Monday, February 16, 2015

Bretton Woods Winter Tri - Baxter Outdoors Packed Powder Series

When I see an event that has Triathlon in the title I am naturally drawn to it. So when the Bretton Woods Winter Triathlon by Baxter Outdoors showed up on my Facebook news feed I had to race it. I talked with Steve and he ok'd it. Yes I have to run everything by him, especially in this case because it changed my training the week leading up to it.

I've never run on snow and I've only snowshoe ran once at the Winter Tri at Whittaker Woods, three years ago. So I had to get used to running with resistance/weight on my feet. I did an easy 5k snowshoe run at work on Wednesday only tripped twice and the next day my hip flexors were sore but that was to be expected.

Thursdays training was a brick - 5k snowshoe run to 5k skate ski. Just figured out how to get video to display on my blog!! So here is my Facebook post on this brick:

Post by Meghan Skidmore.
If it doesn't play click here

Thursday afternoon I contacted the president of Stabil Icers as they were one of the sponsors for the race to let him know I am the "cover girl" for their product and see if there was any support/sponsorship available to me. Here is part of his response

          "We do have a new Ambassador Program with only one Ambassador to date who is a      
           Canadian runner. We would love to have a New England Ambassador and would be happy to 
           provide product and support your presence online and at events as well."

In a matter of two hours of email correspondence I became the New England Ambassador for them!! They overnighted gear and I had it just in time for the race!


Friday I had to do openers (three, 3 min race pace effort invervals on my bike) as I do before every race.

Saturday morning was race day! I was able to eat all my oatmeal mixed with sliced almonds, granola and honey so the nerves hadn't gotten a hold of me yet. I packed a few snacks for pre race, 10am is my snack time so I knew I'd be hungry again.

The race started at 10am which is when I am almost finished with my summer tris so it was a bit different for me. It allowed more time to get nervous.  Plus it was about 10 degrees. I don't race much in the winter so had no idea what to wear. I packed my big duffel and made changes as I needed while warming up.

I arrived with plenty of time to warm up but that time disappeared quickly as I had to figure out clothing, the transition and a warm up. I checked in and Adam, the Race Director, said we knew you were coming. Neil from Stabil Icers had contacted him about my new role with the company. Adam was glad to have me race.

My summer warm ups are ingrained in my head. I set up transition after askingAdam how the flow would go and went out for a ski. I forgot my h20 waist belt so I couldn't drink. I skied for less then 10 mins and started to feel way low on energy and almost felt "bonky". I turned around and dug around in my bag and I didn't bring what I needed. I purchased some energy gummies and had two but almost spit them out they weren't great. Glad I didn't spit them out it would have been funny to try and spit partially chewed gummies in an area packed with people. I had a few almonds and finished my banana. I only brought one gel, that was a mistake. I keep a few gels in my summer tri bag but that bag wasn't big enough to hold all my stuff so I used a different bag.

I set up my transition where I thought it would be and went for a short run. Start time was fast approaching. I returned and my stuff was still the only set up. As Adam made announcements I had to decide on adding another layer or not. I ran in a got my vest and set it down near my snowshoes in case I needed it.

I had to get a picture of my Stabil Icers to share on their Facebook page to fulfill my ambassador duties.

Although this race was small I still got nervous and never once though I would win, I wanted to and told myself I would on the drive over, but as Steve always tells me "You can't control anyone or anything else. Stay with in your race and block all others out. The chips will fall as they do and do the best you can." Reason #145 I am lucky to have Steve.
The run was 3.1 miles broken into 2 laps around the Mt. Washington Hotel mostly on roads, a course change the morning of. Bretton Woods Nordic didn't want us running on their groomed trails. I was dreading running in snow and hadn't had a chance to do so during the week. So I was elated at this change.

3....2....1 Go!! At the start of every race everyone goes out too hard to jockey for the perfect position. We filed in after the first turn and I was passed by a female in under 5 minutes and in less then 3 minutes she was out of sight! I stayed at my pace and when I finished the first lap Regina yelled "She's got 2:00 minutes on you!" Two thoughts went through my mind "Whoa, who is this girl?" and "Keep your pace you still have more than 10km of racing to go." I did my second lap and was passed by one guy. I came into T1 and made the switch before him and never saw him. Felt good about that. (I found out later he only did the run portion)

As I took my running shoes off and put my feet into my Salomon's that were already strapped into the snowshoes, Regina yelled "She just went over the bridge!" (200 yrds away) Great I might have a chance of catching her! Thanks to Doug Mayer for letting me borrow them!!

