Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kailua Canoe Club Dash and Splash Biathlon Race Report- Family Relay Style!

Super Awesome Wife Leg
As with the last biathlon I did with Dirtbag, I was responsible for the Dash portion of the Dash and Splash.  And just like last time, my ‘Dash’ was more of a walk-so-fast-it-hurts shuffle more than it was a real dash.
This time was different though, since Baby Dirtbag was there to participate with us.  To keep things easy in the morning prep, we decided to leave him in his sleeper rather than change him into fresh clothes for the day.  When I was getting Baby Dirtbag ready Daddy Dirtbag found the tape and wrote our race number on it, and then put the tape onto Baby’s arm.  All three of us had the number 73 on our left arms.

The lady who marked me drew the skull, I swear!
We got to the start with half an hour to spare, perfect for me to sit off to the side and get some milk into the baby before strapping him in his stroller for our 2.8 mile walk.  When everyone starting filling the street to get started I tried to stay to the back of the pack, since I knew we’d be the slowest of the group.  Before we got started I mentally calculated my speed.  I figured since I haven’t been out walking like I used to, I could expect about a 17-minute mile.  That’s right around where I was when I stopped doing 2-3 mile walks when I was pregnant.
 One thing I didn’t anticipate was the rolling of the course.  I was expecting a flat course. (Dirtbag Edit- Totally my fault. I just did a race on this course the weekend before and should have warned her.)  Right away I saw there would be a little climb, but figured it was the only one, and it would be flat walking until the end of the loop when I had to make the climb again to finish.  I was wrong, but pushed as hard as I could.  And I could feel it.  It burned in my shins and my feet felt super cramped in my shoes.  Every event I’ve speed walked in the past my toes feel like they are cramping for the first couple of miles, and this was no different.  Well, maybe a little different.  I felt more cramped than normal.  Hard to say if it’s because pregnancy changed my feet or if it’s because I’ve only worn shoes a handful of times in the last year.
The rolling course didn’t slow me down too much though.  Baby Dirtbag was so content in his stroller that he even napped for a bit.  The course was a loop through a residential area.  When we got to the curve that meant half way through, I heard Baby Dirtbag fill his diaper.  Around the 2-mile mark I passed the only two people I managed to keep in my line of sight since the start of the race.  Throughout the walk I kept checking my watch for speed, and managed to stay between a 15:30 and 16:30 pace.  One funny thing that kept happening was the watch kept yelling at me.  Back when I was pregnant the midwife suggested I keep my heart rate under 160 while exercising.  I set the watch to let me know when I got that high.  Fast-forward to 5 months post-partum and the max heart rate doesn’t matter anymore.  But no one told my watch.  So at every little climb it would start beeping obnoxiously until I was back on the level and my heart rate was back in the ‘safe’ range.
At the finish line Daddy Dirtbag was waiting for us.  We posed for a quick family shot before Daddy was into the water and we continued walking to the finish line.  The volunteer nurse of the event walked with me, and we were slower than Daddy to the finish line.  To be fair though, she did make me drink a ton of water before we continued walking.  I was initially offered one cup, but when she found out I was nursing Baby Dirtbag she insisted I drink 5.
Family transition

