Monday, June 28, 2010

Average Jo Triathlon: A Race Report

Average Jo Sprint Triathlon
Perham, MN
Saturday, June 26th, 2010
As usual, I left most of my packing for this triathlon until the day before the race. Fortunately, I was only missing one thing but was able run to Scheel's to get it before the store closed Friday evening. I advise everyone to start putting their things together a couple days before-hand or create a list of things you need. Do as I say, not as I do.

My triathlete buddy, Jill, and I, are lucky enough to have a wonderful Tri Sherpa: her fiance. He borrowed his parents van and we packed up the big things (aka bikes) Friday night. Everything else I was bringing was going into my bag and checked a half dozen times from there on out.

I love my sleep and knew that I needed at least a good 7 hours the night before sleep. If I could have gotten 8, I would have taken it, but considering I was getting up at 4am, I knew getting 8 hours of sleep probably wasn't going to happen. The evening got away from me and before I knew it, I was crawling into bed around 915pm. After getting in and out of bed a handful of times to check my bag for an item or two, the last time I looked at the clock it was 10pm.
4am came way too fast, especially with only 6 hours of sleep, but there's nothing like a quick rinse in the shower to shake the sleep away. I left my house around 440am and was at Jill's finance's house before 5am. The drive to Perham didn't take as long as we thought it would. We probably could have left around 6am and got there with plenty of time to pick up registration stuff and set up our transition. Live and learn.

I made note in my previous post that I was looking forward to watching the sunrise on our drive, but it was hard to witness a such a beautiful thing through the thick fog. I couldn't believe how foggy it was. Of the swim, bike, and run, I was more worried about swimming in this fog than anything. A part of me thought that they wouldn't allow us to swim in such conditions for safety purposes.
But, about 20 minutes before the start of the race the fog let up completely. The temps were still in the high 60's - a bit chilly with all the moisture in the air. The one thing I was really thankful for was the overcast skies, since the humidity was above 90%.
Like I said earlier, we had plenty of time to set up our transition area. This wasn't my first triathlon, but when I was setting up my things and trying to organize them, I had to keep going through the transitions in my head to make sure I had everything where I wanted it to be.I felt so disorganized for some reason, but I had everything I needed. (My bike - Rabbit - is pictured on the left)
The transition area was set up where you would come in from the swim on one side, and leave on the bike on the opposite side. Then, when you come back on your bike, you would leave on the run through that same entrance/exit. We decided to set up our stuff near the bike/run exit/entrance. Where do you like to set up your things in transition?

After watching others set up their transition, and talking with some others I knew, it was go time! What a better way to note how I felt just before the start of a race then to pose like a dork for a picture! Just for you guys...

The Swim: 1/3 mile
There were 3 waves with approximately 60-75 people in each wave. Not a lot of people participating, but not too few. Jill and I were in the 2nd wave. Once the first wave took off, the 2nd wave was able to get in the water. It was a lot colder than I thought it was going to be and instantly my heart rate went up. Any suggestions to help with this would greatly be appreciated.

Three minutes after the 1st wave took off, it was time for us to go. The swim was set up where you go out to the 2nd buoy and then come back on the other side, going clockwise. The water level was so low along the beach that you could stand in it the entire distance of the swim. It came up to just below my chest. I found myself taking advantage of this quite often, but did a lot of tarzan swimming - that is the free style with my head above the water.

I find that the more and more I do open water swims, the more comfortable I become. I just wish there were more lakes closer to where I live. As of right now, my practice open water swims consist of the 3 triathlons I have done and that's it.

I couldn't believe how many people were wearing wetsuits. I know that there are benefits to wearing one, such as warmth and boyancy, but I didn't think they would be necessary given the conditions and distance we were swimming. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong or missing any other benefits to wearing a wetsuit.

T1: The first transition went pretty well. I still kind of feel a little disorganized when going through transition. I feel like I haven't figured out the right order to put things on. I try to put my helmet on first, just so I don't forget to put it on, then the gloves, socks, cycling shoes, and then take off. How is T1 for you?

