Friday Five – Fall!

Happy Friday!!!

It’s my last day at the Council. And I’m only working until noon, then Hubs and I are taking off to stay the night at my grandparent’s in New Jersey before going to the Yankees game tomorrow. Yay!

We spent a lot of time fighting the basement yesterday. We found water on the floor Wednesday evening which spiraled into a witch hunt to find the cause because we’d clean it and it would just spew more out. It took until last night to figure out the water line from the fridge was leaking at the point where it attached to the cold water pipe. And by the time we figured it out we had pulled up like half the floor. And of course the leak spot was behind our pretty new walls. Hubs only had to pull a bit of wall away, and we had to turn off the water to the fridge for now. But Sunday we’ll move the connection point to be not behind the wall and that should solve the issue since we’ll be able to see and reach it to figure out what’s wrong. I’m just glad we figured it out. This basement, I can’t wait for it to be done so we can just enjoy the extra some odd-200 square feet our house is getting.

Between the basement, being pulled between two jobs, my injury, pulling out of races, not being allowed to run, I’m frustrated and sad and exhausted. I feel like I could sleep forever right now and it still wouldn’t be enough. I just need life to settle down and to go for a nice run. I’m not asking for much.

So, to make myself feel better, I’m playing Friday Five today with Cynthia, Mar, and Courtney.

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The theme for today is “Five Things I Love About ____”, so obviously I pick Five Things I Love About FALL!!!

Did you know Fall is my absolute favorite season? I may have written a Five Things I Love About Summer post a bit back, but here’s a secret; I don’t really like summer. Well, sort of. I love the sun and doing lots of fun things, and racing, and I will once again love having summer’s off soon. But I HATE the heat and I HATE the humidity. HATE HATE HATE. Ugh. But fall? Fall and I are in love!

1. The Weather- Oh my gosh, I LOVE fall weather. I LOVE when the air is cool and dry and crisp. 50′s and 60′s with dry cool air is fabulous and anyone who disgarees is not my friend. And this leads right into my next favorite thing…

2. The Fashion- I may not be terribly fahsionable, but fall weather leads to wearing boots and hoodies and sweaters. It means Jeans and hoodies, which is my favorite. And my Chewbacca boots!

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Chewbecca boots! Sweater! And Griswold was so tiny! And no deck or fence. This picture’s a few years old!

3. The Views- Living in the north means we’re privy to four very distinct seasons. Fall is so pretty up here too. The colors, the leaves, it’s just beautiful! And Griswold’s favorite season is Leaf Season. Dog loves to chase rogue leaves!

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Did I mention Griswold loves leaf season? He’s much too big for this now!

4. Pumpkin- Oh. My. Gosh. Did you hear, did you hear, Starbucks is releasing the PSL on MONDAY!!! I will admit, I have some mixed feelings on this. It needs to be fall to enjoy pumpkin, but it’s been very fall like here in terms of weather already, which is weird. August is usually our most brutal summer month. So if it stays cold I will definitely indulge in a PSL this week. Ifuckinglovepumpkinspicelatte!

5. School- This is something I’ve missed the last couple of years that I am so pumped to get to experience again! I love those first few days of school when everyone is so excited and trying their best to be their best. Also, school supplies, hello! Best shopping ever! Nothing makes me giddy like new school supplies! And I have a $50 gift card for Staples from my school. Yay!

Happy weekend friends! Enjoy a PSL on Monday for me ;)

What’s your favorite Season? What Do you love most about fall?

Ever done a home reno project? Tell me about it!

Bitter Sweet

So tomorrow’s my last day of work. At the Council that is. It’s bitter sweet to leave a job, especially one I’ve been at for over two and half years now. Plus I really like some of the people I work with here. I’ll have to make a point to drop in from time to time.

Then I have new teacher orientation Monday and Tuesday and I’m reminded about how excited I am to be back in the public school system and back in a classroom. I met up with Bing Tuesday night and we went through one of the three grade level curriculums. It made me feel a lot better. I looked through it and had some initial panic about some of the stuff on there, but apparently it’s very flexible, so I’m feeling much more at ease now. And I’ll feel a million times better next week when I can sit down and start cranking out some lesson plans.

Been going to physical therapy all week too. I’m happy to report I’m in significantly less pain. It’s more of like an off and on annoying nagging now. Although I’m quite tender post PT. Said physical therapist does some massaging on the tear spot and he definitely digs the spot pretty good. But it’s obviously working, so I’ll take it.

Also finally got a workout in. I was supposed to ride with a tri club buddy, but the heavy rains canceled those plans. I ended up in the gym and did 30 minutes on the spin bike then did some upper body weights. I need, need, need to be better and more diligent about strength training.

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Gym selfie. No shame.

