Friday, August 15, 2014

The Crabman

I felt pretty good leading up to The Crabman.  I didn't sleep great, but I really never do if my alarm is set for wake up in the middle of the night.

I ate my usual breakfast of two waffles with peanut butter, checked my list and put some last minute things in my truck before heading out to pick up Elaine.

Parking was easy, we grabbed our stuff and biked to the transition area.  Elaine and I were just a couple bike racks away.  We set up our stuff and then a woman came over to write my number on me.

Elaine and I walked around a bit to check things out and look at the ocean.  We had done the OWS clinic the week before and the waves were crazy rough.  Today, it was no better.  I knew it would be tough, but we had been though it once before and I knew we would finish and be fine.

We headed back to get our wetsuits on and found Bethany.  The three of us went to the start together.

We watched the first wave go in and then the second.  A man was rescued by a life guard and brought to shore. Not really sure why.  Everyone else seemed to be doing ok.  Bethany's wave went in and then it was the beginner wave.  Elaine lined up at the front and I lined up in the middle. We wished each other a good race and the horn blew.

Waves were just pelting us as we headed out but I knew I would be ok once I was around and past the first buoy.  I found a nice rhythm and feel like I was swimming well.  About 150 meters in, people called for help and stopped right in front of me.  The kayaker was on his way and they were not in immediate danger, so I went around them and swam on.

As I approached the last buoy, a man started to freak out right in front of me.  He was wearing a wetsuit and the women next to him, who I think actually knew him, started to yell, "Just roll over and and float for a minute!"  Again, I had to go around people but was soon past the buoy and headed to shore.  The waves just pushed me in and I felt great coming out of the water.

Got to my bike, wet suit off, rinsed my feet and put on my socks and bike shoes.  I ripped out my contacts, put on sunglasses and my helmet and headed out.  Getting to the road and the bike mount seemed liked forever.  Once I was on my bike though, I felt great.  This was a two loop course and pretty flat.  One of the fun parts was Beth was the flagger heading onto Rt. 1.  I love that I got to see her twice!

The bike was pretty uneventful. I fell in line with a girl who was pretty much riding the same pace as me.  We passed each other a couple times but I ended up getting off the bike first. She would later pass me in the run.

Off the bike and we had to run back to transition in a roped off kind of lane.  It was skinny and the people in front of me were walking.  I wasn't sure what to do.  It didn't look like I would fit if I said excuse me.  We had to make a left and it seemed to open up a bit so, that is when I made my break and ran the rest of the way back to my spot.

Changing my shoes was easier this time, thanks to Beth. She hooked me up with lock laces.  I grabbed my inhaler, watch, Gu and took one step and realized I forgot my race belt and number. Grabbed that and headed out for my run.
Thanks, Beth!

As soon as I started to run, I swear, I heard my legs laughing at me.  My pace was slow but I was running.  Run and done, run and done.  Just keep moving forward.  So that is what I did.

Looking at my watch, I knew I was not hitting any records with my run, but I was still ahead of my pervious time at Goddard.  Even with a bad run, I was still going to have a PR.

The last mile,  I went back and forth with a girl who was also new to triathlon.  She was on her way to a new PR too.  She did not have a watch and she kept asking me what time it was.  I was happy to have someone to chat with, but knew when the crowd was getting larger we were close.  I picked up my speed and yelled to her to do the same.  I never looked back though.

I was so excited as I was getting close to the finish line, I got tears in my eyes, and then I couldn't breathe. I reached in my pocket for my inhaler even though I knew it wasn't there. I discover it missing when I got my GU out of my pocket on the run.

I crossed the finish line to the smiling faces of Beth, Elaine and Bethany, but I could not stop there, I pointed to transition and I think I was able to say, "inhaler."

Bethany walked with me to my bike and I found it on my towel. I was in tears at this point. I took a couple puffs, drank water and just sat a bit trying to figure out why it wasn't in my pocket.  I knew I had it when I grabbed my watch and GU?

Once I felt better, Bethany and I walked back to the girls and the food. I was so happy to eat pizza.  From there, we headed to the computers to find out my official time.

That is 6:19 minute PR.  Basically, I took a full minute off my swim, a minute off of T1, :30 off of T2 and the rest came from my bike. I actually added a minute to my run, but with post Blessing legs, I am ok with that.
Me, with Beth and Elaine

The happy finishers!

I really enjoyed this race and would do it again.  The bike for me was my favorite part as opposed to Goddard where I favored the run.

