"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Triathlon at Pacific Grove: A Look Back

I went to another open water clinic today. It was the first of a four Saturday clinic to help get me ready for the Triathlon at Pacific Grove. I can't sleep so I thought I would write some of my thoughts about the history of my upcoming race at Pac Grove.

I have done the Pac Grove Tri every year for the past three years. I wanted to write my history with this triathlon because it has been a life changing event for me. I hate swimming in the ocean but I will go back there every year because it changed who I am.

2005: This is the first year. I trained with Team in Training. (Here is the back story if you are interested) and did it in 4:19:42

The details:



I had a BLAST! I did all the training in the 4 months with TNT. Met one of the most amazing people you could ever hope to meet, my LA Run buddy. Became best friends with Run Buddy nad LA Run buddy from our time together in TNT. I worked for it and I was THRILLED to finish. I ran with my run buddy and we finished together. Awesome, awesome, awesome experience!

Immediately after Pacific Grove, we ran in the Relay for Life from Calistoga to Santa Cruz, and then...

I. Did. Nothing.

All Winter.

2006: After a winter of doing nothing but eating like there was no tomorrow Run buddy, LA Run buddy (she wasn't in LA yet) decide we are going to go back to Pacific Grove, but this time as Team RBR (from a poster we saw in the crowd at Pac Grove that said "Run Bitch Run" which we thought was the funniest, fucking thing we had ever heard! So we stole it.)

We followed our TNT training plans somewhat diligently (I was inconsistent about the swimming and biking) for 3 months this time and added some extra running because I wanted to try my first 1/2 marathon at the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll. This time I didn't have the fear of God in me about not finishing and it showed in my lack luster biking and swimming during training. I finished in 4:10:32

The details:


Nine minute PR solely because of improved run time. My swim and bike were worse. I was dead last out of the water in my wave. BUT I had a BLAST again! We decorated RBR shirts, we cheered laughed and joked around on the course. We wore pink. I puffy painted "Thank God the Swim is Over" on my race jersey, and I had my best buddies racing with me. I was one of "those girls" (All you ladies know what I am talking about. If not, you are one of 'those girls' already. Congratulations!) I felt amazing! We decided this was going to be our annual thing!

Afterwards we did a relay at the Sentinel triathlon. Run Buddy swam (her favorite event), LA Run buddy cycled (her favorite event) and I ran (duh!). Again were the last relay out of transition (Sentinel is WAY hardcore) both times, but we had a BLAST! Then Run buddy and I did the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 marathon (Time 2:59:42) and then...

I. Did. Nothing.

All Winter. (hmmm, a pattern, no?)

2007: Another winter of inactivity and massive food consumption. Spring comes. Fat, unhappy and seriously depressed. I have to change something. I decide to go back to TNT and train for Nike Women's Full Marathon.

I trained hard for the marathon. I ran every mile and did every workout, but I rode a grand total of 12 miles on my bike, swam a whopping 1000 yards for the entire summer. I did not do a single open water swim and had not been in the ocean since the previous year's triathlon. I thought the marathon training would carry me through the tri.

I was wrong.

Seriously wrong.

I finished in 4:16:32

The details:


Worst swim and bike ever. I was dead last in my wave of the swim again. I had my own canoe escort. I threw up in the swim. I almost bailed in T1 and sat down deciding whether to keep going.

This time I did NOT have a blast. I was miserable the whole day. My hubby spends the day at Pac Grove every year to take pictures. My dog Lucy comes to cheer me on and I wouldn't even stop and pet her or give him a hug because I just wanted to be done.

Not cool.

So not cool.

I get injured before Nike and can't run the whole thing (melt down report here). Friends at the weightloss blog that I started doing help me turn my attitude around and I walk/run Nike with Run Buddy (Nike race report) and decide to run the Napa Marathon (race report). The rest, as they say, is history.

Now as I am 19 days away from my fourth time at Pac Grove I have come to the realization that whether I have fun at a race isn't about the time it takes me to finish (sure, I would prefer to not finish with, or behind, the 80 year olds) but more about the satisfaction in knowing I have done the work to be there. really there are only a few minutes between all of my Pac Grove times, but there are very different feelings.

I want to feel like I did at the first two. I want to feel like I did at Barb's Race (well, most of Barb's anyway). I am not going to win, or medal, or even reach the top 50% my age group, but God dammit, I want to have a good time. For me that means I have to earn my finish whether it be slower or faster (Better be faster. If that old fucker beats me again my coach is fired.) This year at Pac Grove I will have earned my finish. And you know I am going to have a good time!

Time to bring out the puffy paint!


Calyx Meredith said...

Thanks for the big picture! It's wonderful to have the links to your reports (your words in the moment) and your commentary about the cumulative experience all in one place. What a great post.

R. Jeffrey Davis said...

Good luck! You'll do great. I see that you are scheduled to do CdA next year. So am I.

Willie said...

What a great history. New long-term friends, a new life style, a new attitude, a GREAT slogan, and all from one race. Who could ask for more.

BTW, Love the pictures. You guys are so cute together.

Anonymous said...

What a great post looking back at the past races. You will do great this year...you've put in the work and you'll have fun!

I love the past marathon race reports. We actually ran our first marathons on the same day last year. I had a lot of the same thoughts you did miles 20-26.2! I was glad to read your Napa report cuz I was thinking of doing that one next year - it was on my birthday this year.

Lastly, you have reached a new level of toughness in my book for throwing up during a swim! OMG! I woulda died.

Stef0115 said...

Wonderful recap and lead in to Pac Grove 2008! You girls are going to have so much FUN -- I can't wait to read about it.

Every time I think of Pac Grove now I think of kelp! I may have to consider it for 2009. Would need some kelp lessons beforehand though like Calyx did. LOL.

SWTrigal said...

Great post-you will do great-after Barb's race will be a picnic!

ShirleyPerly said...

Nice to read your history of this race! I had no idea you have been doing tris pretty much for as long as I have. At least you had the smarts to train with a group. You are very brave to have done an Oly as your first one!

indeed, I have found out that marathon endurance does little for getting me through tris. It's a whole different ball game. But the goals are the same. Have fun or why do it at all? Life's too short to be hating.

Erin Leigh said...

Please don't let me have one of those winters. I am having one of those days where taking the easy way out sounds so much better...

I love that you guys race together. You are going to do great!!

Anonymous said...

Great way to see your past performance and even better that you are able to look back and see what you have done and where you can improve. Keep the good attitude about it all and you will have a blast. Good luck in the event!

JenZen said...

Great post!!! Loved reading about all the past races and your journey. Good luck and have fun with it! You'll be awesome!

JenZen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Stenzel said...

YEAH!! Nice attitude! Great to see the numbers and how they stack up year-to-year.


E said...

I really liked this post. I love your mindset - not the time for finishing the race but the work done in training to get there. Awesome!