Friday, April 26, 2013

Eads Bridge Duathlon 2013 – Race Recap

Getting ready to line up
The Eads Bridge Duathlon was last weekend, April 21st.  This duathlon is a 1.5 mile run, 10 mile bike ride, 1.5 mile run.  The race starts on the Eads Bridge, on the MO/IL state line.  You then run to the end of the bridge on the IL side, then back to the MO side and to the transition area.  Get on your bike and away you go for 10 miles!  Then back to the transition and you repeat the run in reverse order.

Due to recent flooding the transition area had to be moved and this made the run 1.82 miles instead of 1.5, however the bike was still pretty much 10 miles. 

Waiting for it to start, it was FREEZING (and yes,
those would be sock monkey's on my socks)
I originally signed up for this race so I could get some practice racing on my bike and doing official transitions before triathlon season starts for me.  For those of you who know me, I think we can all agree that even though I knew this was a practice race, I was still going to race it and do my best.

I have to give props to my husband because we spent about an hour on Saturday practicing transitions in front of my house.  He would time me and give me suggestions on what to do. At one point one of our neighbors came over, he bikes, and he helped give me pointers too.   This also allowed me to get some sort of familiarity and comfort level with the transitions. 

And we're off! I love the arch in the background
The day off the race arrived and my entourage and I headed down to the race.  Husband, R, my Mom and my MIL all went down with me since this was the first race of this kind I have ever attempted.

I wasn’t too happy to know that I was pushed up an age group level as they went by what your age would be at the end of the year and not on race day.  I had to hope that most of those in my new age group would be older and less experienced (somehow) than I was. haha!

I was able to get my transition area set up and we walked to the start.  Husband and my Mom switched camera’s as my camera is a dslr and kinda bulky and my Mom had brought her small one.  Husband, even though he doesn’t run, was super supportive and said he would see me off at the start and then run to the transition area to give me support there. He wouldn’t be allowed inside but could spectate from afar.

1st transition.I'm behind the runner
My coach has said he wanted me to do the race in 58-59 minutes.  Based on my training, I knew I could do well with the run but we weren’t sure what my race pace was on a bike. I just bought my bike in November so I’ve only actually been on it outside a handful of times.  I was kinda going in to this blind. I had done a brick as a test and I was able to run a mile in under 8 minutes after riding my bike for 11 miles.  So the plan was to do the two runs with my miles being under an 8 min mile and then do as best I could on the bike and with the transitions (transition time counts towards your total time).

Imagine my surprise when my watch beeps at the first mile marker and I glance down and see a 6 as the first number.  Yup. I not only did my first mile in under 8 minutes, I did it in under 7!  My first mile was 6:50.  This was a mile PR (personal record) for me!  I couldn’t believe it!  I knew I was going fast but not that fast!
Then came the transition. Here I messed up on a couple of things. First, instead of hitting the lap button on my watch to mark the transition, I hit stop and didn’t realize it.  So instead of recording the time for my transition it was just paused.  Even though I had practicing taking off my running shoes and slipping on my bike shoes, I had issues with one shoe.  This wasted some time.  I then had issues with my helmet. I have no idea how or why. I couldn’t get it strapped on and had to take it off and mess with the straps and put it back on.  Finally, though, I was on my way!  

yup - he got chicked
Once I was on the bike I remembered to hit my garmin and that’s when I realized my mistake.  So I had to push start and then the lap button twice.  So my times and miles for my run and my bike ride are off because of this. Not a big deal, but for the geek in me it doesn’t allow me to really analyze my pace as in-depth as I would like.

Having never raced on a bike before, here was my plan going in to the race. I would start out at a pace I thought was good for me.  If I’m constantly being passed, I know I need to give it a bit more. If I’m passing others, I know I need to slow down.  As it happens, there weren’t really any groups of bikers. Most people were on their own, either passing or being passed.  Those who passed me were FLYING and there was no chance of me catching them.  I didn’t pass too many on the first loop but on the second loop I did.  I think this was as more bikers joined the course.   The bike course, I was told was mostly flat.  Well..kinda true.   We had to maneuver up some hills to get to a road and then it was an out and back, which we repeated twice.  This main road had a small incline, so when going one direction you were going up a bit and the other direction going down.  Because this is just how things work for me, the headwind was when you had the slight up hill.  Yeah.  Fun!

