Monday, August 29, 2016

Cultivation Nation Sprint TRI – Wiggins, Ms 8-27-16

It’s been another HOT week here in Mississippi!  All of us girls had signed up to do this sprint TRI for more practice towards ironman coming up.  So to say I was looking forward to the race would not be accurate due to the heat.  I was kind of dreading it.  Seems like this heat has just taken so much out of me this year.  I’m more tired lately.  Hey.. maybe it’s all the training too. HA!  I’m learning the older I get that it’s ok to take a nap and here lately I need one after a hot, humid training day!  I was looking forward to getting back on the bike on the Wiggins Hills.  They do have some good training hills there and the elevation gain is similar to Augusta.. I had 1,400 on the last 52 training bike ride in Wiggins a few weeks ago.  

However, I made one mistake.  I was so going to make sure I got in a long run during the week to make up for my run miles I’d miss on Saturday due to the TRI.  I had planned to do it Wednesday night, but working till almost 7pm put a damper on that.  So I did 9 ½ miles on Thursday.  You may be wondering why that is a mistake.  Well, normally I try to not do anything hard or long after Wednesday when I have a race on Saturday.  I may do a light jog or swim, but certainly not a long one.  But I had realized the Marine Corp Marathon is only 9 weeks away and I didn’t want to miss any more miles so I crammed in miles on Thursday.  I also got up on Friday morning and did a light 3 mile jog.  MISTAKE>>>>  My legs were heavy weights on race morning. 

My office calendar..wish I had seen this on Saturday.. 

Because they offered packet pick on race morning none of us girls had picked them up early.  So we had to get in line to do that before we could go set our bikes up in transition.  By the time I got my bike inside the transition area I had to walk around until I finally found a spot to put my bike and then it was a quick set up and walk to swim start.  I found the girls already in the water.  Nestor grabbed a picture of us before we started. 

Kathy and I were right beside each other to start.  I could see her for a little bit as we swam and then she disappeared.  I then saw Serina who had started behind us.  But not for long.  There I was drifting more and more to the left (middle of lake) and they were all swimming closer to shore.  I reminded myself to just stay slow and steady and make it around the big red ball at the end with it staying on my right side.  Whew, I was finally in!  I saw Serina getting her bike down to head out of transition and wished her luck.  Kathy and Jenn were already gone.  I dried off my feet and tried to change as quickly as possible into my bike shoes, gloves, helmet… (however, my transition times are SLOW).  Soon I was out on the bike course going up and down the hills.  There is even one section of the rolling hills that someone had painted words at the top of each hill that spelled out “BAD ASS HILLS”.  Believe me they were, but the roads are nicely paved with few bumps.  Makes for an excellent ride!  The country side is beautiful.  NO dogs! YIPPIE I actually averaged my fastest time that I’ve done on the Wiggins hills (I’ve went a couple of times to train with a group that rides every Sunday), so I was very pleased with my bike ride.  And then the run started.  It’s a trail run off into the woods there at the park.  It has a couple of hills and mud.  I was beginning to get HOT.  I jogged / walked off and on until it was over.   I was so glad to be FINISHED>>>  The other girls had finished ahead of me.  When it comes to race day they are in BEAST mode.  I’m so proud of them.  They’ve worked so hard to overcome injuries lately. 

So another TRI in the books.  I finished in under 2 hours and placed 5th in my age group.  Need to work on my transitions times and I could move up in place.  There are some fast ladies in the age group 50-54! They are superwomen!  Nestor snapped a picture of us and then I went home and crashed for the rest of the day.

Check out Serina's shirt! :<>) 
 I’m glad it is only an hour drive to Wiggins because I was getting very sleepy by the time I got home.  I’m really beginning to like REST.  I did get up on Sunday and do a short brick workout.  I had planned to rest, but at the last minute decided to go ahead and do a brick.  Today (MONDAY) I’m resting.  Well resting as much as possible.  I’m at work and enjoying my lunch at the moment.  I plan to go home at 5pm and prop my feet up. 

So how’s ya training going?? Remember… 

TRI Augusta Camp - August 12-14, 2016

Augusta TRI training camp 

Our wrist band that got us in to everything and also had a number on it that identified us to our camp records in case of an emergency. 

Couple months ago I received an email from offering a camp for the half iron distance in Augusta.  I had heard about this camp through a friend that had attended and she highly recommended it especially for someone like me that has never done a half iron distance.  She told me that I would get to swim, bike and run the actual course that I would be doing for the race.  I was excited and ready to register as soon as they open registration.  I talked one of my friends that is also doing the race into going with me.  We had been counting down the days until camp.  We were so looking forward to seeing the area and learning the course. 