I won a prize from the raffle that Cynthia held to fundraise for the New York City Triathlon. I won a Sweat Pink Swag Bag which I was so excited about! I’ve been a Sweat Pink Ambassador for a while not and have been wanting one of the tank tops but just never got around to getting myself one.

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In other news, I am officially pulled from Finger Lakes Tri. Very sad about that. My season started so great and my injury just ruined everything. I’m very frustrated. So I’ll be out volunteering on the bike course now instead. And on top of that we’re also pulling out of volunteering for Ironman Chattanooga. My new job is already a bit cranky I need five days off in November to go to Disney. I just can’t get the time off for a trip to Chattanooga too. I can’t use all my PTO in the first three months of school. Just not an option, so IMChoo is off the list. So between not racing FLT and not going to IMChoo I’ve been feeling a bit down.

In happier news, Hubby and I are going to a Yankees game this weekend. The tickets were my anniversary gift to Hubs, and I’m excited to go down to the City and catch a game. Should be a fun weekend.

Ways to motivate yourself through an injury?

Funniest thing you’ve ever seen in a race?

Tri Talk Tuesday – Burn Out

Holla, it’s Tuesday, again. Today it’s just myself and Cynthia holding down the fort. For those of you who missed it Miranda is on an indefinite blogging hiatus. Sadness. So we say farewell to our cupcake baking triathlete buddy and in a few weeks we may see another new face pop in to start co-hosting. But won’t you just have to wait and be surprised to see who it is!

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We’ll be getting a new one of these for those of you who use it

Today we’re talking about burn out. You know, that feeling of tired, exhaustion, loss of motivation. That thing that just sucks the life force and determination right out of you? Yeah, that.

Burn out happens for lots of reason; life, stress, over training, work conflicts, injury, boredom, and other things. And most people experience burn out from time to time. After all, we’re not all professional athletes who focus on training as not only a life style but as their job to boot.

And not to mention burnout can come with some nasty side effects too, like changes in your mental and emotional though processes around training or racing, slips in you diet, moodiness, loss of sleep, feeling unsatisfied with yourself and just loss of motivation.

So how do you get back into a groove when you’re feeling burnt out?

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1. Recover- Most training or racing burn out is caused by over training. Take a few days completely off. Heck take a whole week off if you just had a hectic season or long course race. Recovery is soooo important, don’t let this one slide. Sometimes backing off is all we need to jump back in full steam.

2. Vary Your Training- Sometimes we just get sick of doing the same thing over and over. If you’re struggling to convince yourself to get in the pool or on your bike, then change things up. Go to yoga, pilates, spinning, bootcamp class, TRX, whatever. Just do something new and exciting.

3. Relax- Sometimes stress can be a huge contributing factor to feeling burnt out. Learning some relaxation techniques or learning when to work on dialing down the stress is a great thing. Keeping that life-training balance is tough, but doable. Sometimes we just need to slow down and figure it out.

4. Assess Your Schedule- Make sure you didn’t bite off more than you can chew. Sometimes we get a little clikc happy with the registration button and end up with a season that is too intense. Make sure the number of races you sign up for is appropriate for the distance they cover; 1-2 Ironmans per year, 2-4 half Ironmans per year, no more than 8 sprint/Oly’s per year, etc. You need recovery time after each race, so make sure there’s enough space in between races to allow for full recoveries.

5. Treat Yourself- If you really need a boost, sometimes new gear can make a big difference. A new cute tri kit, GPS watch, bluetooth headphones, whatever. You’d be amazed at how something as simple a a new toy or cute workout outfit can change your whole perspective.

How do you deal with training or racing burn out?

Favorite new toy you recently bought yourself?

Next week’s Tri Talk Tuesday theme is Road Cycling! Sharing the road with cars, staying safe, and cycling our booties off!


Get Your Coaching On

Since I worked out all of zero times last week, I’m going to go ahead and skip my usual Monday update today. But I am cleared to do some stuff, so I will get back in as much of a groove as I can this week.

Instead, I’m really excited to spill loads of awesomeness that was my USA Triathlon clinic this weekend!

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It was Friday and Saturday, so I opted to spend Friday at my parents house to spare myself an hour of the early morning drive. But 4am is never not shocking to get up at. And after a quick shower and making myself some coffee I was on the road to Albany just a few minutes after 430am. Long drive, boring drive, in the dark, to a city I’ve actually never been too, even though I’ve skirted around it a few times.

I was to the Hilton by a little after 7am and the clinic ran from 730 to 5pm both days. Can you imagine what happens when you cram 40 endurance athletes into a tiny room for 20 hours and try to make them sit? Lots of fidgeting, many, many snack breaks, and generally lots of racing talk. What a fabulous group! We had made a facebook group in advance and there were planned outings Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. I didn’t go out at all since I spent Friday with Crystal. I haven’t seen her since my wedding, so it was awesome to get to go out for dinner and drinks, then have some girl time. It’s so nice to have the kind of friends who you don’t see for over a year, but when you do get together, you pick back up right where you left off. True friendship right there.

