June 8, 2011

If at first you don’t succeed, tri tri again!

Posted in Triathlons at 10:00 pm by Lisa

Okay, hokey title, but that’s how I was feeling last week after the triathlon in Herzliya. I had a great time but after the race, felt that I hadn’t really done my best. Aftr speaking with some people, I decided to sign up for the Tel Aviv triathlon that took place this past Saturday. What a race! I think that this picture says it all!!

I had such a great time, and really gave it my all. The Friday before the race, I went to the beach where the swim start was to get familiar with the course a bit. The sea was sort of choppy and I really didn’t have a good swim. But I did learn that there was a huge sandbar close to shore and would have to take that into account. Truthfully, I don’t think it made much of a difference to me.

On the day of the race I was the very last person out of the water in my start group (190 people). So sad. In fact, I was so far behind the 2nd to last person, I didn’t even see him get out of the water. All I know is that at about 50 meters from shore I looked up and saw the swim marshall waving me in. And once I staggered onto the beach, he started running behind me yelling to the organizers on the boardwalk “last swimmer out of the water, clear the path, last swimmer out of the water!” That was fun. However, as much of a drag it was to be last, my actual times ended up being a few minutes faster than the previous week, so I guess you could say there was some improvement. A very little improvement.

Never mind, I hauled butt in the transition are – and I’m happy to say that I took a minute off my T1 (first transition) time as well. I sat down to put my socks and shoes on, didn’t care about all the sand on my feet, grabbed what I needed for the bike and took off for the start line that would mark when it was permitted to actually get on the bike and ride away.

So of course, I’m all on my own out there and in my usual manner, am just hoping that I don’t get lost! And I keep saying to myself, “go faster, go faster!” The bike route was 2 14km loops for a total of 26km, which was about 6km longer than the previous triathlon. With all my pep talk, I finally caught up to some stragglers after the first turn-around and got excited! I’m no longer last! Woo Hoo! So I set my sights on just trying even harder to catch up to people and reel them in. It was great and I did so well – my average last week was 24km/hr but this week my average was 28km/hr: my time was 55 min for the bike, which was about 5 minutes slower than last week, but since it was 6km longer… well, it’s an awesome result and one I’m really proud of. Here’s me concentrating on one of the turns – I like this pic because it seems like I’m going really fast (but honestly, if it’s a turn, chances are that I’m not!)

As I pull up to the dismount line, I catch up to one last person. I hobble over with my bike to rack it and change into my shoes, dump my bike helmet, etc. etc. Happily, my time for T2 is also better than it was the previous week. I drink a few gulps of Gatorade, grab a date, and take off for the run. This is where I really wanted to prove something to myself – my times last week were just eh. I knew I had a lot more to give and once again, I went out thinking to myself, “go faster!!” And I did – the run was amazing – I kept the effort up and started passing more people, one by one (although there really weren’t that many people to overtake). The 5km run was on the boardwalk, up to Tel Baruch and then back down. As I was on my way out, I saw lots of people I knew – I was running at a good pace but I still had the energy to wave and shout to them! About 500 meters before the finish line, I’m giving it my all, but as always when I see a camera, I try to smile. Actually, this was funny because I held this pose for at least 10 seconds once I saw the photographer – I got a high 5 as I ran by (I guess to let me know that it was ok to put my hands down!).

(I also liked it because I seem to be actually running, as opposed to the usual pics of me that always seem to catch me two-footed.)

Anyway, my run time was fantastic – last week I did it in 32 minutes; this week I killed it in 27:22 – my average pace was 5:31min/km. And I felt great! Which was really exciting because I know that with some focused training, I could probably go even faster. Do you think the thumbs-up pose works? Not sure about that one!

Anyway, I was thrilled with the results and felt that I had redeemed myself. In fact, I finished this race in 1:53 and the previous week I finished in 1:58 – and it was longer! So yeah, massive improvement and I’m glad to see that if I put the effort into the race, I could get the results I want and train for. I just knew I could do better and I did! This was a great race and I love running in TA – just so beautiful and fun! And it’s always cool to see so many people I know. 

