Sunday, November 25, 2012

30 days in less than 500 words

Well it's been about a month since I last posted. I could write five pages but I will just sum it up briefly. I will be dedicated to Blog at least every other week if not every week.

Leah and I found a place, we move in this weekend! 18 people applied for the apartment and they chose us. Just about everything is included even the heat!! I'll post pictures soon It is a great place on a quiet road and minutes to the Aquatic Center, where I am swimming three times a week; taking masters classes Monday and Wednesday and a one on one on Friday with my coach, Steve.

Training is going really well and I'm seeing great improvements all thanks to Steve giving me a very detailed training schedule every week! After my field tests three weeks ago my training zones have increased and I'm becoming more comfortable spinning indoors in the trainer. My swimming has improved since I joined the Aquatic Center last month. In October 100m took me a minute and 45 seconds. Wednesday I swam 100m in 1:23! I love the classes, every one is different and Maury has so many tools: Fins, pull bouys, snorkels, paddles, kickboards, etc and a VASA Ergometer. These all allow us to focus on the many aspects of swimming one drill at a time.
One cycling technique Steve has me working on spinning at higher cadence. When I first started using the Power Tap, which measures cadence, wattage and whole lot more, I was spinning at around 85, now I'm comfortable at 95. Spinning at a higher cadence is a more efficient use of your strength and energy vs mashing the higher gears. This is a spin workout I had last week:  

A 15min warmup spinning at 90-95 cadence then 6 x 2 min Fast Pedal (ramp up cadence to spin 120+ last min)/2 min easy recovery (cadence can be slow at first, but recover it to 90+ for the rest of the 2 min) followed by a
min warmdown spinning at 95-100 cadence.

It was a challenging spin to up at 120+ but I liked it and now spinning at 95 is much easier.

To wrap up my 2012 racing season I thanked all my sponsors by hand delivering a thank you letter with plans for the next year along with a photo of myself thanking the business for their support. It felt great to show them how I did this summer and most couldn't wait to support me again.

I can't wait to sit down with Team Skidmore after the holidays to plan for fundraising for London. Ideas are welcome! Just leave a comment below or email me at

Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

And the Training Continues!

Well my 2012 triathlon season is over. I still can't believe I'm going to compete at the World Triathlon Championships in London!

Now time to focus on maintaining and building my fitness over the winter months. My coach gave me a little time off after Pine Pitch but now I'm right back into it. Last week started the preparation period which will last 8 weeks with a field test in the middle at 4 weeks. These two weeks consist of two workouts a day; swimming in the morning, like early, like I'm in the water at 5:30am and run or bike after work and bricks (bike to run) on the weekend.  Let me pause here and fill you in on life .....

For the past few years I've been living in two places; summer cottage at work with views of the Presidential Range, Great Glen Trails biking and running system in my front yard and not having to drive to work. In the winter it's been a cute little place w/ a garage, views of the other side of the Presidentials, very low rent with heat included. Unfortunately Randolph has been rented to another tenant and the summer has ended and I have not found a place for the winter. I was a little busy qualifying for Worlds ;). Luckily I fell into a house sitting job for the month of October. Also very lucky I met a great girl Leah who was living in Littleton and working locally which gave her a very long commute. I invited her to house sit with me to lessen her commute and to give her a chance to look at apartments in the area.  Well we've become pretty good friends and now we are tag teaming apartment viewings! So my days are usually early morning swim workouts, work, look at apartments then train for an or two, eat, sleep..... repeat. Can't wait until we are settled.

Back to training, I found a great deal on a Power Tap and have been training with it. It measures cadence, wattage, HR, torque, speed, distance and all the goodies that a regular computer has. My workouts have been very specific using this device and very different than "just" riding for an hour or climbing hills with my heart rate in different zones.
Example workout: 1 hour EM(Endurance Miles heart rate between 110-156) Warm up 10 min EM then 5 mins at MT (muscle tension building specific strength) I have to be in the hardest gear and not stand up. Cadence between 50-55 keeping wattage steady. Repeat that five times with 5 min recovery (easy spin). Keeping the wattage steady is very hard. It means each pedal stoke is done with the exact amount of pressure EACH time the crank goes around. After I'm done I can download all the data and see how smooth each interval is. The chart below shows my second time doing the above workout. The tops of the yellow lines should not be as varied. That's what training is all about learning new things and I can't wait to compare this chart to a future one.

I've also joined a Masters Swim class taught by Maury McKinney. See one of his many accomplishments here

He has advocated and raised money to have an aquatic center built in North Conway. For now he is teaching all types of swim classes at the White Mountain Aquatic Center from the New England Inn pool. The pool is 40 ft long by 20 ft wide with 3 lanes, but it's beautiful!

Before joining Maury's swim class, I have done most of my swim workouts alone. Now my coach is swimming with me 3 mornings a week and I'm in a class! Swimming is much more exciting and I'm not the fastest in the class which gives me more incentive to swim harder. I can't wait to see how much I progress through the winter. I'm also planning to compete in a few swim meets which will keep me fresh swimming at race pace.

I cannot thank my coach, Steve Vosburgh enough for all his time in planning my weekly workouts and the time he's taken to meet with me for anything; field tests, issues with downloading data, fitting me to my bike, installing my Power Tap. I could not ask for a better coach!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pitch Pine Challenge

A 1/2 mile into the three mile run I see her, the only women ahead of me that started in my wave. She's got long hair and has turned to look back a few times, which is a no no in my book. I never look back, it messes with my focus and form. I felt strong and light on my feet, she looked tired. My pace was a little bit faster than hers but I didn't want to overtake her too soon, not knowing what she had left. That's not to say I slowed down, I think she knew I was coming and kept trying to widen the gap.

I felt like a fisherman reeling in a huge fish; slow and steady focusing on small increments of time and distance. At the turn around I knew I was going to pass her, but knowing when to is like pulling the rod too soon, you don't want to loose the fish. Mentally it was challenging, she was racing for a club and had tons of support on the course, me-I've got myself out there. With about 3/4 of a mile left I landed the fish. As I passed her she was breathing a lot heavier than me and that gave me all I needed; she didn't have it in her. One of her teammates yelled from behind the both of us "Don't let her get away, stay with her" As the sound of her footsteps faded, I knew she wouldn't be able to catch me. I never looked back I just kept running a little bit faster. As I broke out of the woods I could see the finish line and heard my name announced, I found a little more in me and finished almost loosing my breakfast. I was the first female to cross the finish line! That felt so awesome!