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In terms of what was covered, wow did I learn so much! It was so awesome! Friday we covered cycling skills, triathlon specific strength training, and running economy, efficiency and form. Then after lunch we went over sports psychology and mental skills, and swimming skills and technique. Plus there were three planned snack breaks. Two in the morning and one after lunch, because everyone in the room is totally used to eating nonstop due to the amount of training they do. Thankfully all the snack were healthy; fresh fruit, parfaits, trail mix, stuff like that.

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Saturday we covered the business side of coaching, exercise physiology, and sports nutrition. Then after lunch all we did was periodized planning and training plan building. The the woman running the clinic went over the certification process with us.  Basically it involves a lengthy exam and obtaining certain numbers of CEU’s every year. Pretty basic and what I’d expect. I’m slowly chewing my way through the exam. I should have it done today at some point. Then in a week or two or I’ll know for sure about my certification. And that’s that!

I’ll be adding some plan options and prices to my Triathlon Coaching page up at the top there. I’ve been coaching one woman through her first season this year and I must say, she’s been crushing all her races. And I’m super excited to employ some of my new ideas I’ve got swirling through my head for next year!

And just because it’s been a while, in case you still need anything for the rest of the season or for your fall races, head over to all3sports.com and use code TRIGC14 to get 15% off your order! Because I love you all =)

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Injury Update

I promised an update on my injury today, so I’m doing my best to follow through.

So here’s the short of it. My last post about my leg was right after I got my ultra sound for a possible blood clot. The hospital sent me on my way after it was over since I had been given no further instructions for when I was done at radiology. I was to have the follow up appointment the next afternoon and that appointment left me feeling more frustrated.

I showed up, waited around, finally got brought into an exam room, waited some more. Finally the Doctor came in. The appointment, if he had gotten his way, was going to take all of 30 seconds. He quickly told me that radiology never read my ultra sound results and that it was suggested that I take a daily aspirin and come back in five days. And that was exactly where he intended to leave things. Take an aspirin and come back in a week. I don’t think it occurred to him that if I had a blood clot I could be, um, dead in five day..?!

I told him no.

He got confused. He suggests I go to a second hospital for a second ultra sound.

I told him no.

Frustrated with me, he says, well, in my opinion, you don’t have blood clot. My guess is it’s a muscular tear. Keep taking ibuprofen and I’ll see you next week for your follow up.

I told him no. I tell him if it’s soft tissue damage that I want an MRI. That is the next logical step and I will not be shooed out that easily. I paid my respective copay and you better earn it for that shitty advice.

Annoyed, he asks about my pain. This is not the same doctor I saw the day before and he doesn’t seem to thrilled to be forced to actually touch my leg. He checks my leg and knee out for a minute then agrees to order the MRI. He shoos me to the front desk to get it scheduled. They can squeeze me in first thing the next morning. Perfect.

I show up Friday morning for my MRI. It’s the one that is attached to their walk  in clinic. I’m handed lots of paperwork and before I can start filling it out I’m whisked away to a small changing room where  can leave my stuff. The girl vigorously takes notes on my paperwork before letting me finish filling it out. The last page has a disclaimer about Excellus insurance being out of network. I refuse to sign the last page until they can tell me if my insurance will cover the MRI. I will not go through with it if there’s a hefty bill coming my way. They tell me it’s covered, swipe my copay and take me back. All the while the girl whisking me around and the MRI tech as asking about my pain. I keep saying “It’s my calf that hurts.”

Soooo, your knee?

No, my calf.

We’re going to be imaging you right knee today.

Do not image my knee. My calf hurts. I want the images for my calf. DO NOT image my knee. 

I’m handed earplugs and told to lay down. The yank both my legs around into position then slide me into the MRI. I lay listening to the clanking through my earplugs for about 20 minutes. I have a bad feeling they imaged my knee. And once it was all done, I had gathered my things and headed back out to the reception area, I asked about a follow up. I assumed I’d walk next door and have it read today. Nope, next week. That next week appointment that I was supposed to go to after all the aspirin I was supposed to take still stands and now instead of my radiology report it becomes an appointment for my MRI report.

The disc with my images is handed me. The label on the disc reads “right knee” I promptly lose me cool. I start to tear up in frustration. I ask about a sooner appointment. Nope, can’t have anything sooner. In a fit of anger I tell them they can go ahead and cancel my appointment because their level of care and attentiveness is garbage, I will not be coming back, and “I didn’t want images of my fucking knee.”  Oops. Sometimes my mouth gets the best of me. The two girls and tech stare at me. One softly apologises. I give her a death glare, turn and storm out as best as I can while having to drag my leg behind me.

