Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Year of Cardio - Donut Derby 2016

September has hit and the YOC has picked up again from it's lull since the Baltimore 10 Mile Race. 

Last weekend I had my Sprint-Triathlon and this weekend I was up against not only a biking challenge, but an eating challenge as well.  The Donut Derby presented by The Lehigh Wheelman Association in PA.  

Ever since Dennis and I moved to PA, we've wanted to do this event.  For those of you not familiar, the Donut Derby is a 36 mile bike ride broken up by 2 donut stops where you eat as many donuts as you can possibly handle, earning a time credit for each donut consumed.  

This year, the YOC, our starts aligned and we were able to finally enter this event and we were pumped!!  

Dennis and I had no real clue as to how many we'd be able to eat, so we just went into it with a do as many as possible attitude.  We were lined up at the start and off we went!

The first leg of the race was 12 miles and pretty manageable.  I was staying with Dennis and our friend Chris and we had a very decent pace going.  Then it was time to stop and eat the donuts. They looked so pretty all laid out on the table.  Hundreds of donuts, thousands of calories, there for the taking. 

I started eating and was going to keep going until I was on the edge of discomfort.  No real strategy here, just eating a donut like a normal human.  Dennis took the smooshing strategy to eat multiple at a time, which proved faster, but c'mon man, so gross.  

After four I was about to call it quits but I pushed for one more donut and succeeded, giving me a score of 5 and Minus 15 minutes on my bike ride.  The Donut Marshall collected my popsicle sticks (that's how you got credit for each donut eaten) and we were back on our bikes for another 12 miles.  

I thought I'd feel worse than I did, and before I knew it was time to attempt to eat more donuts.  This is where I started to fade big time.  I ate 1 donut and knew this stop was going to be short lived.  I could barely eat 2 and I tapped out.  I've never not wanted to eat a donut more in my life.  

The final 12 miles were semi challenging with my full stomach and the rolling hills, but keeping up with the boys kept my pace up and nothing that I couldn't semi comfortably handle.  

I was happy to cross the finish line and check this event off my YOC list.  Icing on the donut?  We stuck around for the awards ceremony and funny enough I took home 2nd place in my age group!  Completely unexpected but super funny, and now I have a medal from my 1st competitive eating event.  

The visit to PA overall was awesome.  I got to hang out with almost all of the people I've been missing so dearly since we've moved away.  Everybody always makes me feel so welcomed when I visit and I am so lucky to have all the people in my life that I do.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Year of Cardio - Patriots Sprint Triathlon

July 25th 2010 is the date of the last Triathlon I completed and my finish time was 1:58:30.  Before that I had done 2 others both resulting in finishing times of 2+ Hours. 

Since Dennis and I declared 2016 the Year of Cardio, I was semi pressured into signing up for a Triathlon.  I was very on the fence about this because even though Sprint Triathlons are fun, there is a certain type of feeling I have about the swim portion.  After being told to "Suck it Up, Buttercup" I bit the bullet and myself and a friend Leah decided to pull the trigger and sign up for the North East Sprint Triathlon in Maryland.  My 4th, Leah's 1st.  

Immediately we needed to find a place to train for the swim.  Luckily the Reston YMCA, a facility very close to my work was willing to give Leah and I a fantastic 2 month deal which would allow us to use the pool to train.  This couldn't have worked out better.  

I was able to get in a 1,000 meter swim twice a week for about 2 months to prepare for the 750 meter swim that I was expected to do on August 28th.  Swimming laps in a pool are way different than open water, but it was my only option and my thought was that since I was over training the distance, I would be fine. 

Since the O'Donnell's weekends are pretty intense, finding time to do long family bike rides was not an option.  Despite scheduling, Dennis being away for travel, and 100 million other excuses, I typically rode my bike into/from work about two times week for about 2 months.  The distance for the Tri was 13 miles, just 1 mile more than what I had been putting in each ride here in Herndon. 

As far as the running goes....well.....  I convinced myself that WODing 2-3 times a week would carry me over without having to practice "running."  I stopped training for runs the day I crossed the finish line at the Baltimore 10 Miler and to be honest, it was glorious.  Anybody that knows me knows that I don't like running but I know myself and this would be a HUGE mental block for me come run time.  The distance I was expected to run on Race Day was a 5k.  

Finally the weekend was here and Leah and I so eagerly/not eagerly started the ride up to North East Maryland to get our packets early and take a practice swim in the water.

We stood through the 1st timers meeting where most of our questions were answered and then we were invited to test out the water for the swim.  Leah and I were SO excited to do this, but then immediately after we were not super confident about tomorrow's swim. 

The water was super warm (82 degrees) but it was murky and we couldn't touch the bottom and for whatever reason I was super panicky.  I wasn't able to regulate my breathing at all.  The sun glare was challenging and everything that I thought would be ok, was not!  I got out of the water and was mentally wrecked.  Crappppppp.  

After collecting ourselves, Leah and I decided to go get a late lunch/early dinner.  The town that the Tri was being hosted at was adorable and we over indulged with some amazing seafood and a good luck local brew. 

The rest of the evening was pretty uneventful.  We got to the hotel, showered, relaxed and then watched Mean Girls and White Chicks to get us pumped up for the next morning LOL.  We also ignored Adam trying to scare us with shark stories and scenrios in which ended with Lean and/or I not making it to the shore.  As soon as we closed our eyes to get to sleep, it was 5am and time to get our game faces on!

