A couple of weeks ago I shared my version of the day and days leading up to our race. Well, Felipe put this video together. It is too good not to share it. Hope you enjoy it
A couple of weeks ago I shared my version of the day and days leading up to our race. Well, Felipe put this video together. It is too good not to share it. Hope you enjoy it
It’s been couple of weeks since Felipe and I finished our second 140.6 distance triathlon at Challenge Atlantic City at the Jersey Shore. We’ve been back to reality and our regular routines, but I find myself always thinking back to our experience in Atlantic City, especially when I need a mental vacation from stress. So Rather than keep thinking about it, here is my recap. (for Felipe’s recap click here)
The days before the race had been great. We had the chance to have a different experience to Ironman races and for It being an inaugural Challenge event in the US, I must say I enjoyed it and it had a different feel, more laid back and family oriented than Ironman. Felipe, my family, and our awesome friends who came to support us at the race enjoyed spending time on the shore, people watching the many special characters on the boardwalk, and being true triathletes as we met pros including the power ironcouple, Rinny and T.O. It was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by so many triathletes overlooking the jersey shore.
Race day came quicker than expected. We went by our regular early “getting ready for a race” routine, gathered up most of the troops, and headed to transition. The morning weather was great, the water looked calm, and the normal race jitters could be felt, but Felipe and I were so excited and enjoying the moment….until panic hit me for a sec as it was announced that water temps were in the 80s and “no wetsuits.” Ahhhhh I’ve trained with my lava pants and wetsuit in OWSwims, but not sure how I felt about NO security blanket! Time to breathe, stay positive, and engage in mindfulness! Felipe gives me reassurance it will be ok and says, “I’ll do wetsuit with you!!” Love him to pieces! Within minutes, the Announcer comes back and says they will have a later wave for wetsuits! Sigh of relief! Maybe a European thing since Challenge races are in Europe, but my humble suggestion would be to say “wetsuit optional” instead of “no wetsuits.” The race was off to an amazing start by three Navy seal military officers, two of whom were participating in the race, parachuted into the transition area. What a rush of emotions watching that and pride everywhere!! Bid our farewells to my parents and headed over to the start with our friends. Have I mentioned how amazing they were and so glad they were there to be our IronSherpas!!!
Felipe and I make it through the crowd of fancy wetsuits and by the time we hit the dock, the gun goes off. No time to stall, but just jump in and swim with the crowd. Going out to the first bridge. about .5 mile, seemed fast, no current, and for the first time enjoyed drafting off people. We hit the second buoy and make a turn, and that’s where the fun started. I was in a rhythm, but when I sighted, it felt I wasn’t moving far. Well that’s because we all had a strong head current for the next 2 miles. I used other swimmers to sight off of since there weren’t that many buoys and we had sun glare the entire time. Half way through my swim, I hit a turnaround and because the current was so strong, I couldn’t manage to get around one of the buoys. I swam and it seemed to keep moving away from me. Later found out that the buoy was moving because it was loose due to the current. I freaked out a bit as I noticed I started getting tangled in the cords and fought to get out of there. Another swimmer had stopped to make sure I got out as she had the same issue. Now all I could think about was where is the finish and I so ready to get out. I look at my Garmin and I’m at 1.8 miles. I felt so disoriented in the water due to the many turns we had to make and the current. Breathe, focus, and swim Res! I remembered wise words from our coach, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” Finally saw the dock and headed for it. Gathered myself to get on some fancy floating decks, which volunteers helped with and went to transition. Our friend yells at me as I go to transition that Puli is ahead of me by 2 min. I thought he was kidding at first, but as I run out to get my bike, I see our team bike jersey and got super excited. I yell at my love and we are both relieved to see each other. We bike out together and start our 112 mile journey together. At about mile 10, Felipe goes off and tell him I’ll see him on the run. I felt strong and realized we had a tailwind while riding on the AC Expressway and the weather was great.
