Monday, June 28, 2010

Markey Tri Race Report

The Markey Tri was a blast! The race was well organized, the facilities were top notch, and it was a beautiful day to be out swimming, biking and running. Here is my race report!

Overall time: 1:26:50
  • 300m swim- 10:03 (pool time was 9:30, 33 additional seconds were the run to transition)
  • T1- 1:22
  • 14 mi. bike- 46:44
  • T2- 1:08
  • 5k run- 27:30
On Saturday morning I headed to the race site (Spindletop Hall in Lexington) to pick-up my packet and attend a pre-race at 11:30am. After picking up my packet (which included a t-shirt, hat and water bottle - nice!) I checked out the pool and transition area. The pool was a 25 meter, 4 ft. lap pool. I asked the race director how the swim would be done, and she said it would be a serpentine swim (European style, left to right) that would involve going up and down one lane, then going under the rope into the next lane until you got to the end of the 8th lane. I was kind of nervous about the swim - I knew it was going to be pretty crowded in those lanes!

After getting some more details at the meeting, I headed home to rest for the afternoon. I stopped at Moe's for lunch and got a vegetarian burrito with rice, black beans, cheese, pico de gallo and guacamole to fill up the ol' glycogen stores.

Later that afternoon Chad and I went over to our friends Rob & Kate's house to watch the NBC broadcast of the Ironman 70.3 World Championships that they had DVR'd for me. After that we headed home and had pizza for dinner - I had a few slices of thin crust with black olives and a big spinach salad. I got all of my gear laid out, checked, re-checked and then packed, put the Yakima rack on the car, took a shower and then fell deeply asleep at 8:30!

I woke up naturally at 3:59am - my alarm was set for 4:00am. I hopped out of bed and got the coffee going. While I was fixing the coffee, I had an internal debate. What should I eat for breakfast - oatmeal with peanut butter and banana, or Cheerios with peanut butter and banana? I always eat the oatmeal combo before races, but the Cheerios combo when training - so I knew either one would be an ok choice. It was so hot and humid out already (80 degrees at 4:00am!) and I just couldn't stomach the thought of eating hot oatmeal. So, Cheerios it was!

After breakfast, I got dressed, triple checked that I had all of my stuff, checked the tire pressure on the bike, got my bike on the car rack, took Emma out, topped of water bottles, went to the bathroom about 5 times - all of the normal pre-race things. I left the house at 5:15 and got to the race site at 5:45.

After getting body marked and getting my chip, I found my spot in transition. The bike racks were set up by race number which was really nice. The transition area had a "bike out" area and a "run out" area - my rack was the first rack on the run out side, so that was good. The only problem is that it was the very last rack (i.e. farthest away) from the bike out side! But it was great and I had plenty of space. After setting up my cycling shoes, helmet and sunglasses, running shoes and race belt, I went up to the pool at 6:30 (the transition area was in a parking lot just down from the pool) and did a few warm-up laps. It was pretty weird swimming in a pool that was only 4ft the entire way across, but I liked it!

At 7:00am, we all gathered at the pool for the start. The triathletes were corralled into an adjacent pool area while 10 swimmers at a time got ready to start. The timing mats were just inside the gate, so a volunteer held you back until it was your time go, then you crossed the mat, lowered yourself into the pool (no running, diving or jumping allowed) and off you went. Swimmers were released every 20 seconds. It was pretty much self-seeded, so I was a little nervous that people would be swimming over me or I would be swimming over them, but it actually wasn't bad at all. The person in front of me took off like a bat out of hell, so I didn't have to worry about being on her feet the whole time. I ended up passing like 4-5 people in the pool - one guy just stopped in the middle of the lane and stood up and let my pass, and the others let me pass them at the wall. I didn't get passed, although someone was definitely on my heels at the end. The up and down and down and around was a little disorienting, but I got used to it by the 3rd lane. I had a minor freak out in the middle of lane 2 - I think I went out a little too hard and I wasn't in a groove yet, but I knew I couldn't stop, so when all of that combined together it was just a little too much. I told myself "Meredith, get it together!!" so I got my wits about me and just kept on swimming.

