Thursday, March 26, 2015

Race Week - Down to 2 DAYS!

Jeff bought me this medal hanger for Christmas.
This week we moved the triathlon medals (left)
from the marathons/half mar. (right)
The spot in between is for Saturday's medal. ;-)
AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!  Two days to go and the Athlete's Village opened today down in Oceanside.  Friends have been posting photos this afternoon of their race numbers, swim caps, wristbands (all requested, of course, since I can't get down there until tomorrow.)  Emails and Facebook posts have been flying with last minute questions, advice from those that have been there before, and pretty much freak outs from we first time 70.3'ers.  I have to admit that all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding this race has been so much fun... the months of training, increasing miles and stamina, getting closer and planning logistics, the unbelievable support and fun from my tri club (Hi, Tri It Together Family!!!!)... I have totally been sucked into the fun, have tried to stay cool, calm and collected, but HOLY COW!  I'M DOING A HALF IRONMAN IN ABOUT 36 HOURS!  Time to pack my tri bag and get my bike (have Jeff get my bike) ready because I am going to rack the day before the race for the first time... getting the house ready because Mom and Dad are coming overnight... figure out parking/race morning timeframe... gathering details for the family to get to the site and to the tent to cheer everyone on... still wondering if I'm ready... scratch that, I know I'm ready... what about hydration (it will be hot)... carbo loading without meat on a Friday during Lent... race morning food - racing with the big boys - and when/where can I use the restroom during the race...? 

Hummm... does that sound a bit scatter brained...? 

(deep breath)...

Nope.  I'm ready!  Tomorrow... check in!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Race Week - 3 days and Flashback...

Jim (turned 70 years young last week and can out squat me anyday) and Chad,
our trainer - just finishing our workout and ready for a Race Day countdown photo
(3) days to go and nerves and excitement are really starting to take over.  I woke up this morning and felt like I was among the living again (thank God!)  I cancelled my workouts for the past (2) days as  I figured the extra few hours of sleep in the morning were more important to my system that an easy taper workout. I can feel the congestion in my chest, but I think I made a good choice taking the extra Z's.  This morning I hit my regular Wednesday training with Chad and Jim - Chad mixes it up every workout with weights, TRX, core, Bosu, super sets... pretty much... pain and sweat.  Exactly what we need! 

I've been thinking ahead toward Saturday, but I've also been spending a lot of time reflecting on my triathlon journey.  I think it is time to share a photo I've never posted.  A photo of my first triathlon.  It is obvious to see on the outside, what this sport has done for me.  But it has done so much for the inside, too.  The confidence, the pride, the determination, the pain (yes, there has been a lot of that!), the excitement, the bragging rights, the way Jeff smiles and cheers when watching me race and telling others the story of my races... :-)  I love this sport.  I'm so excited.  Tick, tock... tick, tock...

Almost exactly 5 years ago... what a difference
the years, and this sport, have made!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Race Week - 4 days to go...

Simple and sweet today... I've been working my tush off for months.  It is now "taper time" and I get
sick... what the heck!?  I had my flu shot... I've been healthy... funny thing is that several of my tri friends that are doing Oceanside... and also tappering... are also sick.  Curious to know if the taper has anything to do with a lower immune system, but it doesn't matter now.  Today is the first day I'm feeling better since Friday and there are still several days to go to get this stuff out of my chest. 


... I'm coming for you!

Monday, March 23, 2015

5 days to go... and you can "be" there, too!

(5) days to go until Race Day and today I had a little help from my friends.  Everyone at work knows all about this event... they have been putting up with me dragging my sore and tired tush into the office each day.  Lots of chatter about how long the bike and run were last weekend, challenges with the weather, new bike seat, and what was sore and making me groan today?  Our office team is awesome and, as you can see in the photo, it is really too bad that we don't get along... :-)

One great thing about the Ironman races is that their online coverage and athlete trackers are AMAZING!  Last year, I had several friends that were racing in Oceanside and I decided to turn on the online coverage to check and see how they were doing.  Little did I know how ADDICTIVE watching the race would be!  They have live coverage of the leaders... live coverage of different parts of the race (where you could actually watch me do/cross certain parts of the course)... and an athlete tracker where you can watch my progress in real time!  I would LOVE IT if you would follow along... here's how...

On Saturday, March 28th, there will be a link to the coverage on the Ironman site.
Tracey Locher – Age Group 45-49 – Bib Number #1550
Wave start – Wave #14 at 7:20AM – light pink caps

There are cut off times for this race that you must beat in order to continue onto the next part of the race.