My legs felt the shift in stride and the light weight of the snowshoe but I blocked that out. Not far after the bridge I noticed a pair of snowshoes on the side of the trail and foot prints on the course. I was shocked to see someone already had their ski boots on for the next leg and tried running with snowshoes attached to them. Well apparently that's not a great idea. I had no idea who it was. After mile 1 ish of lovely groomed terrain, very easy to run on. We ventured into the woods for the ungroomed portion of the race very hard to run in. It was walked the day before by two snowshoers setting the course. So it wasn't really packed at all. It was a trudge and every time I lifted my snowshoe I was lifting snow with it and had to stay in the narrow path or else I'd disappear in the 3 feet of snow on either side. Even with three athletes in front, it still wasn't an even surface. It was THE hardest and most mentally challenging part of the race. I honestly wanted to stop and that's never happened in a race before but I have also never run in deep snow. I heard someone behind me and that kept me going.

I discovered the person running in cross country boots post holeing up to her mid shins, I finally caught her! Laura was struggling big time. I was hoping she'd step into the snowy abyss to allow me to stay in the path but that didn't happen. I stepped out almost got sucked into the deep fluffyness.  I kept trying to run and lost a little time but passed her. The deep snow went on forever! I finally made it back to groomed after a little more than a mile of slogging. The 3rd place female, Hillary passed me and started down the next hill. Then her snowshoe fell off I smiled a little inside - this is one of the things I can't control but I can take advantage of. I said "Shoot" and felt a little bad for her. I ran even harder for about a minute to build a gap. I held her off for only 5 minutes, at least that's what I thought. As she passed me she didn't have snowshoes on. It was Laura again, she passed me like I was walking and disappeared again. "Commme on!" I said inside. Again two thoughts; "If she can ski I won't catch her" "That's not fair she ran it all with out the weight of snowshoes maybe she'll be disqualified"

As I got closer to T2 she was making her way back over the bridge. I took one glance at her form and she was fumbling. I smiled inside and knew I'd catch her. Then I as I entered transition Hillary was right with me. I got concerned, I had no idea if she could ski. I noticed she had on small gaitors which I decided against because it would take longer to get them off and into my ski boots.

I stuck my feet into my boots and tried to close the straps, I couldn't because the snow had built up around the bottom of my tights. I quickly problem solved and yanked them up out of my boots and put my skis and poles on. I was out before Hillary. I was ready for the much faster pace of sliding on snow vs running with extra weight of the snowshoe. I wanted to ski hard but I was running out of gas so I focused on some small goals;
• Catch Laura
• Maintain my technique
• Push it on the up hills
• Hold off Hillary

I passed Laura with in 5 minutes and maintained my technique. I climbed up a longer hill knowing I'd have a rest on the other side. I bombed down the hill and half way down my left ski got caught in the rib of the corduroy. I tried my best to hold it together but I couldn't. My legs split and I must have looked like Bambi on ice. I went down and sprawled out everywhere, I actually laughed at myself.

My first thought was being in the way of the next skier. I quickly glanced up the hill and saw no one. I tried to get up really fast but my pole was under my ski and it slid down the shaft 3 times before I realized it. Then still in a panic, I tried to pull my pole out but the basket was caught under my ski. After 3 attempts and looking up hill I had stop the adrenaline and break it down. I took a deep breath and said to myself "lift up your leg so you can move your pole, now move your pole on the other side of your ski and stand up." This all happened so fast I was probably only down for less than a minute but it seemed more like five. Luckily no one came down the hill. I got up and continued on trying to gain my composure. 

I was holding Hillary off but I had no idea what my gap was. I pushed it when I could and made it back to the field. I glanced back once before the bridge 200 yds to the finish line and didn't see her. I gave it my all and crossed the finish line in 1:18:26. Hillary came across in 1:22:27.

I slowed to a stop and hung my head trying to regain my breath. I found Regina and gave her a hug and started crying. When I have difficulties in a race and give 110% I loose it and cry because I am proud of myself, I am exhausted, I am happy it's over and I am stronger. Mixed emotions get the best of me and crying usually wins the battle.
 
I cheered Hillary in and went inside to change for my cool down ski. I put my skis back on and began to shake I guess I didn't put enough layers on. Gina noticed this and ran back inside to get my puffy. I skied for five minutes and couldn't feel my fingers so I turned around and went back inside to warm up, drink my recovery drink and elevate my legs.

I learned so much from this race:
• Being 2:00 behind and not getting caught up in trying to run faster when it's not my pace.
• Knowing I can push myself a little harder, I wanted to give up on the ungroomed snowshoe portion but I didn't.
• Problem solving and staying in control of my race and trying not to worry about anyone else who I can't control.

After awards and more stretching Regina and I had lunch across the way at Bretton Woods Alpine and visited my friend Megan.

When I got home I had a 30 minute easy spin to help my legs recover a bit more and I was still chilled.


