Thursday, September 27, 2007

Arcade Fire!

Thank you Meggie for introducing me to Arcade Fire and for telling me to see them live! What a fun band to watch. Enjoy my first introduction to the band.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Let's just say, I'm a Triathlete!

I can now officially call myself a "triathlete!" Yesterday I completed the Ogden Valley Tri and lived to tell about it! And, I actually had a great time and am looking forward to my next one. Here is a map of the entire course:

In case there is any doubt, I did the sprint race. Oh, you want details about my day, here they are. First, you have to got and get all your stuff set up in the transition area. You are given an assigned space for your bike, etc. I had been given very specific details (including a drawing) of what my transition area should look like. So, I began to lay out my shoes, running shoes (no socks allowed....they waste precious seconds during transition), bike helmet sitting on top of the visor for running, sunglasses inside the bike helmet because you put them on first. I had dutifully taped (with electrical tape....almost as good a duct tape for a triathlete) my two energy gels to my bike. I would need to eat one upon leaving T1 (the swim to bike transition) and one right before returning to start the run. Again, there is no eating allowed in transition because this just wastes precious time when you could be gaining on your competition. Once transition was all set up, it was time to get ready for the swim. There were 8 waves (3 for the Olympic distance and 5 for the Sprint distance) and I was in the second to last wave. I put my wetsuit on (half way) and headed down to the water. When I was about 15 minutes from my start time, I zipped my wetsuit on and headed into the water to do a quick warm-up. I noticed that some woman had not put her wetsuit on properly and so offered to help her fix it. Shortly after that I saw a woman I had met at the course preview the following week. She commented about how nervous I looked (remember from my last post, I realized I could actually die doing this!) My new friend with the wetsuit said she thought I seemed so calm. Well, it didn't matter because the countdown had begun and I was going to start my first triathlon. The swim went much better than anticipated. I was a bit nervous and panicky, but quickly calmed down and reached the first buoy much sooner than I thought. Around the buoy and on to the next! Without much incident, a few grabs of my legs and running into other swimmers (all part of the game I've been told), I was out of the water. I was curious about my swim time (I wanted to finish the swim under 25 minutes and thought at a stretch I could be out of the water in under 20 minutes), so I hit my watch and looked down 15:35! I was very pleased with my swim. I began to take my wetsuit off as I ran up the beach to transition. Once in transition, I finished stripping my wetsuit, put on my bike shoes, sunglasses and helmet and was on my way out of transition. I ran to the mount line, hopped on my bike and headed for the road. Fortunately, I had no problems clipping into my pedals (for some reason, I decided it would be OK to put new pedals on my bike; thus requiring new cleats on my shoes, the night before a race.....crazy idea!) I got to the straight flat section and tore off my first gel, sucked it down and drank some of my Gatorade. Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Yes, they make it look so simple on the Tour de France, but it is actually quite difficult (in my opinion) to eat and drink while on the bike.....there is a lot of balance involved. I rode my way around the lake. I knew when I hit the damn I only had about 1.5 miles left until the transition area. I was thrilled because it meant getting off the bike and on with the run! I'm happy (or maybe sorry) to say, there was no falling off the bike for me! I made it through the entire ride, unclipped successfully and was back at transition. My bike was a bit disappointing (but really only after the fact when I saw, compared to others, how slow I really was) I wanted to complete the bike in under 1 hour (15 miles) and finished the bike in about 51 minutes. Time for the run. I racked my bike, threw off the helmet and bike shoes, slipped on my running shoes, grabbed my visor, race belt (with my number) and the extra gel that I had left out "just in case" (When I went to eat my second gel coming back to transition, it didn't open so I knew I'd have to eat one at the start of the run!) I was quite pleased with the quickness with which I exited from T2 (bike to run). I knew there was a hill out of transition up to the road, a downhill section and then another uphill before hitting the turn-around. I just wanted to get through this, my first triathlon! Before I knew it, I was at the last little uphill before the turn-around. Off the road and onto the trail. It got a bit tricky as this was a single track trail and not much room for passing, but I managed to pass quite a few people! Once I hit the bridge, I knew I was home free. Across the finish line! My goal for the race was merely to finish under 2 hours (and hopefully not fall off my bike!) Well, I'm happy to report that I met my goals. My official finish time was 1:38:44. Definitely under my 2 hour mark and pretty impressive for a first-timer (so I've been told!) You can look at my results here. You'll notice in looking at the place standings (overall, gender and division); my bike killed me in the end. Oh well, I can't do anything about this race, but now I know what I've got to work on. I'll be doing a lot more biking this winter! As a side note: When I say there is "no eating" in transition; this is not entirely accurate. You are allowed (by race rules) to eat in transition. However, when you know and get all your advice from the person who wins the whole thing; you have different "rules" than the rest of the crowd! Basically I was told I couldn't eat in transition, all my nutrition needed to be consumed on the bike or during the run.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I think I just threw-up a little

