Xterra Saipan 2011

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Status: Finished.

I did it.

I swam, biked, and ran my way to the end of my first triathlon. In Saipan. An event called by Triathlete magazine “the crown jewel of Xterra.” This Xterra event also drew the #1 male and female Xterra athletes, a former reigning world champ, and a whole lot of other top athletes. So cool.

This is how the morning played out.

Get up at 3:45am.

Talk to parents for one final pep talk and checklist. Eat breakfast. Get dressed and double check transition bag. Head to check in at 5am. Get marked, set up bike, and lay out transition items. Chat with other athletes and try not to freak out.

Swim 750meters.

As if I weren’t already nervous, we had a tsunami warning last night and apparently got hit by a very small wave. No damage, but the water was CRAZY. It was so rough, big waves, and the current was so strong at one point I could have sworn I was moving backwards. It was also low tide which meant sometimes you couldn’t swim as the water was too shallow. Needless to say, I may have done more walking than swimming. But I did it. I had a slight breakdown at the beginning (yes, there may have been tears involved), but I got in the water. 16 minutes later I got out and raced to…

Bike 20km.

In addition to the rough water, we got a ton of rain in the past 24 hours. This made the bike extremely slick. The trails are slick anyways, add water on there, and they are deadly. This was the most frustrating leg. I had to walk my bike way more than I wanted and by the end, I was cursing that bike and those trails. I was soo ready to be done. Fun was not a word anywhere near my lips at that point. It was beautiful, but it was painful. This should have been a strong leg and under dry conditions would have been much faster, but all in all, I was happy to finish in 2 hours 40 minutes so I could drop my bike and head out to..

Run 5km.

Easiest leg as I knew it would be. Running is my strength and first love. The course was not marked real well which was frustrating, but I still managed to average 7.41 minute miles for a finishing time of around 24 minutes. Not bad considering what I had done previous to that.

Crossing the finish line was one of the proudest moments of my life. I did it. I did the impossible. I overcame my fear of water, learned how to trail ride, and ran my heart out.

My official time

 3 hours 20 minutes
(they started us 1 minute late on the swim).

Xterra Training Log Week 3

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Motivation: The reason one has for acting or behaving in a certain way

Work, tutor, coach, swim, run, sleep, repeat. That has been my schedule for the past three weeks. My weekends have included nothing by running, biking, and swimming. I even ran to the ocean and swam on a 45 minute break I had one day this week. I haven’t slept past 5:00am in a long time. 
Needless to say, I am anxious to sleep until at least 7 on Saturdays, but the sacrifice has been well worth it. In exactly one week, I will attempt and, hopefully, successfully complete my first triathlon. That is why for the past three weeks, I have done little but work and train. I have given up many hours that could have been spent at the beach or reading or relaxing for many hours of hard biking and determined swimming. 
And it’s working! My swimming is getting better. Not perfect, but better. And you have to give me some credit-I am attempting to learn in the ocean. I am more comfortable riding the trails and my knees have not been giving me problems on my runs. One week of tapering and staying loose and hopefully all the hard work will pay off.
I am slowly gaining a little confidence. Not just in my ability to swim, but in myself. This is just one obstacle that is opening the door to all kinds of others I am ready to tackle. And not tackle them with the old self-doubting girl that moved to Saipan, but with a renewed sense of adventure and determination to follow my heart. All of this from finally putting my face in the water.
This is the confidence I am taking into this last week. No worries, I am not all of sudden having dreams of winning, but confidence that I will cross that finish line. 
7 days.
156 hours. 
1 goal.
Cross the Finish Line

Xterra Training Log Week 2

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Saturday marked two weeks until the triathlon. It is coming quickly and I still have a steep hill to climb to be as prepared as I would like to be. I have no doubt at this point that I will finish the race and that is my only goal, however, if I could finish it in a decent time that would be kinda nice too!:)