I was very happy to reach the end of the 8th lane. I climbed out of the pool (a little awkwardly, I'm sure) and started the run down to transition. When I got out of the water my watch read 9:30, so I was pleased with that. I wanted to be closer to 8:00, but oh well. Next time! On the way down to transition I pulled off my goggles and swim cap. Once in T1 I wiped off my face and feet, put on my sunglasses and helmet, slipped on socks and my cycling shoes and then headed out. I was praying that I would not crash or fall or do something stupid at the mount line, but once I got there I hopped on the bike and off I went without any calamities.

The course was beautiful - it is out by the Kentucky Horse Park and tons of horse farms. It was a rolling hills type of course - I was steadily shifting between my 2nd and 3rd chain rings. I never had to get in my granny gear. I ended up with an 18.2 average mph, which is pretty good for me! I passed a good amount of folks (8-10?), but I also got passed by a few people. It seemed like there was a lot of drafting out on the course, so I really tried to avoid that - I did not want to get a time penalty or a DQ!

I drank about 3/4 of my Gatorade/water mix throughout the ride, and ate 1 chocolate Gu around mile 5. I taped the Gu to my top tube, so when I pulled it off the tube, the top pulled off and it was ready to go. I definitely felt the energy boost 4-5 minutes later. Before I knew it I was heading back into Spindletop Hall towards the dismount line. I hopped off the bike and headed back into T2 to get ready for the run.

I took off my helmet, sunglasses and cycling shoes and put on my hat, race belt and running shoes. I left T2 at 59:00, so I knew I had to run a 31 min 5k in order to meet my time goal. I knew I could do that, so my confidence got a little boost right at the start of the run. I felt good during the entire run - the only weird thing was that the course involved a gravel path at first, then .25 miles on grass, then out onto the road. It was hard to get into a good groove on the grass, but it was a good time to get my legs back under me. I felt great when I hit the road and tried to pick up the pace a little. There were two water stops (at mile 1 and mile 2) so I sipped a little water at both and poured the rest over my head. It was HOT out there!

I didn't get passed on the run, but passed 8 or so people. That is always a good feeling. The run was an out and back course, so once I got back to the grass and gravel I knew I was on the home stretch. I passed two ladies as we were heading into finishing chute - my adrenaline was pumping and the crowd was cheering, so I just gave it all that I had. I finished feeling tired, but like I still had some left in the tank. That's the tricky part I suppose. When do you turn on the gas? If you do it too soon, you can hit the wall and burn out early. If you stay nice and steady, you can finish strong, but then you finish feeling like you didn't put it all on the line. I feel like I could have had a faster overall run, but oh well - I know this for next time! Racing is a great training tool. I am going to try to race more 5ks and do more race simulation bricks, as I think this will help me gauge how hard I should push myself on the bike and in the early parts of the run.

I hoped to place in my age group (25-29), but alas I did not. I still felt like I had a good race and was pretty pleased with my effort for the most part. The results were posted today and I found out I was 4 minutes away from the person who got 3rd in my AG, but I did place 4th out 15. I was pretty happy to see that I was in the top 5! My main goal for the day was to finish under 1:30, so I was happy that I did that. Overall, it was a fantastic race and I would recommend it to anyone. I had a lot of fun out there, and I am really happy that I decided to dive into the world of triathlon last summer (no pun intended). I have two more races planned this year - the River Cities tri in Shreveport in August, and the Tri for Sight in Lexington in September.