Online results here

Monday, February 2, 2015

Welcome Recent 2015 Sponsors

I've started the process of asking businesses to support my 2015 race season and I wouldn't be able to pursue my triathlon career at this level without their help and the support of friends and family. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

As of today the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, the White Mountain Aquatic Center and Peak Health Sports Massage have signed on again!  It feels amazing that I can say these local businesses, along with a few others I have not asked yet, have been a part of Team Skidmore since the beginning back in 2012.



http://mtwashingtonautoroad.com/


I am also proud to welcome Stan and Dan's Sports as the official Team Skidmore bike shop!  

http://www.stananddansports.com/




Monday, January 26, 2015

I made the right decision....

Oh the life of a dedicated athlete, it brings out many emotions; the feeling of success, the physical hard work, the hours of training, the dedication to training and having to turn down most social engagements. It can get overwhelming at times, so overwhelming it can lead to break downs and uncertainties. Well about 3 weeks ago, that happened. I didn't know if I wanted to continue training at the level I was at, I was struggling to find time to spend with my friends, and I was becoming really unorganized and unmotivated.

I meet with Steve to talk about 2015 races and broke down in tears and let it all out. He understood and said I was the only one to make the decision to continue or to stop, that was hard. I wanted someone else to decide. Triathlon is my life and I couldn't image giving it up, I could picture coming home and not having to train but then come summer I wouldn't be racing- that did not feel right at all.

I took 2 weeks and didn't train. I thought long and hard about my life and what was important.  I sat with Regina and we made a list of priories and put them in order. At that point training was near them bottom and that made me sad. At the end of the 2 weeks I re did the list and tri was back near the top. I had to balance everything much better and become more organized if I wanted the two things most important to me (a social life and training for tri at a competitive level) to be at the top.

Fast forward to today and things are much different. I am continuing to train and am looking to apply for my Elite/Pro license. That requires me to race in three elite races (races that offer a prize purse of $5,000 or more) and finish within 8% of the top woman. These races are not local and will take me out of New England. I'm guessing they will cost about $1,000 each with flights, bike transportation, hotel, food etc. I will post them soon and hope that I can make a connection with some of you who might know someone near the venue. Right now it looks like the 3 locations will be St. Petersburg FL, Boulder CO and Mont Tremblant Canada.

In November I worked with Regina, Steve and my friends Pat and Julie to put together an official race portfolio and sent it to big companies but I didn't realize that most of them allocate sponsorship dollars in September/October. So I have only heard back from 2 of the 40 I sent out.

One of them was Skratch Labs. I add their Exercise Hydration Mix to every water bottle. It's like powdered Gatorade but MUCH better for you. It's made with all natural and real food ingredients. I applied to be a Taste Agent and received this email last week:
First, our apologies for the delayed response, we are still a pretty small team here. Due to the overwhelming interest in our program it has taken us awhile to get back to everyone, thanks for your patience!

Second, thank you for your interest in our Skratch Labs Taste Agent program, and for dotting every i, and crossing every t.

And finally, we are excited to welcome you to the team!

So, let's get down to business and spread some Skratch love! We have attached your individual agreement contract. Please read over everything carefully and sign and date at the bottom and return to us.
We definitely feel the need to thank you in advance as well, you are the flesh-and-blood organisms hitting the streets, trails, water, gym, classroom, air, to spread our message, humor, and love, and we are proud to be working with you!
 
So I have to talk about it with my friends and fellow athletes, connect with them via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and here in my blog. So I started a Twitter account @megskidmore and an Instagram account too @megtris !

The second was Specialized. They asked me to connect with Stan and Dan Sports to see what they could offer me. So I met with Stan today and I have support from them!! Welcome to Team Skidmore Stan and Dan Sports!!

I also have the support of the White Mountain Aquatic Center where I spend 3 mornings a week getting faster with Steve and the Masters class!

In other excitting news I did a photo shoot and am on the Stabil Icers Run and Hike boxes!! Thanks to Regina for setting this up for me!!



Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fall Training/Playing

I'm much more disciplined in training than I am in blogging about it-working on that.
Here's what's been going on since Nationals:
  • I won the last race of the season, the Pitch Pine Olympic. Coldest race I've ever done; temps in the upper 40's and no sun. Lots of support from Team Skidmore, thanks guys for braving the cold!!
 