I get to my car and have a good cry. Then I drive right to my sports med doctor’s facility, I come hobbling in in tears and all the women at the front immediately flock to me. They can’t squeeze me in today, but can get me in Monday. I can’t do Monday. First thing Wednesday morning it is.

I hobble and gimp my way through the weekend then through the first few days of the week. Finally Wednesday morning I get to IOS. Thank goodness. I tell my fabulous doctor, Dr. Mark, about everything that happened. He scoffs a bit. The aspirin doctor used to work at the hospital but left on bad terms. My inability to get my ultra sound results are entirely political. And this I was already told as a tri club friend of mine is a physician at the hospital and had gotten me my ultra sound results the day of my botched appointment with the aspirin treatment.

Dr. Mark thinks I have a calf strain, not a total tear. The MRI images end up being useless as there is nothing wrong with my knee and they did not image far enough down my leg to see any tearing. I am given a prescription pain med and a referral for PT. So I head right over to the PT place, the same place I went last fall. The squeeze me in for 7am Thursday morning.

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This, except mine is medial.

I have a long, lengthy physical with my PT. He tests all sorts of my biomechanics and gives me a full work over. Since my last trip there was also for an injury on my right side he thinks we have a small underlying issue at hand. He’ll figure it out and we’ll fix it, he says. After his analysis he gives me a diagnosis of a grade 2 calf strain. He finds the exact location and says he can feel it, fits his whole finger inside the hole in my muscle. Yup, that seriously hurts. I promptly get a laser treatment followed by ice and the TENS unit.

My PT agrees that FLT is out. Both my fall half marathons, he says, are on. I may do horribly due to lack of training, but I will be able to run them. He says swim all I want, I can in fact ride my bike as long as I can keep it in a moderate gear and absolutely no standing climbs, and he is adamant I will be running again in four weeks. Stretch, ice, PT, medicate, and hopefully I can start a walk/run combo soon. This was all good news to me. Sad news because injuries suck and I hate feeling my season, that started so strong, will end in a crumbling pile of crash and burn and crappy performances.

So there it is. My injury and the crap way I had to arrive at my diagnosis. Fingers crossed I’m running again sooner rather than later.

Race Report – Iron Girl Syracuse

Another race checked off. Boom! Pow! I win! *notreally*

But I did race IG Cuse for the third year in a row last weekend. I’m usually good about getting race reports up shortly after a race so all the good details don’t fall out of my head, but alas, I have been dealing with injury issues, transitioning jobs, finishing the basement, and just being the busiest bee ever lately. I cannot do it all. Go figure.

But Iron Girl, I love it. What a fantastic event. If you ever get the chance to participate in an IG event, go! The atmosphere and environment is incredible, as well as the race organization. Just really well put together events. Love them. If I have unlimited time and money I might just do them all. But alas, life again. Not possible.

Early morning wake up calls never get easier. But at least at repeat events I actually sleep the night before. I went into this race well rested, unlike some previous races this year.

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Oneida Shores, such a nice place, albeit weedy in the water. Very murky, very grassy. But it’s shallow, which is usually nice, but this year proved to be problematic.

The morning was as uneventful as usual. Get body marked, set up transition, hang out with my family some, meet and greet with a few friends and fellow Tri Fecta members.

Friends and Tri-Fecta members!

Friends and Tri-Fecta members!

But as always, I go off in damn near the last wave for Iron Girl. Their swim waves are based oldest and youngest and I’m in the second to last swim wave. And while my swim times are still far from impressive, I must be doing something right because I keep finding myself passing people from earlier waves in races this year.

For the swim in IG, in the past, I’ve taken advantage of the shallows and run for a bit in the beginning, but I always swim the rest. This year I flopped right in to swim and free styled damn near the whole thing. Only switch the breast stroke twice, once at the turn around then again on the way in due to congestion. I saw more people hanging off buoys and kayaks in this race than any other race I’ve ever been in. Apparently they amount of walking people did in the water also caused some discourse afterwards. The water is shallow, you can touch for about 2/3 of the total swim distance, which is great if you need a quick moment to catch your breath, but by the sounds of it a lot of people were not prepared for open water swimming, walked every bit of it they could, and cause a lot of congestion and run in’s for people actually swimming. Either way though, my swim was decent. My stroke, while not perfect, was okay and I was out of the water quickly. Official swim time- 14:00 for 600 meters,  but I lapped my watch when I hit the sand at 13:29. The timing mats for the swim were a bit up the beach and I really like knowing my legit swim time without any running factored in.

