Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Multi-tasking, TriMommy style

I have taken multi-tasking to a new level. My awesome husband got me an indoor bike trainer for Christmas (ok, so I picked it out, bought it, and started using it in early December, but it was my Christmas present). Since he works long shifts, I often do my long indoor bike ride while watching a movie with the kids. This Sunday, after a marathon cleaning session to tidy up the Christmas "toyplosion" (as my friend Stephanie says), I hopped on the trainer. The kids were playing,and I had football on the television. About an hour into my ride, my daughter wanted an apple to eat. I really didn't want to get off the bike, so I had her bring me the apple, a bowl, and the knife (she is 7, and did this safely). I cut the apple while riding (without sustaining any injuries). I also managed to play a game with my son (or coach him through playing a game). The only time I had to stop was to let the dogs out (they are slightly less self-sufficient).

The most entertaining part of the ride was when I heard the sound of light sabers from the other room. Apparently my little Jedis were getting a workout, too. Needless to say, it may not be the most focused training session, but better to get in a Mommy training session than no session at all. (When people I work with ask how I find time for training, these are the stories I tell!).

What a difference a buoy makes!

Swimming is my weakness in the sport of triathlon. I was a lifequard in the Chesapeake Bay in High School, but never swam competitively. I've got the open water piece down pretty well, but not the speed piece. I don't do flip turns (my lack of coordination and the fact that most tris are open water swims led me to decide not to waste time learning them and flailing like a crazy fish). I swam about five times leading up to my first tri last year.

My goal for 2010 was to work on the swim over the offseason. I got a coach, who has developed "the plan" for me. My need to meet my goals and not fail is great motivation for those 6am swims when it is 27 degress (11 with wind chill this morning). Some people love to swim in the pool. I have always loved the water, but don't loooooooove the swim workouts. I feel good once I'm in the pool, but get lapped by so many people that I have to tune it all out.

A lot of my workouts this month have involved paddles and pull buoys. I did not have a pull buoy, and used a kickboard between my legs the first couple of workouts. This is NOT an advisable way to do this. Maybe for those more coordinated, but after getting popped once in the chin by the kickboard I realized I needed a pull buoy STAT!!!! It is amazing how much smoother (not necessarily easier, but smoother) the workouts are now. I still don't love the swim, and I am still sloooow, but I've already been in the pool more times this month than I was for all of last winter, so that is progress!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Discount on Rev3 Tri Series

Interested in a a fun and challenging race for 2010? I am so excited about entering my first Rev3 race this year. The Rev3 race series was designed to make the race experience more enjoyable for families and spectators. The race venues are awesome locations, including Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. The Quassy event takes place at Quassy amusement park in beautiful Middlebury, CT. The University of Tennessee and the World's Fair Park play host to the Knoxville, TN Olympic distance race.

For the Cedar Point Half Rev (half iron distance) and Full Rev (full iron distance), the swim takes place right off of the amusement park beach. What more could you ask for?! There are fun activities during the race that my family can enjoy while waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for me to finish the swim, bike, or run. I am competing in the Half Rev (half iron distance), and looking forward to being part of this great event.

If you use the code Trakkers116 when you register, you will get a $10 discount off the cost of registering.

Rev 3 has three race venues this year:

Knoxville, TN May 9 (Olympic Distance)

Quassy in Middlebury, CT June 5&6 (Olympic and Half Iron distance)

Cedar Point September 12 (Half and Full Iron Distance)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Seriously?! I'm old enough to have a seven-year-old?

This Friday my daughter turns 7. Seriously?!?!?! I can't even wrap my brain around it. The best part is that she is an amazing, beautiful, super smart little lady (perhaps I am a bit biased). She has been asking a lot lately about competing in a Kids Tri next year, and about running with me. I am excited at the prospect of common interest. I got into distance running and then triathlon as a means of getting "me time", after years of feeling like "the incubator" and then "the milk lady". I loved it all, but was excited to focus on personal goals while being Mommy. The fact that she might also share these goals is so exciting. Happy Birthday sweetie!!!!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Born to Run" Freehold, NJ

Hmmmmm....does anyone really feel "Born to Run" the day after Thanksgiving? This was definitely not my best pre-race preparation, but I have wanted to run this race for a few years. This was the 25th Annual Born to Run (held in Bruce Springsteen's home town, also hometown of my cousins and Great Uncle- owners of Ballew Jewlers on Main Street in Freehold). For years we have seen runners go through town on the day after Thanksgiving, and this year I decided to join them. The race goes past my cousin's house, and through the park behind their house. It is hard to wuss out on a run that starts less than a mile from where you are staying.

Pre-race preparation was nonexistent (aside from packing lots of gear to ensure I had the right clothes for the weather). A couple of frosty beverages and a huge Thanksgiving dinner were less than ideal. I did make sure to hydrate with lots of water, but ate a heavy breakfast casserole (yum!) and had coffee the day of the race (something I never do). It was an 11am start, so I made sure to stop eating at least 2 hours prior.

