Monday, August 19, 2013

Greenfield Tri

A PR!! 1:13:35 .3 mile swim, 14.8 mile bike and 3.1 mile run. Had to drive 3.5 hours for it but it was a well organized race and worth the trip.

I’d like to thank Gina for giving up almost every weekend this summer to drive me all over New England! She books the campgrounds, packs all food necessary, cooks dinner and breakfast and makes sure I’m eating and drinking enough the day before. And to Steve for being at every race, leaving at 3am and driving numerous hours the morning of a race. He has molded me into an amazing athlete in his kind ways. He layers on advice about techniques when I’m ready for them and is at just about every workout pushing me. I don’t think I could find a better coach with such dedication.

After working 6 days this week because I took a day for racing last weekend, we left town at 4:45pm. Arrived in Greenfield at 8:15 with just enough daylight to pre ride one loop of the course. The roads were in incredible shape, smooth as butter! I wasn't super amped for this race, my legs were still a little heavy from last weekend, the long drive and the late hour of arrival.

I finished in the dark and we checked into the hotel that we’d spend just 9 hours in. Gina pre cooked dinner and we watched the Red Sox. Bed at 10:30 and up at 5:15.

The race morning jitters got me pretty good. I didn’t want to eat anything. I had half a banana, less than half a bagel w/ peanut butter 2 spoonfuls of yogurt and took in the rest of the calories in liquid form, Heed and Skratch added to my water.

We arrived at the race venue and checked in. It was a very nice small recreation area. They dammed the river and made a natural swimming pool about 4 feet deep for 1/4 mile.

This race was combined with an international race starting at 8am 1/2 hour before the sprint. We shared the transition area (TA) again.

I was hoping for a first come first serve set up in the TA so I could grab the outside again, no luck. Race numbers was stuck to the racks. I started setting up and went to put my race number on my belt but the number was way too small the holes didn't line up with the bungees. So I pulled out my fancy duck tape and made it work!

Between the mandatory pre race meetings, national anthem and TA closure it's very tricky to time a 45 minute warm up. The pre race meeting was at 7:15-1 hour and 15 minutes before we started. My warm up is a brick and my shoes were already set up. I really didn't want to come in right in the middle of the meeting or the national anthem. I really need to bring extra running shoes for this reason. I didn't want to wait until after the anthem to go it would be too close to race start. I waited until 7:20 and then found out the TA closed at 7:45. I decided I'd wear Gina's shoes for the run and went out on my bike. Had to keep an eye on the time to get my bike back in TA so I shortened my ride. My legs were a little heavy for both PI's not much I could do about it except push through during the race. I racked my bike at 7:40 and the race meeting was still going. Went out for my run and started feeling a little better.

I went down to the river to check out the swim course. 

We were swimming down stream then right back up. We had to wait until the International swimmers finished. It was neat to watch them go by twice. All other races I've done the swim course is an out and back.

My mom and Jim drove up from CT to watch me race! 

Once they were done we were given the ok to warm up. I was in wave 4 so I had plenty of time. The pre race email said the temp was 72. I hopped in and was surprised, it was way cooler than 72. We were all pretty cold at the start, my teeth were chattering. They counted us off and I swam as hard as I could.  After 2 mins a piece of river vegetation got stuck across my nose. It stayed on my face for the next 5 mins I didn't want to stop to take it off. I kept laughing inside though. The waves were brutal and I swallowed enough water to last the rest of the race.

It was a short run to the TA. I switched my stuff and went to run out with my bike but the person next to me was pulling his bike from the rack and blocked me for a few seconds, it threw me off a little.

The bike course was awesome. The pavement was so nice and smooth and we got to do two laps! I passed so many people which I always find surprising. I feel training for biking is more accessible than training for swimming. It's easier to go for a bike ride then finding a place to swim. My legs were still a little heavy but I wanted to push them pretty far to see what I had.

I came in for my run and switched over in 33 seconds! I pushed hard on the bike so my legs weren't as fresh as usual. I started out a little slow but got into a groove after the first mile. I passed two guys and tried to widen the gap. I was passed by a very tall guy with super long legs. I told him those must be coming handy right now. He chuckled I stayed with him for awhile and then he began to pull away but I didn't let him out of sight. As we neared the finish I tried to catch him. I sprinted down the chute and if there were 20 more feet of course I would have passed him!

