Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fall Training/Playing

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Nationals Double

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was the perfect ending to an amazing weekend!!

Friday, August 8, 2014

US Tri Nationals pre race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My goal is to qualify for Worlds in both races!

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

My race number for the Olympic is 3302

Sun Aug 10 Sprint Coverage online:

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


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

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

Greenfiled Olympic Tri # 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Departure time was 5:45.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

King Pine Olympic w/ 30 mile bike - Tri #6

This was the first race that my coach, Steve and my manager, Regina have not been at. It was very different to not have them there. I know what to do before my race, check in, set up TA, warm up etc... It’s the during and after I count on them. They keep track of how many athletes are in front of me and tell me how far back I am from the closest ones. After, they are there for hugs, support and help me briefly analyze the race, make sure I eat, drink and get a cool down in. 

The race was only 40 mins from home and I was one of the first to arrive. I checked in and got my number; 142. I went to TA to set up and looked for my number on the bike rack. 136, 137, 138, 150. Hmmm my number wasn’t there. I looked at my watch and knew I had to start my warm up pretty soon. I told Vince, the race director. He helped search and then went to get the registration list. I racked my bike and started putting my race numbers on my helmet and bike. I looked and I was really 241 oops. Vince came back and said there is no 142. I looked at him, held my number up, smiled and apologized for giving him a small heart attack.  I set up and went for my bike warm up: 10 mins then 2x3min hard efforts. When I returned Ed and Ro were on their bikes, I waved and went on to start my run. I felt bad I didn’t stop to say hi but I knew they understood. As I went out for my run Christine and Kim were walking to TA. I hugged them, thanked them for coming and explained I had to get my run in. Race start was getting closer and I still had to get into my wetsuit, head down to the water and warm up, so I cut my run a little short. I still got in my 2 x 2 min sprints.

Ro and Christine wanted to help with my bag and wetsuit and other things but they knew I had to do it on my own. It was very nice and they asked if it was cheating if they helped. I loved it. They eventually had to help me zip my wetsuit.  It zips down instead of up, so the neoprene has to be pulled together from my shoulders. I can usually do it myself but just couldn't get it. It took the both of them and me turning into the sun to see it. I was giggling inside. Thanks girls!!

I checked my spot one last time, visually ran through the flow of TA and walked down to the water with Ro.  I put my cap and goggles on and turned around to see Jess and Mark! Wow this is great I couldn’t believe how many people took time out of their Sunday morning to watch me race!  I warmed up and listened to pre race announcements. All the Olympic racers started together.

I put myself in the middle of the pack to get better drafting opportunities. About 5 mins of standing there waiting when Vince let us know he was waiting for all volunteers and police to be in place. He counted us down. I swam hard but cautious. So many feet and arms all doing the same. The pack broke up and I tried to find someone to draft off while keeping my pace and sighting. It's so hard to do. During the 1 mile swim I found about three different people I could draft off. I know it helped me a lot. I made the first turn, it seemed so far from the start and far from the finish. I got stuck on the right side of a swimmer going my pace which pushed me out of line quite a bit. I eventually crossed behind him and got a better path. He caught up to me again and towards the end I ended up directly behind him, perfect!! I swam as far in as possible and got out. I passed him on the run up to TA and looked at my watch 27:35 – 2 mins faster than my previous race. I was so happy!! 

As I ran into TA we had to go all the way around the back and then across the front to our bike. I was right next to racer 264 and his bike was in the front corner. He ducked under the fence and went right to his bike. I couldn’t believe it!! He cheated. I know it was confusing but to stop running and duck under a fence, that’s not right. I still ended up beating him out of TA.

I got on my bike and started the 30 mile ride. 

