Sunday, August 20, 2017

Keystone Triathlon 2017 Race Recap

If you remember way back in January, I talked about my fitness goals for 2017. And one of them was to race another triathlon. I did my first way back in 2015, and I loved the training, and I loved the race. 2016 was crazy busy and I didn't get a chance to race another, so I vowed that 2017 would be the year.

In June, I hit a little setback, when I fell off my bike, broke my hand, and cracked a rib. And, after 5 weeks in a splint, plus additional pain afterwards, I knew this race wasn't going to be earth shattering.



Let's briefly recap my training, shall we?
1 swim
0 rides on a bike that moves (I did do some work on the spin bike at the gym)
18 runs - totalling a whopping 62.5 miles

All to say, I was wildly underprepared and undertrained for this race. In fact, I hadn't even managed to ride my bike post accident. So, I wasn't even sure I could ride pain free. Let's mark that down in the #DumbShitJessieDoes category.

I raced the Sprint version of this race, which consisted of a .45 mile swim, 15.1 mile bike ride & 5K run. The "benefit" I believe I have in the tri world is that I'm pretty average at all 3 things. I swam in middle // high school, biked cross country, and have 10+ HM's under my belt. While I wouldn't say I'm fast at any of the disciplines, I'm far from being bad at any of them, which seems to mean I can hold my own.

I picked up my packet day of, and while my maps app took us to the totally wrong place, we made it with plenty of time to pick up my packet, get marked, and set up my transition area.



The fog on Sunday morning was super thick, so much so that the buoys on the swim course were 100% not visible from shore. They had to push back the adventure (kayak) race, because the kayakers couldn't see the buoys, and so the sprint race started right at 9AM.


SWIM // .45 miles
Despite the water being wetsuit legal, I didn't wear one. They set off everyone doing the sprint distance in a massive start, with a few kayakers in the water to help guide us in the right direction. I couldn't see a damn thing, and so did my best to stay with the other bobbing heads I could see, hoping someone actually knew where we were headed. Results aren't live as I'm writing this, but Mr. Sass tells me I definitely finished in the first half of people. Which, as I take a closer look at this picture, all the white bobbing heads in the water make me think he was right.


BIKE // 15.1 miles
I was nervous going into this leg for several reasons. Not only was I not sure if I could ride without pain, but I was afraid I would forget how to ride my bike. Luckily I did not forget how to ride my bike, but holy moly have I lost some strength. The bike course was not easy by any means, and it didn't help that 2 sections had fresh tar & chip. One included a downhill stretch with a sharp right onto tar & chip, eventually leading into a hill. And the other had a steep downhill section on tar & chip with a turn onto a main road at the end - which, honestly, I hopped off and walked down that steep descent.


To say I was riding scared was an understatement. There were dozens of hills on the course, and while none were truly big, because I didn't know the course well beforehand it was hard to know how sharp some of the turns would be. I braked hard more than once and slowed to a crawl in order to be sure I could make the turn. I definitely need some more easy miles on roads I know before I'm ready to be back out again.


RUN // 3.1 miles
T2 was quick. Tossed off my cleats, slipped into my running shoes & I was off. Said a few words to Mr. Sass in between. I ran out of water on the bike course, so I was grateful there was an aid station almost immediately on the run. I passed a few people, and was shocked to see my first 2 miles both come in at 8:XX.  Before I knew it, I was rounding the corner and could see the finish line. I pushed it for the last little bit, and Mr. Sass was standing there right as I crossed.


I downed a bottle of water before grabbing a taco with all the fixings & a Mike's Hard Lemonade from the post race spread. Mr. Sass thought there was a chance I had won an award, and said not too many people finished before I did. So we stuck around for a few minutes. Turns out, I won 3rd in my age group! A welcome surprise!


Overall, I thought the race was run well, and I liked the small field, it made for an uncrowded course. I paid $20 to register with a coupon code wayyyy back on Valentine's Day + another $15 for a 1 day USAT membership, so $35 total, and I more than got my money back.

Also, Mr. Sass coming to a race with me was pretty much the best thing ever. Personal photographer, shit holder, confidence booster, and DD once I got ahold of a Mike's Hard. His work schedule doesn't often work out for him to come to my races, which makes this one even sweeter.