My Goal Times -
My start time 7:20AM
Cut off times –
Times to beat to continue racing
Swim – 1.2 miles
Transition 1
Bike – 56 miles, 2,720 feet climbing
Transition 2
Run – 13.1 miles

So, 8 hours it is!  Prayers for health, no injuries and no mechanicals so that I, and all of the athletes, can do the race we have trained so hard to do. You better believe that this gal is going to give you a reason to cheer!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Welcome to RACE WEEK - 6 days to go...

I just ran out of Nunn (the electrolite I put in my water), so off to my
local bike shop, "Bike Bling" today for my final pre-race purchase.
I received a "Welcome to Race Week" email from Ironman yesterday.  That was it.  I thought the instant rush of nerves was going to blow me right out of my chair!  I often say that the sport of triathlon has (4) parts... swim, bike, run, mental.  Now the mental is not "you've got to be mental to want to do a race like this"... the mental is the emotional toughness you have to practice, and have ready to call on, for race day.  The confidence that you have properly trained and you can do it.  The inner coach that will tell your legs to keep going after they gave up 10 miles ago.  Repeating your favorite mantra louder and louder when the voice in your head tells you to give up so the pain will stop, your lungs will stop burning, and the spot you have rubbed raw under your arm will stop bleeding.  Mental toughness is a must to get out of bed at 4:45AM (6) days a week to train... to make your body do things that it has never done before... and again the next day... and again the next day... and again the next day.  The mental part of this sport is what the elite athletes give credit to for their success... the difference between those that get it done, and those that stop when they can't push through the pain.

Today is t-minus (6) days until my first half Ironman.  I'm doing my best to turn those feelings of fear and nerves to feelings of excitement and pride... and I'm not going to let this last week... taper week... RACE WEEK... be the hardest part of my training journey.  The work has been done.  It is time to pack my transition bag, do one last check of my bike (who am I kidding... have Jeff do one last check of my bike), and get ready for the party that is coming on Saturday!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Desert International - 4th try... :-)

Saturday... I had sand in places I didn't know I had due to the sand storms
and high winds, but that wasn't going to stop us from supporting
our Tri It Together athletes!
THIS race has been my achillies heel.  1st year and it was my first international distance tri.  When I arrived race morning, I was not ready to see the level of athlete, equipment, matching tri kits (this race is a tri club competition)... I was emotionally spent before I raced in the heat and did not properly hydrate... almost pulled out for medical help, but finished.  2nd year I met and helped an athlete who had crashed on the bike and decided the race wasn't going to beat him.  He kept going and needed some support to finish the race.  3rd year, I had a hamstring injury all off season and couldn't run so I did the Aquabike.  And then this year...
The Garrett sisters, Susan and me... during one of the calm moments
of the weekend.

For the 2nd year we decided to camp at the onsite campground... and for the 2nd year, we dealt with AMAZINGLY CRAZY weather.  70 mile per hour winds, rain, dust storms... thank goodness we had a trailer!  We didn't go outside unless we had to... or were racing/supporting racing.  Our Tri It Together Club tent blew away and broke, the windstorms during the Saturday sprint were so bad that you couldn't see 1 foot in front of you and the swim... oh the poor athletes doing the swim... the bouys blew away, couldn't find the course, finally they just announced to come in to the finish line. 

That was Saturday.  The wind blew so hard both nights that it kept us up, wondering if everything was OK outside.  Sunday morning - race day.  Woke up to a light breeze and figured the weather would be OK for the race... and it was... until transition set up... when it started to rain... and it was cold.  I think that is enough of a set up to let the photos tell the rest of the story...

I have never been cold when "warming up" in the water, but with the rain, it was COLD! 
No better way to get it started than to be out in front... I'm on the front line with
my right arm taking the stroke and one of the first out of the water!  Good start!
Not the best photo, but shows the craziness of transition... and with Susan!
While I was still feeling good on the bike... even in the rain...
I used to like to run... but it is now the part of the race I struggle with and
hate.  The bike is usually pretty good for me, but it was sooooo cold
that my back cramped up at mile 15 and I spent the next 9 miles telling
myself "the faster you get off this bike, the faster you get to start running..."
HUH!?  I don't think I have ever been so happy to start running... :-)
OH... MY... GOSH!  my bike was aweful with the pain in my back and I finished the bike 15 minutes slower than
expected.  Then I started running... felt slow... kept pushing... and then I started noticing my splits.  I was running faster
than my training time... at 3 miles, I was averaging about 10 minues/mile (I'm training at 11 minutes per mile).  I felt
good and the 4th mile was at an 8 minute mile... WHAT!!!?  Then I noticed that if I kept it up, for the first time, I
would finish this race under 3 hours.  About 3 minutes from the finish, Jeff ran up next to me.  I told him I was about
to go sub-3 and the other athletes around me started cheering.  These are the photos as I crossed the line... in the rain...

