Saturday, May 30, 2015

Race Recaps-CGSC Triathlon and Bill Snyder Half Marathon

After a very trying, cold, and emotional winter and early spring, this month of May finally brought on the beginning of triathlon season. In addition to that, I also had signed up for a half marathon, out of character for me to do a stand-alone half marathon within triathlon season, but I will admit it this time, I wanted the finisher's medal. The finisher's medal was a purple Powercat, the symbol of Kansas State University. Although I am currently no longer a student at K State, I'm still a huge fan and I bleed purple. No matter my finishing time or how under-trained I was, I wanted that medal.

CGSC Sprint Triathlon took place on May 2nd on Fort Leavenworth, about two hours away. A misunderstanding with registration meant I had to drive out there the day before the race just to register as they were not doing race day registration. Had I known how far off in the cuts Fort Leavenworth was, I would have stayed the night after driving there and back home just to register. Oh well, live and learn.

Race morning was a bit chilly, but not to the point where it was miserable. I liked the very short pool swim, only 200 yards.

Go time!
It had rained all day the day prior, and since it was overcast on race morning the roads were very slick. The bike course had some very challenging climbs, the kind that make you gag going up them. Steep hills up and down. The down hills were a little sketchy for me. I had on my race wheels with Michelin Pro4 race tires, and a few times when I would apply my brakes going down hill I would start to fishtail a bit, which was scary. Toward the end of the bike it started raining and I managed to stay upright.

Loving my new Cannondale Slice
Hubby did an excellent job on my bike fit, I feel powerful and comfortable, a hard combo to achieve
The run course had a few hills but nothing killer, the rain continued throughout the run. It was my first race using Newton tri racers and a little past the 1.5 mile mark I was regretting the purchase. I could feel the hot spots and cuts on my feet and I still had another mile and a half to go. Nothing I could do about it at this point but suck it up. I made a mental note to myself to order some Zoot racers before the next tri. Joel came to the race with me for support and its always awesome to see his smiling face at the finish line. I took off my shoes right after I crossed the finish line to see bloody feet. I put my comfy shoes back on and vowed never to wear the Newton racers again.

On the run
I ended up place 4th female overall and 1st in my age group (30-34)

My super sherpa
I have since ordered some Zoot racers and I love them. These are the same racers I wore in 2012

Zoot Ultra Kiawi 2.0
The Bill Snyder Highway Half took place on May 23rd. Joel had also registered for the race. Neither one of us trained for the race, but we both wanted the medal. The race took place at K State, which is only a half hour away from us, so the morning routine wasn't too rough. Parking was at the football stadium, since it was a point-to-point race we took a bus to the start line. This was the inaugural race, and for the logistics of a point-to-point race they did a great job. It was nice to do a half marathon with Joel again, the last time we did a half marathon together was 2011. We started together and took this pic right before the start.

The start
We stayed together about the first 2.5 miles, I got ahead and didn't see him again until after the finish. The first 8 miles were on a highway of rolling hills. The long highway was a bit of a mind game. I rarely race with headphones, but just running the highway portion of the race I wish I had brought mine. 

Out on the highway
Around the 8.5 mile mark we headed into town. Around mile 9 I was feeling the consequence of not training for this. My legs started to feel heavy and my pace dropped off. Mile 11 brought us through the Kansas State University campus and a giant hill I literally shuffled up. Finally we made our way back to the football stadium where the finish line was. My official time was 1:49:59.

The finish!
Joel came in a few minutes later at 1:57. I'm so proud of him, he finished in his goal of sub 2 hours, and his longest run leading up to the race was 4 miles. We both earned our Powercat medals

Powercat medals!
I am happy with my finishing time considering the hills and the fact that didn't train. With Muncie 70.3 coming up in a few weeks I have been focusing on the bike lately. My 10 mile training runs for Muncie haven't come up yet, but I still wanted to do the half marathon and see where I was time wise for this distance. This half marathon had almost the same elevation gain as the run course at Muncie 70.3 so now I feel fairly confident I can run sub 2 hours on the run at Muncie 70.3. In 2011, I ran a 2:01 on the run course at Muncie 70.3.

Next up is the Legends Sprint Triathlon on June 7th in Lawrence, Kansas, and then Muncie 70.3 on July 11th.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Closing the School Chapter

This day last week I decided I wasn't going to return to Kansas State University in the fall. I kept it to myself for two days, not even telling Joel. Finally on Wednesday, right before taking off on my evening bike ride, he looked in my eyes and knew something was up, and I told him. He just hugged me and told me he understood.

A lot went in to this decision. I didn't just have a bad day and say that's it, I'm out. This feeling has been building up since the very beginning of the semester. Sometimes we build things up so much in our mind and the reality doesn't match that picture in our head. This was the case with me as a student at Kansas State University. Since I was 19 years old, I wanted to go to K State. I remember being a soldier at Fort Riley, getting ready for my first deployment to Iraq, watching the college students going about their business in Manhattan, envious of them. I was the same age as them, but our lives were as different as night and day.

I have never regretted any of the choices I have made in my life, but there is always that natural curiosity one has if they would have chose a different path. I do know this. If I hadn't joined the Army when I did, I would not have met my soulmate, had my two wonderful daughters, or met my best friend who showed me what it means to have a best friend. For this I will never wish I went to school first.

I always told myself one day, when the time is right, I would be a student a Kansas State University. In preparation I earned my associates degree while Joel was stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia. When we got orders to come back here to Kansas, I felt this was my sign to go for it. For years I built it up in my head what it would be like to be a student there. I applied for admission and a few weeks later got a letter in the mail granting me admission.

The reality was, being a student at K State was nothing like what I had built up in my head. Within the first few weeks I wanted to drop out. Going to school there was certainly not the nice, challenging, enlightening experience I had built up in my head. I woke up everyday dreading going, I walked around campus with my head hung low. Nobody wanted to talk to me because I was old, in fact, I was older than all my instructors. The homework and studying took time away from my family. Just when I found a healthy balance with triathlon training as to not miss out on time with my family, school work took that away from me. School was making me angry, I found myself snapping at my kids for seemingly no reason at all, they were just being kids. I found myself snapping at my spouse and getting angry at small minuet things. I didn't like what school was doing to me.

This brings me to present day. Why is going to school making me such an angry person? How much longer can I live like this?  Why do I feel like this?

Long solo bike rides are the best time for personal reflection. It was on a long bike ride I realized that since moving to Georgia in Summer 2008, all I have done since then is go to school. I tried really hard when we moved to Georgia to find a job, and there were no jobs, so I went to school. First tech school, then a community college. I am just plain burnt out on school. I miss having a job, I miss going to work. It was on this bike ride I decided not to continue at Kansas State University, and that I will be rejoining the work force.

I started the term at Kansas State University with the best intentions, but the truth is, at this point in my life I'm not able or willing to make school a priority, and I have no shame in admitting that. Every person is different in what they can and can't handle, and I have no shame in admitting this is just something I can't handle right now. Maybe that will change in the future, only time will tell.

Since I told my friends about this decision I have had on outpouring of support and that means so much to me. My friends let me know that no matter what I am not a failure, even when I feel like one.

I'm not bitter or mad about this. I actually feel really happy and content. This doesn't change my fandom for K State. They will still be my favorite sports team and I will continue to attend as many games as I can as a screaming fan.

Thanks for reading!