Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tri Latta

As promised, I will continue updating on my tri experiences! Tri Latta was my 2nd Triathlon and took place at the Latta Plantation outside of Charlotte, NC. The biggest challenge of this triathlon was preparing physically and mentally for the open-water swim. I arrived in Charlotte on Friday evening and had a great stay at a local Bread and Breakfast. Saturday consisted of a light 20 minute run in the AM to get the legs moving, some delicious homemade down home breakfast and then a trip to Carowinds Amusement Park. Luckily the park was not crowded at all and Ryan and I were able to do everything we wanted in about 5 hours. We caught the USA WC match before picking up our race packets and attending the course briefing. Seeing everyone around and the swim course set up definitely did not ease any anxiety that I had. We enjoyed a quick and simple pasta dinner at the local Olive Garden and hit the bed early for a 5am Wake Up. Oh how I love Triathlon start times!

Staying in a B&B is great but when you wake up at 5am you kind of have to provide your own breakfast, but I actually preferred this. I was able to enjoy my usual of Special-K Red Berries with Skim milk. Off we went to the Latta Plantation to set up our Transition Areas and prepare for the race. This was my first time wearing a Timing Chip around my ankle and setting up my TA on grass. As I went to get body-marked I was very nervous and shaking, the nice lady with the huge permanent marker eased some of my anxiety by talking with me, she was an "elite" racer who had raced the same course the day before. Ryan was in the first wave of racers and I followed 2 waves later.

I never could have imagined how crazy the open-water swim gets! People kicking you, slapping you, swimming over you and under you! People are everywhere all battling to get to the next bouy and out of the water first! I was not used to not be able to see well in the water or swimming with all the competition and having such choppy water. Needless to say I swam a little off course at a couple points but managed to finish the swim course without any major hiccups. I did start off way to fast and had to slow down quite a bit about 200m out, in order to maintain a constant pace for the rest of the swim.

Coming out of the water with all the people cheering you on is quite exciting. The run up to the TA was a bit longer than average and slightly uphill. I ran up to my TA and got ready to bike as quickly as I could. I had to manage to get socks and shoes on my wet feet, but I had picked up a tip to use baby powder which worked like magic! I quick adjustment of the hair and getting the helmet on and I grabbed my bike and ran out to the mount line! The bike ride was awesome, the racers were all pretty spread out so there were no traffic jams to deal with. The roads were not closed to traffic, but I think I only saw 1 car the whole time and they were very well patrolled with police at every intersection. I chose to take a GU packet about 14 miles into the ride to ramp up my energy for the run. I dismounted the bike, ran it back in and transition as quickly as possible to the run.

I think dealing with long hair may be one of the trickiest parts of transitioning. You pretty much have to adjust it for every event. Once I was situated I was able to fall into a decent pace for the run. The run was mostly a trail run through the plantation. The sun was hot by this team and many people were walking. My ankle strap for my timing trip have began to cut into my ankle and it was killing me! There were some tough climbs on the trail but I kept on trucking. I saw Ryan about 1 mile ahead of me when I was about .5 miles in. My legs were tired, I was tired, I pushed through to the water stop and broke the run up to 3 small runs in my mind. 1 mile at a time, very doable! I pushed through and tried to speed up at the end. As I rounded the last turns towards the finish line I began to lick my lips and kick it to the line! I passed a few people at the end and had a great finish!

One of the greatest things about Tri Latta is the finish line festival! Though it is not a huge race, the finish line festival is awesome! There was free fruit, Harvest Bread Co. Bread, massages, and even a Beer Garden! Two free beers for every racer as well! Nothing like some Mich Ultra at 9:15 am! Ryan and I hung out long enough to see our results and the awards ceremony before heading back to our B&B for a great home-style breakfast! If you have ever wanted to try a sprint-triathlon or if you are a triathlete I highly recommend Tri Latta. There are 2 days of racing - Saturday for Elites and Age Groupers and Sunday all for Novice racers!

My final results were as follows: 750 m Swim: 18:00 Min 17 Mile Bike:56:10 5k Run: 26:36
Total Time: 1:46:03 (good enough for 12th overall in Novice Women and 1st in my age group)

Ryan ousted me by a little over a minute in this race. After this race I really started training for triathlons and making Brick workouts a weekly occurance. I don't know what I would do without them now!

