Sunday, February 5, 2012

How It's All Going & a Race Report!

Well, here we are in February already!  My, how time flies!

"How's it all going?"  Well, despite my giddy New Year's post, the new year not been all sunshine and rainbows and canned unicorn meat.  But there was enough good stuff to keep me feeling positive overall.  It's birthday season, so I'm sticking with the good stuff here.  

The birthday season got off to an excellent start with a trip to Portland, Oregon to visit my BFF.  Oddly, it was weather in San Francisco that delayed my flights - I waited in that airport 6 hours for my flight, and my flight home was delayed by 2 hours.  (The PDX airport, though, had this great spa, with massages!  Oh yeah!!!)  The weather was kind of damp most of the weekend, but we had a great time walking places, shopping, and dining.  We saw "Midnight in Paris" (fun!) and a great blues show.  My BFF may not have walked my butt off - when I mapped everything, we walked about 3 miles per day on average - but she sure did try!

Yeaaaay!  I made it!
The birthday girl and I toast our respective birthdays!
(My cocktail featured muddled cucumber and drinking vinegar - oddly refreshing!)

We licked more than the windows at Alma Chocolates!

The cupcake on top was mine, a nice, moist carrot cake mini-cupcake.
The pink box?  
A "Can monopolize your mom/wife for the weekend?" bribe for BFF's family. 

Race Report:  Pre-season Burn Series #1

The "Pre-season Burn Series" is a series of three 1/2-sprint distance triathlons, scheduled for the last Sundays of January, February, and March.  These events are quite possibly the cushiest triathlon format ever:  lap swimming in which everyone gets their own lane, bike on a WattBike stationary bike, and your usual run format.  They are designed to help people prepare for the triathlon racing season or to ease newbies into the sport.  For me, they provide incentive to keep from living on the couch all winter.   Having felt the triathlon embers stirring again, after a year-long hiatus, I signed up for all three events.  I thought that they would all be at College of San Mateo like last year.


Luckily I paid attention to the pre-race emails, and realized that I'd be making the drive down to Valley Christian High School in San Jose for the one on Sunday the 29th.  Ugh, 1 hour vs. 20 minutes.  Unfortunately, we also picked the previous night to try and camp in our back yard.  The weather had been nice, and the kids dropped off to sleep beautifully.  But then we found out that our quiet village was not so quiet: sirens screeched up & down the highway between 11:30 and 12:30, followed by a dog barking between 12:30 and 1 a.m.  That, and we got really cold.  So we dragged everyone inside, but I didn't get to sleep until 2 a.m.  That made the 6:30 wake-up pretty unappealing.  Thank goodness I didn't have an earlier wave!  I needed to be there an hour and a half before my wave, which was at 10 a.m.

Sunday dawned bright and beautiful and mild.  When I arrived at the school, I checked in and got my markings and time chip.  I then walked the run course, two loops with moderate hills (and one short staircase), totalling 1.5 miles.  While waiting to set up bikes, I people-watched, and I met a couple of gals who were trying triathlon for the first time - one of them ended up taking first in our wave!

A bit more waiting around, then it was time to swim!  The water felt great, though even after warming up a couple of laps, I sure didn't feel ready.  Then again, I never feel ready for the swim.  I finished 225 yards in 6:56, even after my swim cap popped off mid-length.  The swim is 200 yards, but the ladder was opposite the start, so I had an extra 25 yards. No biggie - I suppose it was faster than walking around the pool!

I really struggled with transition.  Because I don't have bike shoes, T1 is my main transition, and it took me about 4 minutes to get everything on.  Most of it went smoothly, but I had trouble with the running tights and socks on wet feet; I know I can do better next time, though.  (I'm thinking of bunching up each leg and then tying each with a string, so that I can quickly get my feet in, undo the strings, and quickly pull up both legs.)  I also forgot about how to adjust the resistance on the WattBike - it's the fan opening, not magnetic - and once I saw the gal next to me adjust hers, I glanced down and hey, no wonder I was struggling!  I puffed and pedaled and enjoyed the view and the music, and the 10K counted down to zero.  10K bike + transitions = 21:52.

The run felt weird after the bike.  I haven't done a brick in awhile, and I felt really slow.  But oddly, I didn't feel too discouraged.  I guess I was too caught up in the thought, "It's January...and a beautiful day...and I'm doing a triathlon!  In January!"  One gal had fallen behind me, and was clearly struggling, but eventually she overtook me, and I thought to myself, "You GO, girl!"  I noticed her family cheering her on, a man and two little bitty guys, and I couldn't help but wonder about her story.  She may have been a mom rediscovering her mojo, or a mom expanding her fitness horizon through triathlon, or...who knows?  Everyone out there has a story.  My story was that I need to work on the running; I finished the 1.5 mile in 19:06. 

Total time was 47:54, which was 4:10 slower than last year's. But I signed up for all three events in the series this time, so I get to try it again at the ends of February (at College of San Mateo - yeay, closer drive!) and March (location TBD). With hopefully a better night's sleep and more training under my belt, I'm hoping to at least match last year's time at #2 and beat it at #3. 

Before the race, at the bike January!

 "If this is Winter, I'll take 6 more weeks of it": The Birthday Report

The sun shone brightly on my birthday this year, and I saw my shadow, so we're in for 6 more weeks of "Winter."  I'm wondering, though, if the Earth flipped upside-down, because this is the most summery Winter I can remember.  6 more weeks?  Bring it!
My birthday was great:  french toast breakfast cooked by Mr. Handsome-and-Handy, lunch out with our friend "twriter," Chinese New Year party at work, cupcakes magically appearing on my desk, and a sweet birthday party at home after work!

 Kitties, horses, and Clone Troopers:  the perfect "Birthiday" banner decor!

 Here's how you know that life is good:
the candles nearly melt into the cake 
while you try to figure out 
your birthday wish...


Miz said...

THREE BIGBIG CHEERS for long posts and check ins!

Brooke said...

congrats, happy birthday, and i'm a bit jealous that you had a tri in january!!

Brooke said...

ps - i tagged you in a meme, if you've got the time/inkling for a bit of goofiness

Jill said...

That birthday banner melted my heart! So sweet. Happy Birthday!!!

Good to hear you are doing well1 :)

Lori said...

What a wonderful birthday! And hooray for tris!

E. Jane said...

Happy Birthday, and what a great birthday banner and what a great family you have! Congratulations!

Juice said...

Yay! Sounds like a fun trip for you!

debby said...

SOOO glad to hear from you! Great that you got in your birthday visit with BFF. Isn't it wonderful to have a friend like that?

As always, love your race reports. One of these days I might just join you!

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It is quite weird but I noticed the everybody has like a season the most of their friends and family have their birthdays.