Tommy dropped me off at the race site, and I spent pre-race time hanging with family at the jewelry store (about 50 feet from the start-can't beat that). There were almost 700 people in the race, so I had no designs on an amazing finish. My goals for the race were:

1. Finish
2. Avoid revisiting Thanksgiving dinner
3. Run the whole thing (I sometimes lose the psychological battle with myself).
4. If successful with 1 through 3, finish in under 45 minutes

The race was an out and back, with a fair amount of downhill on the first half (leaving lots to look forward to on the return). The halfway point was in the park behind my cousin's house. My initial mile was in line with my goals, so I was hopeful that I could keep it up. Entering the park after mile 2, I was pleased to see my Aunt Marianne and cousin Mark cheering me on. A little further down, my uncles Rob and Doug were there cheering me on. I think I had more of a cheering squad than anyone else in the race! The wind picked up around the lake, but I kept it up. I had on my Army Ten Miler shirt, and ended up running with a girl who had the same shirt for much of the race (the back says "I will never quit!"...good motivation). My family was there on the return leg...still hanging out to cheer me on. One of the dreaded hills on the return leg ends right near my cousin's driveway. I was pleasantly surprised to see Tommy and the kids, my Mom, and my cousin Danielle with her daughter there to cheer me on. I high-fived everyone and got a good dose of oomph! There were lots of retired Marines (in their 70s-80s) manning the road blocks as we got back to town. I always make sure to thank as many of the volunteers as I can during a race, and these guys were great. I did my best to kick it up at the finish, but definitely felt a bit whipped. Thankfully, I met all my goals (my family later reported that someone lost their turkey dinner right in front of them as they were cheering me on). The only thing I need to remember for next time is to look like I am having fun when I finish! It was a great race, good support, lots of nice runners, and I had an awesome cheering section. A great way to work off all the food!

Result: 42:18

12/65 (Females 30-39)

77/267 (Total Females)

282/657 Overall

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm on Team Trakkers!!!!!!

A month or so ago, I submitted an application to be a part of Team Trakkers 2010. Trakkers is a GPS system that allows family/friends/fans to track a triathlete during an event. It provides real-time information on their location, speed, etc. Apparently, 500 or so people applied for the team last year. The team spans the range from Pro triathletes to newbie triathletes like myself. Some of the team members have been to Kona more times than I have been to the grocery store! :) I am so excited to be a part of such an amazing team!

Trakkers and Rev 3 are our main sponsors. "The Revolution3 race series was created to change the way athletes, family members, and spectators view and participate in triathlons of all distances. One of our immediate goals is to make triathlons a more interactive, enjoyable experience for spectators by providing fun activities for children and family members during the race. Revolution 3 is about change! Change for the age grouper, change for the professional athlete, and change for the spectators."

More to come, but this is an awesome opportunity and I am really excited! Now to get my rear in gear with offseason training!

Scott Doyle 9/16/1974-11/18/2009

Scott Doyle was a Firefighter with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue. He suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during a BASE jumping accident in May of this year. Scott succumbed to those injuries on November 18, 2009. His send-off this weekend was one fitting of a man who made so many smile. Scott was a vibrant personality....always joking, always smiling. He will be missed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2009- My Rookie Tri Season in Review

After four tris this season, I thought I would reflect on my favorite gear/services/etc from my "rookie" tri season (also my wish list for 2010).

Things I Love from 2009
1. My Trek Madone
2. Mid Maryland Tri Club (the most awesome, supportive tri people EVER!)

3. She Does Tri Camp (tri camps just for women...a great place for novice triathletes to learn all about the sport), not to mention Amy my tri camp roomie

4. Team Luna Chix (very awesome ladies)
5. Elastic laces
7. Spin classes at Fitness First in Olney
8. WVA bike rides with rob
9. Team "Seriously?!?!" (aka my awesome family)
10. Hammer gels
11.My Nathan tri bag (an awesome bday gift)
12. David Glover's Triathlon in a Box training plan
2010 Wish List
1. Aero bars (more for the groovy water bottle that doesn't require manual dexterity than for the aerodynamic benefit)
2. AMPT testing with Natalie to stop my SI joint pain
3. Check out Trakkers (very cool GPS for endurance athletes so your family and friends can track you during a race...met a beta tester during the Army Ten Miler)
4. Consider a trainer for next season
5. Speed work on the run
6. Survive a half ironman

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Army Ten Miler- In Honor of Lance Corporal Julian Brennan

When I registered for the ATM, my goal was to have a great run experience in DC (similar to my Marine Corps Marathon experience last year), without having to run 26.2 again this year. As I registered and thought about the race, I felt compelled to write and ask my former art teacher if I could run the race in her son’s honor. Thya was the art teacher at our school for most of my ten years there, her son James was a year behind me, and daughter Shannon was my sister’s friend. Julian was there much younger brother who was often seen tagging along with an impish grin on his face.

“Little” Julian grew up, into an accomplished actor and triathlete. He was inspired by his Grandfather’s service in WWII, and joined the US Marine Corps in 2008. On January 24, 2009, Julian was killed in the Farah Province in Afghanistan.

Despite the fact that I hadn’t seen him in over ten years, I was honored that the Brennan family would allow me to run in his name. After four triathlons this summer and various short road races, I felt very different going into this event. At the expo (which was fairly empty when I went Friday afternoon), I actually got choked up. Just seeing all of the troops there, and knowing that giving us our packets or handing out T-shirts was much more benign than many of their usual work responsibilities. I made sure to thank as many as I could for their service.

Race day was again a different experience for me. My SI joint hurt from the moment I got up (a nagging injury in addition to knee issues), so I wasn’t sure how things would go. My mantra to myself was that this day wasn’t for me. It was to carry Julian’s name for 10 miles and finish no matter how long it took. In the start corral, it amazed me how tens of thousands of runners can suddenly be silent as the national anthem is played. I had Julian’s name and picture on my shirt, and several people asked me about him as we were waiting to start. I explained his story, and that his brother James will be running the Marine Corps Marathon in his honor later this month.