The Bike: 12 miles
Coming out of transition, we are greated with a decline in a dirt road to the county road that we were going to be riding 12 miles on. The first and last tenth of a mile was on this dirt road and I didn't like it one bit. The dirt was soft and I felt unstable and wasn't able to fully clip into my bike until reaching the county road.
As for the rest of the ride, it consisted of a large square route around the lake. I started out pretty strong, but struggled to get my heart rate down. I averaged about 16-16.8mph the first half of the ride but slowed down immensely due to hill after hill. These hills weren't too terribly steep, but they just seemed to drag on. Whatever goes up, must come down, but I swear there were more inclines then declines in this route.

The last half of the route I was still struggling to get my heart rate down and new I needed to before tackling the run. I just couldn't seem to catch my breath. It almost seemed as if I wasn't getting enough oxygen. Do you ever have that feeling that no matter how hard you breathe in, it's not enough? It was weird.
If I thought going down the gravel road was hard in the beginning of the ride, going back up was even more challenging. I was afraid I was going to lose balance and worried I wasn't going to be able clip out of my bike. But, luckily all worked out fine and I didn't fall.

T2: If I thought I felt disorganized in T1, I don't know what you would call T2. I finished the bike about 20-30 seconds before Jill, but for some reason she was ready to run before me. I remember her saying "Can't you put it on while you're running?" - referring to my visor. I just couldn't get my poop in a group.

The Run: 3.8 miles
The following picture was taken not even a tenth of a mile into our run. This was just coming out of transition - right after a large hill up and a large hill down. I was afraid of what was ahead of me.
At first I was griping about the distance. I mean, who maps out a 3.8 mile run for a sprint triathlon? But, once I got going and realized it was a black-top path all around the golf course in beauitful Minnesota, I stopped griping.
My legs felt so strong still and ready to kick some butt. My knees didn't bother me one bit. However, I could not, for the life of me, get my heart rate and breathing under control. I did so much walking/running that I wanted to cry out of frustration. I think at one point I was timing my run/walk intervals at run 1:30/walk :30. It was very frustrating, but the path was so gorgeous that I just tried to focus on that.
When I reached the 3 mile mark I was feeling pretty good. I was in a groove with my running, even though it involved quite a bit of walking. I was bound and determined to pick up the pace, even though I was still doing a lot of walking. There was a really nasty climb just 100 yards before the finish line, but I finished strong with a full out sprint.
I quickly grabbed a bottled water and half a banana while waiting for Jill to finish. Unfortunately, her knee gave out about a half mile from the finish line and she had to walk most of that last half mile. But, she finished strong.
We chit-chatted with a few people we knew, packed up our stuff, and were on our merry way. Looking back, it's seems like it all happens so fast. It's hard to soak it all in right then and there!
Overall Thoughts:
  • They claim this race is for the "Average Jo" - those who are just getting into triathlons. I hope that they also inform those Average Jo's that this course is full of nasty hills. I wouldn't suggest this race to anyone looking to do their first triathlon, that's for sure.
  • Everything was well organized for the most part. They had tons of volunteers and enough water stations along the course. Another port-a-potty to add to the two they had would have probably been nice.
  • If they could figure out a better way to get from transition to the bike route asside from the dirt road, that would be great.
  • Will I do this race again? Probably not. But, it's truly nothing against this race. I just think that I will have more fun trying different races.

Overall Stats:
Swim: 1/3 mile - 7:43
T1: 2:47
Bike: 12 miles - 45:51
T2: ??? approximately 1:45 - they didn't have this information and I know it was added into the run, not the bike
Run: 51:16 (more like 49:30)
TOTAL: 1:47:35

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Only 3 Days!

For the past week, I haven't been really looking forward to this weekend's triathlon. However, that changed today. I snapped out of this weird funk shortly after I completed my brick workout. Combine that with pulling out items to pack for the race, particularly my Zoot Tri racesuit (similar to this one), and I am a happy girl and ready for Saturday!

Only 3 more days!

This will be my first outdoor triathlon of 2010. I haven't done the Average Joe Triathlon before, so everything will be new to me. The race starts at 830am and since we are not staying in Perham the night before, we have to drive an hour and 20 minutes or so that morning. We plan to be on the road by 430am, hoping for no later than 445am, and ready for registration at 630am! If we have a little extra time, which I am sure we will, I am sure we will check out the race course.