Dirtbag Leg
The race was very informal, so there wasn’t really a transition area per say. There was a mat for the runners to cross on their way into the water, and everyone doing a relay milled around there.
I knew I would have a while to wait. Super Awesome Wife doesn’t run and I don’t expect her to. That isn’t why we do these events. I figured, after watching her take off, that she’d be last in the group and I had a while to hang out. I didn’t even prep my cap until she came into sight coming down the hill. Hell, I didn’t even take off my board shorts until then. I still had my earphones in rocking out to some Quicksand.
The race was put on by the Kailua Canoe Club and it was their first time, so nothing was very serious about it. I met some very nice women who love to talk to the dad doing a relay with his wife and son. It wasn't super organized, but it didn't have to be. It was fine, low key, and plenty fun. If I had one complaint it would be that they rolled up the timing mat for the run-to-swim transition before everyone (not just me) was across. There was no reason not to wait the extra fifteen minutes so everyone who paid got to *beep* on their way into the water. Kinda not cool, guys. But that's a small gripe overall.
At around the 40 minute mark they started asking me if I should be concerned she wasn’t back yet. Nope, I expected 45 minutes before I got in the water. I was hoping she’d come in close enough to the next person that I might have a chance to catch and pass but it was not to be. At around 42 minutes one of the cops working the course came over and told me the woman pushing the stroller had just passed two people and was on her way to the final hill. That’s when I started getting ready.
She came into transition, the little boy was asleep, I kissed them both and posed for a picture, then ran down the beach. Literally the last person in the water, since I think the people she passed didn’t really swim it. Special needs team. Also very cool. So I pumped hard, but not too hard. I’ve barely swum in a while, training is so scattered and terrible. But home is better so I’m putting priorities in the right place. There’s almost no way I’m not going to walk during the Honolulu Olympic’s 10k run, but whatever. My swim was fine. Lanikai is a pretty beach and going straight along the coast couldn’t be easier. Up, out of the water, and across the line at 1:00.11. Decent swim time.
We hung out for a while, talked to some people, and the little cannonball worked his adorable baby magic on the ladies, earning him a leftover race shirt, XL, that his mommy plans on turning into some kind of wrap through sewing magic. 

Sing for a prize!

He got a hat!

Baby stylin' in the new hat
 The best part of the day was taking him into the ocean. We hadn’t been to the beach with him yet because the sun isn’t good for young skin. But we were there, he was happy, and it was warm, so why not. I’ve been looking forward to getting in the ocean with him since before he was born. Good things love water and he needs to be exposed often. We stripped his diaper, because it’s not a trip to the beach without a naked baby, and did some wet sand first, slowly walking him into the waves. The first time a little wave went over his feet he didn’t know what to make of it. So cute. I picked him up and we waded in until I could get on my knees so he was chest deep. It was a little colder than I thought, so we didn’t stay in too long. I didn’t notice the temperature when it was just me swimming, but I’m more sensitive to things like light and sound and temperature and everything when he’s with me. I don’t think he has an opinion yet, but he didn’t scream. That’s good.
I'd be posting pictures but blogger has decided not to load any more today. So no baby beach pictures for you!
So happy we were able to do our first family biathlon! I think there are many more races in our future.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lanikai Sprint Tri 2013 Race Report

There is something freeing about going to a race knowing you are under-trained. I have been working out, but not with any kind of true regularity. I was no where near ready for a sterling performance Sunday at Lanikai and I adjusted expectations accordingly. I wanted to get out there, have fun, and do a triathlon. That was all. I knew my finishing time would be pretty sad, I expected it to hurt because races hurt, and I wanted to enjoy myself. Pretty cool to drive to a race thinking, "I'm going to totally cruise this thing." No pressure.
The weather leading up to race day hadn't been the best in paradise. Lots of rain and wind. But Sunday morning proved to be clear and warm, a perfect day for a race. Super Awesome Wife and Dirtbag Baby stayed home for this one. Little boy had a rough night and it wasn't worth it to get him up for the race. I've got a bunch more in the next few weeks, and they can come to those. I got out of the house a little later than I meant to, which was ok because it meant I got to the race in time to set up my transition area, get body marked, listen to the pre-race, and go. No time for jitters. If I could purposefully time getting to races like that I'd be awesome. I'm too worried about being late for that though.
Diesel and MamaSaid came out to support (or as they put it, "Laugh at me") and that was really cool. They weren't doing the race, they just knew me and a few other people doing it so they decided to come watch. What kind of crazy people get up early to watch a triathlon?