Here are some of my goals for the next 10 weeks:
  • drop 10 pounds
  • eat more fruits and veggies, not so many sweets (my biggest downfall)
  • increase my swim volume-gain confidence in the water, increase lung capacity
  • set a 5k PR by September-goal: sub 24:00
  • Don't run "junk miles"-every run needs to have a purpose: tempo/speed-work/hills, etc.
  • Continue with at least 3 rides/week, 4 when possible to build leg strength and confidence
  • Implement heart rate training - a big key to improving training & racing
  • Turn myself into a lean, mean triathlon machine!

Friday, June 25, 2010


It seems like forever since I have posted an update. This morning I was trying to figure out why I haven't been blogging lately, and I think it is mainly because of the weather. For me, I think it is easier to blog in the fall, winter and early spring because I am inside more. In the summer, I want to be outside as much as possible. In my free time, I usually can be found running, biking, swimming or reading in the backyard while Emma plays.

I think my biggest blogging goal is to blog consistently, but lately I have felt uninspired to write. I just don't know what to write about! I have really gotten into the "literary fiction" genre this summer (after reading all of Curtis Sittenfield's books) and my lifelong desire to write a book is stirring within me again. But the problem at hand is that I don't know what to write about. I have a collection of short story ideas, so maybe I will try to jot some things down in the vein of John Grisham's "Ford County". Just for fun of course, I have no grand illusions of ever being published.

In other news, I have a triathlon this Sunday! It is the Markey Race for Women's Cancer (aka Markey Tri) and it is here in Lexington. This is the inaugural race, and I think there are like 300-400 participants. It is a 400m pool swim, 14 mile bike, and 5k run. I think this will be a good test race to see where my overall race fitness is at. Training has been going well, but I would like to ramp things up a bit after this race on Sunday to prepare for the River Cities Triathlon in Shreveport, LA on August 1st. This is my "A" race for the summer and I have only one goal - beat my sister Megan's time! She is a fierce competitor, so it will be tough to do but it will be a lot of fun trying!

A few more life updates:
  • Last weekend we said goodbye to our friends the Mostroms and this weekend we will say goodbye to the Strebecks. These families have been with us since the very beginning (like the first week!) of our seminary journey here in Kentucky, and we are so sad to see them go, but proud of all they have accomplished and will accomplish. The Mostroms are headed north to Ohio for Alan to begin PhD work, and the Strebecks are headed south to Texas for Ryan to serve as a pastor in Abilene. I have shed many tears this week thinking about not experiencing day to day life with these families anymore.
  • We sold Chad's Jeep Grand Cherokee and purchased a 2005 F-150. Chad has wanted a truck for years, and now was the time to make the move. The Jeep was on its last legs but we were still able to sell it at a decent price, and we found an incredible deal on a truck in Louisiana. Big thanks to Chad's parents who did all of the leg work on searching and finding a truck in central Louisiana - the used truck market is just so much better down there!
  • I ordered a pair of Nike Free 7.0's from Road Runner Sports and got them in last weekend. After running in them for a week, I can say that I love them. In my first run with them it took me about 20 minutes to get used to the different structure, but after that it was fine. I love the built-in sock/liner thing which definitely makes them good triathlon shoes, in my opinion. I've done a few brick runs in them, and I am able to just slide my foot in the shoe (already tied & double knotted) so that will cut down on having to stop and tie my shoes in T2.
  • Chad has been really busy so far this summer with a one week intensive class and then a week at summer camp as a counselor/worship leader. And next week he will be heading to Louisiana to pick up the truck. Before we know it, we will be heading down to Louisiana for the River Cities triathlon and our 1 week vacation in Alexandria!
I'll post an update early next week with results and a race report from the triathlon!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Texas/Louisiana Trip (pt. 2)

On Sunday, we drove to Monroe to visit my dad's mom, sister, brother and niece. It was so great to see Mimi, Judy, Sarah and Uncle Jimmy! They are so hilarious and I know that my dad got his sense of humor from his mom. I think some of that rubbed off on me and Megan, too! When I was at Louisiana Tech I was only 30 minutes away from Monroe, and now we are about 15 hours away! I look forward to the day when we are back in Louisiana and can see our family much more often.