Pounding Asphalt

Or Not. With the recent influx of freezing cold temperatures I have deemed it necessary to ride my bike indoors. I did some shopping around for a decent and affordable indoor trainer and ended up finding a perfect MagTrainer at Dick's. Though the sun still shines during the day, the cold air and wind is just unbearable on the bike. I set up the trainer and conveniently placed my bike directly in front of the window so I could watch the world go by, or just the people. I pounded the peddles for an hour this morning while watching the happenings of 22 St., New Hampshire Ave. and L St. NW. Absolutely nothing interesting happened. This ride was phase 1 of my brick workout, normally I would ride for about 2 hours but the trainer seems to be a bit more exhausting then the street! I followed the ride with about a 6 mile run around DC. It didn't seem to cold for the run, until I was along the River and the wind coming across it was chilly! So at the end of the day I was able to pound some asphalt during the run, which felt great!

As the winter season moves in, I've had to start thinking about adjusting my training. I was able to take some much needed relaxation and restoration time while I was at home during Thanksgiving. I didn't choose this at first, but my body did, I was sick the entire time I was home. I was able to run in the Detroit Turkey Trot 10k on Thanksgiving morning, and PR in it! I was down and out for the count after that though, no voice or energy on Friday! I've resumed day to day workouts since I've been back but I am realizing they have to altered. The first alteration was, of course, the addition of the indoor cycle trainer, which I love. I've also had to shorten my "long run" from about 10.5 to 8 miles, because it just gets so darn dark out so early! Though at first I was disappointed that I had to make these adjustments I've come to realize that this is an opportunity to rest the body and the mind as well as increase the intensity if I must shorten the workouts. Scheduled rest is just as important as scheduled workouts to allow your muscles to repair and adapt to the stresses you put them through. I can easily forget this sometimes, but alas life has a way of reminding me.

I will be racing in the Jingle All the Way 10k here in DC next Sunday. I am pretty excited as I have quite a few friends running in the race as well! Races such as this is not as much a race as it is a chance to come together with friends and celebrate the holiday season in a health promoting way. This will be a great way to finish off the 2010 racing calendar! I hope to start 2011 with the New Year's Resolution Run in LO on 1/1/11! The racing calendar for next year just sits with The Nation's Triathlon on it so far. I am looking to add in a Half-marathon, Half-Ironman, and enter the Cherry Blossom 10-miler lottery soon. The rest will be filled with Olympic and Sprint distance triathlons in preparation for the Half-Ironman.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Humble Beginnings: The First Triathlon

My first triathlon, was what I would now call, low key. The setting was Statesboro, GA (Georgia Southern University to be exact), February 28, 2009. The swim would take place in the same pool I swam in every few mornings for training, the bike course took place right by our soccer field, and the run was a simple loop I'd run at least once a week since my 2nd semester at GSU! I was eager, excited, full of anticipation and nervous to boot before this first triathlon. I was able to get my hands on a nice WSD Trek 1000 from my coach for a couple weeks to practice on and use in the race. I headed out to Walmart to purchase an extraordinarily huge one size-fits-all helmet and pretty much felt ready to rock. My brother had previously bought my a nice pair of tri shorts while I was in DC visiting GWU. I simply paired those with a nice salmon colored sports bra and had a great race outfit for Tri #1. My experience with triathlons leading up to this event was slim to none, I had watched my brother at the Culpeper Sprint Triathlon during the prior summer. My training leading up to race day consisted of running, swimming, and minimal biking. I was swimming to complete 500m, in a decent time with enough energy to bike and run well. I had never thought of doing a "Brick Workout" (which are now a regular weekly occurance) or the fact that it might be cold at 7am in February! I took the liberty of training when the weather was perfectly sunny and warm, or closest to it. As race day came along I attended the course briefing the night before and picked up some tips, such as setting up your transition area for success and having enough water, etc. I headed home and tried to get as much sleep as possible. The next morning came early! And of course it was raining, so I borrowed my roommates rain jacket, grabbed a long-sleeve dri-fit top and loaded the bike on the car to head out. Now the race start was maybe 1 mile from my apartment, not even, but I felt the need to drive. I was a nervous wreck, shaking as I was body marked and feeling the anticipation build as I watched people set their TA's and prepare to swim. I nervously set up my transition area in the cold rain and then headed inside toward the pool to fall into line according to my number. The swim started as what I believe is known as a time trial start, so swimmers were staggered one by one every 15 seconds. I started about 8 minutes into the race I believe, so plenty of time to watch people navigate the pool waters.