I haven't been swimming much, I stopped going to the Masters workouts because I don't like waiting until late to swim. I also haven't been swimming because it's my strong suit and I have the technique to fake 500 or 1000 yards without much work. Especially if my ego isn't in the way. Standing on the beach with all the other athletes waiting for the gun I made my regular joke of, "Please don't kick me in the face. I'm too pretty to get kicked in the face." Triathlon should be fun and something like that helps me relax before the off.
Because I haven't been swimming I didn't jump out to the front like I normally do. I don't think I've ever been so deep in the middle of the washing machine mosh pit that is an open water mass start. I knew that if I tried to sprint for the first buoy as per normal I'd be gassed before the final turn, so I had to settle in to the pack for the first 200 yards. That's no fun, getting bumped and kicked and grabbed and run into but eventually I found my way to some clear water. I always end up on the outside of the main group, which means I'm swimming slightly further, but without people all around. It's a trade-off I accept. I did some drafting too from a couple of friendly feet. My mantra in the water was, "Stay smooth, stay solid, don't be stupid." I kept it regular.
Even out of shape I made it out of the water in the front end of the pack and there were a ton of bike in transition when I got there. To say I jogged through transition would be an understatement. No pressure race. Easy transition. Laikai's bike exit is a pain. The transition area is in the middle of the park and it's a 200m run through the park to get to the side street where we are allowed to mount. Lots of clop clop clop. I cruise cruise cruised it too.
I love the bike course for this race. For one, the roads on that side of the island are pretty well maintained, so it's smooth sailing without a lot of Dodge the Pothole. Aside from right in the middle it is also as flat a ride as you could ask for. Pleasant winds, flat course, smooth roads means good ride. Even for someone who hasn't barely been out on his bike. Like the swim, I spent the ride concentrating on my heart rate, keeping everything together. Ride hard but not so hard. Enjoy the time out. Lanikai's course goes on to the Marine Corps base, and up Radar Hill. This is the third time I've done Lanikai, last year the guys and I did it as a relay, so it's the second time I've ridden Radar. My first time was my fourth tri ever. I remember the climb being longer and steeper than it was. I have more perspective now. It wasn't so bad. Still hurt, but not for that long.
Ripped down the hill and cruised it back to transition. I ended up in-between two packs of riders somehow, a few dozen yards behind one group and a few dozen yards in front of another. I didn't realize how close the back group was until I rolled to the dismount line and was suddenly surrounded by people. I'm pretty decent at getting my feet out of my shoes and hopping off the bike, so I didn't struggle in the group, but the guy who stopped right next to me hit the brakes a little too hard and went right over, knocking down a spectator who was standing too close.
I cruised into and through T2, taking my sweet sweet time. I had toe socket issues, which added even more time, but whatever, and then it was off on the run. I knew this was going to suck. Immediately felt like there was nothing in the tank and I had one gear- a really slow, lame gear. I "ran" the whole thing, but if I've run slower in a 5k I don't remember it. It was pretty terrible for me. I'm not beating myself up, because you get out what you put in when it comes to training, but it was still pretty annoying. The 10k at the end of my upcoming Honolulu Tri will not be pretty. Still, I finished, I had a good time, and that's what is important.
Much thanks to my wonderful sponsor, Background Profiles

Swim (500m)- 8:54
T1- 2:13
Bike (20k)- 33:14
T2- 1:47
Run (5k)- 36:44
Total- 1:22:50

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Special Guest Post- Ironman 70.3 Oceanside: A View From the Med Tent