Last year I raced this course in 1:17:35 this year I took 5 minutes off, finishing in 1:12:48, 3rd female overall and 1st in my age group. The forecast was sunny and 70, well they were wrong. At the start of the race it was misting making for a chilly warm up. The water wasn't too bad, glad I wore my wetsuit though.  The transition area at this race is in a gravel parking lot, not ideal, especially for me- I cannot stand sand on my feet, in my shoes or anywhere else on me. It drives me nuts. If I go swimming I need to dry my feet off at the shore, put dry shoes on and walk ever so cautiously to the car making sure not a single grain of sand gets in my shoe. Back to the race...

Gina, Tami and I headed down to camp at the venue-White Lakes State Park the night before. Picked up my race packet and drove the course. Although I raced last year I needed to see it again. It's pretty flat, 90% smooth pavement with a gradual five tier hill. Cleaned and checked over my bike, which my brother named Turbo! Thanks Aust, I love it!

Chicken and veggies for pre race dinner, a camp fire and in bed by 9. Oh and painted my nails bright green. The only time I wear nail polish is for a race, a tradition I started this summer.

We didn't have far to walk to the transition area so I didn't have to get up super early, which gives me less time to be nervous.  I had a banana and an egg, cheese and tomato sandwich for breakfast. On the way over, it started to mist adding to the chilly temps. I racked my bike and set up, got my body marked which is usually done by volunteers. This time the race director was headed in my direction with a marker. I felt pretty special and it was nice to know he was interacting with the racers.

I had about 20 minutes for a warm up. Usually it's just an easy jog and easy ride. After training this summer with my coach, Steve has taught me how to warm up properly. I always conserved on my warm up making sure I saved some for the actual race. Steve explained during one of my field tests that it's better to give hard efforts to "prime" the system. This time I made sure I put in a good warm up, especially because it was cold and rainy. I ran for 10 minutes and didn't have time to ride but got my wetsuit on and did about 10 minutes in the water. After the National Anthem played we still had about 10 minutes to start. Being wet and cold is not the best way to start a race. I made sure I stayed warm by doing calisthenics. 

There were about 30 racers in my wave. My goal was to focus on drafting and when the horn sounded, I stayed with a guy for about 30 seconds, then he was gone. I can't wait to work on getting faster in the water during the off season.
I have been trying different breathing techniques and I think during this race I nailed it. Prior to the race I was breathing bilaterally, once on each side, this meant holding my breath for a longer period of time. Then I tried five on right then five on left and that was a little better. The week leading up to the race I tried breathing on the right side and it felt much better, my heart rate wasn't through the sky and I could really focus on technique. I took two minutes off my swim time this year!

Because it was chilly I debated riding with a jersey vs. just my tri suit, this would mean swimming with it under my wetsuit because I wasn't going to try to put it on after being wet during T1.  I went back and forth and decided to leave it in my bag. I could have used another layer on my legs, they felt like icebergs for the majority of the ride, it was uncomfortable but I was used to it. I've been out training on some chilly mornings leading up to the race, so I knew the feeling all to well.

I was 6th female out of the water in my wave. I passed a few girls and guys on the bike and was passed by some as well. One girl passed me, I saw her age, she was in my age group. I tried to stay with her but couldn't.  I kept her in sight for the remainder of the ride, except when she turned back into the campground. I kept thinking I might be faster than her on the run. Much to my surprise, she was still in the transition and right next to me when I came in.

I have to admit here that I pulled a rookie move during T2. I always go through the entire transition area so I know how it flows and exactly where my spot is from all angles. I totally forgot to run through the bike-in section. I came in and went down the wrong lane then had to look for my stuff which never looks the same after T1. I finally spotted it, racked my bike and said to the girl who passed me "man it's cold" she responded "yea, nothing's working right" I stuffed my cold, wet, sandy feet into my shoes, grabbed my race belt and took off.

As I ran through the chute, Tami yelled "TWO!" I didn't know if that meant two ahead of me or I was second. A 1/2 mile into the three mile run I see her....

Of course after the race was over, the sun came out but not before some photos!
Tami, Julia, Jamie and Regina-thanks for the signs!

My finishers medal

Jamie, Julia, Sue, Susan, Me, Sandi, Tami, Trish and Regina
Thanks to everyone who came and stood in the rain to support me! Thanks Jamie and Julia for the signs they helped me go faster!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Life..... and some training

I'm way overdue and could write three pages since my last blog, but I've got a swim-bike brick workout tomorrow morning before work at 8am. It will take me about an hour to get in the water, seeing overnight temps will be in the upper 30's. So I'll keep it short.

After the excitement of qualifying for Worlds-it was back to training, my next race is September 22, the Pitch Pine Challenge in Ossipee NH. It will be the last race of the season and my goal is to place in the top three women overall.

About a week and a half after Nationals, I started having stomach issues which prevented me from doing any type of workout. I tried altering what I ate, I monitored how long after I ate that I got sick, which was never consistent -that ruled out food poisoning. I was sick every day. Seven days into it I finally decided to make a Drs appointment.  Of course the next day I started feeling better. My symptoms started fading and I ended up canceling the appointment. That was last week and since then I've been easing back into training. I've felt pretty good lately, but can tell I took a week off.

I've also picked up a part time job to help with the costs of racing in London and with my races next season. It's two nights a week, unfortunately both on my days off, cleaning the Auto Road base lodge. It's really not that bad and I actually enjoy it, just wouldn't want to do it as a full time job.

On top of training and working seven days a week, I'm in the hunt for an apartment. I live in a summer cottage at work which is perfect, I don't have to drive to work all summer. However it is not insulated so in the Fall it gets pretty chilly, I do have heat but the heater is near the front door and my bedroom is at the opposite end of the cottage. So I've got about a month left before I wake up as a popsicle.

The past four winters I've rented an apartment in Randolph at a VERY affordable price. It included everything! Heat, electricity, internet, plowing, washer/dryer and use of the garage and plenty of storage for all my gear. Well that got rented to someone else this winter. So trying to budget for racing, training, playing hockey which I may not be able to do this winter and an apartment which most likely will not include utilities, has been pretty stressful. But I know it will all work out, eventually.

I'm also looking for more sponsors and preparing a race portfolio. This means I have to "brag" about myself, something I've never been comfortable with. If I want sponsorships and my fundraising to be successful I have to put myself out there.

A quote by Neale Donald Walsh, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." will push me to become more confident. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

5th Place at Nationals!