As I began to climb the second hill, 5 mins into the race, my chain fell off as I shifted. I tried to shift it back on but I lost speed on the hill and had to stop. I really didn’t want to get grease all over  my hands so I tried to shift it back on. No luck, as bikers passed me they asked if I was ok. That felt good. I was getting so anxious about the competition getting away from me. I had to stop, take a deep breath and relax. I knew the more frustrated I was getting the less productive I was being. I thought of a section in a book by Chrissy Wellington; 4 times Kona Ironman winner, she flatted in Kona and was down for 15 minutes and when she got it fixed she hammered and passed the lead women. I refocused and fixed it. I got back on and went to pedal and it jammed. I kept my cool knowing no one else could help me, I had to figure it out. The chain had jammed in between the rear derailleur pulley and the metal casing. It was so stuck. The only way to fix it was to pull right on the chain. I grabbed the dark black greasy chain and pulled and pulled. Nothing. I had to re grip it in a different spot and finally it popped. My hands were so black I didn’t want to touch my bike. I tried wiping them in the sandy grassy hill but it was useless. I quickly used my number taped on my bike and it worked a little. I looked at my watch and it had been 5 minutes since I had stopped. I thought OK now pull a Chrissy and pass as many racers as possible. I didn’t pay attention to who had passed me so I don’t know for sure how many I got back.

I did my best to get through the 30 miles and be smart about it.  A few more hiccups along the way and I made it back in 1:34:18. I almost got spit on by the guy who didn’t know I was off his left shoulder, as I turned on to Rt 41 I hit a huge rough spot and my right hand bounced off the handlebar- I still don’t know how I didn’t crash, and as I was taking in my gel it was so warm, some of it oozed out all over my hand. Now my hand was greasy and sticky I didn’t want to touch anything, but I had to shit (oops I mean shift) and take in water. I mistakenly left out the f in shit and re read it and busted out laughing so I decided to leave shit in there. Hope no one is offended.

As I entered T2 I saw my friend and co-worker Steve! Again I was so happy. I was in and out in :51 seconds. He told me after he tried to take a picture of me but he was using a new camera and I was too fast for him to get the picture. 

I headed out for the run not knowing what place I was in but knew I was back a bit. I saw runners coming back with black numbers they were the Sprint athletes. They had the same run but turned at 1.5 miles we turned at 3.1 miles. So I didn’t have to start counting my place until after the turn.

The first women I saw was cranking! I saw her at mile 2, I was shocked there was no way I was getting her. Then 2nd place and 3rd. I stared getting discouraged but just kept my pace and focused on the guy ahead of me. 4th and then 5th went by at about 500 yards after the turn. That meant I was still 500 yards from the turn. I wanted so badly to catch her. That was my goal for the rest of the run. I passed 2 more guys and encouraged them. The road twisted and turned so I couldn’t see her. Finally with about 1.5 to go I saw her. I watched her pace and knew I could get her. I tried not to get too excited. As I passed her I said good job and she replied with the same. I got one more woman and then just an uphill and down to the TA and to the finish shoot. That last uphill was so hard I wanted to stop. I came down and got speed into the shoot I ran as hard as I could through the finish.

I didn’t even look at my time. I was asked to remove my timing chip and was handed a finishers medal. I quickly looked for water and didn’t see any. My eyes started tearing up like they do after most races but I was more frustrated with my chain falling off. I walked around a bit and saw Steve again and then Julie!! Wow another friend came to watch me! She asked if I needed anything I said water and she ran to the cooler and got me a water. That’s all I saw of her. I felt bad that I wasn’t more talkative. When I went over to the rest of my cheerleaders I asked where Julie went. Ro said she had to make it to the dump by 12. So thanks Julie for the water and for coming to my race!!

Everyone asked how I did and I showed them my hands and arms. "My chain fell off and I was down for 5 mins!!" I sat down and made my recovery drink, put my legs up and started eating my homemade sticky rice bar. It had coconut, walnuts, blueberries and dark chocolate all mixed in. It’s great for getting the carbs back in pre and post race. Then my mood changed. I couldn’t change what happened and it was the first time ANYTHING has happened during my 6 seasons of racing Tri. I thought of how lucky I was. I started to feel ok with it. Everyone but Christine and Steve had to leave. I thanked them so much for coming and then did my cool down run. I stretched a bit and we made our way over to the tent for some shade and to check results.

