Thursday, June 20, 2013

2013 Triceratops Triathlon Race Recap

I really wasn't sure if I was going to do this race.  I had planned on it, but with my crash, and its proximity to MMM, I just wasn't sure if it would be a good idea.  Then I got an email from Randy at Running Fit.  It was all about "that one race that you always do".  I'm sure you have one.  Well, the Triceratops Tri is that triathlon for me.  I have done this particular race EVERY time it has been in existence.  I have missed some of the rest of the series, but I have always done this one.  It was my first tri ever in 2009.  An email was sent to Randy asking how long he thought I had before I could sign up, because this was my race that I always do.  His response- its already sold out, so if you want to do it, you have to let me know very soon.  This conversation happened before I even saw my doctor, so it was also contingent on that.  I saw Dr Jennings (which I mentioned previously), and he didn't seem horribly opposed to it.  He wanted me to take things one thing at a time (like the MMM first), and see how it went.  He was also a little concerned because my elbow was still healing, and likely would still be considered an open wound even on race day.  Since it was NOT in the Ohio River, I was told that it was better, and he also said if possible, wear a wetsuit, and use hand sanitizer on my arm in T1.  OK.  I was expecting it to be an wetsuit swim anyway so that made him feel better about it, plus I still had 2 weeks to improve. 

It was just me and the kids making this trip.  The race is on a Wednesday, so Ryan would need a few days off work.  He has the extra vacation days, but his work has been pretty demanding lately.  We had planned to pick up my packet, go to Island Lake the night before and get a park pass, and let the kids play at the beach.  The one thing that is really lacking in Louisville is a clean quickly accessible beach.  I was so spoiled in MI because Island Lake has 3 beaches, Kensington has at least 2, and Lakeshore Park has 1 as well, and all of those were within 15 minutes of the condo.  As tiny and old as it was, it was a fabulous location.  They didn't care that the water temp was 75 degrees!  The air was 73, so they were actually warmer in the water.

The next morning, we got together with one of my former coworkers and her children that are the same ages as Keira and Soren.  It is fabulous that the kids just pick right up where they left off.  I enjoyed catching up too.  We went to a favorite park in Novi, the Sports Park, with a great playground.

Then it was time to head back and get ready for the race.  The evening races are always so weird to prepare for.  I got there super early to make sure nothing extra strange happened (as is sometimes the case when packing up my bike small in the mazda).  To make things super awesome, Cristina and Kari pulled in right next to me!  We had a good time getting set up and saying hi to everyone.  Really, the social aspect of this race was fabulous (are you guys noticing a theme here in my post crash recaps...everything is all about hanging out with friends and not being fast???).
Kari, Cristina, and I looking fashionable in transition

Me and Erika

Cristina, Mary, and I

Julie, Cristina, and I

The race itself was OK.  It was a wetsuit swim.  I opted to not start elite, so I didn't really have anyone to start with.  Cristina and Erika both started elite, and they were in my age group.  I did get to meet a new Carrie, the wife of my Aquaphor teammate, Ben, and she was in my AG.  I hung out with her before the race and she helped me get zipped into my wetsuit.  This was my first wetsuit swim in 2 years!!  I hadn't used my wetsuits since I moved to KY.  It felt tight, and I had a wrinkle in my tri kit.  Oh well, it was just a sprint, right?

My swim wasn't great, but it was ok.  What was really bad was my T1.  It was total amateur hour.  Well, it wasn't quite an hour, but it was still really long and hysterical.  I was completely stuck in my wetsuit.  Wrists and ankles both got stuck!  Eek!  Then, I couldn't get on my bike.  I thought I was in a decent gear for getting on my bike, but I nearly tipped over going up this little grass hill.  Cristina's husband asked me if I had ever done this before!!!  Yes, it was really bad.  However, I still managed to average 19mph on the bike.  Woo hoo!  It helps to know the course like the back of my hand.  It was only my second outdoor ride since the crash, so this really helped me regain my confidence.  I really can't believe I have been doing this race for 5 years!  My run was pretty decent (7:40avg), but again, I mixed up the order of my stuff in T2, so I had a bunch of extra time in transition.  I really think it was my long transition times that contributed to the averageness of this race.  My bike average and my run average were pretty good, my swim was its usual slow, but my overall time wasn't anything special.  I did still qualify for elite, and I think I will do that next  year, since obviously all the cool kids did it. 

Also, I got to see Amy.  She came to the race with a friend after going to the Tiger's game in the afternoon.  She is doing so much better, but has a long way to go still.  She isn't allowed to go anywhere alone, but she is working hard at her therapy.  Mindy also came out, and I saw a few other friends who were just spectating.  It was a fun time, and I'm so glad I did it.  I guess crashing has given me a better perspective on racing.  Muncie was also still in the back of my mind, and I wanted to do this for certain to see how the swim bike run all together felt.  It felt hard, and the arm hurt on the bike, but it felt good. 
Cristina and I post race. Cristina was 2nd OA and 1st in our AG

Kari, Me, and Mindy

Team Aquaphor- Me, Ben, and Cristina.  Ben won his AG too.  If you look closely, you can see my arm all bandaged up.