Next up? Well, there will be a number of running races but the next triathlon is going to be at the end September – Gan Shmuel. I want to do the Olympic distance so I’m going to start training for the longer distances soon – I’ll be swimming twice the distance (yikes! better find a pool for some practice soon!), biking 40km and running 10km. I’ve heard lots of good things about that race so hopefully, it will be a good experience. I can’t wait!

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June 4, 2011

Women’s Tri Race Report

Posted in Triathlons at 5:05 pm by Lisa

It’s been a while but never mind, I’ve been busy!

Last weekend was the Women’s Triathlon in Herzliya. This was my first triathlon and I’ve been waiting all year to do it again!

And the event lived up to my expectations – I had a great time! I did the sprint race again – 750 meter swim, 20km bike, 5km run. I had a few goals this year – one was to beat my time from last year, finish with a smile on my face and, as always, don’t finish last!

There was a huge contigent from Etgarim, in memory of Hezi Roll, the founder of the running/triathlon/Israel trail hiking groups who was killed in a tragic accident a month ago. I hung out with them (and got my numbers marked on my body, along with a smiley face inspired by Picasso!)

We went down to the beach – the sea was pretty calm but as always, I was very nervous! It had been raining off and on (at the end of May! in Israel! most definitely the end of the world is coming!).

I’m wearing my new prescription goggles!

Anyway, the swim was slow but having finally bought myself a pair of goggles I could at least see how slow I was going. It made the swim that much easier (well, as easy as it could be). It also let me see a few people who were in front of me and gave me the motivation to try and catch them. I wasn’t the last person to get out the water, but there couldn’t have been too many behind me.

Anyway, after I finally make it to the beach, there’s a long run back to the transition area where the bikes are set up. I had to keep my goggles on the entire run so I could see where I was going! Made it to the bike and because the organizers are very nervous about people slipping on the wet roads, they keep shouting out to slow down on the turns. Me, being so obedient (and a chicken to boot!), have no problem listening to them. There are least 4 sharp turns where I practically come to a complete stop. Other than that, it was a nice ride, even though everyone else from Etgarim was out of the water and on their tandem bikes way before me, I finally caught up with everyone (although I really had it easy compared to them – there was a steep hill which must have been a killer for the tandems. I felt like I was flying up it (delusional, I know, I was probably going about 10km/hour but it’s all relative!)

Here I'm working pretty hard going up that hill - but check out those shoulder muscles!

 
Finally the sun came out and just in time for the run. All of sudden, the day transitioned to July weather and it was hot! But it was an easy enough run (or I took it at an easy pace, I discovered later.) and I finished strong.
Here I am, cruising along in the summer heat

All in all, it was a lot of fun – we all hung around waiting for the last people from Etgarim to come in and then had a well-deserved lunch! (And when I got home, I had a second lunch while I doing a wash!)

So the day itselft was great but… the stats weren’t up that day and when I checked on Sunday I saw that while my placement in every category had improved from last year (even my swim!), my actual times were slower. And so I was a little disappointed with that. I started questioning why my times during training are faster than in a competition. Now, I guess you can say that the weather was bad (but truthfully, on the straights I should have had no problem going fast, and I’m a chicken on turns no matter what the road conditions), and the swim last year was shorter because the sea was much rougher. However, this year I have a (much!) better bike and I think I’m in better shape. So what’s the deal? I spoke to a few coaches about it and they thought it was a mental block that I had – for whatever reason I was scared to really race. (Now I know I’m not going to be on a podium or anything, and I want to have fun and enjoy the race, but I’d still like to know that I’ve done my absolute best and I just didn’t feel like I had at this race.) Their recommendation was to find another race and just go for it! Go all out and see what happens – maybe I’ll blow up and not be able to finish, maybe I’ll puke, who knows? But to just go out and try.

Soooo…. guess what I did this morning? Another triathlon! More on that tomorrow when hopefully I’ll have some pics. But I’ll just leave you with this – guess who was the very last person out of the water (and I mean very very last!)?