The SI pain got worse, not better, but I pushed hard. I did have a time goal in mind (under 90 min), but again had a bigger goal of just finishing. Just when I thought I felt defeated, I would see a wounded veteran competing and remember that this is just a Sunday run for me. So many people there have sacrificed so much more, and so many continue to serve our country. I wish I could have paused at every water stop to thank each of the servicemen and women for their service to our country. It just overwhelms me the commitment that these individuals make.

The only saving grace on the run was the downhill at the very end. I tried to pick up the pace at the finish, but it was way too crowded. At the risk of sounding dramatic, I got to the finishers area and started hobbling. My knee and SI were killing me, but I had accomplished my goal. (Unfortunately, ice and ice packs were in short supply and I figured there were others who needed me more). While happy about the time, my bigger goal was to recognize Julian’s sacrifice and I hope that I honored him appropriately.

The race overall met my expectations in terms of a really inspiring event through the streets of Washington. That being said, it was significantly more crowded than the MCM. I expended a significant amount of energy trying to get around people (and I was in the 8-8:59 min/mile corral, so I should have been a slow one). The water stops were hazardous with all the cups, and the last hundred meters was packed. They did have the biggest sea of Porta-Johns I have ever seen at the start/finish area, and plenty of water/snacks. Despite the congestion, it was a great event, and I am glad I competed.

Army Ten Miler Packet Pick-Up

Today I picked up my packet for the Army Ten Miler. I always feel this incredible sense of anticipation before an event (even one like this where my goal is just to finish, not to finish in the top ten). The atmosphere at the ATM and Marine Corps Marathon expos is emotional to me because you encounter so many servicemen and women. They are all so kind and helpful, and all I can think of is how grateful I am for their service.

The Army Ten Miler has an entirely different feel for me than any other race I have participated in. I am running in memory of Lance Corporal Julian Brennan. Julian was much younger than me, but we went to school with his siblings and his mother was our art teacher. Needless to say, their family was an integral part of our school experience.

Julian joined the Marines after being inspired by his grandfather's service in World War II. I run on Sunday to honor his service and his sacrifice, and feel honored that his mother Thya would allow me to run for him. Despite having not seen Julian in over ten years, I find myself feeling on the verge of being very emotional about this experience. I remember Julian as a young boy who always had a big grin on his face. He grew into a talented actor and triathlete, loving husband, and skilled Marine. I will be wearing Julian's name and picture on my jersey, and hope to do his memory justice.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Make-A-Wish Tri is in the books!

My “rookie” tri season really didn’t come together until late May/early June. I attended She Does Tri camp, and decided I definitely wanted to get a few events in this year. Luray International was to be my first International distance (after two sprints), with Make-a-Wish following a month later. I thought Make-a-Wish would be my “A” race (I say that loosely as “A” performance for me is a C-minus for many…but I’m ok with that). After two illnesses in between the two races, I felt over-rested as opposed to well-trained, but wanted to go with it.

My kids, sister, and I travelled to Bethany Beach on Friday since my Dad and Grandparents live there. On Saturday, I went to packet pickup and ran into Scott Fisher. We hadn’t met before, but I tend to be a bit chatty (not shocking for anyone reading any of my lengthy race reports), and through the course of our conversation I realized who he was (“You are the dentist, right?!”). I knew Ducky would be there, and Mark Yost was volunteering with his sons. It is so nice to have MMTC buddies at an event. I took my sister on a drive of the bike course (where I missed two turns and started to wonder about my navigational skills…though the one road wasn’t marked). My grandma is the queen of carb-loading, so we had a great dinner at her house. Grotto Pizza was donating to Make-A-Wish on Saturday, so we got pizza to go with the Mac-N-Cheese and Ziti (somehow I’m thinking greasy pizza is not the best pre-race food).

Race Day:
The morning was a bit brisk, and I was worried about being cold on the bike. I decided to wear my tri suit, and sacrifice a few seconds on T1 throwing a bike jersey on. Every star in the sky was shining brightly, and you could hear the waves crashing even though we were almost two blocks away. It was one of those moments you just have to soak in before the craziness of body marking and transition set-up. I saw several friendly faces on race morning since some of the Montgomery County Firefighters my husband works with were racing (one of them has participated for years and raised over $10,000 for the event). Several of them were tri newbies, so it was nice to focus on helping them. (As so many race reports have stressed, helping others definitely takes your mind off your own stress).

The finish point for the swim was set, so we had to walk to the start 0.93mi down the beach. The water was fairly warm (71 degrees), much warmer than the air. Thankfully the sun had come up and started to warm the air a bit.

Goals for the race:
1. Survive the swim and finish strong
2. If #1 happened, try to beat my only other international time of 3:10
3. Have fun on the bike and save something for the run.

Swim: (1.5K- 34:15…ouch! 288/379 overall, 13/15 age group)
The swim is my weakness and I know it. I can swim the distance, but I am slow! I wore a wetsuit for this race, and experienced that constricted feeling at points. I thought the water looked calm, but as we watched the elite wave go I quickly realized that it was fairly rough. As we entered the water, my timing chip started to feel loose. I stopped to ensure it was secure, and then started to swim. Right away I had that “poser” feeling. I know my bike and run are strong, but who was I to think I could complete an ocean swim?!?! I told myself that not finishing wasn’t an option, and kept plodding along. The blue caps in my wave seemed to get more distant. If I tried breast stroke for a few seconds to calm myself and sight, I got mouthfuls of salt water. Freestyle was actually the easiest stroke to do, so I went with it.

