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May « 2008 « Jocelyn Wong's Blog

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Archive for May, 2008

Memorial Day Wedgie Duathlon

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Today Menlo Masters/Team Sheeper had its annual Memorial Day Swim/Run Duathlon. I hadn’t done a swim/run du since…oh, 2002, the summer I lived in Las Vegas and trained with Henderson Masters, coached by Frank Lowery (now race director of SilverMan). There was a Splash N Dash series, where we would swim 1.5 miles in Lake Mead (no wetsuit, too hot!), then jump out and run 5k. I would get so far behind everyone else that the fastest people would be done running by the time I came out of the water. GRR!

so even though Boss still thinks my swim is terrible, and it is, at least it has come a long way since 2002. Today I was able to hold my own in the water, at least enough that I wasn’t losing too much time and able to balance it out with the run. The format was a run/swim/run/swim/run in the pool and outside on the grass field. 3 laps running (~1 miles), then 800 yards swimming split into 2×400 with 5 push-ups in the middle, then 2 laps running (~2/3 mile), followed by 400y swimming as 2×200 with 5 push-ups, and finally half a lap running (~1/6 mile).

I learned one advantage of starting with the swim. I was the only girl wearing my regular one-piece swimsuit, the customary one or two sizes too small so that would be extra tight and more hydrodynamic in the water. Everyone else had pulled shorts over their suits or wore tri shorts. I had only gotten this swimsuit a couple swims ago, so it was not very stretched out at all yet, thus causing a massive wedgie from the get-go, which I tried to adjust, er, pick out, every 10 steps, as I was just sure it looked obscene, like I was racing in a thong, and even more uncomfortable. This wouldn’t have been as concerning if I was in the back of the pack, but it turned out I was one of the faster runners on the swim team, starting out the first lap in 3rd overall behind two guys, then fading to 5th as the wedgie-picking slowed me down.

It was cool and foggy, and jumping in the water felt like a sauna. I had trouble pulling myself up and banging out the 5 push-ups, but got through the first swim, and slipped on the shoes. I happily learned that once my suit was wet, it clung to the butt cheeks better, so no more wedgies, but wet feet in shoes with no socks made my feet slip around, not fun. I got re-passed by Lennard, who ran it barefooted, and I figured he saved transition time and I would do it for the last lap. Back in the water, then roll onto the deck for some weak girly push-ups, roll back into the pool, just 200y more, then pull myself back out.

Forewent the soggy shoes for the last half lap, it was all on grass, so off I went, sprinting in. As 1st woman and 4th overall, Coach Tim said maybe I should forgo Ironman and do short course instead, haha yeah right! Arms and shoulders have been sore lately as Boss is trying to convert me from a leg swimmer to an arm swimmer…makes it extra hard to get out of the pool. yes, the pulling of self out and onto the deck and push-ups were the hardest part of the duathlon. I was happy to hold my own against the swimmers today, things are improving, slowly but surely!

WTH = World’s Toughest Half = What The Hell?!

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

so 4 weeks post Ironman and ready to rumble again. I travelled with the Stanford University Triathlon Team for the first time, driving 2 hours north-ish to Auburn, CA where ex-pro Brad Kearns was hosting his hometown event, the Auburn Triathlon. There would be an Olympic-distance race that would serve as the West Coast conference championships for the college kids the same time as the long course event, dubbed “World’s Toughest Half.” abbreviated WTH, I would always think “what the hell?!” I think this might not be a coincidence, however, as come race day there would be plenty of “what the hell?!” moments.

