Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Waterfront Olympic Triathlon 7/12/2009

I will be honest, I was really nervous about my first tri of the 2009 season. I had a lot of goals and expectations when the year started. But just like racing, things happen mid-way and you need to adjust. I can usually adjust pretty well during a race, but ask Andy, I am not so good at adjusting to changes in life. ;-)

The past 4.5 months have been the most exciting, stressful, & happiest. Andy and I have accomplished what we set out to do and are living the life we wanted. Granted, we would like to be making more money...but who wouldn't, right? All that being said, this triathlon was sort of a test I had for myself. I wondered if I could take a very important part of my life in Illinois and move it to Tennessee successfully. Verdict? Affirmative. The tri was great!

A little over a month ago, Andy's cousin Jacqueline (she moved down here about 2 years ago) asked if I would be the swimmer on her relay team for the Waterfront Triathlon. I said yes. I also thought that since I would be swimming, why not just do the darn thing myself. I e-mailed the race director and asked if I could do a relay and an individual entry. Come to find out, they don't do that a lot down here. Back home I hear of people doing the swim on a relay and individual race all the time. Well, "Team Magic" a.k.a. "Team let's mess everything up" never heard of this concept before. They let me, but there was a lot of confusion prior. I was the ONLY person doing a relay and individual amongst 1300 participants. Every time I mentioned I was doing both to ANYONE (race staff, participants, or spectators) they thought I was doing the race twice...ugh.

Race morning: Anthony Brown (Andy's friend from high school who moved to Knoxville, TN) was doing the race too. He came down Saturday night for some homemade lasagna and a place to crash before the race. He and I headed downtown @ 5:00 am. After some sprinkles on the commute, we got into Chatt early and ready to race. We unpacked our gear and headed into transition. I lost Anthony pretty quick amongst all the people, but I did find Jacqueline (our team runner) and Crystal (our team biker) pretty quick.

Swim: Since there were 1300 participants and we were swimming in the Tennessee River, they had a TT start (time trial). Pros went first @ 7:30 am, oldest age groupers next, then age groupers, and finally relay teams. Since I was doing the swim on a relay, I had to start at the very end. I got in the water at 8:45 am. Honestly, I think there were only 40 people that got in the water behind me. I had done some swimming in the months prior, so I was feeling ok about the swim. It was a point to point going down river. My fastest Olympic swim was in MIM 2 years ago. I think it was around the 26 minute mark, but everyone says the swim at MIM is notoriously short. For this, I was shooting for just under 30 minutes. Personally, I didn't feel the "current" everyone said would help me "float" down the river. I think I was swimming too close to shore to be in the current. Also, the water temp was 80* -- so no wet suits. I also forgot to start my watch when I got in the river. Ugh. Even with all that, the swim felt good. My shoulders were burning, so I knew I was pulling pretty strong. I got out of the water and ran up my first set of stairs of the race, hit the landing and then up the next set of stairs. There were 4 sets of stairs on the race course. I think I picked off some people in the swim, but not sure. I ran into transition gave Crystal our team timing chip and off to my bike. Swim time: 26.29 (individual) 26.33 (relay) that happened, no clue. Maybe my right ankle was 4 seconds slower passing over the timing mat than my left?

Bike: As suspected, my bike was almost the ONLY one left in transition. Not too big of a deal when you are doing a tri of about 500 people; but when you have a transition for 1300 people, your bike looks pretty lonely out there all by itself ;-) I grabbed my bike and headed out. I felt pretty good. Turned my power tap on and put the metal down. The course was an out and back up highway 27. They shut one lane of traffic off for us. It is a nice rolling course. No mountains, thank goodness. I picked people off and almost never got passed. Nice feeling. I guess starting DFL has its perks. The wind in TN stinks. You never really get a tail wind, but you always seem to have a head wind. Darn mountains. I caught up with Crystal (our biker on the relay) with about 3 miles left to go. That felt pretty good. She rides a lot and is on a team. But then she found that "hidden" gear and got me back with 2 miles left. I thought if I kept her in my sights I would still be in pretty good shape. Bike time: 1:21:04 / 19.2 mph (it was a 26 mile bike, not a 40k).

