Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chula Vista Challenge Triathlon

I competed in my 3rd Olympic Distance race this past weekend. That makes my total -two races this summer season. Sunday I raced the Chula Vista Challenge Triathlon. I was excited for this race for a few reasons. One- I have just more experience on the bike. Two I raced the exact same course in October as my first ever Olympic Distance Triathlon.  Since you are not really able to compare race times because of the many factors. I was excited to hopefully compare my time at least a little.

Even though the race is Sunday this one requires you to check in Saturday as well as drop off your bike and “Transition 2” stuff. Before I headed down to Chula Vista I got in a nice easy 30 minutes on my bike- just to stretch out the legs. After my quick ride I headed solo to check in. Normally Brennan does these things with me- however Saturday is when he likes to get in his long bike ride. I did not want him to feel rushed or not get in the training he needed- so away I went! After a quick detour (reading the map and driving- not a great idea) I made it to the Bike shop where check in was. Since this race is a point to point meaning you start in one place and end nowhere near there you have to check your Transition 2 bag (what you will need for the run portion of the race) off with them.  It will then be waiting for you race day when you get off the bike. I got my number, free tee shirt, asked a few questions. Not the most organized event. After getting checked in and dropping off my T2 bag- I had to head down to the bay where the swim and transition to the bike would take place.
After driving another few miles and finding the correct area. I found a place to part they were having a Pow Wow making things more difficult. Brennan asked like a real Pow Wow- yes with individuals with Indian decent. Looked interesting. After parking I got my bike out and headed to set it up. Once I got my bike set up I wanted to do a quick swim in the bay. The guy watching the bikes gave me a few pointers to stay out of the way of boats (always helpful). Then I changed since the water was so warm I decided against the wet suit. Got in a quick 20 minute open water swim. Even about 100 yards off shore I could have stood up. It was very shallow was well as rocky. Remember that I noticed the rocks on Saturday.
After my quick swim I headed home to relax and finish packing up. I would head to bed nice and early since we would be getting up at 4:30 to get down to the start line. My wave was scheduled to go off at 6:58am. After getting up early we made the 30 mile drive to the race start. I headed into transition to get everything set up. Well not sure if it was me or the bike. But when I went to pump up my tires I noticed the tube in my front tires was all bent.  Thus my tire was flat! There was a quick panic. I tried to fix the problem but I will be honest Brennan is my bike mechanic. I rushed over to the side to tell him. He snuck into the transition area and in less than 10 minutes had my tire fixed and both pumped up.  Disaster averted. Thank you Brennan. While he was doing that I got marked with my number. Set up my water bottles and my transition area. Got my sun block on. Then felt safe enough to leave transition.
I headed to the restroom because like every racer I get nervous. I headed to the lovely long bathroom line.You could tell we were not in the best area because there were no stall doors. Needless to say ladies do not really like that. However it also made for some laughs! After hitting the bathroom I headed over to Brennan. Check out the course- make my last few preparations. With about 15 minutes till go time I wanted to test out my tri kit make sure it would work for swimming since I was going without the wetsuit. I headed into the water. It was nice and warm. No WETSUIT!  Swam about 500 yards or so to warm up. Then headed to shore to wait. When I got back I ran into the Maloney family there youngest son Ryan is part of Insulindependence and I swim with him once a week. We got a quick picture. Then it was time to get ready for what I hoped would be a good quick day.

I would line up with woman from 25-40 age group.  Seems not a lot of women racing. No worries I headed to the front of the group. The announcer made a point not to run because of rocks. I laughed thinking this is a race are you serious?! The bull horn sounded and I was off. I ran from the start got into the water and tried to find a rhythm. There were two other woman who went out very fast. They got away from me a bit after the first buoy. I was feeling pretty good though- quickly gained on the 3 minute group ahead of me. By the turn around point the next buoy was directly into the sun. This caused a little trouble for spotting it.  Once I rounded that buoy you went parallel to shore and around one more buoy.  Well at this point my cap was really starting to slide off my head. I just tried to keep pulling it down. At this point I had caught another wave from before me. This always annoys me cause they are swimming all over and slow. Making that you have to do a little defensive swimming. The last buoy was hard to see and seemed to cause many people an issue. I finally spotted it thanks to a lifeguard. Turn the corner and in I went to shore. With it being so shallow I did a little dolphininig. Then went for the run. Well those rocks I found one. Full sprint dead on the bottom of my foot.  At the time I remember thinking damn that hurt. But whatever! 

