Sunday, August 17, 2014

Trans Tahoe 2014

Lake Tahoe is a pretty amazing place. I think I've put the Trans Tahoe swim relay on my yearly must do list. After the awesome time I had last year with Erin H. on a team we hardly knew, I knew this year was going to be even better. I'm not one for planning, and actually prefer when someone else does it and I just ride the coattails. However, I knew I wanted to swim again and to just be on the lake. So, I assembled the team, registered for the race, rented the boat, got the lodging and executed a fun long weekend!

life is good.
Thursday am was an o-dark-thirty wakeup just as Kyle prefers. We were on the road and into Tahoe around 2:30, just as the crazy thunderstroms were turning on. Lightning, thunder, rain, hail. Chaos. How am I supposed to train for my half ironman in these conditions? Jeremy and I went out for a quick ride once the rain died down, just enough to get my bike nice and nasty.

erin rocking it up brockway.
Friday we had planned for the long ride day.  Jeremy had two laps on tap {that's what happens when you register for the full ironman rather than the half!} and was worried about the afternoon thunderstorms, so we chose to start early. Erin, Erin, Steve, and Mark joined me for the 1 lap adventure. Afterwards we went to the beach for a bit, before the storms rolled in. I attended the captains meeting on Friday night and they let us know the contingency plans should the storms roll in earlier on Saturday. {Radio channels, protocols, etc}

Saturday was another early wakeup as the 5 team members had to get to the boat launch and drive across the lake to the start. Our lead swimmer Erin M. got a more relaxed morning as she got driven to the start line via car. As the captain and organizer, everyone looked at me to be the boat captain. Yeah, I grew up on a lake in Minnesota. But my dad always did the boat launching, tricky driving, and navigation. I think I only took the boat out by myself once. Suffice to say, I was very nervous about the responsibility. After the 2 second, "this is forward, this is reverse" tutorial by the boat rental staff, they pushed us away from the dock and I was forced into go mode, trying to not smash into the boat docked directly in front of me, or the other boats tied up in the area. Phew, made it out of there and we were ready for our long journey across the lake.

sun bathing beauties.
We got to the start very early and were just a floating around in anticipation, yet nervously patrolling the area. Before we knew it, the race had started. We were in the second wave. I started to get closer to the pickup area and luckily found Erin without too much trouble. This part is extremely scary, as there are a crap ton of boats all within a small area and now swimmers are in the water. After finding her, it was then about navigating around  the other boats and out the natural "channel" of swimmers forming through the impending and waiting boats. Phew, we were out in the open water and I was getting more relaxed.

finding erin. and then trying not to run anyone else over. 
Now it was just 10ish miles across the lake in a somewhat straight {or zig zagged} line to the west. We all had fun jumping in, which of course makes for epic photos in a ridiculously gorgeous setting.

so much fun. all in one.
Saturday night we hosted a big party at our house with two other San Diego teams. Sunday was a bit of a rainy day and Kyle and I spent it together as most everyone else journeyed home. We enjoyed some drinks {Woodies} at Gar Woods on the lake, watching a crazy lightening storm roll over the lake and some mini golf after {of which I won by 1 stroke.}

storm watching from the deck at Gar Woods
this is serious.
Monday morning we left bright and early. Only our alternator failed around Lone Pine and we rolled into the only auto repair shop in town. Of course they didn't have the part and we'd have to stay overnight to wait for it to get shipped in. And of course the entire town's hotel business was booked with Badwater endurance run race support crews. Luckily, I gave our sob story to the front desk woman after she told us no, and after we called every other hotel in town hearing the same thing. She magically found a room available. Hotel pool and a race running just outside our door? Sounds like an okay way to spend 24 hours in the high desert. I had Tuesday off of work since the shop is closed, and Kyle called into his work with the news. He went for a mountain bike ride in the afternoon and I waited till sunset to get my long run in along Owens river.

Tuesday morning we decided to ride up Whitney Portal Rd to the trailhead. It's a ridiculous undertaking at 11 miles and 4,000 ft of climbing. Kyle only had his mountain bike and I was on Kermit, so suffice to say, we both didn't have our bikes of choice. Somehow we managed, and I think Kyle dominated with his granny gearing, but was nice enough to ride next to me as I was about to cry every time I looked up and couldn't see the top.

trying not to cry.
mr easy gearing. 
We passed 4 "runners" finishing the final leg of their race, that they started over 24 hours prior. We finally made it, and dipped our toes in the frozen creek, which felt amazing. We actually got the call that the car was ready when we were up there, so we {he} bombed down the descent while I descended like a sissy on my tri bike with sweaty palms, trying not to slide off my brake levers, smiling ear to ear. The fresh air and gorgeous views really do melt away the pain.

