June 29, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Posted in Cycling, Exercise, Running, Swimming, Triathlons, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:16 pm by Stonewear Designs

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If you have been following my triathlon experience you will be pleased to know that I survived the SheRox triathlon in Aurora, Colorado (½ mile swim, 10 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run) this past weekend. Not only did I finish my first triathlon, but also I did better than I ever thought I would. My training regiment and positive mentality the past two months have definitely paid off! After waking up at 5:00 AM, hopping in the shower, and force feeding myself a breakfast sandwich; my sister, my roommate and her boyfriend all loaded ourselves into the car and made our way to the race course. The greatest piece of advice I can give anyone who cannot wake up in the morning is to get in the shower. It will wake every sense in your body up and get you feeling fresh for the day. Once we arrived at the racecourse, I had about an hour before the start time to set up my bike and everything I needed for the race in the transition area. It was the perfect amount of time to get physically and mentally ready. I knew the swimming portion would be my greatest advantage; nonetheless I started to get concerned when I saw everyone around me get into their wetsuits – which I did not have. The water was about 67 degrees, and the decision to have a wet suit or not could go either way at this temperature. All the athletes got ready and headed down to the water, the announcer counted down until the first wave took off. That wave was the elite wave; the following three waves were divided up based on age. Each wave left 5 minutes apart from each other. When it was time for the second wave, I got in the cold water and started bouncing up and down until it was time to begin. I always jumped up and down before my college swim races to get pumped up. I caught myself naturally doing the same thing here. Once I pushed off I automatically had an adrenaline rush from the chilly water and from my surroundings. After about three minutes of swimming, I realized I was not near anybody! My first thought was that I was heading to the wrong buoy. So I pulled my head up and took my goggles off only to see that the buoy I was heading to was correct and my wave of red caps were behind me. I gained confidence and headed for the following three buoys. At the end of the swim I knew I was in the front of the pack, not only did I catch up to the first wave but I was in the front of them all. My college swim coach told me that swimmers naturally make great triathletes because for us it is the easiest leg. Most people are exhausted by the time the get out of the water. I didn’t realize I had that much of an advantage until I actually experienced it here. I knew from here that I set myself up in a great place. Transition 1 was approaching, I ran to my bike, put my helmet, sunglasses, and sneakers on. The first leg went well and I still had a lot of energy left so I kept my pace and stayed around 95% effort level. The most difficult thing I faced while biking were the hills. Not only that but I have flat pedals so I had to push down which was not very efficient. Making a mental note in my head that clips will make a huge difference on my next triathlon, I kept going. At the end of the bike portion I was out of breath. A few people had passed me but I knew I was still top 30 overall. I got off my bike and advanced to transition 2 into the run. My legs felt like Jell-O and I was huffing and puffing in order to catch my breath. Leaving the transition area was a ramp followed by a sharp right turn into the running course. Going down the ramp I had no control over my speed or legs and leaned right through the turn hoping that my body would follow. After regaining composure with a straightaway, I had to focus on my breath and get air to my lungs- for me; this was the hardest part of the whole event. However, I did not once think that I could not complete the race.  I passed a 1-mile marker, which frustrated me since it felt like I had been running forever. Finally I made it to the half way mark and told myself to keep running no matter what. It felt as if people where passing me like crazy. I thought at that point that I was still top half overall but there was no way I was any higher than 40th place. With the end in sight, I saw “team Wong” at the end screaming at me to run faster. I gave it whatever I had left. WOW!!!!! Pain, relief, and happiness overcame my body. The clock read 1:27:17 but I had forgotten that I left 5 minutes after the first wave. When I checked out the results. I was shocked to find out that I had gotten first in my age group, 20th overall, and ended with a time of 1:22:17. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was just trying to complete one and instead I came out with a win. Yea me! With the high of it all, I know exactly what I can improve on for my next one and I have more confidence that I can go faster. Stay tuned for my next challenge on August 1st with the Tri for the Cure Triathlon.