Enjoyed the first half of the ride and rode through some scenic blueberry fields in Hammonton. On my second loop, at about mile 70, pulled into special needs and again saw our Irontex jersey at a distance and couldn’t believe Felipe was there. But quickly I realized something must be wrong as Felipe is strong and me catching up to him isn’t typical. As I get closer, I worry as his jersey was torn and his compression sleeves were bloody from his knee. What happened???? I’m so amazed at his strength, focus, dedication, and endurance as he has ridden like this since having had the bike spill at mile 28. That’s my bad ass hubby! He was determined to continue and finish! Off we go again and keep a comfy pace with him behind me. It wasn’t the best feeling to know he was hurt and in pain, but knowing we were together helped and I knew I had to stay strong to get us back safely to T2. Easier said than done. We hit the AC Expressway back and smack in our face is a ridiculous head wind…for about 30 miles. Talk about mental strength needed! I felt I was barely moving and the heat wasn’t helping, but knew I couldn’t give in. We finally make it back to bike transition and we are so happy to see our friends at bike in! We head to the medical tent to get Felipe checked out and I’m hopeful that they can tell him he can continue on the run. The volunteers were awesome, clean his wounds, and bandage him up. I knew our run was going to be more of a walk, but I was going to stay with Felipe and finish this together. He wasn’t giving up!!! We figured out what we needed to do to make it to the finish and I knew my speed walking would get us in, but wasn’t sure how Felipe would do. Nothing else to do, but to move forward.
We were off to the boardwalk and on a mission to finish. Being on the boardwalk was different than most of our previous races as there were so many people to watch, but also became a bit stressful. It was amazing to see the ignorance of some people as they were clueless about the race, gave us weird looks when they found out what the athletes were doing, and felt like an obstacle course as at times it felt as we had to weave through people. Nonetheless I stayed focused and kept Felipe going. I could feel him fading as it got later and did anything I could to pump him up and give him energy. I thought about ways to distract him from the pain and seeing our family and friends on the boardwalk helped! On our last loop, we talked about life, our plans, travels, and our craziness in doing Tris together!! Wouldn’t change it for anything. We knew we were close to the finish and pushed together! We crossed holding our Colombian flag and relieved to have made it! I am so proud of Felipe for his mental and physical strength! This was definitely an experience and a memorable race for us, but soooo blessed and happy we finished together. So thankful and glad to have had our family and IronSherpas – Becky, Jenny, and Brian there for support! The night wasn’t over as I knew we had to most likely go to the hospital to get Felipe checked out. It was all good though as we accomplished our goal together and are proud to call ourselves 2 x Ironman distance finishers! Ironcouples rock!
It’s funny now when we hear people talk about vacation we just laugh because our vacations now have turned into race-cations. Since we started triathlons I guess, we started this thing that if we go on vacation, we would look for a race. A couple of years ago we did a short sprint tri when we went to New Jersey, loved the experience of racing out of state and more importantly sharing with my family our newly found hobby, and what better than coming home with a podium… 🙂 can’t beat that. It was funny because one of Felipe’s friends made so much fun of me when I posted my podium hardware on Facebook. He commented “Most people come back with a shirt or a shot glass… Not a podium award” hey… That’s how I roll 🙂
Now of course, all our trips or majority of our trips include some sort of race event, or simply training for something. It is interesting to travel for business… It feels like our workout stuff takes more room that actual business clothes.
Well… This vacation is not the exception, actually we planned our vacation around a race. This time not just a sprint Tri or a 5K like we had done before. We went all out toma Full Distance Triathlon or what some call Iron distance (note I’m not calling it Ironman).
Last year, around September/October timeframe we found out that Challenge Family Triathlons were going to have their USA inaugural race event in Atlantic City. Immediately when we found out we thought to ourselves that it would be a great way to come up for our yearly vacation, race and also spend more than just a weekend with my family. After much debating and consulting the coach about our plans of potentially doing 2 full distance tris this year, he pretty much gave us the ok so we jumped both feet in. We signed up for it, knowing that a few months later we were volunteering and potentially signing up for Ironman Arizona. Fast forward 9 months are we are now at the end of the first chapter of our 2 Full distance Tri journey for 2014.