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T1 was uneventful. Same old, same old. I’m always on a rack in the far back end of transition, but at least this year I got my bike right on the edge so it was the second one on the rack. Score one for me on an excellent rack placement. Official T1 time- 3:54.

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Taken in the first few miles, when I still had my aero bottle.

Out to the bike course, where I was hoping to really crush this race. The bike course for IG Cuse is about as flat as it can get. There’s one itty bitty hill which is really just an overpass that warrants a gear shift, but you can very easily do on the big chain ring. I was hoping to clock over 19mph for my average pace on this ride. I was passing people like a crazy person, flying through the first few miles, Garmin was showing my paces well over 20-22mph. But this race ultimately was not going to allow me the outcome I was hoping for. At mile 4 there is a nasty set of railroad tracks. It wasn’t until I was already sailing along on my bike I realized I forgot the little bracket that hold my aero bottle onto it’s cage. I hit the railroad tracks cruising at about 18mph and my aero bottle launched out of the cage. “Oh, shit!” was all I managed to say before a volunteer snapped it up, adding it to a rather large pile on the side of the road. I opted not to stop for it, which left me the remaining 14+ miles with no liquid what so ever.

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Can you tell by my hand position that I am very accustom to resting on my aero bottle? Stupid train tracks.

By mile ten I was parched. I had passed a small water station around mile five. I had no idea there was a bike aid station as there hasn’t been in this race in the past. And by the looks of it it was the only one. On top of starting to feel dehydrated, I made the final turn to head back for the last five or so miles and was confronted with a head wind. The combination of no water almost the whole 18+ mile ride and the headwind on the tail few miles back really slowed me down in the end. My Official bike time- 1:00:26, an average speed of 18.5mph. Dammit! So close. I just wanted to come in under the one hour mark and be over 19mph. I didn’t think I was asking much! Ugh.

T2 was equally uneventful. The usual stuff, rerack bike, swap shoes, swap helmet for visor, clip race belt while running to the run out. Official T2 time- 1:20

The run for IG Cuse is also super flat, an easy out and back down a private drive lining the lake shore. Loads of people sitting in the bottoms of their driveways blasting music, cheering, handing out water or spraying their hose. Just a really nice run with tons of support and lots going on to see and enjoy. My initial goal for the run was sub-30, but with my running being such a hot freaking mess this season I adjusted my goal, knowing sub-30 wasn’t going to happen and instead made a shot for negative splits. Nailed it.

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The times of those splits aren’t pretty. They make me cringe in hate and disgust. But I got my negative split, so I’m happy enough with it. I ran the whole way minus one walk break to swig a water cup. They were also handing out iceies, which I avoided. And someone who lived in the house at the turn around was handing out beers. That explained my confusion when a woman on her way back was very clearly chugging a Coors Light while running. Bless her. I want that to be me someday.

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That is clearly the face of someone who wishes they had a beer…

Overall, my run was decent. I was slow, but I managed to keep my heart rate in check this race and felt comfortable and capable the whole run. I was pleased as punch to hit that beach finally again and swing into the finish chute. Love me some finish line action! Official run time- 31:32.

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Hey finish chute!

Official race time- 1:51:12. I placed 20/97 for my age group and 181/1095 overall. I was hoping to place top ten for my age group, but my lost stamina on the end of the bike and my slow run ended up killing that for me. But I jumped 9 spots in my age group and 99 spots overall from last year while taking two more minutes off my time. So I can’t complain.

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Annnd, fidgeting with my watch. A true athlete, can’t finish without immediately checking the stats.

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So there it is, another successful Iron Girl Syracuse under my belt. We waited around for quite a bit afterwards in order for me to get my aero bottle back. Had to wait for the last cyclist to come off the course and for the SAG to sweep the course and bring back the glutton of lost bottles. I’m glad I was clearly not the only one to launch bottles. Note to self, do not forget the little bracket thingy from now on.

As for what’s next, I’m not sure. For those of you who have asked, here’s a small injury update I posted to FB the other day. I am hopeful to still be able to successfully race both my fall half marathons I have planned. I will have a detailed update first thing tomorrow though, including the results of my PT appointment from this morning.

Who else has raced an Iron Girl? Tell me how much you love it!

Tri Talk Tuesday – Race Etiquette

I sort of fell off the map again this past weekend. This has become a theme for me and looks as though it may persist for a bit. Hopefully once the school year gets into full swing my life will settle down. But for now, Tuesday has once again crept up on me without warning after missing my usual Monday post. Goodness me, I need to get my act together. But here I am, it’s Tuesday, and I’m linked up for Tri Talk Tuesday  with Cynthia and Miranda as per usual.

