Sunday, April 14, 2013

Travel Time! NH, ME, NH, CT, NH

It's almost that time of the year to ween ourselves out of the pool and into the near bone chilling waters of northern New Hampshire. To survive the early morning swims a wetsuit is a must! Jess, Leah and I had been planning a trip to Portland ME to try on wetsuits and I needed new running shoes. Wetsuit shopping, now how fun does that sound? Squeezing yourself into a dry neoprene body suit that feels three sizes too small! It's better then trying to buy online and not getting the right fit. Turned out Leah couldn't make the trip so Jess, Steve and I drove over last Sunday. We arrived at the Aqua Diving Academy where they sell an array of wetsuits, to a Closed on Sunday sign on the door. We were pretty disappointed. I had almost called to check the hours but forgot. So now we were on a mission to find another shop. I looked it up on my smartphone and found one located on Cottage St. I navigated while Jess drove. We drive away from the ocean and end up in a residential area, we all laughed so hard and knew the day was turning into an adventure. The correct address was Cottage Ave and was 15 minutes in the other direction, whoops! Steve knew about Gorham Bike and Ski but wasn't sure of the location, both of our phones had very low battery. We stopped at EMS to ask for directions and along the way introduced Jess to Trader Joe's!!

We found Gorham Bike and Ski with no issues! They sell BlueSeventy and Nineteen wetsuits in two options, a beginner model and a performance model. A beginner suit has a thicker neoprene in certain areas to help with buoyancy while  performance suits usually mix neoprene with lyrca or other materials. They are not as thick and cater to stronger swimmers. Jess and I tried on both and fell in love with the Nineteen performance suit. Although I have a wetsuit, it's just a tad to big and is the thickest USAT sanctioned races allow, 5mm. We did not purchase the "Cadillac" it was $600. We'd like to try on more styles and hope for a price that's easier on the wallet.

We grabbed a great lunch and walked over to Maine Running Company. They specialize in finding the right shoe for your foot and have a personalized fitting process. I figure if I was going to spend a decent amount of money on shoes I wanted them to fit perfectly.

As we approached the store we noticed the lights were off, we immediately thought they were closed. I had called earlier in the week and knew they were open on Sundays. The sign on the door told us they had moved, just our luck! Turns out they were two blocks away from back where we started near EMS.

After having my gait and feet analyzed, the sales women brought out a few pairs to get me started. I tried on about ten pair of shoes and then narrowed it down. I decided on the Asics Gel Nimbus and wore them around while Jess had her turn at analyzing. I wanted to make sure they were the ones!
It was a fun day!

The next day was my moms birthday. I had planned a surprise visit home (CT) and a surprise birthday party for her. It was an early morning with swim class at 5am and a few tasks I had to do for work then I was on my way. I called my mom on the way home and she asked how the weather was in NH so of course I had to lie, I was already in CT! I arrived at my grandmothers to 70ยบ and sunshine. My afternoon workout was an hour and a half ride. It would be my first outdoor ride of the season. I didn't want it to end!

Plans changed and my brother Austin wanted to have a cookout at his house instead of eating at a local restaurant. Fine by me! We notified everyone and decorated the house. I was worried mom would see all the cars and know something was up but there are always cars at my brothers house. I drove my grandparents in their car so my car wouldn't be in the driveway. We watched her walk across the yard, she had no clue what was on the other side of the door! I hid behind the door as she walked in to SURPRISE!! She loved it and shed a few tears. We hung out on the back deck and played on the rope swing, even Gramma took a turn!

I had some quality time with my niece Cheyanne too!

I spent the night at Gramma's and Gene's new place, Maple Courts! There is so much going on there, arts & crafts, one free meal a day, people everywhere, even wii bowling. Gramma is very social so it's a great fit for her. Their apartment is bigger than the last and has much more storage.