About 1/3 of the way through I settled in a bit (though I kept swinging wide between the buoys). At the halfway point, the wave behind me (the 40-ish men) started to overtake me. I just dug in and did the best I could. The one saving grace was different colored buoys, so I knew when I got to the last one. Turning into the shore and getting out of the water was much different than the other swims I have done. I just rode the waves and swam as long as I could. I ran up the beach, but did walk up the ramp (you then had to go down a ramp that I was worried could be slick). The run up the ramp and then down the ramp counted toward T1 time.

T1 (4:20, 175/379, 7/15 age group) I decided not to rush transition, worried that the bike would be chilly and wanting to get some water in before I started (I want tri bars next year just so I can have one of those groovy water bottles that sits between them!). My time reflects my leisurely pace in transition. I was trying to move quickly, but also being methodical about things. I was so glad to have survived the swim that the rest was gravy.

Bike (25.5 miles, 1:15:15, 89/379 overall, 2/15 age group- average pace 19.8mph per race results, 20.3 per my computer)

I was really looking forward to the bike. The course was nice without major obstacles (and almost totally flat), and I knew I could pick up some lost time from the swim. This is where I need some input. I have always been a rule follower (some would say “goody-two-shoes”), and hate breaking the rules just about as much as I hate getting in trouble for breaking said rules. This was a no drafting race, and since I have become friends with Kim Larson (Team Z member and USAT official), I have heard her explain these rules on a few occasions. I saw people get penalties for drafting at Luray and want no such part of anything that could get me a penalty (I already do enough damage to my time on the swim!).

I was on my own for the beginning of the bike, but around mile 3 I ended up near a group of men from the 40+ age group, as well as a couple of younger men who started ahead of me. They were riding at a 20+ mph pace, which felt great. Trying to respect the drafting rules, I tried to get ahead but kept getting sucked back into the group (I am not a seasoned cyclist when it comes to racing, so it took me a while to figure out that it was futile to try and get ahead…they always caught up). If I tried to hang back, I was riding my brakes and slowing myself down substantially. Just when I got 3 lengths behind someone, someone else would come up and get right in front of me. Needless to say I decided to go with “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. I wasn’t thrilled with this strategy, as I would have preferred to be alone, but wasn’t sure what else to do. In the last few miles of the race, the “pack” grew larger and larger…to the point it was downright out of control. People were riding three abreast, and there was no room to pass unless you crossed the double yellow line. I followed the rules to the best of my ability and tried to stay out of the mix. I broke away in the last mile or so, but got caught before transition. I probably wasted a lot of energy trying to get away from the group, but again was kind of stumped. Any input from more experienced triathletes is much appreciated.

T2: (1:32, 87/379, 3/15)
I redeemed myself a bit on this one, though my time would have been better if I hadn’t run two racks beyond mine (and my brain just wasn’t registering where my rack was). I ended up picking up my bike and running to my rack. I had put on a jersey for the bike so I took that off to run in my tri top (left the Hammer Gel I had stashed for the run in there, though!).

Run: (10K, 53:25, 8:36 miles, 165/379, 4/15)

I got started on the run and hoped that my knee and SI joint would be kind (I have been nursing injury all year). The run is flat, and goes right past our house. The out portion was no fun (South on Route 1 toward Fenwick), as I just wanted to get to the turnaround. I was running side-by-side with another female, and kept pace with her to the turnaround. I had increasing knee discomfort, so I told myself I would let her go at the turnaround. I was so happy to see a young volunteer handing out Hammer Gels, and sucked half of one down at the halfway point. Mark Yost was at the water stop with his sons, which was very cool (I don’t think he saw me, though). At the turn, I realized how many females were behind me. I was sure I was further back since I was one of the last of my wave out of the water and I didn’t feel like I had passed that many people on the bike. I guess I must have been “in the zone” (or in a daze from the lack of oxygen to my brain!). I allowed myself to walk for about 30 seconds but it didn’t help my knee any. Sea Colony became visible in the distance, and I knew I didn’t have too far to go. Traffic was slowed on Route 1 because of the race, and a lot of the bikers (it was Bike Week in Ocean City) were cheering us on. I also had a little girl in a minivan cheering me on.

During the bike, I revised my time goal a bit (at Luray, I let myself slack on the run a bit because I knew I would meet my goal). This time I lowered the goal to 2:50 so that I wouldn’t have an excuse to slack. This strategy worked, and I met the goal. My children and sister met me at the finish, which was awesome (they saw me on both ends of the run, but I did not see them…bummer). We eventually made it to the post-race picnic, and I was shocked to see my place. I honestly did not expect to finish well (I’m not Kona-bound or anything, but happy with how my “rookie” season ended).Of course I am wondering how the heck I will do a Half next year, but I’m registered so I’m going to have to figure it out!!!!!!

Time: 2:48:55 Overall place (either 145 or 166/379..can't quite figure it out)
Age group place 3/15

Lessons learned in my first year of triathlon:
1. Joining Mid Maryland Triathlon Club was the best money I’ve ever spent on fitness (awesome camaraderie, great resources, and I heard about She Does Tri Camp through the club)
2. I love cycling and should have picked it up again a lot sooner!
3. I am addicted to the sport of triathlon and will make the swim my goal in the offseason
4. I have LOTS left to learn about the sport!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gearing up for my last tri of the year

I got "the crud" the week after Luray (I like think of it as "post-final exam syndrome"...you work hard for something and when you finally relax your body seizes the opportunity to break down). It recurred last week (Tommy and I both had the crud), so my training has been spotty. I also had a 60-page pharmacology chapter to write, so that put a damper on training.

