Monthly Archives: September 2011

Nadia’s First Race

Come cheer her on!!

Diaper Dash Econfirmation

Dear Nadia Cross:

Congratulations! You are officially registered for the Diaper Dash presented by the Pioneer Press on October 1, 2011. If you haven’t already, you should receive email confirmation from, our registration partner, with your credit card charges.We want your experience to be enjoyable and memorable. Please read the following important information:

Race Day, Saturday, October 1
Start time – 11:15 a.m. For safety reasons, the race will be run in waves by age.

Race Review: Square Lake Triathlon – Short Course

I am a triathlete!


I finished my first swim, bike, and run event ever.  A half mile swim, 16.5 mile bike, and 5 mile run were served up on a pretty near perfect weather day on Saturday.  Square Lake Short Course got started with a day in the mid-50’s as I drove to the race and it warmed up as the day went on.  The water was smooth and a perfect temperature and there was no wind on the course to affect bike or running times.  The only obstacle – having been sick all week.

As I thought about my goals for the race during the last month I had decided on two:

  1. Finish – always a good goal for any first time event especially one like a triathlon or marathon.
  2. Break 2 hours – I figured about 15-20 minute swim, about an hour bike, and 45 minute run (all seemed reasonable) would give me a good chance of getting under two hours.


Square Lake Swag

Image by crossn81 via Flickr

I was feeling confident in my training and then on Tuesday I started getting that flu/aching feeling in my back.  I took Wednesday and the morning of Thursday off work and was feeling pretty good.  By the end of a full work day on Friday I was feeling worse.  I wrote to some friends on Facebook that I was 95% sure I wasn’t going to race.   I set my alarm for 5am Saturday hoping and praying for that 5%.  After hitting snooze once (who really wants to get up at 5am) I decided that I would pack my gear and see how I felt.  I wasn’t feeling perfect but I decided to go for it and see what would happen.  I walked into the race with no expectations, just hoping to finish.

I picked up my number, shirt, and swim cap; got my race number markings and setup my transition area.  And waited.  I finally decided it was time to get ready, figured out the borrowed wetsuit.  I had planned on trying it out once during my last swim, but getting sick didn’t allow for that.  I had to ask for help in zipping it, because the zipper started at the top.  Once on it was very snug.  After the final instructions, we watched the elite wave go off.  Wait for 3 more minutes.

Square Lake Tri

I positioned myself at the back of the wave, my calves barely wet (knee deep was where most people were).  After he shouted go I waded and then jumped in.  What a weird feeling wearing a swim cap and wet suit.  I’ve never actually worn either!  I had some problems with my goggles sealing on my face.  But did finally get them settled on properly.  I wasn’t pushing super hard, I knew the swim would be the hardest and most punishing for my sick body.  I felt almost like I was floating through the water (not quite like a torpedo).  Some guy went back and forth in front of me a few times which was annoying and I slowly made my way to the first turn.  The course was pretty much a square.   I don’t think I swam the most direct route possible, but did a fairly good job of sighting.   The short top part and then turning to shore.  My friend Mike and warned me that the sun would make it hard to sight on the way back to shore, but to keep using the buoy to sight instead of the beach.  At some point some guy tried to swim over top of me, probably from the wave behind.  I started seeing swim caps from the wave before and the wave behind me.  As I started being able to see the floor of the lake again a guy from the wave behind me started passing on my left (my breathing side) so I watched to see when he would stand up and did about the same thing.  Jogged out of the water, hit the mat (about 16:45 on my watch), and started taking my wet suit off.

I had planned on using my Ironman timex to at least roughly get my splits throughout the morning.  But it appears I didn’t actually hit the “split” button until the end of my bike leg.  So that was a little frustrating to realize afterwards.

I hadn’t planned on super quick transitions so I took my time climbing the steps to the transition area.  Switched into my bike gear and headed out!

I didn’t use my Garmin, but created course maps using Dailymile.  The race distances seemed pretty accurate.

I didn’t do any fancy mount or dismount for the bike, I just wanted to make sure I got on and off! I did blow a nice snot rocket full of snot and lake water shortly after starting the ride.  I felt surprisingly good on the bike as we went up and down the hills.  I shifted gears a lot and caught people on the uphills, some would pass me back on the downhills.  The course was pretty straightforward.  It was fun to watch the faster people go past and check out their bikes and also to see how the rode as they got into groups and rode several wide.  Most of the ride was on county back roads, but the section along MN-95 was awesome.  Newer pavement means faster riding! Except for the big hill at about mile 14.   The scenery could have been beautiful, but was mostly unexciting (its been a little dry) and you couldn’t see the St. Croix River through the trees.  At a couple of points volunteers were stationed to specifically tell us to slow down.  One was a big hill with turns at the bottom and the second was a smaller hill that ended with some turns going under a train trestle.

I stayed hydrated drinking most of 2 bottles (water and Nuun-filled water).  And I took one gu while on the bike.  I probably didn’t need that much nutrition/hydration but I wanted to stay on top of things since I was still sick.  I was quite pleased with how I felt overall.  The road from 95 back to the transition area was a beat up old road with lots of cracks, dips, and crevices.  It made for a little more work coming back.

