Sometimes, we have to get outside of our comfort zone. Even though we may not feel entirely prepared for something, it can be good for us to 'just do it' in the infamous words of Nike (and so profound) and force ourselves to throw expectations out the window.
I decided a few days ago to do the Jingle Bell 5k this morning. I did this 2 years ago and won it, getting this kick-ass gift basket packed with fun things like fancy sauces, olive oil and a gift certificate for Run Tex to be outfitted head-to-toe! I think I pulled off a 17:30 or something. I am not sure where it came from, as I was far from it today...but, back to my story. I knew it was 'just 3-miles' so I could get through it, and I have been running semi-consistently lately. I am about to go to Indiana for 2 weeks to spend time hanging out at my parents cabin, enjoying the cold, seeing family and doing some nice mellow runs. So, why not go out and hurt myself for 3-miles today? And for a good cause nonetheless, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) sponsors the event.
I headed out there early this morning, solo, as Derick had to go to Houston for work. I ran into a few 'running friends' I had not seen in awhile, which was fun, and saw more dogs in a race than ever before! All dressed up as reindeers and such. I felt mediocre warming up, and just figured if I did something 'slow' like 18-flat, so be it. Oh boy was I in for a surprise!
I saw a good friend Chris Kimbrough right at the start line, who is just flat out speedy. I laughed to myself, thinking "I hope she does not school me too much..." We took off and my first mile was about 5:51. Not bad, but it felt more like a 5:40...meaning, it kind of hurt. So be it! Damn the goals, Kelly! I continued on, a small ways behind the 2nd place woman (Cassie Heinkel, also a pretty speedy Austin-ite) and came through mile 2 at 11:52ish... 6-min for second mile. Wow, this is my 1/2 marathon pace! Awesome! (insert sarcasm here).... We had a slight downhill towards mile 3 and heading back towards the finish, but holy shit did it hurt! It was a particularly humid December morning which made it even tougher, but I pushed on to a painful 18:30, which if I were feeling motivated could have been an 18:25 but I just kind of strolled those last 100 yards... OUCH! What was I thinking, "18-min would be acceptable"? After this, I think I'd change that to 'impossible'!
So...bottom line is I went out there and did it. I enjoyed myself, and I think that it is so good to occassionally go out to compete knowing we may not 'all be there' today. It is like putting your pride right on the line. And walking away saying "Well, if that's the best you've got today, it's the best you've got. So be it."
Big Picture? I am fully aware that an 18:30-5k is a very respectable time. But I seemed to rip of these mid-17's a year ago...from where?! I do not know...but I am glad I went out and participated. It hurt and today, it was the best in me! It was also so great to see a few runner-friends that I had not seen in quite some time. I met Cassie, whom I have heard a lot about in Austin but had yet to meet...a very cool girl. I also saw many kids, parents and dogs all out there running 3.1! Way to go everyone, and especially to Tim, Peggy, Colleen and Kristin Pletcher...the whole family was out there running, even Comet the dog! It was great to see all of the smiling people, along with the spirit of Christmas (despite the 70-degree humid conditions) out there having fun and being active. Yet another reason, Austin is one very cool town.
Thank you for reading, and take-home lesson is, just get out there and compete...let the results fall where they may! It is healthy on occassion... for all of us!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Sometimes, we have to get outside of our comfort zone. Even though we may not feel entirely prepared for something, it can be good for us to 'just do it' in the infamous words of Nike (and so profound) and force ourselves to throw expectations out the window.
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 5:40 PM
Monday, December 8, 2008
I just wanted to mention a nice article (blog) that Pam Leblanc, who writes for the Austin American Statesman, posted this morning on her "Fit City Blog". I met with Pam last Friday at Austin Java, one my my favorite little hangouts, as Derick had mentioned that we should 'meet'. He spoke with her a few weeks back and he learned that Pam is a swimmer. I think that in Derick's eyes, anyone who swims by choice more than 3x/week and has done so all of their life has something bizarre in common and therefore are 'linked' in some way. Well, come to find out Pam and I had more in common than just swimming (mountains, skiing, inability to sit still...) and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her a bit. I felt as though we could have sat there and talked for hours.
Thanks Pam for the little write up. And imagine this, she was so 'accurate' in what she wrote! Not always the case, so it is much appreciated!
Thanks for stopping by and Happy Muhnday!
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 4:41 PM
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I guess you could say I get 'off schedule' with blogging once the racing slows down/stops. In all honesty, since Clearwater, I feel like this is the first weekend I have 'truly' slowed down! What has been going on since November 8?
The weekend before Thanksgiving, Derick, myself, Adam Mills and Joseph LaFico (representing Source Endurance) all headed to Shreveport, Louisiana for a 'triathlon clinic weekend' with the Sunrise Triathlon Club. We took off on Friday, arrived back on Sunday night. It was a good weekend, as we did a 3-hr bike skills clinic on Saturday morning with about 20 of them (in 34-degree weather...they were troopers, and we had to act like it wasn't cold!) followed by a brief transition clinic later that afternoon. The evening consisted of mexican food and a presentation by Derick on 'Specificity of Training'. He is so good at this stuff...it seemed people were just hanging onto his every word. We got out of there at about 10:00, so it made for a long day, but we got to put in a 2.5-hr ride on Sunday morning before heading back, and had a great turnout, probably close to 30 people. I think that people had a good time, learned a bit and came away a bit more excited about their '09 seasons.