Run: Trying to catch Crystal took a little out of my legs, but I got my running legs under me pretty quick. The rain started just as I was pulling into T2. Running in the rain is awesome. The only evil part of the race is the first mile of the run. They stuck this horrible hill at the very start of the run. Once you are done with the hill, you run UP a long set of stairs. UGH. After that, we were running on the River Walk. Very similar to the Constitution Trail back home. Nice and flat. Whew. I knew I would never catch Jacqueline, she is really speedy. With the swim and bike over, my only goal was to run and not walk. I didn't care what my finish time was going to be. I thought I had a decent swim. I knew I had a nice bike. So I just tried to pick people off one at a time. I actually caught some women in my age group. That felt great, especially since they started their swim about 30 minutes ahead of me. I saw Jacqueline on her way home and my way into the turn around. She looked amazing. Run time: 56:22 / 9:06 pace.

Finish: I saw Andy on my way into the finish. He rode his bike down from our house into downtown. I always love seeing him cheering for me. It really lifts my spirits and gives me a boost. I found Jacqueline and Crystal right away. We all looked like drown rats because of the rain. Thankfully the rain stopped 5 minutes after I finished. We got some food, changed, and waited for awards. Our team got 2nd! We got to stand on a podium and receive some cool gifts. It was an awesome race. I got 16th out of 60 women.

Finish time: Individual-2:48:49 / Team-2:39:18

Individual -- Swim: 26.29-T1: 3.10-Bike: 1:21:04 / 19.2mph-T2: 1:46-Run: 56:22 / 9:06 pace
Team -- Swim: 26:33-T1: 2:24-Bike: 1:21:35 / 19.1mph-T2: :39 -Run: 48:07 / 7:46 pace

All in all, I am very happy. I did my first tri in TN at a pace a little faster than my PR for a similar course. Not sure what race/goal I have next. I will have to put my thinking cap on and get back to you on that.

Well, that is all for now. Take care, Heather

Chattanooga, TN @ 11:15 am 81* feels like 85* (sunny) Wind S @ 5mph - Humidity 69%
Bloomington, IL @ 10:15 am 74* feels like 74* (cloudy) Wind SSW @ 14mph - Humidity 90%
Aurora, IL @ 10:15 am 75* feels like 75* (cloudy) Wind SW @ 11mph - Humidity 79%

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Double Leg Quad Cramps

I am sure you all are eagerly awaiting pictures of 'Sweet Soddy Daisy' but you will need to continue to wait. Ahharg! I took some really great pictures last week, but the internet at the house is really slow. It took over an hour to load one picture. So I am trying to find a faster internet connection to load the rest. Oh well. Part of living in the sticks ;-)

Things have been going pretty well. I have discovered that waitressing is something to be left for the younger generation. Not that I physically can't do my job. That is not the problem. The real problem lies in the fact Andy and I are on opposite schedules and never get to see each other. A "younger" person usually doesn't have a) a house b) husband c) life plans... For instance, when I am ready to do something he is tired and when he is ready to do something I am tired. I am putting my resumé out there and pounding the pavement again. Maybe with a TN address it will come out better.

I went out for a 4 hour ride yesterday. Typically a ride like this doesn't immobilize me anymore, but yesterday was different. For those of you who ride 650c wheels (because you are a small person--like me), the idea of riding a 700c bike is totally out of the question, right? Wrong! Andy had a 50cm frame with 700c wheels -- WSD (Women Specific Design) at the shop and wanted me to try it out. I was a little concerned it wouldn't fit me because the wheel base was too big and I would be stretched out. Not a problem with women specific design. Andy left the house for downtown first. While I finished getting my things together, I missed his text message that asked for me to measure the saddle height on my old bike before I left. Whoops. Big whoops. I get to the Trek store and all is well until Andy asked, "Did you get my text?" Nope. Ok, we can eye-ball this pretty close before I leave on our ride in 30 seconds, right? Ha ha ha. Andy wasn't too sure I was fit on my bike correctly, but I reassured him it felt great. Off we go...