  • Took 2 weeks off from structured training, of course still ran and biked and wanted to eat doughnuts!!   
  • Full day hike, started at 5am and hike 11 miles in 9 hours.
    Redlining (hiking all the trails in the White Mountains) with Lauren and Brooke.
  • Was awarded Athlete of the Week from Millennium Running.com read the short article here
  • Decided I'm going to apply for my pro/elite license, look for details on this process in a later blog.
  • Didn't win a local 5k - took 2nd by 3 seconds - very humbling and now have a training partner
  • Spent a whole weekend with my niece Cheyanne! Taught her how to ride a bike w/ no training wheels- highlight of my summer.
  • Volunteered for the White Mountain Milers 1/2 marathon with Cheyanne and got 30 verbal thank yous for our sign!


  • Finished my professional race resume to send out to bigger companies in hopes for more sponsorship with the help of Gina, Tami, Pat and Julie, and Steve-thanks so much guys!!!
I've returned to training and Steve has mixed things up by adding hikes (soon with weights), specific strength training as warm ups prior to workouts and mountain biking!

Stay tuned for the next blog, promise it won't be 2 months from now!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Nationals Double

The first race: Olympic Distance  .9 mile swim, 24 mile bike and 6.2 mile run
Second race: Sprint Distance 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run (the next day) 
Transition closed: 7:30
Race start time: 7:40
My wave number: 15
My start time: 9:50
Equals way too much time for butterflies to take over my stomach.

Starting at nearly 10 am is so different; I am usually finishing my races at this time. I warmed up and took in food and liquid the best I could. It was hard to know what and when to eat with this much time.

As my swim start time approached Gina and I made our way to the water. I had to stop at the bathrooms for a while; Gina must have thought I fell in. I can’t help my nerves and what they do to my stomach. Steve said its something I can work on and that I can control.

The swim was a straight shot and under a bridge and into a cove, then a big loop back to the other side of the bridge up a very steep and short exit ramp.

Among the hundreds of athletes I put my wetsuit on and waited for the 30-34 age group to be called to the deck. There were just over 200 of us and no they did not split us up. I walked down the ramp and realized I still had my flop flops on! I took them off and threw them up to Gina. We all jumped in and warmed up the water was 70º perfect temp. I swam for a few minutes then did some sprints getting myself ready for the start. 2 minutes to start came over the PA I made my way over and positioned myself front row far right. For each wave they played music from that decade to get us started. About a minute left they announced we’d be delayed but didn’t say why. I swam some more and as time went on most were getting out of the water. I wanted to stay in as long as possible, one to keep my core temp down and two to keep my arms moving. After about 6-7 minutes they asked all of us to come out. We could see a rescue truck on the shore just before the bridge but they weren’t telling us what was happening.

At the 2012 Nationals during the Olympic an athlete had a heart problem and drowned in the swim. I was racing the Sprint the next day. I was really hoping that it didn’t happen again.

After 10 minutes they brought us back to the start line. Just before the count down they encourage every wave to high five their neighbor. I high fived mine and said have fun. The count down was a deep drum like a heartbeat. That got my heartbeat going. The horn sounded and we were off. With 200 hundred women it was a bit crowded. I did the best I could and drafted when  possible. I got elbowed in the face a few times and definitely kicked a few too.  I kept getting stuck between two girls and got a huge mouthful of water. It went down so fast my gag reflex didn’t even kick in to try to stop it, I just swallowed it. The water was really choppy so it made it hard to sight. I followed others and drafted one girl the last minute to the exit. My plan to swim to the right side and grab the rail went perfectly. Volunteers lined the ramp and pulled us up it was very helpful.

I waited until I was on flat ground to pull my goggles up and my arms out of my wetsuit while passing a few girls.

The rows were lettered and I was in row M. I spotted my bright green bar tape switched over as fast as I could. There is a line that we have to cross to mount out bikes. Most stop right at that line, I saw it was crowded and went beyond before getting on and got out in front of the cluster. I got up to speed and began to settle in. The roads were closed to all traffic so that’s one distraction we didn’t have to deal with. At Nationals there is a huge fleet of USAT official on the backs of motorcycles driving the bike course looking for infractions. Drafting, not passing on the correct side, not passing in the allotted time 15 seconds and those that have been passed dropping back to the proper following distance of four bike lengths. A 2:00 min penalty is given if any of these are seen, 6 minutes for two penalty’s and disqualification with three offenses. After the turn around, we made our way up the exit ramp of the highway 794 that had been shut down for both races! Racing on the highway is always so fun. I picked off about 10 girls in my age group and most of which had aero helmets. Out to the turnaround and back over the bridge and back to transition. I forgot to recognize my spot with out green bar tap and looked for my stuff in row M. Big mistake everyone’s stuff looks the same, black inside out wetsuits swim caps and goggles tossed to the side. I ran right by my spot and my brain switched to looking at numbers on the racks. Mine was 3302 I stopped at 3317 and tuned around. Switched over and headed out for the 6.2 mile run. I felt fine at that point and passed one of the girls who passed me on the bike and at about mile 1.5 my stomach began to hurt/cramp. I tried to block it out but it wasn’t working. My turn over wasn’t fast and my legs felt like Popeye’s arms look. I held it together the best I could. More and more racers passed me which doesn’t happen often. Then I began to recognize some of the girls passing me as the ones I worked so hard to pass on the bike. It kept happening and I was getting so frustrated with myself and just wanted to stop but that really wasn’t an option – I don’t quit.

