Saturday, June 22, 2013

Make it yourself: Race bib coasters

I was recently inspired by Runner’s World ‘Gifts for Runners' Facebook post to recreate these adorable race bib coasters.

It’s such a simple concept and really easy to make!

4 ¼ x 4 ¼ Ceramic tiles
4x4 felt squares
Mod Podge (any finish)
Krylon clear acrylic sealer
Sponge brush applicator
Hot glue gun
4X4 paper template (optional)

Instead of cutting my actual race bib (I save each and every one of them), I used a color photocopy. Depending on the size of your race bib, you can make four 4x4 coasters. The bib I chose is oblong, so I decided to make two coasters rather than have a bunch of white space around the outside of the bib.

• Cut the bib into 4x4 squares. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the tile. Center and place a bib square on the tile. Make sure to smooth out any air bubbles. Let dry 5-10 minutes.

• Apply 2-3 coats of Mod Podge on top of the bib square and around the edges of the tile. Let each coat dry in between applications.

• Allow the tile to dry overnight. Apply a thin layer of acrylic sealer to the tile. You can spray additional coats of sealer for added moisture protection. But again, let each coat dry between applications.

• Once dry, apply a backing to the tile to protect your furniture from scratches. I used felt because I was too lazy to go back to Home Depot to get cork. I used hot glue to adhere 4x4 felt squares.

A few things to consider: The Mod Pogde application may look streaky even after it has dried. Once I applied the acrylic sealer, the surface evened out a lot.
Make sure your work surface is free of lint, dust, etc. I cut out my felt pieces as I was waiting on a layer of Mod Podge to dry and a few strings of felt got embedded in the surface of the coasters.

So cute. Race bib coasters definitely make great gifts!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2013 Esprit de She Naperville triathlon recap

Warning: The first half of this recap is going to be pretty whiney. It gets better.

I crossed the finish line at the Esprit de She triathlon in Naperville on Sunday. My day started early at 4:15am. Transition opened at 5am and closed at 6:45am.

I arrived early to ensure I got a nearby parking spot. I was able to check out the set up and race course the day prior because there was no race day packet pickup (minus). Chicago area participants had to travel out to Naperville two days in a row. My wave was not scheduled to start until 8:17am. It was a long wait. I sat at a picnic table with a friend who also finished the race. We watched 19 waves start before us.

The swim: Awful. Centennial Beach is exactly what I expected, a giant pool with sand.

There is a graduated depth from the beach to about 5 feet, and then it drops off like a cliff to 15 feet. I walked the graduated portion and muddled my way through the deep end. I felt restricted in my wetsuit, but I was glad I wore it because I relied heavily on its buoyancy. My heart rate skyrocketed shortly after I hit the water. Less than halfway through the course my chest was burning. I switched between a loose interpretation of freestyle, breast stroke and the old trusty doggy paddle the entire 800 meters. I was so disappointed with the swim. It put me in a terrible mood to start to bike portion.

The bike: How is it possible that a loop course can feel like an incline the entire route? At some point I had to be going back downhill, right? The 14.2 mile course was two loops. The first loop was rough. I was still beating myself up from the swim. I forgot my water bottle. My lips were so dry. I did not like sharing the road with vehicles for a portion of the route, the exhaust was bothersome. My arms and shoulders ached. I really wished I had some aero bars to rest my elbows. The second loop is when I started to feel better, I knew what to expect, but I could not wait to get off that damn bike and run.

The run: I was so excited to dismount and put my feet on the ground. The 5K run course was more relaxing than anything. The first mile marker came and went quickly. It’s hard when you know you are so close, but you cannot see the finish line. I usually sprint once I see the finish. I did not this race. I had nothing left in me to give! My friends were cheering at the finish line which was so nice and gave me a much needed boost.

Looking at these photos, I’m amazed at how composed I look because I really wanted to quit and crawl into bed.

The race was very well organized with tons of helpful volunteers. The medal and race swag was primo. It was just not my best race. I was however happy with my time, sub 2:30. I’m registered for the Chicago tri in August. I have focus on finding a more comfortable wetsuit if I plan to survive that race. There is no shallow area of the lake on that swim course. The day after the race, I was surprised how well I felt. As emotionally draining as it was, I definitely felt better physically than I have after finishing a half marathon. I only had a little soreness in my shoulders. The tendonitis is my right foot did not flare up at all. This was my first experience with this distance triathlon. I’m confident future races will get better if I just stick with it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Upcoming race: Esprit de She Triathlon in Naperville

This Sunday I plan to finish my second triathlon, the Esprit de She in Naperville, Illinois. The race consists of a .5 mile swim, 14 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. Which is twice the distance of my first triathlon. I’m pretty anxious. I’ve been swimming throughout the winter and I feel very comfortable in the water. I’ve been running. But I haven’t been biking really. I’ve gotten in two rides. A 6 miler a few weeks ago and a 10 miler last Saturday. That ride was followed by a 1 mile run. I felt fine during the ride and got through that awkward feeling of the transition from biking to running. But post workout- I was zonked. Just thinking about adding a half mile swim to that makes me nervous.

I got some video at my last day in the pool. I was tired that evening and it showed! It has not been warm enough to get in any open water swimming, so pool training will have to do. The greatest difference between this race and my last is that I did the majority of my swim training in the lake. The Esprit de She swim portion is held in a man-made lake. So I expect it to be a cross between a pool and open water.

Breaststroke: I feel this stroke takes a lot of energy and that I move very slowly through the water. Arm leg coordination is crucial for this stroke. It's more effort than it's worth in my opinion.
Backstroke: This is my strongest stroke. Once I get over the fact that water will unpredictably run over my face, I can move quickly. My weakness is keeping my legs at the surface. They tend to drop.
Freestyle: This stroke is most comfortable for me. I'm not very efficient though. My arm tends to hang out in the air a few seconds as I'm pulling it out of the water to take a breath.

Per usual I will move at my own pace. I do not have a time goal other than to finish before the race time limit, three hours. I’m taking it easy this week; focusing on hydrating to avoid the wonderful calf cramps I tend to get while swimming. I’m visualizing crossing the finish line and getting my medal!
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