Towards the end I had two girls pass me but I kept up with them and we finished going towards the transition together. I was a bit annoyed as on the straights I would start to pass them, then we would get to a turn and they would slow way down and move so they were in my way and I had to slow down.  I think this caused me some seconds arriving at the transition zone because I had to slow way down and got stuck behind them getting off the bikes.  However I ran to my spot, threw off my helmet, gloves and shoes, slipped on my running shoes and away I went!

Husband hugging me right after I finished
The second run started with hills. Up hills.  Then we reached the bridge and it was just across the bridge, a small down hill then up-hill and back to the finish. The legs were super tired on this one because of the bike ride but I managed to pass people the entire way, which felt really good.  Husband saw me at transition, then ran to a spot on the course to cheer me on, then was able to get to another spot right before the bridge to cheer me on again.  This helped soooo much.   When turning around on the bridge, I kicked it in and started to surge a bit on the hill. Then I surged again right at the end, passing some guy right before the finish. haha!  I spent this run trying to pick off the females. Finding one ahead of me and focusing on catching her.   I ended up negative splitting this run. The first mile was around 7:57 and the second, .82 mile, was 7:42.

At first I was feeling very good about my race. I knew I gave it my all on the run and the bike.  Then I got the results.  I missed placing 3rd in my age group by 4 seconds!  This bothered me for several days. I walked around being weird about this race. Knowing I had no reason to be disappointed, but being disappointed all the same.  I didn’t hit my time goal, I came in at 1:03:05.  I missed placing by 4 seconds.   I kept going back over the race, finding places where I could have made up those 4 seconds.

All done!  R doesn't seem to care does she? ha!
After talking with a couple of people, I’m feeling feeling very good about my race and very happy with my results.  These are the things that were told to me that I have to remember":
1) This was my first time racing on my bike
2) This was my first time with transitions
3) This was my first time doing a duathlon
4) I PR’d my first mile. I did under 7 min miles for the first run, so much better than expected.  I hit my goal for my second run.
5) The run was longer than anticipated, yet the bike course was still the same miles.  So it’s ok it took me longer than hoped for to finish the race
6) This was my first outdoor mutli-sport race, remember #’s 1-3, and I missed placing in my age group by ONLY 4 seconds.

My official results:
Finish time: 1:03:05, 73/286 overall, 15/138 female, 4/21 age group

To give you an idea of how close the top 4 in my age group were, here are the finish times: 1:02:53, 1:02:58, 1:03:01, 1:03:05.  Crazy! The first person in my age group only beat me by 12 seconds!

I’ve decided that I really enjoyed doing this race. I loved doing the two sports. Both sports were a challenge and doing two in the same race gave it an excitement that I don’t get from just running (even though I do LOVE the running races).   Husband has already said that it will be fun to see what I can do the bike portion in next year after I’ve had a year of training with it.  Looks like I have to come back and do this one again and go after a PR. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Breastfeeding – The Mental Aspect

I mentioned that I had a lot of mental issues with breastfeeding.  I figured they deserved their own post. I’m hoping that by being completely open about this, others will read it and recognize that they aren’t alone (if they had similar problems) or be able to share with somebody that they think is going through the same thing.
First off, one of my major issues was with being “needed” all the time.  I don’t like it. I didn’t like that I couldn’t leave her for fear she would need to nurse and I wouldn’t be around to do it. I didn’t like that every time she was hungry I had to feed her, I didn’t like the constant need need need.  I didn’t realize this would be an issue. I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I knew that she would need to eat every 2 hours or so. I thought I mentally prepared myself for this.  

I remember a couple of times I would be sitting on the floor with the baby, having her do tummy time.  Myla, our dog, would come over and sit right next to me, touching me, wanting attention, and I was in such bad shape I would cower and just shake and cry. I would tell my husband to make her go away.  I didn’t want to push my dog away, this was new for her too, but I couldn’t handle being needed by the baby and the dog. I needed space too.  Most evenings, when Husband arrived home from work, I would be in my running clothes, ready to get out of the house. I just needed to get away for a bit and I could go for a short run if I had just fed her.