There are a few questions athletes ask themselves when it gets tough. Am I hurting so bad I may be injuring myself? Am I going to pass out? Can I still feel my legs? If the answers are no then there is no reason what so ever, to stop. That’s when it becomes mental. Knowing the hundreds of hours put into training kept me going, knowing how many people have sent me words of encouragement kept me putting one foot in front of the other, knowing Steve would resign as my coach if I stopped, kept me going. He wouldn’t. So I kept going. I finished in 2:29:21 with a 29:06 .9 mile swim a 1:08:0224 mile bike and a 48:20 6.2 mile run. I didn’t meet my placement goal but 53/157 wasn't bad for my first Olympic distance race at the National level. 

After some tears and words of encouragement from Gina I started to be ok with 53rd. There was nothing I could do but look forward to the Sprint race the next day. It took most of the day to get over it. Steve called me, Tami called me and they both said Sprint is your specialty and we support you no matter what place you come in. The evening was filled with rest, food and hydration. Gina cooked a wonderful dinner cous cous chicken and mixed veggies.

Sunday came and I was excited. We knew the routine; traffic, parking and timing. I set up my transition and wasn’t as nervous. I was closer to the end of the rack so there was no confusion during the race. We walked back to the car for me to start my warm up. It was away from all the action so I could focus on what I had to do to get myself ready and not worry about others. Again, as I was warming up, the race had already started and the butterflies began to take flight but I pushed them out the best I could.

The start came and I was so ready to do what I do, no matter the outcome. There were less in my age group so I felt better about that. My swim plan was the same start; in the front and draft when the faster swimmers got by me. That worked a few times. I got squished between two girls like three times over the ½ mile course. It was so frustrating, I got kicked and elbowed and had to change my stroke. The exit was a challenge to see so I did my best to follow the girl ahead of me in. I had the same strategy up the ramp; stay right, grab volunteers hands and wait until I was all the way up to the flats before I started stripping off wetsuit, goggles and swim cap. I made the right decision again as I passed others who were struggling. I swam my fastest ½ mile 13:25

Found my spot, pulled wetsuit off and got my shoes and helmet on. Unracked my bike and went straight down the row where the rest of the bike racks weren’t being used –left over from Olympic race- avoided all other racers and got out in about 2 minutes.

It took me a few tries to get into my pedals but I made up for that as I got up to speed asap! I started picking off cyclists but less than 2 miles in one of the girls passed me. It's been A LONG time since that's happened. It lit a bigger fire in me and I chased her down. I got her on the long gradual uphill and made the 180 turn before her. I descended but she was faster and left me in the dust- respect. 

I made my way back through town and the crowd. It took a few seconds to soak it all in; the venue, the crowd, the competition, that all my hard work was paying off and I have the opportunity to be in this race. I made my way up the exit ramp and picked off a few more. I didn't know where the turn around was but it came up fast. That felt good. I peddled hard back up and over the bridge and could see the venue, again I smiled and was so grateful to be racing.  I came into TA and knew exactly where my bike was. Switched over and was out on course in no time.

The start of the course was lined with screaming spectators which always helps to go a little faster. I felt really good, quick and light. I started doing my thing, passing guys and girls! My confidence was getting stronger and stronger. There was an athlete who must have finished before me and was seeig how the race was shaking out. For some reason, he noticed me and knew where I was with in my age group. He yelled I was 10th when I started my run. At the 2.5 mile mark he kept track and said I was 6th or 7th and told me to keep it up and push it. I didn't him but he had his eye on me strange but cool. With a 1/2 mile to go he yelled your 4th!! I passed one more girl in my age group and got super excited knowing I had moved into 3rd place!! My heart began to race and my breathing changed. I need to calm down so I could finish the race. I pushed my current placement out of my mind and refocused on my pace.

I could hear the roar of the crowd and gave it my all. I felt so good. I finished strong, got my finishers medal and began the frantic search for Gina. I finally found her and she had the biggest smile on her face and was throwing her fist in the air. We hugged and she was so incredibly proud! I was too. We still didn't know exactly what place I was in but we knew it was in the top 25 so I was going to Worlds!!

We got in line for the results ticket and when I saw it I was both a little disappointed that I wasn't 3rd but so excited, I was 4th in my age group. I called Steve and he was very proud of me too.