Just a few days before camp we received an email with this info……

“Final preparations are being made for your arrival next weekend. It has been very hot all summer in Augusta and we hope you have been training outdoors and are acclimated to the heat. We have an agenda for you that outlines the overall weekend and hopefully it will provide you with enough information to help you plan for the trip. You should pack as if you are racing three separate days. Don't forget your swim goggles and all related swim gear such as swim caps and anti-fog solution. Bring your bike, bike shoes and tire pump. Bring running shoes, running hat and sunglasses. Don't forget anti-chaffing products and sunscreen. Towels will be helpful as you will be sweat soaked after each session. “

I was not looking forward to the HOT part of camp.  It’s been so hot this summer that for the first time in years, I’m actually ready for WINTER!  Summer has always been one of my favorite times, but this year the heat has just been unbearable. 

So here’s my recap of camp.  I’ll try to be brief, but you know me…… I love to tell details.
I’m not sure why, but Kathy & I both forgot about the time change! It never hit us that we’d be losing an hour until I noticed our estimated arrival time on my GPS being an hour later than I had anticipated.  We did the same thing when we went to Atlanta to do Ragnar a few months ago! You’d think we would have learned the first time. LOL  I guess we were just too excited and nervous about camp.

Check in for camp was noon on Friday.  I had thought we would arrive in Augusta in time to have lunch, check into hotel and get to camp check-in by noon.  Well, that didn’t happen! We barely made it to camp check in at 12:50pm!  Since the Friday bike ride was not scheduled to start till 2pm, I told Kathy we should be ok.  However, we were still stressing.  We did not have on our bike clothes yet, we still had to go check in at the camp registration table, and make sure we ate something.  We decided to just eat a peanut butter sandwich we happen to have in our cooler while driving up to park by the boathouse.  This was the meeting place every day for camp. We jumped out of the car and quickly went to the check in table.  I laughed and told them we totally forgot about the time change coming from Mississippi.  We quickly went back to the car and unloaded our bikes, checked our tires, started getting our water bottles ready and changed clothes in the back seat of my car!  There was nowhere to change but a porta potty and it was like 100 degrees, so we did not want to go inside one of them to change.  I left the car running while we changed.  We didn’t even care that it was in broad daylight.  My windows are slightly tinted.  All we knew was we needed to get changed and get our bikes in position to start.  And did I mention it was HOT! 

Waiting to start...boy it was HUMID
When we got about 4-5 miles out, there was a big sign that said welcome to South Carolina.  It ended up that most of the biking miles were in South Carolina.  It as an extremely HOT ride.  We figured there would be hills, but until you are on them on a bike you don’t realize how big of hills!  Luckily I had drank a good bit of water on the ride to Augusta.  I had to keep stopping for bathroom breaks, but I wanted to be hydrated due to the heat.  When we arrived back at our cars from the bike ride, Kathy and I were both drenched in sweat.  She went straight to the coolers and drank several big glasses of water.  
The bike ride was 32 miles.

Ready to do Friday swim!

Next we had a swim practice scheduled at 5pm and I was ready to get in the cold water (they said it would be cold), but I sure didn’t want to pull that wetsuit on my hot sweaty body!  I looked around and people were putting theirs on so I dried off and began the task of putting it on.  If you’ve ever put one on, you know it’s like putting on a pair of tights that are way too little.  Some people put Vaseline on their bodies to make them slide on easier.  We even saw one guy using Kroger grocery store bags.  He said they work awesome.  I may have to try that eventually.  Anyway, we got our suits on and it was time to hit the water.  The coach said we could swim as much as we like.  There was no planned course.  Just jump in and swim.  It just so happen a lady was standing beside me that said to me as I was about to go get in… “You know it’s going to be upstream don’t you?”  I had actually been wondering because I had heard him say this will be the swim exit on race day.  I knew the swim was downstream (hey..that’s why I picked this race as my first!), so I was wondering if we were fixing to swim upstream or go further downstream.  As we got closer to the water, he said swim out and back and pointed upstream.  Oh and it was COLD! When we jumped it, it took my breath for a second.  Very cold water!  However, it felt great after that bike ride! 

So Kathy and I swam out for 20 minutes and then swam back in for 10 minutes.  Yep, it took us half the time to come in as going out. I was shocked.  That concluded our Friday workouts.  We were tired and hungry.  I told Kathy that I didn’t even care if we took a bath.  All I wanted to do was get checked in the hotel and go get some food.  All we had that day was breakfast and a little peanut butter sandwich.  I didn’t even put on makeup! So unlike me.  :<>)  I was so glad our hotel was less than a mile from where we had to go every day for camp.  We quickly checked in, changed clothes and headed to Nacho Mama’s.

