Monday, May 19, 2014

Belmont Park, I mean Duathlon

Several months ago I got an email giving me the opportunity to sign up for the Belmont Park Triathlon for only $28.
What a deal!
The triathlon would be a 5k run on the beach, a 10k bike ride ON THE BEACH and a 200 meter swim in a pool.
Plus I would get a t-shirt and a finishers medal.
All for $28.
It sounded like a great way to start the day at the beach.
And it was a USAT Sanctioned event.

I guess you get what you pay for.

First, they changed the triathlon to a duathlon.
I guess the pool where the swim was suppose to be had "recent structural issues" that prevented it from being used.
So instead of a 200 meter swim, I was going to run an extra 1.5 miles.
No problem.
I love to run.
Especially when the run is along the beach!!
This may have been a USAT Sanctioned event, but they didn't follow any rules, or hardly any rules.
When we checked in Sunday morning, they didn't check any identification or whether we were even members of USAT.
The volunteers just handed over our tshirts and our bibs.
If I had known they were NOT going to check, I could have had someone FAST race in my place.
Just kidding.
I wouldn't do that.
We set up our mountain bikes in transition on the beach. It would have been a BIG sandy mess, but they had covered the sand with tarps.
The race did start on time.
7 a.m.
Before I go on, I want to go on record that I just mentioned two positive things about the event.
It was overcast so I left my sunglasses in my bag in transition.
The race started and we ran down the beach and turned around at the orange cone, then ran down to the other end of the beach and turned around at the tennis ball.
That's right. We all ran around a tennis ball placed in the sand and then turned and ran back up the beach to transition.
In transition I made a BIG mistake.
On a whim, I decided NOT to put on my bike shoes, and just continue in my running shoes.
After all, the bike ride was ONLY going to be 6 miles.
Piece of cake.
Only I forgot how much easier and how much more power I have pedaling when I am CLIPPED in!!!
The ride was a quad-burner.
A mile into the ride, I was bemoaning my decision not to change from my running shoes to my biking shoes.
I am sure I did save some seconds not having to change in and out twice, but I can only guess that I would have made up that time on the ride.
The ride down the beach was pretty fast. After a few miles we had to turn around.... the pink bucket.
Look, I couldn't make this stuff up.
I was laughing at the absurdity of this race.
First the tennis ball and then the pink bucket.
I turned around at the pink bucket and the headwind hit me hard. Now I was really upset at myself for not switching into my bike shoes. Just 4 miles of riding in the sand was starting to feel like 40 miles riding on the road.
And I still had 2 more miles to bike and then a run in the sand, though it was hardpack, to look forward to.
Even though the Belmont Tri website clearly stated the rules: Note: All USAT rules will apply. It is the entrant's responsibility to know the USAT rules. Our bike course will be marshaled. Our bike marshals will be looking for 5 key violations: 1) Your helmet is fastened at ALL times on the course, 2) You may NOT draft at any time on the bike course. This means keep at least 5 bike lengths between you and the rider in front of you and you may NOT ride along side another rider, 3) Our course will have 2 "no passing" zones race day. Obey all rules and instructions regarding these lanes, 4) No erratic or unsafe riding, and 5) Observe the Mount/Dismount line and follow instructions accordingly. Violators of these rules may be given a warning, penalized by a time penalty or may be DISQUALIFIED,
I can tell you that I saw several people riding their bikes WITHOUT helmets; many had their helmets unfastened; there was LOTS of drafting going on; I never saw a "no passing" zone; and the course was not marshaled at all.
The course was a free-for-all.

After riding past the start line, a guy yelled, "Ride down to the jetty and turn around."
I was wondering what "beachy" item we would be turning around at the jetty.
A bottle of sunscreen?
Maybe a pile of seashells?
A surfboard?
There was nothing.
It was left up to each individual racer where they should "turn around at the jetty."
From looking at the tire marks in the sand it was obvious that some participants thought they should ride ALL the way to the jetty and turn around, while most thought it was okay to turn around as soon as the jetty was in sight.
I rode my bike all the way to the jetty and followed in the tracks that were closest to the rocks.
I got to transition and racked my bike, grabbed my water bottle and took off on the run.
It was painful.
My legs were screaming and while the sand was hardpack, it was still sand.
After a lot of people had run on the sand, it wasn't really hardpack anymore...more like unpacked.
I ran down the beach and turned around at the cone....
yes, there was a cone.
Then I was told to run down to the end of the beach and turn around at the jetty.
Same thing...only this time not on bikes.
There were not many runners who actually ran to the jetty. From what I saw, most turned around a good distance before they got to the end.
Before crossing the finish line, I had to run through some deep, deep sand. It was very uneven and I had to take care not to twist an ankle. My stride at the end was more of a prance, than a run.
I was finished,
but Robert was just starting his run....
I went with him and we walked those 1.5 miles together.
Then we waited for them to post results.
While we were waiting, the sun finally came out.
I went to get my sunglasses out of my bag and they were broken.
Broken in half.
Our friend, Tom, who along with his wife, Jeanne, were also participating in the triathlon, I mean duathlon, said when he came into transition from his finish, some woman had thrown her bike onto our rack, throwing sand everywhere, and squishing my bag with her tire.
She broke my glasses.
Then to add insult to injury (though luckily none of us had any injuries), they announced that they didn't have results and if you thought you might be a podium winner, to just go up and get a medal.
That was the most ludicrous think I had ever heard.
But then I SAW the most ludicrous thing....people were actually going up to the table and picking up medals and putting them around their necks.
WITHOUT RESULTS being posted.
WITHOUT AWARDS being announced.
It was just help yourself.
Today I looked online to see if there were any REAL results and while the 5k Margarita run results are listed on, there are no results for the triathlon, I mean duathlon.
Here's my final words on our morning:
-Running and riding a bike on sand is hard.
-Just because an event is listed as USAT sanctioned does not mean they are going to follow the rules.
-Spending the morning at the beach with my guy and friends is a great way to spend a morning.