The results were posted and it showed me in 22nd place. Wow I didn’t think I was that far back but I guess. I looked for the splits and there weren’t any. Just finish times. I thought to myself, then why did we wear timing chips if they weren’t posting splits. I studied them more and saw they mixed the Duathletes and Aquabikers in and put them in order of finish times. Duathletes run then bike then run and the Aquabikers swim and bike. We all can’t be put in the same results. I was so surprised they didn’t post separate results for each discipline. So I didn’t even try to figure what place I came in. My mind was spent.

Christine and I went in to get food. They cut my wrist band off and I walked the buffet. It was egg sandwiches, scrambled eggs, bacon, corned beef hash and home fries. I didn’t want any of it. Usually it's chicken, salad, or pasta, not breakfast. I noticed in the back they had bananas, muffins and bagels so I grabbed one of each. We went back under the tent. There wasn’t a single chair or table. I noticed 20 picnic tables grouped very close together about 300 yards away all in the sun. Nice. So we all sat on the ground as they began the results. They announced the over all winners for the sprint and Olympic but didn’t mention any finish times. First place female for the Olympic was Allison Dimatteo she races for OA the same team my friend Jenny races for. In second place….Meghan Skidmore. What??! I was shocked, how?? I went up for my award- a mug, a pine tree and a bike tune from Stan and Dans.

We stood on the podium for a few seconds for pictures and I went back to my towel. I thought some more and realized the other women I saw on the run were Duathletes. That makes sense now. My friends Anna Johnson and Suzanne Reid raced the Sprint and placed 2nd and 3rd in their age group!! We got a group picture and stayed for the cash prizes.

They pull your bib for $100, $200, $300 and $500 dollars. The three of us were hoping to win, but we didn’t. Steve headed home and Christine offered to help me get my things out of transition.  I welcomed it, but knew I could get it all in my transition pack. I guess I figured she knew that, but she's only been to one other race so she didn’t know. She was surprised I didn’t need any help. She said I’d be fine at nationals and carried my mug and tree for me.

Thank you so much to Rosemary and Ed Good, Christine Fleming, Kim Henry, Jess and Mark Spaulding, Steven Iannuzzi, and Julie Conway Ferland for supporting me and cheering me on. It felt so good to know you cared enough to take time and spend it watching me race.

Results: 15/44
Female: 2/10
Age Group: 1/2

Online results here

Monday Morning: Took my training to another level today. In order to get ready for racing back to back Olympic (Sat) and Sprint (Sun) distances at Nationals. I raced a practice Sprint tri this morning in 1:17! My Sprints are usually around 1:12 - 1:14 depending on the course. I swam a 16:37 1/2 mile, rode a 39:43 12 mile and ran a 22:45 5k. I've never been so proud of myself nor have I ever said it out loud. Steve told me to make a good breakfast and stay off my feet as much as possible today.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

White Mountains Olympic - Tri #5

Well that went way better than expected and I had no expectations nor did I set any goals. I finished my first Olympic in 9th place over all out of 94 men and women and I was the 2nd fastest female!! Wow even I’m shocked. I know I’m fit but you never know who’s fitter or what will happen on race day. Today went perfectly except for bathroom issues just before the start. I couldn’t go but knew I had too otherwise I’d get stomach cramps. And using the bathroom was much more important than a swim warm up in the long run. The TA was in a way different location then I had planned on.  It was 1/3 of a mile up hill from the beach.

Rewind to the morning, Gina and I drove over from Randolph. The morning was perfect not a single cloud in the sky and I was in a super good mood. 

We arrived to discover TA wasn’t in the parking lot by the beach instead it was at the Peabody lodge of Cannon Mountain Ski Area 1/3 of a mile away, uphill. And the run course didn’t finish there either. Instead it was also at the base lodge but we had to run past the TA and lodge down part of 3 mile hill and back up the access road through the base area up the stairs to the back of the lodge.

I checked in and again was asked about Team Skidmore, most think it is in relation to Skidmore College. I explained and got my goodie bag. Numbers were tattoos but there weren’t any volunteers helping to apply them. Gina and I stepped into the bathroom to put them on. Seems pretty simple but I forgot to take the clear plastic off before I stuck it one on and I messed it up. So I had to get written on, one side and had the tattoo on the other.

