Sunday, July 11, 2010

I Tri'd

For some inexplicable reason I decided to participate in a triathlon this summer. I found an all women's super sprint in Federal Way 1/4 mile swim (410 yards), 8 Mile bike (13K), and a 2 mile run (3.3K). I've always stayed away from triathlons because of the run, I'm not a big runner but I figured I could easily walk 2 miles so I decided to go for it. The worst part about the race was having to get up at 5:15 on a Sunday morning to be in Federal Way by 6:15.
To prepare for the open water swim I did a trial swim a few weeks ago. Turns out the wet suit I bought was not good for swimming, too much restriction in the arms so for this race I decided to rent a proper racing wetsuit. This made a huge difference and I am very thankful I had.

Open water swimming is definitely different than swimming in a pool. You can't see much and there are no markers to make sure you're swimming in a straight line. On a couple of occasions today I had to look at where I was going and correct my course. I'm sure the more open water swims I do the better I'll get at this. When I first looked at the time for my swim split I was a little surprised as I thought I would do better than 10:35 for the 1/4 mile, but then I remembered that there was a bit of distance between getting out of the water and the mat for the timing. The distance between the lake and the bikes was probably between 300-400 yards. There were a couple of mats along here and I'm not sure which one captured the time for the swim but I know it wasn't anywhere near the water.

The first transition took some time and I figured it would as I had to get out of the wetsuit get my clothes on and un-rack the bike. Had a few problems getting the bike off the rack with all the personal belongings underneath but I got it off and I was on my way. Just as I was nearing the point where I needed to mount my bike the headlight fell off my bike. I stopped to pick it up and tried to get it back on, I quickly decided it wasn't worth the time and handed it to a volunteer and said I would pick it up after the race. Surprisingly after the race there was no sign of my headlight. I've left my name and number and hopefully if it shows up I'll get it back.

I figured the bike would be relatively easy and I would do between 4.5 and 5 minute miles. My split for the bike was 39:31 not too far off my estimate. My maximum speed on the bike was 30 MPH - I love going downhill. The minimum speed was 6 MPH - I do not like going uphill. It was a nice course with not too many hills. There was a rather steep uphill right at the end which wasn't easy. I saw many people walking their bikes up the hill but I was determined to beat the hill and I did!

Had a much better second transition than first which was to be expected. The course starts with a steep switchback up a gravel path out of the park to the street. I knew I was going to be walking most of the course I did job for a bit but I was rather tired at this point. At one point when I switched from jogging to walking another woman said "Good idea, I'll join you." It turns out I was walking beside another Dawn Marie. I was anticipating completing the 2 miles in slightly over 30 minutes, so I was rather surprised when I saw my split was 27:28.

The course, atmosphere, and encouragement were great, especially on that dreaded last hill on the bike. The start of the run goes down that hill so as the runners go by they shout out encouragement to those biking up. The encouragement from the volunteers and other competitors definitely helps. I would also like to thank all my friends and family that have offered me words of encouragement and support as I trained for my first tri.

Me after the race sporting my ink.

Total time: 1:25:45 (8:12 in transition)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Year in Review

It's hard to believe that I left England one year ago for Seattle. It has been quite an eventful year.
  • I bought a condo in Seattle
  • Sold the house in MA
  • Took sailing lessons
  • Had Lasik surgery and am now glasses free (I should have done this years ago)
  • Went to the Olympics
  • Visited 2 states I had never been to before - only 16 more to go before I've seen all 50 states

To celebrate my 1 year anniversary today I will be going to watch the US vs UK World Cup match in an Irish pub.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Olympic Ventures

The last week and a half have been rather adventurous. I decided in November to finally have Lasik surgery. After getting a consultation and finding out I was a good candidate I had to wait about 2 months for the surgery. As of Thursday February 11th I am glasses free and now have 20/20 vision.

The surgery itself was quick I was in the procedure room for only about 10 minutes, each eye took no more than 1 minute. The longer process is the recovery. A week in and everything is healing nicely, I can see but things sometimes go blurry and my eyes have been getting very tired by around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. They say this will get better over the next 6 weeks, my next check up is 3 weeks from now.

My dad was kind enough to fly to Seattle to drive me and take care of me ( I didn't need much taking care of it was mostly driving as I was not allowed to drive for 24 hours). As a special treat for dad (and me) I was able to get tickets to the Vancouver Opening Ceremonies. Right after my 24 hour check up with the eye doctor we hit the road and drove to Vancouver - crazy. I was very worried about the traffic heading up to BC but thankfully there wasn't any.

The Opening Ceremonies were amazing, there is so much energy and action, a lot of this doesn't come across in the televised version and the parade of countries typically seems to drag on forever. In person this didn't seem to be the case, almost every country seemed to have people cheering for them. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Dad and I got to the arena early as I wanted to get some shots of BC Place before it got mobbed with people. We were required to be in our seats by 5 PM to rehearse for the audience participation portions of the program. While the effects of the lights probably look very interesting on television by watching the guides and the prompters you actually miss what is happening. I was more interested in watching the performances than waiting for my cue to turn a light on or off. What's more important everything looking good for 3.5 billion people or me?

I did record the ceremonies on Tivo so that we would be able to see what we missed there was so much that was happening on the stage and in the audience I wasn't sure where to look at times. I finally sat down on Thursday night and watched the recording. There are definitely things that are happening on the stage which are for the benefit of television as you can't see the effects from the seats. For example the stage the orchestra and performers were on was beautiful when seen from the front the large ice columns however completely blocked the view for us as well as everybody in probably 4 or 5 other sections. I was OK with not seeing as there was plenty of other stuff to look at.

One of the things that surprised me was leaving the ceremonies as well as walking around the next day, when you stopped a volunteer to ask for directions they had no idea. I could understand no knowing where some obscure things were but we were asking for directions to the cauldron and they didn't know where that was. I'm very glad I got the opportunity to go to Vancouver and that my surgery went well and I could see everything.