With Make-a-Wish on the 20th, I really cranked it up this week with an open water swim (thanks to Dawn, my MMTC friend, who coordinated), a hilly bike ride in WVA with my Uncle Rob, and an 8-mile run. Today I ran and swam, which doesn't usually happen on a weekday for me (one or the other).

I have started registering for next year's races (there is at least one half ironman on the dockett). I am definitely hooked on this sport!

Luray International Tri

Luray was my first international distance triathlon. David Glover, the race organizer, is also one of the organizers of the "She Does Tri" camp which I attended this spring. I knew the race would be a great opportunity to see some friends from "camp", and get my first international under my belt in a great venue. My family and I traveled up the day before (I enticed my 6 and 3 year olds to come by offering up a trip to Luray Caverns). My husband has never seen me race before (he was on Daddy duty when I ran the Marine Corps last year), so I was really excited. The caverns were a blast (especially now with a high-tech self-guided tour). We went by Lake Arrowhead so I could show them the race site (I had the opportunity to swim, bike, and run there a week prior to the race), and had a great pasta dinner at the Luray firehouse (my husband is a firefighter and my son obsessed with all things firefighting). The cabin we rented was beautiful, and my pre-race jitters were calmed as I sat on the deck that night and looked at all of the stars with this wonderful breeze blowing.We took 2 cars so I could be out of the house early on Saturday.

My daughter woke up as I kissed her goodbye and said "Finish strong, Mommy" (I started saying this to her when she was about 4 and would run out of steam at soccer practice- I had it printed on my Road ID for a little motivation). I saw several tri friends at the race site, so that provided some distraction. They skipped a rack when setting up transition, which was of course mine. They ended up putting us next to the relay rack, right at the Bike exit/entrance (but furthest away from the swim entrance and run exit- I don't think this hurt because I had the shortest amount of time possible pushing my bike through transition). I had some basic goals for the race:
1. Finish (and, as per my co-workers, "Don't die on the swim"..I told them water wings are not USAT approved)
2. Push it hard on the bike
3. If 1 and 2 were met, try to complete the event in under 3:15

Swim- 1.5km 39:18 (152/183...ouch!!!)
I am a slow swimmer, and I know it. I have been trying to work on this, but my goal for this race was to finish the swim with some energy left. There is lots to work on for next year. I felt comfortable for the whole swim (I thought of it as a "Pac-Man" shape), but there was a bit of trouble sighting with the sun. I was in the last 5 or so from my wave out of the water, but knew I could pick up some time. There was a run over the sand, through the grass, and up a flight of wooden stairs to transition. Several people were taking their time walking up the steps on the left, but I took them two at a time up the right side (have to make up time where I can).

T1 02:14 (63/183)
It was a long run to my bike rack, and the relay bikers were hanging out in a pack. I yelled to them as pleasantly as I could, letting them know that I needed to get to my bike. They didn't slow me down, but probably thought I was a bit rude.

Bike 25 miles (1:30:03- 16.7mph)
The bike course is hilly, with a lot of false flats. You feel like you have lost all steam on the flat, and then realize you are actually going uphill. I actually like the feeling of chasing down my age group on the bike, so my swim left me with lots of incentive to pass females ahead of me. I had a great time on the bike, and felt good the whole way. There is a decent hill in the last 2 miles which gets your heart rate going just in time for the run. I got a little oomph on one of the flats from three horses galloping along a fence next to me- a beautiful sight. I saw my husband as I was coming into transition, so that was very exciting.

T2 1:08 (34/183- woohoo!)
I actually took a few seconds to drink water in transition, so I am happy with this time.

Run 10K 57:49 (9:19 miles 85/183)
My kids hopped off the playground equipment to cheer me on at the run start. I know there are USAT rules about outside assistance, and I didn't know if this was against the rules, so I actually didn't slap hands with them (of course then I felt like the meanest mom EVER! Next time I will be slapping all the hands I can).The run course is brutal. There are some big uphills, but running the same out and back course twice requires some serious mental strength. My strategy (based on my previous run there) was to push a little harder on the way out, knowing the worst uphill is on the way back in. I did a fair amount more walking than I would have liked (which makes me happy with the pace), but my heart rate was way up there at some points. I met another woman at the end of the first loop and we pushed each other for the second loop. I took in some hammer gel on the second loop, and definitely kicked it up a bit for the last couple of miles. I walked up the big hill again (did I mention all my S.I. joint pain? It was definitely locking up at that point), and perhaps was a little too relaxed because I knew I could meet my time goal.

