Racing On My Mind

Okay, not this kind of racing, but don’t these dogs look super happy? violetta / Pixabay

I’m not even into taper week and already I’m starting to think a whole lot about my upcoming race.  You would think this was my first triathlon ever, not my first triathlon of the season.

No, that’s not quite the right way to explain my feelings.  I’m not nervous, at least no more than I am for any race (and let’s be honest, I’m mostly just worried about forgetting something important like my bike or sleeping through my alarm – everything after that is what I’ve trained for).  I think I’m mostly super excited.  Super SUPER excited.

Of course, there’s a lot to be excited for when it comes to this trip.  Rev3 puts on incredible races and the Williamsburg race is definitely one of my favorites.  It’s a fast course and has been my PR course for a few years running.  So it’s a great course to return to.

I also have so many friends racing, both local and from far, far away (guys, Florida is really far away when your running partner abandons you to move there), and I’m so excited to see everyone and get to hang out.  I’m excited to get to cheer at the sprint on Saturday.  I’m excited to eat at the delicious Cheese Shop.  There’s a lot to look forward to.

I’m also just really ready to be back to racing.  I’ve missed the adrenaline of race day.  I’m pretty sure every race morning, I utter the phrase “this sport is stupid,” and let’s be honest, it kind of is, but stupid things can be so much fun.  While I’m far from fully recovered, I’m able to run again and I’m excited to get out there and see what my body can do.

It’s definitely going to be a challenge, since I’m taking the labral tear rehab incredibly carefully.  So far, I’ve been able to run without pain while slowly increasing my distance and reducing my walk intervals, but I don’t want to overdo it.  Right now, my goal is to keep following my training plan, see how this week’s runs go and then decide what walk/run interval I want to set for race day.  And if on race day, my body says “Hey, this running thing hurts,” (and it’s in the bad hurt kind of way and not the “it is hot and running is hard” kind of way) then I will be walking.  And that’s okay.  It’s all about getting back out there.

But I really hope to be able to run at least some of the 10k.  And I fully expect I will be able to.

I’m making a point to not do too much race day visualization just yet.  I have to get through this last week of focused workouts and not think too far ahead.  Next week will be time for race obsessing.

And then figuring out what other races I want to do this season because I miss racing!

 

Cheering Recap – 70.3 Chattanooga

I am behind on my updates.  Two weeks ago, I went to Tennessee to cheer on my friends (and strangers) at 70.3 Chattanooga.  On some level, I was sad to not be racing, but I’m clearly still not back into shape thanks to this hip injury, so it was clear that I didn’t have any business being on the course.  I think that helped prevent any sadness in not being able to race.

But don’t get me wrong.  Cheering is hard work!

Since I was just tagging along and playing sherpa, I let the others kind of dictate the weekend – which was awesome.  It was nice to not have to make any decisions and just go with the flow.  I joined some of my awesome Coeur teammates for an open water swim practice, which was so much fun.  It was great to hang out with so many lovely ladies (and their families) and it was super convenient to be able to get in an OWS as well.  I hadn’t been in open water yet this season, and now I’ve managed to check off that box.

Race morning, I let our racers decide what time we would get to the race site.  So we were in bright and early (which is my preference as a racer for sure).  I met up with a bunch of teammates who were racing, made sure everyone had everything they needed, and then made the first trip back to the car with the bike pump and some other things.

Headed over to race start and found some more of our team members.  I was wearing a giant shark mask (mostly as a hat, because it was hot inside that thing).  It made me easy to find, which is good, since everyone I was looking for was wearing wetsuits and swim caps.  I collected items from some of the racers and then cheered everyone as they entered the water.  I stuck around to see the last swimmers get in, and everyone looked so great!  I was so proud of everyone.

Sherpa Shark enjoyed the view from the school bus after swim start.