I did a cool down run and changed and got ready for the award ceremony. For this race they honor the top 5 in each age group on the podium. That was so cool!

Results: 4/63
I was tied for 1st in the run for women in my age group!

The award ceremony was great! They began with the oldest age groups and ended with the youngest. It was so nice to see top 5 for each AG. Not many were holding their hands up in celebration. I wanted to change that. When my age group was called I made my way to the stage and up onto the podium. they put the medal around my neck and when 5th place got hers the audience clapped and I grabbed the women's hands next to me and raised my arms, the rest of the podium followed I had the biggest smile ever!!

From there we had to decide and sign the Team USA sheet if we wanted our spot on Team USA for the World Championships in Chicago in 2015. There was no hesitation for me!!

It was the perfect ending to an amazing weekend!!

Friday, August 8, 2014

US Tri Nationals pre race

We made it to Milwaukee by 7:30 am yesterday. 



That gave us PLENTY of time to relax which is exactly what I need. Got the rental car and found an excellent coffee shop/bakery for 2nd breakfast. We left there at 9:30, check in to our hotel wasn't until 2 or 3. I planned on putting my bike together in park outside in the fresh air with lots of room to spread out vs waiting to get into the hotel. We found the perfect park w/ free parking! We are right on Michigan Lake (Yes i know its really Lake Michigan) but I keep calling that to mess with Gina she keeps correcting me :). It took me an hour to put my machine back together, Gina was impressed!


Since our alarms went off at 3:30 it was time for a nap, yup right there in the park. I was a 10 out of 10 on the relaxed scale. We went to check out the venue its right next to the Discovery Center and the Milwaukee Art Museum , gorgeous buildings. We checked into the hotel  at 1:30 and our room was ready. Thanks to Dave Power manager of the Conway Comfort Inn & Suites for helping us out on a discounted room! We walked in and it was perfect, full kitchen, a living room huge bedroom large bathroom and on the first floor. Unpacked everything into draws. I even have my own bureau in the main area for all my gear and race stuff. I got off my feet and watched tv, I haven't had time to relax and watch tv all summer. It felt weird but good plus my legs were resting. Late lunch /early dinner right next door at a steakhouse chicken sir fry and  a salad. Gina and I checked the schedule and packet pick up was from 2-6 and I had to get an easy 30 min run in. We returned to get my goodie bags. I am racing the Olympic distance on Saturday and the Sprint on Sunday so I got 2 goodie bags. 
The race numbers are tattoos and I have two different  4 digit numbers so Saturday afternoon I will have to remove my Olympic numbers and put on my Sprint ones. We walked around the expo and got a few things, new goggles as I discovered Monday the nose piece is cracked on mine, a Nationals jersey, a tiny mixed co2 and hand pump, its easy to pump a little bit of air into tube first before filing it w/ co2. If I get a flat during the race no one can assist me. We went to the finish line for photos and got yelled at for walking on the turf. I have no idea why they weren't letting us get close to the finish line. I waited until she walked away and got my photo.

Gina waited while I ran for 30. It was about 6:30 and I ran along Michigan Lake there were sail boats and many were out walking biking, skateboarding flying kites again 10 out of 10 on relaxed scale. On the way home we went food shopping got home and relaxed for the night.

Fridays schedule: pre race openers usually consist of a bike and a run piece but because I have to leave my bike in transition overnight I can't use it to warm up the morning of my races. I have to do an altered warm up today and do it again tomorrow. A run with some hard efforts w/ squat jumps and some agility work. Then my regular run warm up w/ two 2 minute hard efforts.

The bay is open for swimming at 11 after that, lunch and ride the run course on my bike then drive the bike course. Then off my feet for the rest of the day and get excited to race!!

The top 25 per age group advance to the 2015 World Championships held in Chicago. There are just over 200 in my age group 30-34 in the Olympic distance and 73 in the Sprint. In the Sprint Just 2 of us are from New England, me and a woman from Mass.

My goal is to qualify for Worlds in both races!


Coverage may be a live video from the finish and there might be a link to watch my dot go through the race. My number for the Olympic is 3302 and my Sprint number 5598. I start both races at 9:50am

My race number for the Olympic is 3302

SPRINT
Sun Aug 10 Sprint Coverage online: http://www.usatriathlon.org/events/usat/2014/08/sprint-national-championships/coverage.aspx

Same, wave 15, starts at 9:50
My race number for Sprint 5598

Schedule: http://www.usatriathlon.org/events/usat/2014/08/sprint-national-championships/event-schedule.aspx

I've be posting photos to my Facebook page as well!