The next 'big event' was our Thanksgiving trip to the south to see Derick's family. We took off Wednesday (2 days after Shreveport) and flew into Greenville, SC. If you have not been there, it is a very cool town to check out...almost reminds me of Portland, Maine. But we didn't stop there! We got into the car and drove right to Roanoke, Virginia to see his grandparents, aunts and uncles. So Wednesday was ALL travel! But we stuck there for a few days, to come back on Friday and spend a long weekend with Derick's twin sister Kristin, her husband and Derick's parents. Our plans to come back on Monday night were thrown off, as there were plane delays...so we got back on Tuesday 10:00 AM, which was alright but Derick had 2 exams that week and I took the GRE on Thursday!
On to the GRE. That is the stupidest, most ridiculous exam ever invented. I do not recommend this test to anyone. If at all you can get into graduate school without it, do it. I studied for hours on end just to familiarize myself with what to expect...that is about all the good it did. I knew the 'kinds' of questions to expect but it still throws you for a big loop, no matter how prepared you are. Unless you are like our friend Scott Dwyer, who breezed through it with 2 days notice. I hate people like Scott. (Sorry, Scott)... :) In any case, I did good enough and my scores are now with Texas State San Marcos, and I am looking into other various Health Psychology programs across the country. All in 'desirable cities', of course (some being Burlington, VT - Ft. Collins, CO - Missoula, MT - Boone, NC - Durham, NC - ...we miss the mountains!)
Other than that, life is life as usual. This morning was the Decker Half Marathon. I debated up until yesterday doing it, just 'for fun' (but can I really DO that?!) but after a 2-hour very hilly and very tiring bike ride, decided I was not really in the shape to do it and would just hit up a long hilly run this morning. I have not had the itch to race much lately, but I think that it is good to listen to your instinct sometimes...13.1 hilly hard miles did not sound fun to me, but the Jingle Bell 5k next Sunday kind of does...maybe I'll do that one instead?
I hope ya'll are having a nice holiday season and enjoying it, December comes and goes in a blink each year and it really is a nice time to try to take a deep breath and think back on all you are thankful for from the previous year...so slow down and relax! (and I'll finally try to do the same)
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 7:26 AM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Well the 2008 Season has officially come and gone! Technically, it was 'shorter' than previous years, not kicking it off until June. However, having trained for the Austin Marathon in February, I guess that my 'racing season' has technically spanned about 10 months. Thus would explain my excitement at the prospect of sleeping in, unstructured activity and a good solid break lying ahead...
Clearwater was a solid day. I felt that I had to 'tweak' my expectations a bit, having had a bizarre and sudden sore throat the week prior. However, absolutely no excuses...I feel that the added rest was good for me, as I ran on Thursday after arriving to Florida for 30 minutes and it was quite nice to feel springy and 'fresh' legs! I then rode Friday AM for about 30 minutes, and again, felt very strong and wanted to ride longer. I felt as ready as I could be for Saturdays race, and I was excited that my parents were both there to support (as they have been in both '06 and '07).
The morning was beautiful, a bit cool but very comfortable. As usual the transition area buzzed with activity, though I cannot say I got very 'amped up'; I rather try to simply keep myself calm on race morning. The nerves start to crop up, and I just do my best to keep it all together until the gun goes off.
We lined up on the beach, and I made a stupid mistake before we even started. I had loaded body glide on my neck to prevent chafing, and for some odd reason, then touched my goggles. I looked through them with a few minutes to go and yikes; it was very blurry! I had to run around asking person upon person to use their shirt to wipe them off. Luckily I found a nice woman with a furry-lined sweatshirt that worked perfectly.
Right at about 6:47 as planned, we were off to the sound of the horn. Beach start and we all ran into the Gulf. I felt I found a decent position, as I could see the quickest few women bolting out in front of me, with some clear water between us. Suddenly I began to have a mild panic attack. Having not worn my Zoot long-sleeved wetsuit much this summer (only in Racine), I think that I felt a bit of 'suffocation'. I really had talk myself out of it, which I did, but only after a quick 2-second 'treading water' stint and a LOT of strict self-talk. I honestly debated stopping and taking it off. It is very scary when this happens...yes, it happens to even strong swimmers...and you really have to be focused and 'realistic' in talking yourself out of it ('I am fine, I can breathe, Just relax, Stop being ridiculous, You are not dying', etc).
I felt even better once we turned back to the beach, and picked up a bit more speed, putting a small gap on a few women I had been swimming with. I exited in 24+ minutes, not stellar, and about a minute behind the lead pack. ,
On to the bike, which simply just FELT HARD today. There was no fixing it; my legs felt quite flat. I acknowledged this early on, and I knew I was in a bit of trouble when standing to change position seemed to induce even more fatigue in my legs (I typically love to climb). But hey, what choice did I have but to just keep on pushing. I exited in a split of about 2:29, unfortunately 3 minutes slower than last years split, but all I could do at this point was to run my ass off and hope to make up a few places.
I grabbed my 4 gels and was off. The sun was heating up a bit but conditions still pleasant, by no means 'hot' and definitely not 'Texas hot'. Since last year I 'cracked' on this course around mile 9, my goal this year was 'control' the whole time until mile 9 or 10 then try to lay out all I had left. I followed my plan well, and was able to finish in a 1:26 run split, again a solid time but interestingly enough, the same time I ran on the Longhorn course which was significantly tougher than Clearwater!