Now I am going sunglass shopping.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bike, Garden, Coaching !!!

I'm not breaking any records, but I am riding my bike.
I am not riding as much as I want, but I will get there....wherever that is.
Life has been FRANTIC!!!
Between regular life (you know, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, laundry, working, exercising, taking care of stuff around the house, feeding the pets, etc.....) I have been taking my son to numerous doctors appointments (when we have a definite diagnosis I will let you know) and keeping a watchful eye on my husband who is again having blood-clotting issues.
Today I passed on the Xterra Tri at Bonelli so I could go on a bike ride with my guy.
I just put my bike in the hardest gear and rode it as a single-speed.
(And I see one in my future...You know a girl can NOT have too many bicycles.)
The ride was good and I kept my heart rate hoping I burned some fat!
You know, stress causes an increase in cortisol, which causes I am blaming my excess fat on increased cortisol from the increased stress the past few days. I mean weeks. Uhm, I guess months would be more realistic.
I have experienced a huge amount of stress the pass few months it's added some blubber to my mid-section, but the bike ride today took care of some of it.
I am sure of that!!!

We rode around Fairmount Park. I use to sail a sabot sailboat around the lake when I was a teenager. We were always told not to jump in the lake because there were leeches. It didn't stop us. We would tip the sailboats over on purpose just to cool off. And who cares about leeches. Last weekend I competed in a triathlon at a lake and I had leeches all over my feet. I just scrubbed them off with sand.

We rode from our house to Waterman on the Santa Ana River Trail.

We tried a new place for breakfast along the way. It was packed (hard to tell in this picture). My eggs, bacon and pancakes were only $3.99...but the entire time all I could think of is that the syrup was NOT real and had high fructose corn syrup. I am going to have to start packing my own syrup or stop eating out. The eggs had no flavor because I am use to eating organic eggs I get from a friend. There was a HUGE difference.
When we got home I added my miles to the National Bike Challenge.
You can still join the challenge.
You can still join the Train-n-Tri team.
So far, Peggy and I are the only ones on the team and we could use a few more friends to bring our miles up. Sign up, join us and then put your butt on your bike seat and log some miles.
You can win some cool prizes.
(I'll blog about that later)
When we got home from the ride I was a little antsy because one of my athletes was competing in her "real"  first half iron distance. Not only was it her first "real", but she was competing after recovering from hip replacement and shoulder surgery.
And she loves to travel.
We tweaked her training to accommodate all of her STUFF!!!!
But I was holding my breath all day long.
I don't like to stress (you know, it adds to belly fat) so in between checking the computer for her results, I worked out in my yard.
Wish I had before shots...because I filled up 3 garbage pails of overgrown plants.
My dog, Willie, relaxing on the patio...watching me work my ass off!!!
I finished cleaning up the patio and after looking at the results for HITS Grand Junction, CO, I decided I deserved a glass of wine and a little time to myself reading a book out on my clean patio.......
glass of wine and my book.....ready to relax...

Barbara came in FIRST in her division!!!!




Congratulations Barbara on your first "REAL" half iron distance, and your Finish and your FIRST place in your division!!!!!
I may have skipped out of Xterra this morning, but there is still racing in my weekend.
I am competing at the Belmont Tri (which just got changed to a duathlon) tomorrow in San Diego.
Okay, I can be a duathlete......I've done it before.
(click above to read about my becoming a duathlete)
Tomorrow when I get home from the race, I am going to jump in my pool and swim just to make it official......
I am a triathlete!!!!


Monday, May 5, 2014

I am an Intrinsic Runner!