As my start time approached and I was on deck, and then the starting line, I knew there was no turning back, I was about to do my first triathlon. The pool was pretty uneventful with the exception of a guy in front of me trying to pass someone else and coming into my lane and whacking me in the jaw. I completed the swim just a little faster than my predicted time thanks to the adrenaline of race day and jogged out to my transition area. I wiped off my feet, pulled on my socks, shoes, and shirt and headed out on the bike. I felt great on the bike, with toe straps and all. I was passing people and enjoying the thrill of the race. 12 miles later I was pulling back into the TA and grabbing a power gel for the 5k run! What I didn't know is that my legs would feel like concrete, or bricks! I had never experienced a feeling like that in my legs when trying to run before, how was I going to get through 3.1 miles of this? I focused on people in front of my and catching them 1 by 1, as people from behind me also passed me, 1 by 1. Finally lap 3/3 and I was nearing the finish line! I finished strong, just under my goal time of 1:20:00, at 1:19:58. I was exhausted, I thought being a fit D1 soccer player would make a completing a sprint tri, easy. Well I quickly learned that I was wrong, but I was rewarded with a 2nd place medal for my age group!

The best thing to come of this tri was my love for the multi-sport scene! It took me over a year to do another tri, but I can say I was much better prepared for the next one. During the time between I trained all aspects, purchased my own WSD Trek 1000 and read a bit about triathlons. I also considered and still do consider joining the DC Tri Club. Obviously, I have yet to join, but I have joined USAT, yahoo for no more 1 day memberships! What is that keeps me from joining the DC Tri Club? I'm not sure, the money maybe, or perhaps the fact that I enjoy training on my own a whole lot. It wouldn't hurt to learn from some people who have been successful at the exact places I want to go. The GSU Sprint Tri introduced me to the fun, competition, glory, thrill, and adventure of multi-sport and has really given me another passion to put my efforts into. I hope you all will join me as our efforts will continue to grow and culminate into something great.

GSU Sprint Tri Results: 500 m swim, 12 mile bike, 5 k run: 1:19:58

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tri That!

It's been a couple months since my last triathlon and I can't wait for February/March to roll around so the racing can start all over again. I've been kept quite busy with Flag football, Outdoor Soccer, Indoor Soccer and not to mention OSCE, practical, and written exams for school. Both football and outdoor soccer came to a close this weekend with great results. 2 championships and great teamwork all around. I do really enjoy team sports, how could I not, I put my heart and soul into teamwork and soccer for 18 years. While training this weekend it really hit me why I enjoy triathlon and the individual aspect of the sport. I don't have to compete with anybody. When I go out and train I don't have to compete with the person next to me for playing time or worry that a mistake means I won't start the next game. I have to opportunity to compete with others when it's time to race, which is great and one of the reasons I absolutely love the racing aspect of it, but I also have the opportunity to compete with myself and prove to myself the efforts I have put forth leading up to the race were worth while. One thing that can easily discourage me is seeing people finish before or close to my time who have not trained nearly as much as I have. It does work out that these people are young men, so I guess naturally they will have a little bit faster times than me. But I do enjoy reveling in the fruits of my labor post-race. Not to be too discouraged though because most importantly is that the training has provided me with greater strength, endurance, mental toughness, and perseverance to perform better and build on the foundation I have laid.

Since completing the Nation's Triathlon in September I have set my sights toward a Half-Ironman for next year. I can't wait! I have continued to train through the wind, rain, and pretty awesome weather we've had so far in DC. I do foresee an Ironman in the relative near future, most likely post-graduation. It is a bit more difficult to train the way I prefer as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder. I keep reminding myself that it's ok to cross train, actually good to cross train, and this is a good time to focus on nutrition. For me this time of year is very important to focus on nutrition, without the burning fire of having a race the next weekend or a Brick that starts at 7am on Saturday it's easier to allow myself to have that piece of pie or cake and ice cream. All things in moderation and allowing the body to rest is just as important as the 7am bricks and pushing your body past a point you never imagined.

This fall has given me some great opportunities to rest and cross-train! I had the opportunity to go to the APTA's National Student Conclave the last weekend in October. I was able to listen to lectures by top clinicians in their specialty areas and find out great information about post-graduate opportunities such as certifications, mentorships, fellowships, and resume writing/successful interviewing skills! The weekend was spent with 3 fellow DPT students from GWU and we had a great relaxing, no
n-strenuous weekend. A was a good recovery for my legs, my heart, and my mind. The first weekend in November sent me hiking Old Rag in VA with some awesome friends. An 8.8 mile hike with rock scrambles, steep uphills, and mountain dog was more taxing on the legs than I could have imagined. I resumed my Saturday Bricks yesterday and the weather was just wonderful for it. I enjoyed every second on the bike and breezed through the run faster than I ever have (24 mile ride, 6 mile run).