I am now officially tapering for Rhode Warrior and not really feeling as excited as I hoped I would be. I am guessing it is because I am tired. I am ready to not "have to" do anything. I want to just run to run and get back to our normal schedule.  I know deep down that I will enjoy the race once I am there but till then, I am a bit of a mess.

Any last minute triathlon advice? Is there something you think I will need that is not as necessary for a sprint tri?  How do you handle your nerves leading up to a big race?

Oh and after thinking about it and talking my transition out with Elaine, I had put my inhaler down when I had to go back for my race belt.  Why I didn't put it in my pocket when I first picked it up, I just don't know.  Lesson learned and that will not happen at RW.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Blessing, 2014

I originally was not going to run The Blessing this year. I was going to focus on The Crabman which was the same weekend. After some thinking about it, that did not make sense. If I am actually going to race in the Rhode Warrior Half Ironman Distance Triathlon, then running ten miles on Friday with a sprint tri on Sunday makes for a great training weekend.

I signed up.

The thing I love most about the Blessing is that one of my best running friends lives at the end of mile eight. Her house is a perfect place on the course.  We drop our kids and husbands off and we can walk to the start.  Our families bar b que and play games, while cheering on the runners.  They are what I look forward to the most on the course and they give me the push I need to finish strong.

I hit a lot of traffic this year heading to Mary's house.  We made it but with no time to spare.  We were on our way to the start in about five minutes after arriving.

Now, as most of you know, I am part of Ted Spiker's FB Sub 30 group.  I have met some very fun people and have enjoyed all the posts, information and motivation that the page has to offer.  Our little group made it into Runner's World last month and it exploded!  Someone posted a,"Where are you from post?" and a gal commentated, "Little Rhody".

Of course I struck up a conversation right away and I asked her if she was doing the Blessing.  She wasn't sure about it.  She had never run it before and she wasn't sure if her current mileage would get her to the finish.  I told her a little about the race and course and told her I would be happy to run with her if she decided she was up for it.

She was so thrilled to have someone to run with, she signed up. I met New Girl at the race and we lined up with my group.
New Girl, me and Agnes

The Blessing has incredible crowd support and the excitement is contagious.  It is also very crowded. The first couple miles, you are just surrounded by people trying to find your own space.  Ocean Road is very familiar to me and it is a nice stretch.  Lots of cheering.

New Girl started to get very thirsty and I was happy to see a water stop for her.  There were times when she wanted to walk.  I told her early on that she can set the pace and I would just help her get it done.

Knowlsway has a hill that I warned her about. She ran up that hill like a champ and I was very impressed.  This led us to rt. 108.  In my opinion, the hardest part of the course. Flat, but the sun is beating down on you, it's not pretty and for some reason it just feels like it goes on forever.  New girl seemed to really struggle here.  She drank water at every stop and started pouring it over her head.  Whatever gets it done, right?

It seemed like she had a lot of ups and downs but she kept moving and I had no doubt that she would finish.

My most favorite part of the course is the end of mile eight which is where my family and friends are.  You hit the last hill of the course before you turn onto Avice St. The hill looks worse then it is, at least to me, but we walked most of it.  Once I saw my kids, I was so stinking happy and that was fuel for the rest of the race for me.

We started off strong leaving mile eight but New Girl really hit a wall here.  A big one.  We walked and ran most of Narragansett Ave. I was slightly ahead and just really wanted to finish at this time.  We were so close!  We hit the last water stop, where friends of mine were working.  I grabbed water and said hi. Looked behind me and saw New Girl sitting on the curb.  Oh no, that is not good. I ran back to her and handed her my water. I may or may not of yelled, " You need to get up, you are so close. If you don't get up now, you will not finish!"  My friends were behind me with water for her. She drank and got up.

We started to walk. I told her to just dig deep. You have this last mile in you and you did not come this far to not finish.  This is a tough road because you know the finish is up ahead but you can't see it.  You eventually see a banner that is basically just an advertisement for the race, but it looks like the finish from a distance. The finish is after that and I hated telling her that what she was looking at was not the finish line.

On this stretch of road, I saw my neighbors cheering for me which is always a nice treat.  I picked up my pace and hoped she would follow along. She did.  New Girl actually shot past me and I was happy to stay behind her and watch her cross the line.  I am sure I was screaming her name and yelling, "Go!"