The next day was my first track workout of the season and the Ellis Tech High School track is right across the street. After a warm up I had to
*Run 2 laps at 8:00 pace (440 in 2:00, each 110 in 30 sec) (target time 4:00).
HR:161 TIME:4:01
*Run 2 laps at 7:20 pace (440 in 1:50, each 110 in 27.5 sec) (target time 3:40).
HR: 164 TIME: 3:56
*Run 2 laps at 6:50 pace (440 in 1:42.5, each 110 in ~25.5 sec) (target time 3:25).
HR: 174 TIME: 3:31
*Run 2 laps at 6:00 pace (440 in 1:30, each 110 in ~22.5 sec) (target time 3:00).
HR: 178 TIME: 3:04
It was a challenge to do the math while running. Next time I'll have to figure out what the clock should say for each quarter (110) instead of trying to add the right seconds to each quarter. It was interesting to check my pace for each lap.

For the afternoon, another ride! It was great to be outside with no layers.

That evening mom wanted to go kayaking! It was so nice out it felt like summer.

The next morning Austin made me an awesome breakfast, I hung out with my friend Heather, saw mom at work and was about to head home. I had an afternoon workout which would have been on the trainer. It was still pretty nice out so I decided to delay my trip home and ride outside.  Had a quick lunch with my step dad, Mike, and then had to leave the nice spring weather behind, and it snowing/sleeting as I write this!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ammonoosuc Amble

My first race of the season went awesome!! Although its April it was about 20 degrees at the start and the start was at 11:00am! I carpooled so we met in Randolph which welcomed me with 3 inches of snow! Winter has not given up in the North Country.

Most of my races start before 9am so things were a little off for me. We arrived at 9:30 and picked up our race packets. An hour and half until start. Glad they had a raffle going I needed some distraction for my nerves. I put my tickets in for running shoes, a 60 minute massage and Red Sox tickets- an hour and fifteen minutes until start.

I've been doing a lot of running through the winter but not at this distance. I needed a goal, either a finish time or a pace time. I talked with my coach and he figured 7:30 per mile would be good for me and if I felt good pick up the pace the last two miles, and run fast as I thought I could. The last time I raced more than three miles was in 2010 At the PumpkinMan Half Ironman. (1.4 mile swim, 56 mi bike and 13.1 mi run). I know I have the fitness but running for that distance, at race pace, this early in the season was a little unnerving. The walkers went off at 10:30, Regina and Sue were ready!

I used the bathroom and saw a girl who looked pretty fit, blue shirt black tights, she was competition for me I could tell. I headed out on my warm up; 10 mins easy/10 min telephone pole surges to race pace/10 min easy running. Came back with about 10 minutes until start. I couldn't decide if I wanted to wear my vest knowing that if I took it off I'd have to carry it. I left it along with my windbreaker and put arm warmers on under my long sleeve. Side story: As I was walking out, I noticed a guy with a National Triathlon Championship shirt I asked him if he raced the Sprint or the Olympic distance he raced the sprint, I told him I had raced it as well. He asked my name and we realized we've exchanged a few emails! He works for Northway Bank. We went to Northway for sponsorship and to set up an account to accept donations. The Gorham branch manager emailed all their locations asking them to keep an eye out for Team Skidmore donations. Armand is a personal banker. We walked to the start together and discussed our strategy. He wanted to run a 33 I figured I wouldn't see him until after the race.

The first mile was all uphill not steep but gradual. I put myself in the second row and the countdown began. We started and I had to dart around a father and a five year old I wondered why they put themselves in the front. The front group started so fast but I kept up with them knowing a few would slow down. They did and I passed three people. I ran the first mile in 7:35! I knew there were three girls ahead of me.

Half way through the second mile, that girl I saw in the bathroom was approaching and wanting to pass. I stayed with her and on the uphill I didn't slow down as much as her. The next flat she caught up but then I pulled away on the following hill. Finished that mile in 7:41, it was hilly.

