Monday, July 27, 2009

Race #4 of the Season: My Way or the Tri Way

So. I posted my times in my preview post and I'll put them in again here in the sections.

Anyway, here is my post for my third triathlon - My Way or the Tri Way. If you recall from last year, I was so despondent after my tri that I didn't even want to post. Well, this year's post is a lot more upbeat than last year. So that's good.


We woke up early Saturday morning, only needing to get dressed and eat breakfast ... as we were smart and packed up the Rav the night before. So, we got dressed and made some scrambled eggs and ham with toast. We left a few minutes later than we wanted, but we still made it to transition just after it opened - right after 6am.

We got there and unloaded the bikes.

My Way or the Tri Way

We put the front tires back on and made sure we were all full of air and ready to go. Once we had tires all full of air, we grabbed spots in transition.

My Way or the Tri Way

After making sure we had spots next to each other, it was time to get body marked. In honor of fellow blogger Steve in a Speedo, I got a smiley face on my calf (which, weirdly enough, is the last part of my body marking to fade).

My Way or the Tri Way

Once marked, it was time to get transition officially officially set up.

My Way or the Tri Way
My spot all set up ... except for my run shorts which I was still wearing.

My Way or the Tri Way
Our buddy Mark who came along to take pictures.

After we made sure our transition area was all set up, we went to test out the water as our open-water at Aurora Reservoir the week prior was COLD. 7.18.2009 - water temp about 68 degrees. 7.25.2009 - water temp in the mid-70s. So glad for that.

My Way or the Tri Way
Brandon happy the water is warm. Photo is backlit, but I actually like it that way.

My Way or the Tri Way
The soon to be triathlete couple!

Satisfied that the water would be a lot warmer than it was, we headed back up to transition. We both had sand on our feet and we couldn't find showers ... and I didn't want to use our water bucket just quite yet ... so I went for the unconventional (but fun!) method - the sprinklers.

My Way or the Tri Way

From then, it was time to start prepping and stretching.

My Way or the Tri Way
Brandon stretching me out.

Soon enough, though, it was time to start.

The Swim

At 8:07, seven minutes after Brandon started his first-ever triathlon, and after talking with some other women in the group, the women started their first leg of the race. I ran down the 150 yards or so down to the water ... which was a bad idea as it hurt me for the first part of the swim. Due to that small sprint, my breathing got elevated to the point where it was extremely difficult to get into a good rhythm. So difficult, in fact, that I swam most of the way to the first buoy with my head above water. Yeah. I also had to stop at one of the kayaks to clear out my goggles ... as my first attempt to do so while bobbing in the water trying to keep myself afloat didn't work out so well.

After I got my goggles cleaned out (well, mostly), my breathing got back into normal enough to get into a good groove in the water. By the time I hit the turn around, I felt great and was swimming well. I kept swimming even as I saw other people getting out of the water (and pretty sure i peed with about 100m to go) but waited until I got fairly close to the shore.
I mostly ran up the hill back to transition - total leg time (sprints and 750m swim): 24:07.


This race was awesome in that there was only 550 participants so the transition area was pretty small. When we set up, we decided we'd rather be closer to the bike in/out. So, I rinsed off my feet (someone loved my water bucket), put on my cycling stuff, fished a glove out of said water bucket and trotted back out to the bike course. Total time in transition: 3:10.

The Bike

I'm glad Brandon and I rode at least part of this course a week ago as we knew what the first two miles and the last two miles of the 14 mile course would be.

The powers that be described the course as "rolling" ... which I'm convinced would be "hilly" most anywhere else in the country. I didn't get passed too often on the course and in fact, passed quite a few people - mostly on the uphills (which i'm so proud of). I didn't have too many issues on the first half of the ride ... except with the stupid cardboard race number I attached to the frame that kept trying to fly off and annoy me. I finally got that figured out, though.

My cyclometer was spazzing on the ride (although, in hind sight, i probably should have just cleared it out again and it would have worked), so I couldn't notice anything but cadence. My mph for the entire ride? 0.0.

Okay, not really, but it was nice to just have to pay attention to cadence and not be dispirited with my slow-ass speeds on the uphills.

I kept waiting to see Brandon on the bike and just as the turnaround was coming into view, I saw him. I yelled "SUSHI POWER!" at him in reference to the delicious dinner we had the night before and what our sushi chef jokingly said. He yelled something back and I kept on going.