I had seen people posting about eating here on our Augusta TRI page.  They all raved about how good it was and it was right down from our hotel.  We knew we needed to eat some food with salt and what better way to get some salt than Nachos!  The food was great and tons of it! Kathy and I could have shared our meal!  I saw several campers in there eating and a few of the coaches. 

We went straight to bed because Saturday morning was GATOR FEST SWIM!

This is where we would swim the 1.2 miles! I woke up very NERVOUS!  I had never swam 1.2 miles in open water.  I was anxious to see how it would go.  I knew this would tell me whether or not I was ready for the ironman race coming up.  Kathy and I got dressed and really didn’t talk very much.  I think we were both nervous.  We arrived at the boat house parking area to wait on our bus transportation to the swim start.  Everyone was standing around laughing and talking.   Some were putting on their wetsuits and some were toting them.  I just sat and watched while trying to keep my nerves at bay.  A couple was at the same table with us and one was going to do the 5K swim.  They offered two distances.  You could pick the 1.2 mile or the 3.1 mile swim.  I was sitting there in amazement that he was going to swim 3.1 miles! I just hoped I could do the 1.2 miles with no freak outs.  We were about to load the bus and Kathy and I noticed two young boys putting on wetsuits.  One was tiny! Looked to be 8-9 years old.  His wetsuit was so cute! So wished I had got a picture but we had left our phones in the car.  It had ironman stuff on it.  Kathy asked him if he was swimming the 1.2 miles and he smiled and said yes.  It was also his first time to do that distance.  So Kathy and I told ourselves, if he can…. we can. :>) 
Our wave about to start! I'm looking at my watch waiting.
BTW that kid won overall by swimming the distance in 21 minutes and his brother swam it in 25 minutes! WOW! Their dad was one of the coaches for the camp also.  So….. Guess what? I swam the 1.2 miles!! YIPPIE.  My watch said 37 minutes but their timing machine said 36.  Either way, I’ll take it! I had worried myself sick wondering if I could make the 1 hour 10 minute cutoff.  I only had a couple brief freak outs when the grassy moss stuff wrapped around my arm.  Some parts of the river were clean and others were very grassy.  The first time I hit the stuff it really stopped me in my tracks.  I had to tell myself to just keep swimming.  However in my mind I was also saying… please don’t let there be a gator in this stuff! I was so worried about gators.  Praise the Lord I didn’t see one! I hope and pray I don’t see one on race day either.  I was so excited when I finished.  Kathy and I were side by side during the swim for a while and then I lost her.  I tend to pull to the left when I swim.  So when I got out of the water I was looking for her and there she was standing up on the bank waiting.  I hugged her tightly. 
YES>> we SWAM that! 
It felt so good to know that we had both just swam the course!  It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment.  The one thing that had kept me worried this whole time while training was the swim portion.  I knew I could struggle through a hilly bike course and jog/walk 13.1 miles in the heat, but I was worried about doing the swim until after I finished gator fest!  I was so very happy I had made the decision to come to camp! It was just what I needed! And as the saying goes... TRUST YOUR TRAINING>> all the hours in the pool had helped me!

After we finished!

After they did awards for the swim (it was an actual swim race where people that weren’t doing camp….were doing the swim race), we were instructed to change clothes and be ready to run.  Now it’s getting close to lunch time by now and HOT!  However, they kept telling us this would prepare us for race day.  We were told that we could pick whether we ran 2 loops or 1 loop.  I told Kathy we would run 2 before really thinking that thought through!  That soon changed after we got mid-way into the 1st loop.  It was miserable HOT.  We even made a game out of it just to get through the 7 mile loop.  We would run in the sun and walk the shaded areas. We did anything to try to beat the heat.  They had given us samples of base salt to try.

I had never used the stuff, but I sure used it on the run and the next day on the bike ride!  My clothes were soaking wet.  I bet I could have taken them off and squeezed a whole glass of water out of them.  We decided 1 loop was enough for us.  We were released to go have a late lunch and then report back at 4:30pm for a briefing on camp and instructions on the bike ride for Sunday which would be the 56 miles we would ride on race day.  We were so happy to get a couple hours off.  We headed to get lunch first at another local place that everyone had raved about called Farmhaus Burgers.  I didn’t get all dressed to go eat this time either! No time for trivial stuff like that when you are famished.  The burgers were amazing and I even had a gluten free bun and it was awesome! 

We both crashed in our hotel afterwards.  We didn’t turn on the TV or really talk.  We both kind of napped and tried to recoup from all the heat and training.  

