Aren’t the Olympics such an exciting time? The greatest athletes from all over the world come together attempting to perform their best and represent their country – there is something both exciting and humbling about it. What are your favorite events to watch?
I love the track and field events and the weightlifting events. As someone who will probably never place first in a race or lift some crazy amount of weight in a clean and jerk, I’m amazed at the feats these athletes accomplish. All their hard work, practice and determination come to light in this major event. And it’s really exciting that this year, one of my husband’s friends from college, Ruben Sanca, is in the Olympics for the 5000 meter (5K) race!
Ruben previously went to the University of Massachusetts Lowell and was on the track team with my husband. Ruben immigrated from Cape Verde to the US when he was 12, and has dual citizenship in both countries. He is representing Cape Verde at the games as one of the country’s only 3 athletes in attendance.
Here's Ruben! A friend snapped this from the television during the opening ceremonies parade of nations.
Ruben is crazy fast. He and I both competed in the same half marathon once – the 2011 New Bedford Half Marathon (nice course if any of you ever decide to do that race). Ruben came in 1st place with a time of 1:05:25 – that’s a 5 minute mile pace for 13.1 miles. I came in 2,203rd place with a time of 2:25:36 – a solid 11:15 minute pace, which is actually pretty fantastic for me – but I think it’s safe to say I won’t be making the Olympics anytime soon. To give you an idea, his pace would be like my all out sprint that I could hold for maybe a minute. And he does it for an hour. I’m amazed by him and all the other athletes out there that can push their bodies to this level.
With that, we at Inspired Wellness Solutions wish Ruben as well as all the other athletes that have worked so hard to be at the Olympics the best of luck as they compete!
This past weekend, I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon at Mass State! That’s right – a 0.9 mile swim, 22 mile bike ride, and 10K (6.2 mile) run. I had started to train for an Olympic distance tri last summer, but after my apartment fire I lost my bike and didn’t have anything to ride with. So I couldn’t wait to tackle that challenge this year.
The race took place out at Lake Dennsion in Winchendon, MA. It was about an hour and a half from Mansfield, but luckily it was a little later start at 9AM so we didn’t have to get up super early. I did the Saturday race which was a co-ed race, but there was also a Sunday race that was a women’s only one (great if you’re a female racer nervous about a tri and would rather race only with the other ladies).
The swim was great, aside from the slimy stuff on the bottom of the lake that we had to stand on while we were waiting for the gun to go off, haha (it was an in-water start). But obviously that's out of anyone's control. I felt awesome during this swim – much better than the MWCC sprint tri I did two weeks ago, where I felt like I was having trouble getting into a rhythm and breathing at the beginning.
This was also the first race I’ve used my wetsuit in. My wetsuit is like a second layer of skin – it takes me about 20 minutes to get that thing on, all the while I start overheating and sweating profusely. Apparently, the wetsuit people don’t understand that not all women are a size 2 with a flat behind. Getting that thing over my butt is quite a process. If any wetsuit manufacturers are reading this: please invent one that fits curvy women!
The plus side to the wetsuit is it definitely helps with swimming smoother and buoyancy, so it makes the swim feel a lot easier! Someone gave me the tip of standing off to the side in the water to get the wetsuit off. Most people run and take it off at transition, but it’s actually easier to slide off in the water when you still have a layer of water between your skin and the suit. It’d be tough if you’re trying to do it when masses are getting out of the water, but for a back-of-the-packer like me, I’ve got plenty of room to take it off in the water.
Next part was the 22 mile bike, which was great. It was a single loop course, and there were some great stretches of roads between turns where you could pick up speed. A few hilly parts that tested the legs, but overall I felt great on the bike. Ate my Stinger waffle (yum!!) and had a bunch of Gatorade during it to keep me fueled for the run.
The 10K run is where I started to get tired. By that time, the sun had come out and it was probably somewhere in the upper 80s or maybe even low 90s. It felt HOT. Luckily, along the run course they had some ice cold sponges to cool your body off with which felt great. And a few spectators from houses along the run had hoses out to spray us down which was nice too. I couldn’t wait to reach the turnaround point, because there’s such a mental satisfaction when you know you’re finally heading back in the direction of the finish line.
Along the last few miles of the course, I knew I was one of the last few racers (it’s pretty easy to figure that out when you don’t see anyone behind you after the turnaround, haha). There was a medic guy in a golf cart type thing with a stretcher that stopped alongside me three times during the run to make sure I was okay. Yes sir, I’m not injured or dying, I’m just slow, haha! (In all seriousness though, it’s good they had him stopping to check because it was hot and I could see how people might need help).
I crossed the finish line very proud of finishing my first Olympic distance race, and was greeted by volunteers with ice cold towels to drape around my neck and some watermelon – amazing!
I met up with my husband and we watched the awards ceremony. Now, I always race in the Athena category for triathlon – it’s a category for women 150+ pounds (there’s also a similar category for men called Clydesdales with a weight requirement). Sounds silly, but by the laws of physics it takes more effort to get your bike or body to move when you’re a heavier racer – so these categories give you a chance to compete against athletes with similar body weights as you; a leveling of the playing field in essence.
Normally, there are about 5 to 15 Athena racers at the different events that I’ve done. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was the ONLY Athena in this race – so I “took 1st place” in my division! Haha, I know – a bit of a default win (especially since I was one of the last few racers!) – but I’ve never won an award at any race or got to stand on the podium before, so I took the award with a huge smile on my face and was pretty excited about it.
Overall time: 3:37:57
Swim – 40:20
T1 – 3:27
Bike – 1:32:10
T2 – 1:19
Run – 1:20:42
Any of you competing in any triathlons or other races this summer? I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment and let us know what you’re doing.