I made it! I qualified to compete in the WORLD TRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS! Honestly, its never been a goal of mine. I've seen it advertised in Triathlete magazine but that's where it has stayed; on paper.

My goal for Nationals was to have fun but place at least 18th in my age group. I had no idea what the competition would be like. It's the Nationals, pretty much the best racers in the entire nation. I researched results from last year and there were only 10 women in my age group, this year 40 of us had registered! Last year the top five females overall finished between 1:11 and 1:14. In my age group the span was 1:12 -1:39. I would have been second in my age group with my 1:14:38 finish time. Huge difference this year, the top female finished in 1:05:25, almost 10 minutes faster than me!

We watched some of the Olympic distance race on Saturday. I needed to see how the swim start went and just watching others race gets me pumped! The water was very choppy that morning and I thought- oh man I'm in for a rough swim! It looked like the ocean, nothing compared to the glass like surface at Echo Lake where I've been training. The start was quite a bit different than I'm used to. Transition closed at 7:30am and some had to wait almost 2 hours to start. I knew that would throw me off a little but now I knew what to expect at my race.  I met my family for lunch, got a few things at Skirack and showed them how transition would go and the best spots where to view my race.

Mandatory bike check in was at 4:30pm on Saturday. I've never had to leave my bike overnight nor go through the flow of the transition area the day before. Some people were putting bags over their seats, wheels and entire bikes. I thought thats a waste since everyone is going to be wet when they get on their bikes and there was no forecast for rain. In the sea of over 1,000 bikes it's easy to loose your place especially when you are going at race pace. Each row had a letter assigned to it, I was between C and D. The back side of transition was lined with flags of different countries. My bike was lined up with a blue flag don't ask me what country it was, all I needed to know was that it was blue. As I practiced coming in from the swim I didn't visualize my bike, I found C & D and then the blue flag. With my bike checked in the only thing left to do was to eat, apply my tri tats and do my hair.

As I jogged back to the campsite my mind was focusing on each leg of the race. All I have to do is excute what I have been doing in training, thats it! Dinner was chicken and veggies with Gina Tami Sue and Sinea-then it was tatoo time! My numbers were temporary tatoos, perhaps the most exciting part of this race for me. Tami Sinea and I made sure they weren't upside down and were perfectly lined up. Once I peeled away the backing I got such a rush, I felt like a professional racer!
Since my hair isn't quite long enough for a low ponytail I wanted the front part sectioned and in small elastics so it wouldn't distract me during my race. I described how I wanted it to Sinea and she did a great job!
I packed my transition bag while listening to music, making sure I had everything. I was in bed around 9 and fell asleep rather quickly, only to be woken up at 10:30 by the campers next door tinkering with stuff. Then I was awake worrying if I had trained enough, hoping my race would run smoothly -the typical stuff I think about before any race. Because it was Nationals the worrying was multiplied by 10! Alarm went off, but I was already awake. I needed to focus before anything distracted me so I put in my head phones and let the music run through my body.  I wasn't getting nervous, breakfast was egg and cheese on a toasted multigrain roll. I double checked my bag just in case I forgot something. We walked about 1.5 miles down the bike to the start. I felt a little bad that I wasn't talking to Tami, Gina Sinea or Sue but I knew they understood. I gave Regina my bag halfway there and jogged the rest of the way.

Arriving at transition was a bit overwheling, this was it-this is what I've trained all summer for. I organized my spot, went through the exits and entrances pf transition one last time. I couldn't leave my bag there, I had to check it. I pulled out my wetsuit, goggles and swim cap and had almost 45 minutes before my wave started. I never have that much time. I didn't know what to do with myself. I didn't bring extra sneakers to warm up more so I put my wetsuit on. I had borrowed a friends that fit a little better than mine-thanks Sally! I stretched as I watched other waves starting. I was surrounded by the support of Team Skidmore which felt good but did not calm me.

8:05 it was time. I made my way over with all the other red caps, we shuffled down the ramp and into the water. We had a few minutes to warm up while we waited for the wave ahead of us to start. I wanted to throw up but knew that wouldn't be good for the water or others trying to swim. We lined up and I made sure I was off to the side not to be caught in the chaos. "2 minutes to start give the girl next to you a high five and have fun!" came over the megaphone. I high fived some girl only wanting to kick her butt :). I had my finger on the start button 3.2.1 Go and we were off. I swam as hard as I could and kept to the outside. As I rounded the second turn and went to sight the next bouy all I could see was the glare of the sun out of one eye, my right goggle was half filled with water. I could see a few swimmers ahead of me so I did my best to follow them. Turned the last bouy and saw the exit-"just get there and then you can fly on your bike" I repeated to myself.  If I feel good about my swim I'll check my watch, I didn't feel fast so I didn't look. I heard someone yell under 15 and that made me smile.

T1- rip off wetsuit put on sunglasses, helmet and shoes and run as fast as you can out of the transition. Not very easy after swimming a 1/2 mile. Some racers keep their shoes clipped in to their bike pedals and get their wet grassy feet into them as they start riding. I find that very difficult especially in this race where we started on a narrow bike path. Being already clipped in I passed alot of people and powered out of the cluster. I saw my mom and Jim and gave them a fist pump-which I never do but I was here to have fun too! Around the tight corner and over the carpet covered train tracks, over the "cobblestone" around 2 more corners before I could get up to speed. I had ridden the course before so I knew about the turnaround just ahead. I'm a pretty decent mountain biker so I felt confident making the 180 turn. My coach Steve Vosburgh told me not to come out of those too hard and kill it, I stuck to the plan and got back up to speed quickly. Up next was a steady climb. Not steep enough to get out of the saddle but steep enough to make you think you do. I raised my cadence and looked down, I peddled hard and got up with enough to maintain the speed I was at before the climb. I passed a few more people. The next section was on Highway 127! I was very excited for this. The highway was closed and it was awesome coming down the on ramp at 30 mph! I passed more people. We exited the highway and had to get back on to make the 12.4 mile distance. I was passed getting off by a girl in my age group and then by another. I made sure they didn't get far. The first girl got away but the second one who's name I found out later was Dana, and I leapfrogged the rest of the course. There were officials on motorcycles passing us the whole time I felt like I was in the Tour de France. It was awesome! We came back down the same hill and Dana was just ahead of me, we rounded the corner and hit the straight away. This is were I pull my feet out of my shoes for a speedy transition.