This was a great trip.  It showed me that Muncie was still a distinct possibility, although I still had to sign up.  I knew Cristina and Kari would be there, and I was finally starting to get excited about it again, although I needed more time on the road.

Monday, June 10, 2013

2013 Michigan Mountain Mayhem

I was super worried about this event.  It was two weeks post crash, and I had been on the trainer a couple times.  That's is.  I did get cleared by my Dr. to ride the shortest routes, 50K, but I sort of felt like I went back and forth between doing nothing, just having the vacation in Northern MI, and going further.  I had been feeling better every day, but I just wouldn't know what it would feel like to ride outside until I did it, and then I would know pretty much in the first few miles what kind of day I would have.  Either it would work or it wouldn't.  We packed up a ton of stuff to go to Ryan's parent's house, and then up to Boyne City.

This year we opted to stay in Boyne City instead of Petosky, where we stayed last year.  The ride starts and ends in Boyne City, so we would be able to just ride to the start, and our hotel was really close to the finish.  Again, Kent, Valerie, and Austin were meeting us up there, along with couples Maria and Bill, and Mindy and Eric.  Its been really cool that Eric started working with Kent, because I met Mindy and Eric in 2011 at Muncie, and its been really fun to have more mutual friends with them and I can see them more often this way.  Also, Stephanie and Brian, who babysat me through this event last year were returning, and Kristel who has been a friend for a long time, with a different group of friends.  Our hotel wasn't anything special, but Ryan debuted his new wheels here. 

We checked into our hotel and walked around downtown Boyne City for a bit.  We got our packets picked up and walked over the Kent and Valerie's hotel for our carbo loading dinner with Austin, Bill, and Maria. They had a fabulous rental condo on Lake Charlevoix, and Bill and Maria had a unit there too.  We all pitched in and contributed to a super yummy meal with pasta, meat sauce, tomato and mozzarella salad, bread, and brownies for dessert.  We ate on the beach, and it was just absolutely fantastic to just be hanging out with friends.  I didn't even care if I rode the next day or not.  It was just so perfect!!! This is the view from the beach outside Valerie's condo
 Ryan and I on the beach

 Me, Valerie, and Maria

The next morning we got up and got ready to roll.  We couldn't find Mindy and Eric before our group rolled out.  There was a huge group of Wolverines here, it was a major ride for the club.  I definitely stuck out in my pink gear and TT bike.  Kristel saw the first wave of Wolverines head out and thought she missed us, when really we didn't start until about the third group, so I didn't get to see her before.    The ladies:
Bill and Maria

 Ryan and I

We got started, and from the beginning I was off.  I was uncomfortable.  I had a huge bandage on my arm and my wrists hurt every time I had to shift, which was a lot.  I couldn't hang out in aero, which was more comfortable with my wrists, since I was constantly falling off the back.  The decision point for the 50k vs the 100k was pretty early, about 17 miles.  Initially I wished it was further along, but by the first rest stop, I was a disaster.  I was so frustrated.  I hurt, and I hated that I couldn't keep up at all.  Ryan was hanging back with me, and I was letting it bother me.  Valerie was ready to call the SAG people to get me because I was in tears when she asked me how I was doing.  I hated it.  I didn't want to ride anymore but I didn't want to quit and fail again.  Valerie was worried about me riding on my own after the turn off point for my ride.  I was not.  I was eager to be by myself and not stress about pacelines or other riders too close to me.  I train so much by myself that I just needed to not worry about other people and try to enjoy the scenery.  I assured everyone that I was OK, had a working cell phone, and my cue sheet with SAG contact info.  I was able to push hard for the next couple miles until we separated.  I said my goodbyes, which really really sucked for me.  I didn't like that I wasn't able to ride with my friends, but I knew that it was the best decision, and I could at least finish the ride, even it if wasn't the distance I wanted to do.   I was listening to my body and my doctor.

It was pretty lonely out there, but quiet and I did see a few others out there.  Most of the people doing the shorter route were starting later in the morning, but there was only a really short section that I was doing that wasn't part of the route that everyone did at the end.  There was a rest stop that should have been at mile 90 or so was at mile 25ish for me.  I stopped, had a sandwich, and talked with a few of the other riders.  My wrists and arm really hurt, and I just needed a break from being uncomfortable.  One of the guys who stopped was a nurse, and tried to provide me some assurance that if I needed anything he could help me on the remainder of the ride.  Really, what I wanted was a Tylenol 3 to be waiting for me at the finish, and he couldn't prescribe me one, and I left my pain only pills at home.  I had been fine without them for over a week, but that was just doing indoor riding with no road vibration or bike handling.  I left the stop a little behind him, and talked with a few girls that rode up.  I thought about riding with them, but the funny thing was that even though I wasn't fast enough to hang with my friends (who are way hardcore cyclists), I was still stronger than most of the people that showed up to do the shorter route. 