It was great. Being on a 700c wheel base from a 650c wheel base is TOTALLY different. I guess the only way I can describe it is I am one of the "big kids" on a 700c bike. I didn't have to work harder to keep up, like I usually do. I was able to draft and BE drafted. The climbs seemed shorter with only a little more effort. The only problem I had was my saddle was a little off. On the first climb I could tell something was wrong, but I didn't know what and didn't want to make it worse by lowering my saddle or raising it. So I endured. It wasn't that bad at all...or so I thought. After riding up Lookout Mountain (my first time on this climb) and descending on Burkholter (sp) I felt great. I got up over 45mph on the decent! Whoo Hoo! We rode though Lookout Valley for a while and then did the stair steps on some highway, not sure where we were, but thank goodness Kym was with me. We did that climb at a pretty easy pace, and then it it me. My saddle position was killing me. It felt like I was sitting on 2 searing hot stones that were zapping the power out of my legs. Ugh. I mentioned something to Kym and she said we were almost home only 35 minutes or so. I figured I could muster up the houtspa and get around the base of Lookout Mountain and head into downtown Chatt. Well my quads had another idea. Halfway around the base of Lookout (short climb...Illinoisans would call it a big hill ;-)) my right quad was starting to twinge. I turned to Kym and mentioned something, but I thought I could rub it out while on the bike. Then my left quad started to go. Trying to rub out both of your quads while climbing a hill, doesn't work too well. Consequently, we pulled off to the side and then BAM! Double BAM BAM! Both of my quads seized up. I looked down and my legs looked like they belonged to a body builder! I could see every muscle contracting AT THE SAME TIME! I then looked up at Kym (while standing over my bike) and said, "What do I do? I can't move." She came over and held my bike and I some how got off my bike and sat down with bent knees and rubbed out my legs. Ugh. That was awful.

Truth be told, I drank 60 ounces of fluid, but on a 4 hour ride in the south east summer... that doesn't cut it. Plus my position was a little off. Not that a 50cm / 700c bike was the problem. It was a great bike and I am so happy I can ride a "big girl" bike now. It think we are going to sell Beatrice (my road bike) and get me a new 2009 4.7 Madone road bike.

Although, my (future) bike would be a different color. With the compact crank and an 11-28 cassette in the should be pretty close gearing to my 650c road bike.

I am planning on keeping my tri-bike as a 650c. I think I would be too stretched out in aero position. Plus 650c wheels have some serious get up and go. I like that feel in a tri. Very aero and fast.

Sorry that was a little bike gear saturated, but when you are married to comes with the territory ;-) love him.

This weekend Jacqueline and I are doing the Waterfront Triathlon in Chattanooga. I am doing the swim, Crystal Galloway is doing the bike, and Jacqueline is running. There are 6 female we might have a shot at some hardware. Jacqueline is a running stud and her friend Crystal sounds like a bomber biker. I am also doing it on an individual basis too. Not sure how that will turn out, but we will see. I will post something after I get slaughtered ;-)

Much love, Heather

Chattanooga TN-- 83* feels like 85* wind out of the NE 1 mph with 58% humidity--Mostly sunny @ 12:00 pm

Bloomington IL-- 69* feels like 69* wind out of the ESE 8 mph with 77% humidity--Cloudy skies @ 11:00 am

Aurora IL-- 73* feels like 73* wind out of the ESE 4 mph with 65% humidity--Cloudy skies @ 11:00 am

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sweet Soddy Acres (pictures)

Pictures of Sweet Soddy Acres...
(It took a really long time so I only loaded the "important" ones)
Above: from Jones Gap looking back at the house

Above: front of house

Above: back deck
Below: side deck and kitchen windows

Above & below: kitchen

Above: front living room

Below: entry into the great room

Above: great room (part of)