Before she tried to pass me again, another guy succeeded. I kept him in my sight. We finally started descending and I was feeling strong. We stayed together for mile three and thats when I saw Armand. As I passed the mile marker I got a flutter in my stomach, that's been my distance for the past three years! My watch read 22:17! I felt great and had completed the third mile in 7:01.

I picked Gina and Sue out of the group of walkers I was approaching, I knew they'd yell words of encouragement. They sure did! The third place female was about 100 feet out in front of me, Gina knew that and she yelled and pushed me to chase third place even harder.

I rounded the corner with about a mile and a half to finish. I distanced myself from the guy I had been running with and was so tempted to look back for the girl but I resisted. I heard the last mile was uphill so I was prepared. Armand was getting closer and closer. I caught him just after the 4 mile marker and said "Come on let's do this!" He tried to stay with me but I had to catch third place. 4th mile-6:23!

She wasn't getting closer and I was running harder. I pictured myself on the podium with a huge smile. I pushed a little harder and felt like I was going to get sick. I've never pushed hard enough to get sick so I didn't know if I would with out missing a step or I would have to stop. I cry when I throw up and didn't want that. My race was going so well I didn't want to discover what would happen. The finish line was getting closer and I knew I wouldn't catch her, I was sort of ok with that. I crossed the finish line 14 seconds behind her in 35:26. I ran the last mile in 6:53!

I left almost all of it on the pavement and it felt amazing. I went inside the school to get my wind jacket for my warm down. In just those few minutes my legs got very sore and almost cramped. It hurt to run but after a few minutes of jogging my hamstrings loosened up. I went unti I saw Gina and Sue, they were a quarter mile out, I jogged to them and turned around with them to the finish. They were walking fast! As we waited for Tami and Rosemary, I elevated my legs to drain the lactic acid. We saw Tami first, I got my phone out for finishing shots. There was a three second delay so I missed her. Ro came through and same delay, bummer no finish photos. We all congratulated each other and went inside, it was still pretty chilly. There were massage tables set up which I never take advantage of. Today I decided I would. I didn't realize there was a line. Most were in the never ending line for food. I waited and stretched and waited and stretched. It was a dollar a minute with the first five minutes being free. Gina checked on me a few times and brought me a cookie. It was totally worth the wait I need to do this more often!

I think I was the last to get food. Cooked veggies and chop suey, delicious! They started what we thought were awards at 1pm followed by the raffle. After 5 speeches an hour had already gone by. We were ready to leave but had to be present to win for the raffle. I also didn't know how I placed in my age group. They announced first overall male/female runners and walkers, I was surprised they didn't recognize the top three finishers. The age group awards were announced next, "female age 20-29 in first place Meg Skidmore" I was surprised but felt I earned it. They continued up through the age groups and Ro got called for first place too! She was even more surprised than I was and didn't believe it.

Remember that father and daughter I had to go around at the start? Well she got an award too She didn't want to race with the kids so she asked her dad to run the 5 miles! She ran in 1 hour and 14 minutes! Very impressive.

Finally they started the raffle. So glad we waited because I won a one hour massage! We packed up our stuff and headed out. We had to pose for a group picture but Ro had to fix her hair first. I guess the wind had other plans.

11th runner out of 111, 4th female, and 1st in my age group, very happy with my finish and a great way to start my racing season.

The temp read 34 degrees as we drove out of the parking lot.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Team Skidmore Updates!

Great news! I've made it easier to help me reach my goal of raising enough money to race in London, you can now donate online via Paypal. Click here or see the link displayed on the right sidebar and feel free to share this blog with anyone!

I've also added the option to subscribe to my blog, this way you'll get an email when I post! See it on the right sidebar. 

We've set a date for our first fundraising dinner! It will be at the Shannon Door Pub in Jackson, NH on Thursday May 16th-SAVE THE DATE and tell everyone you know!! Any pizza sold that evening will benefit Team Skidmore, even take out! Plus there will be great raffle prizes and a sign up for Team Skidmore t-shirts and more.