I found my spot and began to set up. Due to the longer race I taped 2 gels to my bar. I planned on taking one on the bike and had the extra if I needed it.  I went out for my warm up and wasn’t nervous at all. I just wanted to do everything the best I could and had no expectations on my finish time or placement. I came back and went for my run.

Steve caught me and had checked out the last ½ mile of the course and advised that I use that for my run warm up. It was down hill then back up for a long steady climb up a set of stairs and around a corner to the finish line. Wow more hills. So glad I did that. Having the advantage of knowing the whole course helped me mentally so I could perform physically.

I walked through TA a few times so I knew exactly where my bike was and I saw Jenny who I met at the Tri for a Y. We chatted and were exited to race together.

Next it was down, down, down to the beach and T1A, I’ll call it. We were given a big plastic bag and were ok’d to wear sneakers from the beach up the long hill to T1. They set up some fake grass carpet for us to strip off wetsuits and leave there so we could run the hill with no extra gear. I only had flip flops with me but Steve let me borrow his sneakers. Glad he had an extra pair of shoes in his car. Come to find out they were crocs. He moves around a lot during my races and sometimes runs next to me so I felt really bad he would be doing that in crocs.

I lubed up my neck to prevent chafing, and writs and calves so my suit would slip off easier. 

Stuffed myself into my wetsuit and set my bag, shoes and arm warmers up.  I walked away and turned to pretend I was racing and made sure I knew where my spot was. I strongly suggest that for any race, take the time to get your bearings because when you are in race mode everything looks different.

We walked down towards the beach, race start was at 7:30. I had to use the bathroom, I started to feel cramps and didn’t want to deal with them later. So I tried and couldn’t go. I pictured a line outside waiting for me and nothing. I looked at my watch and it said 7:09 so I had plenty of time, still I couldn’t go. I opened the door and there was no line at all. Phewww. I talked with Steve and told him about it. He said well race starts in 4 mins. My jaw dropped WHAT!!?? Its only 10 after he looked at his watch. It read 7:26. My watch still said 7:09 it was switched to my stopwatch and had my last spilt time displayed. Ooops. But I still had to go so he said hurry up. I went back and knew there would be pre race talk and different wave starts. I relaxed and went!!

Now to get in the water to warm up before the start. I made my way over to the beach and they were doing pre race announcements and said they were going to start the half iron man racers 10 mins late so that put our start at 8:15 ish. Wasn’t planning for that. Meaning I didn’t have my water mixed with Scratch – all natural hydration mix- with me. I could have easily taken in more food and calories. There wasn’t a day of schedule on the website or posted anywhere so no one knew what times things would start. 

Both courses had 2 loops both requiring us to exit the water run 50 yds on the beach and back in for the second loop. The half course was a longer loop and they started first. We had to wait until all waves finished the first loop before we began our race.

I got in and warmed up quite a bit. It was cold but it got better the longer I was in. One women was messing with her goggles so I asked her if they were good and offered her my extra pair if she needed them. I once forgot my helmet and was give the 2nd chance to race because someone had an extra and offered it to me. I will always pay that forward whenever I can. I was worried about getting too cold so I got out and stood in the sun for a while. My stomach was settling and I felt good. I was surprised by the distance. I know what mile is but actually seeing it and then knowing I had to swim two loops was a little overwhelming but I shut that out.

Steve and I had a last minute chat, thinking back I honestly can't recall what he was telling me here. But it was something along the lines of have fun and be smart. Or why didn't you bring your own shoes now I have suffer in these green things with socks. I'm probably looking at the bear on the slopes of Cannon behind the mirrored lens of my goggles.

We were called to the start line, all women started together. I like that format then with the help of  Steve and Gina they know where I am during the race and can relay that info to me. We got in and had the count down I was still calm and ready to get through the swim and onto the bike. 

 The horn blew and I was off. I sight on my right so I got to look at Cannon Mtn Ski area for the first 1/3 of the swim. 

I was enjoying that until I got t-boned. Yes t-boned in a swim race. The girl on my left apparently wasn’t the best at swimming straight. I didn’t see her but I sure felt her. That’s a first, I’ve been swam over and kicked but never taken out from the side. After the race Gina and Steve said they watched the whole thing happen. It must have been so funny and frustrating not being able to do anything about it.

