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