Wednesday, February 27, 2013

45 Minutes of Bliss

The day began at 4:15 am like most days and I really didn't want to get out of bed, which honestly doesn't happen that often. I had a late night the night before, didn't get home until 9pm and had a 45 min spin (bike workout on the trainer) but I'm not whining here..that will come later.

Swim class this morning at White Mountain Aquatic was tough, long, but fun. With the warm up, drill set and the main set, we swam just about a mile in a 40 foot pool! I was totally feeling it, I felt strong and efficient. We swam three double 50's to finish the workout-Butterfly, Breaststroke and Freestyle. The class is five swimmers strong; Leah, Jess Nat, Steve and I. We are all pretty competitive so when the drills are done at a fast pace it's a race in all of our minds. So the 50's were a race, it was great! I am not so great at the Butterfly but my Breaststroke is pretty strong and I'm steadily improving on the Freestyle.

Work began at 8am. I did a photo shoot to help Ernie Mills the photographer get back to capturing Nordic skiers for an upcoming race. We found a small jump and I just had to hit it! Great shots Ernie!

Wanted to work through lunch and leave a little early to get my afternoon 45 minute run in before dark, but that didn't happen. The clock read 4:30 as I started my car. The roads were slickery and I was concerned about my safety running at dusk. I don't mind running in snow I just didn't know how drivers would react.  I arrived home at 5:15, shoveled the walk way and had to eat, I was starving! While I was making my pb & j my roommate Leah asked what my plans were for the evening. I looked at her with a scowl on my face and said "a freaking 45 min run". I was just frustrated with what time it was and I never complain about training but I sure whined about this one. Leah and I exchanged how our days went and the light was dwindling. So was my motivation.  I zoned out while in the rocking chair, bad idea to choose that seat. I debated skipping or shortening my workout but I know how guilty I'd feel if I did. It was now 6pm- dark. I suited up for the snow; layers, running gaitors, my new reflective vest and headlamp.
Love my new running gaitors! I feel fast

The second my face hit the cool air I knew I made the right decision to run. Started my watch and hopped through the deep snow at the end of the driveway. It was still snowing. There was hardly any traffic on the road! Less than 10 cars passed me giving me plenty of room. The snowflakes weren't the big fat ones you stick your tongue out for, they were the ones that sting your face when the wind blows.

On the way back I had a steady hill to climb and it felt like I was running on mashed potatoes. I was running and looking at the trees not going by. I had slowed down and was almost running in place. I giggled out loud as I mushed my way up. As I climbed the next hill to my house my watch read 41:27, I still had 4 minutes left. I could have easily turned home, but I didn't. I continued on, peeking at the warmth and the light extending from the windows of our living room. I looped back and stepped onto the porch at 45:03. Perfect!

It was perhaps the most peaceful and rewarding run I've experienced. I'm elated I didn't miss out on spending the evening outside. This will give me more motivation the next time I think about skipping a workout.

Tomorrow I will not have to be up before 5 am, that hasn't happened in more then two weeks!
Powder day! Snowboarding at Wildcat, lifts open at 9am, meeting a friend for breakfast at 8.  It will still be a long day, another 1 hour spin on the trainer with hard intervals and hockey at 7:30pm but I love powder, can't miss out on freshies!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My First Swim Meet!

The only time I wear nail polish is when I race so last night I made them look good! 

The day started at 4:45 am and when I didn't receive the 5am email telling me that the race had been canceled I got out of bed, super excited. The plan: Steve to my house at 5:40, Gina, me and him meet Maury and Jess at Whittaker Woods at 5:50 and then jump in Leah's van at the Maine border at 6. I double checked my bag, made breakfast and we were off. The roads were slickery; slippery and slick, it's the new word for bad conditions. The drive to Freeport, ME was beautiful, the trees were completely covered in snow. It took us just under two hours to get there thanks to Leah's great driving. We arrived so early the YMCA wasn't open yet!