We crossed the line smiling, and gave each other a huge hug!  I was so happy to be finished running and so thrilled that New Girl ran and completed her first Blessing.  Her fiancĂ© was at the finish waiting for her.  I told them they were more than welcomed to walk back to the party where my family was, but they headed out. She needed to eat and get dry clothes.  Having talked to her a bit, she did not fuel well before the race. She had Shot Blocks with her, but I don't think she had enough.  Fuel did not come easy to me and I can tell you, I totally screwed that up for my first Blessing too.

I suggested an ice bath and a foam roller and we said so long.

Back at the house, we changed and grabbed a beer. Burgers were made for us and snacks and desserts were out.  The kids were having such a great time. The girls and I sat and talked about our races.  Elaine and Jenn ran fantastic races and got new PR's.  They amaze me. Agnes who ran her first Blessing last year, came back this year and ran mostly with New Girl and I.  She did finish ahead of us and again, I was so happy for her.

Our finish time was 2:03.  Not close to my PR but seeing someone accomplish something new, something they worked so hard to do, is what fuels me.  I was happy to encourage her and would do it again.  She will be at the Newport Half but that race is mine.  I have a goal in mind for it but not sure it is doable on post Rhode Warrior legs.  We will see...

(Sorry for the lack of pictures.  I only took the one! So unlike me.  The photographer took tons of pictures of me but I did not buy any.  I am smiling in most of them, which surprised me but still not really worth it to buy.)

I would like to say one more time, Congrats New Girl! (BTW, her name is Sam) I will run with you anytime.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Monday, August 4, 2014

Jamestown Half Marathon, Recap

So first, sorry about the delay with new blogs.  For those of you who don't follow me on FB, I was without a computer for three weeks.  Blogging on my phone would of made me crazy!

I ran three races in that time. The Jamestown Half Marathon, The Blessing 10 Miler and The Crabman Sprint Triathlon.  I am feeling like I forgot so much about Jamestown but hope it comes back as I start to write. So here we go.

The Jamestown Half is part of the United Healthcare Triple Crown.  It is the second race, the one I was dreading.  Hot and hilly is how it was described to me.

I slept fine, had a very early wake up and was in the car at 5am.  No traffic at all and I was parked by 5:15 and on a bus 5 minutes later.  I was told that the buses would stop running at 6 so the earlier the better.

Got to the race and had a long wait. Had my banana, some water, used the bathroom and found a couple friends that I had planned to run with.

We were in line on time for a 6:30 start, but were waiting and waiting and waiting. It was hard to hear the announcements but it was along the lines of waiting for the last couple buses to arrive.  The problem was I had to use the bathroom again.  I think waiting the extra 15 minutes or so got me nervous.  I hesitated getting out of line for fear of losing my friends and missing the gun.  It got bad though and just as I was about to run to a PP, the gun went off.
Start line

I knew I would have to stop at the first water stop at mile 2. I was really struggling and did not think I would make it.  Two miles seemed like ten.  I finally made it and there was a line.  Of course there was, with such a delayed start, I think that really messed with people.  I waited in line and my friends went on.  They were doing a run walk and I said I would catch up.

I am sure I wasted five minutes here.  I was not happy.  Once out and on my way again, I was determined to find the girls I was running with.  I was passed by a girl who is in my running club.  She is not a back of the packer and I thought it was really weird to see her where I was. She looked good and past me rather quickly.

My focus was finding the girls and/or my friend Jim.  For two miles I ran and ran, up hill, down hill, at a rather fast pace.  I did that for two miles before I realized that I am using too much energy so early in the race.  At mile 4, I grabbed some water and fell into my "normal" pace.  I felt happy again, but wished I had some music or a podcast.  I only run with my iPod on the treadmill but I was feeling bored and could of used a distraction.

Luckily, that ended at mile six when I found Allison and Jen again!  I decided to stay with them and try their run/walk method.  They were doing four minutes of running and one minute of walking.  It was ok for a while, but honestly, I just really wanted to run at the end.

I was so behind my normal time.  I am guessing it was a combination of the hills, heat and the walking.  I was on target for my second worst half marathon time and there was very little I could do at this point to change it.

Crossing the finish line was just so awesome. I was so relieved to be able to stop running.  This was not a good race for me.  I did not stay long at the finish. I grabbed some watermelon and a drink and headed to the bus.  The food selection was awful.  The line for the bus was about a quarter mile long.  Seriously!  This was not the first year for this race.  Something like having the right amount of buses should be a priority.

I found out later people made it to the lot in the morning on time, but it was the lack of buses that caused the delay. This is why I saw the girl from my running group so close to the end of the pack. Apparently, when they finally made it to the start, they were actually taking the timing mat away!  That is just terrible!

