get my legs moving again.
I managed to accomplish all 3 of my goals, learned a lot, and left myself a ton of room for improvement. I am excited to see where things go from here! It was an awesome day racing and spending time with teammates! I am so looking forward to more great times.

Running with the dogs

April 16th, 2009 by Lisa Worthington


Now that my achilles is on the mend, I have begun running again. Some may call it jogging, others “speedwalking”. If both feet are not on the ground at the same time, I’m calling it running! Having limited soft surfaces to run on, I had the great idea to kill two birds with one stone. Get my dog exercise and MYSELF at the same time. So off to the dog park we go. Running at the dog park, just Rally (my yellow lab) and myself. This has recently become my favorite new running course. It is super soft (wood chips), beautiful landscaping (well for a dog) and fun dogs to watch.

Woof.. Look at that silly human trying to run.. woof

Woof.. Look at that silly human trying to run.. woof

I have learned some amazing insight from these four legged creatures. Every single dog that runs, is happy! These dogs are actually EXCITED to be running. In fact some actually BEG for it. They will bark and bark until an object is thrown so that they can RUN for it. What is it that they know that I don’t know. I am never this happy to run. Yes, it feels good sometimes, even better afterwards when you are done. Not only the fact that you are no longer running, but the feeling of accomplishment, that your legs were able to move you faster than a walk and the internal great feeling that your muscles have after a workout. …. but Begging for it? So I put myself in the dogs shoes (paws) and think what would it take to get me THAT excited about running. Someone throwing a big gooey brownie across the room? maybe i’d outrun my kids for it, but only across the room. I picture the carrot stick (who thought of carrots? are you kidding, or was that reference for rabbits? Im confused. Maybe dangle a brownie on a stick for 8 miles …. nope, pretty sure I wouldn’t run for it.

Is it wrong to run at the dog park without a dog? I have also done this but felt a little wierd. If someone looks at me funny I just whistle and call Rally’s name as if she has just run off. Maybe I’ll just run with a tennis ball to make it look legit. :)

I really don’t know, all I know is I want what those dogs have!

Is is wrong to swim with them too?

Is is wrong to swim with them too?

Awesome reverse transition

Awesome reverse transition

Oops....Did I Tri THAT?

April 12th, 2009 by Tracy Miklula

None of us are perfect triathletes; we all begin as novices, making many mistakes along the way–some more outrageous or embarrassing than others. But it is these mistakes that teach us, often making us laugh in the process (”You mean you’re not suppose to eat that before a race?!).

This post is a place to share the wisdom we have gained with others on the team, in the hopes that it will either prevent them from making the same mistake, or at least make them laugh. Are you willing and humble enough to admit your mistakes? I’ll go first….

I’ve learned never to put an open bag of Clif bloks in my team jersey…before the swim. They dissolve (duh!).

The Trials of Time Trialing

This is what my backside looked like :)

Today was my first official race of the season, a time trial. You really have to just love this weather in the NW. I awoke to about 1/2 inch snow on the ground, checked the temperature and it was 31 degrees. So I decided I would drive to the course and let them cancel it for me, so I didn’t have to look like the whimp.

I brought the team tent just in case it was raining. We arrived at the course to hear word of a roll over accident down the highway…. the road was closed for them investigate and tow it away. The combination of this and the slushy / icey roads was a cause for concern for the race director. Tom said his car was slipping on the road on the way to the course. He was pulling out. Smart man! Marcus and Julian were eager as this was their first TT.

A 30 minute delay was announced so we headed to the car to crank the heat and stay warm. Kris couldn’t stop shivering. I was pretty cold too. A second delay was announced of 30 more minutes. Geesh, I could have slept in!! Finally we got on our bikes to warm up. Yes, it does help to actually raise your body temperature if you warm up. I was warm and shed my sweats and hat (kept the gloves on though).