As the year comes to a close and triathlon season is over I am looking forward to running in a few 10k's. The first is coming up in just over about 1o days, the Detroit Turkey Trot! I am very proud to say the Finneren 4 will all be participating this year! On
e of the reason's I went into PT school was to promote health and wellness. I love it so much, it means so much to me, and it has helped shape my life in so many ways that I want to sha
re with others. I want them to enjoy just as much as I do. I know this isn't going to be true for everyone but it is great to share in people success's and watch them surpass their
own expectations. Shortly after is the Jingle All the Way 10k in DC. What an awesome opportunity to relieve stress before finals with some classmates all in holiday spirit! My focus for these races will be improving my own 10k time provided the crowds are under contro

Soon to come will be a final wrap-up of the 3 Triathlons I competed in this year along wi
th an outlook for next year's racing calendar! I am so eager to set it that Set-up Events and 3d have not even released their schedules yet I keep looking. Swim, Bike, Run...Tri That!

Monday, October 25, 2010

33,000 ft and Rising

It has been a hectic couple of weeks but it seems to be slowing down and getting back to sanity. We had 4 midterms, or should I say opportunities for excellence, last and week and our last one tomorrow. I feel like I have been a book worm for over a week now, it will be nice to not feel the need to be studying something every chance I get for a week or two. I took a little trip and headed down to Statesboro, GA for the weekend to visit with Ryan and catch the soccer games. Not only did I get to do both of those things but the Bulloch County Fair was also in town! What an awesome weekend to visit, I got to take Ryan on his first Gravitron experience! You know, the ride the spins really fast and the floor “drops” out. In great southern fair fashion they were selling fried pickles, fried oreos, fried snickers, fried twinkies, and even fried butter! I couldn’t believe it! That really shouldn’t even be legal, there is no nutritional benefit to putting fried butter in your mouth. We were also able to have a nice evening dinner at 119 Chops, probably the best restaurant in Statesboro on Saturday, just like old times! It’s hard to believe that very well might have been our last time in Statesboro, ok we’ll probably be back for alumni events at some point but with one of us as a student.

So I am currently on US AirWays 1232 from JAX to DCA so I can get home and get ready for my final midterm and get back to exercising! Ryan and I did make it out and about for a nice 6 miler but we also made 4 pies ( 1 Dutch apple and 3 pumpkin) so I had my fare share of pie and Ice cream over the past couple days! But, more about the flight due to a somewhat unusual experience. The unusualness started at security at JAX when both my backpack and my duffel bag had to be searched. Apparently the culprits were my reflex hammer and a small candle, both of which I was allowed to have but apparently they were suspicious looking in the x-ray machine. While it bothered me at the time that I had to wait for them to look through my bags even though they were fine on the way down it is now helping ease my mind just a bit. As horrible as racial profiling is I am definitely guilty especially when flying. I arrived at my gate during boarding and found 2 men, when green head wraps and beards waiting there as well. The head wrap reminded me completely of what Professor wears in The Sorcer’s Stone to cover Voldemort’s face on the back of his head. Anyways, I walk down the jet way to board the plane and found myself waiting behind one of the gentleman. The only normal things about him being his video camera and NorthFace backpack. I got a good long look at this man and I know I did not have the most pleasant face during this time. I noticed he had a small picture tucked into one of the folds of his head wrap, now I’m not sure of this is common among the culture but odd definitely. I definitely began to get an autonomic response, I think if I was a pt with T4 SCI you would have called it autonomic dysreflexia. My heart was racing, I was shaking and all I could think was should I turn around and ask the gate agent if there are any other flights into DC this evening? I didn’t do it though, knowing that TSA was scrutinizing every last item in the luggage, I figured I might as well get on the plane. So here I am at 33,000 feet with 2 people, I am deathly afraid of and 200 others who I don’t know at all, but who would hopefully be brave enough to fight. Unfortunatly I have already purchased a ticket home for thanksgiving and a ticket to New Orleans for CSM in February, but I may not be flying again any time soon. I just don’t like being scared when I am flying and I was scared and shaking and wanting to cry the entire first half of this flight.