So good things.  The course, although difficult, was gorgeous.  The support was great. Water and PP every two miles.  And the medal is beautiful.  I did this race because it was part of the Triple Crown and I really wanted to be a part of that.  I will have to think long and hard before choosing to do this one again.

So the official time, 2:46:35.  It is, in fact, my second worst time for a half marathon. But since I don't  count the first one because I ran it for fun and stood in line to take pictures at various points, this will have to become my worst time for a half ever!

I know I am usually a, "time doesn't matter person", but for some reason, this one got to me.  I know I could of done better, and the choices I made worked for me at the time.  I am happy I finished and I am happy I was with friends.  What more do I really need?  There will be more races.

The Newport Half Marathon is the last in the series and that is coming up in October.  Just have to survive this little 70.3 that is just three weeks away!  Oh boy, it's coming up quick!

Have you had a bad race? How do you move on?

Oh, one more happy note. I got to meet two long time internet friends and fellow runners. I was so close to the bus after waiting for so long when I finally saw them.  I do regret not getting out of line so that I could chat with them a little longer, but we did get a great picture.  So nice to meet you Gigi and Danielle!
I am hurting in this picture, but it came out nice.  

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Friday, June 27, 2014

Oh My Goddard, Recap

Sorry for the delay with this recap. I have had my family here for a visit which has been  a lot of fun! I hate to see them go.  For Gracie's 6th birthday, my mom and I took here to American Girl Doll for the very first time. We all had so much fun and she got a very special doll named Isabelle.

On to the Oh My Goddard Recap! It is official. I am a triathlete!  Oh wait, should that be the title of this post?

Ok, so most of you know that I was a nervous wreck the night before the race. I packed up my stuff, checked the list 100 times and then messaged my friend Chris what I had packed and asked her if I missed anything.  Once I felt comfortable with my packing, I sat down and my hands started to shake.  Oh, and did I mention that Gracie had a fever?

I went to bed later than I wanted to but before I did that, I asked for some last minute advice on my FB page.  Most of you responded to just have fun!  Dashing Dad said, "Don't drown, don't crash and don't trip." Those were all true fears of mine and I can tell you up front that none of that happened.

However, the message that really got me. The one that made me cry was from my friend Joe who will soon be a 2x ironman.  He wrote, "You have trained, planned, practiced transition, learned how to swim. Tomorrow, you put it all together in the art of triathlon. You are an elite athlete. Not everyone has the guts, strength, endurance, mental toughness to take on our sport. I'm excited for you. You will have highs and lows during your race. Just remember, you already did the hard work, tomorrow is the celebration of all your efforts! Now go out there and get yours!!!! Good luck! "
And left this video.

Joe was my neighbor growing up. We only found each other recently through FB and I am so happy we did.

Once I got to bed I could not sleep. I tossed and turned and I know I did get a little sleep, but Gracie woke up crying.  Luckily, Mr. RWM was home and took care of her, but I was already up and had trouble sleeping again.

My alarm went off at 4:15 and I got right out of bed.  I was downstairs having breakfast in ten minutes and about 4:30 I got a message from Elaine asking if I was up. I headed to her house just before five and we drove to the race together.

Parking was easy and was right next to a restroom.  We hit that first. Our nerves were in high gear.

We grabbed our bikes and bags and walked to transition.  We just followed the crowd and the first thing that happened was we got our numbers written on us.  We walked a few feet ahead and ran into Bethany.  I was so happy to see that we were on the same bike rack! It's silly, but I never put my bike on a rack before and I never thought to ask or watch a video.  It was nice to have a friend show me. Easy peasy.

We headed to the racks and Elaine was just across the way from us.  We set up our transition spots and chatted a bit.  Elaine wanted to walk the course and see all the in's and out's. It was a really good idea.

We got back to our bikes and I put my wet suit on and grabbed a banana and some water. Then we headed to the beach and the first wave was already in the water.
Before the start

The people doing the olympic distance went out first and then the sprint, all at five minutes apart.  This made us wave 12, the very last wave.

By the time we lined up, Elaine and I were pretty nervous.  We hugged and wished each other a good race. She is an excellent swimmer and lined up in front. I stayed in the middle of the pack.

When the horn blew, in the water we went. My wave did not seem too big but when we got to the first buoy, it was crowded. Once I was around that, it spaced out a bit more.  I was not swimming my best but I was moving forward. At one point, I turned my head to breath and I swallowed a huge gulp of salt water. Yuck!  I had my eye on the big orange buoy and was just wishing I was there.  I felt such relief when I finally made it.  I swam till the ground was too close to keep swimming and then I stood up.  Walking out of the water, I unzipped my wetsuit and brought it down half way. When I hit the beach, I ran.  What was crazy was everyone around me was walking.  I passed everyone I encountered on the beach.