The Other Side of Ironman
By: Sister Dirtbag

So most of you read this blog for training tips, race reports, and funny stories from Dirtbag.  I’m Sister Dirtbag and I did a fun event recently and wanted to share my experiences with you.  If you have followed along you know that as Sister Dirtbag I am the Official Athletic Trainer of Team Dirtbag.  Dirtbag is a great employer, he doubles my salary annually….
Anyway, following along with Dirtbag’s training and event has made me want to be more involved.  I’ll leave the triathlete-ing to him but I have a sports medicine background, and love these types of events, so I decided to find a way to be involved.  I got on the Ironman website, and saw there was a 70.3 in Oceanside every year.  Sounds perfect.  Once volunteer registration opened up I got on that, and registered for the medical team.  Then I started getting emails from the medical team leader with all sorts of good information, common injuries we would see, handbooks, directions, etc etc.  I signed up to work both shifts, because if I’m going to do it, might as well do it good, right?
Oceanside is about 3 hours from my house, so this involved heading down the night before and crashing with a friend.  Check in time was 5am, so I was up at 4, ready and in the car by 415.  I found my people, got a shirt and a badge, felt important, and headed to the T1 tent.  There were already quite the number of athletes milling about.  This being my first triathlon ever, it was all new to me. All I knew was Dirtbag’s recaps.  Our T1 tent was stationed at the entrance to T1, which I guess is prime parking for the Pros.  Which was awesome.  Getting to see all these people that I’m sure are a big deal in the Tri world doing their morning routines.  We were also stationed right next to the port-a-pottys.  Dirtbag has waxed poetic about the port-a-potty situation at mass events, and I never quite understood until now.  The race directors thought it would be a good idea to keep these bathrooms “locked” (zip tied) until 6:30am for whatever reason.  Which means the volunteer bathroom became the everyone bathroom, and the line leading out of T1 tent was something to see.  The locks got “broken” and re-tied probably two or three times.  
Back to the medical stuff.  One of the lead physicians was performing a study on core temperature changes during the swim portion of a triathlon.  She hypothesized that core temps would drop during cold water swims.  This was measured by swallowing pill-sized ingestible thermometers, taking a baseline reading, marking the athletes hands for ID, and sending them on their way, to see them again when they were exiting the water during the swim.  Pretty cool stuff. The water was 62.8 degrees today, much warmer than anticipated.  We had a meeting, took a team photo, and got ready to go to work.  By the time we got out of the meeting the pros had already started.  I had volunteered to go down to the dock to help spot the thermometer subjects (also, swimming is my thing, so I wanted to see this part).  The start was at the boat launch of the harbor (this is the only time of the year swimmers are allowed in the harbor). So it was a walk in, then swim to a start position out away from the harbor.  It appeared to be an out and back swim.  I situated myself on the very corner of the dock, so the athletes coming in literally swam around where I was standing to the boat launch finish.  All access passes do not suck.  Not too long after we got there the pros started coming back in.  Andy Potts, the eventual winner (uhh, spoiler alert), was first out of the water.  That was pretty awesome to see.  I snapped a billion photos during this part of the race. I thought it was pretty awesome.  The end of the swim started my change in my view of the Ironman races- I thought I was going to see the Pros.  Then the end of the swim came.  The race director was down on the harbor with us towards the end, keeping us posted on the cut offs for the swim.  We had three or four swimmers in the water still with 15 minutes left.  One of the coolest things I saw all day was the accumulation of yellow lifeguard rash guards following behind the last of the swimmers.  Towards the end each of the swimmers got an escort by both the lifeguards on paddleboards and what I am assuming are Ironman race officials.  One on each side, encouraging, guiding in the right, most efficient direction.  Three swimmers left, two, then the last one.  The last swimmer made his was out of the water to cheers from all of the volunteers, lifeguards, and race officials.  This particular athlete was competing in his first Ironman race, with a neurological-motor condition that made it amazing he was competing.  He, unfortunately, was very very affected by the cold water.  When we made it back up to the T1 tent he was trying to get on his bike, but shaking uncontrollably and slightly blue.  We moved him to the T1 tent, which had heaters going full blast.  Unfortunately, he came in at the tail end of time limits, so we had about 5 minutes to work before he had to be on the bike and out of T1.  Not much you can do with that, but the guy was amazing, warmed up as fast as he could, and when the race director came in the tent and told him 30 seconds, damned if he didn’t hop up and walk over to his bike, clip in and get on his way.  Amazing.

Oh, and preliminary reports from the thermometers?  Temp rises during the swim. When you think about it doing high-energy activity in a wetsuit it makes sense that you’d get warmer. Also, when the extremities get cold the body shunts all blood to the core to keep the vital organs going.  So the core is protected, it is the extremities that are the problem, as I’m sure most open water swimmers can attest.
It was so odd walking up the dock to T1 and seeing it completely (save one bike) empty. Everyone just moving on to the next stage of the race, after that super emotional swim finish.  All in an ironday’s work.  Off to the main “tent”.  It was a trek to the finish line, but we got to see some of the bikers racing by which was pretty awesome, and by the time we got to the main tent/finish people were already starting on the run!!  Amazing.  I missed one whole leg of the race!  Our friend from the last tent was already in the main medical tent being treated. Poor guy.  I found out this was his first Ironman, he has friends who were triathletes and they got him into it.  His day was done, but he was in good spirits about it.  Otherwise the Medical tent was pretty slow at this point, with the race in full swing and athletes out on the course, away from the finish.  I took this time to wander around, watching the run, scouting out the finish area.  I have to be honest, one of the coolest perks about this was an all access pass to the race.  I could go anywhere and see anything I wanted to.  I headed back to the tent since the race was still going on.