Thanks to every single person that supported me I wouldn't be racing this weekend if it wasn't for you!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Greenfiled Olympic Tri # 8

To repeat a win feels amazing, to be THE fastest overall still hasn’t hit yet. I won the entire race by just about :30 seconds and the next female by 14 minutes. Last year I was the first female in the Sprint and with my new schedule it put me racing the Olympic/International this year. Now to come back and be the first female in the longer race is so cool!

Before the start the race director recognized some “celebrities”; the person who started the race, a few others and the previous years winners. It was pretty neat to be announced!

I experienced few first time hiccups; two crashes right in front of me, leaving air fresheners in my run shoes and having my skin rubbed raw from the timing chip. 

It began to rain while on the bike so the roads were really slick. I raced in the rain in London and have trained in it too. The one thing I’ve learned is to be cautious but smart. You can haul on the straights but it’s not worth it to take corners at speed. There was a sharp left followed by a sharp right under a bridge with a blind corner. I tried passing a guy on the straights before that corner and he responded, probably didn’t want a girl to pass him! So he was going pretty fast from that. We made the first corner and a car had stopped just out of sight around the second, he locked up the brakes and swerved around it but couldn’t hold it together with the wet roads. He fish tailed I grabbed my brakes fish tailed too and he went down right in front of me. He slid about 15 feet, I swerved to the left and didn’t hit him. I came to a complete stop as he laid in front of me and asked if he was ok. He was and was probably so mad at that driver. They had traffic control there so I’m not sure why they let the car go through. On the next lap I was leap frogging with another guy who seemed to be killing it but not really knowing how to pace himself. I was behind him on that same corner and he was going faster then the other guy. I gave him a little more space just in case. Glad I did because he went down too. As I rode by I asked him if he was ok. He was.

The next hiccup came when I switched to the run. I have been keeping air fresheners in both my bike and run shoes because they smell sooo bad. Constant swimming in lakes and running through mud and grass mixed with sweat, really lingers. This morning I didn’t use my race shoes to do my run warm up, I just set them up in transition and used my new race shoes to break them in. When I came in off the bike, I threw off my helmet and shoes and stuck my foot in my run shoe. I felt something and thought the insole was crinkled, it wasn’t. It was the air freshener! I hoped Steve or Gina didn’t see. I looked in the other one and had to dump it out too. That cost me about 4 to 5 seconds. I had the second fastest run time by two seconds. It's incredible how close things can be. That’s why I’ve learned to brush things like that off and try my best to make up for it.

And then less than a mile into the run I felt the plastic piece of my timing chip start to rub. I was in such a great rhythm I wasn't going to stop. I tried shaking my leg in between strides to get it to turn, no luck. I tried turning it by kicking w/ my other foot still no luck. So I just ignored it. When I finished Steve asked what I caught my leg on. I didn't notice it was bleeding a little. I went to the race director thanked her for a great race, showed her my leg and suggested a different type of timing chip.

The day before started early with a practice Sprint triathlon to prep me for competing in both the Olympic and Sprint on back to back days at Nationals next weekend. I worked from 8am-4pm and then Steve, Gina and I drove down and stayed in Brattleboro arriving at 9pm.  As always Gina brought the good food! She pre-made dinner at home – pene pasta, w/ Italian dressing and sautéed veggies and a salad. Glad there was a microwave in the room because I'm not a big fan of cold pasta. We chatted for awhile and got ready for bed. I foam rolled my legs and Gina worked a knot out of my back. The clock read 10:45pm.

The alarm went off at 4:30, I showered while Gina prepped breakfast on her camping stove! Egg sandwiches for the three of us and Steve shared a fresh fruit salad and Gwen's cranberry lemon cakes. I was able to eat most of it and tried to remain calm, this is the last race before Nationals. We packed up the room and

Departure time was 5:45.

I picked up my packet and set up. The bike course was 21 miles with three loops. Steve brought his bike and we rode the loop together. I did my standard warm up; 10 mins two three minute power intervals and 10 mins back. We discussed the strategy for racing the laps.

I switched to my run as the race director was having the pre race meeting-10 mins then 2x2 min sprints and back to TA. I felt a little funny running behind her but I had to get my legs ready to race! My stomach was a little heavy so my run warm up wasn’t the best. I resorted to foot speeds, butt kicks, knee highs, weedwackers, and knee drives. I came back and my step dad Mike and his girlfriend Vicky were there. I knew they were coming but it was so good to see them!

They were all smiles and started asked tons of questions! I loved it. Steve helped me into my wetsuit and I headed down to the river to get a few stokes in mixed w/ hard efforts. It was very cold, which explained why there were only a couple of people swimming.