Getting our warm up in before the doors open

Me, Jess, Leah and Maury ready to swim!
Warm up started at 8:30 and the meet began at 9:30 so we had plenty of time. It was hard to judge when to warm up because I didn't know how much time until my first race. I didn't know how long each race would last and didn't know how many heats each race would consist of. I jumped in and shared the lane with Jess and Leah. Steve hopped in just to get some laps in, he wasn't registered..or so he thought! After warming up and chatting with Maury and the girls we began convincing Steve to register. After very little coaxing he agreed and registerd for the same events I was racing. 200 freestyle, 50 freestyle, 50 breaststroke and 100 freestyle. We practiced our diving starts and my goggles fell of a few times. The blocks here are higher than what we use at the Aquatic Center. We improvise with benches that we practiced on last week. My goggles got pulled off just about every practice dive but once I adjusted my head I felt confident.

Checking out the timing touch pads.

We are so happy to be here!

Steve and I after he registered, so confident

We checked our heats and lane assignments. Steve and I were in the same heat for all four races! I wasn't really nervous about how I'd do, I was more concerned about counting my laps. Swimming a 50 in our pool is two laps, in this pool it's just one, dive in, swim, flip turn and back. My first race was the 200 free, eight lengths or $2.00 each length being .25 cents.

At the start of each race it's your responsibility to be at the block and there is a series of whistles. Some for standing near your block, a few for getting on your block, then a voice command to take your mark and the horn to dive in. I didn't really know when to make my moves so I just watched the swimmer next to me.

There were just three of us in the first heat, and Steve wasn't comfortable diving in so he started in the water. I felt much more relaxed vs seeing six or seven swimmers on the blocks. Just before the horn blared I hoped for a good dive. Success! I was in and swimming with no goggle issues. After .50 cents I was out front then lost track of the money I spent. When I was coming in at what I thought was the last lap I tried looking at the clock on the wall at every breath. If I was close to 3:20 I should be finished at the next wall. I couldn't see it behind the flags. They hang above the pool for the backstroke swimmers as a guide to see how close they are to the wall. I was either going to be really embarrassed or no one would know. I guessed right and finished in 3:19 one second faster than what Maury had sent in. One race down three to go.
My next event was the 50 free. Steve and I were next to each other. We obeyed the commands, dove in and swam hard, just one flip turn and hammer back. Time: 37.43 three seconds faster than my seed time. 

The best part about the meet is being there with friends and talking about our races. Gina was taking pictures and recording times, Leah's dad helped with timing, Jess' husband and son were cheering us on and Maury had a constant grin as he introduced us to everyone he knew. He was so proud to have all of us racing!

The 50 breaststroke was my next race I couldn't wait for this one. It's super fun and I've excelled at this style over the last few weeks. I dove in and my goggles slipped up off my head, I grabbed them and slung them around my arm. I could still see the black line and the T marking the end. Every time I pulled, the chlorine rushed into my eyes. I didn't want this to ruin my race so I just kept my form. On the turn both hands must touch the wall, I executed that and just had to make it back. I finished in 46.36, four seconds faster than my seed time! My eyes were burning but I was first in my heat!!

Watching my friends race was amazing and seeing other techniques was pretty neat. As I was waiting for my next race one of the staff came to me telling me I was racing the 200 relay at the end of the meet. My eyes widened and I responded that I didn't sign up for that. He asked, your Meg Skidmore right? As he showed me the hand written relay races I realized he was right, I was leading the team of Steve, Jess, and Maury. I guess Maury signed us up for the relay. Cool.

Second to last event was the 100 free. On the blocks, ok get your chin down and look at your belly button I told myself. Dove in and goggles slipped down, should have pulled them off and let them hang around my neck but I didn't. Maury said they could twist and choke me. I wasn't turning my head as far to the side because they were going to slip off so every breath was half filled with water. I could barely see the line and had no idea where the T was. I didn't want to hit the wall so I flipped where I thought I should have and went to push off, nothing! I kept swimming and made do on the second lap but I did the same thing and missed the wall again loosing precious time. I finished in 1:34 not my best 100 time.  I was asked by the judge after the meet if I had actually touched the wall, I answered no. She should have disqualified me but it was so close she couldn't tell and didn't signal the officials at the time.

