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Viva Madrid! September 27, 2011

Posted by bettyjoan in Mentoring, Running.
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It is official – Jason and I are signed up for the Maraton de Madrid (which will be the Rock & Roll group’s first international race)!!!  As an added bonus, I was selected to be a mentor for the Team.  Yippee!

The race is on April 22, 2012, and I think we are going to try to turn it into about a two-week vacation.  So, not only do we have to fundraise (more on that in a minute), but we also need to save some personal funds to extend our stay and really make the most of the trip.

Here’s our fundraising website: http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/madrid12/therhoadeslesstraveled

We have set a $10,000 goal for ourselves – eek!  It’s more than we are required to raise, but that big round number has a really nice ring to it, don’t you think?  We have some good ideas for fundraising events, so definitely check back here AND at the website above to keep up with our shenanigans.

Of course, we still have the Savannah Rock & Roll Half Marathon in about a month, so the hard-core marathon training won’t really start till after that.  It’s just so exciting to be back with TNT, especially for such a large-scale, kick-ass race.  I cannot wait to get back to Spain!

Anyone want to join us?  🙂

Chattanooga Waterfront Tri race report July 19, 2010

Posted by bettyjoan in Mentoring, Races.
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It’s been an interesting tri season, that’s for sure.  My first race, the DC Tri, involved a flat tire and a police escort.  Iron Girl Atlanta was a pratically perfect race, ending in a very exciting PR.  I even threw the Peachtree Road Race in the mix, marking my first experience with that famous 10K.  I was really looking forward to Chattanooga, not only because it would be the last tri of 2010, but because I wanted to beat my time from last year and end my season on a high note.  Let’s just say that things didn’t go quite according to plan…

I got to Chattyvegas on Saturday afternoon, though not as early as I’d hoped due to a massive accident on I-75.  I picked up my packet and showed some first-timers the lay of the land.  I relaxed and hydrated, and I attended the emotional team pasta dinner.  I gave my mentorees gifts and told them how proud I was of all of them – I cannot imagine a more talented, dedicated group.  They all did so great with their training AND their fundraising!  After I was carbed up, I headed to bed.  I was so glad I got a king-size bed all to myself!

After a surprisingly good night’s sleep, I woke at 4 AM and packed the ol’ transition bag.  After a team photo, we headed to the race site (a very short walk from the hotel, thank goodness).  I got a SWEET corner spot on the bike rack, and all of my stuff was set up in record time.  Unfortunately, the 30-39 age group was toward the back of the pack this year, so I ended up lollygagging around for a LONG time before heading to the swim start.  After what seemed like an eternity, my group lined up to get in the water.  For some reason, though, it was an absolute clusterfuck on the dock, and the race volunteers were screaming at people to get in order, and there was a lot of chaos.  As I tried to move out of the way to let someone with a lower number swim in front of me, WHACK – I smacked my foot on a large metal pipe.  The pain was intense, but I had to start swimming, so I hoped it would work itself out.  I had a good swim, though I felt like I was weaving a bit.  I got out of the water, and there was good news and bad news.  The good news?  I shaved a minute off my swim from last year and finished in 31:41.

The bad news?  The minute I put my foot on solid ground, I felt pain all the way up my leg.  I told myself it was just a bruise and that it would work itself out, so I limped to my bike and started the challenging cycling course.  Since my wave was almost last, the heat had increased significantly – but honestly, I didn’t even notice.  The pain in my foot got worse and worse as the injury swelled in my bike shoe.  I tried not to think about it, but with every mile, I couldn’t help but worry that I was doing further damage.  Finally, around mile 15, the pain and swelling got so bad that I had to pull over and summon the paddywagon.  So, my race ended about halfway through the bike leg – bummer!  The ambulance took me back to the medical tent, where I got iced and wrapped and instructed to see a doctor.

Honestly, even though I was disappointed, I handled the DNF pretty darn well.  After all, my very first marathon is coming up, and I would be even more disappointed if I had to drop out of Chicago because of an injury that I aggravated.  Also, I got to see every one of my mentorees cross the finish line, which I wouldn’t have gotten to do otherwise.  And THAT was inspiring and wonderful!

All in all, Chattanooga was still a great race weekend – the team went out and celebrated together afterward, and a good time was had by all.  I can’t wait to go back next year – I will definitely have a score to settle!  🙂

Let’s start at the very beginning February 17, 2010

Posted by bettyjoan in Cycling, Mentoring, Running, Swimming.
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We now have two team swims and two Saturday group training sessions (GTS) under our belts – and this weekend was our first weekend “off” (which means that we didn’t work out as a team, but we were still expected to follow the training calendar and get our miles in).  Honestly, the off weekends stress me out, since I tend to do much better when I’m expected to be somewhere.  It’s just too easy to skip a workout when no one is going to mercilessly mock you for it.