We got to the site at about 6am (after our mile long walk from the parking area) and went right to work setting up our stations.  At 7am we were as ready as we were going to be! 

Pre Race Selfie
The Race with a Buddy wave went last, so that gave me exactly 15 minutes of pure anxiety before I had to swim to the shore and hopefully not my death.  The in start water was a bit annoying (I was treading water for at least 3 minutes before it was go time) and then just like that we were off.   The 2nd buoy that we had to swim too looked so so so so so far away, but I needed to change my attitude.  I started swimming and found my pace.  I was keeping an eye out on another swimmer on the side of me, using them as a guide, and by some miracle, I was calm and my breathing was on point.  

Every so often I would stretch my neck out to see where I was in relation of the next buoy that I had to get to, and it all seemed so manageable. My only challenge was when we were coming into the final stretch, the sun was directly on the side I was looking which made it a bit difficult to see, but luckily I stayed on course and when I finally reached the shore, I stood up and saw Dennis and our kids waiting/cheering for me.  My heart was full!!

The distance  between the shore and the transition area was not short. at all. So I tried to hustle as fast as I could without elevating my breath too much.  I got to my spot and started my process.  Dipped my feet into the bucket to get the sand off, shorts, socks and shoes, shirt then helmet.  My phone was set to track my bike and off I went.  

Once I mounted my bike and was about a mile into it, I was able to reestablish my breath and think about what I just did!  I glanced at the time and saw that I was about 30 minutes into the race which meant that I did the swim in possibly under 20 minutes, which was one of my goals.  

The bike ride was surprisingly hilly and in fact there was one hill right after the U turn that I had to get off and walk for a few feet.  No shame in that game, I kept moving and knew that I was going a decent pace where it wouldn't matter too much.  Having my phone helped me keep on eye on my speed and when I was about 8.5 miles into the bike, I saw Leah zip past me going the other direction!  I was so happy to see that she made it out of the water successfully and was well into the bike.  

I was feeling good besides a slight cramp in one of my calves and a little fatigue in my legs, but overall my breath was calm and regulated and my mental state was very positive.  I knew that my worst event was around the corner, but with the attitude I currently had I would be able to pull through.  

I pulled into the transition area and re-racked the bike, tossed off my helmet, stole a kiss from Dennis and the kids and I began the run.  My strategy?  Run slow, but run.  I started off by running at a comfortable pace behind 2 guys, but then they quickly started walking, so I passed them.  I would then just go as long as I could, trying to find somebody to pace with.  When I needed a break I would quickly walk, and only allowing myself to walk to a certain point and then start running again.  Before I knew it I was at the turn around, and then quickly after that, at the finish line!!

I was pumped.  I was so proud of myself, and I knew that I did really really well.  Leah wasn't too far behind me and we all got to watch her run to the finish line where she was super happy to have completed her 1st Triathlon.  

I was on cloud 9 for the rest of the day.  Again my overall "feeling" was tired, but generally ok.  Oddly enough I wasn't super hungry aftewards, but I definitely fell asleep on the car ride home.  A slight headache set in a few hours later, but I believe that was do to hydration.  

I couldn't have asked for a better day or better people to have there supporting me.  And I can't explain how proud I am of Leah who knocked a Triathlon off her bucket list!  

2016 Year of Cardio continues and my official BEST Sprint Triathlon time is now 1:43:10 placing 176/247 overall.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

4th of July Weekend

With no travel plans (pretty sure we were still recovering from our vacation) Dennis and I had a 3 day weekend to get our fitness/eating back on track.  Even though we worked out some in Myrtle Beach, we still felt as if we had fallen off our normal schedule and routine.  

We started of with a normal Saturday Community WOD followed by our new tradition of going out to eat/drink beer afterwards.  Hahaha, so healthy! 

Sunday was the day I started my swim practicing and I wasn't really sure what to expect as far as my ability to swim.  I started off with a 400 meter and I was pretty much out of breath and sweating.  Not the best sign.  

I decided to swim a 400, a 200 with kick board, 400, 200 with only arms, and then one final 400.  It ended up being about an hour work out and it gave me a good idea of what I needed to get to before the upcoming triathlon.  

The next day was Monday (July 4th) and since there was no programmed WOD, Dennis and I decided to take advantage of the child care and putz around in the box.  My objective was to complete a 10,000 Meter Row (for the Rowing Club) and Dennis was going to work on his Jerk.  

I've never rowed a 10k before, only a 5k and I wasn't sure what to expect.  I asked Dennis to put on Britney's album and to blast it while I rowed.  3..2..1..GO!  I was off.  I knew I didn't want to stop to take any breaks so I kept my pace around slower than normal, but aimed to keep it pretty steady.  

I kinda zoned in and out of rowing, singing to the songs when I had the breath and just trying to stay steady.  Which I did.  The weirdest thing was the sweat.  I was sweating like crazy.  My legs, my arms, my face.  The other issue I was having was my grip.  I had to keep readjusting because of my grip and the sweat and towards the end I could feel the blisters forming.  

But I survived and it felt pretty good.  I was happy to have completed it and my time wasn't too bad.  Just over 45 minutes and now I had a new time to beat.  

After our little work out, we went home and got ready to celebrate Independence day in Leesburg.  The weather was kinda MEH but a few friends met us out and we ended up having a really good time.

Happy Fourth of July Everybody!  I am once again so happy with where I am and all the amazing people I've met along the way.  Keep the good times coming!