Milton Man Triathlon 2015 Review

Miscellaneous

This weekend was the Milton Man Triathlon in Lake Milton, Ohio. Per usual Northeast Ohio weather, of course it was cold and rainy (my nightmare race weather). I’m not glad it happened, but I’m relieved I finally experienced racing in terrible weather and was forced out of my comfort zone. At one point, standing on the dock shivering, I told myself that I didn’t have to do it. That I could walk away, pack up my stuff and go home. Luckily I didn’t quit, but the thought crossed my mind, especially because I was only one of a few people without a wet suit on. (Note to self – suck it up and buy a damn wetsuit already!)

MM3Sprint female was the last group to go (of course) and as we all stood there in the rain waiting for our turn, the wind really picked up. Soon the waves were blowing and the buoys were all over the place. A little part of me was even hoping for them to cancel the swim as we were waiting.

I was miserably cold and just standing there in the pouring rain. I saw a tree and ran over to stand underneath it to try to keep warm and dry (since we had 40 minutes to wait for our wave to go). The nicest lady came over to me and held her umbrella out for me. “If I’m cold I know you are even colder.” She said to me. Another lady joined us and we all three just stood there for about half an hour chatting and trying to keep warm under her umbrella. Eventually my saint, as I like to call her, went to go watch her husband come out of the water from the swim. I stood there in the pouring rain again for another 10 minutes and chatted with some other Cleveland Tri members. It was so insanely cold and I was really starting to freak out. I kept trying to take deep breaths and calm myself, but with a shivering spine and legs I found it nearly impossible.

Finally it was our turn to head out onto the dock and it felt good to just walk and go somewhere. We had three minutes to all jump in the water and get ourselves situated. This was a lot easier than I had anxiously anticipated. There was plenty of room and the water seriously felt like a hot tub compared to being out in the rain just standing there. My goggles were on top of my head and I put them down and swam around a little. Finally the horn blew and we were off.

MM2The Swim
The swim felt like it took forever. I was frustrated when my Garmin didn’t connect and I missed starting it with the horn. I decided I would just swim by how I felt. At the halfway point I was annoyed at how long it was taking. I silently thanked myself for still doing sprint distances as we only had to swim one lap. I was tired and a little flustered during the swim. I tried drafting off another swimmer like we had covered in a swim clinic I had attended earlier in the week, but I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right. I felt like I was just swimming annoyingly close to the other swimmer. Coming out of the water, we went up a little ramp and I struggled a little to climb up since I was tired and it was slippery and wet.

MM4The Bike
This course was 16 miles compared with a normal sprint bike distance of 13 miles. I was kind of disappointed by this since I wouldn’t be able to compare it with my other races since the distances would be different. I heard the course was fast and flat and I was happy to find that it was. Sprinters did two loops and Olympic did three. It cleared up a little on the bike, but was still fairly cold and everything was wet. About half way through the bike course my eyes started to burn and itch. They felt tender and crusty and my vision seemed to be focusing in and out. I tried to ignore it, but I didn’t know what was wrong. I thought maybe I lost or ripped a contact in the swim or maybe the sand had irritated my eyes somehow. I kept going and tried to ignore it.

The Run
I was dreading the run since I had only done one brick workout in the past month since my last race. Surprisingly it went well though and I finished in 25 minutes. (My 5K PR is 24 minutes so this is actually really good for me.) The run course was beautiful and I wished it would have been warm and sunny. You ran out over a bridge overlooking the water. It was very scenic and had a beach atmosphere. It was a down and back course and I felt like it wasn’t that hard, in fact I actually enjoyed it compared to my last race. The finish line was a straight shot in the grass and there was mud and puddles everywhere. I cringed as I ran through the mud in my brand new Brooks, but I told myself to shut up and suck it up. By the time I finished the run my eyes were on fire. I could barely see and I was convinced I had lost a contact and the lake water had irritated my eye.

MM1I was on a tight time crunch as I had to be at a bridal shower for one of my best friends at 1PM that day, so I basically power walked back to transition to pack up my things and leave as soon as I was done. When I got to the car I looked in the mirror and my eyes were both blood red. I racked my brain trying to think what it could have been and then it hit me. While waiting the 40 minutes for my wave to start, I sprayed “no fog” spray on my goggles. You are supposed to let it sit for about a minute and then wash it off, but since it was a dock start and I didn’t have direct access to the water I never washed them off before putting them on my face. You would think something that was purposely intended to go near your eyes wouldn’t be so harsh if used incorrectly, but that was it and man did it hurt! My eyes were blood shot at the shower and pink at work on Monday. When the fiancé saw me on Sunday evening he immediately ran up to hug me and asked me what was wrong since it looked like I had been crying since my eyes were so red!

MM5Overall the race was good and I’m glad I did it, but obviously I could have done without the bad weather and the stinging eye pain. I’m relieved I finally swam in scary conditions, although I’m sure some triathletes would laugh at me calling this race scary compared to some of the other swim stories I’ve heard! I was happy to talk to so many Cleveland Tri club members at this race too (one of the main reasons I wanted to do it). Having only been involved in the club the past few months I wanted to get out there and participate, plus I need to get a lot more triathlons under my belt.

Next up is (supposedly) the Cleveland Triathlon Olympic distance on July 26. I say “supposedly” because I haven’t actually signed up yet. I really believe with all my training and having done 4 sprint distances I can now do the Olympic, it’s just scary to think about and commit to. I need to sign up soon though as prices increase any day! Stay tuned for more information on that. The good news is I might be buying a used wet suit off another Cleveland Tri club member this week, so that should help calm my nerves for more open water swims.