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Today we’re chatting about race etiquette. Those unspoken rules that should be followed even though no one may have told you they exist. Some of them you learn on the fly and other things someone may point out to you. Or you might ultimately learn via dirty look or snarky comment. Because we’ve all been there too I’m sure.

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So, what are some race etiquette rules you should know?

1. Keep to your space in transition- Transition is a crowded place and when bikes are crammed into racks super tight, you’re not left with much space to lay out your gear underneath. The best way to not piss off you rack neighbor is to take a regular bath or beach towel, fold it in half the long way, then again the short way. Lay your folded towel down so it’s running parallel to your bike frame and put everything on top of it; this is all the space you get.

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Even with all that stuff I needed for a half ironman, I still managed to keep it all to one towel

I’ve been in races where I’m next to someone who lays their stuff perpendicular to their bike frame, meaning they’re stuff is laid out parallel to the rack, taking up more than one space. And this is especially obnoxious in races with predeteremined rack spots. If it’s in a race where you can set up anywhere along the rack it’s easy enough to move, but in the same respect, you shouldn’t have your stuff set out in such a way that someone feels compelled to move away from you.

2. Be courteous at the mount line- I may not be a super athlete, but one thing I can do is a flying mount onto my bike. You know what’s really freaking obnoxious? When I’m running up to the mount line, ready to hop onto my moving bike, and I’m met by a solid wall of bodies at a complete stand still fidgeting with their pedals. If you need to come to a complete stop in order to mount your bike or find the right side of your clip or clipless pedals, please be courteous enough to move to the side and leave way for people who can mount on the move. Regardless of whether it’s a flying mount, someone who just knows how to mount and move along, or someone using flat pedals who requires no fidgeting. I tend to go running at the mount line like a bat out of hell and can’t really stop short on my bike cleats. It’s only a matter of time until I accidentally plow through someone standing dead still in the center of the mount line, which should be clear for those who can mount on the fly.

3. Follow the rules of the road- And when I say this, I mean on the bike. There are very specific rules in place for the bike leg of a race because there is inherent danger involved here. Some races are really good about having course officials enforce the rules, but others not so much. This means no passing on the right, say left if you’re passing someone on the left, and do not ever ride side by side. I was just heading out onto the bike course for Iron Girl last weekend hen I came upon a group of girls riding side by side by side, three wide, just cruising and chatting. I had to cross the yellow line to pass them, which you should also not do, but I was left with no choice. Even after shouting left they did not budge. I thought about saying something but opted not to. Didn’t matter though, the women behind me verbally laid into them when she also had to cross the yellow to pass them.

4. Be kind to your fellow athletes- Triathlon is an incredible community full of support and empowerment. From the elites to those out just to finish their first race, triathlon is a sport that does not discriminate. Be kind and supportive and continue to foster that community. Share your bike pump in transition, offer some kind words, or help someone out if they seem to be missing something they may need.

5. Thank the volunteers- The one thing that comes out of my mouth the most on race day is always “thank you.” Volunteers make racing possible. Without them there would be no race and there have been races before that have been cancelled because there weren’t enough volunteers to man it. I always thank every volunteer I see. Whether it’s in transition, at the bike mount and dismount, at aid stations, cops directing traffic on the bike course, the finish line catchers, everyone. Every single one. They make it possible for you to race. They donate their time, often many days or hours of it, many times having longer volunteer shifts than it takes you to complete the race, to ensure you safety and experience. They are selfless and fantastic. Thank them, high five them, cheer for them, and just make sure they know you’re grateful for what they do.

What is one racing faux pas that drives you batty?

What tips do you have to add?

Next week’s theme is Burn Out. Feel free to link up!


Friday Five – Race Memories

After all the hubbub over my leg yesterday, I decided playing Friday Five was a good use of my head space today. I need to not think about how much pain I’m in and what this means for me, so instead, I’m down for talking about five of my favorite races.

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1. Seneca7 Relay- This was my first relay race and man was it fun! It was a good test of my physical and mental strength, running in shifts and having my legs cramp up from sitting in a mini van in between legs. But we had a rocking good time and it was a perfect first race for my season. We’re hoping to run it again next year with a bunch of our friends.

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2. The Rat Snake- What a crazy ass race this was. Seriously, this race is beyond ridiculous, but it was fantastic. It was unique, challenging, and a real test of my ability to persevere. It’s also the first time I’ve ever dismounted my bike to walk a hill. I truly believe everyone should go ahead and stick this race on the ol’ bucket list. It’s worth checking off!

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3. Mini Mussel 2013- This is not only a hometown race for me with transition only being about two miles from my house, but husband and I raced this one together. It was his first triathlon and we opted to swim the novice wave so we’d start together. We stuck together the entire race and crossed the finish line hand in hand. It was so incredible and really made me swell with pride to get to be there with him when he accomplished finishing his first triathlon.