This journey has been definitely different than last year’s journey to Ironman Texas. You would see from my previous posts or lack thereof, I haven’t really posted much on our workouts like we didn’t last year. This year has been a different type of journey. We haven’t lost respect for the distance, as it is here we are starting to get nervous for it, but we are training smarter. Listening to our bodies more while focusing on our endurance and not just hitting 100% of our scheduled workouts. I’m focusing for instance a lot more in my form during my swims and as a result I have reduced my times by about 30″/100 yds which is amazing. My bike feels a lot stronger and but I’m letting my body recover and I’m focusing more on stretching and core workouts. In my running department, while probably I haven’t gotten any faster but I’m enjoying my runs a lot more and have learned to run on heart rate. I used to hate running with hear rate for a few reasons, 1. Hated the strap (chafing issues) 2. Wasn’t sure what I was doing. So I started doing research and 1. Started using a wrist band hear rate. MIO Link 2. Now understand a little bit more and with that I have been able to run smarter. I think speed will come eventually. For now I’m happy with my progress.
So, we are starting our racecation and we will be doing it with a road trip to New Jersey… Stoping at my parents home for a few days before heading with the family down to Atlantic City for the race. Truck is packed, bikes are loaded, dog is ready, and let me tell you, it feels like we are taking half of our closets with us. Packing for 2 weeks is a lot to begin with, add a triathlon and workout stuff…. Things pretty much double. Now, add bikes, dog, crate, dog bed, etc… Glad we have a truck… 🙂
Stay tunned to our road trip adventures… Hope I can post something when we get to Jersey and definitely when we get to AC and the expo… Hope we can catch up soon 🙂
Til then… Keep Tri-ing….:)
OK, so it’s been a couple of weeks already since we finished our third 70.3 Ironman. In a sense it was a race that we were kind of looking forward to but not really if it makes sense. Yup…. Confusing we know. Maybe you have seen my previous post about motivation or lack thereof and how the winter was keeping us from training. So that’s the “not really” part of it. We felt a bit unprepared, and maybe were underestimating the distance. It kind of happens… But don’t let that fool you it is still a big race and a long day. We went in with our training as much as we got in, one thing for sure we were rested. We did our long workouts and hit them hard but we felt strong on them, long swims were great, long rides didn’t really bothered us so much and the runs…. Well the runs suffered but we had some miles in the running shoes that made us think we were going to be OK.
The week leading to it was of course crazy busy with work. We didn’t do our typical day off before the race. We typically leave Friday as a day off and since the race is on Sunday it leaves us Saturday to “rest” more. Well… If you know what happens at the Expo day then you know you do anything but rest. So our approach this year was leave the house on Saturday, go in to check-in, eat, rack bikes and leave… It actually worked out pretty good in our opinion. It eliminates the amount of walking you do trying to walk to places you don’t really need to be at. Also it helped with the nerves, which were pretty high due to the weather conditions we were going to have so the less time we spent at the expo and around athletes the better for us… Yes… Antisocial mode helps sometimes.
We were able to see the coach, he gave us some last minute weather related tips and off we went. We went to the hotel with K (our Sherpa of choice for the weekend). She wasn’t doing the race since she got sick but still offered to come down and help us with cheering, and also for the drive back home after the race. Anyways we went to the hotel and stayed there until the next Sunday morning. Did the usual pre race stuff.
Sunday came, we enjoyed the benefits of being in the club village this year. It is pretty nice to have that since we have a place to camp near transition. We just got there while the team people got ready. We chatted a bit but not much, usually we are not too chatty without being rude. There were a lot of nerves because of the bad weather which at that point we had nothing else we could do other than let Mother Nature take her course with our day.