We had Johnny's pizza for lunch, and I inhaled a few (or 5) of some amazing brownies that Judy had made. And some of Mimi's banana pudding, too! It was all just too good to resist. We had a great time visiting and catching up - and Judy gave me a dachshund murder mystery novel! I am reading it now and it is really good.

On Monday we headed back to Houston. We stopped in Lufkin for lunch at Taco Bueno (so delicious, I love Taco Bueno!) and then rolled into Houston around 2:00pm. I went over to Michelle and Brittany's neighborhood to go swimming for a few hours, and then we headed down the road to Kemah for Chad's birthday dinner. We went to T-Bone Tom's, a local steakhouse/seafood place that has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! It was incredible. We got an appetizer sampler with fried mushrooms, fried shrimp, "armadillo eggs", cheese sticks, and fried pickles - holy moly it was all so good! We were all very happy with our meals and sufficiently stuffed afterwards. We walked around Kemah and then headed home - we were all pretty tired from the whirlwind trip, and Megan and I had to get up early to register for the River Cities triathlon at 6:00am!

Our next trip home will be the first week of August where I will do the River Cities triathlon with Megan in Shreveport and then Chad and I will spend a week in Alexandria. That trip will be here before we know it - but I already can't wait!

Here are a few more pictures from the trip!

Dad, Chad, Mom, Mimi, Judy
me, Sarah, Megan

Brittany and Michelle at T-Bone Tom's

the family in Kemah

Sisters: me, Michelle, Megan

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Texas/Louisiana Trip (pt. 1)

Last Thursday, Chad and I headed south to Texas and Louisiana for a few days. It was a whirlwind trip, but we had a blast getting to see so many family members!

We flew into Houston on Thursday evening, and then on Friday morning my mom, my dad, my sister Megan, Chad and I drove to Shreveport. My sister Michelle and neice Brittany made the drive later that afternoon. We were headed to Shreveport to celebrate Chad's sister's graduation and to celebrate my Aunt Debbie's wedding. On Sunday, we headed over to Monroe to visit my dad's family - my aunt, cousin, uncle and grandma Mimi. Then on Monday we drove back to Houston, and went out to dinner at T-Bone Tom's in Kemah to celebrate Chad's birthday. On Tuesday morning we flew back to Kentucky. Whew! It was wild, but it was very fun and very, very nice to see our families.

Payton's graduation was pretty neat - she received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy, which is a big accomplishment. We are very proud of her! We were able to see Chad's parents, grandma, aunt and uncle, as well as Payton's husband Jay and his parents, sister, and grandma. We definitely took up a whole row of seating!

After the graduation, Chad and I headed straight to the church for Aunt Debbie's wedding. It was an incredibly touching afternoon. My sister Megan and I have been so close with our cousins Emily and Amy our entire lives. Their family has been through a lot over the years, and I know that we were all very happy to see Debbie so happy. I promised myself I wouldn't cry, but when Amy started crying I just couldn't help it and the tears (of joy!) started flowing. I was so, so glad that we could be there to celebrate this moment with them. And meet our new Uncle Dick!

And now for some pictures from the trip!

Chad & dad at our lunch stop on Friday - Bodacious BBQ in Livingston, TX

Me, Emily & Megan at Posada's in Shreveport

Jason (Emily's husband), friend Josh, and Chad
(I think Josh looks like a character from Clue with that mustache!)

Getting ready for the wedding!
Emily, Aunt Debbie and Amy

My sisters and niece:
Michelle, Brittany, me, Megan

Funny family picture - Megan's face! And my dad's face!
Me, Chad, Megan, mom, dad, Brit, Michelle

The whole group at dinner after the wedding -
Debbie's family and Dick's family

Uncle Dick, Aunt Debbie, Megan

Me and Chad
(His beard looks huge here! People ask if he is Amish.)

Next up, part 2 - Monroe and Houston!