With about 0.4 mi left, I passed a volunteer who was cheering for each number he saw. "245, are you finishing?" I said yes, and he said "Finish Strong!". Needless to say, after starting the day with those words from my daughter I figured I needed to live up to our motto. I really kicked the last 0.4 miles (I even got a compliment on my stride), and passed several people before the finish. I know the race announcer (a former pro who coached at tri camp), so when he said my name I threw my hands up and had a big grin on my face as I crossed the finish line. I was overwhelmed by the joy of finishing (I seriously thought I could cry), and excited by the prospect of working to improve at this distance. I later talked to one of the other competitors (an elite female and tri camp coach- are you sensing a theme here?) and she said the bike at Luray is more challenging than Columbia, but the Columbia run is harder. I guess I will find out next year. Overall, I am happy with my performance and totally addicted to this sport!!! I got the opportunity to volunteer at the sprint the following day, and had a great time on the other side of things.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rocky Gap Sprint Tri

I hadn't heard about the Rocky Gap sprint until last weekend, but was on a "tri high" after my first tri so I thought I would give it a shot. My swim was less than stellar last week (14:34 for 0.25mi), so I figured this would be a chance to get more swim practice. The scenery was beautiful, but the bike and run were the polar opposite of last week (completely flat vs "rolling hills"). I drove up the morning of the event by myself, and was lucky enough to run into a friend from nursing school and her sister as soon as I parked my car. There is nothing like unexpected support at an event. This event was slightly different than last week's, as there weren't assigned spaces in transition. I got there early, and got the end of a rack. There was plenty of time and space for me to set up, but eventually people were parking their bikes against the temporary fencing. The swim start was still water, with men 55 and under in the first heat and all others in the second. One of my problems last time was feeling like my throat was constricted. Having some time in the water before the swim, and working more to adjust my wetsuit totally paid off. I shaved more than 4 minutes off the swim from last week, but could also tell that there is room for more improvement.
(Swim: 0.25mi, 10:15).

I think my transitions are going fairly well, but they didn't clock the times and I am not coordinated enough to time myself. The bike was not exactly what I would define as "rolling hills". There were virtually no flats....all uphill or downhill. I ended up regretting the two spin classes I did this week but held my own on the bike. I tend to do well on the uphills and then get passed on the downhill. There was a man I kept leapfrogging with on the hills. Unfortunately it was an out and back, so you got to know the course, but every downhill was an uphill on the way back. I ended up clocking 29:10 for 8 very hilly miles.

The run was not my finest. My glutes were tight after the bike and the run was hilly. I actually walked a couple of strides on the first half. After the turnaround, I got a lot more steam. I started passing a few people (on the bike and run, I got lots of oomph if I passed a younger male since they started two minutes ahead of me). I really picked it up for the last stretch, and ended up sprinting with a man who tried to overtake me. (I'm not super competitive, but I couldn't let him pass me in the last 50 yards). After a much better swim, I really was just looking to complete the tri and enjoy myself. My time was nothing stellar (13 minutes slower than the fastest female), but apparently good enough to win my age group. I was shocked when they announced my name. I know to enjoy my podium experience now, since I am going to be blown out of the water at a bigger tri. I am totally hooked now, and excited to train for two Internationals later this summer.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

DiamondGirl Delaware Race Report

The title of this race report should be “I need more OWS practice!” This will be a lengthy report, so pardon me, but I am pumped and have lots to share. I travelled to Delaware Saturday evening with Amy Johnson (another MMTC member and my “She Does Tri” camp roomie…we also work together at Montgomery General Hospital). We went to Lums Pond State Park and checked out the course. The bike route was only 10 miles so we drove it to get a feel for things. The course was about as flat as you can get, if you didn’t count the speed bumps in the park. There were only 114 people registered, so there didn’t seem to be any “bad” spots in transition. After scoping things out, we headed to the hotel and researched good spots for a pre-race dinner. We settled on “La Casa Pasta”, which turned out to be an excellent choice.

Over dinner, we both commented that we really needed elastic laces to put in our running shoes. This prompted a wild goose chase through Newark in search of elastic laces. With no running stores nearby, we tried Dicks, Modells, Eastern Mountain Sports, Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, and The Walking Company. NO ONE had elastic laces. Oh well! (Of course you will see where this would have been nice when you read about my run). Prior to turning in for the night, we had the opportunity to meet up with Nanci Santiago (another MMTC member). Finally to race day. We were at packet pick up as soon as it opened and able to get set up in transition before most people. I was happy that I seemed to have everything I needed (transition was my biggest stressor this past week), and got myself set up without too much trouble. There was a dense fog, so when we walked down to the beach the buoys were barely visible. Luckily it burned off and we were left with a clear, beautiful morning before the race start. I was a bundle of nerves at that point. Despite years as a lifeguard at a camp on the Chesapeake Bay, and practicing OWS in my wetsuit, I had a classic case of open water panic when I started swimming. I didn’t get kicked, but felt constricted in the neck area by the suit and got a couple big gulps of water. I ended up treading water to catch my breath, then swimming a combo of breast stroke and freestyle to calm down. I rounded the first buoy (it was an out, across, and back in course…the technical name for which I am not aware of), and was wondering how I could swim a mile in the pool without much trouble but felt awful after 100 meters. After rounding the second buoy (and seeing the second wave get too close for comfort), I kicked it in a bit. I stuck with freestyle for the last leg, and remembering a tip I read in someone else’s race report, touched the bottom three times before standing up. I felt a touch unsteady but was able to run through the grass to transition and get my wetsuit top off as I went.
(Swim Time- ¼ mile in 14:30…..this did include the run to the transition area, but put me at 62/114)

T1 (1:54)I have no idea if this is a good transition time or not (the mats were right on either side of transition). I did feel pretty good about how it went. My wetsuit came off easily, and the crate I brought came in handy for sitting down to put my bike shoes on. I knew my swim was not good, but thought I could make up for it a bit on the bike.