Into transition. Brennan made fun of me for this last year. My goal was to be fast. Into my socks, shoes, sunglasses, watch, helmet. Quick wipe off the skin and I was off running with my bike.  I had a little trouble clipping in. Once into my bike I was off for 24 miles.  The races before the first few miles kinda suck. Your not used to being on the bike your heart is racing and your wet! I just wanted to get a rhythm. The first few miles went better than normal. However this course requires you to climb the entire way. My plan was to  ride hard and controlled. Making sure to get water and food. As I rode I was not getting passed nearly as often. Though the people that did pass me- makes me think what am I doing so wrong. They make it look easy. 
As the ride went it started to get hotter. I just focused on what Brennan told me.  Very few ladies were passing me which was a huge positive.  I also realized that tri shorts are much like swim suits they start to go bad.  FYI they become see through. I saw a lot of guys butt’s.  Needless to say I didn’t like that but it gave me a good laugh.  To those men I hope you get new shorts asap.  Or just another reason to get better- no butt’s passing me.  I had a close call with a Bee on my shorts at 11 miles.  Needless to say I hate Bee’s and am not very good of letting for of the handle bars.  I did get the bee off without crashing or getting stung.  One point for me!!  Once nearing the transition area it was flat.  I pushed hard that last mile hoping to flush my legs. Not sure it worked. 

Upon entering the parking lot for transition a guy on a bull horn is yelling your number.  But what I heard was my amazing fiancé yelling for me! It is what you need after 24 long miles – hear someone cheering for you.  I was off the bike and running in and a nice kid takes your bike to rack it. Another kid runs along with you to a chair. Gets your shoes out for you. As I get all my cycling stuff off he puts it into the bag for you. I was off.  Entire change in 21 seconds, down from 42 last year.  Success! 

Quick transition another yell from Brennan and I was off. It was already super-hot and I was mad I did not put a water bottle in my Transition 2 bag.  No matter I needed to get in 6 miles.  Very quickly I noticed my foot was hurting. I thought it was just cramped or something I had totally forgotten about that rock getting out of the swim. At the first aid station I learned they had crap cups and I got no water down! Not a good sign.  Just tried to focus on running. I ended up going about the same pace as this guy Ryan.  We worked together for the next two miles. I wanted to hold a good pace and he was at it.  Plus suffering is a little easier with another person.  After two miles into the run he had more to give them me.  Then I went back into my mode of focusing that I was moving toward the finish line.  There were a lot of people walking. I was trying at all cost to avoid that.
At mile 2.5 you enter the Olympic Training Center.  Which is pretty cool except it is really hilly.  This course loves themselves some hills.  Many people were walking the hills- I focused on pumping my arms and moving forward.  I took in some chews and headed for the next water station.  At this station I walked it. Got two cups of water one to drink, one to half drink and poor the rest on myself.  At this point I was sweating out nasty ocean water and it was burning my eyes.  After walking for 5 steps I was back to running.  Trying to keep my focused finished the hilly portion.  Walked 5 steps through another aid station.  Then to exit the Olympic Training Center you have to run up about 25 steps.  At this point in the race I was not in the mood for stairs. I am sure I said something not appropriate for a blog.  However it made the guy behind me laugh. 
I was out of the Olympic Training center and I had a little over a mile to go. I was pushing at this point.  I was still passing people and so many were walking. I have such a competitive spirit and no quit attitude thanks to my parents that I knew I could push through. As I turned for the finish line which was what seemed like forever away all these people start to cheer for you. Many saying I was looking great. I laughed at one woman who told me that said glad you think I look good. Cause it doesn’t feel good! I felt like I finished strong through the finisher shot. Again to my amazing fiancé Brennan cheering. Nothing like having him great you at the finish. I could see how proud of me he was and that is priceless.
Overall it was a good race.  I bettered my overall time from the previous year by about 10 minutes.  I was a little slower in the swim. My transitions were way faster, my bike much improved by about 10 minutes, then my run was about a minute and half faster than the previous year.  I won my age group! And if you get something for that I did not!  I was the 100th individual overall and the 18th woman.  Not to bad for only my third race.  As Brennan reminds me if I stay training (I have a tendancy to take little vacations!) then I will only get better. 