I've spent some time changing the logo check it out! 

The revised logo

Last years logo

I'm often asked how training is going and my response is always "good" or "great" but sometimes I don't have time to elaborate. Training is awesome! I'm learning so much about my body, understanding the different zones I have to work in, how to push myself-finding something else that works, and becoming more familiar with the power tap computer. I take time after every workout to stretch but I know I need to make more time. The most valuable trick I've learned for better recovery is to elevate my legs for 3-5 minutes immediately after a workout. This keeps the lactic acid from pooling in my legs which causes them to be more fatigued the next day. I also drink a mix within 30 mins, Hammer's Recoverite Chocolate really does it for me! I am always fresh for the next training session.

Training in zones: For each workout I can use technology, a heart rate monitor or a Power Tap to make sure I'm in the right zones. The goal is to steadily increase my zones to get faster, stronger and to tolerate more. My current training zones are:

Recovery Miles- Heart Rate: 85-118, Watts 60-102
Endurance Miles- HR: 110-154, Watts 91-148
Tempo- HR:149-152, Watts 162-173
Steady State- HR:155-159 Watts 175-183
Climbing Repeats- HR161-169 Watts 193-197

During all workouts I am in at least two of these zones. It has been interesting having to focus on numbers while riding indoors on the trainer.  I do watch TV but most of the time I'm staring at the numbers making sure I stay in the right zones. It will be challenging when I start riding outside. I'll have hills, wind, and traffic on top of focusing to stay in my zones. All winter I've been on the trainer with none of these variables.

I've really made great progress in the pool, I learn something every session. When I am swimming sets I am usually descending, meaning each one is faster than the previous one. Steve has taught me when I get tired to find something else that works, I can glide a little more or kick a little harder, just by changing one or two elements I can get through with the same results. It's similar to having gears on a bike. I've used the Erg a few times and that helps with power and form. Steve has looked at my pool times, figured them into the 1/2  mile I swim in Triathlon and projects I've taken 4-5 minutes off! It is so exciting and I still have two months until my first Triathlon. I can't wait to get in the open water and race.

Steve and I have nearly finalized my race schedule for this season, you'll see it on the right sidebar. It's pretty exciting. Instead of  focusing on Triathlons I'll be mixing it up. I'm racing the Maine Time Trial Series roughly 15 miles of all out bike racing. This will help me find my pace and get me more comfortable in the aero bars. I'll also be using these races as bricks where I transition to a run immediately after I'm done riding. This will prep my legs and nail down my T2 (bike to run transition time). Along with time trials I'll be doing quite a few 5k running races. Great Glen Trails has the Salomon Spring Trail Running Series -registration is open ;) as well as a nine week series offered by the White Mountain Milers at Whittaker Woods. I will use some of these as bricks too. I have chosen to race all new Triathlons this summer, I won't know the venue, the course or the competitors. This will really prepare me for London and teach me to race a little out of my comfort zone. In prior races I have always made time to at least drive the bike and run courses so I knew what to expect on race day. I'm super excited for the new challenge!

2013 sponsorship is underway! Karen from Peak Health Sports Massage has joined the team again this year and taken very good care of my muscles! Smith and Town Printing has also joined Team Skidmore. In order to spread the word about fundraising we need materials; letters, envelopes, business cards, raffle tickets, etc and Smith & Town will be doing all the printing for us!! Thanks so much Rachel and Micheal!
I'll be posting another blog with more dates and details of this summers fundraising events!

Spring is right around the corner and I can't wait to hit the open road!

Organizing all this takes a lot of time and effort I am so thankful to have a team behind me and leading that team is a great friend of mine Regina Ferreira! She has volunteered so much of her time and has taken on an incredible role, I can't imagine doing any of this without her, thanks Gina!!