Most of my bike training this spring has been in spin class, so my goal was high rpms for this flat course. I passed several people on the first half of the course, including a couple from my age group (that felt pretty good). It was lonely on the second half, but I just kept pushing it. The only person who passed me was an elite triathlete from the second wave (which started 3 min behind us). I figured that was a good sign. My biggest fear on the bike was the dismount but I managed to get it. (I am loving my new Trek Madone!!!!)
(Bike: 10 miles in 31:49, rank 18/114)

T2 was ok except for the fact that I got up to run and realized one of my shoes was too loose…of course I tried to leave it alone and ended up stopping during the run to tie it. (T2 1:14)

The run was all about just finishing for me. I have done really well on some 5K runs lately, but had no desire to empty my tank too fast on this one. The course was partially on grass, partially on road (some of which was uneven). It was an out-and-back, stated to be 2 miles, but based on the average times people were clocking it had to be shorter. I managed to twist my ankle on an uneven part of the road, but it didn’t hurt too much to run (not quite the same status now). At the turnaround, I started talking to another woman as we ran. She had quite a positive attitude and gave me someone to pace with. Usually at the end of the run I will crank up my speed at the very end. This time, I could barely pick it up at all at the end. Having never done this before, I was happy with my time and the fact that I finished at all.
(Run: 14:19 for “2” miles)S

o of course I was shocked to find that I had finished 29/114, and that I had taken 2nd place in my age division (mind you, 1st in my age group finished about 6 minutes before me). Feeling pretty good for my first tri!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Personal Record. Woo Hoo!

So I ran a 5K today (The "Musical Madness 5K" to benefit the music programs at Reservoir High School). Amy (co-worker, tri-camp roomie, and training buddy) ran the race, too. I picked her up bright and early (but you have to love that it is light outside at 6am these days). The day was beautiful, but the humidity and temperature increased quickly.

The course was rather hilly, but well-marked with no traffic. It was the first race I have run in a while without a timing chip, but we positioned ourselves near the front of the pack. Starting out, I felt like my heart rate was too high. I had forgotten my watch, so I was feeling a little off in terms of pacing myself. I did my best to slow down and calm down my heart rate. At the halfway point (also the turnaround), I felt pretty good. It was then that I realized there weren't a lot of females in front of me. The out and back format allowed me to cheer for Amy as we passed each other, and for Ed another co-worker (who won an award in his age group).

There was a big hill at about the 2.5 mile mark, but a little girl on the corner was cheering everyone on with metallic pom poms. Coming into the finish, I realized I had some more in the tank and tried to pick things up a bit. When I saw my finish time was 25:06, I was pleasantly surprised. My half marathon/marathon pace was 9:50 minutes per mile, and the 10K I ran on Thanksgiving was 8:50. The race is obviously shorter, but I think a lot of training on the treadmill this winter was good for my speed. When they posted the results, I realized that I had done well, but also that I might be in the top three for my age group. I was totally excited to get a medal and gift card for being in third place among 30-39 year old females. It is probably the only time that will happen (I think they just didn't have a big turnout from my age group), so I will enjoy it. Amy was an awesome supporter, not to mention that she kicked butt on the run.

I don't think I drank quite enough after, because I've had a headache all afternoon, but it was all worth it! Yeah!

Monday, May 4, 2009

"I never regretted a workout"

When my daughter started playing soccer, she would poop out in the last few minutes of practice (she was only 4). My line for her was always "finish strong". When it came time to train for and run my first (and only) marathon, I had to keep using that line on myself. ("Practice what you preach", and all).

Katy, my training buddy and good friend, always says she has regretted many meals but "I never regretted a workout." I try to keep that in mind whenever I am dragging. I made it to the gym for a run on the treadmill before picking up the kids. The treadmill has been great for improving my speed this winter, but I have to balance it with running the hills around home. My average time for both the half and full marathon was a 9:50 minute. I ran a lot on the treadmill after the marathon, and averaged an 8:50 minute on the 10K a month later. (Granted a much shorter event, but still an improvement). I run a 5K this weekend, so I am interested to see how it goes.

Getting back to never regretting a workout.... I am completely exhausted after a Monday at work and an evening with the kids (why do they never go to bed before 10 when their Dad is working?!). Despite that, I am so glad that I got in a 3 mile run...nothing feels better than breaking a sweat and burning some calories. I even ran into Katy at the gym (on her birthday, no less). Now I just need to work on monitoring my heart rate when I run and getting an optimal workout (details, details).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Training at the Pool Today

So I haven't been in the pool since camp last weekend (waiting for our neighborhood pool to open so I don't have to pay $5 for each session). After the feedback on my videotape analysis at She Does Tri, I was eager to get into the p00l. My biggest areas for improvement are bending my arms under the water more, and twisting my body more in the water. I used a training routine from the regimen given to us at camp.

It was amazing what a difference a couple of drills can make when you know what you need to improve. Since I started swimming seriously again this winter, I realized that I am totally unable to breathe to the left when swimming freestyle. I swear I could do it in my lifeguarding days, but now look like a beginner swimmer when I try. (This comes back to not twisting my body enough in the water). I used the "side kick" drill, though I felt totally uncoordinated while doing it (I used a sidestroke kick but wasn't sure if this was correct). 6x25 of this drill, then I was back to some freestyle laps. Literally on the first lap I was able to breathe to the left without gasping for air. Craziness! Who knew? I was so excited (but had to contain myself because I was trying not to run up on the lady swimming backstroke in my lane). I also worked on bending my arm in the water and really could feel the difference in the power of my stroke.

It was a great swim. After a spin class/treadmill "brick" yesterday, it was a successful weekend of training. Now if only the rain would stop!!!!!

(We also had an awesome soccer game for S this weekend and a great BBQ with friends last night, dinner with family tonight, about 4 loads of laundry, two trips to the grocery store, some serious light saber action from D, and lots of progress on the basement by T......a very productive weekend!)