I was a lucky soul who crossed as the 14th pro woman (5th American, doesn't that have a better ring?) and then got yanked for drug testing. Seriously, why do they put us through it if we are (well) out of the money?! But in the bigger picture, I am glad they do it and of course I obliged, which did not get my parents and I out of there for about another 2 hours. We hit up Subway, ate some lunch, and I toted my tired, beat up body back to our hotel where I proceeded to go lay by the swimming pool in the late afternoon Florida sun.
IN SUM? Not entirely the day I had hoped for, a time of 4:24 in 14th place (oddly enough I was 18th in '06 and 16th in '07). I had visions after doing Spirit of Racine in 4:23 of cruising to a sub-4:20 here to end my season. Actually I firmly believe that I can do that. But for whatever reason, it just was not in me on this day.
I have been doing these crazy endurance feats all of my life; and I mean ALL my life. I was racing summer swim meets at age 5, competing with the boys in soccer at age 6. I used to beat myself up at age 13 for a bad swimming race, cried after numerous Junior National sub-par performances in my teenage years...in college I grew up a bit (maybe the alcohol mellowed me out), but I am willing to bet that my college coaches will say I worked my ass off and often still beat myself up after races. I guess that is just part of who I am.
But I feel that today, and even this entire season, I have taken a step 'forward' and I can approach each race as a challenge and an experience. This weekend, it was a challenge against the 'best in the world' (or at least the best who were here!) and an experience of yet again testing my limits, but also spending a few quality days with my parents, who never cease to amaze me in their unconditional support. We enjoyed the trip immensely, despite a performance that was not what I had hoped. I have learned not to let a bad race ruin a quality trip.
I hope that ya'll had the season you had hoped for. And if you did not, by chance, I hope that you grew a bit through the ups and downs, and that you are walking away from it with a new perspective and a light heart. We are likely all pretty hard on ourselves, as conscientious, hard-working individuals. Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and know you left it all out there, and there are many more important things in life...and none of us are ever as good as we are on our best day, nor as bad as we are on our worst...and that it all just contributes to who we become, but it does not define it.
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 6:53 PM
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
After a week of some ups and downs, I'll pack up for Clearwater tomorrow. I got 'hit' with a very odd sore throat about a week ago. My friend Desiree and I had planned a Polvos Night (my favorite Mexican restaurant nearby, walk there...stumble home) on Thursday and I felt like crap walking down there. Which is odd because typically margaritas and good company make Kelly HAPPY. Needless to say we had a great alcohol-laden evening, however a bad sore throat and some fatigue just persisted for a few days. I trucked on through the weekend but scaled everything back, being a good tapering girl, but the sore throat kept getting worse. It felt like I had swallowed a tortilla chip that scratched the entire right side of my throat. Strange.
On Monday I went to the doctor (after which some severe frustration ensued, due to the bill...) but they said it seemed viral vs. bacterial and would likely clear up soon. Much to my surprise, this evening it is feeing a bit better and I even had a semi-solid run. So; decision had to be made, we'll give it a go! Originally I thought "If I cannot go and be in the condition to put up a solid PR, I'll bail" knowing I have done this race 2x and am not going 'just to go'. But you know, we never ever know how we'll feel come race day, no matter how well things go heading into it...
I think I just worry that if I bailed and felt great by Friday, I'd regret it. So I have to go into it with big but realistic expectations! I think I can do that. My mom said to me (as my parents will meet me there, kind of a tradition for this race, a good reason for them to escape Indiana for a few days), "Kelly you better not be pissed if you don't do well!" She is right; she is good to keep me 'honest', but in all reality, there is a bigger picture...
I have had a great year of racing (that started in February), have enjoyed it all and feel blessed with some big successes. Even more importantly, in September I married the man I have been with for 5 years now...and 2 years ago, that was something I was not sure would happen! So life is very good, and I have everything to be thankful for. If this race goes as good as I'd like it to, just a bit more icing on the cake.
...That being said, I DO like icing... :)
Thanks for reading and Happy November! Best time of the year.
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 4:18 PM
Friday, October 17, 2008
...or rather, drink your energy drink, eat your gels and fuel your workouts; a novel concept for someone who has been competing in endurance sports for um how long? My whole life? I saw the 'proof' of this concept yesterday. Just give me a couple of minutes here...
Don't get me wrong, don't pin me as a complete idiot. I am very good about fueling up before a workout, though I am a big fan of 'real food' and avoiding gels, drinks, supplements as much as possible. However, I know that especially in a hot climate like Texas, there is a definite need for extra sodium thus energy drinks come in quite handy.
I went out for a 'hard bike' yesterday, following a tough Tempo run in the AM on already tired legs. I guess in my old age of 30, a day of recovery between 2 hard days did not quite cut it. In any case, I was heading out to go to Mt. Bonnell, a nice, short and pretty steep climb (about 2.5 minutes in duration) whereby my plan was to do 8x. Just going out there, I could tell the legs were a bit trashed...but, I had prepared! Being a very cool day here in Austin, I still decided to fill one bottle with water and one with Gu2O. I got to Mt. Bonnell and hit up my first effort; the average for my first effort was about 250W, good for me but not great. The second was 269W; wow, that is pretty flipping good for a little scrawny person like me. Each time I finished an effort, I took 2 gulps of my Gu2O drink and recovered, descending and then going up again. As I progressed, I just kept feeling better and better...it was pretty bizarre. At the end of my 7th effort, I saw mid-300's on my SRM. Wow! OK this is just crazy. I descended for effort #8, happy this was almost done but motivated as hell to finish it strong. I put my Ipod to (do not laugh...) Shakira 'Hips Don't Lie' and started it off. By the time I completed this effort, I had averaged 284W on my last 2 min of what ended up being almost 20 minutes of maximal efforts. Incredible!!!