At our 4:30 meeting they served us appetizers and had several speakers.  The were all good.  But first Brian the head coach told us that we were the most “fit” group they had at camp.  I was shocked.  He said that in the previous year after the Friday swim they worried about several people completing the iron distance race.  He said our group showed much more fitness.  He said we should all do great on race day.  :<>)   They went over details on the bike ride and informed us that a bridge was out so the route had to be changed a little.  Two more big hills were added. L  He said they didn’t expect the bridge to be fixed by race day, so the detoured course would most likely be the route on race day.  I didn’t realize it until he was talking but the 32 miles we rode on Friday were the last half of the race course.  So Sunday we would see the full course.  They kept stressing the size of the hills.  Kathy and I left the meeting feeling pretty good about camp and looking forward to the bike ride on Sunday.  We were hungry again and knew we needed to fuel up for that 56 mile bike ride the next morning.  We walked and ended up at a pizza place on the same street as the other places we’d eaten and it too was amazing.  It was called “The Pizza Joint”.  It's kind of hidden so you have to be looking for it. 

I don’t think we could of had better food for the weekend.  Again we went straight to bed after we organized and packed up everything, but our bike stuff.  We knew we had to check out of the hotel before the bike ride.  At camp they told us that the local Y would be open for us to shower after the bike ride if we needed to before driving home.   

Sunday morning arrived sooner than we wanted.  We wanted to sleep in! We arrived and parked early.  We knew there would be others at the bike ride since it was an actual bike ride called “Ride for a Reason”.  People could register that were not part of the camp.  I really like how the camp people organized the camp around the swim race and bike ride.  It made it more like it would be on race day with tons of people.  Here’s a pic of us about to start the bike ride. 

As soon as we got off on the bike route, I realized why they kept talking about the hills.  It was a constant uphill battle. I kept looking at my Garmin thinking this is taking longer than usual for me.  I also realized why when Brian has mixed me up a sample of UCAN he looked at me kind of funny when he asked how long I thought the ride might take me and I smiled and said a little over 3 hours.  He must have been thinking this girl is good. LOL 

It was a tough & challenging ride.  My total ride time was 3:44, which was longer than I had expected.  After the ride, Kathy and I both said to each other… “It’s going to take us around 4 hours no matter what to complete the bike ride, stop at aid stations & transition with those hills.”  I had hope to maybe do it in 3:30 or slightly less, but not so sure now. However on race day I do plan to be more "fresh".. not tired from 2 days of workouts already.  Back here in Mississippi I can do 56 miles in close to 3 hours.  But not on those hills!
Notice Elevation Gain... almost 2,000! 
 We were sitting inside eating and cooling off after the bike ride while talking to a lady that has done ironman in Chattanooga.  She told us that the bike ride in Augusta is much tougher than Chattanooga.  I would have never thought that.  After we finished eating we went to the Y to shower and change for the 8 hour drive home!  Boy was I glad the Y let us shower!! There is no way I could have rode home in those stinky clothes. 

So we completed camp! 

It was just like he said in his email ….  Prepare for 3 days of racing.  Our bodies sure felt like we had raced 3 days in a row!  We took turns driving home and stopped several times to stretch.  We were both wore slam out and the 8 hour drive didn't help matters.  It was an awesome camp and I highly recommend it to anyone training for a 70.3 distance or if you are doing Augusta.  It’s a beautiful town.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn on Broad Street and it was the perfect spot! We walked to all the food places and could have walked to the swim start.  Close to race start for the ironman race.  I feel much better prepared for the race now. Here's a pic of Coach Brian Patterson.  He cuts you no slack.  Notice their wording on tent.. DO YOUR JOB>>  I highly recommend the camp! It was well organized and you learn a lot about the race course and your endurance.  It was worth every penny of the $175 and travel expenses!

I still know that it’s going to be HARD on race day.  There is no way for it to not be hard when you combine 3 sports into one day.  It will be challenging, but so worth it.  I’m looking forward to completing the ironman 70.3 distance on September 25!

What's even more cool is after I got back home I received a private message on Facebook.  My cousin was at the camp! She's on the TRI Augusta board.  I knew I had several cousins that lived in South Carolina, but I had no idea one would be at camp much less a triathlete also.  I so wished we had gotten together.  We probably haven't seen each other since we were tots.  Plus I'm several years older than her. Her grandfather and my grandfather were brothers.  They've both been gone several years now.  Usually at Thanksgiving the Hill Clan has a big family reunion, but as some of the older Hill's have passed away some of the out of town relatives don't come every year any more. Hopefully we will get together at the actual race in September. :<>)

Happy Training! 

Sunfish FAIL 7-14-18

There is always a first time for everything they say....  Well, for the first time I went to a race out of town and after arriving re...