This year our waves were different than last year, I went in maybe 30 min before Felipe. The swim was rough, chop and current took at beat on us and it was not fun to see people taken out as we were getting off the dock. The bike while uneventful we were being very cautious as the roads where wet. A little of a tail wind on the way out and cross wind on the way back made it for a fun bike. Galveston is an out and back bike which it’s cool because you see everyone and we saw pretty much the whole team. Getting off the bike we hit the run. Puli didn’t feel well, he was getting belly cramps after probably taking too much salt water on the swim, Res keep pushing forward with her awesome steady pace.
It was a great day. Felipe managed to have a PR on this course and a sub 6:00 70.3 with a 5:59. I managed a 6:40 which wasn’t a PR but knowing our load over the next months a number I can work with since we don’t want to get injured nor push too much too early as the year will be long and this is just the beginning. We definitely have learned to read our bodies, our fitness and endurance are there, we need to put longer hours and get some speed but other than that we have a tough couple of months coming up and want to do well without breaking apart.
We were also glad to spend time with almost all our teammates and our cheering crowd who were awesome. One more for our 70.3 distance… Again one of our fave races and we will probably do it again, being so close to home.
It is funny sometimes how when you talk about fitness to others, to see how they don’t see fitness as we do and we get a few eye rolls, “you are crazy” statements, and on more than one occasion people stop talking to us…. Yup it’s happened. I guess being fit, or healthy is not as contagious as you might have thought.
When I started my journey with my hubby to become healthier, we started because we wanted to simply try something different. We were completely fine with our 8-5 jobs, going home, having dinner and lounging on the couch to watch tv or continue working. We weren’t unhealthy, we weren’t sick, nor overweight, we thought to our selves we actually feel great, didn’t have any vices, no smoking, social drinking and not a whole lot of it, but figured we were young and could do better.
That’s why we made a choice of getting off the couch and started moving. It wasn’t an overnight process. It took a while and it is taking a while. I wasn’t a runner, nor a swimmer and much less a cyclist. I liked going to the gym to do Zumba classes, and played tennis as a kid but never at the competitive level. Swimming was limited to the do not drown swim, and riding a bicycle was simply knowing how to ride one just in case I needed to one day. Needless to say running was non existent. When I got my job, part of the job was a training camp (similar to boot camp) where you have a physical portion and a classroom portion. I had to carry a 70 lb dummy for 1/4 mile, run a mile, and go up and down 3 flights of stairs with a determined weight. I was petrified of all that. We started with my hubby to “train” for all that… It seemed at the time like I couldn’t do it all. We figured doing hill repeats would represent dragging the dummy so we started doing that twice a week at a hill in our neighborhood. Did a few 2-3 mile runs and started to gain confidence that I could do it and that I wouldn’t embarrass myself, nor have to redo it all due to failure.
Why do I tell you all that? I guess if I didn’t have an open mind or didn’t think I was capable of achieving a fitness state that would allow me to do all that 6 years ago, I probably would’ve just quit my dream job or find a bunch of excuses not to do it. But because I found motivation like keeping my dream job, and had my hubby besides me who was also motivating me and helping me figure out how to resemble the conditions that I was going to encounter I was able to succeed that time. It was all in small steps, it’s taken me close to 6 years to get to where I’m at fitness wise, and knowing that I can get better with my slow progress but making progress everyday is what keeps me going.
A lot of times I ask my self that question. Now that it is a new year and there are a lot of us that have the infamous New Years Resolutions I think the hardest thing to keep with them is M-O-T-I-V-A-T-I-O-N. We see gyms packed with people at all times the first few weeks of the year, hardly can get a treadmill available or a spot at the pool to swim some laps, but it only takes a few weeks and some of that eagerness to go to the gym wears off, diets go to hell and we get back in our routines and perhaps bad habits.