So; long story short, consuming carbohydrates consistently throughout especially a harder workout likely DOES actually increase the quality of the workout and therefore the speed/power/intensity we can reproduce! Brilliance! (...No, I am not trying to be all technical and bookish about this...really just mocking myself because I am stubborn as shit and often times refuse to drink much more than water during workouts; I will note, however, that I am very 'good' in races, often times taking 2 gels in an Olympic distance race and up to 10 in a half-ironman).
Lesson? Do as I say, not as I do. In training, that is.
Happy weekend to ya'll...we have finally gotten a taste of fall here in Austin and I am loving it; 'football weather' has finally arrived.
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 8:26 AM
Monday, October 6, 2008
Seeing that 90% of my blog posts are triathlon or sport-related, it was quite refreshing to post something with pictures nonetheless that was completely not related to triathlon. However; only 2 weeks later, and I am back to this topic! Not a bad thing, but I'll explain that as I continue...
I ended up racing the local Longhorn 70.3 race yesterday. I was completely back and forth about doing it, as ever since the wedding, I have been struggling to find 'inner' motivation to train. I was very shocked to find that the weekend really had an impact on me. Seeing that Derick and I have been living together for 4 years prior to getting married, I figured "Ah, it will just 'make it official'..." Which it did, but the 3 days spent with incredible friends and family really hit home with me as to what is 'truly' important in life. Not to dismiss ones passions, but it made me think about where I spend my time and what I do this for....
On to the race, I woke up Sunday morning and really did not want to race. I almost even had a pit in my stomach...and it was not nerves. I could not really figure it out, was it because in Malibu I had raced quite 'mediocre' (in addition to having a hideous swim)...was I just lacking confidence? Or, was I feeling something I had really never felt, that I just did not want to do this triathlon? I tried to not 'over-analyze' as it was about 5 am, but Derick and I drove out to Walter E Long park and I got to setting up. I started to get more 'excited' and told myself, "Kelly..just race because you love to 'do' this stuff. Swim to swim, bike to bike and run to race." And that I did. I was able to find my 'groove', and had a solid swim...a bit off where I probably should have been, but did what I could. On the bike, I got excited the first 10 miles, and from then on, it was quite painful. I had so many crazy thoughts..."So THIS is why people put in big bike miles...so they do not feel like this..." and "Oh my GOSH this hurts! 8 days off was not too good for me..." to "Ah...there are a lot of ruts out here, maybe I'll flat...that would not be so bad...". I am not kidding! I think I was looking for an excuse to make it stop! Then as I neared the run, I got more excited. This is usually where I can shine, but today, will it be there?
I came into transition, kind of laughing silently at myself because I had to of been in about 11th/15 women. But hey, you never know what can happen, 13-miles is a long way. I took off and felt great. I think my first 1-2 miles were low-6 min pace. By the time I came through the 1/2 way point, I heard Derick and so many other great friends cheering. I knew I was making up ground, but from 11th? What could that really get me? This course is extremely tough, especially the run, and that second loop hurt, but I was able to take off a few more women (though I had to encourage everyone, because I am sure that we were all hurting together!) and by mile 12, I knew I had a top-5 spot secured.
I very happily crossed in 4th place, which was a great finish considering that my motivation and preparation felt less-than-stellar!
So, lesson learned - Sometimes racing without preconceived expectations can be a very good thing. I love to line myself up against the best, I love the challenge it presents. But to be honest, we all get 'tired' at times...I think I was just feeling mentally 'tired' going into this race. So, instead of pulling out because I feared I'd embarrass myself, I decided to just go out and do the best I could do on this day. I was really able to stay in the moment the whole time, without worrying that I had dropped from 3rd in the swim to 11th off the bike...I raced to enjoy the process and enjoy what my body allows me to go do. Of course, winning money and finishing 4th was a nice added reward!
But I can still walk away from this race with that perspective I went into it with...that no matter what you do, remember that motivates you. Make sure that it is something internal, something personal. Remember what is 'truly' important in life. I have heard people say that 'getting married is really one of the few big life-changing experiences you have'...I now know what they mean..and 'life-changing' in a very, very good way... Thank you for reading. :)
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 7:12 AM
Thursday, September 25, 2008
...this was at the bar, late late at night...notice Derick drinking water at this point? Um, I was too. And the one a couple above is when our friend Jonathon Vetato 'brought the flowers' to us (our boquets) to the room...it was so good to see him, has to be one of the nicest and most fun people you'd ever meet. And he has a beautiful 8-month old named 'Rowan'. Good times, good times...
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 5:41 PM
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I come back with a bit of 'smugness', as I am pretty unhappy with how my race played out. However, having been at this sport for 8 years, I know that each and every race cannot go perfectly and if it does not, then the best thing we can do is learn from it and move on. Meaning, note to self: Suck it up Kelly and stop moping.
The bike felt strong and I passed a few women, but I realized that a good 5-6 were ahead of me. I wanted to be Top 3 here, but as any race plays out, you learn to just do your absolute best and hope to catch people along the way. Coming off the bike, I saw many women heading out running. I did not like this. :) I knew I had a few mintues to make up. I bolted out of T2 and the run felt fantastic. Downside of this is, seeing the splits, it was 'solid' but far from 'fantastic'. I ran into what I thought was 5th place, however was told 6th...UGH! What do they say? A 'tie' is like kissing your sister? So is getting 6th when the prize money goes 5 deep.