-Dara Wong


April 30, 2010

Tri Sprinting

Posted in Cycling, Exercise, Running, Swimming, Triathlons, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 2:41 pm by Stonewear Designs

From all of your support and encouragement, I have officially gotten myself to sign up for not only one triathlon but two. When I began searching online for the perfect beginner sprint triathlon, I suddenly zoned out. 10 minutes later I regained consciousness sitting in front of my computer with my wallet out and a confirmation receipt on my screen stating that I am now registered for the SheRox Triathlon, June 27th and the Tri For the Cure Triathlon, August 1st. Wow! Realizing what I had just done I started to panic since I am in no shape to not only race two, but that I have about 9 weeks to get ready for the first race. I urge any readers to race with me!

You better believe that if I am going to spend the time, money, and effort into participating in these death races, that I am going to try my hardest. I already know it’s going to hurt, so now that I am over that mentality, I can get to business. With my new mindset I decide its time to start training with a goal in mind. I am going to finish the first race and kick butt in the second.

This week my training looked something like this:

On Sunday, I hopped on my bike thinking I’ll take a nice fun ride outside. About 2 hours and 30 miles later I am sitting at home unable to walk to the kitchen for a glass of water.

Monday, I swam with the DU masters team that I usually practice with twice a week. Of course this practice was not the short sprint work it had been recently. No, this practice was distance and endurance focused. Although I knew this would be good for my swimming leg of the triathlon, it hurt nonetheless.

Tuesday, I agreed to run with coworker, Tonya Clement, who ran for the CU track team, on average runs about 30-40 miles a week, and is an avid climber who has even concurred the summit of Everest. So you can see how nervous I was to agree to this. She claims she goes at a slow pace and that I can stop and walk when I need to. However I knew going into it that I am way too competitive and won’t allow myself to walk. Surprisingly, the 5.4-mile run turned out to be doable. Normally I stop myself at 3 miles on the treadmill because I get bored and can’t get myself past that mental barrier, however the landscape, conversation and the company kept me going.

Wednesday, was my day off since I know it is important to rest and recover when training for these sorts of things.

Thursday, I ran again and with the confidence I had from Tuesday I ran about 4.5 miles on the treadmill since Colorado decided it was a good idea to snow. The run felt easier than normal and I even got a little weight training in too. With my training sessions going better than expected, I am more determined and excited to race again.

With all the excitement and improvements in my training, I have even taken the next step in purchasing a Zoot Tri Racesuit. My next piece of gear will be a wet suit, which will give me great advantage in the cold open water. The trick is to find a reasonably priced wet suit. Suggestions?

Stay Tuned for my progress

-Dara Wong

April 8, 2010

Are Tri’s Worth Trying?

Posted in Cycling, Exercise, Running, Swimming, Triathlons, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 10:09 am by Stonewear Designs

Recently I bought a new road bike in order to start triathlons. My only problem is that I can’t actually get myself to register for one. I have researched them and know all about them but signing up will mean that I actually have to do one! I am not totally sure why I can’t just go online and click a few buttons to sign up. So why am I so scared? Maybe because a triathlon is 3 different sports compacted into one race. I am fairly confident in each individual sport but doing them back to back is a different story. I swam D1 for the University of Denver and know that the longer the swimming portion the better chance I have of getting out ahead. Because of my recent purchase, biking is less of a factor, at the same time my brother says that my “tree trunk” legs will advance me in this leg of the race. Then there is the dreadful running, not only is this my weakest sport but it takes place after the combination of the other 2.  Why cant the running portion be first? Maybe this is why I have yet to register?

Or maybe it’s that tri’s can get expensive, you have the entry fees, the bike, the attire, the shoes, the suits… so why do people do these things. I guess it is the same reason I am so interested, we want to see how far we can push ourselves and when we can’t push anymore we want to see how long we can hold on for. It brings me back to my swimming career at DU. I always surprised myself, even when I thought I was going to die because the set was so hard, I kept pushing. Now I am happier and more surprised than ever with how far I got.

So readers, are triathlons worth it?

-Dara Wong