First Aid Kit or Emergency Flares

As some of you may know, I'm what I would consider a "safety girl". Yes, I do like to push limits a little bit, but I do like to make sure that all possible safety precautions have been addressed.
This past Saturday while out on the Chinook Road "Race", I carried my first-aid kit with me, as usual.  Unfortunately I had it stuffed in with my food and while reaching for a gel, it jumped out of my jersey.  Great, just what I needed, another opportunity to red-line it for 5 minutes just to barely catch up with the group...and I do mean BARELY.  That isn't exactly the point of my story.
As we were riding, one of the guys made a very astute observation, "I don't really know you that well, but you don't seem like the type of person who would slow down enough to address something that a Band-Aid would fix.  And if you did encounter something that actually made you stop, is there anything in your first-aid kit that would really be much use to you?"  First of all, you don't know me...but it's amazing how insightful complete strangers can be!  Secondly, you have made some excellent points.  Mostly I carry around the first-aid kit just for piece-of-mind, but I never REALLY thought about how much use it would do me.  
This got me thinking, what exactly could I carry that would help me out the most if I were to be injured badly enough that I couldn't keep riding.  Emergency Flares, of course!  
Now I just need to find the perfect one for my jersey pocket. 



One of the biggest highlights of the weekend was participating in the Chinook Road Bike Training series ride #5. The Training Series is what the locals consider a "racing" series. Granted it's mostly locals, but usually the strongest local riders..and it's usually all men. This Saturday did not disappoint, drawing out some of the finest cycling talent in the Tri-Cities...and only 1 girl other than myself.

When I had started planning on doing this ride for my long weekend ride, my boyfriend and my coach were planning on going, so I felt confident I wouldn't be alone. It was just my luck that my coach decided he would rather be at home in Wenatchee and my boyfriend decided not to go because he was afraid of pushing himself so hard that he couldn't recover. So, I put my big-girl bike shorts on (my brand new SET Coaching kit) put on my racing tires (figured I could use every little advantage I could get), and headed out to meet the boys. As soon as I got on my bike to spin around before the start, I noticed my front tire was low, not a good sign. I quickly changed out my tube and headed to the pre-"ride" meeting. We were given instructions on the route and team assignments when I noticed a goat-head thorn in my tire, ugh!! Good thing I hadn't actually ridden on it yet, otherwise my new tube would have been done for. With some help, I deflated my tube, plucked the thorn out and re-pumped it up, just in time.

The first couple miles was a neutral start, which was exactly what I needed to calm my nerves. As I chatted with some of the guys, I thought...this isn't going to be so bad after-all...or was it... As soon as we turned around, the race was on!! I thought for sure I would be in trouble as we headed down-hill with a tail wind...compared to a bunch of guys, I don't exactly have a weight advantage for descending. Somehow I managed to hang on, and at one point ended up in the front, not by choice...I knew that if I didn't want to get dropped, even though I was feeling good now, I needed to conserve energy. Just then, one of the strongest riders came by me and said, "stay in the draft, this is a long one"...yeah, no kidding!! Even if it was only behind one person, I stayed hunkered down and was able to maintain my position in the lead pack. I was even able to lead the group back up to some break-aways and definitely held my own on the climbs. I was having so much fun, I honestly had no idea how hard I was working!! By the last 18 miles or so, I was starting to feel it a little bit, but I couldn't hold back, it was too fun :) On the last couple of miles, I thought maybe I should just let the guys duke it out and hang back, since I really didn't care how I finished. However, I felt that I had earned my place, just like them, and didn't owe them anything. So, I smartly hung at the back of what ended up being a little group of 4 and waited, waited, waited, and SPRINTED for the finish line...yeehaw! My patience worked, and I beat them in a sprint for 6th place over-all.  I could hardly believe it! Our team ended up sticking together for the most part and working really well to take the "W" for the day. Thanks team!

Sadly I didn't stick around for awards because I had to get on with my 50 minute transition run. That run was BY FAR the hardest part of the day! Before my w/o that morning, I read an article that Ironman did on Kelly Fillnow, where she talked about being in the moment, and it worked wonders. Feeling that tired, I normally focus on how bad I hurt and if I will ever be able to do this for 50 more minutes? 45 more minutes? 40 more minutes? On and on....but I just got thru each moment as it came and kept my mind off of where I was going, and how long I would be running all alone on those hot desert hills, and it was so much less stressful! It's not that I had never thought about it before, but for me, sometimes I have to be in the right place mentally to accept a challenge and make a change. I was ready to make a change in my mental focus and Kelly gave me motivation and inspiration. Challenge accepted and change adopted :)
Thank goodness, becuase I also would not have made it thru the extra 2 miles I accidentally added to my long run on Sunday!
Now it's time to relish in all the hard work I accomplished last week and focus on recovering before my first triathlon of the season, this Sunday in Walla Walla :)


Pretty big deal

This past Saturday, I passed up the opportunity to do a local race with a lot of my friends to head down to Hermiston, OR by myself to run a 10k. Many of you might question my judgment, but I assure you it was worth it! For the past 2 years, my training has indicated that I am capable of running a 10k well-under 40 minutes, but mentally I was not quite there. Knowing I could do it, was not enough (it never really is), I had to prove it to myself. The week leading up to the run my legs felt tight, sore and tired...FLAT! As Saturday drew near, I had to force myself to keep my head up because my knee-jerk reaction for so long has been to hang my head in defeat before the race even starts. Not this time. Even if it was forced, I was not about to let myself out of this one. I'm not usually a believer in this theory, but I had to fake it to make it.