After the mix up I got into a really nice rhythm. I held it the whole swim and tried to draft when possible it only happened twice for about 10 strokes. I was swimming a tight line to the imaginary rectangle and everyone seemed to be just outside it. Steve and I talked after and staying in the pack to draft would have been better. I’ll keep that in my pocket, well somewhere in my wetsuit for next time.

I got out after my second lap in 29:10 not bad. Ran up to T1A 

I started pulling my wetsuit down and a girl came over and asked if I wanted a strip. There were volunteers there pulling suits off. It saves some time. I didn’t know they would be there otherwise I would have just sat down vs. trying to get it off myself. I put Steve’s size 10 shoes on and started to jog to the real TA. I was running with another girl she had a good pace. Lots were walking or running really slow so I made up some time here.

I came up into T1,  the plan was to drink a lot and take a half gel but I didn’t want to. I took a few swigs and pulled my shoes on. I ripped the special loop on the back of my shoe right off. Crap I yelled. I had the shoe on but now its going to flap the whole 20 mile bike ride. I finished up and began the 3 mile descent into Franconia. It was all about surviving. The road was horrible pot holes, cracks, big huge bumps. Steve and I had ridden it last week and I knew what to expect. I did take a different line and it didn’t feel as scary. I got to the bottom and opened up a gel. Took 1/3 of it and stuck it in my shorts upside down. Bad idea, it started sliming down my leg as I began to climb. The guy next to me was shocked at the wall in front of us. I smiled inside – he didn’t preview the course- I won’t see him again. I passed a few going up and never saw him. I topped out after forever and pulled away.

The next few miles were a series of step climbs. I executed perfectly according to the plan Steve and I set. The next descent was steep but not as long. I didn’t need to pedal but I had to keep my legs moving. Always moving, there is no coasting.

We turned right onto Rt 302 and headed out of Bethlehem to begin a steady climb past the golf course. I passed a girl who had the same bike as me and I yelled nice bike and passed her. The next guy I passed had a full disk wheel and aero helmet. I have neither. It felt good to go by him. He never caught me. Next; long down hill to a flat turn on Trodeau Rd. It was patched and shimmed and had lots of potholes for 3 miles. I stayed in my aero bars and pedaled I almost caught the guy in front of me. Got thought that horrible section and passed two more guys. The last 6 or so miles were on Rt 3 a steady grade of 4-5% but on super smooth pavement. During our preview we were riding at 11-12 mph and Steve said during the race Id be at 15-17 mph. I laughed when he said that. It seemed so hard. But half way through that last section I looked down and I was at 16 and got up to 20 at one point. I was so happy I was doing exactly what we discussed. I didn’t care where I was in the field I just was in my own world and kept it up for the rest of the bike. I drank just about all of my water bottle and tore the 2nd gel off for the run. I climbed the last section and hit T2. 

I switched over and ran out in :36 seconds. As I ran out I heard the MC, John DeVivo call out my name, he said that I knew him which I did. I never do this but I totally soaked it up and gave him huge wave. It felt awesome.

The course dropped down a steep hill and onto gravel towards the Tram. A spectator yelled to me I was 3rd female. My hart rate spiked and I smiled so big. No way I’m in 3rd place at my first Olympic tri. Ok Meg keep it together and DON’T let it go to your head. Keep your pace. I usually look at my watch and get my splits for each mile but this time I didn’t I wanted  to go by how I felt. It was hot a sunny day but the course wound through the Franconia bike path, most of which was in the shade. Steve and I had ridded this course too so I knew what I had ahead of me.

The course was an out and back and longer and longer I didn’t see the lead female, the happier I got. Then I saw her she was keeping at great pace much faster than I was and I knew I couldn’t catch her. After a few mins I saw 2nd place. I noted where I was and looked at my watch. Down a little hill, through a tunnel, around the corner for the 180 turn. There is always a volunteer at the turn around, always. The only thing there was a closed container of pretzels and something else in a container and 2 big water jugs with no pre filled cups. It was self serve. Are you kidding??!! I wasn’t stopping and I bet most didn’t and I bet some turned early when no one was looking.