I missed a lot of people getting out of the water because that swim was fast!  A number of my friends were out of the water before the last swimmers were in!  I hopped a bus back to transition and headed over to swim finish to watch the rest of the swimmers get out of the water.  It was awesome to see so many grinning faces as people made it out of the water.  I know that some team members were worried if they would all make it out of the swim in time, and everyone made it with plenty of time to spare.  It was such a great feeling.

I then headed back to the car to drop off the shark head and a few other things I had collected along the way, then stopped to grab coffee and a quick breakfast.  I started getting text messages that one of our racers seemed to have stopped.  Finally, I got a text from someone with information.  Even though Ruth didn’t finish the race, I’m so proud of all she accomplished, and her spirit is awesome and you should read her recap of what happened.  I tracked her down and offered a hug and was super impressed by her determination to try again.

Now things were getting busy.  I spent much of the day going between bike finish and the race finish line and then between the finish and mile 12.6, trying to see as many people as possible.  It was exhausting, but it was also awesome to cheer people along the way, both friends and strangers.  It was a hot day, and I was so impressed with everyone (and also kind of glad I wasn’t racing).

As friends finished the race, I slowly collected people and we headed up the run course to cheer people on where the race split and people on their first loop went one way and people on their second headed to the finish.  It was a tough spot to be at when the race time limit was reached and people were no longer allowed to head to their second loop.  Some seemed to know that it was going to happen, others were clearly devastated.  It’s so hard to put in all that effort and not just miss the cutoff.

I was so, so proud of all of my teammates who were out there, pushing through different situations, each doing their best in difficult conditions.  Everyone made smart choices, and sometimes that meant not finishing the race, but being able to race another day.

Being out and cheering was so, so much fun.  Definitely highly recommended, and I’m certainly going to make a point to be at more races in the future.  Just because I can’t race doesn’t mean I can’t exhaust myself on race day just the same!

(Seriously.  I was so, so sore the next day.  So sore.)

Just a few of my Coeur teammates at Chattanooga. We are terrible at all getting into a pic!

Choo Cheering, Here I Come!

This weekend is IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga.  You may remember that I very excitedly registered for this race back in September.  Clearly, I’m not racing.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not going.

I’m headed to Chattanooga this weekend to cheer on my teammates and a whole bunch of strangers (who really are just friends you haven’t met yet).  I’m really looking forward to the weekend.  I thought I would be dreading it a little bit, what with not being able to race, but I think because I’m clearly still in no shape to race (or at least run a half marathon), it’s less of a struggle.  And even if my hip were in good shape, just taking a month off and then getting into race shape in less than two months would have been a bit of a nightmare.  Definitely high stress and hard on my body.

I’m glad I made the decision to still go to Chattanooga.  Sure, I could totally use the money I’m spending on accommodations to help fix the dent in my budget from all of the medical expenses, but I think if I stayed home, I would spend the weekend being sad that I wasn’t there and feeling sorry for myself for being injured (plus splitting a house with three other ladies means it’s not terribly cost-prohibitive).

I’m also really, really excited to go cheer.  So many of my Coeur and Collective Beat teammates are going to be at the race, many of whom I haven’t yet met in person.  I’m so excited to give so many hugs.  And of course, to scream at strangers on the street for most of the day.  I have my cowbell packed.  My goal is to drive the people around me absolutely crazy with my antics.  I think I can do it.

I’m planning to be all over Instagram with updates from race weekend, so if you’re interested, make sure you’re following me!

 

 

Training has officially begun

Kanenori / Pixabay

So my first race of the season is in 7 weeks, and I’m finally officially back in full training mode.  Structured workouts, following a plan, the whole kit and caboodle.

No, I don’t think you should only train for an olympic triathlon for 7 weeks.  But hey, I live on the edge.

All along, I’ve been saying that my only goal for Williamsburg is to finish the race in as little pain as possible.  So if that means walking the entire 10k run, so be it.  However, I’m starting to mentally set some race goals.