My “split” for this part of the race was under an hour.  My watch says 1:15 for the combined swim, T1, and bike legs.  (as of this moment results haven’t been posted).  The only time besides coming out of the water that I looked at my watch was for  mile splits during the run.  I did use my bike computer, but that just showed speed and distance.

The run was going to be interesting. I took a pull of water from my bottle before throwing back on my transition towel and jogged to the exit. Crossed the line – grabbed a cup of water and left the park onto the roads.  The first mile was on a paved road before turning off onto a gravel road.  It was gravel for a little bit and then was pavement the rest of the way.  There were water stations setup near miles 1, 2, and 3 and mile markers setup for those miles as well.  Mile marker 4 seemed to be missing.  The run had a couple of hills, nothing super hard but enough to make you change your stride and focus on the hill.

I wasn’t 100% sure that I’d be able to finish the run.  I started out slow letting the blood move around and the muscles to get used to the idea of running again.  I also had some weird pains in my side and back that hung around for most of the run.  I came through the first mile at 8:43 and felt really comfortable.  I took water at every aid station, took a sip and threw the rest on my head to cool off – it wasn’t super hot, but warm enough.  At the second aid station, the kids were filling the cups all the way to the top.  This made it a little messy, but you can’t complain about cool water splashing around!  I came through mile 2 at 8:26.  I still felt pretty comfortable and started thinking about trying to average 8:30 pace for the run.  There was one hill on  a nice shaded part that hurt a little more and slowed my third mile down to 8:41.  From here we turned back onto the main road.  It wasn’t really shaded but I didn’t feel super hot or like I was baking.  At about mile 4 I caught up to my friend Mike.

I caught up to him and said “good job Mike.”  He looked at me for a second and said, “Damn you caught me.”  I apologized and continued running.  Some where in here a lady’s Garmin beeped the 4 mile mark though it wasn’t marked.  My watch said 8:43 or something like that!  I don’t really remember picking up the pace but steadily continuing towards the finish.  Mike passed me back and we kind of ran together-ish for the rest of the race.  As we turned back into the transition area we had a little hill to go up and then downhill to the finish.  I passed Mike on the up-hill and opened up the legs for the down-hill finish.  The last 50-75 yards were fairly steep and I was gaining on a guy so I kicked it down another notch and passed the guy with like 10 yards to go.  I heard my name announced, heard the finish line beep, and I was a triathlete.

TransitionI saw 2:01:19 when I crossed the finish line and thought, crap so close to the 2 hour goal.  Then I looked at my watch 1:58:21.  Oh yea, 3 minute difference from the clock for the wave start.  Awesome!! That made me feel even better!

I ended Saturday still feeling under the weather, but being a triathlete makes it ok!  My support crew was also sick so there aren’t any pictures of me from the race.  Just the few I snapped before hand (and my transition area afterwards).  I’ll see about the race photos!  Nadia even had a cute “triathlete” shirt that she was ready to wear.

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Weekly Report

Race week started out nice enough.   A beautiful Labor Day relaxing at home and finishing up a bit of lite yard work.  Hanging out with friends and the family.  It was gorgeous weather-wise.  When we were getting Nadia ready for bed she felt really hot.  104.4 hot.  The clinic said to give her ibuprofen and call if the temp doesn’t go down. She already had an appointment for Tuesday so they said it was an ear infection.

Tuesday morning I woke up and did my 5k run on the Metrodome.  My last run before the race.   Nothing special just a cool (52) run. Christy stayed home with Nadia and I biked to work.  About 2ish I started feeling a little sick.  You know, that achy feeling in the back that comes with the flu…  I biked home, took a nap, went to Brad’s to get the wet suit and Team World Vision race kit.

Wednesday I called in sick.  Christy already had the day off and Nadia still couldn’t go back to day care.  I was feeling better by the end of the day.

Thursday morning I decided to stay home for at least the first half of the day and Christy took Nadia to daycare.  I was finishing up lunch and getting ready to go to work, when Daycare called and said that Nadia needed to go home.  Christy decided to come home so I could go to work.  It was kind of fortunate because this way I had the car instead of biking.  Overnight on Thursday Christy started getting sick.

Friday morning I took Nadia to day care and went to work, while Christy stayed home and tried to recover.  I was tired from a fitful night of sleep and a full day at work.  I was feeling worse than Thursday night and was 95% sure I wasn’t going to race the triathlon the next morning.  I was trying to decide between a DNS and a DNF.  I almost e-mailed the race director to see about postponing my race entry for next year.

Fortunately, I didn’t because I beat my goal on Saturday.  Sadly, Christy and Nadia had to stay home sick and Nadia didn’t get to cheer me on wearing her Triathlete shirt.  I felt pretty good, though still feeling sick.  Christy was only marginally better and had to change the plans for a baby shower she was supposed to be hosting on Sunday.

By Sunday night as I write this part I’m feeling about 90%.  Still a little tired but mostly good.  Christy is still feeling sick and not looking forward to work.

So a pretty crazy week for Team Cross.  Nadia seems to be feeling pretty good and I’m almost recovered, now if we could just get Christy over the hump.

Week Stats All

Total Distance (mi)


Total Calories


Total Time




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Bike: 23.5 mi
Run: 8 mi
Swim: 0.5 mi