Overall it was a good week. I was able to swim almost everyday, biked three days, and ran four. 
I am most concerned about the swim as that is my weakest area. And the tide was low all week so it was a bit frustrating to try to swim. Besides that, I struggled all week getting into a groove and still couldn’t figure it out. Finally, Saturday I met with my swimming instructor at a pool and she was able to pinpoint my problem areas. After many laps of swimming with a block between my legs, I was finally able to get my stroke and breathing down. When I swim I use my legs more than anything which will not be so good in a triathlon when I have to use my legs for the rest of the race. We also figured out if I breathe every four or five strokes I go slower and don’t get out of breath as quickly which means I can swim for longer and farther. It was a good day and I still have two weeks to get my swim in a little better shape.
Saturday I biked about 30 km up and down hills all over the island. I am trying to get my legs in better shape for climbing and I think it is working. I finished the bike and was still feeling pretty good. I am getting less and less worried about the bike. I rode some trails and will just have to be careful I don’t get overconfident. Thankfully, I am not one that has any problem getting off and walking my bike if I need to. I would rather walk some and finish in one piece!
Running won’t be a problem. I have been doing that since I came to Saipan and by the time I get to the run I figure I will be so excited, I will finish it. Plus its only a 5k which I found out is almost all road so no worries there.
As of today, I have 12 days left. Going to try to train hard this week so I can back off next-unfortunately, I have a crazy week at school so we will see how that goes. 

Xterra Training Log Week 1

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One week down..19 days to go!

I spent most of this week questioning my decision to enter, but nevertheless pushed forward with training. On Monday, I could swim for 3 minutes straight. Pathetic and so far from where I needed to be or need to be. But I swam and ran everyday but Wednesday. Wednesdays are my bike day because I don’t have much after school so I can get in a decent ride before dark. Thankfully it has been staying light till closer to 7 these days so I have an extra hour or so of time to train.  Friday I hit a breakthrough. I swam for 15 minutes straight. I realize this is a small feat for most of you, but considering 6 months ago I wouldn’t have swam for 10 seconds in the ocean, I was very proud of myself. I finished up the week with a decent ride down part of the Xterra trail and a 20 minute swim. I still have a steep hill to climb, but I am going to keep trucking along and hope that beyond some measure I am able to finish on race day.

Mentally, I am nervous and anxious. I am still very cautious about this swim. I am just slow and unsure of myself in the water. I am getting better and over the weekend could definitely tell I am getting more comfortable in the water in general. Today on my bike I was able to walk myself through some of the more technical side of mountain biking and stay on course. It was a huge confidence booster and I am simply trying to cross the finish line. The run will be no problem. I am not worrying in the slightest about that-its a 5k and all road I found out! My dad is sending me a camelback and I am slowly piecing together a set of instructions/items needed for transitions.  I wish my dad was here to see me and help me train, but alas this is my personal battle with the ocean and with my self-confidence. I am determined to stop doubting myself so much and this is the final battle.

Overall, week 1 was a success. Here’s to week two..gonna pick up the pace a little this week!

Xterra Saipan

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After my successful finish in the bike race this morning, I have decided I am going to enter into the Xterra Saipan Sport Triathlon. I have been talking about it and sorta training for it and dreaming about it, I just finally decided I needed to do it. I know if I don’t, I will regret it. So the plan for the next 30 days looks roughly like this:

Eat, work, coach/tutor, swim, run, and bike, eat, sleep. Repeat. 

Don’t worry, I won’t swim, run, and bike all in the same day. Except for March 12th which is when the actual event takes place. And the course is short, but tough. Its broken down like this:
750 m swim. 20k bike. 5k run.

Sounds easy right? Except that perhaps this is a better explanation:
750 m swim through the salty ocean. 20K bike up and down steep hills and through very technical mountain bike trails. 5k run through the jungle. 

But I can do it. I know it. And even if I am the last person to cross the finish line, I just want to be able to say I did it. It will be the pinnacle of all the fears I have fought since moving to this tiny island and a perfect way to go out with a bang. Although, hopefully not a literally bang. 🙂 So here is to hard core training and facing fears.