I made the turn and back through the tunnel. I looked at my watch, she only had about 30 seconds on me. Ok I thought. That it ,just ok. I didn’t make a decision to consciously catch her or worry about how much course was left. Just ok. I was curious to see her again so I just kept that thought; curiosity. Then I saw 4th place and didn’t think shed catch me but you never know. I ran some more and 4th place never appeared in my thoughts again. I started focusing on keeping my pace in check while hoping to see 2nd. Up down twist turn down up. Before I hit the half way mark I did get a glimpse of her and knew I’d catch her. I didn’t surge I kept my pace and reeled her in. The course crossed the ramp for the Tram where 2 volunteers were directing traffic. I thanked them for helping today.

Not once during the whole race did I ever get to the sprint distance marks and think oh no I’m going beyond my comfort race distance, not once.  I hit 3 miles on the run and thought ok half way done. I’m good.

As I got closer to her I got excited and my heart rate started climbing. I had no idea what she would do when I passed her. Would she surge and not let it happen? Would she keep my pace for a while? Or would it just happen. I debated on saying something to her but what do I say. I’m taking 2nd place from her. So I simply said good pace, she responded Go get em’. Not at all what I expected. So that meant to me she wasn’t going to try. Ok but maybe she would later. I saw the 2nd aid station and it had 3 people at it handing water. I took a cup spilled ½ of it on me and got a swig in. I focused on the guy ahead of me and heard her ask for water. She wasn’t a far back as I though. I caught the next guy after we turned the corner to a wall. I knew it was there, he didn’t and expressed that very clearly. I had him. I smiled again. He stayed with me for a few seconds. I helped him by saying small quick steps. I don’t know if he tried it or not but I just kept thinking that. My heart rate spiked again and I got scared but didn’t stop. I slowed a bit and kept calm as possible. I topped out and the course still climbed at 5% until Rt 18 and over 93. It flattened out and went down past a volunteer. Who I thanked. I looked back which I never do. I could still see her, she didn’t give up.

Then the 2nd to last climb went past the spectators and Steve with his bright green crocs.
Oh yeah, he still had them on. Only athletes are allowed in TA. I should have thrown his shoes out for him. He jogged with me up the hill and said I was doing awesome. Gina was on the other side of the road practically in tears. She was shocked at what place I was in. Steve told me I had about 7 mins left to race. I crested that hill and down about a football field to the last turn. Then up the last killer hill. It wasn’t very steep just steady and went on forever. I could see Steve’s green crocs again. He was cheering me on. I really slowed down. It was so hard my legs just didn’t want to go any more. I looked back one more time and knew she couldn’t catch me. I put myself in her shoes and knew how hard that must have been to watch. I tried to go a little faster.

I ran through the shoot and under the building. I climbed the stairs and booked it to the finish.

Wow that was hard but I did it!! I pulled off my timing chip and got water. My legs almost gave out but I made it to the deck and into the shade. I hugged Gina and cried then hugged Steve they were both so proud of me. I went back to congratulate Erin she slapped me on the back and said the same thing.

Wow I did it and I placed. It was so fun in a weird way. I had no time goals I just went with how I felt and I felt good. I like this distance and I’m so ready for the next one. King Pine Olympic, June 22

I saw the first place female and told her great race and asked he if she knew when the awards were. She heard 1pm. I had time to cool down and change. I met another racer Katie Dywer who also raced the Tri for a Y where I met Jenny. We chatted for 20 mins and I gave her my card.  I met 2 more triathletes it was great! I’m not a super social person and shy when meeting new people but I’m getting more comfortable with it.

I showed up at 12:45 and they are already ½ way through the ceremony. I missed the podium, and so did Stacey. She was as shocked as I was. I ate and then gave Stacey my card. We also chatted for 20 mins she was so nice and humble. It was an awesome day!!

Results: 9/94
Female: 2/37
Age Group:1/8
Women: 14th in the swim, 2nd on the bike avg speed 18.2 and I was the fastest on the run with a pace of 7:14!! I guess Stacey was running downhill when I saw her. 