Once I got to my bike, I got my wetsuit off, socks and shoes on.  I am sure there are triathlon Gods rolling over in their graves, but I took out my contacts and put on my prescription sunglasses.  I just hate, hate my contacts. They bother me and I just don't see as well in them and I wanted to be comfortable.  You can stop rolling your eyes now.  Helmet on, quick drink and I ran out of transition and hopped on my bike.

I started peddling like a bat out of hell. I was going fast and was out of breath. I felt like I was still in the water, my breathing was off.  My stomach was burning too.  Salt water?  The first 2-3 miles, I just didn't feel good.  I started to talk, out loud, to myself and my bike.  I needed to calm myself down.  I survived the swim, my biggest challenge. I needed to slow down, get myself together and just ride.  Once I did that, I started to feel better and everything just turned around.  I felt great on the bike and despite the first couple miles, had a really great ride.  I was around the same four girls for the second half of the ride.  We passed each other back and forth.  I know for sure I finished ahead of at least one of them.

Back in transition, I changed to my sneakers and sucked down a GU at the same time.  Had one last drink and headed out for my run.

This was a trail run and it was 3.2 miles.  My first thoughts when I started running was how happy I was to have both feet on the ground. My comfort zone.  However, trails are not my favorite. The really great thing about this though was the shade.  I stayed pretty cool on the run and held a pretty steady pace.  I was happy.  I was wondering how Elaine was making out and Bethany, who was doing the Olympic distance.  I didn't see either of them on the course. I did see two of the girls that I was with on the bike ride. I passed both of them in the first few minutes.  Yes, that makes me happy.

Because Gracie had a fever and was up for most of the night, I knew my family wasn't going to be at the finish line. This made me sad but I wanted to finish strong and make them proud.

The finish line was a beautiful site!  I ran into the chute smiling and so very happy! I heard my name and saw half of Elaine's family and they got a couple pictures.
Not a great picture. This is after the finish. I am turing off my Bia.

It was so great to see Elaine at the finish line.  I was so proud of both of us!  We headed over to where they had food and drinks. It was a nice spread and I was happy to eat.  We chatted about our race and I was very curious what our official times were.
Big smiles all around!

Back to our bike to pack up and we saw Bethany and her family.  She was so happy for Elaine and I for finishing our first tri's. She said she had a great race and we told her about ours.  And we walked to our cars.  I couldn't believe it was over.
The happy finishers!
The bling.

If you remember, six months ago, I didn't really know how to swim.  I have come a long way and still have more to go. My next tri is July 27. It's another sprint but in the ocean.  That should be interesting.

Ok, so for the official results.  I never said this, but I had a goal of 1:45.

My swim was 14:21. I figured it would be 15 minutes or more.

T1 3:15

My bike was 48:30. I was hoping for 45:00.

T2 2:52.  I feel like that should of been less time. Not sure where I lost it there.

My run, 37:21 with negative splints.  Thought I could do it in 35:00 but it was a trail run and the sand definitely slowed me down.

Total time, 1:46:18.  Pretty close to my goal and I feel good about it!

Elaine finished in 1:22:44 which was good enough for 6th in her age group! Woohoo, she kicked butt!

Things I need to work on, obviously, my swim. I do see improvement every time I hit the water though and feel confident that I will get better and even a little faster.

I am sure I can figure out how to be a little faster in transition also, especially T2. Maybe those quick tie laces?   I also need to look at the bike like my runs.  Don't go out too fast.  Find the pace you like and then kick it up in then end.

Once again, TriMom put on a fantastic race. For me, this was the perfect first tri.  The next two are also put on by TriMom and I am sure they will not disappoint.

It wasn't easy but it sure was fun!  Four weeks till the next one and I will be more than ready.

Am I hooked? Not sure but I will finish what I set out to do this year and then we will just see what happens.

Thanks for all the love and support. Best readers ever!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

5k With George

I had no intention of running the Katie DeCubellis Memorial Foundation 5k.  Nothing against the race, I have never run it before. I just have a very full plate and I am trying to keep my races under control. Yeah, right, we all know how that is working out.

George approached me a couple days before the race and said he wanted to run with me. This made me so happy that I signed up for the next possible race and that was Katie's race.