"She Does Tri" Camp

After attending "She Does Tri" camp (http://www.shedoestri.com/), I emailed my triathlon club about the experience (http://www.midmdtriclub.org/). Since I have started training in earnest, I decided to keep blogging about my experiences. (If nothing else, my family and friends will be able to keep up with how things are going). Here is that first post about my tri camp experience:

If you aren’t familiar with “She Does Tri”, it is a tri camp that waslaunched this year by David Glover (25-time Ironman) and Krista Schultz (elite triathlete). My “bios” don’t do them justice, so check out the She Does Tri website (they have links to their blogs and websites there).
I enlisted a co-worker who has done sprint tris in the past to attend with me. Traveling with a buddy gave the weekend a road trip feel. As a tri newbie, I was looking forward to soaking up all the insider tips and building my confidence.

We arrived at the Hampton Inn in Warrenton on Friday afternoon. David and Krista had a conference room for our group reserved for the weekend. It served as a classroom, exercise room, and home base. There was also an ample supply of Smart Water, Vitamin Water, Luna Bars and fruit. The afternoon started out with an icebreaker (a cross between “speed dating” and “twenty questions”), which got us laughing and meeting one another. Our group varied from individuals who hadn’t practiced recently in any of the tri sports to those who had competed in multiple tri’s.

David and Krista held their inaugural camp in March, so they made a few adjustments with our group. They added a strength training and stretching session with Colby Schreckengost of Next Level Performance Training . This was a great way to keep our bodies moving in line with our brains. Dinner was catered, with side dishes by Bill and Catherine Goodrum (Warrenton locals, friends of Krista and David. Bill is a triathlete and phenomenal chef, and Catherine is a budding triathlete). Over dinner, Krista and David gave us an intro to triathlon. The presentations were very interactive. They were receptive to the questions and let them guide the discussions.

At the poolSaturday started with a yoga session led by Catherine Goodrum (did I mention she is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist?). It was a perfect start to the day. Breakfast included a continuation of the Intro to Tri talk. Then we were off to the Warrenton aquatic center (a beautiful facility). Brad Rex (retired pro triathlete, triathlon announcer and all-around very cool guy), and Katie Davison (team leader for Team Luna Chix DC, triathlete, and swim fanatic) led the swim clinic.

We were divided into groups by comfort level (“I want lots of supervision in the water”, “I am comfortable in the water but keep an eye on me”, and “I am very comfortable so don’t worry about me, Mom”). Brad, Katie, and Krista then ran us through drills in the pool. After drills, we were filmed both above and under the water swimming. As a finale to the swim session, we ran through a swim start drill (all 18 of us swimming from one side of the pool to the other at once…churning water, inadvertent kicks, and all). Over lunch at the aquatic center, we reviewed our videotape and got great feedback from Brad.

The next stop was the Warrenton Cycling Center. There, we practiced changing a tire. (This was a good pre-ride exercise, as several people had tire or tube issues that were identified at this time). Tim Dingus from WCC also provided some of the SAG support (along with David), during our ride. From the cycling store, we went to our bike start. The ride was 23 miles, through rolling hills. There was a water break at the halfway point, and again at the turnaround. Signs were posted along the oute, but there was a ride leader for every three to four “campers”. I was ervous about my clips (lots of spin classes but little road riding with my new bike), but managed not to fall at all. My new bike zipped down the hills, and the uphills felt good, so I was excited. Kim Larson (two-time Ironman and Team Z member) was our group leader. She is also a USTA official, so she had lots of input on tri rules. Talking with her along the ride was very helpful.

The second new addition to camp this time around was a Brick. After the ride, Krista gave us the option of a ten minute run, or completing a 3 mile run. The day had gotten quite warm, but everyone put in a good effort. I ran the full 3 miles (too stubborn not to). It was mental at the end, but Sarah (another camper and Team Luna Chix member) pushed me at the end. It was a great sense of accomplishment to know we had completed all the aspects of the sprint tri that day.

The evening ended with dinner catered by Bill and Catherine Goodrum at their home. Natalie King, PTA, spoke to us during dinner about body mechanics and stretching. She is an avid cyclist and triathlete, as well as physical therapy assistant and co-developer of the AMPT program for triathletes (check her out at http://schrierpt.com). We fell into bed on Saturday.

Sunday was forecast to be 90 degrees, so we hydrated well. Krista (who minored in Nutrition in college), gave us a talk on nutrition during breakfast. Next we headed to the local high school track for a speed workout. Brad gave us a talk on the mechanics of the feet and shoe fit. Krista talked about training for the run and monitoring heart rate. The workout gave us a lot of tools for improving our run. After a shower and check out, we met up for the conclusion of the day. David walked us through transition, and then took us outside for practice (complete with a simulation of the dizziness experienced when coming out of the water).

Dave Greenfield of Elite BicyclesThe final speaker of the day was Dave Greenfield, president of Elite Bicycles, former pro-triathlete, and former Jamaican national triathlon champion. His knowledge of the sport, passion for bike fitting, and humor made his talk a great finish to the camp.
Krista, David, and their support crew were phenomenal. We were surrounded by incredibly knowledgeable triathletes all weekend. Women-specific training issues were discussed throughout the camp, and everyone was so supportive. The attendees were enthusiastic and motivated.
I am so glad I attended She Does Tri, and can’t wait until they plan the alumni weekend (aka She Does Tri part 2).