It seams like no matter how prepared I feel like I am, it is always a rush at the end to get ready and make it to the start line. I misplaced my number (note, pin it on right away) and had to get a new one. Thank Neal He’s great! No problem there with helping the dummy ;0

I check in at the start line, then road away to do a spin up and noticed on my way back to the start line that my computer was not working. I realized after looking at my wheel that I had not switched over my magnet for the computer. I frantically looked around for someone I knew who had just finished who I could borrow one from. Nobody! I even asked (jokingly) the UBRDO guy holding my bike if he happend to have one in his pocket. Oh well, no HR monitor (low battery) and no computer. This would be interesting.

I actually focused better on this race because I did not have the “distraction” of the computers numbers. I would really had liked to get my HR average though. bummer! So good race, going only on RPE (which felt like 12 jk) I just kept pickin them off. one by one. I had one pass me, a young one :) I didn’t feel too bad. The corners were awesome, never left aero position. Oh, just remembered I threw my bottle at ne8th I need to go back and get it. I liked that one. (yes, I forgot to leave that at the start).

I ended up 4th in AG, Audry 3rd, Annette 2nd and KRis 1st. Kris won AG and overall. Nicely done. Tried to run afterward. REalized I think im pulling out of CA after the bike. Its the only smart thing to do. ( I usually don’t do the smart thing, but Im gonna try this time). I want to do well in Boise, so Im going to try to get healthy.

I didn’t realize how dirty I was until I rinsed out my knickers. They were full of dirt as was my bike which took an hour to clean. Next stop for the Cervelo…. sunny Cali. :)


Still Raining?!?

March 28th, 2009 by Lisa Worthington

Does anyone have a ticket to Arizona they would like to donate?

Green Valley Time Trial

April 28th, 2009 by Lisa Worthington

What a fun day! It was exciting for me because TF had two newbies out on the course. My day started early meeting up at Marymore for the caravan. Wrong choice on vehicles, I should have taken Kris up on her offer of hers as it has seat heaters :) green-river-time-trial-april-09-0271

We arrived nice and early and got a great spot right at the start line with room for everyone to warm up. I was determined to NOT be late or hurried this time. After warming up I got off my bike with 20 min. to spare. I changed my wheel out (putting on my speedy zipp wheel) and had Kris help putting on my number. She didn’t have a start time until about 30min. later. I knew I had to use the restroom but I noticed my time was running short and I had to check out my bike on the road. I had to unfortunately let Kris fend for herself for number pinning (this was mistake number one - don’t ever leave your wingman …. she suffered later). I road down, found the restroom and as I was riding back up to the start, I heard them call my name. Darn it! late again, no I still had like 5 min. I still needed a sip of water, to put on my booties as my feet were cold, check my computers, give Louise and Clarise a pep talk, find someone to take pictures, check on Louise to see if she had any questions etc. etc. I rolled to the line and asked the guy how much time, he said 4 min. “do I have enough time to put on my booties” “yes, if you hurry” he said. I’m gone! This is why you park close to the start :)

I quickly roll back to my car, put on my booties, order Gary around to help, ask him to grab the camera, and roll back up. 1.5 min. to go. Yes! I made it. Check my computer - yes, Tell Louise to check her computers and HR monitor (she was a few behind me). Ooops, so worried about others, that I forget to check MY hr monitor. didn’t realize till I started riding. Darn!

The clock clicks down and Im off. Great speed feeling good, head down and don’t look around. I hit the turn around at 13:55. Wow, Im on pace for a great time. Coming back was harder. I finally with 3 miles left found some riders ahead. My goal, find Bill and pass him :) The first riders I thought was Bill, nope, keep going. Oh then I see him and another. Gotta ride harder, legs dying! I pass him and another, 200 meters to go. Hold it, Hold it. Wow, I beat my time byabout 30 seconds. I felt great. Couldn’t talk though, snot running across my face, drool hanging. Gotta love this sport ! :) Did I beat Tom??? Darn. he got me by 3 sesconds! Next time, watch out Tom!

Finish time 27:47 Place cat 4’s 2nd