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4. Iron Girl 2012- My first triathlon. I can’t really put into words what this race means to me. It’s the race that got me hooked on triathlon and made me realize that I can accomplish anything I want with enough drive, determination, grit, and hard work. This race will always be near and dear to my heart. I still wear the IG insignia necklace Hubs got me after I finished this race. It reminds me everyday of where I started and how far I’ve come.

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5. Ironman 70.3 Syracuse- The most incredible race accomplishment I have to date. This is my crowning jewel of my race finishes and I still get overwhelmed thinking about that day and how great of a race I had. Despite struggling some on the run, I still had a really awesome, crushed my time goal, and finished strong and smiling. The course is so very not first timer friendly, but I still went out and had a banging awesome race and I will never not be proud of this one. And I actually look forward to doing another 70.3 because it really just was a perfect test of my physical, mental, and emotional capabilities. And that is what I love about triathlon.

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Oh so many great memories. And so many more to come.

On a not racing note, MRI is this morning. Cross your fingers they can figure out what’s causing my pain and it’s something easily and quickly treatable. I was barely able to stand for much of yesterday and I just don’t want to be in anymore pain. I just want to run. Sigh. Take me back to Ironman please!

What Blood Sounds Like

I’ll get to my Iron Girl recap, the race that ended my four week racing streak, I swear I will. But today I’d like to talk a bit about sports injuries.

I’ve had my fair share over the years. From agonizing shin splints during my track days in high school, to hip bursitis, a thrown out knee, and a calf strain. I’ve pretty much run the gamut at this point. But yesterday’s foray  seems to have taken the cake.

I was awoken early Tuesday morning, after getting back from Syracuse late the night before, to pain behind my knee. Weird, sure, but I didn’t really think anything of it. I assumed it was either lingering aches from Sunday’s race or the start of vein pain that I know I am destined to have at some point in my life. My mother always says the backs of her knees hurt from her bad veins and I am my mother’s daughter. Those will be my bad veins someday too and it seems Tuesday was that day. Take two ibuprofen and ignore it. The aching comes and goes over the course of the day, remaining right behind my right knee. I shrug it off thinking whatever it is will work itself out in a day or two.

The aching persists into Wednesday. More ibuprofen, more ignoring it. Until I get back to my office after lunch. I’m sitting the lobbying chatting with the secretary when I start to feel the ache shift to pain and pain is no longer behind my knee but now radiating all down my right calf. I take one of my giant horse pill sized ibuprofen pills. After 20 minutes it’s not working. I opt to duck out of work and go to the new Ortho Urgent Care only a few buildings down from ours.

I’ve been to plenty of ortho’s at this point, I know the procedure. The RN or whoever took me to a room, asked me a few questions, then shuffled me off for my obligatory x-rays. Always x-rays first with orthopedics. I know whatever is bothering me is not a bone issue, but I wait my 45 minutes in pain until the x-ray tech finally shuffles over all huffy and cranky, snaps my knee x-rays, then tosses me back to my exam room.

I finally meet the doctor. She apologizes profusely for the long waits and unprofessionalism of it. I insist it’s okay even though I’m frustrated I’ve been waiting over an hour to be seen. I tell her that the pain originated behind my knee but is now in my calf. She becomes concerned and asks a few pointed questions. She thinks I have a blood clot.

My file is immediately faxed over to the hospital and another girl calls over to let them know I need to be seen immediately. I’m told to go right over. Since I have to pass my house to get there I opt to stop home and change out of my work clothes into compression shorts and my Delta Lake shirt. Because priorities.

Radiology is also slow. I talk to Rob to fill him in on what has very quickly transpired and escalated. Up to this point people have treated me like I may drop dead at any second, but not radiology. I’m told people are ahead of me and I have to wait my turn. Apparently they don’t think I’m dying.

Finally, after another 45+ minute wait, a radiologist scoops me up and takes me into a room and preps me for an ultrasound of my leg. The ultrasound was actually really cool. I could see all my veins on the screen and could see the blood flowing. It was even color coordinated so I can see the oxygenated blood versus the unoxygenated blood. Very cool. Then the radiologist started squeezing my leg. Hard. Over and over and over. Quick and hard squeezes, probably in the range of about 40 of them, right on the spot of my calf that was in pain. It was fun at first to hear the sound of my blood, but after the first few squeezes it started to hurt and I wanted to be done.

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Oh heyyyy, there’s my blood!

Me- So, is there a blood clot?

Him- I’m not allowed to say. But there’s no Baker’s Cyst.

Me- Should I expect to drop dead between now and my follow up appointment tomorrow afternoon.

Him- Probably not.

Probably not. How comforting.