Our cold, wet, but happy-we-were-done Tri It Together athletes.  It was a
tough race, but it proved to me the Ironman training is working.  Time to trust the training...
One week to go...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Jeff's 1st Race Report (and he ROCKED it!)

No way am I going to hide the results of Jeff's race... he did AWESOME.  But there is a bit of catching up I have to do first.  Going back a few weeks... February 12th - Jeff's beloved Uncle Paul passed.  Uncle Paul was one of a kind... heart of gold... loved to tell stories and would always start with, "Tell me if I've already told you this one."  Many times he had, but we would never stop him.  He had the gift of gab... he loved to stop strangers on the street, chat with waitresses ("Do you have a good looking, single grandmother?"), in fact we joked for a few weeks that we weren't sure if Uncle Paul had made it up to Heaven yet because he was probably still talking to all of the people on the way up! :-)  We traveled to Rochester Hills, Michigan for the services and to say goodbye.

Jeff just crossing the start line... I guess he heard us cheering for him! :-)
A few hours after we returned from Michigan, the phone rang again, and my Aunt Mary passed.  She was a very loving and special soul that I'm sure already had one foot through the Pearly Gates as she took her last breath.  A few days later was her beautiful service and the next morning we left town for the Desert International Tri. I will post my race story next (which includes several firsts as I'm sure I had two special angels helping me to fly through the course!)  But THIS post is to tell Jeff's story.

A few notes before I let the photos tell the story...  I've told you before that Jeff is a cyclist, so the 9 mile bike was going to be a breeze for him.  Although Jeff didn't train for the swim, he was confident he could do the 150 meters in the pool without a problem.  The only part that he was concerned about was the run.  He had never run 3 miles before, and he didn't train for this race due to time issues (work and long training bike rides with me) and because of the neuropathy in his feet.  We both knew he could do it, we just didn't know how long it would take... and more importantly, how much it would hurt him.

This was a reverse triathlon at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena... 3.1 mile run... 9.3 mile bike... 150 meter swim. Jeff was sure he could do it under 1 hour 30 minutes. I was sure he could do it under 1:20... photos, take it away...
Early morning started at 3AM... 2 hour drive and we are ready to get
this party started!!!  On a side note, Jeff lost one of his contacts a few days
before the race... and didn't have a current prescription... meaning glasses and no
sun protection on race day! (AUGH!)
Jeff is wearing his newest jersey... from the local bike shop in Uncle Paul's town.
Sorry boys, you have to post your age by December 31st of the race year...
No nerves here... Jeff and Dave playing
around at the start line.

At the end of the run... he had never run 3.1 miles
before and did it in 33:13... WITHOUT foot pain!
Although I said the bike would be easy for him,
he was weaving through the tight race lane and pushing hard!
Looking good... elbow up... legs stretched... AWESOME!
A tradition started 5 years ago with parking lot Mimosas
and fresh strawberries... the triathletes!

Jeff finished in 1:15 and in the top 40% overall for his first tri... and without any training on the swim or run!!!  After the race, Jeff kept saying, "I did it!"  "I did it!"  Not in a bragging type of way.  Not in a surprised type of way.  But in a "I'm proud of myself... and I liked it" kinda way.  Even this morning, a week later, he looked at his finisher's medal and said, "I did that!"  He makes me smile because I know exactly how he feels.  When I asked if he would do another triathlon, he said, "I'm not going to get as crazy about triathlons as you are, but I will do more."  Yeah... let's see what distance Jeff is up to in 5 years... ;-)  Congrats, my Sweet Husband.  You are a TRIATHLETE!

FLASHBACK...5 years ago, Dave challenged Jeff to do a triathlon with him. 
Jeff passed, but I thought that would be fun.  I had lost my 1st 20 pounds, had a bike
to borrow and thought "what the heck!?"  Thank you, Dave! :-)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Jeff's Big Day is coming...

Do you see my happy trifecta?  Timing chip...
wedding ring... big smile!  I love you, Jeff!
I need to catch up... the past few weeks have been very hard due to family issues I will share shortly.  In the meantime, tomorrow, my sweet husband will race his first triathlon.  Just so happens that my first tri was the Rose Bowl Tri in 2010... same race that he will be doing tomorrow.  I can hardly wait to be the cheerleader, driver, photog, support system for him that he is always for me!  To be clear, he is one of my athletic inspirations... cycling for over 40 years and he rides with me... at my pace... for my training... because he thinks I'm cute... I'm going with the cute part... :-)

Good Luck, my Sweet Husband!!!