Posts Tagged ‘Tri-Rochester’

Ok, I realize this happened about two months ago but here is my story and race recap:

USA Triathlon National Age Group Sprint Championships

I am thankful just to be able to tri

After the Finish

After the Finish

August 9-10, 2014

The whole weekend was great despite waiting in line for race packet pickup and to check my bike into transition. I was also upset to learn that I would not be getting the official race jacket at the race and the hat in my bag has the USAT logo upside down. I have yet to receive my jacket in the mail several weeks after the event. The elite super sprint triathlon was great was also a highlight of the weekend. That event is one I would like to do in the near future.

Upside down USAT logo

Upside down USAT logo

Super-sprint

Super-sprint

This was it. It was time to start and finish race that I decided to make my goal race of 2014. This was decided when I crossed the finish line in the 2013 National Age Group Sprint Championships. It was then, when I made the attempt to finish the triathlon less than three months after having brain surgery, after 6 weeks of oral chemotherapy and only 10 days after finishing 33 radiation treatments for anaplastic astrocytoma in the left frontal lobe of my brain. Now a year later I was still alive and ready to race again. Like last year prior to my diagnosis, I expected to be competitive by finishing in the top 25 in my age group.

2013 FINISHED

2013 FINISHED

My training had been going well even during my monthly cycles of oral chemotherapy which ended in January. I had joined the Cyclone Triathlon Team last fall and tried to attend at least 1 swim session and 1 cycling session. In April, the day of the Minnesota State Masters short Course Swim Meet I caught a virus which plagued me for most of the spring and early summer. This virus caused an exacerbation of my asthma and chronic cough that made it difficult to train. Like last year I still expected to race hard and do the best I could.

Finish line

Finish line

Race morning began at 4:15 when I woke up had my coffee and oatmeal. Then I prepared my electrolyte race beverage Next I donned my Cyclones Triathlon Team kit and TriRochester long sleeve shirt and pants. It was a cool morning so it was a good choice. I had already applied my race numbers the night before to save an extra race morning step. It was time to head to the race site which was about a 17 minute drive from my hotel.

Once I arrived in the transition everything went smoothly. I unpacked my race bag and sent up my transition for the big race. The fancy bikes and equipment other athletes had around me was intimidating. I left the transition with my wetsuit on and my cap and goggles in hand for the swim start. This year was nice as I would not have to wait around 1 hour prior to getting into the water as I was in the second heat and was able to warm up for longer in the water prior to the start of the race. As I climbed down the ladder into the cool Lake Michigan waters, I was comforted and confident that my swim training with the Cyclones Tri Team would get me to the end of the swim fast.

Swim done

Swim done

The horn sounded and I was positioned in the back of the pack. I waited about 5 seconds before I started swimming to avoid splashing water and the mess of the pack. I stayed close to my strategy of swimming towards the buoys and staying on the inside but yet swim around them. About half way through the swim, I aspirated some water and started coughing. It took about 30 seconds of me swimming above water breaststroke to catch my breath enough to continue swimming. After finally starting to swim again, I swam strong and fast to the swim exit. Up the metal ramp I went grabbing the hands of volunteers that were assisting us. Swim 750 meters in 15:50.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holding my own on the bike

Holding my own on the bike

To the transition I ran, I actually ran out of the swim to the transition area. In the transition area I quickly changed into my bike shoes and helmet and sprinted out. As I began to ride my bike I focused on pacing to not start out too fast. People began to pass me but I held my own. The worse pass I got was a man who passed me and began going slow. Everyone was passing me and I could not pass this man. I could not even pass him at the turnaround. Once I got past the turnaround I passed him never to be seen again. Overall, I was not happy with my bike time, but I had spent little time training for the bike so I had no excuse for a slow time. Bike 12.5 miles in 44:18.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finsihing

Finishing

I rushed into the transition and headed out to the run. Using an interval timer from Jeff Galloway to set these intervals, I planned to run/walk with a ratio of 4 minutes running to 1 minute walking. The run actually went by fast. I had people cheering me the whole way and even while passing me they said, “good job, keep going.” I replied “good job” in response. I just stuck to my plan and the fact that people passed me did not concern me. The finish line came up quickly and I sprinted to the finish and ran across the line again hearing Karen Smyers call my name, “here is Dawn Johnson from Rochester, MN.” I finished the 5K in a total run time of 34:36 and a total for the triathlon of 1:40:45. Overall, I finished 71/81 in my age-group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I finished I headed to the post-race lunch, cheered other triathletes to the finish, enjoyed the beautiful weather, and gave God thanks that I can still tri.

tri_quote MJ

Instructions: take one WOD daily and as needed for weight loss, muscle toning, gaining strength, and energy

Instructions: take one WOD daily and as needed for weight loss, muscle toning, gaining strength, and energy

I will be posting each of my WOD’s and some statistics on my blog along with a motivational photo.  In addition the blog has a new domain name http://www.braintumorwod.org.

My USA Triathlon Sprint National Championship Experience

MY MOTIVATION

TRI-UMPH

TRI-UMPH

 

The day was Sunday August 11, 2013. Place Milwaukee, WI.  I had been waiting for this day since last Fall. I am a former elite triathlete and triathlon coach. This was supposed to be a race to be competitive and do well but the plans changed with my diagnosis of anaplastic astrocytoma and 7 hour brain surgery. Brain cancer was not going to stop me from neither starting nor finishing. In the back of my mind, I knew I was doing this for a cause, the American Brain Tumor Association and for those who cannot. It had been 11 weeks since my brain surgery and just over a week since my last oral chemo dose and radiation treatment. I had been unable to train much because of post-surgical restrictions, slowed recovery from chemotherapy, and fatigue from treatments. I reminded myself with a quote from President Obama at the Boston Marathon Memorial Service, “Even when our heart aches, we summon the strength that maybe we didn’t know we had, and we carry on, we finish the race.”