Only about three people passed me on the second half of the bike course - one I don't remember, one was someone I had already passed and the other was when I was fiddling with my damn race number again and took a swallow of diluted Gatorade. My calves were starting to ache a little and I started going a tad numb, but I pushed it through, thanking course volunteers as I could.

I eventually rolled back into the transition area. Total leg time: 54:57.


As I trotted my bike back into transition, I saw Brandon heading out for the run, so I naturally yelled at him. He waved and ran out while I got ready for my run. I changed shoes, tossed on my BU shorts, changed shirts, took the 30 seconds to put my hair clips in and I was off. Total time: 2:20.

The Run

I jogged out of transition and started the run ... though I had to stop very soon after to stretch out my calves which were cramping ridiculously. After getting them to the point where they weren't ouchy, I started running again. The run course, much like the bike course, was Colorado "rolling." I walked quite a bit within the first mile as well as saw a snake (probably a rattlesnake) and passed one or two people.

Soon after starting the second mile and right before I hit the water station, I saw Brandon not too far in front of me. However, I was still running/walking. I walked three total times in mile two - once was at the water station to get some water (damn sun finally came out) and the other times were on some killer uphills.

Fairly soon after I passed the second mile marker and started on the last 1.5 miles of the race, I started seeing Brandon in front of me. And he stayed in his sights in front of me until probably the last half mile of the race when I finally caught up to him. We stayed together for most of the end of the run until I finally took off (a stark contrast to our other races this season when he's left ME in the dust). Total leg time: 37:41.


Yes, because this race was "My Way or the Tri Way" with people doing the disciplines in whatever order they so desired, we had a T3 which took us back into transition and down another 200 yards or so to the finish. I ran through transition, confused on why this one guy right near Brandon and I just walked and continued on down toward the actual finish line.

I waited to kick due to a few curves and pedestrians crossing the course, but I finally did ... with one killer curve left where I almost biffed it. Still, I blew through the finish line for a total leg time of 1:26 and a tri time of 2:03:38.

Our buddy Mark got a picture of me crossing that is similar to Steve in a Speedo's "one-legged pirate" shots, but only Brandon has a copy of that one. Boo. FotoJack got some good shots of my kick, but those are for tomorrow.

When I finished, I grabbed my shirt and immediately started looking for Brandon because I knew he'd be finishing right behind me. He crossed the finish line, dove into my arms and almost collapsed from the joy, exhaustion and exhiliration. I know that training for, doing and completing this race meant so much to him and I was so ridiculously proud of him when he crossed that finish line. Honey, I love you and I am SO PROUD OF YOU. Even now, three days later. SO PROUD.

Et Cetera

I'm glad this tri went well especially considering my training this year has been a struggle. Cycling has been crappy. My running has been downright awful. Swimming had been the only good thing for me. Somehow, though, everything came together. This was my fastest ride I've done all year which was AMAZING. The run was about average and the swim was slower (open water, goggle issues, etc.), but I don't care. I'm just happy I was happy after this race.

I think the key is for me to not care and just go into the race with an "eh, whatever, this is going to be fun!" attitude ... which is weird for me to have as an athlete and as a competitor. I am a competitive person ... who performs best when she's chilled out. Finally figured it out for hockey and I guess triathlon's going to be the same way. That's probably the reason why last year's race went so poorly - I had so many goals and aspirations and expectations that I set myself up to fail.

This year, I say "screw it" to all of that and I bust out a time that's sure, a few minutes slower than last year, but on an overall longer course. Mentally, I go to another place during competition and I think it helps.

Next year? Hopefully an Olympic. I know I'm mentally ready, but physically will still be the question. And for sure ... Ironman by 40. I've got 14 years - I'll do it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Here it is...Brandon's triathlon recap!

Indicated in the teaser post yesterday, I have completed a triathlon! I am as shocked as anyone, but yes, it is done. I have a couple different options of filling you all in on how it went. I was thinking of starting at the end and working my way backwards, but instead, I'll start at the very beginning and post my final times at the end. The only thing I'll tell you is my girlfriend is still superior to me in the athletic department. :-)

The Pre-Race

Woke up and got ready to head out to the res. We were slightly held up by breakfast as it took longer to cook than I would have liked, but regardless, we got there just after 6 and were there in plenty of time. We took our bikes out of the car and got them put together.

