December 6, 2012

On my way

Posted in Running, Training, Triathlons at 7:47 am by Lisa

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Well, to nowhere too adventerous – just to Eilat for the weekend (taking the train to the plane). There’s a big triathlon taking place there this weekend. I’m not competing – i’m going to help with the refereeing, undoubtedly one of the most hated professions out there. I personally love it :-).

I don’t really know how much of any workout i’ll be able to do down there so i did a run yesterday morning.

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I got to work early (courtesy of the parking gods and having to move my car by 06:30) so took off for a run on the beach in Herzliya. It was great – i would have gone further but i had a lot to get done before taking today off.

Anyway, i do have my running and swimming stuff with me so if there’s enough of a window i’ll see what i can accomplish.

Train is here (early!) so i gotta run. Later!

November 30, 2012

Decisions

Posted in Running, Training, Triathlons tagged , , , at 3:36 pm by Lisa

So yesterday i had another swim workout in the morning. As per usual, before getting into the pool, i checked out the other swimmers to see what would be the best lane for me. No one pays any attention to the lane labels as there was a slowish swimmer in the “fast” lane but no matter, as the “medium” lane to the right of her was empty so i claimed it.

Now i know that i am slow but i was floored (not literally because in the pool i guess that would mean drowning) to see that it took me almost the entire length of the pool to catch this woman! I am as slow as she was! Oy!

There’s no reason for this – i need to get faster, if only to be able to swim longer distances in less than half a day. So i made a decision to take a series of swimming lessons.

I priced them (the pool i swim at is owned by the municipality and is actually a “teaching” pool and you have to use their instructors). In any event, the lessons are exorbinant. And it got me thinking about how ridiculously expensive this triathon sport is. I mean any one sport can cost a lot if you get into it. But triathlon is 3 sports! And all with their own specific expenses.

So that led me to my second decision. I’m open for sponsorships! Now i’m a loyal saucony sneaker wearer (have 3 pairs lying around my apt. And 2 waiting for me at my parents that i snagged at a great price on amazon). I even featured a pair on my blog a few weeks ago (any suggestions as to how to get a half pound of dried mud off them would be welcome! ūüėȬ† )

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Therefore i think this would be an ideal partnership. I’ll be happy to include a good word on saucony in every blog post, wear their shirts during every run and write disparaging stories about nike.

Unless nike wants to sponsor me. Who knows? Maybe they’re tired of paying successful basketball players to wear their sneakers and baseball caps. Maybe they’re looking to work with a slow runner who’s an even slower biker and swimmer who consistently finishes in the back half of competitions (ok, back quarter) (on good days!). If so, then i’d be perfect for them!

I would definitely be up for any deal. And if i have to give up my beloved kinvaras, i will be happy to settle for the same running shoes that usain bolt has. I’m sure that will make all the difference!

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!

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!)?

June 3, 2010

Goofy smile, as promised :-)

Posted in Triathlons at 5:19 pm by Lisa

Here are some pictures as I’m coming out of the water – I promise you that I’m smiling because it went so well, not because I’m glad that I survived!

Don’t I look great?!

Here I don’t look so great…

You can’t really tell, but I think this picture was taken during a climb, and it might have been the very first loop I did so I wasn’t really sure how to deal with this hill. What can I tell you – my biking experience is limited to the Tel Aviv boardwalk and the park – both locales pretty much as flat as a pancake.

Anyway, the ride wasn’t as bad as my¬†grimace would have you think! After all, I’m ready to do it again! And I’ll just have to remember to smile when I see the camera!

May 30, 2010

The results are in

Posted in Triathlons at 10:26 pm by Lisa

First of all, I realize that I’ve never written the name of the triathlon I did – it was the Israel Women’s Triathlon in memory of Tamar Dvoskin (http://www.women-tri.com/?categoryId=17226). This is the 17th year it’s been held and has increased in size to almost 1,400 participants this year. It’s a pretty big event here and I was so psyched to be part of it – can’t wait for next year!

Because next year I expect some massive improvements on these results!

In the Sprint (over 45) category, there were 110 participants. My times were:

Swim: 23:16 (103/110)
Bike: 55:52 (101/110)
Run: 32:07 (45/110)

which is a total of 1:51:16 (90/110).

So… on one hand, I went into this race not knowing what was going to happen. It was all a clean slate. So I’m ok with those numbers from that perspective. BUT… to be honest? I know I can do better. Now I know I’m never going to win but there’s a lot of room for improvement and looking at the rest of the results, even bettering my total time by 10 minutes puts me in the middle of the pack (~68/110).

So what do I have to do to get there?

1. Improve my bike time (that means getting a road bike, and doing some serious work with it. Never having ridden a road bike before, I don’t actually know what my results could be, but just about everyone I spoke to today who knows about this kind of stuff, mentioned the bike. So, the plan is to get¬†a bike. And then to start doing interval stuff, as well as distance and hills (although I’ve got to find some hills in Tel Aviv!)