Another thing with breast feeding is doing it when away from home.  I think that right now there is such a stigma against it.  You have those on one side who are so against it, don’t want to see it, don’t want to know it’s happening.  Then you have those on the other side who say it’s such a natural thing..go ahead and do it in public.  I was very uncomfortable doing it in public. If I was in somebody’s home, I had no problem doing it.  But in public, no thanks.  It took me a long time to finally get over this and to start doing it (and yes I was completely covered the entire time).  Once I did it a couple of times, I was ok with it.  But before that we would schedule everything around when I would have to feed her so I could be home.
What was also hard for me was that I always had trouble producing enough.  At first I was able to produce enough for R, that wasn’t a problem. However I had trouble producing enough to be able to pump and feed her.  The days I would try this, she was super crabby and want to eat more often.  We decided to start supplementing with formula once a day, not only to give me a break from feeding her but also so I could pump and start a stash for daycare.  Several months in, once I went back to work and was pumping more and nursing less, I started to produce less and less. 

One of the hardest days for me so far was one Saturday afternoon when I nursed R and she was super crabby and we were unable to calm her down 30 min later.  Out of desperation we made her a bottle and she drank 6oz.  She was starving!  I realized at that moment that I could not provide for my daughter. Ok, I could, with formula, but not by breastfeeding.  As hard as it was for me to breastfeed at first, realizing I couldn’t provide enough for daughter was even harder.  

I often wonder if the issues I had with my thyroid, my depression, and the amount of working out I did all played a role in how little I produced.  As you can guess, this brings about it’s own guilt. If I stopped working out, could my body produce more? If my thyroid wasn’t crazy, could I produce more? If I was happy and not sad, would a trigger go off and allow me to produce more?  All these demands and guilt I put on myself, just made the mental aspect of breastfeeding so much worse.

Monday, April 1, 2013

CTWW – Water Usage

This week’s Change the World Wednesday was:

This week, consider your water footprint, particularly your indirect water use. Begin my using the calculators at the bottom of this PAGE (I found the extended calculator to be the best). If you need to convert measurements of food, here's a TOOL. Once you've calculated your water footprint, take a look at the results and see if there's an area which could be reduced. For example, if your primary water use is associated to cereals/grains, opt for varieties which require less water to produce (barley uses less water than rice). Reduce the amount of sugar you use (it takes 1,500 liters of water to produce 1 kilo of white sugar). Opt for fruits & veggies rather than meat (a kilo of beef requires 15,500 liters of water to create) ... or opt for pork or chicken (4,800 and 3,900 liters respectively). Drink tea instead of coffee, saving 110 liters of water per cup. Drive less (gasoline takes a lot of water). Buy less stuff (everything requires water to produce and transport). While reducing our direct water consumption is absolutely encouraged, this challenge is all about looking at the indirect water we use.

When I think of water usage, I think of water that I use on purpose..such as taking a shower, doing the dishes, using our pool, etc.  What I have never thought of before is the indirect water usage.  Huh?  What’s that you say?   That’s right, it’s not something most of us have ever thought of. Indirect water usage is water used for things that we do or things that we buy.  Such as, how much water is used to produce the Easter candy I’ve been munching on.  Say what? never thought about the use of water in producing food or items.  Although, maybe you have. I know I never have.

According to Reduce Footprints, it takes 1,500 liters of water to produce 1 kilo of white sugar. I probably ate enough candy yesterday to equal 1 kilo of white sugar.   It also takes more water to raise beef (ie: cows) and of course meet in general, when compared to fruits and vegetables.  We all know that fruits and veggies are healthier for us too.

While I did not take this past week to work on this challenge, since I just had a chance to read about it and look in to it on Monday, it does give me food for thought.  It’s something that makes me stop and say..hmmmmm.  Water I use at home is easier to control because I can see it, I can see the waste.  The indirect water usage I don’t. 

I’m trying to focus on eating healthier, cutting out soft drinks and sweets/chips.  Knowing this causes more waste of water, it’s just one more thing to tell myself when I try to talk myself out of the unhealthy stuff and try to focus on eating better.  Better for me = better for the environment.