Why do I alwasy get the pre-race jitters and anxiety? It's not like I'm going to win it all, but I still experience this odd stress, anxiety, I think I might throw-up feeling. This time, however, I think it might be justified. Tomorrow, I'm doing my first triathlon. The Ogden Valley Triathlon in Eden, UT. Here are the thoughts running through my mind:
  • I could actually die doing this race.
  • The swim portion can be brutal with so many athletes; I could really be pulled under the water.
  • I could fall off my bike (funny, yes, but also painful)
  • What if I don't finish the bike in under 1 hour?
  • Will I get beat by a fat girl?
  • Why is my wave the last to start? I might actually be the last person to cross the finish line.
  • What if I have to walk part of the run? I've never walked during a race before!

Well, even with all of this, I'm still going through with it. A wetsuit keeps you buoyant, and there will be lots of lifeguard, kayaks and boats during the swim. If I fall off my bike, it certainly won't be the first (and probably won't be the last)! And, I suppose, if I have to walk part of the run course, it won't be the end of the world. I have to remind myself, all I want to do is finish!

Tune in next week for the full race re-cap!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

SLC swimming pool institue mandated bathroom breaks!

Due to the recent outbreak of Cryptosporidium in SLC, all pools are required to close for 10 minutes during every hour. The exception to this rule (at least where I swim, Steiner East) is during lap swim only times. I thought I went during the correct hours last night, but I was mistaken. Just as I had pushed off the wall for the second 200 of my 500m swim, I feel this tug on my leg. The other guy in my lane (who I do know) grabbed my leg to let me know we had to get out for the appropriate break. During this time, you'd think they would be checking chemical levels in the pool or something, but no! We were informed that the pool closing was really for a bathroom break. Are you kidding me?!? Fine, make the kids get out for a mandated bathroom break, but not the adults. Seriously, I think I'm old enough to make that decision for myself! The best part of this whole issue is they keep hyper-chlorinating the pools. Chlorine does not kill the parasite in question. So, now I just get to be extra chlorinated and have burning eyes after a swim! Luckily I have TriSwim!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bicycle built for one

In training for a triathlon, I have learned my weakest discipline is not the swim as I would have suspected, but rather the bike. Who knew how hard it was to ride a bike and do it fast. (All those pros at the Tour de France make it look so easy!) Well, I did my first club ride last night. Fortunately, only three of us showed up (and I'm friend with everyone who was there.) I say fortunately because I didn't have to worry about getting dropped so quickly. Charity and Mikey were kind enough to stay with me or at least wait for me to catch up at the stop lights! They showed me a great ride along Wasatch Blvd. The best part was after we turned to head home, there is a great downhill section with swooping S-turns (and the road is basically deserted). Now, I just have to get better so I can really gain some speed and enjoy the ride! The best part of the whole evening, the beautiful sunset we got to witness after returning to the starting point of our ride. As a side note, I didn't fall off my bike once last night; and I had to clip in and out of my pedals about a dozen times. My 5 year old (and the 3 year old for that matter) nieces make fun of me because I still fall off a bike and they don't!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The best product ever!

OK, if you've never spent time in a pool, you just won't appreciate this. After taking up swimming a few months ago, I noticed that I constantly smelled like chlorine. No matter how much I showered, but on lotion, etc. I still had the lingering scent of "eau de chlorine." I recently learned about this great product...TriSwim. I absolutely love it. No longer do I smell like chlorine, but I now have a nice yummy citrus scent. And, for those of you with kids (or you blondies out there) this prevents that green tinged hair. It may be the end of summer, but I'll be swimming through the winter in a nice heated indoor pool (and not smelling like chlorine)!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What will Steve Jobs think of next?

I kid you not, that is an iPod vending machine. I saw this in the Las Vegas airport. Apparently, online and in store sales are good enough, Jobs has to take over the vending market as well!