When I got home and my foot was still hurting and I was not sure why I took off my shoe to find a very dark bruise the shape of a rock. After 4 days it still hurts! Woops! I guess maybe next time I wont actually run during a race. Haha who am I kidding running was totally worth it!
Thanks to Brennan for getting up early- driving all over- cheering for me. Most of all believing that I could be ok at this triathlon thing! 
2011 Results

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Becoming Competitive Again

Brennan has changed many things about me in the last few years that we have been together.  Most of them good changes :) Though he will never take away my ice cream eating habit. Sorry babe!

One of the biggest changes is- he has made me want to be competitive again. I mean I worked out kinda. But nothing serious and with no true goals. I guess my feeling was just with college being over- so was my athletic career. Brennan showed me that is not true at all you just find a new passion and set new goals.  Goals that work with the real world (that I sadly now live in.. couldn’t stay a college athlete forever! Sadly).  Granted we live a life style that many of our friends think is weird. You do what on the weekends.? You spend your free time together swimming. Are you serious?  I am dead serious Friday night we go to bed early to rise early Saturday to get that long ride in!
Getting competitve again meant setting my sights on something new- Triathlon! I have competed in a few triathlons and running races.  Granted I don’t race nearly as much as Brennan or as seriously. (Brennan is training for his first Ironman –Arizona in November 2012). But I have a training plan and do my best to stick to it! So at least when race day comes I am not completely screwed just not totally confident in my abilities.  The one thing that makes triathlon easy is I know that I can swim.  Even if I don’t put in as many yards as I should I will be fine.  As Brennan says my bad day is still light years ahead of 95% of the competitor’s ultimate best.  The bike I have gotten better and better at. I have put a lot of work in.  Most of my training is done on the trainer. With the exception of long rides here and there with Brennan.  I mean I spent most of my life watching a black line so I am totally fine with the trainer. Plus I can watch all my TV shows.  I will admit I watch way too many shows.  Good news is a few are in their final seasons! Running is my complete fear.  I just don’t really like the training for it- it hurts.  Luckily I have done better since starting to work for PEAR Sports and using the device we sell. (I recommend you check it out!).  As well as the fact it is the last discipline on the race.
For as much as the training can be hard.  I still get that amazing feeling when I complete a good workout.  I am sure I annoy Brennan to death because I just have to tell him about it! Though Brennan is like my personal coach.  He has helped me through all the road bumps and I learn more daily.  There are many things I wish I did better when I was a younger athlete the main one would be NUTRITION!!  Brennan can’t believe that I used to go through 3 hour practices with little water and taking in no nutrition.  This has been a big change for me.  Learning what and when to eat and to drink.  Learning that if you keep the stores up in your body during a workout- makes the workout easier (you won’t bonk).  Then you feel even better when it is over and your body recovers faster. I must have bonked a ton when I was younger and spent most of my career with my body depleted of what it needed to train and compete.
The other thing about training I am attempting to learn is heart rate.  This is not used much in the swim world.  Introduced in small amount yes but I knew very little about it. My job has helped since our device works around heart rate based training and I use it with my training now.  Thankfully with my PEAR and Brennan I am learning how to train correctly.  Though I have a tendency to workout with my heart rate considerably high.  At first this scared me but Brennan claims it is just because I have a huge engine. Brennan routinely tells me I have such a big engine- making me perfect for triathlon.  That I can just race at max effort for long periods of time.  I would like to thank Chuck Riggs for my engine!! You’re the mastermind behind my engine.   Those two a day of swimming over 10,000 yards from the time I was like 11 to leaving for college.  Then I would also practice multiple hours for water polo and at times even run (I ran varsity cross country my freshman and sophomore year of high school).  
I am sure your all thinking this is a random blog.  It partly is yes, but also leading up to my next blog that will be a race report of my 3rd Olympic Distance Triathlon. Due to the changes (positive changes) Brennan has made in my life I am starting to become kinda competitive(I am sure that shocks many of you. When was I ever competitive before?). I am looking to continue racing in the years to come.  Because I can stay an athlete forever if I want to! Especially when you have the support of your family, fiancé, and those you work with!  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ice Cream Tradition