After we got the bikes assembled, we grabbed all our race gear and headed to transition. We found a great spot in transition. Closer to the bike entrance and exit in the middle row. We racked our bikes up (these were standard bike racks, FYI) and laid out our transition area.

We had a surprising amount of room in the transition area. I guess that is what happens when you have a race of only 550 athletes. Believe me, I'm not complaining though. :-) After that, we got body marked and loosened up. Theresa dedicated one of her calves to Mr. Steve in a Speedo, so I hope he's happy. :-p By this time, transition was getting busier so we decided to go test the lake temperature. Keep in mind, this was the same lake we swam in last week and it was a balmy 68 degrees! This week, we walked in and the lake was surprisingly warm. Thank you Jesus for 90 degree days last week! We posed for a picture or two then headed back up to transition.

Naturally, our feet were nasty from the sand walking back up. Me, I just went to the public bathroom and rinsed them off in the sink. Girlfriend, however, took the less conventional (and let's face it, more fun way) to rinse off her the sprinkler!

Then came time to stretch. I had this vision of me doing a ton of crazy-ass stretches for like an hour, but I really didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Just got a good warm-up in and stretched the muscles out.

After the stretching, we heard the pre-race briefing. Then came time to line up for the start. I started the race promptly at 8:00 am, and girlfriend started the race at 8:07 am. She and I discussed how I would be waiting for her at the end of the race, and also did a tiny bit of goading each other. She reminded me that if she came in 7 minutes behind me, she would beat my time. I tried to use this as a tiny bit of motivation, but whatever.

The Race

The Swim

Then came the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown and we were off! I was doing it! First, had to run 150 meters down to the water. The reason they did this is because the My Way or the Tri Way allows
competitors to do the race in any order they want. To make things fair, they had a mass start. I jogged down to the water but as I got closer to it, I just walked. I figured I was really in no hurry to get the swim done. Cause really, let's face it. I'm not winning the triathlon on the swim leg. I walked into the water and walked until it was about chest deep, then dove on in and started swimming. I reminded myself over and over that I was doing a triathlon and was just so proud. I got into a nice groove and was swimming wonderfully until about 250 meters in. Then I hit a wall. My left calf cramped up badly. My breathing suddenly struggled. I needed to switch to sidestroke, which I was really bummed out about, but at the very least, it kept me relatively calm and my head above water. When I hit the turn-around, there was something very uplifting about it. Maybe it's the fact I could see the shore, or maybe it was that I knew the swim was 1/2 over. Regardless, I put my head back in the water and kept moving. Unfortunately, that didn't last too long. I had to keep my head above water for nearly the entire 2nd half of the swim. I knew I was losing time, but at that point, my only concern was getting back to the beach. Finally, I was able to stand and walk out of the water. I saw our friend taking pictures and that motivated me to start jogging. I walked/jogged up to transition and got into my cycling gear. I was really glad I practiced transition, as my first transition went very very smooth. Then I was off on the next leg.

The Bike

Ok, so by now, as you're probably guessing, my spirits were pretty low after the swim. You would be somewhat right. I was kind of sad that what I thought would be my strongest leg was definitely weak, but I was also upspirited in that I knew I had two legs to go and had plenty of opportunity to play catch up. Literally, within .25 miles of the bike, I was already in a great mood. And my legs, although a little sore, were feeling fine otherwise. And here's something that not only surprised me, but felt amazingly motivating: I was passing people! Here I was, getting my ass kicked in the water, and yet I was rising up on the bike, passing these same people that blew by me in the water.

When I made the turn out onto Quincy Avenue, I knew I was going to have a good ride. I had an attitude that was going to allow me to have a good ride. I was looking at the hills instead of daunting as opportunities to catch people. Now for those of you that have read our blog, you know that I am not that strong on the uphills, but on the downhills, I can power by people. This is what happened. On the way to the turn around point, I would estimate there were 6 uphills and 2 downhills. As you can guess, I did get passed on some uphills, but I was also passing people. You know how good that feels? The sport you feel is the weakest of the three and you are kicking ass at it?

At the turnaround point, I popped a Clif Shot Block and pedaled hard. At this point, I had kept my cadence the whole way and was quite frankly damn proud of myself. I kicked it hard and off I was going. I saw girlfriend on the ride for the first time. I believe she yelled Team Baby Dinosaur and Sushi Power as I was going by. I yelled Sushi Power and pedaled hard. During the ride, I also made a friend. A dude on a mountain bike was trading places with me quite a bit. We chatted for a bit, and I told him I hoped to see him on the run. As I turned into the entrance for the reservoir, I blew by him and said I'll see him at the finish line. To be honest, I never saw him again. I don't know what happened, but I'm sure he finished.

