Sunday, August 26, 2012

Coming Back to Life & Attitude Adjustment

Annette doing something new! Photo taken at Lake Norman Tri 8/25.
It’s been months since posting to this blog…I am still happily (most of the time) living, working and playing on this planet, yet life and training have taken some turns that are taking time to figure out. Fortunately I still have George, Mama Grey and we have our house and jobs.

What I don’t have right now is the ability to run much and am not sure why! I have been dealing with some kind of issue since February and it was easy to put off dealing with it until after World’s in April. In May, when I spent many miles with Diane, is when the “issue” took over. I am not sure what it is-involves whole lower right side. Sometimes is it is difficult to walk, sleep or sit. 2 MRI’s and PT sessions have been inconclusive and I am scheduled for a nerve conduction study on 9/5. I have taken weeks off from land running-yet no relief. So now I am running just a little bit, cycling and swimming and using the good ‘ole elliptical.  Until a few weeks ago I was admittedly feeling lost and sorry for myself…hence the lack of posting.

At the end of July, I got sick of self-pity and decided to concentrate on improving my swimming. After a year and a half of swimming, I am quite strong with the breaststroke, yet as of August 1st, still couldn’t swim 50 meters freestyle. This meant time to take a lesson and practice lots. In summary, I participated in a Total Immersion Swim Clinic in Charlotte, an open water Master’s workshop on Lake Biltmore and a supported practice swim in Lake Norman, NC.

I loved being in Lake Norman-water was warm and I parallel lake swimming to trail running and swimming pool swimming to road running. At some point when I gain some good swim skills I look forward to doing some distances in open water…just as I look forward to one day getting back on the trails! (Biltmore Lake was quite cold-and therefore much more of a challenge).

On August 19th, I participated in my 1st triathlon and on August 25th, did my 2nd
View of the t-shirt
  Ramblin’ Rose, a women’s only event was in Winston-Salem on 8/19 involved a 225 meter swim, 8 mile bike and 2 mile run. I knew I could eek out the short run and bike, yet set my sights on swimming the 9-pool lengths freestyle w/o reverting to breastroke or something else. We were placed in order of projected swim time (1-10-with 10 being really fast and 1 being beginner). I figured it would take me 7 minutes used their chart to choose 4.

On 8/19, early in the morning it was in the mid-70’s and alternated between pouring rain and drizzling the entire time. After setting up stuff in the transition area-I had an idea of what to expect thanks to the pre-race clinic they held the previous day at packet pickup, I paced around and got more and more intimidated by the swim as I watched others warming up in the pool

Because I don’t want this to be an endless post, I’ll simply say I met great folks while waiting turns to go in the pool and found the whole fast-paced experience to be exhilarating and a real celebration as women and men celebrated the women in their lives as they participated. Children yelling for Moms, moms yelling for children. Ages ranged from 9-79.

I met my goal of sticking with freestyle and with great relief loved the freedom of the bike and run. Though uncomfortable, 2 miles wasn’t long enough to further exacerbate my biomechanical “issue”. Out of just under 400 women, I wound up 240th in the swim, 4th on the bike and 2nd on the run, ranking me 4th overall and 1st masters. Full results here. You’d have thought I’d just won some sort of great race from the way I proudly stood on the podium to accept the cool medal!
Cool medal
It’s been a long time since I have really appreciated an award. In ultrarunning, I certainly don’t run for prizes and don’t really think about awards, I just love the experiences. Yet for whatever reason, I was so very pleased to have a “thing” to help remember this experience. This makes me think of what it must be like for 1st time ultrarunners and helps me understand as an RD why people want finisher awards. It is likely too late to create finisher awards for the upcoming New River Trail 50k on October 13, 2012, yet is something to consider for 2013.

Lake Norman's Transition area
Bike and shoes ready to go!
Yesterday’s triathlon was quite different from Ramblin’ Rose. The Lake Norman Triathlon had 675 registered with 563 finishers, 198 finishers being women. The swim was 750 meters around buoys, 17-mile bike and 5k run. Unlike RR, most folks doing this event were not beginners. My category was Novice Masters and was given a silver swim cap and placed in the 11th out of 12 swim waves.

To summarize this event: Made it through the swim, reverting to breaststroke after only a few minutes. Bike was fine until I crashed! In triathlon there is a no draft rule, meaning bikes must be at least 3 bike lengths apart. I was happy for this rule as the guy I was behind, -later I learned his name to be Lee- lost control of his bike and began to yardsale on the road right in front of me. 3 choices! Veer into traffic, crash into him or crash into the ditch. I chose the ditch and wound up heaped up in a blackberry patch. My right calf went into crazy spasms as it was wrenched the wrong way from the clip less pedals. I think I screamed after I hit the ground. Lee was okay, despite some road rash, I yelled at him to keep on going as I untangled myself from my heap.

After the calf had its hissy fit, I assessed the bike and picked up some pieces. Neither wheel would turn at first and the derailleur was bent. After some bending and pleading out loud with the handlebars, the wheels did spin, brakes worked and I had at least the use of a few gears. I certainly wasn’t 100% and neither was the bike, yet relieved to be able to continue.

The run was fine-felt wobbly making the transition to run…yet after ½ mile, despite my calf and other issues I had a satisfying 20:43 finish.

New swim cap and medal
My results from this event: 43rd out of 198 women and 262nd overall. Of the women my ranking was 149th in the swim, 66th bike and 3rd run! Full results here. I happily accepted a 1st place medal and some pink socks for the Novice category. I have much to learn about saving time in transitions and certainly can only improve with swimming.

I am quite sore today, from yesterday's crash and only hope the bruises are superficial!

As summer winds down, I hope to soon have some answers about the leg/hip issue and too keep working in the pool and getting back on the bike as soon as it can be fixed. New River Trail 50km is coming up in about 6 weeks and that will consume much energy as the time draws nearer.