There is a tradition in the Vessey house the night before school starts.  We always go to Ice Cream the night before. Not sure my parents ever thought it would last as long as it did. It was always like the last little treat to hold on to summer and then looking at a new year with a fresh attitude.

Maybe this ice cream tradition is where my love and absolute weakness (ask Brennan and my family) was started.  At a young age with a treat that meant time together holding on to that list bit of summer.  While getting excited for the new year to come. Though I really think my love of ice cream comes from my dad who also loves it!  I spent many a nights scooping for just the two of us!

No matter tonight ends a long standing tradition. The Vessey's have gotten ice cream the night before school starts since I started Kindergarten and I am 25.  So you can see it has been going for some time.  Other family and friends have been lucky enough to join the once a year celebration.  There was a year the tradition went on without my parents due to dad being in the hospital.  But it has always been a tradition! 

When I was younger and we lived on Hastings street we would walk to the end of the street to TCBY (yes we have them on the west coast).  It was always an enjoyable adventure with a tasty treat coming.  We have always sat on the same wall enjoying our treat and talking.

There are always two questions that are asked.
1.  What was the best part of your summer?
2.  What are you most looking forward to this year?

We would all have different answers and it would almost always lead into laughing and talking about the awesome summer we had. 

Even once we moved across town the tradition continued.  For about two years we would park in front of our old house and walk down the street. Then a few years we just drove straight to TCBY and maybe a trip down memory lane by driving by the old house and pointing out the changes.  In the last few years we may have even had a year or two when we went to Cold stones.  

I am sad to say that I have missed a few here and there.  We did move tradition a few years to make so that we could all be there together even if that meant school for some of us was later.  College has a way of changing things.  However I am sad that I will miss tonight's Ice Cream treat.  It is the last time my parents will make the trip to ice cream with one of my siblings still living at home. KK is going to be a senior tomorrow.  I am sure my parents are wondering where the time went. I mean we started it a day before I started Kindergarten. 

I am sure I will get a text and call.  My mom will even send a picture of them eating there ice cream.  And I will have a scoop or two in tradition.  What I do know is that the tradition will not stop.  We will probably do it till Sean and KK both finish college. I mean why stop something so special.  Even once we are all through school if my parents are still working (for there sake I hope they are retired) I hope we continue going the night before school starts for them.  I mean they are teachers- they deserve a treat to end there summer! So maybe we will carry the tradition for my parents. I look forward to starting it up with my own family (in about 10 years!).  I am sure other families have there traditions and this is one of my favorites. 

Best wishes to everyone starting another school year! Enjoy every second cause they go to fast.  Proud of you Sean and KK enjoy your senior year.  Brooke enjoy your first year not in school. Mom and Dad thanks for all the memories..

Mom to answer your question:
1.  The best part of my summer has been the time spent when we are all together. I look forward to going to St. Louis in two week and then to Seattle for the Aztec game with the best family in the world.
2. I am most looking forward to planning my wedding! I mean who wouldn't when you are marrying your best friend and the man of your dreams!