What is your favorite post race food - what race is it from so I can sign up?
What's your favorite race award?
{This mug I got is pretty cool}

Linking up with :Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights + Marcia x Patty x Erika for Tuesdays on the Run + Steff

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Five #70

Friends, it has been a week. After skipping out on my fair share of Friday Fives, here I am. This week held wonderfully cool mornings, with a few even in the 50's. Cue the heart eyes. It pretty much sent me into *I want pumpkin everything* mode. And I've been trying hard to reel myself in, but there is no guarantee that the bread I make tonight won't have some pumpkin in it.

one // Since I'm heading to China in November I need to send in my Visa application. Which, while not exactly complicated - does require lots of very specific things. Filling out a form with basically every place you plan to be while you're there, a passport photo taken within the last month, with no shadows (so hard) + mailing in your actual passport. I have to say, it makes me a Nervous Nellie to be mailing my passport off somewhere.

two // Though in my opinion Blue Apron is too time consuming & too expensive to use regularly, I did love this meal we made a few weeks ago, with salmon, cilantro lime rice and a spicy peach & corn salsa. We'll definitely be recreating this salsa at home since it was a great addition to the meal.



three // Can't resist sharing how well Mr. Sass & I clean-up. Though next time I'll make sure to match my arm brace to my outfit. #AmateurMove P.S. This is actually from a wedding we went to at the beginning of July, and my arm brace is off now, though my hand doesn't quite feel 100%.


four // Okay, JK, I looked up pumpkin zucchini bread recipes and they all sound amazing, so, you bet your sweet ass Imma make some tonight. We had zucchini from our garden needing to be used up, and I've been hoarding a few cans of pumpkin since last winter in case of an emergency, like this one. Ta-da!


five // Funnies...



linking up with Heather, Amanda, AndreaTifDella & Katie & Friday Five 


What are you up to this weekend?
What's your favorite baked good?
Too early for pumpkin or nah?

 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

McConnells Mill State Park : Slippery Rock Gorge Trail

Hey friends, I'm back with another hike post, so those of you in Western PA area are in luck. This past Sunday I was all set to go for an early morning trail run, but my buddy (I'll leave out names to protect the guilty...) had a little too much fun Saturday night and couldn't meet me. I was left bumming around the house, slowly enjoying my coffee, when our friends Ryan & Rachael called to see if we wanted to join them for a hike. Mr.Sass was stuck putting in a new front door that took longer than expected, but I happily downed my coffee, changed my clothes & headed for a hike.


Getting There : McConnells Mill State Park is about 40 minutes to 1 hour from the city of Pittsburgh depending on what part of the city you're in, and is easily accessible from I-79N.

{Tip} - Aim to end your hike hungry & head the extra 15 - 20 minutes north to North Country Brewing in Slippery Rock. It has quickly become my favorite restaurant. They brew their own beer, have tons of local wines available, and even make some of their own soft drinks. Their food is excellent also, especially their deep fried pretzels with cheese and homemade spicy mustard (splurge the $.75 for both dips!) And their interior, booths, bar, tables, etc are all hand carved from wood. Double bonus, they have an outdoor seating area!

Hike : Slippery Rock Gorge Trail (DCNR website here)
This is where things get interesting - the Gorge trail is a one-way trail, which means, if you hike it all the way through, you will end up nowhere near where you started. So, what are the options?

1. Hike out as far as you please, turn around, come back (Lots of distance options)
2. Hike all the way to the end, and then come back (12.4 miles total)
3. Set up a "shuttle" - this requires 2 cars, which I'll talk about below (6.2 miles)


Parking : We parked here (we'll call this Parking A), in this gravel lot - while there is  parking further down this road, it fills up quickly on the weekends and it is difficult to turn around if you get down there & find no parking. Take your chances.

If you'd like to start the trail from the other end, or if you're setting up a shuttle, you'll want to park here - at Hell's Hollow - we'll call this Parking B.


Above I mentioned that if you're interested in hiking the trail all the way through (6.2 miles) you'll need to set up a shuttle, this involves 2 cars, one parked at each end point, which is how we completed the trail on Sunday. I parked at the gravel lot, the first lot mentioned, hopped in with Ryan & Rachael & we drove to the Hell's Hollow parking lot, which is where we started our hike. Post hike, I drove them back to their car. While this option takes a little more planning it's a nice way to see the whole trail without walking 12.4 miles.

Trailhead : If you're starting the trail at Parking A, take a right out of the gravel lot, walk down the "road" and stay right until you cross a bridge, with Slippery Rock Creek underneath, once you cross the bridge, the trail head will be immediately on your left. There will be a sign, with a blue blaze.


If you're starting at Parking B, head away from the road, along the tree line, towards the middle of the gravel lot there is an opening to the trail. Very wide and well marked. It includes a picnic bench as well as a map. If you miss it, this hike is too difficult for you. ;)

Round Trip : The trail from end to end is 6.2 miles, if you set up a shuttle. If you hike the full trail, out & back to return to your start point, you'll hike 12.4 miles. If that's not your jam, hike out a few miles, then turn around, this is an easy way to make a hike any distance you please.

Difficulty : Intermediate.
This trail is not suitable for young children (in my opinion, maybe yours are rockstars) I would recommend a hiking shoe or boot. There is no water along the trail, nor at the trailheads, so you'll definitely need to bring your own. The trail is not difficult to follow, it is very well blazed, and has signage throughout. The difficulty comes from the elevation changes, and uneven footing.