I had dinner with the Stanfords at Pasquale T’s, a cute little Italian restaurant in the cute little town, carbo-loading on garlic bread and pasta, and fat-loading on Kahlua-flavored gelato. We had brought our camping gear to camp out by the finish line, which was sparsely underpopulated–I think because it was a “hot” weekend, 20 deg F hotter than normal, and many of the racers opted to stay in air-conditioned hotels. “hot” in quotes because after Ironman China, no other race would feel as HOT. Turns out the medical tent by the finish came equipped with fold-up cots…there would be no pitching a tent or sleeping on the ground tonight! (I know, the irony of finishing my last race in the med tent and starting this next race in the med tent…)

I happily wiggled halfway into a sleeping bag and settled in on my cot, but barely got any sleep. A train would go by a few times throughout the night, and then the wind picked up, blowing Blue Steel (my bike) onto my shins (OW! WTH?!) and making the tent creak-creak-creak every ten minutes. 4:30am came too soon, and I finished up some leftover garlic bread for breakfast (mmm) and was already in my race kit, as I had slept in it. Just roll over and go!

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It was a two transition race, so we had to ride our bikes downhill for 6 miles to the swim start/T1. Remember that. Apparently a swim buoy had gotten blown off course during the night, and the swim was rather long–I believe the fastest swimmer went 31 minutes. I started off strong, but felt deflated the longer the swim carried on, as it seemed to be going on forever. WTH?! I had just done a one-mile open water swim race–no wetsuit!–the weekend before, and had a pretty good idea of how long a mile in the water should last. 1.2 miles this was not. halfway through, I opted to give myself a bitch-slap and snapped out of it. The swim was long, but it was long for everybody. I started to pick off people and passing groups of men who had been given a 5-minute head start. I hadn’t hit my watch in time at the gun, so it still said 00:00.00 as I exited the boat ramp.

remember the two transition set-up? this is so that the bike course can be a net uphill. sweet, huh? The first 6 miles were all uphill, and somewhere in there were 16 consecutive miles of climbing. It was fun having the Stanfords out on the course at the same time, although difficult to gauge my effort, as the Olympic-distance athletes would fly by, and there was also the National Long Course Duathlon Championships as well. It was very challenging, very hilly, all up and down, up and down. I remember Marilyn telling me to be patient on the bike, so patient I was, although my climbing and descending skills left much to be desired. (argh, another hill, WTH?!) For a technical course like this I could see how having raced it before would have helped immensely, but for me it was my first time seeing the course. There was enough climbing and a hot enough weather forecast that I forewent the aero helmet this time, which let me dump water over my head a couple times. The bike, much like the swim, seemed to take forever. W…T…H… It was a beautiful course and fun because of the challenge, but definitely not fast. Finally by mile 40 the road levelled out and my speed probably increased by 10mph, I started to catch people that had motored past me up the hills and just felt awesome!

it was warm–some said hot, but it was not hot at all like Ironman China, and more than half the course was shaded. the run was mostly off road and on trails, away from most spectators. I went off quickly on the run, but my stomach was bothering me (WTH?!), and then to make it worse, I forced down a gel at about mile 3 because I thought I needed the calories. WRONG! this made my stomach even angrier, and I developed a horrible stitch on my side (WTH?!) and resorted to shuffling along while holding my stomach. I switched to water only, and the pain subsided by mile 6, at which point I finished the first lap of the run, going by a ton of spectators and feeling a second wind.

I started feeling fantastic, in fact. I went back to drinking some Gatorade from my Fuelbelt and while switching out a bottle, suddenly found myself EATING IT right at mile 7. and by “eating it,” I mean the ground. WHAT THE HELL?! just a little blood, trail dust all up my right leg, two bruised knees and a bruised ego later, I stormed the rest of the half marathon. I finally felt absolutely incredible, there was a slight breeze and I began passing back tons of runners and nary getting passed. A rather long day for a half iron though, and I was happy as usual to see the finish line.

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A hard-fought battle to win my age group and take 11th woman overall. The Stanfords made me proud, winning the team title, with a 1st and 5th on the girls’ side and 2nd and 5th on the boys’ side. The finish awards were fun, I got to take my pick of two items on The Big Table O’ Prizes. While some chose a bottle of olive oil (wth??), I went with a really nice technical top by DeSoto and a gift certificate to Sports Basement, which is like going to my local crack dealer.

auburn-prize

Special thanks to my sponsors teamTBB/The Bike Boutique and Mom & Dad Wong; Oomph! Sports for my cute retro tri shorts to go with the pink compression socks; the Stanford triathletes for letting me join the fun; and Brad Kearns for putting on such a challenging and stellar race venue.

oh, and one final “what the hell?!” moment…people actually thought my knee-high pink compression socks were…COOL. more pics soon.