On the training schedule for this week:
Monday – PM 5 miles
Tuesday – AM run 3.5 miles and 1/2 mile swim
Wednesday – Cleveland Tri Club brick workout (19 mile ride + 2-3 mile run)
Thursday – Stairmill at my work gym on lunch
Friday – No work so planning a long workout in the early AM (I can’t decide over a long bike ride, a long brick, or a long run)
Saturday – AM 5 miles
Sunday – Rest

Portage Lakes Triathlon 2014

Miscellaneous, Running

Welp. I did it again. I conquered a terrifying swim and finished it with a bike ride and then a run. This past weekend was the 2014 Portage Lakes Triathlon in Akron and I competed in the sprint distance – 1/2 mile swim, 13.1 mile bike, 5K.

Like many other triathletes, the swim was the most terrifying part for me. The entire race got postponed 30 minutes because fog had taken over the swim course and you could barely see the first buoy. The sky was overcast with dark clouds and it was only 48 degrees, however the lake was a warm 70 degrees. It actually felt better to get in the water than to just stand around shivering on the beach waiting for the start (which of course didn’t help my nerves).

Fog covered the entire swim course.

Fog covered the entire swim course.

Around 8 AM the fog began to clear and the first wave of the mini triathlon went. I kept hinting to the fiancé that a “mini” might be good for his first triathlon race. He has terrible knees issues, but kept complaining that he wanted to be out there competing the entire time.

The race had a beach start (different from my first race in that we started already in the water and there was far less panic and splashing going on). I was  near the front because I told myself that I needed to be more aggressive. The siren went off and basically all hell broke loose. I fought to keep my spot as we bounded toward the water, arms and legs splashing everywhere. I got hit in the head and back a couple times and did my fair share of hitting too. The first couple times I accidentally hit someone I stopped to scream “Sorry!” but then realized it was slowing me down and wasting my energy. It was still considerably crowded by the time we hit the first buoy, but then we had another problem…seaweed. Now I wouldn’t consider myself a girly girl who is terrified of unnecessary things, however this seaweed freaked me out! I later told my fiancé that it felt like a movie or video game because it felt like the seaweed was wrapping itself around my arms and legs and I couldn’t get away from it. The more I panicked about it, the more I began to sink. I tried treading water, but of course I was STILL over the stupid seaweed. I flipped over on my back for a brief second and out loud I said “CALM DOWN. YOU’RE FINE. RELAX.” At the time I didn’t care how crazy I sounded talking to myself because it began to work. I flipped over and put my head in the water, telling myself that I just needed to get around the buoy and everything would be better. And it was. Around the first turned it cleared up, the seaweed was gone and I found my stride. I began to make a rhythm in my head from my stroke (something I did my first race) and it gave me something to focus on. “Arm-Arm-Leg-Leg.” Around sixteen minutes later I was out of the water – and incredibly happy to be done with it!

The bike course was beautiful and I would have liked to just cruise and take in the scenery, but I kept telling myself “No this is a race.” During my last triathlon, I felt like I was taking a casual bike ride and kept forgetting I was “competing”. Not this race. I hit the ground running (well, biking), powering down the open road and giving it my all on hills – which can I say – the hills were UNREAL on this course. Another runner told me that the course was hilly, but good Lord! By about the 8th hill I groaned out loud “COME ON” (since there was no one around me at that point). The bike course took me way longer than I had anticipated and I got to T2 already disappointed with my time. I forced myself to keep going. I normally run a 5K around 25 minutes, but because of the hills I cramped up around mile 2 and finished the run in a stupid 31 minutes. I met a really nice runner on the trails though and we ran together for a good chunk of it. Sometimes that’s all it takes to push you and I think that if I had still been running alone I would have been even longer on the run.

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The straight away into the finish was glorious because my whole body hurt and I was fighting a major leg cramp. I honestly couldn’t wait to be done! There was another woman a little ways ahead of me and when I saw my family standing there cheering for me, I made up my mind that I was going to pass her (mainly because she looked like she could have been in my age group!) The girl’s family was standing close by mine and both parties started screaming loudly as I came sprinting up behind her. The girl’s family was screaming “Hurry up she’s going to pass you!!” and my family was egging me on. I did end up passing her by just a hair at the finish line and the announcer said into the microphone “Don’t worry you guys aren’t in the same age group!” It was actually really funny and the girl and I laughed about it afterwards.

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I had terrible leg and stomach cramps for about an hour after the race. Not sure if it was my nutrition (I may have had a few beers at a friends house the night before) or if it was just a challenging course. I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed with my time, but I tried telling myself that this is only my second triathlon and I’m still just a rookie. I actually PR’ed my swim time on this race though, finishing in 16:41. (I was 17 something at my first race.) I still need to work on my transitions though. It took me almost 4 minutes in T1 and almost two minutes in T2. T2 should only take me about 30 seconds! I’m not sure what I was even doing. Watching TV? Painting my nails? Seriously though, my time was ridiculous.

So that’s the wrap on triathlons for 2014 – one indoor race and two outdoor sprints. I’m already thinking about doing an Olympic distance at some point next summer. I think it might be my goal to compete in 3 triathlons during the season. I’ve also decided that this winter I am investing in a wetsuit and I’ve made it my goal to join Cleveland Triathlon Club in the spring. I only want to get better and more into this sport so I have to get out of my comfort zone. Another goal for next summer – find someone to race with! The friends I’ve asked all basically said “Hell No.”  I can only image racing along side someone would help, however I’d never be one not to do something because I was afraid to do it alone. (Stay tuned for finding a racing partner.) Next race is my absolute favorite of the ENTIRE season – The 2014 Akron Marathon on September 27! I feel like it’s soon going to be Christmas morning soon. And don’t worry, I have one of my best friends to run this race with 🙂

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