As I walked away I almost got sick I pushed so hard. I met up with Gina and Steve and they asked where that last sprint came from. I said I wanted to catch the guy ahead of me! They loved it. I chatted with my mom and Jim got a few pictures and they headed home.

A racer came up to me to congratulate me and he said he was going to London, he was pretty excited he'd know someone. He talked with Steve and they might be on the same flight. I elevated my legs and drank my recovery drink and went to change. I used the Presto Chango that Laura Brockett made me!

I was first again!! The guy I was talking to was also the first male. Greg Shea from northern VT and Meg Skidmore from northern NH drive a combined 8 hours and win a race in MA. It was a cool feeling.

They announced first through 3rd for the men and I watched what Greg got to hold up. It was a wooden plate. Then the photographer traded it for a piece of paper. I was curious. Then came overall women. I congratulated the second place and accepted my plate.

The exchange was a form to fill out. I would get the wooden piece mailed to me with my name engraved on it! I couldn't believe it I've never gotten anything like that before. Then I was pulled aside for a short interview with the local paper. That was a first too! Read all about it here:

I said goodbye to Greg and gave him my Team Skidmore card and made sure we'd stay in touch. Steve was headed back and we were meeting my aunt and uncle in VT on the way home.

It was another good day, a very long day but good. Gina and I both didn't want to spend 3 hours in the car on Saturday after working all day but it was worth it.

We haven't decided where I'll be racing next. It's either outside of Boston or on Cape Elizabeth ME. really hoping is in ME, it's a lot closer! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

2x the Fun!

My race schedule had me racing twice in two days. The Mascoma Man Triathlon in Enfield NH a two hour drive and the Bethel Time Trial in Me 40 minutes away from Randolph. I made reservations for two nights at the Mascoma Lake Campground forgetting about the TT. I was super excited it was the first Saturday race and we had the chance to relax for the whole weekend! My friend Tyler was racing in his second tri and his family was camping too! We tried convincing Steve to let me skip the TT but he really wanted me to experience races back to back. I reluctantly understood.

I live in North Conway almost and hour from Gina and Tami's in Randolph. I was meeting them at their house Friday morning after my swim training and my pre race brick workout. I was riding back to their house with Steve after my tri and staying there Saturday night. Bethel is about 30 minutes from their house and we had plans on Sunday evening to talk about London. I was staying over again and swimming near their house and then to work. So Thursday evening I packed for four days! I have become quite the expert of packing and unpacking!

I also received an email that night with an update on the water temperature. If it's above 78ยบ wearing a wetsuit will disqualify you from results. I had a small panic attack when I read that. Wearing a wetsuit not only keeps you warm it helps your lower half stay right near the surface of the water. Friday mornings swim training was changed from the river to the lake-no wetsuit. I haven't swam without a wetsuit in a few months so I knew I needed the practice.

I was very excited to be racing and had prepared mentally for most of the week plus there was a whole group camping. We arrived at the campground and checked in. We climbed the mountain to our site and laughed.  Our site was tiny with no picnic table or fire pit so we moved to a bigger one.

Tyler and his family arrived about an hour after us and set up. Packet pickup was from 5-8pm that evening and I had to ride the course. Tyler and I took off on our ride while Tami, Miranda and Lilly got dinner ready. Gina had to grab a few items from the store.

The pick up was three miles from the campground. The road followed the edge of the lake and it was a beautiful ride. The 16 mile course was an out and back with some long climbs. There were no shoulders and the pavement wasn't that great so I really needed to concentrate and hold on! On the way back we checked out the transition area met Gina on her bike and rode back to camp. I should have brought a bag to put our race stuff in but wasn't thinking. We drove back to packet pickup and checked out the bike shop. Dinner was the usual stir fry chicken, veggies and a salad. We had a great evening chatting by the fire and talking about the race.

The morning was gorgeous! We made breakfast and Tyler met us at our site at 6:30. It took just five  minutes to get to the venue and the lake was sparkling.

We were one of the first to arrive so we got to pick our spots in transition. The end of the rows are the best so you don't have to run in, down the row and back and out. The transition was different than most races it was split in two. The sprint- 1/3 mile swim, 16 mile bike and 3 mile run and the half 1.2 mile swim, 56 bike and 13 mile run. The half started two hours before the sprint. I set up and went out for my warm up. I was the only one on the road.

I loved riding near the lake it brought back so many memories of my childhood. I used to get up at 5am with my Grampie sneak into the fridge to get bread and quietly make our way down to the dock not waking Grammie up and feed the fish and ducks. The sparkling sun on the water, the stillness in the air and time with Grampie will never leave my memory.

