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