I saw the blue streak of Team Skidmore and gave another fist pump I was loving this!! Dana dismounted right before me and I passed her going into the transition. I didn't have to take my shoes off -she did. Bike racked, helmet off and running shoes on. I put my race belt on as I'm running out to save even more time. Ran out of the shoot and heard my friend Christine "looking strong Meg!" I felt it too. I ran the course a few weeks prior so I knew about the huge hill we faced starting out on the run.

Steve was right there and said "just settle in". I couldn't until I got to the top. I felt so good still hadn't looked at my watch. Down then up by the high school and down through North Beach Campground right past our campsite to the Island Line Trail. 1.5 miles left. It was all coming to an end, all the work I put in-the early morning swims, the hill repeats, the intervals and it felt good it all came together. I got passed by a few but that was ok because I couldn't give much more and they weren't in my age group and most not even my gender. I wanted so bad to go harder but I knew I couldn't hold it to the end. I glanced at my watch 1:11 not bad! As I came around the last corner I picked it up a bit, then hitting the finish chute I turned it on! I ran as fast as I could.

I felt my form kinda go and I must have looked like little Forest Gump -head down fists pumping so hard they are raising overhead and knees so high I'm almost eating them. I saw the finish and threw my hands up and almost collapsed. I was handed water, and a wet towel and was pretty wobbly- a volunteer asked me if I needed assistance- I was ok. I was handed a finishers medal and went with the flow of racers pouring through the chute. I did it- I left it all out there. Then I started crying, I don't really know why at that point, it just came out. Maybe because it was all over, all of it, my training, all my effort, all had come to an end. I've never cried after finishing a race. I was quite the mess so glad I had sunglasses on to hide it.

Team Skidmore came and met me and the tears kept coming. All I wanted was results and that's exactly what everyone else wanted. It was a cluster near the posted results. The page for my age group was posted to 4th place with a time of 1:13:37, unofficially I finished at around 1:14. Gina said you have it but I needed to see it with my own eyes. There was a very long line to get a receipt of your official time, splits and placement. Christine had found me at that point and she insisted she'd wait in line for me, I wasn't about to argue. I talked about my race with everyone while we waited for Christine's phone call to say she was nearer to getting the results. It came and Gina and I ran over. I gave my number and in just 2 seconds I had my "golden ticket". I didn't look at my finish time or my splits, all I saw was 5th in age group. I smiled ear to ear at Regina and Chrsitine. I made my way back over to the group and held up five fingers, they went wild! I completely lost it. I did it. I made it into the top 18 and was 5th, I didn't believe it. I hugged everyone and was beyond myself. I didn't think I'd finish so close to the podium.
Thank you Gina, Steve, Tami, Sue, Mom, Jim, Austin, Emily, Maryann & Paul, Jane & Paul, Sinea, Shaun, Christine and Ellie for being there and supporting me!

Also thanks to all my sponsors: Mt. Washington Auto Road, Great Glen Trails,  Porky Gulch Bike Shop, Corrigan Screen Printing & Awards, Peak Health Sports Massage & Medical Massage Therapy, White Mountain Celebrations, Gorham Hardware, Jay’s quick Lube, Lydia’s Golden Touch Hair Salon, Gorham House of Pizza, Top Notch Inn and Saladino’s Italian Market

Age Group Results
For more photos check out my Facebook Album

All week long I pictured myself telling everyone "I'm going to London" Now it's a reality and it feels amazing!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Nationals are here!

Two days out and I've got a war going on in my mind. I think-I've got this I can easily place top 18! then I think what if I have not trained as hard as the other women in my age group and don't make top 18? At this point there is nothing I can do, but I have experience-I've done this a hundred times. A great friend and Olympian gave me some advice she learned from her coaches; "Do your best but separate yourself from the competition and enjoy the moment, you are racing in the Nationals Meg" I will carry that with me the entire race, thanks Sue Wemyss!

Last night Regina and Tami threw a small send off for me. Friends and co-workers came and shared dessert and wished me the best of luck saying they'll be there in spirit and will send me good vibes on race morning. It was perfect thank you both so much! Oh and I painted my nails red white and blue for good luck and watched USA defeat Japan in the Olympic gold medal women's soccer match.

This morning I do a mini tri. I will go through both transitions and get my legs ready for the quick pace of the race. Then its over to Burlington! We are staying at North Beach Campground just a few miles from the race venue-Waterfront Park. I'll check in and get my race packet which normally consists of lots of brochures, a gel, some sunscreen, coupons and my racing numbers. For Nationals the goody bag is like a prize bag to me. I watched an informational webinar the other day and my race numbers come as a sheet of stickers!! I get a racing belt that I wear running and my timing chip that I cannot loose over the next two days I'll probably just wear it the whole weekend. The most exciting item in that packet are the Tri Tats, temporary race number tattoos! I've seen them in magazines, on TV and on Olympians. I feel like a kid looking up to a my hero wanting the really cool bib they wear. It's just a tattoo, but to me its like official war paint.

Early afternoon Regina and I get picked up by Paul Giblin, the Vice President at Vermont SportsCar and Subaru Rally Team USA for a personal tour of the facility! Yes, Travis Pastrana and the current Auto Road record holder David Higgins have raced for him and I have met and spent some with both Travis and David! This will be a good distraction for a few hours and an amazing experience. 

Saturday another mini tri at North Beach then the Olympic distance Nationals. For me there is nothing better to get me more amped up than watching others race. I know their efforts, I feel their pain and see their face crossing the finish line and that's how I know this is where I belong. 
The rest of the day will be spent hydrating, relaxing and spending some time with my mom and brother. Late afternoon I have to check my bike in-it gets inspected making sure I have not motor rigged up and it meets all other specs. Then I leave her in transition overnight-that's going to be very different, but it's one less thing I'll have to worry about when I pack for race day. Home made dinner chicken and veggies all mixed up. In bed by 9pm hoping sleeps comes easy-no guarantees there, I'm racing the most important race of my life! 

Until Sunday evening......wish me luck!
It is sometimes said that with all the training, one doesn't need luck -to the heck with that. Yes, I'm ready but with good luck comes better chances I won't be faced with uncontrollable situations. So send me as much luck as you'd like!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Maine State Triathlon

Part of training is researching the competition, checking results and tweaking the training accordingly. Every Sunday I do a triathlon at race pace around a local pond-Durand Lake. Although I am going hard its much different than race day where the adrenaline, the other racers and the atmosphere are a factor.