Positive side of getting up at the butt-crack-of-dawn? Watching the sun rise!

Average Joe Triathlon - Perham, MN
The distances
Swim - 1/3 mile
Bike - 12 miles
(however it was noted 14 miles in a different source)
Run - 3.8 miles (don't know why this isn't just a 5K, but will find out soon enough!)

I know there are some of you who are racing this weekend as well, so I want to wish you a safe and happy race!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. Once again, I am amping up my workouts and struggling immensely with my nutrition. I feel that every time I start getting on a roll with my workouts (and rest days), I start feeling sluggish and can't kick that feeling. It's frustrating and I want to figure this nutrition thing out, asap! Any suggestions, tri-peeps? I am on the verge of scheduling an appointment with a nutritionist...

2. A couple girlfriends and I finally got in our "girls night out"! We have been wanting to see the movie Last Song since April I believe but finally got to go last night! We waited so long that the movie was in the cheap theater, but that meant the tickets were only $2! Aftwards we grabbed a drink out on the patio of a local restaurant and caught up on each other's lives since school has been out. It was a great time!

3. Yesterday's great weather allowed Jill and I to finally to do an outdoor ride again. Our plan was to ride to a small town near the FM area and back... finishing it up with a short run. The weather was a beautiful 78 degrees with a little bit of wind. Our short 1 mile run to follow left little to be desired, however. Also, Jill struggled with numbness and tingling feeling in her hands and arms while we were riding (and has previously) - does anyone know what might be causing this?

Happy Thursday, y'all!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What happens when I have too much time on my hands...

Yesterday afternoon I went to the gym to get in a good cardio workout before heading to Pilates class at 530. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do; run, bike, run and bike, or run/bike/run. I left the house and figured I would play it by ear, seeing how hard I could push myself and what I was in the mood for...

Well, I think I got to the gym a little too early and had plenty of time to kill before pilates class started. I started on the treadmill with the idea of doing a couple miles, doing a short bike, and then another couple miles on the treadmill.

Here's how it turned out:

Run - 2.25 miles (26:00)
Bike - 10 miles (30:00)
Run - 2.57 miles (30:00)

Afterwards I ventured to Pilates class and remembered that class was going to be outside today. Even though there were a few that weren't very excited about it being outside, I was stoked!

It was great to get outside, roll our mats out, and get a little Vitamin D while strengthing and lengthening our body! The traffic wasn't distracting, the birds were chirping, there was a slight cool breeze, and we got to watch the rain clouds rolling in.

Could it be any better than this?

Monday, June 14, 2010

winner, winner, winner & Last week's workouts

In the whirlwind of the past few weeks, I have been pretty lucky when it comes to winning things. In fact, I need to give a shout out to Amanda over at RunToTheFinish! I not only scored one thing from her, but three different giveaways:

1. the Sorbo Air insoles, which I haven't tried yet, but will!
2. a $10 Subway giftcard! (I am 99% sure I won this from Amanda, but if I am wrong, please correct me ----I threw the envelope away already, but I swear it came from her! lol)
3. And... to top things off, I won the big price for the 3 Changes Challenge! This consisted of the Nozone long sleeved running top, McDavid compression shorts and McDavid sports bra, as well as Ironman running shades! How lucky am I?!

Asside from all that fun, last week was a pretty successful week of training. I would have like to get in another run yesterday, but I was pretty sore from getting back into things, including pilates and bodypump:
2 pilates classes
1 bodypump class
6.85 miles ran
1500Yds swam
39.19 miles biked
2 complete rest days
I have just started going to pilates class. Both sessions have been completely different and I love that. I used to do a bit of pilates (videos) when I was in college, but this is much more fun and the time goes by so fast!
This week I have a couple doubles planned because I know I am going to be out of town again for a cousin's wedding. And, I know, that I struggle immensely to get in workouts on both Saturday and Sunday when I am home. We'll see how the week goes.
Happy training, y'all!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

May Stats, finally

Only a third of the way through June and I am finally posting my May stats. Please forgive slacking.

Month in Review: May 2010
Swim - 6,000Yds ........ 13,800Yds in April
Bike - 67.10 miles ...... 96.74 miles in April
Run - 28.65 miles ...... 46.15 miles in April

Total number of:
Swims - 4
Bikes - 5
Runs - 8
Bodypump classes - 0 (What?!)
REST Days - 15 (What?!)
Two-a-days - 1

Highlights of the Month:
  • Completed the GoFar Challenge!
  • Worked to prepare the Fargo Youth Run and witnessed a success!

Lows of the Month:

  • Didn't make it to any Bodypump classes
  • Numbers were lower with a lot of REST days.

Goals for June:
  • Try to add more variety to my workouts
  • Train wisely for this triathlon
  • Eat better

Year-to-Date Stats:
Swim - 43,000 Yds
Bike - 475.38 miles
Run - 170.36 miles
May was a busy month with tons of things going on. I am thinking June is going to be just as crazy-busy, but some good down time for R&R! Hey, it's summer! What are you looking forward to this month?!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Catching up... bullet style

Sorry for the partial MIA.

I have done some random blog stalking recently, but nothing significant. It's not that I haven't had anything to post about, I just haven't had much time or desire to sit on front of the computer over the past few weeks.

In attempt to catch up with you all, here's some bullets of what I have been up to:

  • Finished up my 5th year teaching special education - 3rd year in this district.

  • Spent two very long days my first week of summer preparing for spec. ed. summer school.

  • Started teaching special ed. summer school this monday - 4 weeks, M-F, half days. I think I could work half-time year round.

  • Getting ready for my 8 week online grad class... it's going to be crazy busy.

  • Did you see it only took me 2 weeks to post my GoFar Challenge race report? It wasn't the best race report I've written either, but I got it up there.

  • Still haven't written up my May Stats yet... to come soon.

  • Took a couple weeks off from swimming. Swim team finished a couple weeks ago - started back up this week - but I decided not to join the team this time. I have more time and flexibility with my schedule now that school is out. I am okay with this.

  • Spent a long weekend back in the Biz for Memorial weekend... did some camping with the BF and friends, graduation party, watched the 'rents dogs for a couple days, grilled with family at Grandpa's house. It was a great weekend.

  • Spent another long weekend back home last weekend. It was another jam-packed weekend -- Friday, the BF and I grilled with the 'rents and then hit up the driving range for a bit. The weather couldn't have been better - not a breeze in sight. Saturday the BF and I headed to a campsite to meet up with some others - we spent some time on the boat, the boys did some fishing, grilled, took the pontoon across the bay to get to the casino for the Bret Michael's concert (awesome!), tented it that night, and headed home later Sunday afternoon.

  • Less than 3 weeks away before my first outdoor triathlon. I am starting to feel like I am not as ready as I would like.

  • I tested out the Y's Pilates class last night with a friend and I think it might be a new part of my regular schedule! If I can fit the Y's Yoga class into my schedule, I will!

Now... it's time for me to do a little catch up with you all! It's raining here, and it's a perfect day to sit inside and watch some Twins baseball and the Celtics/Lakers game tonight! Go Celtics! I have a bet riding on this so I hope I come out on top!

Friday, June 4, 2010

GoFar Challenge Recap - 5K/10K

If you missed it, I posted about the Fargo Youth Run HERE. Go check it out!

"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run."
~John Bingham, running writer and speaker~

GoFar Challenge!

This was the first year that the race director decided to move the 5K from Saturday morning to Friday night. With that idea, they added the GoFar Challenge. To participate in this challenge, one would have to do the 5K Friday night, and then another event on Saturday morning, whether it was the 10K, 1/2 marathon, or full-marathon! So, not only would one receive a finisher medal for the Friday 5K, but also for the race of choice on Saturday morning; including two t-shirts, two swag bags, and the GoFar Challenge Finisher medal! That's 3 medals!!

I thought this was a great idea and knew that it was something I just had to do! Initially, I was hoping to do the 5K/Half Marathon GoFar Challenge, but decided to scale back a bit and do the 10K instead of the Half Marathon. Looking back now, that was a good choice on my part.

So, without further a-do, here's the low-down on how both the 5K and 10K went down.

Friday, May 21st, 2010
Fargo 5K

This race started at 6:30pm. The temperature was about 78 degrees with high humidity. The high humidity was a huge concern for the weekend and the talked about pulling out the black flags, just in case they needed to put a halt to the marathon the next day.

I struggle with running in the heat, especially when you add in the nasty humidity and no breeze in sight. I usually end up overheating and have a hard time cooling down after a run in such conditions. So I went out there with a plan to run this race with ease and not push myself too hard. I reminded myself I had a 10K to do in approximately 12 hours and didn't want to overdue it.

A friend's fiance and his sister were also running this race and I planned to run with them as long as I could. We kept a pretty good pace for the first mile and then I lost them when I couldn't get around all the walkers and strollers. I refused to jump into people's yards and run on the uneven grass, so I let them go ahead.

About 2 miles in, I was started to get pretty warm and there was no water on the course. Coming back in for the last mile or so, I was running directly into the sun and wanted nothing more than to finish this race and finish it STRONG.

The last quarter of a mile I kicked into high gear, passing runner after runner on my way to the finish line. It felt great. The finish line was so congested when I crossed it that there wasn't a single good photo of me finishing.

There were 5197 people participated in this 5K. I finished right about in the middle of the pack, 2523 out of 5197 people. I crossed the finish mat at 37:52, a 12:12 min/mile pace. I am not particularly thrilled with my finish time, but I was starting to feel overheated and new I need to save something in the tank for the 10K the next day.


  • All the people participating in the race
  • Nice weather - even though it was pretty warm
  • All the people cheering along the course
  • I like that they moved the 5K to Friday night so people can participate in that and any other event if they would like!


  • All the people participating in the race (yes, also a pro)
  • No water on the course - very disappointing

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010
Fargo 10K

This is the first year that they added the 10K distance to the marathon weekend. Prior to this year, the only way one could do a distance similar was if they were participating in the 4-person marathon relay; and even then, some were running less than 6 miles and some were running well over 7 miles, depending on which leg of the relay you would be.

My alarm went off at 445am. The 10K was to start at 7am and they advised people to be at the Fargodome an hour before. Jill met me at my house shortly before 530 and we planned to pick up another friend at 545. Traffic wasn't as heavy as I thought it was going to be. I pointed out the fact that we got to watch the sun come up on this beautiful Saturday morning... but I think I was the only one that enjoyed it and found it to be very calming.

We stood around for almost an hour, just waiting. I couldn't believe how many people were there; either doing the 10K, half marathon, marathon, or marathon relay. I had picked up my cousin's 10K packet and was afraid that I wasn't going to find him. I had told him to meet me on the west entrance of the dome, but forgot that it was going to be filled to the brim with runners. With only a few minutes to spare before heading out to the starting line, I found him. Phew.

A few minutes before 7am we ventured our way out the starting line on the street. At this point, the clouds had rolled in and there was a light mist. I think it was about 55 degrees. To many, this would be miserable running conditions, but I was looking forward to be cool. There was a combination of rain and mist the entire 10K, but I enjoyed it.

The route for the 10K was a bit different the the route for the half marathon or marathon and I was worried there wasn't going to be as many people out watching and cheering with the wet weather, but boy was I wrong!

I finished somewhere in the middle of the back half; 2165 out of 2668. My finish time was a very slow 1:22:39 with a 13:19/mile average. However, I ran the entire 6.2 miles and finished strong with a sprint through the finish chute! This was my first 10K evah, and I look forward to breaking this PR in the near future!


  • Cooler temps
  • a little moisture in the air to cool one off
  • enough water/powerade stations
  • Route with many spectators


  • There were some dead spots along the way, where one could have really used a cheering section.
  • The rain made me wet from head to toe - and my cell phone was sliding around in my sports bra towards the end... very uncomfortable.

Here's a collage of the weekend's festivities:

I know I have said it before, and I am going to say it again... If you are looking for a friendly, fun, and flat race course, you HAVE to check out the Fargo Marathon. Did you know that it is a Boston Qualifier?!

Have a great weekend, y'all. I look forward to catching up with you all, soon!