The time limit for the race is 4:30.  Given my race performance there over the past two years, I’m not terribly worried about that, though you had better believe it’s going to be on my mind until I get off the bike and find out how much time I have left.  If all goes as planned, I should be on the run with at least 2 hours to spare.  I can absolutely walk a 10k in 2 hours.

But the hope is that I won’t totally be walking.  I’m slowly (slowly) easing my way back into running.  So slowly that my next walk/run workout involves exactly five 30 second easy jogs.  It’s going to be a far cry from last year’s PR, but I’m okay with that.  I’m excited to get back out there and be able to race something!

I’ll be honest – I know it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows.  It’s hard when you have a setback like this, especially since last season was so phenomenal.  Reframing my expectations means everything.  This year is just a bit of a stepback year, time for recovery and rebuilding, and then next year, I can once again attack the course with full strength.

Race Insurance – Worth it?

stevepb / Pixabay

In a couple of weeks, I will be at IM 70.3 Chattanooga to cheer on my friends (and all the strangers).  I was initially registered to race, but obviously, with my body falling  apart upon turning 37 (kidding… sorta), I had to pull out.

Thankfully, I had purchased the race insurance, so I got my money back.  I had another few races that I also had to pull out of, but hadn’t purchased insurance for those, so I was just out the money.

I’ve seen a few questions out there about how IRONMAN race insurance works, so I thought I would share my experience.  In short, in my opinion, race insurance is absolutely worth it.

IRONMAN Race Insurance is provided by Allianz, a pretty well-known travel insurance company.  If you’ve purchased travel insurance before, it’s possible you’ve had an Allianz policy.  For the 70.3, the insurance cost $40 and covered the full $297.00 race registration, which included the processing fees.  Basically, if I had to pull out of the race for a covered reason, I would get everything back save for the $40 fee.

When it comes to a 70.3 or 140.6, most of us are usually thinking about injury.  If I get injured, can I pull out of the race without penalty.  And the answer is yes, assuming you can get a doctor to fill out the form.  But there are a lot of other covered circumstances as well, including:

  • travel delay
  • death of a family member (or yourself)
  • job relocations or layoffs
  • jury duty
  • vehicle issues, including traffic accidents

Nuclear contamination is specifically not covered.  In case you were wondering.

Pregnancy is a big question mark, and I will say that the information isn’t clear in the policy as to whether you are covered if you get pregnant after you register for the race.  The way it’s phrased is that pregnancy is a covered condition if “your physician advises you to not attend the event for which the ticket was purchased.”  However, later in the document, it says that normal pregnancy is not covered.  I suspect this is because this type of policy is a general event ticket policy and not specific to a race.  For example, say you had event protection for a big concert and you found out you were pregnant.  In general, for a normal pregnancy, you could likely attend a concert at five months pregnant.  But your doctor may not want you doing a 70.3 at five months pregnant.  I’m not the expert, of course, so I would recommend calling the insurance company before signing up.  I have heard from friends who have used the insurance option upon getting pregnant, so that’s a promising sign.

Once I knew I wouldn’t be able to race, I started looking at the insurance website to find out how the refund process worked.  I have to admit, their online forms never seemed to work for me, which was a great frustration.  I emailed their help desk and was quickly sent a copy of all the forms I needed to submit and told to simply email them back once I had them filled out.

In terms of the medical information, I just had to tell them what the general reason was, and I had a simple form for my doctor to fill out.  It wasn’t extensive at all, and definitely didn’t involve sharing any of my medical records or test results.  Basically, if your doctor says you can’t race and will sign the form, that’s good enough.

My claim was paid out within 2 weeks of having submitted all of the paperwork.  With the exception of the website being completely wonky, the process was pretty simple.  While you may decide that race insurance isn’t worth it for every race (it all depends on the cost of the insurance and if the race company will let you defer or transfer your registration), but for something expensive like an IRONMAN 70.3 or 140.6, I think it’s definitely worth it.