"The Wall" was the big hill that I still was able to do with the shorter route.  It is an 18% grade hill that is preceded by a long gradual uphill.  It is at mile 98 or something of the 160k route, so the very end.  I made it up last year, not quite with ease, but I was determined to be strong and not walk.  It was Valerie's goal to make it up "the wall" this year, as she didn't the first year, and had a mechanical last year that caused her limited use of her gears, so this was going to be her year to do it.  I should have tried to get back later in the day to see her do it in hindsight.  This year, I was able to do it easier than last year, because I was obviously more fresh, and experiencing a different kind of pain this time around.  I passed the male nurse going up the steepest part, which I am sure was irritating to him.  He made sure to pass me like I was going backwards on the downhill though.  I'm small, so I don't go down very fast!!!!

I stopped to take a picture of these awesome mowers.  I want one, but I doubt I would be able to mow the lawn any straighter. 

I finished up with an average 16.6mph, which is fabulous for me!  It was one of the faster rides I did outside this year.  I was very pleased since I went over 35 miles and had 1600ft of elevation! 

After the ride, I did a 3 mile run, with a 8min/mi average.  It was pretty flat where I ran, and I just ran along the lake.  It was really nice, and I had a ton of time to burn.  I ran past some of the girls I passed on the route, and they asked if I ever got tired.  Well, it was a strange feeling to finish a ride and still have very fresh legs.  It was mostly my arms that couldn't take it.  Ryan was texting me updates about his location so I could be there at the finish.  I enjoyed checking out Boyne City and did a lot of window shopping before heading to watch everyone finish up.
Ryan at the end, above, and with me, below

Valerie and Kent

Austin, Kent, and Valerie

Kristel and I

Mindy and Eric

Mindy and I

We hung out at the finish area a while once everyone finished up.  Kristel actually met up with Eric and Mindy on the course, despite doing different routes.  Eric and Mindy did the full 200k, while everyone else did the 160k.  Valerie was victorious going up the wall, and Kent has the video of it.  It doesn't quite do the steepness justice, though.

We enjoyed some awesome ice cream, got some pop from a gas station, and then we had dinner out at a restaurant right in Boyne with the same crew from last night, plus Mindy and Eric.  My burger was huge, and I could barely put a dent in it.  The group convinced Eric and Mindy to crash in Kent and Valerie's condo, since they had stayed pretty far away the night before, and it was just too late for them to drive back.  We had a good breakfast with them before heading back to Canton.

It was really a fabulous weekend.  I am so glad I rode.  It was really such a blessing that I was out there able to be riding in the first place.  I had a bit of fear going in, and although I struggled with the beginning, I had a strong finish and a great time overall.  We decided that we all need to do this again, but skip the ride!  However, I don't think this group of people would be capable of going on a vacation like this and not riding.

Also, the kids had a fabulous time with their Nana and Papa, and we had a small birthday party for Keira once we returned to Canton with her cousins.  I have so much to be thankful for!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Horsey Hundred 2013 recap- The good, the bad, and the ugly

If you read my latest actual post (these are a bit out of order), you know that I crashed halfway through the 100 mile route.  However, there was a lot of fun with this ride before it happened and up until the crash.

First, we had Valerie, Kent, and Austin come in for the weekend.  I made some incredibly rich brownie cookie reese's cup treats.  They were pretty amazing.  Valerie also brought down some breadsticks from a favorite local restaurant, Aleko's.  Mark, the owner, was part of my previous tri club, and makes great pizza and breadsticks.  My parents were in town too to watch the kids. 

We got up bright and early and got ready to ride.  I was feeling really snazzy in my pink kit and new bolero that I had just bought for this ride.  Ryan and I
 Me and Valerie
 Austin, Ryan, and Kent

Things were going really well.  I was super excited about the cookies they have on this route.

We stopped at the capital building in Frankfort.  The floral clock was on the other side of the circle that we took around it.  Keira really wants to see it.  We'll have to go back as a family.

When we got to the 50 mile route, I probably had my first bad premonition.  I felt like it was getting late in the day, and they didn't have any more cookies!!!  We chatted with a few people as everyone refueled.  I was feeling good, but felt like I needed to slow down a bit.