2. Lower my transition times – I think that this first race was crazy. I was so overwhelmed and it was all so new, I had no idea what I was doing! That’s ok – I think each subsequent race will get easier and better in time.

3. Improve my swim time – again, I think that this will come with time and better goggles!

4. Find a way to balance the above and keep my run strong! (Cause my run was great!)

So I’ve got to think about the above some more but just to be clear about this – I did great! and I’m really proud of myself! Look at me go!

All inked up

I did it!

May 29, 2010

The looong version – Tri recap

Posted in Triathlons at 1:59 pm by Lisa

I was so excited and nervous leading up to it this past week. And yesterday was just nerve-wracking – I had no real idea what to expect and every time I checked the forecast, black flags everywhere with warnings about swimming in the Mediterranean. And I didn’t get my balloons (had a bright idea about tying a balloon to where my bike was parked in the transition area to enable me to more easily find it. Believe me, it would have been a great idea as I came out of the water not being able to see anything (but more on that later).

After an early night’s sleep (interrupted 3 times – thanks, neighbors for choosing last night to have a party!),¬†I got up to meet Dana¬†at her place to get to¬†the race site by 5:30 and get our stuff set up.

The transition area was split up according to the various groups/ages (Sprint-750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run and Popular-500m swim, 8km bike, 2.5km run). I did the Sprint (even though I didn’t know how to swim when I signed up, I figured that if I could do 500, I could do 750, and the rest would be ok. My start time was 7:50 and Dana’s was 6:30 so I went down to the beach to cheer her on. The water was crazy! The organizers had to change the swim route about 3 times because the currents kept changing and once they did get in the water, it seemed like it took forever for the main group of swimmers to get past the breaking waves. In fact, there were 4-5 girls who ended up coming back to the shore, not being able to navigate the incoming waves. Well, that just had me shaking in my boots (or would have if I had been wearing any shoes). I went back to my bike and got my swim cap and goggles and made my way back down to the beach for my start. On the way, I ran into some people from Etgarim (a running group for visually impaired/disabled that I volunteer with – more on that in another post).¬†It was obvious that I was really worried about my swim. After a few encouraging words, I made my way to the beach. On my run down, I heard Tamar and Amy calling my name – at the time, since I couldn’t see anything, I didn’t know for sure it was them,¬†but it was great to “see” them and actually amazing that they caught me at all – so I guess there was a reason for me being such a slow poke. Because, of course, although arriving more than 2 hours before my start time, I still managed to get to the beach after they had began the instructions about where the route was and how we were supposed to swim out and back ¬†to the buoy. Luckily I met Ohad who gave me some translation help as to where I was supposed to be. And then I pushed myself in to hear the English bit. None of it really mattered though because¬†when you’re told “swim out to the red buoy”, if you can’t “see” the red buoy, it’s not at all helpful. And really, I couldn’t see it at all. Investment in prescription goggles is on the horizon!

After confirming with some girls that that distant dot was the goal, I worked my way to the back of the group. The only benefit of not being able to see was not getting freaked out by the waves, although truthfully, the sea had calmed down a lot since the first group went out.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and we’re off! I felt good and it took me¬†a few¬†minutes to get past the breaking waves and then I just started to swim. It was amazing! I felt really calm and even though a couple of waves lifted me up and threatened to break before I got to them, I handled¬†it all¬†really well. My strategy was just to keep at least one other person right in my sights to follow and it worked out well. I bumped into one girl I was following and stopped. She also stopped and then turned around. I apologized and then she apologized as well. Only in a women’s only triathlon! Soon the red buoy came into view (it was funny but the waves were fairly strong and sometimes I would lose sight of it, if I was on top of a wave and the buoy was being bounced around and was “below” me so to speak). Anyway, I finally went around and I think I may have heard the kayaking lifeguard call out 10 minutes – which seemed¬†perfectly on-target¬†to me. The way back may or may not have been shorter but again, because I couldn’t see where the shore was I was really disoriented. But soon enough I was able to stand up and with a HUGE smile on my face, started running to the shore. There may or may not be a picture of my goofy face while I’m running in. If there if, I’ll post it!

That beach run was tough and I was breathing hard and was pretty slow, although I did pass 2 girls on the way. Ohad was there to yell his encouragment (he was awesome – I saw him during every section of the race!).

We had to run along a concrete walkway to get to the transition area, again not seeing a thing. Finally find my bike (which would have been easier with a balloon tied to it!) and¬†promptly got all confused in trying to get ready for the bike. Put my watch on, then tried to find my glasses (of course forgetting exactly where I put them), put my helmet on, and then realized that my shirt wouldn’t go over my helmet, so I had to take the helmet off. Only then I realized that I should have been at least standing on my towel to try and dry off my feet before having to get my shoes and socks on. And then of course putting them on standing (why didn’t I sit down¬†for that? I still don’t know.) Ran out of the transition area without putting on any sunscreen, which had been the plan.