I did my first three minute all out and felt a little sluggish. I recovered turned back and after I finished my second power interval I felt better. I reported that back to Steve and he confirmed that hows its supposed to feel. I went out on my run and the same happened except I didn't feel super great after the second one. It's always a challenge to time my warm up with the start of the race. I'm usually behind schedule and don't often get a good swim in. This time I was ahead of schedule! We got the word wetsuits were allowed and I began the process of getting into it. It's much better when someone helps.
We plan on filming the next race so you will see the process!

Tyler and I were excited we could wear wetsuits!

I was able to get a great swim warm up in. This week Steve and I were working on my sighting. I've been lifting my head up too high which makes my legs sink and slows me down. I sight every 10 strokes so that's a lot of slowing down. Steve watched me and said it was much better. I also struggle with going out too hard and being out of breath before the first turn. Steve said to focus on a high turn over with a little less power until I fall into my rhythm. The national anthem played which always brings a little tears to my eyes knowing how hard my brother fought overseas for me to have this opportunity and I'm thankful he's home safe. 

I was in the second wave and this time they were mixed male and female another first for me. I was so pumped to race and go all out. The horn sounded and I went out fast but relaxed and let a few people pass. My sighting was better and I didn't panic. 

I drafted off a few swimmers and made sure I swam as far into the shore as possible. Most swim until they first see the bottom, stand up and try to run in waist deep water. It's much faster to keep swimming. I was the 6th swimmer out in my wave!

The run up to T1 was long but it was nice to regroup and prep for the bike. Plus, I was able to stuff my nice race goggles in my swim cap instead of leaving them on the ground open for getting trampled on. I shoved the bottom half of my wetsuit down to my calves and got my foot out in one pull. It was the fastest I've done it! I ran out with my bike, got to the mount line and couldn't get my feet clipped in, it took me a few tries. Usually I'm in the first time.

I knew the ride was going to be tough and Steve had a plan. Go out hard at a pace you almost can't keep up and know you'll cruise the long downhill on the way back.  He didn't tell me my legs would be more tired for the run because he knew I'd hold back, very true. I passed a few in the first mile.  I leap frogged one guy and looked back the after the second pass and he was drafting! I moved over slightly and back and almost said something but didn't. We approached the first long climb he stood for a little and I dropped into an easier gear and spun up past him. The climb was about 3/4 of a mile when I reached the top and glanced back, he was less that half way up! He never caught me. I pushed it downhill and up the next. I could see the turn-around it was a 180. I quickly ran through what I needed to do to loose the least amount of speed. I downshifted into the right gear made the turn and as I accelerated I hit the one small rock on the road and slipped up a little and then accelerated as fast as I could right back up to speed and back into the aero bars to settle in. I was passed on the climb and tried to stay with him but couldn't. I topped the hill and began the descent. I knew the pavement was horrible and stayed more towards the middle of the road. I always wear clear lens so I can see when there are shadows from the trees.

I came back into town and had a few miles left. I was a little concerned about not having enough left for the run.

Got through T2 in 24 seconds and my legs were not so light and quick. The run was out and back on the same road as the bike course. There was one deep valley towards the beginning. I was trying to be fast but just wasn't feeling it. As I approached the turn-around, the volunteers asked if I was doing the sprint or the half. I yelled sprint and they directed me to turn around the cone. The half continued on. There were two cyclists coming at me so I had to hesitate and time my turn without getting run over. I tried to imagine there was no hill but it only worked for so long. I watched the other women and tried to gauge their pace. As I topped the hill I saw the turn back to the finish. I visualized a rope pulling me closer and closer. I made the last turn and sprinted and almost missed the finish shoot!

I pushed so hard and looked at my run time and busted out in tears. I was happy with my effort but so disappointed with my run time 22:34. I was so caught up in comparing it with the last race 20:50 that I didn't take into consideration the hills. Steve found me and hugged me then Gina met me with hug and told me to let it go, it was hilly. It's so hard not to focus on numbers and not all sprints are the same distance. They range from 1/4 mile to a 1/2 mile swim and the bike is 12 -16 miles and of course the terrain is different. I need to work on recognizing this before I race and not be upset when my finish times are so different. I finished the previous tri in 1:14 and this week my time was 1:18.

I met up with the group, elevated my legs and waited for Tyler. 