The race was off to a quick start with the lead runners out well below 5:30 pace, I knew to just hang back unlike my usual self and it paid off. I was able to hang just behind the lead runners for the first 5k. It was awesome! I came thru just under my 5k PR (18:46) and felt great! Not too long after that is when the discomfort set in. My legs started to get heavy, breathing was definitely more labored and my pace started to slow. No big deal, I told myself, this run isn't over yet. As I came down from the little climb, I felt great and accelerated for about 100 meters. Then another little rise, and at the top I could no longer see the leaders. PANIC set in a little bit. I told myself to chill out, keep going. DO NOT give up on yourself. Forget about the leaders and focus on your form, lean forward and quicken your turnover. Ok, ok, I can do this. But that was when the "what ifs" set in, "what if" I'm just never supposed to break 40 minutes..."what if" this IS where I belong..."what if"..."what if"..."what if"...UGH i hate that place! I was stuck in the "what ifs" for what felt like an eternity...and I was afraid to look at my watch to see what was really happening to me. Finally I looked. WHAT!? My average pace had slipped off my initial goal, but was well within coming in under 40 minutes. All that hard work IS paying off! Not to say it didn't hurt, but I picked up my pace and ran it in HARD! As I passed the clock it ready 39:09...I could hardly believe it!!! I crushed it!!! My official time was a little off @ 39:19...but it's all the same at this point.

Do I think I have it in me to go faster? Absolutely. Am I disappointed with my race? A little that I wasted so much time questioning myself, but not with my time. That said, I was able to overcome that doubt - and that is what I'm most proud of!

Usually when I get to that place, there is no coming back...at that point I had in the past let myself back off so that I wouldn't have to face the unknown...I wouldn't have to, because I knew I was in control of NOT achieving my goal. In the past, I wouldn't lay myself on the line because I was terrified that I wouldn't be enough. I have to tell you, it's way better to go for it, even if you lose! Breaking that barrier was a huge accomplishment for me, I feel so incredibly FREE! Thank you to everyone who helped me get there!

As for the race, I placed 2nd...to another girl! The only race I've ever done where the top 2 overall winners were WOMEN!!!

Thank you for reading!

Up next: Onion Man :)



Recently I have had too many inspirational topics to pick one...so while I'm letting them sit and grow a little, I thought I'd give a plain old update. I am not the type of person that can just race, race, race, and race some more. I get exhausted, worn down and sick. April is the first time I have ever successfully completed 3 races in a month.

The first was the ACSD, in Wenatchee. Beautiful! It was a great race and a perfect day. Other than my ridiculously long transitions, I was very happy with my race.

Second was Rage in the Sage. The first of a series of 6 local multi-sport events. This race was a perfect follow-up. The course was a little shorter, but off-road and a tiny bit hillier on the run. Because this race is so short, I usually don't even worry about it...and every time I think, geez that race HARD! My focus this year has been on running and swimming, so I was very pleased that my runs we're faster and felt better, the first one was actually just under 6min pace! I was still able to hold my own on the bike too, whew! When I say it was "off-road" that doesn't mean technical, it's on service roads thru the vineyards at Kiona Winery. Yes, you guessed it, that means they actually give away wine :) winning a bottle of wine makes all that pain bearable!! Thank you Kiona!

The following weekend was the first 1/2 marathon in 7 or 8 years. Since I hadn't done one in so long, I had nothing to gauge off of, but I was very pleased finishing second behind Marlene Ferrell, an Olympic trials qualifier for the marathon, and just off my goal time. My body and mind were basically finished at the 10k mark (which I ran at my 10-k PR pace), and it took me about 3 miles to talk myself back into the race. Other than losing a lot of time in those 3 miles, I thought the race was great, and it was yet another perfect day in the NW!

It's been 2 1/2 weeks since then, and I've spent most of that time mentally recovering and preparing for the real race season to begin. Because we are blessed with so much snow in the NW, our open-water races don't start until Memorial Day weekend...which is only a couple weeks away! YAY!!

I guess that means it's time to bust out my wet-suit and inspect for holes!

Only a couple weeks after that is my first "A" race of the season, which is so hard to believe! Really? I'm ready already? Really.

Well, there is just one more obstacle in the way...a 10k.  I have been stuck at a certain time for the past 2 years, and even though I've improved dramatically...both physically and mentally I have yet to prove it in an actual race.  This weekend I get another shot at it :) 

Here's to a great 2012...it is, after-all, the year of YES!