Looking at last years National results my run times during these mock triathlons, are not super competitive. I need to take off about 3-4 minutes to be closer to the top three. However that's last year, the competition will be different this year. Ten women raced in my age group in 2011, this year there are 38 registered! I worked with my coach Steve Vosburgh who I cannot thank enough! We did some interval training and he cacluated what my race pace needs to be. After doing two sets of 3 x 200's then repeated downhill relaxed running -near impossible but I figured it out after a while, followed by 2 x 400's. I know exactly the pace I need to run to finish in the low 20's. Not feeling like I can keep it for the entire three miles but I've got two weeks left.

The five days leading up to the Maine State Triathlon I was guiding a mountain bike camp with seven 13 year old boys and raced in two weekly mountain bike race series. One of the campers did not speak english-try explaining how a bike shifts, how to use the correct gears for the terrain traveling upon, having correct form and describing the next trail to a kid from Tokyo.  He was here with his dad who was on a business trip and got to see the Yankees and to try mountain biking! Back to my race.

I felt pretty prepared except I knew my legs would be tired from all the riding, but I had to give it my all. I checked in: goodie bag, timing chip and body marking then set up my transition area so  I could be closest to the entrance.

Warm up was a 10 minute spin on the bike with some sprints, 5 minute run with some quick spurts and then into my wetsuit which was a challange today with 100% humidity!

I walked down to the pond and the water just about had white caps it was so windy. Warming up almost made me sick being tossed side to side. This will be a tough swim. Most races start on a beach so there is usually enough room for each wave to be relatively spread out. Not here, we started at the Bethel Inn Lakehouse, with your typical lake front- small with a short set of stairs. All the men started together then a few minutes later the women and all Aquabike competitors followed by all novices. We were asked to come down the stairs single file, I wasn't worried about where I was in line I would make my way to the front of the pack once we got into the water. I was about halfway down the stairs when the race director yelled "10 seconds to start!" I ran and was in the water to about my ankels when she announced "GO!" I was stuck in the back of the pack. I got kicked, grabbed, swam over and elbowed in the face. All the swim training was going by the wayside it was survival now. I couldn't get into a groove and siting was near impossible. The bouys were pretty small, the waves I swear were 5 feet high, and my goggles fogged up which shouldn't happen, I forgot the anti-fog. I finished in 17 minutes which didn't show for how hard I've been working on my swimming- so glad that was over. I transitioned from swim to bike in 1:29 fastest in my age group!

Now my strongest leg; the bike! The course was very flat with just a few short hills so I'd be in the aero bars for most of the 15 miles. That works your legs in a different way. I averaged 20.5 mph and again was the fastest in my age group. T2 transition bike to run 55 seconds-fastest in my age group.

I went out slower than I wanted but was able to pick up the pace as I settled in. I passed a few runners and was passed by one guy. I caught and passed him around the 3 mile mark. As we came into the finish chute I heard him on my heals so we sprinted our brains out. Photo finish has me beating him by a hair! We chatted after and agreed we both pushed each other the last 1/2 mile. I was spent and very frustrated with the way my swim started and that my legs were tired from bike camp- the only thing I can do is learn from it.

Much happier after cooling down & elevating the legs

Yup...that's exactly how I felt!

I finished 2nd in my age group, 11th female, and 43rd overall out of 139. I completed my race in 1:30:19 my slowest sprint race ever, but all my other races have been a 12 mile bike and 3.1 mile run this was a little longer with a 15 mile bike and 3.6 mile run. I can't be too hard on myself considering a five day bike camp and the rushed swim start.

It was nice to share the post event with Regina and my friend Sally Micucci and her family. Sally raced the Aquabike consisting of the 1/2 mile swim and the 15 mile bike. She also finished 2nd in her age group!

Thanks to Regina for the great photos and coaching and supporting me throughout the race.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bike Camp and a Practice Tri

Me, Alex, Thomas, Max, Hans, Zack(AMC Staff
Jeremy, Joe, Jack, Tyler and Greg(AMC Staff)
Back to reality, I've been away for the past few days leading teens on a 5 day mountain bike camp. All boys and lots of fun. The best part is seeing them progress and grow so much over the few days I have to work with them. The camp ran from Tuesday to Saturday. During camp I had two races; Tuesday afternoon, Great Glen Trails Summer bike series and Thursday is my long day-Red Jersey Summer Race Series 9 miles and co-ed ice hockey in the evening. My legs get a great workout! I packed everything I needed for biking, camping, racing and hockey loaded it on top of the van, picked up the boys and headed south to North Conway. Luckily I was able to stay at a friends house (thanks Anne!) in a nice comfy bed on Thursday night and not roll back into camp at 10:30 pm. Day 4 camp started at 8:30 and they were all ready to go. Cedar Creek- fun, fast easy singletrack trails! We took the Mineral Site trail to descend about 2 miles down to the singletrack flats. We were just about to pop back out on the fire road, I turned and the group was not behind me. I stopped and waited and waited- no sign or sound. I make the climb back up and everything went through my mind. Someone got hurt, how bad? Just some scrapes, broken wrist, broken leg? head injury? We are about 3 miles from the van and another 15-20 minutes to the hospital. I meet the group and was relieved to find Jack and Hans looking at the bike. Jack had gone over the handlebars and somehow there was not a scratch on him. The bike did not fair so well. I always bring an extra bike just in case. We made a plan to split up, a few kids and Greg walked back to the van for the spare bike while Zach and I rode with the rest of the group. We met for lunch about an hour later and enjoyed the rest of the ride together. I camped with them that night after some fun swimming in the river. Day 5 was a half day, we rode for 3 hours at Sticks and Stones, I dropped them back at AMC for 12:30. My day was only half over, after camp I unload all bikes, reported bike issues to our mechanic, Chris, she does a fantastic job keeping them working so well. I vacuumed and washed the van and returned my supplies. It takes about 2-3 hours after catching up with co-workers, but it's nice to unwind and think about my camp and figure out where I can improve.

I've got one day off and back to another one day guide on Monday.

Sunday workout-sprint triathlon. Swim 1/2 mile, bike 12, run 3-Nationals are just 5 weeks away and putting it all together helps me get the kinks out. I swam in Durand Lake, one of the most beautiful and peaceful places. The northern presidential range sits in the background, a freshly mowed path circles the pond, and there is no real beach just a few dirt steps cut into the bank- it's quaint and perfect.

As I prepare, Gina snaps a few photos.