He was excited the night before and even laid out his clothes when I did.  The race started at 9:30 so it was nice not to have to get up really early.  We ate a nice breakfast and headed to the race.  We were really early.  There was no pick up the day before so we went into the high school gym and got our shirts and numbers.  George loved the shirt and wanted to wear it to race.  His excitement was so cute. He changed at the car, drank some water and I had a banana.  We walked around a bit and before we knew it, it was time to line up.
My handsome boy!

At the start.

I was excited to finally meet in person, Emily of Runs with Hope.  We chatted a few minutes but I am so bummed we did not get a picture.  I know I will see her at other races, so next time.

George and I found a good spot and I went to turn on my Bia.  No signal and never found one so I ran without it.  Bummed and worried that something was wrong with it.

Now, it was hot. I knew it was going to be tough, but I am pretty sure George didn't realize how hot it was going to be once we started running.

We started out pretty strong and ran the first mile in 10:14. I knew that was too fast and told George that we can run, walk, skip, whatever he wanted to do. He walked just a little after that and at a mile and a half, we hit a water stop. Boy did we need it.  I encouraged him to drink more than one cup, but he said he was fine and started to run.

It didn't take long for him to slow down and start to walk again.  We hit mile two at 22:12. He was hot and I was getting a little worried about him.  Soon after we hit mile two, a friend rode by on her bike. She asked how we were doing and I told her George was hot and very thirsty.  She was kind enough to offer him her water bottle and let us keep if for the rest of the race.  He took it and drank and poured some on his head.  We thanked her and we started to run again.

Even with the water, he was tired and hot and at one point he leaned on and hugged a telephone pole.  I told him the best thing was to keep moving no matter how slow or fast we were going. If you stop, you will be done.  One foot in front of the other and just go at the pace that gets it done.  He ran, he walked I just followed his lead.

We also talked, a lot.  I loved this time with him and will treasure these moments forever.

Once we turned into the high school, we saw the sign that read three miles. George said he wanted to walk. I said fine but maybe we can run into the finish once we pass the sign.  He didn't seem to sure about that. I would of done whatever he wanted.

We hit the sign and, BAM, he took off like a bat out of hell.  People at the finish were cheering him on and then I saw Mr. RWM and Gracie yelling for him to go and taking pictures.  It was a spectacular finish after such a hard race.  I was so proud of him for pushing through and finishing strong.
Flying to the finish line.

However, once we stopped, and walked into the gym, he sat on the floor and didn't move.  He didn't want food and was not drinking his water.  I found a less crowded area and a seat where it was a bit cooler. He finally started to drink and I grabbed him some orange slices.  That seemed to pick him up and he finally headed to the pizza.  I knew he would be fine when he ate three pieces of pizza, a hot dog and two bowls of ice-cream.

While he was eating and Gracie was in the bouncy house, I went over to check our results.  Next to his name read 37:05 and me at 37:06.  And then, I looked at his place.  There was a number one next to his name for the eight and under age group.  Wow, I ran over to tell Mr. RWM and decided to keep it a surprise until his name was announced during the awards.

They started the awards from the oldest to the youngest and he asked if there was going to be kid awards too. I told him yes and he said I bet I got third.  Not sure where he got that from, but I said, sure, maybe.

When they finally got to his AG and announced his name, the look on his face was priceless.  He went up, got his picture taken, and scored a sweet boogie board.  He was so thrilled!

Katie's parents and George

Look at that smile!
For the Love of Running, myself and our boys who both placed in their AG.  Way to go guys!
Watching the raffle.

Once we got in the car, I told him I knew but kept it from him.  He said, "You did, really? Wow, thank you that was awesome!" I may have teared up.

Once home I suggested he take off his wet and stinky clothes and take a shower. He said no way, he wore his shirt with the number still attached to it the rest of the day.  So super cute!  Love that kid.

This mama is super proud of her son and I can't wait to run with him again.  Also, this was a very nice race.  So very kid friendly with a ton of kids actually running it. I was impressed with each and every one of them.  I would do it again for sure.

Gracie, BTW, is mad that she couldn't run with us.  She is just not ready for a 5k and I'm pretty sure she would of given up in those temps. She loves to run though and I know our time will come. I look forward to that.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Saturday, June 7, 2014

First OWS, Ever!!!!

TriMom Productions is the company who is putting on the triathlons that I will doing starting June 22 at the Oh My Goddard.

One of the cool things they do is hold Tri Clinics to help you get familiar with open water swims, bikes and runs.  What makes it even better, is that you do this on the course of the race you plan to enter.