Overall: 41st in the swim, 10th on the bike, 7th on the run

View online results here

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Camp Huckins Tri-ath-Loon - Tri #4

It was very nice to be 30 mins from a race however it was a little tricky finding it and I was late, by my standards. I need about an hour to get in my bike, run and swim warm up. On the way to check in I saw the team, the team to look out for. Larry, Curly and Moe; Leah Kelsh, Kerry MacDougall and Stacy Burke. They were walking the path like they owned it; sunglasses on, straight faced, walking in unison. I was scared. Just kidding they were all smiles and commented on how serious Regina Steve and I looked.  What can I say we had our game faces on! 

I checked in and all the volunteers knew I was coming, I know the race director Vince so he must have mentioned it to them. "You're going to win" they said after I got my race bag. I didn’t know what to say. It felt good but I also felt like maybe I shouldn’t have registered for such a low key race, no offence to the race at all. I didn’t want people to think I came to show off or expected to win. So I said "you never know what might happen". Thinking a flat or a crash or cramp or anything. Then I was like great, you might have just jinxed yourself.

The transition area was tiny compared to my other races. There were 48 triathletes racing. We had lots of room so that was nice. A few women commented on how this probably wasn’t my first race. I smiled.  I got marked and set up my transition area. I made sure to say hi to Vince. I headed out on my bike warm up. It was 7:45am and race start was 9 with a 8:40 pre race meeting. I knew I had to cut things a little short. Before I went out Steve suggested I wear my jacket as it was chilly but making sure I said hi to Vince, caused to me forget my jacket. I could have used it. 

My PI’s (power intervals) felt good and I made it back by 8:15 then switched to my run. Jogged for about 7 mins and did my run PI's. Legs weren’t feeling great they were heavy and sluggish. I wasn’t too concerned because the same thing happened this week at the Salomon Spring Trail Series at Great Glen Trails. I had a crummy warm up but felt light and quick during the race.

Back to TA at 8:30 and walked down to the water it was pretty far and on gravel. We were allowed to put shoes on to run from the water so I took that opportunity. I got down to the water and saw Christine Fleming a member of Team Skidmore!! I had sent an email out to let people know that my next 3 races are local and she came. Sorry if I missed anyone!

I put my suit on with Steve’s help of course. My new suit zips from the top so I can’t even get it started. Leah and another swimmer were already in the water and only three of us actually warmed up. It was a little chilly but nice. 

Michelle, Me, Stacey, Leah and Kerry!
I really enjoyed knowing others that were racing. I’ve never experienced that. It keep me calmer and more relaxed. After the National Anthem we moved to the start. My goal was to draft off Leah. She said "Yea right, you're pretty fast I'll draft off you." I laughed pretty hard at that one!  Most of you know how much I struggle in my swim speed.

After a quick group shot of all women, we lined up. This was my first all female race! The horn sounded and we were off.

I stayed out front right next to Leah until the 1st buoy,  that never happens. Once we made the turn her and another women took off. I drafted for 20 strokes but couldn’t hold on. I swam the straightest swim ever until the last turn to the beach. I though we were exiting to the right of the last buoy so I sighted for that direction. Totally my fault I didn’t look at the exit. As I got closer I could see Vince on the dock waving us left. I swam in as far as possible so I had less water to run in. And got out as 3rd swimmer, that never happens.

As I ran up the stairs, I took the top half of wetsuit off. Really didn’t need to do it then because TA was so far away, so lost a few seconds. I put my shoes on which filled with dirt. I ran to T1 and Leah was cheering me on, she was part of a team and had already tagged her cyclist. I had the worst T1. I was not used to having sneakers on so I started taking off my suit before my sneakers. I got all out of my routine and took way more time than needed. Next time I’ll skip the sneakers and maybe go for crocs or barefoot. I had two women in front of me to catch. I made my way out of the camp road and was in my 3rd highest gear as I approached the intersection for the main road. There were five volunteers and one was stopping me because of a truck while the other volunteer was stopping the truck. I was so frustrated, the athletes never get stopped. I should have switched to an easier gear when I was slowing down but spaced it and had to go from nearly a stop in the gear I was in. That used some energy I wasn’t planning for.