Hike Time : For the 6.2 mile end to end version I would say it took us about 3 hours.
Elevation Gain : There's lots of elevation changes on this hike, both up and down. Believe me, you'll get your heart pumping on this hike.
Restrooms : None at Parking A, one port-o-potty of questionable cleanliness is available at Parking B.

This is definitely a park worth visiting. There are several other shorter loop type trails within the park that start from the Old Mill if 6.2 miles isn't your style. The Kildoo Parking lot has a nice picnic area and makes it easy to reach the Mill.

Ever been to McConnells Mill?
Let me know if you head up & try out the trail! :)
What is a comfortable hiking distance for you?
Is 6 miles too long of a hike?

If you all enjoyed this post I would love to see you PIN IT!


Linking up with Amanda.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August 2017 Goals + July Goal Update

Hiiiiii, I'm baaaaack! Did you miss me, Internet Friends? It has certainly been weird not logging in here a few times each week to catch up with you all, but sometimes a break is nice.

I hope you'll catch me up on a little bit of what you've been up to these past few weeks in the comments! I've missed you!

^3 months running for this intro. New goal. How many months in a row can I reuse the same intro? Hopefully none more, 'cause it's kind of a bummer.


I'm not sure where July went. It felt like it went by at 1.5 speed this year. Seriously. Needless to say, I feel like I probably didn't rock my July goals, but I'm not even sure, because for the first month ever, I can't remember what they were. That's how quickly things flew.

85,000 steps weekly | FAIL
I hit this one week out of the 4. No excuses. I just still haven't been running much, or hiking as much as I assumed I would. Derp.

More outdoor time | I drank a lot of margaritas in the kiddie pool
And mojitos, and ciders, and beers. We had several groups of friends over & enjoyed our back porch and flat back yard (a unicorn in Pittsburgh). Did several hikes, an outdoor wedding, and a weekend spent relaxing lakeside for a friends bachelorette party.


Start (modified) TRI training | Ehhhh
I did some more bike rides on the spin bikes at the gym. I hopped in the pool to swim for the first time in a while (and knocked out at least 2100yds), But my running has still been on the struggle bus and wildly inconsistent to boot. I think this is my fancy way of saying, holy shit, my TRI is on August 20th, and while I know I can finish it, I don't think this will be my triumphant comeback after my bike injury.


Waste no food | B-
I'd say we did pretty okay at this. Some noodles got pitched. And a sad cabbage remnant that sat in the fridge too long. But other than that, we ate it all. I hedge my bets a bit this time of year. Our garden is producing some, but it's anyone's guess when I got shopping on a Saturday what we'll have by Wednesday. But so far I've guessed well. Mr. Sass and I are getting into a groove with prepping lunches and things. He eats differently depending on what shift he's working at work. This month, I've been prepping him a lunch just like I do for me. But, when he works evenings next month he thinks he'd prefer a huge breakfast, no lunch, a normal dinner and some late night snacks. Alright...Mrs. Sass is on it!


Make a budget | We STILL need a budget
We opened a join checking account, which, so far has proved to just be annoying. And our checks haven't arrived yet, so I can't switch over my direct deposit. NVM, just did it, even though it's the hardest thing I've done all day. Up next, budget. Though, with 2 sets of plane tickets, and a few weekend trips to celebrate with friends, I can tell you it's already blown. Oops.

In summation, I didn't seem to get much done during July. Honestly, my motivation to do anything besides sit in the pool & chat with friends has been low. Even running. I love the feeling when I'm out there, usually, but getting out there is the problem.

So, what's on tap for August!?

Bust out thank you notes | It still hurts a bit to write, but I just want these done. I can do one or two at a time, but definitely not 7 or 8 like I was before. So, slow and steady wins the race.

Waste no food | I want to keep rocking this trend. Making sure we're using all our garden produce - and not buying groceries we don't need.

Make fall race plans | My motivation has been low. I really want to run Buffalo Creek Half Marathon (& rock it), but my desire to jump into a training plan doesn't seem to be there just yet. Not sure if registering will force me to buckle down, or if I just shouldn't sweat it.

80,000 steps weekly | Considering I only hit this marker 1/4 weeks in July, let's tone it down here.

Keep on tri-training | I've (semi) accepted that this tri isn't going to be an earth shattering finish. But that doesn't meant I can't come in strong and embrace where I am now. But like, also, let's get my ass back on a bike first...like one that actually moves when you pedal it.

Get my groove back | I really don't know what it is. I've been in this weird little exercise funk. I enjoy it when I'm out there, but getting out there is the hard part. Maybe I just need some cooler temps, or a bike ride, since those are my favorite. Shrugs.

What are your August goals?
What's one thing you're looking forward too in August?
Swim, Bike, Run - which one would be your strongest? Your weakest?

Linking up with Amanda +  AngeGretchen + Kristen