However...there were many highlights to this trip. #1, my homestay. Tina Sathoff and her husband (she is part of the LA Triathlon Club) were beyond accomodating, made me feel so at home and bent over backwards to make this a relaxing and wonderful trip. I mean, she and I had drinks on Rodando Beach pier on Thursday night, and we spent Saturday night at her house watching Ohio State get pummeled by USC (not good) drinking good beer and eating grilled steaks...what more can one ask for? :) I also got to see and race in an area I have not before.
As odd as it seems, I feel very good about my personal race this weekend...I feel like I put it all out there and did not make any mistakes. That is tough to say seeing on paper that I got mashed like a bug by many other women, but I have to be honest...maybe I just got in a bad position on the swim, but I am not one to make excuses...I think all in all this just was not my day. I had a solid run time, but compared to the others, not quite as fast as it felt. But, I am thankful for a safe trip and having met some incredible people along the way...Thank You again to Tina and Blake and the organizers for having set up up in LA!
NOW, I can actually take a week and forget about good or bad training or racing and enjoy something so much bigger, getting married to an amazing person and spending a week with family and friends. As I often say, it is ALL about balance....
Thank you for reading.
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 6:41 PM
Friday, September 12, 2008
Yes I am right now. I am writing from Malibu, CA (well, technically Rodando Beach) right now. I arrived yesterday into LAX airport for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon on Saturday morning. I'll return to Austin Sunday 4 pm to then leave for Indiana on Tuesday at 2 pm for le'wedding next weekend.
You just gotta love those Saturday AM races. Before the weekend really gets going, you are done! Especially when it is a short one...you are done even sooner. I have a great homestay here in LA, a woman opened her home to me who is part of the LA Triathlon Club. Thanks to Desiree Friedman at MESP for setting these up, this trip has been so seemless for me! I was picked up at the airport, shuttled to her home, where I went to Albertsons to pick up some groceries and veg out all afternoon. We then went to Rodando Beach for a glass o'vino on Thursday night (right over-looking the water), heard some great singers and songwriters songs from a guitar-man at 'Old Tonys' (a little local joint) and came back home to make grilled chicken salads. As Derick says, "Sounds like what you'd make at home!"
So all is good here, though I have to say I am a bit nervous for the Houston-ites right now. I know that often times these hurricanes are over-blown, and I love severe weather, but I sure hope this one is being feared more than is necessary. It seems Austin will get some good rain out of it, I am hoping all on Saturday as I fly back in on Sunday afternoon. But most of all, I just hope that it fades down once it hits land...
It also looks like this rain will dump in Indiana, thus clearing it all out and cooling it down for next weekend...
10-Day Forecast for Indianapolis, IN
Wow! Looks like party weather to me!
Ya'll have a good weekend, send me good vibes from 7 am-9 am PST Sunday morning. Thanks for reading!
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 4:41 PM
Monday, September 1, 2008
Onto the bike where it was all Kelly Hammerfest Time. This weekend, however unlike Chicago, I actually felt strong! I think that the couple of long, gradual climbs today worked in my favor, as hills are a strength of mine. My mantra today was 'don't get caught, don't get caught, don't get caught'. However, Michelle LeBlanc out of The Woodlands was stalking me and finally caught her prey 2 miles into the 3 loop course. I got a nice few words of encouragement from good friend Paul Terranova, and just gritted my teeth and kept pushing...minimize the gap! I have to say, unlike many bikes; I thoroughly enjoyed this start to finish! Maybe it was taking 2 gels; it likely allowed me to feel strong and not see the energy fall off.
Off the wheels, on to feet. I transitioned smoothly and took off on our short cross-country jaunt. They changed the run to where we probably ran on grass for 1/2 mile or so. Fun. I saw Michelle out there and I think she yelled for me?! What a nice girl. Or perhaps it was someone else. I started out and wanted to catch her...now! But about 1-mile into it, I realized I was kind of tired. Go figure. This course has 5 out and backs on each loop, so a lot of chances to see the competition. She looked strong and while I felt smooth, I felt tired and a bit wobbley. First loop down and yikes, one more whole loop to go. This is where you just think '10 more minutes, 10 more minutes...' or whatever it is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I managed to run a 37:30, however it was not quite enough as she still had a little less than a minute on me at the finish. HOWEVER; I was still pleased with this race, as I had a very strong swim, VERY strong bike for me (1:04 which I think may be a PR split) and still managed a 37-min 10k. Michelle deserved this win, she did a 2:02 overall and put out a whopping 1:00-bike split. Scary fast. And she has 2 kids nonetheless...I hear that makes women faster. Maybe I should just pop one out to help out the speed? Hmm...not likely.
All in all...a really great day of racing out there. This was a huge triathlon for Austin. The whole crew at Jack and Adams did an incredible job of putting this together, and seemed to be a fun time had by all of the participants. And, I have to give a huge congrats out to SE Athlete James Cotter, who had a stellar performance, winning the mens race by 2 minutes! James is a 'newer' pro but he has big things in store, and he deserved this win today...so congrats James!