After a pow-wow with the new volunteers who had joined us later in the day at this tent, we set about our duties.  I helped check people in and out, pulling their medical history cards as they came in.  We saw a slew of blisters, some people wanting ice, mostly heat exhausting and exercise-induced collapse though.  See, when you’re working hard for 3-4 hours or more and you suddenly stop, all that blood that has been racing around your body pools at your feet, and that is what makes you dizzy and lightheaded as soon as you stop a race.  Get you down, feet up, and in minutes I bet you’ll start to feel a whole lot better.  I met another athlete during this time, he was on his fifth Ironman race, and told me it would be his last for awhile because his wife was pregnant so priorities would be changing soon.  He was so, so grateful for the support we provided at this event, it was really touching.  I don’t know if that amount of insane exercise makes you weepy or what, but he was so very thankful, and it made me proud, and humbled to be working this event.  All I did was wake up really early one morning and take myself and my brain to Oceanside.  He prepared for months, years and was thanking ME??  Uhh, I wouldn’t be needed if there weren’t people like him willing to do events like these.
The head medical personnel had walkie talkies on them, and there were EMTs (with Ironman, not with us) out on the course, picking up people, bringing them in, things like that.  We stated hearing chirping about a guy who had cut his head open, and we should expect him in soon.  Sounds good, and interesting.  Us medical people love interesting (read: bloody) things like this.  We waited, and waited, and eventually kinda forgot about him, figuring things just worked themselves out.  Then later on, much much later, a guy comes walking into medical tent under his own power, with a shirt that used to be white and is now fully red, and a bandage around his head.  Turns out he fell during mile ONE of the run, cut his head open, and was determined to finish.  Race officials made him stop for about 45 minutes to try and stop the bleeding (much to his dismay about his finish time).  But he had a medical condition which made the bleeding nearly impossible to stop.  He signed the waiver they wanted him to and continued chugging along. 12 miles later here he was in our tent, a finisher.  I can’t imagine the talking to his wife gave him later.  She bought him a new shirt to go home in though.  He said he was going to frame this one with his finisher medal, forget that washing business!  We had our first stitches of Ironman Oceanside.
Things were slowing down in the medical tent after that excitement, people were finishing, heading home, but there were still plenty of people out on the course.  I headed out to the finish line.  That, ladies and gents, are where the true inspiring stories of Ironman are.  Hours after the pros had finished and well after the elite amateurs. Over half the field were first-timers.  I saw a husband and wife, the husband had obviously done this before and finished well long ago, he was standing at the finish line when his wife crossed, looking like she had done many more enjoyable things in her time.  The emotion on his face when she crossed that finish was intense, the joy he felt that his wife had finished her first Ironman, the hug he gave her when she reached him…several of us were wiping away tears.  Let me tell you, if you don’t work the medical tent, work the finish line, that is where the best stories are.  Where the Tri clubs wait and cheer in their own, where people that you would see on the street and think they didn’t know what a bicycle was show you what they are made of and become finishers.  From the guy in his Tri suit and fancy watch to the guy in gym shorts and a tank top.  Both finishers.  I stayed there until the very end, 8 hours after the last wave of swimmers started.  9.5 hours maximum course time.  As the cut off was coming, I saw a wave of teal coming down the track.  The volunteers from the run course had gathered behind the last runner before cut off and were cheering her on, a tidal wave of support carrying her in.  I don’t know what the cheers were like for the first finishers, but I bet they weren’t the decibel that the volunteers made for the last.  It was incredible.
After treating the last few cases of dizziness, it was time to pack up and head home.  What a rewarding day.  The lesson I learned?  It doesn’t matter first or last, it matters that you finished.  Not even that, it matters that you did the work, got out of bed that morning, and were there when the whistle blew.  That makes you Ironman.  And I thank each and every one of them for allowing me to be a part of their journey, allowing me to support them in their goals.  I can’t wait to do it again.