The only event left was the relay and we were all pretty pumped for it. We changed the order because Steve wasn't diving. He was first, then me, then Jess, then Maury. Leah was swimming with another group. It was so fun racing with my teammates and cheering everyone on. I dove in as soon as Steve touched the wall and my goggles stayed on! Jess swam hard and Maury finished it strong. We took 1st in 25+ Mixed!

I really couldn't ask for a better experience at my first swim meet except maybe for some super glue for my goggles. The support we had for each other was awesome. We grabbed lunch and compared times showing off our result cards.

I can't wait for the next meet!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fundraising, Splitboarding and Team USA Jersey!

Well it's really starting to hit me how much support I have leading up to my first international race. Team Skidmore is growing and it's very humbling to know so many people care about me and want to support me. We had a round table discussion about fundraising for my trip and it brought tears to my eyes.

Last summer I asked local businesses in Gorham to support me and sign a contract for three levels of sponsorship. During the meeting I was asked if I had contacted any businesses in the North Conway area for their support. I hadn't because I was living closer to Gorham. I have since moved to the area so that's why the question was raised.  Paul Surette spoke and said we need to start asking North Conway businesses. My first thought was I don't really have a lot of time. Working 40 hrs a week and training between 10 and 16 hours doesn't leave much time to sleeping or eating never mind going out for sponsors. He said we'll do it, we'll go out and get support for you.  I started tearing up I was so surprised and excited to have someone want to do that for me.  A few people chimed in and said it would look much better if others were asking on behalf of me, true but still unbelievable to me.

Another avenue to explore was being interviewed on the local tv station Outside television. We want to get the word out about Team Skidmore and my quest to race in London. Now most of you know me and I'm not one to go around talking about myself and asking for support so this will be a huge step for me. I've been on Outside TV talking about what Great Glen Trails and the Mt. Washington Road have to offer so I know what to expect. It was easy talking about work activities but having a camera on me was a little uncomfortable, as it is for most of us. I just have to get over it and get used to attention and talking about myself. Another fundraising idea is to set up a display to get my story out. My boss said it was ok to have this set up at work and at some of our big bike races. Again I couldn't believe it! Thank you Great Glen. I am also exploring the Kickstarter site or how to make it possible to donate online at my Blog.  Various fundraising ideas are falling into place as well as a long term raffle with some big ticket items. The meeting was a huge success now ideas just need to be implemented.

Changing sports here, my friends enjoy backcountry skiing and all have the equipment to skin up the trail through the woods. This requires a different binding set up allowing for the heel to be free, like teleskiing and skins to grip the snow.  Skins are similar to velvet, smooth one way and rough the other, this lets the ski slide up and when weight is on the ski it doesn't slide back down. Well I don't ski, I snowboard so I asked for a splitboard for Christmas from my mom. I sent one of my snowboards to Alaskan Custom Splitboards. They cut my board, put an inside edge on it so it's sealed all the way and makes for better traction when climbing, they installed the ViolĂ© split kit and shipped it back. Now I can skin up and snowboard down! Check out this video from K2 Snowboards.

As you can see, I was super excited to get it! Now I don't have to hike and carry my board on my backpack. 

Yay it arrived! Now to get the bindings on the sliding plates
Skinning up Saddleback with Leah, Beth, Michael and Keith

Riding down after skinning up at Saddleback

Cold windy awesome day for Gulf of Slides with Leah and Keith
Skinning up Gulf of Slides with Leah and Keith
After 2 hours of skinning we arrived at the base of the slides

Looking down Gulf of Slides (Keiths dog Espresso)
Now we get to ride all the way back down to the parking lot!

Ok now back to tri, I ordered a Team USA cycling jersey its getting more official now. Really can't wait for my official triathlon suit, it will have my last name.

My friend and manager, Regina

I registered for my first swim meet, the Casco Bay Toughen Up Challenge in Freeport ME. I'm really excited but super nervous. I'm racing four events the 200 freestyle, the 50 freestyle, the 50 breaststroke and the 100 freestyle. Steve, Gina and I went to check out the pool last weekend. It's really nice and quite a bit longer then the Aquatic Center.  A few swimmers from my Masters Class are also registered and we are carpooling. It's going to be fun watching experienced swimmers and spending the day at the pool.

Now if only this snow storm doesn't cancel the meet we'll all be happy. Wish me luck!!