Came into transition and realized there was only 3.5 miles to me becoming a triathlete.

The Run

I was smiling at this point. I probably had been for the majority of the ride, but this was the first time I noticed. I knew I was going to finish. I knew I had made up time. And I was so happy. I put on my running shoes and was off. As I was running out of transition, I heard someone yell BRANDON and looked behind me. There was girlfriend coming into transition. She had nearly caught me. I knew at this point that she was going to beat me. Did I care? Not 1%. I kid you not. Not 1%. I was only racing myself.

I ran out of transition. I thought this was very important, cause I figured if I walked, I would have a hard time getting started. My legs felt weird, but I knew what to expect thanks to practice and whatnot.

When you run during a triathlon, it's surprising how little you think. You just basically keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep plodding along. The only thing I was thinking was how much I hated that course. It was hilly, and the turns and twists basically made it so you could see your competition well ahead of you as well as what was behind you. Not a fan of that. It did let me see that girlfriend was catching up to me. Around 1 mile left to go in the run, I knew she was going to pass me. I was happy this was going to occur, because I wanted her to succeed in the tri so bad.

She caught me with about .3 miles left and after a brief exchange, I told her to run ahead of me. She did, and I was so proud. And at that time, I was proud of myself too. I knew I was going to finish. I knew I was about to become Brandon Geist the triathlete.

So, this T3 explanation. As I said, the mass start had to ensure that everyone had it fair, so to get to the finish line, you had to cut through T3 to get to the finish line. I ran through T3 with people cheering for me. I was so close! I turned down the ramp to the finish line and a guy that had already finished gave me a high-five. I had this vision of me rolling across the finish line or kissing the ground, but I just wanted to cross. I stepped on the mat and instantly the demons that had followed me my whole life disappeared. The former 208 pound kid, with 22% body fat had become a triathlete. The kid that at one point couldn't run 1/4 miles without getting tired had conquered the triathlon. I had crossed the finish line!

I saw girlfriend wating for me and collapsed in her arms. And a prediction came true. I started crying. I sobbed in her arms and just took in what I had finished. It was an amazing feeling. I was so proud of her and myself for what we had accomplished. We had done it!

More reflection will come in a couple days, on what I could have improved on and what I did right. But for now, I don't care. I just did it. I am now a triathlete.

Overall, my times were as follows:

Swim - 27:04
T1 - 2:29
Bike - 58:19
T2 - 1:39
Run - 39:49
T3 - 1:38

Total time of 2:10:56

And now, I leave you some song lyrics. This is called Infinity by Guru Josh Project. This song has become my unofficial "triathlon song".

Take your time

And take your time
To trust in me
And you will find
Infinity, infinity

And take your time
To trust in me
And you will find
Infinity, infinity

The time goes by
So naturally
While you'll receive

Here's my key
A freak like me
Just needs infinity

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Brandon has done a triathlon!

That's right. Read it. Take it in. The former fat kid actually is now a triathlete. I'm as shocked as you are right now, and it's going to take some time to soak in, but it will, and once it does, you will get a great race recap. Right now, I'll give you a quick summary of how it went...then you have something to look even more forward to next time I blog! Oh, pictures will follow too. Steve in a speedo will be happy.

- getting there early is good
- clouds are a blessing
- swim didn't go so well
- glad I practiced transitions
- best ride of the season
- didn't struggle on run, just slow
- what the hell is T3?
- demons got chased away at the finish

That's a quick quick recap. Be prepared for more...probably tomorrow. Thanks to all of you who read our blog and support us. Your support did not go unnoticed today.

My Way or the Tri Way - Teaser!

Quick blog here ... I know I've been Slacker McSlackerpants lately regarding blogging, but Brandon and I finally had our triathlon this morning and I wanted to write up a quick teaser post.

