4 09 2012

As many of you know, my race schedule for this season includes my first Half Ironman. I was pretty pumped when I signed up months ago, and was even more excited when Bill signed up too, since his schedule was clear.

A little over a month ago Bill got an email from his agent telling him that their schedule had changed some for the fall. Unfortunately, this schedule change put him out of town for the half. 😦 I was kinda bummed when he told me, but thought I would still do it without him. I was also secretly hoping that his schedule would change again and he’d be able to do it with me.

Unfortunately, I’ve also been struggling to a foot injury, and I haven’t been able to run nearly as much as I have wanted. But I still had it in my head that I might be able to do the half.

A few days after I learned Bill wouldn’t be able to race with me, I investigated Rev3’s withdraw policy and saw that you could defer for a year, as long as you sent them your request in writing 60 days prior to the event. I mulled this over in my head for a few weeks, and finally decided that it would probably be best to defer and try again next year. It was a tough decision to make, but I’m hoping to be all healed up and ready to kick some butt next year!

dang marathon gave me a bum foot!

But that didn’t stop me from getting my swim and bike on this weekend!

On Saturday, I attended an open water swim clinic with Tori and Beth. Beth is really involved in the local running/tri scene and added me to an email chain of Tampa area triathletes who always have some kind of awesome weekend training planned. Up this weekend was a long run followed by an open water swim on Saturday. I knew I wasn’t going to run the 10+ miles, but I told them to count me in for some open water! Open water swimming is my absolute favorite, and I hardly get to swim in anything other than a pool, so I was really excited to see this opportunity!

(photo borrowed from Tori)

Anyhow, I met up with the group a little before 9 at Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach. The clinic was run by “Coach Matt” a master’s swim coach and former Clearwater beach life guard. In the first 5 minutes he spoke, I had already decided I liked him- he gave clear instructions, made funny jokes, and his experience (he had guarded from the time he was 17 until his son was 2; he was a “beach and teach” guy) made us all feel comfortable being under his watch.

I’ll be honest, I was a little hesitant to go to the clinic, for the sole reason that it was a “clinic.” I’m not an expert open water swimmer by any means, but I’d rather go swim a workout in the ocean then sit there and be lectured about things I already knew. But when Coach Matt said that he was planning on kicking our butts, I smiled and was glad I came.

Photo courtesy of Beth

We started off with a warm up of about 300 meters, so that he could gauge all of our abilities. There were about 30 or so people there, so it was a pretty good turn out. After our warm up, he walked us through swim starts and finishes. I was really thankful for this, because it’s not something I regularly practice. When I was guarding, I’d do it all of the time, but now, I run in the water and run out of the water only when I’m racing. He also had us do some sprints out to the piling that was 100 meters or so out in the water. Every time we were on the beach, he reminded us “DO NOT TOUCH THE PILING.” We did a few rounds of running into the water, swimming fast around the piling, exiting the water, running about 25 yards onto the beach, turning around an umbrella, and then heading back into the water. Man, those sprints will kill ya! It was great to get my heart rate up.

On one of the in and outs, I cut my turn around the buoy a little too fast and accidentally knocked the piling with the back of my left hand. Ouch. It hurt a little, but I didn’t think anything of it until I had finished the swim-run. I took a peek at my hand and saw it dripping with blood. Oh, that’s why he didn’t want us to touch it. My hand had struck the wooden piling and scraped across some barnacles. After it stopped bleeding, it didn’t look too bad:

Those scrapes started to scab up, and now it looks even worse! I’ve had a few people ask me if my cats got to my hand!

Now look at them; does it look like they’d do anything to harm their mommy?


The clinic ended around 10, but I stayed a little while longer and swam with Tori until my parking meter was up. I drove back to Tampa, glad I had started my weekend with a swim.

On Monday, Meghann, Mary, Marcus and I headed east to meet up with Meghann’s sister Kelly, her brother Ben, and their friend Amber, to go for a long bike ride. We drove about 45 minutes or so to the Van Fleet Trail, a 29 mile trail that crosses Polk, Lake and Sumter counties.

We were up before the sun to be at the trailhead around 7. We wanted to beat the Florida heat! It ended up being a beautiful morning, and in the shade of the trail, I was actually a little chilly! That didn’t last for long, as the sun started to rise I started to feel the heat and humidity. Thankfully, we got going early enough that we missed the hottest part of the day.

(photos courtesy of Meghann)

Before I knew it, we were at mile 20, our chosen turn around point. Those 20 miles flew by! We headed back to the car, since not everyone was going 50. Once back at the cars, Meghann, Amber, Kelly and I refueled, and then headed off for our last 10. we pushed a little harder on these last 10, and were back at the cars before we knew it! After going 40, riding 5 out and 5 back seems like nuthin!

What better way to end a long ride in the middle of nowhere, than with a good ol’ country breakfast from Cracker Barrel!

I got my usual, the Sunrise Sampler:

Eggs, sausage patty, country ham, bacon, hashbrown casserole.

grits, cinnamon apples and a biscuit

I washed it all down with a chilled mug of chocolate milk.

Hit. The. Spot!

What a great way to end my holiday weekend! I hope you guys had a great weekend too!