Now, I pretty much got the running covered and with every bike ride, I feel more at ease.  But the swimming in the open water has been freaking me out since day one.  If you remember, I didn't know how to swim six months ago.

The Oh My Goddard is quickly approaching and I really needed to get to one of these clinics.  I knew that I didn't want my first time in OW to be the race. That would just be crazy.

One of the things that I was waiting for was a wet suit that I ordered.  The water here in Rhode Island is still pretty cold and I knew I wouldn't do well without it.  Plus, it keeps you afloat.  You will not drown in a wet suit.

The swim clinic was Saturday and my wet suit arrived on Friday.  I went to register for the clinic on-line to find out that it was closed.  I felt a mix of disappointment and relief.  And I went back and forth with, "Do I just show up and hope they let me in?"  Finally, a little after 10pm, I saw a FB update on the TriMom page saying to come on down even if you missed registration.  Well, there it is. I hurried up and got out everything that I needed.  Some things went right into the truck and some I laid out on the table with my purse.  I sat back down and then started to panic.

Real panic.

OMG, I am going to get into the water.  FOR REAL!  I kept wishing that I had a friend to go with me.  I am not one to shy away from strangers, but for some reason, I was completely nervous to meet these people.  So unlike me.

I finally got in bed, but that was useless.  I tossed, I turned.  I threw blankets off me, just to pull them back up.  I turn the radio on, I turned it off.  I may have even checked FB.  I was one giant mess.  I can honestly say that this was the most nervous I have ever been before any of my pervious races and this wasn't eve a race!

Then, the alarm went off.  My first thought was you don't have to do it. My second thought was, suck it up and get out of bed!

I put my tri suit on and now for the funny part.  I had trouble getting my wet suit on the day it arrived. I didn't want to do it in front of people so I put it on, up to my waist, to drive there!  It actually went on easier then I thought and I considered taking it off, but in the end, I drove the 30 minutes with it on.

You can stop laughing now.

Because I am who I am, I was 25 minutes early.  I took the time to just sit and relax and watch what was happening around me.  I finally got out of my car and said hi to the woman who parked next to me. We chatted a few minutes and then a man said that we were meeting at the other end of the beach.  Once Kathy, the owner of Tri Mom, checked everyone in, she handed out swim caps and samples of Body Glide.

We all sat down and heard how the morning was going to go.  For the first time, I felt calm.  The water looked still and peaceful.  I was with nice people. Plus, TriMom had people out there in white caps to help us.  Everything was going to be fine.
I am in the orange cap.

She had us get in the water and swim to the first buoy.  There we were given some more instruction and were told to try and float.  My feet shot up and I swear, I almost did a backwards summersault!

We went back to the beach and she split us up to simulate waves and I was in the first one.  I did not get in right away, just sort of let some of the more eager swimmers get started.  Once I was in I walk just a bit and then started to swim.  I got to the first buoy without any problem. I looked straight ahead and focused on the second buoy.

There were no waves but it did get choppy with all the people in the water.  I, unfortunately, swallowed some salt water. Yuck and now I am wicked thirsty.

At one point I decided to catch my breath and back stroke a bit.  About 10 seconds later I hit the girl who had been close to me for most of the swim.  I apologized and decided to stick with free style, breast stroke and side stroke.  Kathy, who was on a paddle board was yelling encouraging words to all of us started to yell, "Don't stop in the water!". I am pretty sure she was yelling at the girl I just hit.

I think the girl stopped right in front of me and stood up. Oh did I mention the water wasn't so deep?  Anyway, I still stayed away from the back stroke but felt better thinking it wasn't my fault.  I also know on race day, there will be more than 34 people swimming with me and it will most likely happen again.

At this point the second buoy was getting closer, but it felt like I wasn't moving.  I started to get mad and just wanted to be finished.  Of course I was moving and once I hit the buoy, I almost cried out of pure joy.  I still had to get to shore but that was nothing.  Oh happy day!

I walked out of the water and stepped foot onto the beach smiling like I never smiled before and maybe with a tear in my eye.  This was un-timed, but I am guessing 15 minutes.  I know it's not the best time, but I was not the last one out of the water. Now, I know that this was not a race but it was still a nice feeling.

There was an optional bike ride if you wanted to do it.  This is also an olympic race so you could bike the sprint course or the olympic. I went with the sprint since it is what I will be doing in two weeks.
I am in there somewhere.
I have never done a group bike ride before and wasn't sure how it would work.  We had a leader and people riding with us who just knew the course. This was also a no drop ride, which means, no one gets left behind. Not being familiar with the area, that made me feel better.