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IM China trip memories

Monday, May 12th, 2008

3 weeks after China, and I’m having some writer’s block on my race report. I figured I should post something…as I’ll be racing again next weekend at the World’s Toughest Half in Auburn, CA (2 hrs drive from home). so for the World’s Toughest Full aka Ironman China, I’ve been compiling my most memorable moments during my trip. enjoy!

Favorite memories of my first trip to Asia
(in no particular order)

- that first !!stamp!! on the passport in Singapore.

- singing…well, performing Madonna’s True Blue at our post-race pro party in the karaoke bar

- the Aussies cursing us “bloody Americans!!” (me and Tim Marr) for requesting too many Madonna songs

- being embraced by the people of China, even though Wo shi Meiguoren!

- seeing TBB with my very own eyes

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- shopping with Donna in the madness of the Chinese mega mall, which had a HUGE billboard of David Beckham on one side

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- eating coconut cookies (bought from the mega mall) on the bike, since “the bike is a restaurant” as coach said

- drinking Chrysanthemum-flavored Gatorade during the race, and realizing what the flavor was after 3 bottles

- seeing my name on the pro start list… as “Jocelyn Sui-Yee Wong”… the first time I’ve ever used my Chinese middle name in a race, and it was accidental!

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- almost throwing up and/or crying (almost!) before the carbo dinner after meeting all the other pros because I temporarily freaked out and thought “what the F@*& am I doing here?!” :(

- new pro friend Amanda Balding giving me a little medium-sized pep talk after witnessing the above incident, after which I felt tons better :)

- actually throwing up uncontrollably post-race: 3-4 times in the med tent, finally getting into a cab after midnight and after 15 seconds yelling “PULL OVER!!”, and at last making it to the hotel lobby but turning 180 degrees at the elevators, speed-walking, then running outside to the bushes for one final hurl. :(

- getting totally busted in Hong Kong for leaving CO2′s in my bike box and getting called off the plane right before take-off. “Miss Wong, please bring your passport as we escort you off the plane…” :(

- staying up all night in Singapore with new pro friends Abi Bayley and her beau Steve: hanging out in the airport (mmm Mr. Bean!) and having a cabbie take it upon himself to give us a tour of the city

- new pro friends. and hearing Doc’s words in my head “You are no longer a groupie”

- seeing a 2:50 bike split after finishing the first loop I had totally held back on, and thinking “well, that’s just a touch slower than I wanted to go, but ok”

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- realizing later that almost exactly a year ago, I would have killed for a 2:50 half iron bike split! (April 22, 2007 I went 3:05 on the bike at the Playtri half iron)

- the little kids in the villages yelling “Jai yo! Jai yo!” (literal translation? “pump gas! pump gas!”)

- the smiles on their faces when I would yell “Xie xie!” or “ni hao!” :)

- the lights coming on and firecrackers going off as I crossed the New Century Bridge toward the end of the marathon. because it was getting dark. :(

- BUT soon, all the lights came on in the city, bright neon lights in Chinese characters…and it was…magical :)

- ugh, having to go #2 during the marathon because it ended up being such a long day, and realizing that it would also be my first experience in a squatter toilet. :( (not a favorite memory, but very memorable.)

- taking my sunglasses off later in the marathon, which evidently made it more obvious to volunteers and spectators that I was Chinese, and hearing the excited whispers and exclamations of “Zhong-guo?” and “Zhong-guoren!” Yes, I am Chinese and I had never felt more proud of my heritage.

- passing the last pro woman walking. and realizing, I was no longer DFL pro AND top 10!!

- approaching the finish line in the dark and having the motorcycle with the ginormous Chinese flag escorting me for 10 or so strides to the fanatical cheers of the crowd, before someone walkie-talkied motorcycle and… probably told him I was American.

- experiencing that a huge smile and thumbs up are universal. :D
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