I pictured myself on race day visualizing every part of the race, I know I will be ready. I'll just need to execute it all perfectly and remember to take take it all in- I'm competing with some of the best in the country. I felt pretty good in the water, but when I transitioned to my bike I could feel the past 5 days of riding and 2 races- my legs were tired. I backed off to 50% and settled into the aero bars. The temp was 90º I didn't need to push too hard because then it would take longer to recover.  I really felt the heat on the run and finished at a slow jog. It was a great training block and will tweak it a little for next Sunday's mock triathlon. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

To Burlington!

If I can, I always try to view a race course before
race day.  Knowing what is coming at you-hills, tight corners, railroad tracks etc, during a race helps big time if you are prepared. Gina and I took a trip over to Burlington, Vt to scope out the bike and run course set for Nationals. I can't really preview the swim course in person because swimming is not allowed in the bay, but looking at it on the map shows me enough-and I know there are no hills. We camped on the way over and was on course by 10am. Man is it different riding in the city, starting and stopping all the time, watching for cars, pedestrians. Here in the White Mountains your biggest concern is whacking a moose and getting blown over by 18 wheelers! Obviously the roads will be closed to traffic on race day. We weave our way though Burlington and head out on Park street. About a mile in it seems Park St veers left and right, straight is not an option-it's one way. We know we've got to get on 127 make a loop, continue north and turn around at Plattsburg Ave. We see signs for 127 but are a little hesitant the road looks like it leads to an on ramp for the highway. We check the map and directions: Take the highway 127 exit to take you West towards North Ave. We continued until we saw the highway sign Not Permitted: pedestrians, scooter, bicycles etc.  We checked the map again and we were not in the right area but we confirmed most of the course is on the highway! Back where Park St turns to one way, the race course continues straight onto the ramp for the highway. To lengthen the course we exit the highway, turn around and get back on-that's where we were, right at the turn around spot. Apparently the event staff doesn't feel it's important to tell you on the directions, 127 is a real highway and is only open on race day. I was so mad but excited at the same time- I get to ride my bike on a highway!

We have reservations at Mallets Bay Campground a few miles beyond the course so we rode up and checked it out. I wasn't too impressed. Site 25A was mostly big roots and is designated for motor homes and RVs. Gina and I decided we weren't to happy with the site but we'd figure it out later, we were here to ride! On the return trip we split, I did intervals 30 seconds hard as possible 1 min rest. She set a goal of 30 mins to get back to Waterfront Park. My intervals were interrupted due to traffic lights but I was pretty happy with the workout and Gina arrived in 32 minutes - "damn traffic lights" she muttered.  I changed my shoes and headed out to preview the run course. I knew it began with a steep hill 110 feet of gain in about 1/4 of a mile. It was tough but not super hard, now I will modify my brick workouts to mimic this course. A brick workout is running immediately after you dismount your bike or biking as soon as you exit the water.  Your legs feel like bricks when using different muscles to propel yourself. Training your muscles to adapt to this feeling is very important in triathlon. After the climb the course is a very gradual uphill gaining only another 50 ft over 3/4 a mile. It descends into North Beach Campground- much nicer than Mallots Bay. I want to stay here instead. I make the left turn onto the Island Line Trail which follows the shores of Lake Champlain-its just about flat for the remaining mile and packed with walkers, kids on bikes, strollers, rollerbladers. I even pass a group of 10 casual bikers must be a family reunion or something.

As I return to Waterfront Park I picture myself on race day. The finish chute is lined with spectators cheering us all on, my friends and family are there and I finish strong in the top 18 in my age group. I see myself qualifying for Worlds!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Team Skidmore Apparel and a Race!

Today was the first race of the Great Glen Trails Summer Mountain Bike Series. After a hard run yesterday afternoon my legs were a little tired and sore. I made sure I ate and drank enough throughout the day. Today I would be getting some "Team SKIDMORE" clothing complete with my sponsor logos!! Wow I'm not sure it has hit me yet- I am a sponsored athlete! Qualifying for Nationals is also slowly beginning to hit me. With training, working, getting sponsors, putting together a design for my racing/training gear, my mind has been pretty occupied.

My race went well and I can do better without tired legs. The course is 5.5 miles mixed carriage roads and singletrack (similar to a hiking trail) some good short hills and some super fast descents! All in all it's a very fun course, I can't wait for next week. The series is every Tuesday and lasts 8 weeks. Now I know the course and each week I'll find better lines to shave seconds off my time, also making good transitions is key. Transitions when riding - shifting smoothly and maintaining speed up hill and vise versa-coming downhill into a tight corner, the correct shifting and timing makes all the difference. I'm pretty lucky living here at work I have the opportunity to ride the course anytime I want.

I took a phone call at work from Corrigan Screen Printing & Awards, late afternoon letting me know my running t-shirts and warm up jacket were ready. I was so excited I could barley contain myself! I asked a friend in town if she could pick them up on her way to the mtn bike race. She agreed and I confirmed with Nathan they would be picked up shortly. Unfortunately, Nathan had to step out of the office unexpectedly and missed my friend. I was hoping to wear my new shirt for the bike race.  I met Nathan in town after the race, the shirts and jacket look fantastic! I'll be wearing it at my next mtn bike race, this Thursday for week 2 of the Red Jersey Summer Mtn Bike Series!!

Check them out!!!

Bike jersey, shorts and tri suit should be here by the end of the month if not sooner!

It's already 10pm, I feel like I just left work!
Tomorrow will come way too fast, up at 4:30am for a training swim about 30 minutes away, afternoon run and cookout with fireworks!

Thank you so much to all my sponsors, Mt. Washington Auto Road, Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, Porky Gulch Bike Shop, Corrigan Screen Printing & Awards, Peak Health-Sports Medicine & Medical Massage Therapy, White Mountain Celebrations, Gorham Hardware, Jay's Quick Lube, Lydia's Golden Touch Hair Salon, Top Notch Inn, Gorham House of Pizza and Saladino's Italian Market.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tripple Session!