Thanks for reading, I hope you all had a safe and happy Labor Day. Ah, and the title of this post...I don't mean to say that this was a 'bad day' by any stretch, but oh boy did that run hurt. There are some races that you can finish smiling and sprinting and feeling like you are on air. Today, for me, was not one of them. That being said, it is supposed to be hard and I love the fact that I feel like I worked for every ounce of speed I had today! That is what racing is about. Savor the good and learn from the bad! (was this short enough?)
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 3:53 PM
Monday, August 25, 2008
I just returned from the Windy City. Yes, I know it is called that because of the POLITICS but this past weekend, I think it was called that because of the wind. I can take tough conditions...well, I try my best to suck it up and be mentally tougher than anyone else there...but wind can be so defeating!
...OK back to the race now...
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 12:04 PM
Monday, August 18, 2008
Austin Triathlon anyone? Anyone? Bueller...Bueller...Bueller...
Quick update here, I recently did a little article/column for the Jack and Adams monthly newsletter on 'swimming in Town Lake' (now, 'Lady Bird Lake') as the Austin Triathlon is just around the corner. Read about it at the bottom of my blog.
Let me dispell a few myths...it is NOT THAT BAD, people. One thing that really irritates me (actually it just makes me laugh) is people who get so freaked out about certain lakes to race in. Yes, some are not terribly clean. The little pond we spent a few minutes splashing around in for Jacks Generic (Texas Ski Ranch) yes, smelled somewhat of um...exhaust from motorized boats...but we all came out of in one piece. Some lakes are muddy! Unbelievable isn't it. Yes, some lakes are not totally clear and we may even encounter a bit of moss or seaweed or other crap in our swim. To me it is a bit disgusting, but it is funny, because we are all so accustomed to swimming pools which are clean and perfect. This is part of what makes triathlon so FUN! UNPREDICTABILITY! And, this is part of what makes getting dirty, tired, sweaty and oh-so-worked out there feel all the better when you get home, take a shower and eat a big meal.
So...Best of luck preparing for the race. And if you can, try to find some lakes and other swimming holes to get an idea of what race day may be like. Most of all...have the ability to roll with the punches and if it is dirty or smelly, suck it up and let it bother you LESS than everyone else! Then, you have created an EDGE on your competition, just by being a bit more laid back than everyone around you...
With Pro Triathlete, Kelly Handel
Swim like a River: Preparing for the Austin Tri & Lady Bird Lake
Whether you are an Austin Triathlon veteran from 2007 or a triathlon rookie, Lady Bird Lake is a very nice swimming hole for a race. It is situated around the 'hub' of exercise in Austin, with the running trail lining its shores. Scouting this course is not too difficult, as it is essentially one large rectangle, most of which you should be able to view from shore before plunging in.
After setting up your transition area, head towards the swim start with plenty of time to spare (20-30 minutes before your wave takes off). Find out the wetsuit call. This is sometimes not made until race morning, so be sure you know if wetsuits are legal or not. In making your decision, remember a few things. While they are faster (up to 2-3 minutes over the course of a mile), they are very warm; so if you tend to get hot easily, consider how warm the day is and if you may overheat. Acknowledge what is most important to you, speed or comfort?
Scope the course. Look at the path you'll be swimming and try to see all the buoys you will pass. Note their color, location and also if there are any 'large, immobile' objects beyond these buoys. These large objects can be used to 'sight off' in case your view of the buoy is blocked from fellow swimmers, waves or sun. If you can, count the number of buoys you will 'pass' before making a turn. Try to locate the turn buoys, sometimes these are a different color or shape. Decide based on weather if you need dark or light goggles. An overcast day may call for lighter lenses, while a sunrise on the horizon may require dark lenses to eliminate glare.
This race will be a deep water start, so you'll be treading water. With about a minute to go, try to start to move to a 'horizontal' position. When many people standing in a small space go from vertical to horizontal, crowding entails. Try to 'mark your space' before the gun goes off, so you are ready to move forward. Start to the 'outside' of the crowd, so you can make a diagonal line to the first buoy or turn buoy. If you are directly in front of the buoy, you may have to fight your way 'around' it because people will converge there. Starting to the outside or to the back of the crowd may eliminate some fighting when swimming.
When the gun goes off, go hard at the start but be careful of maxing yourself out. Many people will sprint and fade quickly. If you monitor your intensity to a strong but sustainable pace, you will likely catch people as you swim and gain confidence in the process. These first few strokes focus on getting into a rhythm, and do not worry about sighting too much until you settle in and the congestion calms down. Once you feel comfortable, begin to sight often (every 6-8 strokes or as needed) and each time you look up try to get a glimpse of your guide buoys. Do not blindly trust the feet in front of you!
As you near the finish, start to think about what you will be doing next. Once you feel the ground (the swim ramp or the bottom of the lake), start to stand and get vertical. Catch your breath, and immediately begin to unzip the wetsuit (if you have one), remove the cap and goggles and get running to transition. As you run, think about the steps you'll do in preparation for the bike leg...congratulations, you are already 1/3 finished!
Kelly Handel is an endurance consultant for local company Source Endurance, and she has been racing triathlons professionally for 7 years. Contact Kelly at email@example.com to find out how she and Source can help you toe the line the most prepared! Check out Kelly's website...
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 12:15 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
This is me at Breckenridge back in 2006...2006! Oh so long ago....