He calls over to the ortho to let them know he’s done and he eludes to some degree that they don’t think there’s a blood clot. Apparently they can already see my results. But I need to go tomorrow still for them to fully go through them thoroughly then figure out what’s next. If this test comes up negative or inconclusive then I’m in for more tests. Ugh.

And of course this morning I’ve woken up in horrible pain. I slept in my compression tights hoping it might help, but no. I couldn’t put any weight on it when I got up and had to drag myself to the bathroom and jumped right into a Hades level hot shower. After about 15 minutes of boiling myself I could finally put my foot down. Ugh.

So that’s where I’m at right now. And I have a crazy busy day at work today which makes me want to cry. All I wanted to do last night was run out my frustrations and I can’t. I can’t do anything. But I still have to work today, so there’s that I guess.

Cross your fingers for me that it’s something easily and quickly fixable. Sucksssssssss.

 

Tri Talk Tuesday – Lessons Learned

Holy heck, Batman. This weekend, it sucked out all my life force. This is my first time looking at a computer in four days. Blogging, what’s that?

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But it is Tuesday. I’m not sure where Monday went, my dog probably ate it up along with his birthday cake. But here I am. Better late than never I suppose. Miranda, Cynthia and I are all (barely) linked up today to chat about what Lessons we’ve learned from triathlon and racing.

Triathlon has indeed taught me a lot. However, I can’t always find the words to really say what it truly means to me since so many of the lessons I’ve taken away from triathlon are personal and internal.

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I really love the bird quote because I feel like it truly personifies everything about racing that is so spot on. People say so often about racing “Oh, I could never do that” be it a triathlon, a 5k, a half marathon, a mud run, whatever. They only consider the physical side of the challenge at hand. But honestly, most of racing is mental. It boils down to how much you believe in yourself and how much you can persevere and get yourself to that finish line.

Triathlon is about not discounting yourself and your achievements.  

At the end of the day it’s you versus yourself. Sure you’re racing against however many other hundreds or thousands of athletes, but everyone runs their own race. It is an achievement in and of itself to start, to compete, and persevere, to finish. And it’s not just about the race. These kinds of lessons that you can, and I have, taken away from my races are lessons for life. Sometimes we struggle, we suffer, we feel like everything that could go wrong is and will and does. But no matter the circumstances, sometimes just finishing is enough.

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Take for example a recent endeavor of mine; Delta Lake Triathlon. I ran this race a few weeks ago now under less than ideal circumstances in terms of the amount of sleep and nutrition I got going into it. When half way through the bike leg I started to unravel and I hit the run course thinking that I was in for my worst race ever. I was suffering, I cried, and huffed and made a fit, but I finished. Not well, not to my standards I set for myself, but I finished. And I felt like I had the worst race possible. And then, miraculously, I won. I took first place for my age group. And I realized that my accomplishments are not to discounted. Every step I took in the horrid run was a step of mental strength and desire and that is not to be discredited.

I’ve learned a lot from triathlon. I’ve learned that I am strong, I am capable, and I am more than I give myself credit for. Honestly, I believe everyone should have to do something that scares them, something they think about and they’re immediate thought it “I could never” because you never know unless you tri, and you’d be surprised how much you’ll surprise yourself in the process. In the finish.

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When I ran my first triathlon it was on a whim, on a personal need to know I can do this because I decided it to be so. And I did. And in that moment I was so alive. Then I decided to up my game and because it is incredible what you can do if you just decide to do so. Life is too short not to chase your dreams. Life gets in the way, so why wait?

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When I registered for Ironman 70.3 Syracuse, it was on a tri-high and I thought, “No problem“, then through all the training, you waiver. It’s hard not to second guess yourself, to think maybe you’re in over your head, to doubt your ability. But that idea, that never discrediting yourself idea, it is so important. I questioned myself plenty during Syracuse training, but I finished. I finished strong, under my goal time, I did that. I had support and love and encouragement from my family throughout the process, but at the end of the day I was the one in that lake, the one pedaling that bike, and the one mentally convincing myself to take just one more step up those brutal hills on the run course. I believed in myself and I was right. I was amazing.

Triathlon and racing is not all about the physical component. You have to be committed mentally, emotionally, all of it. And the things we can learn from triathlon are beautiful, incredible lessons that aren’t just specific to racing or triathlon. Knowing that I can accomplish such extreme challenges in traithlon has bled over into my real life and the confidence and mental fortitude I’ve developed from it is something that I will always value and cherish. It has made me a stronger person physically, mentally, and emotionally. It has provided me with the knowledge that I can do anything with enough determination, grit, and hard work. It has humbled me and given me confidence all at once. It has made me who I want to be. And that is a beautiful thing.

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Next week’s theme is Race Etiquette! Feel free to link up and join in!