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I Have No Bike Legs

When I was growing up, a hobby of my family was to participate in kid's pedal tractor pulls. It's basically where they slap a bunch of weight behind pedal tractors of various sizes to accommodate different age groups. The weight moves up the ramp, so it gets progressively heavier. Whichever kid in that age group pulls it the farthest wins. They gave out trophies for the top three finishers in each age group. I never won a stinkin' trophy. The closest I ever came was 4th, and that was usually if there were 4 or 5 participants. My 4 other siblings all won trophies at nearly every event. They all qualified for the state match. Steph and Matt even made it to the national and international meets. It was a pretty big deal. But me? I had to settle for the free can of Dr. Pepper for participating. Every. Single. Time. I am reminded of that today. I don't think I'm genetically programmed to have pedaling strength.

My half Ironman race at Chisago this weekend actually went pretty well. I went into it just hoping to finish around last year's time. I was secretly hoping for at least a little PR, but like I've said, this year's training has not been the same volume as last year. Well, I did PR - by nearly 15 minutes. I have been feeling pretty good about it until today when the official race results came in. My Place? 63 out of 68 women (74 if you count DNFs). I am darn slow in triathlon. Now I've never been fast, but in running races I can usually finish somewhere in the middle. Don't get me wrong. I've never gone out to win a race and found out a long time ago that I cannot compare myself to anyone but myself. Holy cow, though. I had the second slowest bike split of all the women, even though I cut 6 minutes off last year's bike time. So... Here's the lowdown:

Before The Race:
I looked in all of the local bike and run retailers for a suitable tri outfit since I have never owned one. In the past I have either done the whole tri in my swimsuit or changed in transition. After sifting through limited selection in St. Paul, I made the trek out to Gear West, where of course they had plenty of clothes to chose from. I found a great pair of shorts that did not make my legs look like sausages and a top that actually covered my belly button while giving me the extra support I need for the girls. Bonus: I thought I actually looked pretty good in it.

Steve and I got up the morning of the race bright and early at about 0400. He went to work putting our bikes on the car while I filled up the water bottles and lined up anything we hadn't packed the night before. We enjoyed early morning booty music and good conversation during the car ride, and before we knew it, we were in Chisago City. We checked in, set up transition, and joined the masses waiting for the swim start.

The Swim:
Last year, the water was so choppy that I couldn't see they buoys. We swam in a gigantic triangle and I must have swallowed a gallon of water. This year, there were no white caps on the water. I was actually pretty smooth. It was an out and back, which I had never done before in a tri, but it's my new favorite as far as swim courses go. Total swim time: 47:50. Still lots of room for improvement here, but I'm fairly happy with it.

I threw on my stuff, including an extra pair of bike shorts and my top, and I was off: 3:33.7 later.

The Bike:
I got passed by quite literally everybody on the bike, especially since I started in wave 2 of 6. I ate more than I ever have on the bike, but I was still hungry. I managed to consume 3 packages of Cliff Shot Bloks, 1 pack of fig newtons, my entire water bottle containing 7 scoops of Carbo Pro and 2 scoops of Gatorade, 3 bottles of water, and some Enduralytes. I have never eaten that much on the bike before, but like I said I was hungry. I have said before that this course is fairly comparable to IMMOO, although it is a little easier. It's never really flat and has a couple of pretty descent hills. Parts of the road were TERRIBLE. I remembered them from last year - the road is so rough that you can never really get into a rhythm because you're always bracing yourself. Overall I had a really good bike. I kept a good cadence and was singing to myself for the last mile (the Gambler by Kenny Rogers if you must know). I'm sure I could have gone faster. I just don't know how much faster before totally hashing my legs.

Off came the bike shorts, on went the running shoes, and I was out: 1:22.1.

The Run:
I started the run feeling a little crampy in my abdomen, and that feeling took a while to go away. It may very well have been all the food I ate on the bike, but I never felt nauseated, just like I had to back off a tad. I knew I was on track to PR over last year's time, so I tried to keep it in gear. I saw Rural Girl for the first time of the day when she had just a couple of miles left. She looked great! I found Steve on his way in a few more miles down the road. He looked spectacular too. He said that his knee was a little sore, but I knew he was going to make it well under 6, the time he expected to come in. We exchanged a smooch and didn't see each other again till the finish line. Turns out I missed seeing Iron Jenny and a few other bloggers out there too. I did stop for 3 minutes to walk halfway through the run to get rid of a little stomach sloshing. I also walked through the water stops. There was ice at nearly stop, and boy did I take advantage of it! I had it everywhere - under my hat, in my sports bra, eating it. It was heavenly! I finished fairly strong. Total run time: 2:18.39, 5 minutes slower than my half mary earlier this season.

Comparison To Last Year (my only other HIM):

Chisago Lakes 2006:
Swim: 50:18
T1: 3:53
Bike: 3:41
T2: 2:25
Run: 2:23
Total: 7:01.59

Chisago Lakes 2007:
Swim: 47:50 PR
T1: 3:33 PR
Bike: 3:35 PR
T2: 1:22 PR
Run: 2:18 PR
Total: 6:47.10 PR

Steve and me after the finish sporting our medals.

The Aftermath:
Well it seems that although I loaded up on sunscreen, I still got crispified. I have been wearing a sports bra to work for two days now because my burns are worst over my shoulder blades where my top came in. Steve and I enjoyed a glorious 45 minute nap after we got home from the race, and then I got to work cooking. I knew that with our race, Steph's 18 mile run, and my brother Matt's 40 mile bike ride, we'd be a hungry bunch. So I made a double batch of sweet and sour chicken with rice, pasta salad, 14 ears of sweetcorn, a turkey tenderloin, and washed up a couple of pounds of grapes. Time it took to all get eaten: 36 hours.

IM Moo, here we come!



Fast or slow, you are a triathlete, and pretty damn good one. Thusly, you will always be admired by your brothers and sisters :-) And you do look good in that tri suit! Almost as good as the hairless one! LOL. Nice job!! You pretty much PRed everything. That's a good day I say. Have a great IM. We'll be watching.


I think "crispified" is my new favorite word.

AWESOME job to you and Mr. Pharmie! You guys are so darn cute. Congrats to both of you on a great race! Can't wait to see you tear up MOO.

Steve S.

You ROCKED it out there! Who need's bike legs?!? And YES, you DID look darn good in your new digs!


You know what, 'it's all relative.' I'm telling you I don't know how many times that phrase has saved my butt the last month or so. You finished, hell, you IMPROVED a bunch, that's all anyone can ask. If anyone understands how you feel though it's me.

And yes, your bike split WAS really good, just so happens you were maybe out there with some freakin incredible cyclists, that doesn't mean you don't have bike legs though woman!

I must say, can't believe it took 36 hours to get all that food gone however with your live in Hoover Pro husband in the house ;)

See you in Madison, sister :)

Lance Notstrong

Who needs a trohpy when you got FREE Dr Pepper :-)

Awesome race!!!

Rural Girl

Your new outfit looks great. Your legs do NOT look like sausages!

It's all about racing yourself and improving yourself. Wow! You definitely did that. Congratulations!

I am completely impressed with the food prep post race. I could hardly get out of the car after our 3 hour ride home, much less cook the amount of food it would take to feed an army (or I mean your husband)!