Every so often (ok...about 2-3x/week) I check in on the weather in Manitou Springs, CO. Today happens to be the Pikes Peak Ascent...which starts in Manitou Springs at about 7,000 ft and climbs to the top of Pikes Peak at 14,-something. When I noticed a friend had posted a blog about 'Eric is warming up after cheering on runners' I figured 'what is Eric warming up from...?' Knowing they are probably being blessed with COLD. So I checked out Colorado Springs' forecast for today:
Severe thunderstorms are possible in the afternoon. Periods of thunderstorms in the morning...then periods of showers and slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Locally heavy rainfall possible. Highs 55 to 63. Southeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 80 percent.
» ZIP Code Detail
Severe thunderstorms are possible early in the evening. Showers likely and slight chance of thunderstorms early in the evening...then thunderstorms likely overnight. Locally heavy rainfall possible. Lows 46 to 52. East winds up to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.
Just for shits and giggles lets look at AUSTIN!
Rest of Today
Partly sunny with a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph.
» ZIP Code Detail
Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 70s. East winds 5 to 10 mph.
You are all intelligent people and can deduce that the highs in Colorado are LOWER THAN the lows in Austin. While this is what we have been dealing with since about May, it gets old! And Derick and I miss the mountains more than you could imagine however, I have to say while that sounds incredibly nice (a 46-52-degree evening), seeing that I rode my bike for 2.5 hours today and will be able to do this up until the week I leave for Clearwater in November,...at this point in my life, I am glad were are in Austin. I tell myself this often. To live and play, I want to be nowhere more than a Colorado-like environment. However for now, with a lot more to accomplish in this crazy world of triathlon, Austin is an incredible town and as much as it sucks to be soaking wet after any bike ride or run (at any time of day)...I would not change this position for anything! (note: We already booked our honeymoon in Januray, when Derick is off school, to BOISE Idaho! Yes you can say we are crazy but it will be an alpine skiing, XC-skiing and cabin-ing haven and I cannot wait!)
That is it for today. Side note, my friend Mel and I were riding and we saw a few cyclists out towards Manor where we rode. I noticed a guy who motioned something to us coming the opposite direction...I said to her, "Dog?" (thinking it was something alarming)...Mel kind of laughed and said, "No, he said 'hill'." It was pretty cute...very nice of him to 'warn' us of the upcoming hill but it really was not much of a hill, more of a decline in the road. But, hey, it puts things into perspective! It can force me to step back and realize that 'just a 2.5 hr ride' for today IS enough, despite it feeling pretty light.
Happy Weekend. Tomorrow is Derick's birthday. While I wanted to make him a nice dinner, he wants Fried Chicken. I told him, "I will make you anything you want but I will not fry you chicken." I am not opposed to it but why would I try to make some 'really good fried chicken'? I guess we'll hit up some chicken joint in town. Though, he mentioned a burger may be better...I'll push for option B. Thanks for reading my ramblings!
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 11:07 AM
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Today was Jacks Generic Triathlon, put on by none but Jack and Adams (and the entire crew at the shop). It was a fun time out there, as it always is, at the good ol' Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels. Derick and I both went out to this one (and he raced, too!) which is always fun...you see, last year, as I recall, he and I got into a little 'tiff' (argument) the night before Jacks Generic. Something stupid, I cannot even remember what, probably me saying "are we ever going to get married?" So once we made up, we decided to go and enjoy an evening 'out'. We had a nice dinner at Opal Divines (burgers, beer) and then hit up Zak's (local yellow happenin' place near our house) for some wine. Little did we realize, we both woke up with headaches the next morning...maybe that contributed to me leaving my helmet at home, and us turning around half-way to New Braunfels to get it. So we contemplated that again this year (tradition! we got a little tipsy last year pre-Jacks, we should again this year!) but over a very lazy Friday night of Bocce Ball and Gueros Tacos for dinner, well, we accomplished this the night BEFORE...so, Saturday night (pre-Jacks) was spent watching a movie at home, eating Austins Pizza. Good pre-race evening if I do say so myself.
We arrived early enough, about 7:00 am (what is there 'really' do do before the start anyway?) and were ready for the 8 am start. Gun was off and so were we, splashing our way through the little Texas Ski Ranch pond. I found Andrea Fisher's feet and stuck to them for most of this swim, which was pretty pleasant; clear water, no fighting, my kind of swim. We exited 1-2 and were off on the bikes, whereby Andrea quickly passed me a couple of miles in. This always kind of irritates me, however I had put in a good week of 'speed' in prep for Chicago Triathlon and could feel the fatigue in my legs. So, I just tried to keep her 'in sight', which I was able to do. I came off the 13.8-mile rolling bike course about 45 seconds or so behind her, so I knew I had to get on the run quickly. Surprise, surprise...my running legs felt quite snappy! But I don't like to wait until the last minute to do things, so I tried to overtake her as soon as I could (sorry Andrea...just the competitor in us!) which I was able to do by about mile 1, though she was very strong out there today. I believe I caught a run split of about 5:45 in the middle of the 5k, but I may be mistaken...anyhoo, I was able to finish strong (in 6:02/mile pace) for the win today which was great! I just love these races, as I know so many people out there, familiar faces...Derick had a very solid race for himself (especially the swim and his run, which was 5:29/mile pace despite not really 'training' much...I think the last time he swam was about 3 weeks ago!) and I guess that he lept across the finish line...that's my guy... :) While he can be just as competitive as the next, he knows how to keep it all in perspective and just have fun, which is so important. It's just a sport, after all.
