Saturday, August 24, 2013


If you are like most Minnesotans, you are probably anxious for summer to start.


Waaaaaiiiiit.....earlier this week, Fall said "Top of the morning to ya", when the entrance gates to the "foods-on-a-stick" fest (aka the Minnesota State Fair) opened up.


After last year's success (finally) at Ironman Wisconsin, I was all revved up for a terrific 2013 triathlon season. My goal was to focus on getting faster at shorter distances, trying out some new events and really getting lean and mean.


I am now getting ready for my last outdoor tri of the 2013 season, which takes place tomorrow -- (SuperiorMan Half-Iron Distance in Duluth) and I'm STILL trying to get rid of my "winter weight".

Just where, exactly,  does time go?

This year really has been a giant blur and not my most satisfying on many levels.   Not all was bad, but it does feel like I spent a lot of time waiting around for things to get "better" for me to get my head in the game.

The weather had to get "better" for me to feel motivated to train the way I really should have trained. Other aspects of my life needed to get "better" before I wanted to do more than just crawl back in to my house and eat comfort food and watch bad T.V.

Now, almost three-quarters of the year is over (Blink) and I'm finally feeling like I am getting in to the swing of things.   (Actually, this theme is not necessarily a new or different one for me.   I was went to college at 17 and was really not prepared at the time.  In what feels like a SUPER BLINK, it is oh-so-many-years-later, I am ready for college life and would gladly go back to hang at the Terrace at Memorial Union any time.  I would also actually show up for the majority of classes this time around....)

Although my triathlon year hasn't been as stupendous as hoped, there certainly were a lot of high points and I had a lot of great fun.   Truth also be told, after three years of training to cross the finish line at Imoo, I was probably emotionally, mentally and physically ready for a back off year.  (As was predicted by my very wise coach, Greg Rhodes.....).

Here are some of the highlights:

Podium Finisher:
One advantage of moving up in an Age Group category is that, at a certain point, the odds go up in your favor for higher finishing placement.   I moved up in AGs this year, and, although there are certainly PLENTY of speedier women in my AG that can kick my arse around the block several times, I did have solid, top five finish times at Buffalo Tri, Liberty Oly and Waconia.

I even was on the podium, coming in 3rd in my AG at Timberman Oly.   Now, before I get too all up in my badself, I also have to admit that there weren't too many women actually IN my AG at Timberman (or any of the other events).  Still and all, 3rd is 3rd and a prize is a prize.  Booyah.

Tried some new stuff:
Waconia was a new event for me this year.  Loved it.  We lucked out with the swim.  Although the water was chilly, it wasn't too rough.   The course was challenging but beautiful.

Ironman Racine 70.3 was also new for 2013.   After not signing up for this year's Ironman Wisconsin, I still wanted to have an Ironman experience.  Racine was a close enough drive and I thought it might be fun to swim in Lake Michigan.  (Added plus:  a fairly flat bike course.).

Lake Michigan was beeeeuteeefull on the Saturday before the race.  Calm, cool, but not cold, clear (could see the bottom in 15 feet of water). 

Race day?  Not so much.  Four-foot waved greeted swimmers the morning of the race.  The only way I could convince myself to get in the water was to promise myself that I could pull out any time I wanted to or needed to.  Then I just swam from buoy to buoy and before I knew it, I was getting out of the lake.  (It was a tough swim for many racers.  I heard about 50 people got pulled from the water and many others didn't even get in to start).  

The bike was fine, flat and fast.  The run was a bit of a slog, but I made it fun by chatting up with other runners and enjoying the course.  Great race; would do it again in a heartbeat.

Point to LaPoint (P2LaP) swim -- another new adventure and certainly a highlight of the year.  When putting together my race schedule for the year, Greg added P2LaP, which is a 2.4 mile swim in Lake Superior from Bayfield, Wisconsin to Madeline Island.

At first, I thought the event might over my head (pun intended). Not because of the distance, but the swim in big, deep, cold Lake Superior.   I also had in my head that the course was going to be long and lonely, with me paddling in the lake looking at nothing but water and hoping that I wasn't getting lost. 

Au contraire!

First, you can see the island from Bayfield (phew).  The water temp, while cold, turned out to be perfect with the help of neoprene booties and cap.  The race is very well organized and I love the sweatshirt they give to racers.

Two other pluses were that my sister came with me to watch the race and we both met John,  the owner of Schoep the dog.  My sister and I are both HUGE animal people and the story of John and his wonderful dog had really touched our hearts.  It was sheer coincidence that we met John.... but we did and we were able to convey our condolences and to share a hug. 

Final new event for 2013 will be the tri tomorrow:  SuperiorMan.   It starts with a leap off a ferry boat in to Lake Superior, followed by a bike ride up to Two Harbors and back down to Duluth and then a little 1/2 marathon trot around the city.   It is supposed to be unusually hot tomorrow (90s', humid, windy) so, I'm just hoping for the best. 

Oldies but goodies:
The new stuff certainly was fun, but there is also something to be said for tradition.  Tri U Mah last February; Buffalo in June, Madison Open Water Swim last week.... all fun, fun, fun. 

Looking forward: 
Hubby and I are doing New York Marathon this fall (baring any hurricanes or other problems).   We'll also do the TC 10Miler and Victory 10k for training races as prep for the marathon.  

But before we lace up our shoes in November, my friend (and NEW MOM!) Natalie and I will be volunteering at Ironman Wisconsin on September 8th.   Then, early in the morning on Monday, September 9th, we'll be lining up with hundreds of others to sign up for Imoo 2014.


It will be here before we know it.