There were only about 20 women in my wave compared to the usual 40-50 but I was still nervous. My strategy was to start in the front and when I got behind a little I would find someone to draft off. That didn’t work so well. I saw two girls pull ahead and I moved over but they were going too fast.  I caught some men in the wave ahead of me but one was walking, the river was about 5-8 feet deep the whole way. I made the first turn, sighted and the girls were too far to catch. I tried to draft a few men but they were going too slow. I made the second turn and felt so good and relaxed which helped me focus on my technique. It was the best swim as far as being completely in control, I’ve had. I moved over to exit on the river bank and got stuck between another guy and the weeds. I surged and passed him just before the exit. I swam .6 miles in 19:29 – 19th out of 71 racers.

Steve yelled "Two ahead at 45 seconds!" Referring to the two women ahead of me. Ok I thought, that’s doable. I raced through T1 in 44 seconds, 2nd/71 and out on the course. I lost a few seconds trying to get into my pedals.

The course was flat for about ¼ mile then up steep. Steve said don’t kill it on that hill, spin high and relax, make up the time at the top. That worked really well. I had no idea who the two girls were. There was another women’s wave ahead of ours. I passed two but wasn’t sure they were they women in my wave.

The rain started after the first loop and I played it smart, the last thing I need is a crash a week from Nationals. I was very cautious on corners and passing. My legs were a little tired but I tired to ignore that. I avoided two crashes and stayed upright. I returned to TA in 1:01:33 – 4th/71.


I went to put on my run shoes and found the air fresheners! I couldn’t believe it. I felt so silly but didn’t let it deter me.

Out on the run in 39 seconds 5th/71. I was feeling the best I have all season. I cut back on my drinking and only took ½ gel. This helped my stomach not feel so crummy, but if it was hotter then I would have been in trouble. I passed two guys before mile 1 and until the turn around at 3.5 miles, it was a gradual uphill. I focused on the guy ahead of me and tired to close the gap. My timing chip was cutting into my skin and I tried to shake my leg to get it into a different spot but I couldn’t.  I paced myself according to the race not to how I felt. Once I felt comfortable knowing the next girl was pretty far back I tried not to push myself too hard. Nationals are next weekend. I wanted to get the guy I had been chasing. It didn’t happen until mile 4.5. I got a big rush, my heart rate went up and I tried to keep calm. He commented “great racing” as I went by I returned the complement. I heard him try to keep up with me which scared me a little, but then I cracked him. I hit mile 6 and only had a little left to go and it was all downhill. I pushed it through the finish. 2:06:33.

On the way to the race I thought about how cool it would be to win the International after winning the Sprint last year. I knew I was first women before I hit mile 4 on the run but I didn’t think about that until crossed the finish line.

I was met with hugs from Gina, Steve, Mike and Vicky. That always feels good. I told a few stories and had to run I could feel my legs wanted to cramp up plus I needed to start the recovery process asap. I ran out on the opposite side of the run course and the announcer said "oh there goes Meghan Skidmore still running, why don't you sit down or something?" I cheered a few racers on and returned about 10 mins later. Then I elevated my legs then soaked them into the chilly river to help with recovery.


We took a few fun photos and I gathered my things from TA. Steve and Gina loaded things into the car while I waited for awards. They began with the Sprint so we had lots of time. We went to look at paper results and Gina eyes were huge when she turned around. I was on the top of the results in 1st place overall. She said that must be a mistake. I agreed. I never trust results until they are announced.
OMG though! Gina did some quick math and it was true!


I kinda hoped they would make a big deal out of a women winning overall. I've race for 7 years and I've never seen it.  They called up the top three women and while the crowd was clapping. They said oh and it looks like she was faster then all the guys, hardly anyone heard it. Oh well I knew it!

A few photos and I had the choice of a wooden plaque or have it made into a cribbage board with my name engraved on it. I chose the cribbage board this time.



A quick interview with a newspaper reporter and we headed back to the car.  Check out the article here!
We said our say goodbyes. I was so happy Mike came and he brought me homemade pasta sauce!
On the drive home I couldn't stop smiling, I still couldn't believe it!!  Steve and I looked at the data from my computer and were both happy with the results.

We stopped at a rest area for a picnic lunch. Gina made us sandwiches, we had veggies, triscuits and hummus, fresh fruit salad from Steve. There was plenty to eat! We chatted some more while I foam rolled (self massage) my legs. I was so comfortable when I stopped I dozed off for 20 minutes.

We packed up and got back on the road, one more stop for ice cream and gas.

Huge thank you to Gina for driving the 6.5 hour round trip, making dinner, breakfast and lunch, explaining triathlon to Mike and Vicky, taking photos, getting my splits and encouraging my throughout the race. I really don't know what I'd do without you!!

As I write this I'm still shocked to be first. As Steve said "Now we know it's possible" 

Results: 1/71
Female: 1/20
Age Group:  1/3
Online results here