Sidenote, Source Endurance's own Stefan Rothe was the 4th overall male out there...a day after finishing 3rd in the Texas TT State Championships! I think that Stefan could have a triathlon career for himself, if he so chose. And nice race to Andrea Fisher and Hollie Kenney (3rd), who is new to Austin! Thanks to Jack and Adams for putting on a hell of a fun day as they always do, to AJ Zelinski of Advanced Rehabilitation for taking care of me and my oh-so-sore (jacked up) back immediately post-race. Thanks as well to Zoot Sports for the continued support, and to Matt Tanner for helping me rig up my fancy ride with the kick-ass pink flowers on my wheels. Have ya'll seen them yet? Check out Wheeltags. Great little new biz out of Indianapolis. (See below)
That is it for me for today...amazing how a 1-hr race can really waste you. Derick and I hit up Taco Deli after the race and I ate as much as he did, I impressed myself. Thank you for reading...and if you are in Austin, please, stay cool! And if you do choose to do Jacks Generic ever in the future, remember, it is the only race where
"You're more than just a number, you're a barcode!"
P.S. 41 & Counting...Just heard on the news that we have had 41 days over 100 here in Austin, thus far...sounds awesome, doesn't it? Especially since I hate the mountains and love the heat...yea...riight......
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 2:22 PM
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
On to the race. This was Spirit of Racine, which I did in 2007. The reason I fly into Indy is that it is about a 5 hr drive from my parents place, so I can get some time in 'at home' as well as racing. I flew in on Thursday, and we drove to Racine, Wisconsin about mid-day on Friday. We arrived on Friday evening about 6:00. hit up a very nice Italian meal at Salute (the only good restaurant I believe in downtown Racine!) and walked around a bit, had ice cream and even walked along the water...I did something stupid which was feel the water. It made just my hand cold.
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 5:17 PM
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 4:23 PM
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
I am currently in Bayfield, CO (just outside of Durango) for the week, visiting my aunt, uncle and cousins. Derick and I decided to 'trek on' from Lubbock Sunday, to Santa Fe, NM on Monday and Durango on Tuesday. It is incredible down here, this morning we rode our bikes for about 30 miles, going around Lemon Reservoir then up to Vallecito Reservoir. Truely a cycling paradise.
Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon (70.3) was on Sunday, talk about a TOUGH DAY! I will write up a bit more upon my return, but I was pleased with the day...it was dark and overcast with a definite threat of rain from the start, and soon onto the bike course, the winds picked up and then some spitting rain...we never got dumped on, but it was enough to make the descents a bit nerve-wracking and the winds just seemed relentless. I got frustrated a few times but tried to stay positive, throwing out any 'time goals' for my bike split...I was able to come off the bike pretty tired but still positive and ready to try to run myself into a better position. I believe I came off in 7th and finished in 4th, so all in all a successful day. On the run, I kept saying "Steady, Steady, Steady..." It is very easy to pick up the pace on the downhills, but I saw that the top 3 women were well ahead so I did not want to blow up. It was so nice to have Derick and many other friends out there, both racing and cheering...This course is no joke and I have to say the past 2 years I think the weather has been 'perfect'...while the cool day made it great, the wind and rain made the bike leg a challenge and I loved it because it forces you to mentally stay in the game! Thanks to Mike and Marti Greer for putting on a great race...more updates in a few days. In the meantime, thanks ya'll for reading and all of your support, and have a great 4th of July!
Ooh, the afternoon storms are blowing in...so exciting.
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 1:14 PM
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I thought of this concept today in my swim. Especially in this crazy world of triathlon, I think that we end up comparing ourselves to others more than we know we 'should'. This is something I do and I try so hard not to do...but inevitably, I find it happen more often than I'd prefer. Let's just think about the concept. We see someone else do very well in something. Suddenly we may feel that we actually did 'even worse', or we then compare ourself to this 'gold standard' and find that our confidence takes a bit of a nosedive. (Am I alone here? I sure hope not, or I am talking to a wall!) The flip side to doing this is, how does what someone else does have any bearing on what I myself do? Well, logically...it doesn't. So, therefore, if I am only comparing ME to ME then it seems I can always be realistic, honest with myself and on a continual quest for self-improvement. Problem solved.
We all have insecurities of some sort, I think it is just human nature. There is the very rare triathlete who just 'has it all' in terms of strengths (think Emma Snowsill...that girl is an animal across the board! In her case, big things do come in small packages!)...so I find this is a blessing of the sport, we all have someplace to always be striving to be better. I have always considered myself a very hard-worker. Grades never came easy, and while some may think I am 'blessed' with athletic talent, I beg to differ...I have not moved since I exited my mothers womb. I cannot sit still for the life of me, and since I was 4 years old I have been actively involved in sport. This does not make me special in any way, just set me up to be a lifelong 'athlete'. Seemingly never seeing things 'come easily' I think has been a great thing. I am used to hard work, and I try to see a positive in every failure that comes my way. I try to ride the highs as well as I can, and just take it all in...likewise, while the lows just suck...I try to use them to my advantage and figure out how they can make me stronger.
I don't want to get too (much more) long-winded...but I think that the mantra "Be the best version of ME" is a good one to remind yourself of. In the end of this big long journey we call life, noone is really going to care what place you finished, or what your best time was...but the kind of footprint you leave on the earth and in the eyes of those you encounter will be remembered. So, (and I will tell myself this as well), be easier on yourself...remember to pat yourself on the back a little more often, enjoy the challenges and simply be the best YOU possible.
Posted by Kelly H Williamson at 7:26 PM