I stayed towards the back and kept at a slower pace than I have been riding in my pervious training runs. I was ok with this, again, not a race. I just wanted to get a feel for the course and see what it was like to ride with so many other people.  The course was beautiful. All roads and for the most part, not too much traffic.  We had a few check points where our leader made sure we were all there and just explained the next bit of the course to us.  I felt good the whole time.  Some hills but nothing as bad as my neighborhood.  I did talk to a couple people on the ride, but for the most part, I stayed alone. I am ok with that.  I feel like I have to concentrate more on the bike and I didn't need any distractions.

I did speed up in the end once we were back in Goddard Park. I finished in 58 minutes but am sure I could do better on race day.

Once back to my truck, I racked my bike and then just sat for a few minutes looking out at the water.  It was a beautiful morning and I will never forget my first OWS.

I would like to point out that even though I wanted the swim to be finished, I could of gone on if I had to.  I didn't feel nearly as tired as I thought I would and the wet suit seemed to make swimming easier.  I always feel like I could bike forever and even though I didn't run today, I knew I would have no problem doing so if I wanted to.  I have a 5k in the morning that I will be running with George so I was saving my legs a bit. Can't wait to run with my boy!

So here we are, two weeks out from my first triathlon and feeling better than ever!

Anything you think I need to know before June 22?  Would love to hear any advice you may have for me.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend, Plus a Day

So how was your long weekend? Yeah, I know it's Thursday, but this is the first chance I got to blog about mine.  There are a few workouts that I wanted to tell you about.

Sunday, I had plans to ride with Beth. She lives about 40 minutes away from me and not to far from the site of the Rhode Warrior Half Ironman Distance Triathlon.  I have to admit, I am still unsure of the mile swim but in the meantime, I thought it would be nice to bike and maybe run on part of the course.  

This was going to be our first ride together and my first time back on the bike since I fell. Oh sorry, you didn't know I fell?  I didn't unclip fast enough and fell right over on my right hip and also hurt my knee in the process.

I am fine.  My butt was bruised and sore and my knee was cut and swollen.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous about the knee, but I am fine.

Ok, back to the ride.  We were on our way about 10 minutes after I arrived.  We started out through the neighborhood and eventually got on the main roads.  Some parts we were able to ride together and talk, and others I just followed her.  At one point I was watching her legs and noticed she had a nice steady movement. I however was pedaling twice as much as her.  What was I doing wrong?

About mile twelve, Beth was next to me and asked why I was in the small wheel? Umm, the what? What?  Beth, said, push the left gear over to the right, so I did.  Yeah, instant relief.  Duh, such a rookie!

The last two miles were very enjoyable and I am looking forward to the next time.  Thanks Beth!

As you know, I am part of the Sub 30 group on FB.  This group was started by Ted Spiker of Runner's World. Some of us have hit our sub 30 5k and some of us are still working towards it. It is a great bunch of people full of motivation and support.  And on Monday, I was able to run with two of the members,

Jim I met for about ten seconds at the Providence Half Marathon.  Emily, I had only spoken to on-line.  Emily was the one who initiated the meet up and I was so thrilled that she did. We planned to meet at my beach for a 4 mile run and then coffee.

The weather was supposed to be nice but it was cool with drizzle.  Didn't stop us. We ran a nice easy pace and got to know each other.  It was a thrill to talk with them in person and I really hope we can do it again.  Jim will be running the Jamestown Half and I hope we can run some of that together.  

It was, of course Memorial Day.  I thought about all those service men and women who gave their lives for our freedom and I thanked God that Mr. RWM is home safely with us after 25 years of service. I did log my 4.27 miles on the Wear Blue to Remember site.  However, I did not wear blue but it is the miles that count, right?

I got on the bike again outside with Elaine and had a great ride with her on Tuesday .  We rode from my house to the beach and back which was twelve miles.  I have to say, the rides are nice but living in these beachy, vacation type places, we are going to have to head out earlier when there are less cars on the road.  Just for a little piece of mind.

On the swimming front, things are improving.  I am sure I will finish the quarter mile swim, but still have some doubts about the mile.  Still working towards it though as I am too clueless to quit just yet.  

I will be running the Skirt Sports Virtual Half Marathon on Monday.  Monday's we usually run long anyway, so a couple of the girls signed up too. Might as well get the swag if you are going to do distance. Did you sign up yet? Don't forget to use the coupon RUNNER25 for your discount.

Ok, that is all for now. I will write a post after Monday's 13.1.  

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole