Tuesday, September 17, 2013

YMCA Mini-Tri Race Report

Heats were color-coded. Blue means the sexy heat
I have found that I enjoy all levels and types of triathlon. I loved the intensity and busyness of the Half Ironman and, at least in the beginning, the Honolulu Triathlon. But the kicked-back, just for fun-style races have so much charm. No pressure, everyone is smiling and talking to each other, lots of new athletes with First Race Jitters at the beginning at The Swollen Chest of Accomplishment at the end. It's great fun.
The YMCA Mini-Tri last weekend was very much the second type.
First of all, of course it's kicked back. The Y isn't what you think of when you think of intense competition. I emailed the race director a few times prior to the race with questions and she was able to respond to me that day, sometimes within minutes. That kind of athlete service is awesome.
The race was only $25 and it showed. I do not mean that in a bad way. It didn't look cheap or feel cheap. It just wasn't an expensive race. It was a $25 race for which I got a t-shirt and lunch. That's the best deal for a race ever.
Because they didn't want us riding through busy streets the order of the tri was inside out. First we swam (they said) 500yds in the Y's 25yd pool. That's a first for me, I've never done a pool tri before. Then we ran the (they said) three miles to T2, where our bikes had been dropped off that morning. From there we rode (they said) 10 miles as an out-and-back, finishing back at T2.  Messing with the order was kind of nice for me, since it meant I got the run out of the way early before I wore my legs out riding. I've found it's easier to ride out of shape than to run. And out of shape I very much am.
The Y is a five minute walk from our apartment, and the meeting time was a wonderful 8am, with my actual start being at 9am. Which meant I could get up at a reasonable time and ride my bike out to T2 to drop it off, since it was only 3 miles away. Super Awesome Wife and Dirtbag Baby met me there and drove me back to the Y. This was nice because we haven't bought a collapsible bike rack for the car. We don't have a couch yet. Priorities.
The race meeting revealed how small the race actually was, with maybe 50 participants all together. That was actually a great thing because, spread out over three heats, it meant the pool wouldn't be too full while I was swimming. I'd probably have to just split a lane.
Nope! Even better, I got my own lane when my turn came. The swim was a planned 500yds, or as they put it, "10 laps." No, it's 20 laps, a lap is one way, but whatever. We had lane counters to double check us and keep times. I did a few warm-up laps, felt great, and was ready.
Cheering Daddy Dirtbag on!
And went out waaaay too hard. I don't know what I was thinking, but I took out that first 100 in probably a 1:05. I was cooking. I should not have been cooking. I should have been cruising. I don't know the last time I swam. And I immediately knew what I'd done. Everything started tightening up and I focused on maintaining a good stroke for the remainder of the swim. I hit the wall at 500yds and stood to get out. My timer said, "You have one (two) more laps." No, no I don't. I can count. But rather than complain I ducked back in to the water and did two more.
I know she was wrong and I'm not that irritated. It didn't cost me a win and it's not a big serious race. But the people in the last heat who were in my lane also had to do two extra laps. They came to me, I didn't come to them. So our counter counted wrong. Small grumbles.
Before the race we figured Super Awesome Wife would watch the swim, then get in the car with the boy and drive to T2 to see me off on the bike and at the finish. But then we talked to the race director and asked if I could run with the B.O.B. and the boy. She said sure, no problem. Yay! Baby's first triathlon! His fourth race overall. This kid can't stop doing races. So T1 was cap and goggles off, shoes, visor, and watch on, kiss wife, check boy (she put him in while I was swimming), and away I go with the stroller. Fun fun!
Doing my swim too fast too soon thing

Ready to race! Vroom!
 I like running with him, and he likes being in the stroller. Well, he falls asleep or chats to himself the whole time, but he likes it. He fell alseep by the time we got to T2.
I was first out of the water, and ran alone for about a mile before anyone caught up. I wouldn't have run fast anyway, but the stroller slows me down a little more. Luckily, the run was flat, so it wasn't that tough. We had a nice little run. My Garmin said it was 2.5mi. Informal races don't track distance exactly. Whatever, a shorter run is better for me.
I got to T2, handed off the now sleeping tiny human to the Super Awesome Wife, switched shoes, got my helmet, and got on my bike.
Here we come!

Racing is hard work

I mentioned the race was informal, right? This was T2
 The way out for the first few miles looked nice and easy. Then we made a left (which I missed and had to brake hard and turn around for because the volunteer wasn't easy to see), and suddenly there were rollers. Had I been in shape I would have loved this part. None of the climbs were long, they weren't terribly steep, I would have been pounding up. Instead, I'm out of shape and I huff and puff and get up out of the saddle for the first one and grumble through the others. At least they were rollers, which meant there was always a downhill to balance the up.
During the run I was passed by three people, and I caught two of them on the way out. I also kind of let me Garmin get in my head. I was expecting 10 miles, but we passed five miles and no turn around. I shouldn't be surprised, the other distances weren't exact, but I let myself be concerned I'd read the sheet wrong and it was a ten mile out and ten mile back, which would have been reaching into a little suck by the end. No, we turned around at about seven miles, at the end of one last bounce climb.
*EDIT- I just got a look at my Garmin data. Apparently, kept looking at the Total Distance reading, not the Bike Distance reading. The bike was 9.1mi. So...take that, me who doesn't know how is watch works* 
The ride back was more downhill, I guess the way out even when it felt flat wasn't, because the back end was easier. I also almost got hit by a car on the way back, which was nice.
I was heading towards an intersection at the bottom of a slight rise, so I was down in aero and zipping. The volunteer said nothing about, "Hey! Car! Watch out!" I didn't see him standing in front of the car to stop him. Nope, we got to the intersection at about the same time, the car deciding to make a right that would cause he and I to occupy the same space at the same time. I braked hard, swerved a little, and got around him with no more than a little fear pee. Put it out of my mind and finished the race. There was one guy in my heat I hadn't caught and though I could see him I was never able to reel him in. Still, finished hard, felt worn out afterwards, and had a good time.
Hard charging to the finish!

Too fast for the camera!
 After the race we hung out in T2, cheering on other finishers and talking story with other athletes. A lot of the people weren't regular triathletes, they did this one every year, and maybe one other one and that's it. Cool to meet them.
Once the last triathlete passed the finish line Super Awesome Wife put tiny human in the car and drove back to the Y for food and prizes, and I rode the 2.5mi back. We hung out, met a couple of other people because the small boy is the friendliest and most adorable person in any room, and made friends. One of the women we ended up talking to for a while was a mother of six, 40-something, and had wanted to do a tri for a long time. She had signed up, then gotten injured and missed one a year ago, so this was her first. She was glowing. So happy with how she did. "It hurt, and I loved it." Her tiny people and our tiny person played on the floor.
I really enjoyed this race regardless of the weird distances and the CAR and I'm going to keep an eye out for more like it. I'll be sure to do it next year.
Happy family post-race

Athletes chilling out

Swim- 8:10
Run- 27:17
T2- 0:45
Bike- 33:13
Total- 1:10.29

Monday, September 9, 2013

YMCA Mini-Tri

I have registered for yet another I'm-Out-Of-Shape-So-I-Should-Race triathlon! Because I like racing and there aren't a ton of local tris. Also, the start for this one is literally a five minute walk from the house.
It's a sprint, but they are calling it a mini. I guess it is more mini than most sprints because the bike is only 10 miles instead of 12-15 like most sprints. The swim is still 500yds and the run 3mi. But it will be different for me for two reasons.
One- the order is screwy. It will go Swim, Run, Bike. I don't know if that helps me. I don't think I've ever gotten on the bike after a run.
Two- It's a pool swim. I don't know how this is going to work and I haven't gotten any emails yet detailing what the deal is. I registered for the Intermediate wave. Yes, I've done a ton of races and should probably be in the Advanced wave. BUT, I haven't been in the water to work out or race since...ummm, probably the Honolulu Tri I'm guessing? And my first bike ride since before we moved back to the mainland happened Saturday, it was 10 miles, and it was slow. So if Advanced means Advanced, I don't belong there. If Advanced isn't actually advanced and I'm out of shape but still too quick for Intermediate because I know how the race works then I'm going to feel bad. I'll ask when I get emailed by the Race Director.
You know what's really cool about the race? I'll tell you.
It's $25.
$25 for a sprint tri. With a t-shirt. AND they are going to feed the athletes afterwards. With food from the Olive Garden. So for a third of the price of races in Hawaii I get to knock out a short, easy tri. I'm excited. If my recent runs are any indication it's going to hurt. Not as much as the half marathon I have the weekend after will hurt, but it'll still hurt.
But in a good way.

OH! Hawaiian triathletes, one more thing- It starts at 8am. Yep, no dawn patrol for me! Now you say, "Yes, but you're swimming in some pool and we swim in the ocean." Then I say, "...shut up."

Friday, August 23, 2013

I Wrote a Book!

Hey everybody!
I wrote a book. It's called He's the Weird Teacher. It's not about fitness, though there is a metaphor involving triathlon. It's about teaching, and if you are at all interested in teaching, or are a teacher, or have a child who knows a teacher, you should read it. Please follow THIS LINK to the He's the Weird Teacher blog for more information about where to buy it. Also, if you look up in the corner of this blog you'll see links to the book as well. It's currently only available in ebook, but the paperback will be released soon.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

DF 2.0- Oregon Edition

I am running, I swear.
I'm not updating much right now. We do not have internet yet in our new apartment. We scheduled and it will take a week for them to flip the switch or plug in the whatsit or whatever it is that they do to make internet magic happen. So this update comes from my classroom, which has wifi. I'm taking a well-deserved break from set-up to let anyone who list reads this know what is going down in Dirtbag Fitness Land.
The Rogue Run 1/2 Marathon is hanging over my head, which is great because it keeps getting me outside on my feet. I finally unpacked my Box 'O Fitness Gear as well, so yesterday was my first VFF/Garmin run in months. I went about 3.3mi in about 33 minutes, because I'm not quick but I'm consistent when I'm slow.
It's freaking hot here right now. I went for my run at 5:30 at the phone said it was still 89*. Different hot from Hawaii though. Much drier here, and that is an adjustment. Even drier than where I was running in Washington, which was right on the water. I'm learning the area around the house, and running is a great way to do that. The bike has been put together too, so I'll head out for a ride on it soon and explore slightly farther out.
A lot of stuff is closer than it seems. We live pretty much right in downtown Medford, so the main drag isn't far from the house, and there is a mall and a movie theater and a bunch of parks within walking distance. That means I'm crossing streets and waiting at lights, so yesterday I would turn whichever way meant I didn't have to stop. Hard to get lost, because I'm not going far from the house yet. And it's crazy flat, so climbing will have to be searched out. There are running groups here that I'll probably hook up with once I'm not embarrassed by my endurance. Same with the cycling groups. I don't see myself riding or running with a big group often, but it will be a good way to make friends and meet people. And find events.
The worst part about working out here right now, worse than the dry heat, is the smoke. There are a bunch of forest fires all over the Southern Oregon area and some days the smoke obscures the mountains in the distance. Some days it obscures the trees down the block. I'm not all about running in heavy fire smoke, so we'll see what happens on the bad days. I think even the lower levels of smoke I was getting yesterday impacted my run.
Feel stronger though. I'm happy that I'm getting out, I'm checking the box, I'm breaking a sweat and bringing the soreness.
I won't have the mileage you're supposed to have by the time the half gets here, but I should have built up the mental toughness again that it'll take to suffer through.
Welcome to Dirtbag Fitness 2.0- Oregon Edition.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Rogue Run- Rogue River Half Marathon

Here's the deal-
I'm not training like I'd like. But I didn't have an event to train for. Plus we've been moving and moving and moving.
Well, we finally found an apartment in Medford, OR, where I will be teaching third grade. Which meant it was time to start digging for events. And, wouldn't you know it, it looks like there aren't ANY local triathlons. Everything will be a drive and probably an overnight stay. But there is a running club and a cycling club, so I'll be visiting them as soon as I get settled in.
To get myself some motivation the Super Awesome Wife saw that there was a half marathon upcoming and she suggested I register. Cost for late reg- $55. Coming from Hawaii, I'm going to be amazed at low prices of things for a while, and that wasn't something I could pass up.
I'm officially in training for the Rogue Run- The Rogue River Half Marathon. We'll see what I can get up to in six weeks. I'll be alright. It'll hurt. There will be walking. But it will get did.
More coming soon.
Also, my book will be out soon. Please head over to my other blog, He's the Weird Teacher, and check out all that good information.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Running With the Boy

 Roland and I went on our first run today.
We have the B.O.B running stroller and we've used it on plenty of walks and even a few races, but it had never been taken on a run. At first it was because the little boy was too small, and then because things got busy, so today I finally was able to get him into the stroller and get out on the road. I need to run more, he needed to be out of the house, it all worked out.
There's nothing special about getting the tiny human ready to run. I probably should have put socks on him because it was later in the day, but other than that its make sure he's changed, strap him in, and get to the gone.

There is a steep hill right at the end of the street we are living on and I admit, I couldn't run all the way up it pushing the stroller. I'm not in great shape right now, and I guess the extra 20lbs wasn't helping. But once the road leveled out (and by "leveled out" I mean "turned into shallow rollers for the rest of the first mile") I was doing fine and we were chugging along.
Roland loves the stroller and never complains. The front shade was pulled all the way down but with the way the sun was setting it got in his face anyway. So he closed his eyes and turned his head. Which put him to sleep. And he slept the rest of the run. Because dad is boring when he's running.

I even got to listen to music while I was running and he didn't care, slept right through it.
The hardest part of running with a stroller is adjusting to the single arm pump rather than the double. Gotta push the stroller somehow. I've seen people running with their strollers with both hands on the handle, but that's just not comfortable. It's like being on the treadmill trying to take your heartrate with the metal plates that never work right. It's not an effective way to run. So instead I alternated pushing with my left and right hands, though I suppose that will get easier as I get used to running while pushing.
The stroller didn't make running in general harder, save for the inclines and declines. Going downhill isn't my favorite thing anyway, but it is tougher when gravity and the stroller and pulling me down. Still, we did all right.
Not the fastest run in the world, but they never are with me. At least where I'm running is pretty. And the company was nice.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I'm Trying, Plus A Lot of Book Stuff So Please Read

I've been slacking hard here for a while now and I swear I'm going to get better at it again soon. Things have been crazy with the move and the baby and the job hunt and the excuse-making.
I am still training, though not as often or intensely as makes me happy. I feel slow and out of shape and the journey back to fitness won't be fun, but it will be good for me.
As I write this I'm in Southern California after a week in Las Vegas for the SDE National Teacher's Conference, where I presented a talk called Discovering Seuss: Using the Good Doctor in Your Classroom. So add that to the excuses- I wrote a presentation I had to give in front of a bunch of teachers at a national conference. It went great, thank you for asking, and I hope I got some networking done while I was there.
I did get a mini-workout in while in Vegas. I meant to get two or three but I spent the second night tossing cookies all night. No, I don't drink so it wasn't that. I think it was something I ate and it ruined me. Wasn't feeling up to a run for a bit after that. I did get to the hotel gym and got my run on for a tiny little bit. The dreadmill is worse every time I step on. So boring. I could have run outside, if you think running down The Strip sounds like a great idea before you take into account the 110* temps. So I got a short run in, then I felt weak so I rode the stationary bike for a while, then I did some pull-ups on the crappy gym supported pull-up machine. It was enough to get a sweat going, but not much else. At least it was something. Still love my Altra 3-Sums. Totally comfortable. Looking forward to more road runs.
I have been writing though. I've got a book 98% finished and itching to be sent to my indie publisher. It's not about working out, then I would have been talking it up here. It's about teaching and it's called He's The Weird Teacher and other things students whisper about me. It has a blog, because that's what I do, so if you go there the info is laid out as well as some excerpts. That's the biggest reason I've been slacking here. Any writing time I get goes to the book and the presentation. Now that the presentation is over and the book is just about put to bed I can spread my energy differently again.
I'm very excited about He's the Weird Teacher and I think it's really good. I'm not the best judge of my own work, so I also have it on good authority from people who have no vested interest in blowing smoke at me that it's good as well. I'll be, like I said, going through an indie publisher which means zero advertising. Which means I'll be talking it up huge all over the interwebs and I'll be asking for your help. The price point for the digital download is going to be crazy cheap, making it a no-risk buy for most people. I'm going to need friends to start the ripple and tell people who will tell people who will tell people. I'm going to be asking for lots of amazon.com reviews, because that moves books up lists. I'm going to be asking for tweets and retweets and Facebook posts and Google+ shares and pins and whatever else you can think of that will get He's the Weird Teacher out there into the world. It's still a few weeks away, but it's coming.
I never ask for money on this site, I just leave the donation button up there and don't mention it, but if you have a few bucks to drop in the bucket to help with the publishing costs it would mean a lot. I know we're all tight, and I don't like asking, but with the situation we are in right now it would be helpful. This isn't a kickstarter and I don't have special stretch goals and prizes, but I promise to do something awesome for anyone who can kick in a couple of bucks. I haven't put a donations link on the book website because it...doesn't feel like it belongs there. I want people going to that page to read about the book and follow links to buy it. I don't want people going there and seeing a donate button next to the page where I'm asking them to spend money on a product. But for the next little bit anything going into the Donate button up there will be split between triathlon stuff (which I still need, my tri suit is way old) and book stuff. I hate this paragraph, but it never hurts to ask for a little help with something and I deeply believe in. He's The Weird Teacher is good (I promise) and want to give it the best possible chance to succeed.
So I'm still swim/bike/running, just not as often as I should and it's making me soft around the middle. I'm getting back on that horse. I'm doing a lot of writing. And I'm hoping for lots of love when the book finally hits.
Thanks a lot!

OH! One more thing-