PRE-RACE

Pre-race Reminder

Pre-race Reminder

My morning started with getting my race kit on, my chip on, my race number tattoos on and drinking my meal replacement shake mixed with coffee.  Off to the race, just a 15 minute drive from the hotel to the Milwaukee lakefront. I was one of the first in transition, but where is my chip. Oh, we cannot leave transition bags in transition. One minor problem, my chip was gone. I spent over 15 minutes getting a new chip and renumbered. Where was I going to put my fancy transition bag that I won at a Duathlon a few years ago if I did not connect with my Mom?

Well I met up with my Mother then gave her my bag. I put on my wetsuit on and she zipped it up. The national anthem played, but I still had over an hour before my wave would start. Next, I headed over to the swim start and stood by the railing overlooking the harbor. I talked about the race and triathlons with other racers. We watched wave after wave begin.

SWIM

Done with the swim

Done with the swim

Finally, my wave was called. I walked down to the dock with other triathletes in my age-aroup and crawled into the cold Lake Michigan water. We had about 10 minutes to warm-up. My second open water swim this year. My third time swimming since my surgery in May. We lined up next to the dock and the horn went off. I started slow, kept it steady, and concentrated on my form. While swimming, I got a little dizzy from turning the head to breathe but that was not going to stop me. The swim went under the bridge, around the buoy and back under the bridge to the swim exit which was a metal ramp with wooden rungs. There were catchers to assist. My time was 17 minutes for 750 meters swimming, which was when I crossed the timing mat so it included some extra running.

T1

Thoughts for T1

Thoughts for T1

I was so excited that I finished the swim I ran into transition put my bike gear on. My bike gear did not include my aero helmet as I wanted to make sure I had a secure helmet. Under my helmet was a sweat cap to protect my bald spot from radiation therapy and surgical scar from the sun and my helmet. Next I ran with my bike out of transition. Someone was ahead of me. I tried being nice and letting them go first but they were too slow. This is the ten seconds that cost my one place in the Athena under 40 division or maybe it was the ten seconds that I choose to put sunscreen on after the bike.

BIKE

Up, down, and around

Up, down, and around

The bike was relatively flat. I kept a high cadence and built the bike portion. Not taking it out too fast and finishing stronger during the last few miles. There was a small hill before the first turnaround and a ramp to a bridge that we went up and down one way and reversed on the way back. I was able to remain seated in the saddle on these hills thanks to my CrossFit workouts. My average mph was 16.7 over 12.4 miles.

T2

Motivation for T2

Motivation for T2

Came in on the bike to run transition and continued to run my bike into transition. I put my running shoes on casually and took off putting my hat and number belt on the run.

RUN TO THE FINISH

Keeping a slow but steady pace

Keeping a slow but steady pace

I ran the first mile without a walk break. During the second and third mile I took 1 minute fast walk for every 3 minutes of running. Racers were passing my left and right and some with names and USA on the back of their tri suit saying “good work” and ”keep it up”. I kept my own focus throughout the run.  Once I heard the finish I continued to run it came up so fast. When I got to the carpet I was filled with tears. I took off my TriRochester cap and pointed to the bald area on my head while I heard Karen Smyers say, “Dawn Johnson from Rochester Minnesota still top 10 in the Female Athena division” I had finished my first triathlon of the year and my first triathlon since my brain cancer diagnosis. To top it off, I was honored to have Chrissie Wellington hand me my finisher’s medal. Overall, my run was 37:01 for an 11:55 min/mile pace. Here is the link to the finish video http://www.marathon-photos.com/scripts/event.py?event=Sports/CPUK/2013/Age%20Group%20National%20Championships&match=4178&name=Dawn

POST FINISH

FINISHED

FINISHED

 

 

I stayed long enough to get some food and wait to get my bike out of transition. Since I had placed, I was upset that I could not stay for the awards ceremony.  I had to get back to Rochester, MN to work night shift at my nursing position. My plans are again to race and place again at the National Championship event next year. Maybe even earn a spot to Worlds. The sky is the limit.

~dmj

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dawn at a triathlon last year

Dawn at a triathlon in 2012

Finally at a water stop AKA as the weekend when I do not have radiation treatments

Saturday: Went to a going away party for one of my fellow swim coaches for Med-City Aquatics. Next off to register my team for the RochesterFest Triathlon. Then off to a birthday party for a friend but the skies looked ominous so I went back home to another round of thunderstorms.

Sunday: Tri-ing day
I woke up at 4:30 AM to be a part of a relay in the RochesterFest Triathlon. Of course, I would be walking the 3.1 mile run/walk. The race was delayed with a chance of thunderstorms but all we saw was some light rain and drizzle. Just enough to make the course wet and muddy. Thanks to my buddies from CrossFit Progression for doing the swim and bike portion. I had a blast and even jogged the last 50 meters. It was so fun to be able to cheer the other triathletes through the swim, transition, bike, run, and finish, though I felt naked showing up without my gear bag, helmet and bike. My next triathlon hopefully (depending on my health) will be in August when I can do the whole thing. It will be the USAT National Sprint Championship and I am doing with for Team Breakthrough which raises funds for brain tumor research and patient support. One can donate at http://hope.abta.org/site/TR/TeamBreakthrough/TeamBreakCYO?px=2271412&pg=personal&fr_id=2580 . If I can not do this event I will find one that I can. Every cent makes a difference.  Got home and I was exhausted so I took a nap until I had to get up for the Tri-Rochester Picnic. I made a chipotle salad with chicken and headed out to Oxbow Park. Got to chat a little with my fellow triathletes and ate some good food. Stuffed and tired, I went home and to bed.