Alas, I am nor comfortably in my chair watching the minutes tick by until our wheels are safely on the ground again. It will be nice to get on the metro and get back into DC.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Sun and the Sand and A Drink in My Hand

Back in Lake Orion after a great few days in East Tawas at the cabin! I always forget that it is so much cooler in MI and even cooler in East Tawas! It was 57 degrees this morning, definitely not the type of weather I want to jump in the lake in. I waited for it to warm up to the mid-60s before even heading out for my run, and I am opting for a pool swim here shortly. While we were up north we were able to enjoy some great time at the beach (yes, Michigan has great beaches), in downtown East Tawas and at our cabin. We got a 1000 piece puzzle to do in the evenings and it was addicting. We had it finished in 2 days and it reminded me of all the time I spent doing puzzles during my last year at GSU with my roommate! I wish I had that kind of time to do puzzles during school still, now I get to do puzzles in the form of "Where's the Lesion?" or "Is it a Musculoskeletal, Antalgic, or Neurologic impairment?" We were able to try a new restaurant in East Tawas that served of some pretty darn good Mexican food! On our way home we stopped at A&W for the class rootbeer float for old times sake! They were absolutely delicious as they always have been.

During a run around Lake Orion on Monday morning I ran into Dan, a PT from HealthQuest. We chatted for 10 minutes and talked about his first clinical experiences and jobs. It's good to hear that there is hope even if some of your experiences are less than great. We have been receiving information from our clinical sites for the fall. While I am less than thrilled to be at a nursing home, I am grateful that if I only have to be in a nursing home 5 times during my entire career it will be worth it. Also we get to wear scrubs so it can't be that bad. The site has about 10 different extra processes we have to go through in order to be cleared to work with patients there. I've completed about 2 of them - they aren't exactly what I wanted to spend my vacation doing.

Charlie Jo and I are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our brother tomorrow! He'll be home with us for a couple days before we drive back to DC together on Sunday. We are planning on going to a high school football game, Lake Orion vs. Oxford, the first time the 2 teams have played in 27 years! I am getting eager to get back to DC and my comfortable bed and warmer weather. I noticed this morning it was pitch black at 6:15 am, which is the time I had been waking up to run and swim during school. It should be interesting heading back and seeing how I can schedule my workouts during my day. And now seems like a perfect time to hit the pool!
Cool treat from the A&W on the way home from up north! Bringing back the old times!
East Tawas night time entertainment - 1000 pieces of pure coke.
Charlie and I at the easement by the cabin.
Tawas Point State Park Beach!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Get Away, to Where the Boat Leaves From

3 Semesters down, 4 to go! That's right I'm almost halfway done with grad school, I only have 2 semesters left in the grand classrooms of the GWU hospital. Our program so thoughtfully provided us with a 2.5 weeks break between the summer and fall semesters. I am taking the well deserved time off to spend time at home and summer time in northern Michigan! In less than 1 year I will begin my full time clinicals - this the question becomes where will I be? I change my mind on this everyday! Stay in DC, move back to Michigan or explore another part of the country, preferably the west - only time will tell.

My break so far has been great. I've gotten some good triathlon training in, hitting up Lake Orion for open water, biking, and running around the Loop. I was able to watch the GSU Women's Soccer Exhibition game on the internet. I can't believe I only played with 5 of the girls currently on the team and it's even harder to believe that 5 years ago I was playing my first year of college soccer. The next day I started cleaning my room and came across all my old cleats, summer training manuals, and posters. Thus I was motivated to go and do a summer workout from the book! It was great and really made me realize, I'd rather be playing soccer then going to school.

Over the past year it has been hard to continue to play soccer at much of a competitive level. I've resorted to playing on an adult co-ed team which has been a lot of fun. In order to get my competitiveness out I have begun training and competing in triathlons. I have competed in 3 sprint distance triathlons so far. My focus has now turned to September 12th and my first Olympic Distance Tri. It will be a new challenge, but one that I am excited to take on in preparation for a Half-Iron Man next year.

The summer semester in DC didn't feel like much of a summer at all. School all day everyday mixed with tri workouts in the AM and PM. I am so thankful for the awesome classmates I have that make every day a new and interesting experience up there on the 6th floor! I am also so grateful to have some of the best friends from Michigan ever! Last Wednesday right after I got back to town I was able to go out to Sagebrush to catch up with them and then last night enjoy a night out at the Zac Brown Band concert (w/ surprise guest Kid Rock)! It is finally beginning to feel like summer! The biggest challenge of being home has been balancing my training, since I have all day to train I have ended up doing multiple sessions/day and ending up very sore. My first attempt at wakeboarding the other day has not helped in the soreness.

I am enjoying summertime in Northern Michigan with my dad and Charlie Jo Dog, we are welcoming mom home on Saturday after the Woodward Dream Cruise! Heading up to the cabin at Lake Huron in East Tawas on Monday. I should be able to get some great training in up north. Spending the final weekend of the summer with Rory at home as well! Then the road trip back to DC to start the fall semester...what a summer break!

**When you finally lose yourself, that's when you'll find a new paradise**