Wow what a day! Thinking back to my race I know I have to improve on my swimming. Today's morning workout: open water swim. It's been raining for 5 days straight so lakes and ponds have cooled quite a bit, which didn't cross my mind when the alarm went off at 5 am. A little fuel then I pack myself in the lower half of my wetsuit and I'm out the door to a local swim hole. Quick fact I am the biggest baby when it comes to cold water,  I take forever to get in and sometimes I don't get in at all. I make it such a huge process. I've been told a million times just jump in! I can't. So kinda half asleep I still don't think of how cold the water is. I wrestle into the top half of my wetsuit, after about 5 minutes of shaping it to my body. I step into the pond up to my calves, I have no idea what the temp is, but it's so cold I start to feel nauseous. There's no way I will succumb the rest of my body to this. I'm out! Plan B: the Royalty Health Club. Now my training swim time has been shortened so I make the most of it. I get 50 laps in,  5 each for warm up and cool down. 10 laps at 80% then sprint 5, repeat 3 times. 35 laps here is 1/2 mile making 70 a full mile.  I'm out and headed back home, shower, eat a real breakfast then the long commute to work about 25 steps (I live at a cottage 30 feet from work).
Today is the last day of the Salomon Spring Trail Running Series here at Great Glen Trails. I have already missed two races so I have to run to be entered into the raffle. Not just any raffle, I could win a $140 pair of Salomon trail running shoes!  The course is 3.2 miles. Toady is also the first day of the Red Jersey Cyclery Summer Mtn Bike Series-course: just over 9 miles. I can't miss either one. I'm out running the course by 3:40 at about 70-80%, have to save some for Red Jersey. I finish in 27 and change, my fastest is 25:39. Quick cool shower, some food, load my bike and sponsor board and I'm leaving the parking lot at 4:50, perfect! It's about a 20-25 min drive.
The first thing I do when arriving at a race-check out the competition. Now it's our nature to have a little judgdement of others by their clothing- Guilty. When I see a cyclist or mtn biker decked out in full spandex, wearing a bike kit (matching shirt and bike tights) I just assume they are good! Same thing, if they are wearing a cotton t-shirt, no spandex, aren't riding clipped in (like ski boots click into bindings, bike shoes clip into pedals-so your feet don't slip off) I just assume, well you know. I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous to have your feet attached to your bike as you ride over rocks, roots, and through the woods at high speeds, but after a few falls you get used to it. Then it becomes second nature. Ok back to my judging, not a good idea, you never know what their athletic ablility is. I remember my very first mtn bike race. I'm at the line with the cotton t shirt, I look to my right and this girl is so decked out she even matches the color of her bike! Whoa, I wish I was as good as her! She takes off. I finished 4 minutes ahead of her.

There was a mix between spandexed racers and sporty ones, I never take my guard down. I'll just give my all and see what happens.

I register in the Expert category - 4 laps at 2.3 miles long. I didn't have enough time to pre-ride the entire course so 5 mins out and back will have to do.
It's a mass start mixed with Novice, Sport and Expert categories both male and female, so I have no idea who my competition is. Brief race course description by Carl and we are all off. Double track for the first 5 minutes then singletrack climb, exactly where I turned around when I warmed up, so glad I went that far. Pushed it to get in front of the little pack I was in before the big cluster. I settle in as first female. Course is pretty easy, not technical at all, but some steady climbs. I always have a hard time keeping track of laps and second guess myself towards the end, I lobby for lap signs! Remember I said I grabbed some food,  yeah one bar, 1/2 of banana and 2 cookies was not enough. Honesly forgot to check how long the race was, that fuel doesn't cut it for 9 miles especially after running 3.  I threw 3 clif shot blocks (high energy gummy squares) and half a bar in my pocket. I had the hunger growls the whole race, surprisingly though I never got near the bonk zone. It's a bad bad place, I don't suggest you ever visit.
I save one block per lap and have bite of bar with it and of course sip water the whole time. Still wasn't enough, but I kept my pace and ignored the growls.
There are two ways to hydrate; wear a small back pack with a bladder holding water equipped with a hose for hands free drinking, most commonly know brand: CamelBak. The second, a water bottle that sits in a cage on the frame of the bike. For longer rides I use the CamelBak, when I am racing it sloshes around too much, so I use the latter- good ole' H2O bottle. Using a bottle when racing makes you think a little, you've got to time taking a drink right. Stay with me here... the end is funny. The process is simple; remove one hand from the handle bar, either look down at the bottle or when you're good, just grab and pull from cage-ride one handed-drink-fit bottle back into cage-place hand back on handle bar and it's like you never missed a pedal stroke. You've covered about 10-15 feet depending on how much water you take. Now the timing, complete this process on easy terrain and you'll be fine.
So here I am cruising though the woods, mind is wandering. It's time for a drink. I remove my hand from the handle bar, reach down and feel the bottle, I take a quick glance down. Just as I'm bringing the bottle to my mouth I see it! The biggest root ever! I've got no time to correct, I hit that sucker so hard my life flashed before me. Speed was my friend I rolled up and over, bounced like 6 inches off my seat-another reason to be clipped in to the bike-and kept hold of my only water source. Holy $@*% I yell, my heart is in my throat and now I can't drink. So lesson learned, make sure the coast is very clear when hydrating or just suck it up and wear a hydration pack.

I am the first female over the line and probably the hungriest. With the rush of leaving after my run I have nothing to eat. I make the drive back home. The last night of the running series means potluck so I know I won't have to cook. Everyone will be gone when I get there, but I've got a key and I know where the fridge is! I'm met by a few employees, we chat a little about my race and I'm informed about my raffle winnings- YUP I won the shoes!

Dinner- macaroni salad with pineapple and a sausage, not the ideal meal, but it sure tasted good!

Now it's way past my bedtime but I had to share my day. No morning workout so I get to sleep in until 6:30 well 7:00 after I hit the snooze a few times.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Racing Webster Lake

Ok so here goes, putting my thoughts and experiences, mostly pertaining to triathlon training and racing out there. It’s a new endeavor for me and is pulling me out of my comfort zone and I kinda like it.

Hope you enjoy!
I wanted to start a few weeks ago but I could not come up with a title that excited me and captured what I'd be blogging about.  I finally fell in love with Training...Racing...Living and immediately thought, what if I come up with a better one next week, I was told by a friend never ever...ever...engage in self doubt-that's rule one, so I committed.

