Monday, June 24th:
Another Monday night. Another open water swim. I squirmed into my now-functional wetsuit and followed the herd into the water for what would be my last open water swim before making my final attempt at open water certification this coming Saturday. We started out with some sprinting to simulate the adrenaline surge that usually occurs at the beginning of any race and followed it up with recovering and settling into a sustainable stroke. It wasn't the greatest swim, but I definitely felt better about my ability to sight and deal with having other swimmers around me and occasionally getting smacked/touched. I was just happy that I didn't have a repeat of last week's kick to the face!
Tuesday, June 25th:
For once, my need for a rest day fell on the day prescribed by the Iron Cheerleader. My legs are still a little sore from Sunday's bike ride and my arms hurt from yesterday - swimming in a wetsuit definitely takes some getting used to.
Wednesday, June 26th:
In case you were wondering why the Iron Cheerleader gave us Tuesday night off, it's because he expected us to race tonight! I was the only member of the Newbie Herd that joined the local running club for their "Hot Dog" fun run - and Mr. R&R came with me. This was another run that lived up to its name. It. Was. Hot. (and humid). Of course, I started out a little too fast and paid for it later. It was a pretty straight forward course, the first half mile was on my favorite stretch of road in that particular park, so I was happy right from the start and running along at a good clip. I hit Mile 1 in 9:01. Once the awesome stretch was finished, we turned downhill and onto city streets around the perimeter of the park until we reached the North entrance, complete with one long, miserable hill just past the 1.5 mile mark. I know that hill well since it stands between home and the start of the Rail Trail I've been biking on lately. I have trouble staying in my saddle riding up that hill, so it comes as no surprise that I had to drop to a walk and catch my breath a couple of times on the way up. After the hill came a long, flat stretch - including a loop around a pond. I enjoyed seeing all the mama ducks with their little ducklings and the geese with their goslings sitting on shore and gliding across the water, but I didn't love having to try to avoid the "landmines" they left all over the path! Mile 2 ticked by at a much more sedate 9:44. I tried to pick it up for the last mile, but I was fading fast. I did manage to sprint like hell down the last hill and kept sprinting the final flat all the way to the finish line. Mile 3 was a 9:44. It may not have been better than Mile 2, but at least it was an even split.
|Not that kind...I promise!|
My last night at the pool before Saturday's open water certification attempt - I went in with a mission. My goal was 400 yards without stopping...and I did it! I managed to slow down, relax, and just let it happen. The result was 400 yards in 9:46 - well within the time limit imposed by the Pewaukee Triathlon.
Friday, June 28th:
My work week resembled a cross between juggling and lion-taming. Perhaps I should join the circus? Instead I settled for the couch, really good cheese, and really bad tv.
Saturday, June 29th:
I rolled out of bed at 6:30am so I could take my time getting ready. My big goal was to be as relaxed as possible when I got to the lake. A light drizzle began to fall as I was driving, but somehow it really didn't bother me - probably since I was going to get wet anyway! I arrived at the lake with plenty of time to spare, so I used the extra time to wiggle into my wetsuit while I watched the early morning group finish their certification and chatted with some of the other triathlon first-timers who had started to gather on the beach. There was also a family of ducks that had absolutely no fear of humans that came to check us out. They were so close and so cute! Did you know they make a little squeaking noise? Before long, two of my fellow newbie herd members (A & T) arrived, and I relaxed a little more. I told myself that this was no different than our usual Monday night open water practice. The only downer was one guy on the beach who kept making cracks about our wetsuits (we were the only ones wearing them) and sniping about how this whole thing was just a piece of cake.
The certification instructor arrived on the beach and went over some open water basics (stuff that A, T, and I had already been taught by the Iron Cheerleader) before sending us into the water. Once we were in the water we were instructed to swim about 100 yards parallel to the shore as a warm up. I took off, sandwiched between A & T, at a comfortable pace and when we finished the 100 yards, we discovered that we were toward the front of the pack! Naturally, the next step was to swim another 100 yards back to where we started. The three of us hung back a little this time which proved to be a bad choice since it seems that the people around us had no clue how to sight, so we were constantly dodging flailing limbs. Oh well...live and learn.
Next up was the swim out to deep water, and the nastiest patch of weeds ever, for approximately 10 minutes of treading water. This was much better than the last time. Instead of 10 minutes of treading with legs only, it was: 2 minutes of general treading, 2 minutes legs only, 2 minutes hands only, then moving from back-to-belly-to-back a few times, demonstrating the ability to stretch/squeeze out cramps, and finally removing our swim caps and goggles and putting them back on (ladies were allowed to keep our caps on in the interest of not having to try to shove our hair back under them). I will say, that the wetsuit made a huge difference here. I still hate treading water, but I definitely felt more comfortable among the weeds.
At last the big moment was upon us. Due to the limited number of available lifeguards, they placed a single turn buoy about 200 yards out and we were instructed to swim out to the right side of it, swim behind it, and then back to shore. I took a deep breath and started swimming. A & T were right near me on the way out, and we all swam with our heads out of the water more than we should have due to the huge amount of weeds near the surface, but we all made it! I lost my girls at the turn buoy, but it was all good until someone swam up behind me and grabbed onto my ankle and didn't let go when I kicked. This is a huge no-no. I kicked really hard and he was still there. At that point, I'd had it and started kicking really hard. My non-grabbed leg ended up making contact with his head. That worked and he let go. I popped my head up, looked back, and realized that my ankle-grabber was none other than the sniping guy from the beach. He complained about the kick to the head, but I just couldn't bring myself to feel bad about it. I guess he didn't like getting "chicked"!
Once I made it back to the beach, I was pleased to find out that 37 out of the 38 people who went into the water had passed - and A, T, and I were among those 37. I definitely saw and felt the benefit of the Iron Cheerleader's coaching today. I knew what to do and I did it! I took my soggy self back to the car, stopped at a nearby bakery called Simply Cinnamon for celebratory pastries, and made my way home in the pouring rain. Rain be damned...it was a fantastic day!
I also owe a special thank you to everyone in my life who has listened to me fret, whine, bitch, and just generally freak the eff out about this certification. You all believed in me...even when I wasn't able to believe in myself, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Sunday, June 30th:
Mr. R&R and I ran together this afternoon. Our only goal was: slow. Neither of us has gone over 3 miles in a while and since we were going to be running in the hottest part of the day, we decided we'd rather run at 'grandma pace' and actually make it the full distance. I loaded up my fuel belt with cold water (and immediately remembered why I hate running with that thing) since there was only one drinking fountain on our route. It was a slow run, but it got the job done. 5 slow miles followed by lunch...yes, please!
When I got home, next week's training plan was waiting in my inbox...2 weeks to go. I'm starting to feel ready to do this thing.
Week 9 Totals:
Swim: 2024 yards
Bike: 0 miles
Run: 8 miles
Total Time: 2 hours, 24 minutes
Swim: 4294 yards (2.44 miles!)
Bike: 89.9 miles
Run: 24.58 miles
Total Distance: 117.12 miles
Total Time: 13 hours, 52 minutes