The crash happened on a steep downhill.  The guys had gotten ahead, and I felt like I needed to take advantage of the downhills to try to get closer.  I just was going too fast, and slowed down too abruptly.  You can read more of the details in the post here.  Here are a couple pics Valerie took (after I said it was ok)  I look pretty good.  They had already cleaned up my knee, shoulder, and elbow.  I was glad my top did not need to be cut off.  Wearing the bolero that was easy to remove was one of my many blessings that day.
 I HATED being strapped to the backboard!!!  I ended up with a small abrasion on my forehead from the tape on it. 
 This is what eventually stopped my crash.  I hit the ground before hitting this, but still hit it with some force.

Here are some pics from after.  My knee was in bad shape.  I felt like I couldn't bend it because of the wound opening, but really it was because of the swelling that had built up in it.  My wrists were extremely sore.  At the hospital, I couldn't pull my tri shorts down because I had no grip strength.  My shoulders hurt, and they were worried about my elbow being broken and couldn't stitch it closed until they had heard from radiology.  These were all taken at home, varying amounts of days afterwards.  The first knee was the next day.

 This was several days after.  I was starting to stress about the pinkness, although that was just scar tissue, not infection
The knee was showing some decent progress
 My shoulder and back were looking really good!  This area healed the fastest. Some of those spots are freckles and some are small scabs coming off, but I did a good job keeping it moist and have very little scarring.  Just that slit on the lower left of the photo is still bad.  the other area is just pinkish now due to my tan being scraped off.

My helmet was banged up, but my wrists were sore from protecting my face upon the impact.

Also, I have a before and after picture of my bolero.  Our washing machine is the bomb!  I used peroxide on it to get the blood out.
You can see the little slit in it at my elbow.  I sewed it up!

It was really a rough event.  I felt bad that I messed up everyone's day.  I was mad that I went down due to poor bike handling.  I felt like such an amateur rider.  I was really blessed though.  I could have been hurt so much worse than I was.  I did not have a head injury.  I walked out of the hospital on my own.  I didn't completely destroy my bike.  I had my parents watching my kids so that I knew they were OK this whole time we were delayed.  I had friends to pick up my bike.  Valerie even brought me more cookies at the end.  I was so thankful I cried.  While I didn't know it at the time of the accident, but I know it now (when I write this on 8/4/13) that it was not season ending.  It was definitely a setback, but I'm OK now.  It also seems like it is sort of a rite of passage for cyclists.  It seems like almost everyone I know has crashed hard or been hit by a car.  Ryan has not gone down, thankfully, but he was involved with a very bad season ending crash for Kent two years ago.  My dad was hit by a car.  Austin was hit by a car.  Amy was hit by a gravel hauler.  Thankfully, I feel like mine was rather minor. 

That week was hard.  I was so stiff and sore.  I went to work on Monday, and just limped around.  I couldn't ride my bike (trainer) because I couldn't bend my knee far enough.  The good news was that on Monday, we stopped into the bike shop and bought new helmets (Ryan cracked his head on a stump mountain biking the week earlier and needed a new helmet too).  We dropped my bike off to be checked out too.  The next day I got an interesting call.  Guess what, we won new wheels from buying the helmet!  But the shop didn't like the way my bike looked.  I was so sad, until I figured out that the area they were concerned with had looked like that for a year now, from dropping my chain.  The wheels we won were the Zipp Z60s.  Ryan was on cloud 9!  They wouldn't fit my bike, so they were obviously his.  DAMN!!!  Did you hear me say we were blessed from this? 

The next week, I took the entire week off.  I got my stitches out on Monday, by Dr Jennings, a cyclist and triathlete.  I made a special request for him on the phone because he is not technically my PCP.  The lady at the front desk put "cycling question and stitch removal" down for reason for my appointment.  Awesome.  He crashed last year, broke his arm, and did a tri 6 weeks later.  Yes, he was who I needed to see for sure.  He assured me that nothing was broken from looking at my films, and recommended that I get on the trainer to work out some of that fluid in my knee.  Ouch!  It hurt so bad, but it really did help.  Running felt the best.  Swimming, well, taking a week plus off swimming is never good for me, but the stitches couldn't get wet.  It would have felt nice to swim right away after the accident, but I was not allowed.  He said I could do my next scheduled event, MMM, in less than a week if I felt like I could control the bike OK, since my wrists killed and I still had a huge gouge on my forearm.  Aero hurt and upright hurt.  Either way, I was going to go on the trip.  It was way too fun of a weekend lined up to bail entirely.  Dr. Jennings recommended that I do the shortest route available based on the pain, time off, and the fact that the Horsey Hundred was supposed to be a training ride for the MMM, and I didn't get in the miles.  At least I had the green light.  I mean, really, how much better could I hope to be?  I was incredibly blessed to be doing as well as I was.  Check back soon for my MMM recap!