The week leading up to my first triathlon of the season was not ideal mentally and physically. I had been thinking about looking to local businesses for sponsorship for about a month now and things fell into place last week, which is awesome but not for the week leading up to my first race. I put together a contract and made some appointments. I felt really good about my meetings and earned enough support to cover my registration fee for the US National Triathlon Championship in Burlington VT mid August.  Oh yeah for those that don’t know I qualified for the Nationals! I moved from my apartment in Randolph to my summer cottage at work, we all know how fun moving is! I also met my new roommate, Allison. My friend and manager Regina and I planned to leave work around 4 on Friday but didn’t get on the road until 5:30, which put us home in CT at 10:30pm- it was a long day. We stayed at my Gramma’s, she and her husband Gene just moved back home from North Carolina, so it was perfect and relaxing. 
After breakfast at Zips Diner with Gramma and Gene, Gina and I traveled to my moms and went for an easy 30 minute road ride in the afternoon. I enjoyed a small cook out with my family while I put together my sponsor board. I was in bed by 9:30 with my alarm set for 4:45am to be in Webster MA for 6:30. I’ve raced the Webster Lake Triathlon for 6 seasons now and could do the course in my sleep but I travel home every year so my family and friends can watch me race. 

I wake up to Corn Bread and Butterbeans a song by the Carolina Chocolate Drops a Bluegrass/Folk group I’ve come to love. A quick shower followed by the daunting task of fueling my body. I have a very hard time eating first thing in the morning but somehow I seem to choke down oatmeal. I really don’t like it, but it makes a difference. I’m going to need to change that. I double check to make sure I don’t forget anything and we are on the road, Gina has to drive everywhere because of severe motion sickness. Works for me, I can focus on the race and work on that darn oatmeal! 

We arrive early enough for great parking. I check in and notice the transition area is quite a bit smaller this year due to low registration –the date had been moved away from Father’s Day.  I prep my race gear-number on bike, timing chip on ankle and number on race belt. The belt holds the number around my waist so I’m not bothered by it in the water and on the bike. 

I headed out on my warm up-a 12-15-minute spin mixed with some quick bursts. I clear my mind by envisioning each leg of the race. I return a little more relaxed and start the transition set up. Seems simple: mat for gear, bike, tri shoes, helmet, sneakers, sunglasses, hat, and race belt, but it has to be perfectly organized for a flawless transition. A quick run through of the actual transition lets me know everything is in place. Next I walk through and figure out the entire transition area: where to enter and exit for each leg, this is crucial. I learned the hard way last year when they changed the exits. I ran to the wrong corner finding myself trapped by fencing, it must have been pretty funny to watch. The last visual: locate my spot in the sea of bikes and hope my things are exactly how I left them. In the chaos of transition other racers are focused on their spot. I’ve come in to T1 (transition from swim to bike) with a wetsuit covering my gear, it threw me off, but now I’m prepared if it happens again.  Down to the water with my mom, dad and Gina. A quick check of the water exit headed up to T1 and I find it changed from last year, good to know. After warming up in the water the National Anthem played and a few minutes later the men were off.  In three minutes I would be starting. I am always nervous before a race but this time it was different, I had the support of my sponsors. Don’t get me wrong I always give 110% but now with sponsors there is a bit more pressure.  Women and teams were next, we approached the water up to our knees, there was no official start line and normally we start waist deep so this threw me off a bit.  I took one last look at the first bouy and hear the count down. My heart kicks into overdrive. 3! 2! 1! GO! Starting with more than 40 people in a wave is quite overwhelming. Hands, feet and arms are everywhere. It’s like a washing machine, oh and you have to figure out how to breathe above all the mayhem. A few minutes in I can settle into my pace and around the first buoy, most everyone has spread out. Not this time, with the very large wave it was a cluster most of the course. I keep myself occupied by focusing on technique, sighting the next buoy and breathing. After 13:33 minutes I was running out of the water. Not very happy with that time, but I was ready for my favorite part of triathlon- cycling!! With more than 2 football fields to run from the water to the transition area it’s a challenge but I knew what to expect and was able to make up some time. I completed T1 in 2 minutes and 44 seconds (third fastest in the entire race) No socks, tri shoes, helmet, sunglasses and I’m off. I push it pretty hard from the start and settle into my aero bars. I ease up just a little before the 3-tier hill at mile 4 where there is always a jam. To the top and down the other side in highest gear but I know I have to down shift and get on the brakes for the 90º turn at the bottom. The rest of the course is pretty flat from here on out. At mile 11 of 12, the run course overlaps the bike course so I can see who is ahead of me. I checked my watch it read 43 minutes- I knew I wasn’t going to beat my best time, but I don’t give up, I just went harder.  As I approach the transition area I quickly run through T2 (transition bike to run) in my mind; sunglasses off, helmet off, shoes off, hat on, sneakers on, sunglasses on and race belt on while running.  I go hard right to the dismount signs, unclip and run in. I rack my bike, make the switch to run- I’m guessing in about 30 seconds as no T2 times were recorded nor were bike times for that matter. On the way out of T2 my coach Gina yelled, “you’ve got 2!” referring to the two women in my age group ahead of me, -I’m third, that’s ok but not good enough. I also knew I only had 4 or 5 women ahead of me including them, so I felt awesome about where I was for the women. I see both women in my age group, they had already passed the turn around point so I knew I couldn’t catch them. I put my head down and repeated to myself as I always do during the run “just a bit faster, just run a little bit faster” I felt pretty strong and tired. Coming into the homestretch the crowd always pulls just a little more out of me, I give it my all and finish the 3 mile run in 19:27 a personal best for this race!

It was over in 1 hour and 13 minutes, just a minute behind my personal best of 1 hour and 12 minutes.  I caught my breath, hugged my mom, dad and Gina. I was excited about where I finished but deep down, I know I can do better.  I drank some water and recovered while Gina checked the results, I was third in my age group, 6th overall female . While we waited for the official results, I gathered all my things from the transition area and got photos with my sponsor board. It had been hanging on my car all morning and got quite a few looks!  Awards got underway by starting with the top 3 female and male finishers, then went on by age group beginning with ages 75-79 and continued to the youngest. I waited patiently to be recognized. As my group got closer a tingling feeling ran through my body I did it again, I placed in the top 3 in my age group! I hear over the PA -“Female age 25-29 from Randolph NH in first place –Meg Skidmore!” I was shocked and confused. Because the top 2 overall female finishers were in my age group the awards get bumped down. I stood on the podium in the first place position wearing the first place medal knowing I finished third. To make it more uncomfortable, I was alone, the 4th and 5th place females left not knowing they would be bumped up to 2nd and 3rd

Gina took a photo of my mom, my dad and me. I don’t remember the last time that has happened. It made me so happy they could be there for me and agree to be in the same photo.

More sponsor board photos with my medal and we were on our way back to the mountains of New Hampshire.

As we drove out of the parking lot, my emotions were all over the place. I finished 3rd, I was recognized as first and I spent the morning with my parents.