- Went well; better than I had hoped
- Friend who came down to take pictures didn't use my camera much (boo) so depend on Brandon for photos
- Honored a fellow blogger
- Decided to not retire from racing
- First and probably only tri I will do with a T3

I will, however, give you the stats:

750m swim - 24:07 (51:44.96/mi)
Leg 1 rank - 214 (out of 550ish)
T1 - 3:10
14mi bike - 54:57 (15.29mph avg)
Leg 2 rank - 201
T2 - 2:20
3.5mi run - 37:41 (10:46/mi)
Leg 3 rank - 217
T3 - 1:26

OVERALL: 2:03:38

More tomorrow! ... or whenever I upload photos.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tri is in one week!

Hi everyone, sorry I haven't blogged for so long. Today is kind of the first day I get to reflect on everything that has been training for this tri. I have less than one week until the big day, and I figured today would be a great time to look back on eveything.

First off, I'm realizing right now that this is not a sport for everyone. It sure seems like everyone is doing triathlons nowadays, but I can tell you this isn't the case. I do agree that it's becoming a popular sport, but I have numerous people tell me that they would never attempt this feat. So it's pretty clear what I am undertaking is pretty special.

Second off...the training was not easy. It took a ton of willpower. Very rarely did I wake up and was I excited to tri train. It became a grind. It was tough. And I would say half my workouts weren't very fun. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I was working out and striving for perfection. And I am glad I feel better than I ever have in my life. But anyone who thinks a training for a triathlon will be fun is kidding themselves.

Third, there's been a lot of emotion with this. I'm not going to lie and say I've done great in my training. I haven't. I'm not going to lie and say I've been perfect. I haven't. There's been numerous slip-ups, numerous times I thought about giving up, and numerous times I cut a workout short for a variety of reasons.

Today, reflecting on the training I have done, I actually did a lot of things right. I learned a lot of things about myself and a lot of things about my body. I promised myself I would look back and determine 3 things I did right and 3 things I did wrong. Here they are. First the right things...

1. Run for time instead of distance
Why was this good? It forced me to get out there and not worry about tackling specific distances. I got to run slower, which didn't force me to run faster than I should and worry about getting injured. It also allowed me to run farther than I ever had before consistently.

2. Cycle up to Maroon Bells
Why was this good? Up until this point, I knew my cycling was weak. I knew I wasn't going to do well on the bike. And I was frustrated by it. Very very frustrated. Riding up to the Bells was incredibly difficult. Probably one of the hardest things I have done in my life. And I did it. I struggled, but I did it. After this, I knew I could do anything on the bike. New motivation, let me tell ya.

3. Mixed in non tri workouts
Why was this good? It allowed me to relax. Took some of the stress of training for the tri out of it. Hiking or rafting was almost not only enjoyable, but I was pretty good at doing both of those things since I was in such good shape from the swimming, cycling, and running.

Now, the three things I wish I would have done differently/better.

1. Manned up a little more
What do I mean? There were too many times that I just said "oh, I'm too tired". Can't be doing that. Not during tri training. I wussed out a lot due to me just beling lazy.

2. Read too much literature on triathlons
What do I mean? Every time I saw a book on triathlons at the library, I wanted it. And read it. And eventually, the info all blended together. I was getting the same information from so many sources I eventually stopped absorbing anything. I should have stuck with Triathlons for Dummies.

3. Didn't really focus on my diet
What do I mean? I basically ate how I usually eat. I should have focused so much more on diet.

Regardless, I have 1 week left. Time to do the final few days and give er hell on Saturday

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Race #3 of the Season: Lone Tree Firecracker 5K

So I've been waiting to update and blog about this race until I got my pictures from said race uploaded on my camera. However, I do all of my picture dealing on my laptop and said laptop has chosen to completely die and not boot up anymore.


So, no pictures. Boo. However, I'll give a marginal race report.

To start off, my running lately has been horrible. Awful. Horribly awful. I can't seem to shake the sports asthma (which i usually can as i train more and more) and running just is not getting any easier. My times continue to suck and suck hard. As a result, I wasn't expecting a lot out of this race.

Brandon wasn't either and we started off running it together, but I just couldn't hold his pace. So I walked and made him go on ahead. I alternated running and walking throughout the course (up giant ass hill to smaller hill down small hill up baby hill down big hill), finishing in 32:28 or 10:27/mile.

Not good. May still be my best time on that course (don't remember and too lazy to look back), but it's been disheartening.

In other training news, swimming is the only thing seemingly going well ... when I swim. It's hard to motivate myself to cycle or really, train at all. It's getting to the point that I want to retire from racing after the tri (since i've already paid for the damn thing). I probably won't, but still ... training (or lack thereof) has been going THAT badly.