Got in the car with the new alternator, and it was idling like crap, and a with another quick adjustment, we were on our way, hoping the work we just forked over an arm and a leg for would get us back to San Diego.

Sometimes an unexpected detour is just what you need after a long vacation. Having it extended that final day actually added to our journey and helped Kyle and I grow closer. It's something we'll need and look back to as he's prepping for D2. {his second deployment} His hospital detour the day after we got home wasn't something either of us expected. Suffice to say, I felt I needed a vacation from our vacation and hospital stay. I definitely fell behind on training and it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows in our neck of the woods {beach}. After hearing about his CT results, we were able to breathe a sigh of relief, for now at least.  Thank goodness he wasn't put on limited duty, or worse, medically separated. Life as we know it will continue on. He's "away" {not underway; this land based navy stuff is interesting} this week for some final prep. And in less than 5 weeks, we'll be back in Tahoe!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Semper Tri {then & now}

Back in 2008, the Camp Pendleton sprint was the first race I picked and registered for after moving to San Diego. I ended up racing Spring Sprint and a couple of TCSD club races in the meantime, but this race brings me back to my newbie days of triathlon. 2014 was the first time I came back, and I'm not sure why I waited so long. This is a very well run, organized event, on a great course and you get to run over a LCAC at the end! I snagged a free entry at a TCSD club meeting for knowing what LCAC is an acronym for {Landing Craft Air Cushioned}.

My race report will be a then/now on my feelings throughout the race.

Then: I remember thinking how cool it was that they let us onto a military base. Now: Been there, done that, military wife. Then: Super wowed by the vast LCAC area, structure, launch ramp. Now: Still wowed. Then: Setup transition, and would've panicked had this years turn of events sprung upon me. Now: My wetsuit leg ripped open as I was putting it on. Like a serious hole, through the lining, across the entire front of my upper thigh. Ugh, not good. Was chatting with friends when this happened, and I was like, "Well, I don't have to wear my wetsuit bottoms, and maybe I'll just wear the top." My tri top isn't the greatest swimming top and would've caused a significant amount of drag. My shorts are a couple of seasons old now, and not sure they would've stayed on with the surf conditions. Okay, duct tape maybe? I went to the announcer's stand and surprisingly the guy had a bin of supplies and as I saw the grey roll, I knew I was in business. I put a couple strips on the inside to hold it together and then wrapped it around my entire thigh to make sure the water didn't wash it off. Seemed to be holding so I got in the water for a bit of a warmup. Got back out for the swim start, and the makeshift, ghetto wetsuit repair was going to work. BTW - I got these De Soto bottoms back in 2010 before my first Ironman. 5 seasons later, I'd say that was worth my $$. The top was replaced last year before IM Tahoe.

yep - this happened.

duct tape fixes everything!

Swim {Then: 12:50 / Now: 10:38}
I remember large waves in '08 and a rather tough current pulling us south. This year, the waves weren't bad but it did take longer than expected to get to the first buoy. The current was pulling us a bit north and almost pushing us back to shore. The way back in was easy, but I never really had a wave to catch. The sand run was horrible both years. :) Wetsuit repair and stripping went as normal.

Bike {Then: 1:00.03 / Now: 53:58}
Not really a fair comparison. I had Felty back then, possibly with some aerobars by that point. Now, my position aboard Kermit, with my aerohelmet and fancy gadgets, I should be able to go faster than I managed. I just couldn't wake up. Any time my cadence went under 90, my power dropped. I had absolutely no "push" and had to just spin my way through the course. Average power was 15 watts lower than it should be and I just couldn't find the pop on the course this year. I had 1 Gu and 1 bottle of APX.

Run {Then: 26:54 / Now: 24:46}
Wow, that sucked. I remember the launch ramp being crappy, but not that crappy. I trudged my way up that incline and struggled through the rest of the run. Couldn't pick up my feet, and again, that elusive pop I felt in my legs during SDIT hasn't made an appearance since. I knew I was leading my age group and probably had enough of a lead to hang on for the W, but man, I couldn't shake the funk I was in.

Overall {Then: 1:39 / Now: 1:31}
I ended up 2nd overall female {1st AG} this year as the lack of local pro's and possibly a smaller field helped the competition ease up a bit, and hey, I'll take it. The trophy was an old ammo box with their logo spray painted on the side which was a neat touch and a good conversation piece for Moment's trophy mantle. Thanks to all the volunteers out there - this course is super safe, fun and well run. I'll definitely be back!