That’s when motivation comes in. Obviously having signed up for 2 Iron distance triathlons for 2014 should be motivation but just getting out of the house to swim or run in the cold or get on the trainer for the bike just doesn’t happen magically. It takes a village sometimes, yesterday it was a testament of it. I had a swim on the schedule (read TrainingPeaks) and Felipe had a bike and a run. Since he is on vacation (lucky him) he was able to do his trainer ride during the day at the house and all he had left was the run. I came back from work, had a quick dinner and Felipe and his sister were pushing me (literally) to go get changed. I didn’t want to go to the pool, I just wanted to sit at home and do nothing. So I reluctantly went and changed and got in the car. I was mainly dreading this swim because it was the first time in the pool not only in 2014 but since our Trifecta Olympic Tri so it had been close to 4 months since the last swim. I knew 1750 yds were going to be painful.
I got in the water with my sister in law, she is a much better swimmer and even thought she doesn’t train regularly she just swims faster. Felipe went to the dreadmill to get his run in. I shared my workout with his sister and she finished pretty much when I was like 2/3 through mine. They literally sat at the edge of the pool counting laps for me and pushing me to the point that they were bribing me (clearly they were hungry) with corn dogs. His sister loves them and she had bought a box… Well.. That motivation worked… and seeing them cheering me on really helped. Yes it was a hard swim, I’m still sore tonight but I got it done, not fast, bot got it done…. Best of all… I had two corndogs at the end of it 🙂
Motivation comes in many forms, not only as a resolution or as a thought. You need to reach to your significant others, yes sometimes food indulgence works (not saying I pig out after every workout) but sometimes yes it happens and after swimming especially I come out starving so yes… I eat a bit more after a swim.
Some of you might think how come a marathon is elusive, you either sign up to do it or you don’t. Well, here is a little story of my first full marathon on fresh legs (thats for another entry) that when I think is going to happen it doesn’t.
It all started last year, we had finished our Austin 70.3 Ironman on October 28th, and after talking to our coach on the weeks prior to it (even prior to our crash) we had decided we were going to do the Dallas Marathon. What I didn’t count with was that I was going to return from Austin with somewhat of an injury. My foot got swollen and really hurt, but after x-rays, dye CT-Scans and doctors nothing was wrong with it. By the it was already almost thanksgiving so there was no way for me to do that since the marathon was on early December. Felipe had thought of doing it but we had decided to wait to do it together as we always try to do things together. Even though we start together and 90% of the time don’t finish together, just the fact of knowing he is around on the same course makes me feel like he is closer than if we was home or simply somewhere at the finish line waiting for me (it happens to him too). So we decided we weren’t going to race after all.
A few months go by and we do our first ironman, yes it included a 26.2 mile run but since we seem to be doing things backwards, as we did a 70.3 half ironman before we did just the 13.1 run by itself, it seemed appropriate that we would do the 26.2 mile run after we did the 140.6 full ironman. We then signed up back in June or July (can’t remember when) and we were all ready for our “running” season to start and be only running for a while. We started the training and I was called to serve our country with the Public Health Service in December. Guess what… The weekend of the marathon!!!. I love to serve our country don’t get me wrong but thanks to our lovely shutdown a few weeks ago, they pushed my trip to December since November was out of the question. We were training, and to keep Felipe company on his long runs I continued training however was a bit bummed that I wasn’t going to run it. Felipe will be running it while I keep track of him online and wait for him to tell me he finished his first full marathon. :(. It is a bittersweet feeling, while I’m proud of him for pushing his limits and wanting to do it alone, I am still sad I won’t be able to do it with him, on top of losing the $100 registration fee.
Anyways… That’s the story of my elusive marathon, not sure now when I will do it, next year we have to be smart with our training and racing since we are officially signed up for 2×140.6 distances, IronMan Arizona and Challenge USA (Atlantic City), don’t want to be putting more than we need to as we know running a marathon will probably set us back on our progress since recovery probably take from our already busy training schedule.
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