Monday, April 15, 2013


I'm shocked and horrified. Thoughts go out to all those affected by this terrible act.
May everyone run safe.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

TriSwimCoach Podcast- Relationships

I was recently podcasted by Kevin Koskella of Tri Swim Coach about relationships and triathlon. He found me through one of my first active.com articles, Does Your Partner Support Your Training, and asked me to be on. The Dirtbag Ego does not say no to things like that, of course, so I said YES! I had a great time talking with Kevin and the other guest Kat Gunsur.
Please give the podcast a listen. It's a fun discussion on finding, dating, and maintaining a relationship with a triathlete. Here you go!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Looney Lagoon 5mi Fun Run Race Report

Ready to race
 The Looney Lagoon 5mi is a special race. There were a ton of first going on Easter morning. The group that put on the event, Stamina Race Event Management, had never done an event before. First! We, Super Awesome Wife and I, convinced my dad and Bev to do the race because they were on the island, and I don't think either of them have ever done something like this before. First! I decided to walk it with them instead of run it, which I never do. First! And the biggest, most important first, it was Dirtbag Baby's first race! We popped him in the stroller and went out on the course.
The Looney Lagoon was as low-key an event as I've ever done. Maybe the lowest key event I've ever done. When the plan is to walk it with people who don't walk regularly you don't set goals. You just go out there and do it. The race organizers, to emphasize the Fun element, decided that instead of doing age group awards they were only giving an award to the person who came in first, the person who came in dead in the middle, and the person who finished dead last, which they called the Stamina Award. You're out there longer than anyone else, therefor you have the most stamina.
Dad and Bev picked us up in the morning, little boy was being fine. He's pretty good in the morning, no fusses even that early. He slept in the car on the way in and got a good feeding in before the race started. We chilled out at the start, no hurry no pressure, no warm-up. Why warm up? We're walking. The Grey was doing the race too so we met him. He was going to run it though. Have fun.
I initially got Dad and Bev to sign up with us because I read 5k instead of 5mi. Who has a 5mi race? What a strange distance. Whoops. Oh well, what's two more miles?
We positioned ourselves in the back of the group so as not to be in the way of people who cared and waited for the start. There's the air horn and off we go...kind of. How intense were we at the start? Here, dig this photo.
We're talking Hands In the Pocket Intensity here!

 Yeah, pretty much. We were out for a nice stroll on a nice day. That's it. We immediately fell to the back of the pack. Never been here before. Oh well, I'm not going to run. I'm going to enjoy a walk with family. Which is exactly what we did. We passed two people somehow in the first mile and they never caught up to us. One of them was wearing a knee brace and I found out later the other was recovering from a catastrophic back injury. We were, I think, the only other walkers. Everyone else ran most of the course.

It was a simple out and back so everyone passed us on their way to the finish line. The guys in the lead went by before we hit a mile and a half. Crazy fast. We strolled along. Watching everyone go by is an interesting perspective on races like this. You get to see the faces, the determination. It was like being divorced from the actual event. We were barely a part of it we were so far behind. But we had numbers and we were chugging along.
Dirtbag Baby was great the whole time. He barely fussed. He just sat and watched all the crazy people sweat by him. There were other strollers, but they were being run with. Someday, buddy, someday Daddy will take you on a race and run. That'll be fun.
It was funny to be almost The People the course guy was waiting for to clean up. Just us and the two behind us. Hi, how ya doing? Oh, we're at 47 minutes at the turn around? We don't care, thanks though.
The weather was great and it was a fun walk. There isn't much else to say about it. It didn't hurt, we didn't race. At the end as a fun thing the race organizers had put out Easter eggs for people to pick up. Super Awesome Wife picked one up with a prize ticket in it. Yay, basket of cookies!And The Grey ran back to walk the last mile with us after he finished. That was nice of him.
In all a fun time. I hope Stamina Races puts on more things, I liked how they did it. For their first event it went surprisingly well. Glad we all did it together. I'm so very looking forward to doing more and more events with the tiny human. We'll make it something he does, so that hopefully as he gets older being fit continues to be something that happens. It'll be a habit from before he knew we were training him.
Many thanks to my sponsor Background Profiles for helping me do fun events like this. Getting to share them with the family makes them even better. 

Happy Finisher Family

Walk It Out


Never taken pictures during a race before

Nice day

Baby Finisher Medal!

Stealing Mom's Cookies


I got a medal too!

Of course I rocked the kilt.

Baby's first finish!