But in any event, I was finally on the bike, past the point where we had to walk with it and then the fun started. This was without a doubt the hardest (and most boring) part of the race for me. But I’m going to look at it as the place where undoubtedly I can make the most improvements.¬†We had to go around a 3.9km loop 5 times. Luckily I had my watch telling me the distance (Love my Garmin!!)¬†or I know I would have done an extra loop. I lose count on these things very fast – sad I know not to be able to keep track to “5” but what can you do.

I was lapped by just about everybody out there but it seemed like I was the only one on a mountain bike, instead of a road bike. Couldn’t believe how slow I was! According to Garmin, it took me 55.36 minutes to complete the bike section. (Thanks Pamela for the bike! Who knows how much slower I would be if I didn’t have it for the month to practice, or if I had to rent one of the organizers’ city bikes?) The 2 good things about being so slow is that 1) I know that there’s room for lots of improvement for the next race, timewise, and 2) I knew a lot of people who passed me so I had a chance to say hi to Katya, Orit and¬†Galina. And I saw Dana as she was going into her run section. On my last lap, I was threatened to be caught by the girls race that had started – there was some extra motivation there!

Finally, finally, finished the bike section, after realizing that I hadn’t seen anybody over the age of 11 for half a loop already and that was sort of a downer but I just tried to keep positive and start strong on the run to try and catch some people on the 5k.

I ran for about 300m before seeing someone and it turned out to be Orit so we ran together for a bit but then she had to walk for awhile. I kept slogging away and hit that really awful hill yet again but just tried to think about going down it on my way back. There were a lot of running traffic coming down the hill but very few people going up (I was really slow on that bike!). There was a detour from the sidewalk we were on towards a sandy field, which was not fun at all to run on, but I was able to catch some more people. On the way back down that hill, I saw Sapirit who looked¬†really strong¬†on the bike (sorry I didn’t see you at the finish line!). In the end, Garmin had my time at 30:59 and if I didn’t have to stop to re-tie my shoelace (something else I messed up in the swim-to-bike transition) it would have been even¬†less. Considering the terrain and the 1.5 hour of swim/bike before that, I’m really happy with that time.

Got to the finish line – Dana and her dad were hanging out on some steps waiting for me to get done. Had enough in me to finish with a sprint (yes, another person caught before the finish line!). Probably another goofy picture awaits me with my arms punching the air as they called out my name! But I felt great!

After crossing the line, everyone gets a medal and a rose. I wandered around some, seeing more people I knew. Hi Eyal – thanks for the encouragement! And yes, that was Tamar and Amy at the beginning of my swim! Caught up with them after they had just finished their relaxing breakfast!

I think I covered everything above – I might have another post in my talking about what I’ve learned or what I want to focus on in the future (learning to count or how to properly tie shoes might be some good lessons to learn). And I would be remiss if I didn’t give a huge thanks to Lior, my trainer,¬†who (while¬†might be a bit delusional wanting to be referred to as The Master in¬†my blog – puh-leeze) is an awesome trainer and helped me with every step of this journey, from teaching me to swim properly and doing my first open water swims with me to advice on the bike and kicking my ass during our weekly runs. Thanks Lior!

All in all, a really amazing experience, I can’t wait to do the next one (probably sometime in Sept./Oct. up North.) There’s so much I can improve on so my upcoming blogs will be full of all this training crap. Thanks for reading and commenting and I hope you hang around for the rest of this journey!

May 28, 2010

Rough seas ahead!

Posted in Triathlons at 12:00 pm by Lisa

Just got back from orientation and picking up my registration pack. I’m number 5047 (for anyone who could actually pick out the numbers to be written on my arms and legs). I got there late (parking is ridiculous by the Arena mall – it’s as if all of Herzliya¬†was trying to get into the parking garage) and missed the beginning of the orientation. After catching up with Sapirit¬†(work colleague who came up from Be’er¬†Sheva¬†for this!), it seems like I missed the most important stuff, but she filled me in. And any additional questions I had, I asked¬†Sharon (another work acquaintance) – she’s been taking part in the triathlon for years and although there are new bike and run routes, I got some great tips from her!

So my start time is 7:45 but I’m getting a ride up with Dana (who also runs with the Etgarim group) – her start time is at 06:30 so I’ll be meeting her in Tel Aviv at 4:45 to make sure that we get there with plenty of time to spare. It seems like there’s a lot to do before you actually start – write your numbers on your body, get your number attached to your bike, set up your transition area (towel to the right), scope out exactly where your bike is in relation to the entry from the swim and the exit to the run, etc. etc. I prefer to be there earlier than not, and I can hang out on the beach cheering people on waiting for my turn to get in the water.

Off to arrange my stuff (don’t forget the chip!!) and get some pasta for tonight! Next post – a recap!

By the way – the title of this post? The sea looked really rough today – lots of waves and black flags all along the beach. They’re saying that it will be a lot calmer tomorrow. Here’s hoping!