For the longest time I have really needed a carrot to run.
Signing up for a race has always been a good incentive. The good thing about a race is I usually get a shirt and a medal (a finisher's medal) and maybe a medal.
Okay, I usually watch other people get the podium medal, but I would get a finisher's medal.
So to keep me on track for the past couple of years, I have signed up for a couple of RUN races to keep me running.
I have no problem getting my cycling miles in or even my swimming in.
But running and I have not exactly been best friends.
When I "became" a triathlete I was not a runner.
I also wasn't a swimmer, but let's not go into that right now.
I was barely a cyclist, but that's not the point.
I was not a runner.
To become a runner I have had to overcome some injuries, get some great special-made for me orthotics for my shoes and run.
Yes, run.
Running makes you a runner.
A mile a day.
10 miles a week.
500 miles a year.
Whatever the goal.
Running makes a runner.
An organized run does not make one a runner.
I found that out today.
I was scheduled to race a triathlon at Wildflower this weekend - taking two of my athletes and my husband.
Long story short - one athlete ill; another athlete family stuff; husband with a blot clotting issues left me in a position where I was going to be driving a long way home by myself.
We all bailed.
I was feeling a little sorry for myself so I signed up for the Verdugo Mountain 10k run.
My son's friend's father started the race a few years ago and every year I mean to attend the event.
It seemed that finally this was the year I would go and run 3.1 miles up a hill and 3.1 miles down a hill.
And signing up for the 10k ensured that I would run.
Because why else would I run if I didn't have an event to run for.
Today I found out why I would run.
For me.
When the alarm clock went off at 4:15 a.m.
I hit the snooze and laid there and did what I do every morning.
"Thank you God for giving me another day to do the best I can and to enjoy life. Thank you for giving me a hard working man to love. Thank you for my house and my family. Thank you for giving me all the lessons I need to make me a better person.
And then the alarm went off again and I stood up and turned it off.
And I laid back in bed and I thought.
For once I did not HAVE to go to an event. I wasn't taking anyone and no one was depending on me to be there. My goal in going was to make sure I would run 6.2 miles.
I was going to drive a little more than one hour there and then another hour something home to make sure I was going to run 6.2 miles.
Dang, I thought, I can sleep in two more hours and then get up and slam out 6.2 miles.
And I rolled over and went back to sleep....
until 6:30 a.m. when I woke up and make coffee and played some Words with Friends and drank some coffee and enjoyed my quiet morning.
Then my guy got up and I asked him if he wanted to run with me. He said yes.
I knew he wasn't going to be able to run as fast or as far as I wanted to, but I thought it was great that he felt good enough to want to run.
So for 3 miles we ran together - I ran and then doubled back and ran again or walked with him and he ran and walked.
After 3 miles, I dropped him off at home, went to the bathroom and refilled my little bottles on my run belt and took off.
I still had 3.2 miles to put in.
I thought about doing the route we had just done backwards, but it was pretty flat and I wanted a challenge. I mean, I dumped a MOUNTAIN run, a tshirt and a finisher's medal for two hours sleep. Here was my chance to prove to myself that I was a RUNNER...not just a "log the miles I hate running" runner.
So I ran up every "UP" street in my neighborhood until I was at the top and then I ran down, down, down, one long street to the neighborhood park.
It was getting hot and I refilled my little bottles at the park and then I ran like a kid.
I am sure people were staring at me.
I felt like the picture above.
I didn't run on the path around the park. I ran on the grass and I zig-zagged between the trees.
Not once did I look at my Garmin or worry about how fast or how far I had gone. I just ran fast when I felt like it and I ran slower when I didn't want to run fast.
When I got home, I logged my Charity Miles and it showed I had traveled 9.1 miles.
I didn't care that I didn't have a race shirt or a medal.
I loved that I had ran MORE than the 6.2 I was planning on running total. I had just ran 3 miles with my guy and 6.1 miles by myself and the alone miles had just gone by in a blink and I still had lots of time left in my morning.
I rewarded myself by letting Robert talk me into riding the motorcycles to lunch and picking up some veggies at the Farmer's Market....
so I could make my Runner's recovery juice - but that story is for another blog.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

National Bike Challenge

The National Bike Challenge starts today.
The National Bike Challenge is a nationwide event uniting thousands of current bicyclists - and encouraging countless new riders.
It is FREE!!!
It is a good way to challenge yourself, your co-workers, your friends and your community to ride more while competing on a local, state and national level.
The challenge wants to get 50,000 riders to pedal 30 million miles between today and September 30.
In 2012, I set a goal of riding 850 miles during the challenge.
I did it.
In 2013 (last year), I doubled my goal and said I would ride 1,700 miles during the challenge.
Here's that blog:
Did I do it?
Yes, I did.....just under the wire.
Here is that blog:
Am I going to get carried away this year and try to double my miles?
But I will still be riding and I will be riding enough to get to the level where I am eligible to win the Grand Prize.
So grab your bike and go for a ride.

Then sign up for the challenge and log your miles.
Sign up here:
And if you don't want to feel as if you are in the challenge all by yourself, I would love for you to join my team.