Once out on the road there was a longer hill and my legs were heavy but figured once I got over it they’d settle in. Not the case, they felt that way the whole time. I usually run between 200 and 220 for power depending on the course. My average was 186. I just couldn’t shake it. The course was an out and back and so many of the women going out were cheering me on and I was doing the same. I’ve never ever experienced that!

Retuned and switched to run very fast. I was very different being the only one in TA with all eyes on me.

I went to grab my race belt and it got hung up on the bike rack. I always try to get it on before leaving TA as some races require that. Next time I’m grabbing and going then putting it on once I am running.

The course wound through the camp on gravel it was fun vs. being on the road. My legs still didn’t feel light and fast but I just tried to push through it. I popped out on the road and up a gradual hill to mile 1 hit the split at 6:44 and wasn’t super happy with that. Kept going and passed the 1st water station. The volunteer was so excited she cheered me on took a few photo, that’s another first. The run course merged back with the bike course and back to camp. I saw where mile two was on the drive in. Looked at watched and knew I wasn’t going to negative split it –faster then my first mile-. I hit mile 2 in 6:45 that’s pretty consistent! I felt good about that but my goal is to be closer to 6 mins. As I turned in camp I had about ¾ of  mile left. I tried to pick it up and saw Steve running towards me. He told me what was left of the course and that I had about 2 mins until the finish line. He’s great!! I rounded one of the last corners and the arrow pointed to the right. There was a hard right and then another right corner, I was confused I kept going and finally saw the next arrow around the bushes. After the next corner I saw Vince and mile 3 6:39 He was clapping and said "Give them good show!" I popped out of the woods and into the grass, the crowd was going wild!! It felt so cool. I won the whole race. To know it before crossing the finish line is unusual. 

In triathlon the start is separated by waves so you don’t know where you are until you finish and look at results. Well this race was smaller so we all started together and I knew where I was the whole time. I finished in 1:01:59 again. Looking back I could have finished in under an hour-  due to the sneaker mix up in T1 and legs not feeling great, maybe next year!

As I looked for Gina and Steve so many spectators said great job to me. It was amazing how good it felt. You never get that because no one knows how you finish until the results are posted. I hugged Gina, Steve and Christine and Vince met up and shook my hand. I said it was a great course and told him about the last turn. He hoped others wouldn’t get confused.

I went out for my cool down run in the opposite direction to cheer on the rest of the women. The next runner was Kerry and she was confused too. So I moved the 2nd arrow into sight and continued my run. I turned around and headed back to the finish to cheer on everyone else. 

Steve met me and suggested I do a 15 min spin because my legs weren't great. Next weekend is my 1st Olympic and tomorrow Steve and I are previewing the bike and run course. I told him I wanted to cheer on the other women. He said it's better to spin first. Vince overheard us and he said you’ll have enough time. Still didn't want to ride but I knew what was best for me.

I felt funny going back out on course I didn’t want it to seem like I was showing off. I cheered for anyone I saw and then took a side road. I came back and startled the volunteers who were picking up the cones because all the cyclists were on the run. He thought I was still racing.

I made it back to the finish line to cheer on more racers. They made an announcement for everyone to go to the finish. The next triathlete to finish was 76 and raced the whole thing. It was so inspiring and she was running too! I stuck my hand out for her to slap and started the line of hands for her. 

Once all athletes were in it was time to eat! Chicken, steak tips, roasted veggies, rice, salad, multiple types of bread and tea lemonade and water. It was delicious!!

After that, the camp director said a few words and told us that $25,000 was raised! Enough for 18 girls to go to camp, wow!!

Then they acknowledged the camp alumni and started awards with oldest age group first. That was nice. Then they asked if Meghan Skidmore was still around. I thought they were going to say something about my accomplishments but I was the fastest runner so I received a gift certificate for a free pair of Sketchers! That's another first; receiving an award for the fastest split.

They did some more recognition and then finished with overall winner. This was totally backwards then all other award ceremonies. I liked it. It gave a change for age groupers to shine first. I was surprised they didn’t bring up 2nd and 3rd place for pictures. I won a Huckins Tri knit hat!

It was fun day and a great race!