Our first GTS was with all of the summer teams (marathon/half marathon, adventure race, cycling, etc).  We met as a huge TNT group, and then we split off to talk about triathlon more specifically and to go around and do introductions.  It was a lot of fun, and we seem to have some really interesting and FUNNY characters on this year’s team.  After we got to know each other, we headed into the cold and rain to run three miles.  Shockingly, I felt great, despite the weather – probably because I remembered that last year, at the very same GTS, I couldn’t complete the workout.  What a difference a year makes!

The first swim, as expected, was interesting.  I mean, it’s an intimidating set-up – it’s cold, it’s loud, it’s everyone’s first time in a bathing suit in a while, you get the drift.  My mentorees were all very nervous, and about half of them made it seem like they were going to sink to the bottom and drown within the first five minutes, but they all did great.  They listened to the feedback from the coaches and worked hard during the whole hour-long practice, which was really awesome to see.  I’m such a proud mama!

The following Saturday, we headed out to Marietta for a shoe clinic and our first “brick” (a bike ride immediately followed by a run).  As usual, the Big Peach presentation was interesting and informative, and I had to stop myself from buying new gear on the spot (it helped that I just recently got a new pair of running shoes from Peachy himself).  As for the workout, it was sparsely attended due to some cold, windy, rainy weather conditions, but I ended up doing 10 miles on the bike and 2 miles running.  Although the course (Columns Drive) was flat, the heavy wind made it feel like a hill workout!  Luckily, after some initial derailleur issues, my bike and I interacted harmoniously and had ourselves a good ol’ time.  AND, because my running is much improved over last season, I was actually able to run and chat with some teammates – bonus!

At swim number two, the participants were placed in their assigned lanes for the first time.  As a mentor, I won’t really be assigned to a lane – for the first few weeks, I’ll be placed where there is a need for assistance, and then after that I’ll just swim wherever I’m comfortable and where I can get the best workout.  I swam in lane three this time, which allowed me to meet a couple of new folks.  We were moving into the more complicated drills, so I hope I was able to demonstrate proper form and at least be moderately helpful.  I couldn’t help but notice – after doing so much actual SWIMMING last season, it was weird to get back to doing drills.  BUT, on that same token, it was a lot easier to see and feel how the drills allow you to develop proper form.

I did okay over the weekend in terms of working out, especially considering how cold and nasty it was, but I will be grateful when I can get back to a team workout (this week I’ll be skipping out on the bike skills clinic to go to Athens).  I’ll also be grateful when Mother Nature warms things up a bit – BRRRRRRR!

Kick(off) it into high gear January 28, 2010

Posted by bettyjoan in Mentoring.
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Tuesday night was the Summer 2010 Team In Training Kickoff, which was basically a big pep rally to get folks excited about the upcoming season.  We met some of our teammates and mentorees, we paraded down the “runway” in some fly TNT gear, and we heard lots of stories about why people are involved with the organization.

It was kind of funny, actually, to see the two groups that attended the event.  On the one hand, you had the staff/coaches/mentors, who were all kinds of hopped up – we were hugging folks we hadn’t seen in a while, we were talking shop (what gear did you buy in the off-season, what events are on your race calendar this year, that sort of thing), and we were super-high-energy, revved up and ready to get started with training and fundraising.  On the other hand, you had the participants – some of them were brand new to TNT, some of them were trying a new sport, but all of them were just a bit unsure, a bit hesitant, and a bit nervous.

I was EXACTLY like that last year, when I showed up for the first Group Training Session, or GTS (I had a prior commitment during the Kickoff).  I had signed up for a triathlon, sight unseen, because I wanted to meet people and I wanted both a fundraising and a physical challenge.  I didn’t know anyone on the team, and I had no athletic skill to fall back on.  To say that I was in over my head would be a vast understatement.  It would have been very easy to turn around and walk out of that first GTS, and no one would have noticed – and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it.  But my mentor and I found each other and connected, and she was by my side not only during that first run, but throughout the entire season.

I take my role as a mentor very seriously, but not in the sense that my brow will be furrowed all season.  Rather, I think it is my job to be enthusiastic, encouraging, and energetic, so that my love for TNT and the sport of triathlon will be palpable and contageous – and so my mentorees will have no choice but to catch the fever and be as excited about the season as I am!  I never would have had success last season without the support of an AMAZING mentor, and I want to do her proud by giving that same gift to a new group of participants.

I can’t wait for this Saturday’s workout, our first one as a team.  Ready or not, here we come!!!