They had screens up with the results and we discovered they were only the swim times for both the Half and Sprint. We got some food and watched the rest of the finishers. We kept checking the screens for more results but they weren't being updated.

As they started gathering the prizes no one knew how they finished, the results still weren't posted. As the top male was announced and the crowd cheered, I said to myself I hope my time was good enough for first place. Then they announced my name as first place female, I was super happy!

We took a few photos and looked at the printed results and Tyler was 4th in his age group!

We picked up our gear out of the transition area and headed back to the campground for a cook out. 
The weather was beautiful and plans after lunch were a nap, swimming, kayaking and relaxing. I really wanted to stay and hang but I was racing the next day all the way back in Bethel ME about three hours from the campground. We packed my stuff in Steve's car and headed north back to Randolph. I did a quick load of laundry ate dinner and went to bed.

I was meeting Steve at 6:45 in town to head over to Bethel. It was a beautiful morning in Randolph.
I checked the course online and rode part of it the week before so I knew what to expect for the second half. When we arrived racers were prepping their really nice bikes and registering. Steve and I checked in and got our numbers. I was 116 at the tri and was 114 for this race almost could have left my number on my bike.
Steve and I went out for a warm up spinning high getting legs warm. I had 3 Power Intervals to do with 5 min recovery in between. We rode out on most of the first half of the course. My legs were so tired and heavy. Usually after the third PI it goes away but not this time, but I knew that would happen. On our return to the start two convertibles passed us, honked and waved. I had no idea who it was.

We arrived back at my car and saw four blue t-shirts. It was a few members of Team Skidmore, the Surettes and the Richards! I was so excited they came!

Steve and I attended the pre race meeting No drafting, say to left of white line except to pass and careful of the potholes on the North Road. Racers were starting 30 seconds apart. Steve was first, but he prefers to be towards the back so he has riders to chase. I got in line and waited for my turn. I wanted to do well but wasn't sure how my legs would feel.
The start makes me feel like a pro! They hold your bike up so you're not loosing time fumbling to clip in. Just have to be sure your in the right gear!

They counted me down and I was off. My goal was to ease into it and maintain what I could. Rt 2 West has nice wide shoulders and smooth pavement. I caught and passed two before the turn at about half way. I was also passed by two racers who were going so fast it felt like I was barley moving. I picked off two more on the North Road. A few miles in I saw a rider on the side of the road working on his bike. As I got closer I recognized him, it was Steve! I asked if he was ok and he yelled "go! go! go!" He either had a flat or mechanical. Huge bummer.

I didn't know exactly where the finish was and was starting to loose speed and power. I didn't even think to switch my computer screen over to mileage. I really should have. I was passed by another female who was very very strong. I tried to stay with her but only lasted a few seconds my legs were burning. A half mile later I saw the finish I gave it all I had.

Steve was just a few minutes behind me. I cheered him through the finish line and we met up with our fans.

Talked about the race and then looked at results. The race crew had a small pop up tent, four timers and three computers. One was set up facing the racers and results were posted in live time.

I raced 19 miles in 53:33 not too bad considering how tired my legs were.

Awards were back at the start. Steve and I went out and spun for awhile. I was fourth female and second in my age group so I wanted to be back for awards. We loaded the bikes in the car, changed quickly, I mixed my recovery drink and joined the award ceremony. They awarded the first place finishers in each age group with a t-shirt. I though they'd go back through and do second and third but they didn't. That's ok I know it takes a lot to put on a race and the costs associated.

I was happy with my time and the experience of racing two days in a row.

It's now four days after the event and I'm just now 11pm finishing this blog, I rushed through the TT recap. This week has been very busy.
Monday-5:30 am Swim training, work, afternoon ride, pack things for the next week of house sitting
Tuesday- Work, mtn bike race/brick, move into new house
Wednesday-5:30 am swim training, work, afternoon ride 1.5 hours didn't eat enough and bonked hard at end of ride was out of it for an hour or so then had to be driven to get banner from bike club for a photo shoot the following day.
Thursday-7am meeting at work, work, photo shoot and afternoon time trial. Had to bring a friend home due to rain and had to get trainer back at my house to ride inside. Started workout at 7pm dinner at 8:30, finished Blog prep for practice race at 5:30 am
Friday- Practice triathlon at race pace before work, work, pm workout.
Saturday - pre race workout before work then drive to Greenfield MA 3.5 hours for a Triathlon on Sunday.