Sunday, May 31, 2015

King Pine Tri

Wow that was a very hard win and not my fastest but despite the high temps I'm very happy with my performance!

Plus it was the debut of my brand new custom triathlon suit (designed by me!) and my new aero helmet, thanks to Pat at Stan and Dan Sports!
Thanks Mt. Washington Auto Road, Great Glen Trails, Gorham Family Dentistry, and Mt. Washington Valley Bicycling club

Thanks White Mountain Aquatic Center, Comfort Inn & Suites, Peak Health, Stan and Dan Sports, Top Notch Inn, Stabil, Skratch labs, Gorham Hardware, Jay's Quick Lube, Pollock Photo and Smith & Town Printers.

Thanks for working your bike shop mojo for this gem, Pat!

Since it was a local race I didn't have to be up at 2am and got to sleep in until 4! Because of my long and specific warm up I like to be there two hours prior to start time. Plus I build in time for the bathroom, check in, socializing and because this race was local I had a few spectators! Thank you to Chris Fleming, Kim Henry, Lauren and Brooke and Dick Pollock for taking photos and of course Steve for coaching me before and during the race. Regina could not be at the race due to work but gave me a good luck phone call!

Highlights on the swim: Steve and I had a new plan for the swim start. Instead of being off to the side I started right in the middle of the front row to allow for the best possible chance of drafting and it worked perfectly. I hung on to the lead girl, Kara Newman for as long as I could. She was very fast and was out ahead of me in no time. Two other girls passed me and I swung in right behind them but they opened a gap after a few minutes.  It took me awhile to settle into my rhythm and after they passed me I was on my own for the rest of the swim. My sighting was perfect and I even passed a few guys in the wave before me.
Swim time - 27:42  .9 mile
Transition 1 time - 1:08 (4th fastest overall)

Comparison to a few years ago: The swim was mostly about finishing and only thinking about technique but now that I am gaining confidence and speed it is becoming way more tactical. It's pretty exciting to have the mind set to think this way!

Bike: Phew 33 miles was a long ride but knowing the course made a huge difference. Steve and I rode it last week and talked tactics. I was able to visualize each section and prepare myself mentally. Although the course is described in the pre race meeting you just can't get a feel for it.
Bike time - 1:38 33 miles
Transition 2 time - :46 (fastest overall)

I strongly suggest riding, driving or at least looking at the map a few days in advance.

Comparison to a few years ago: I never previewed my courses. I just rode and followed the signs and took it as it came. Educating myself on a course turns the race into a whole new game and keeps the mind off the pain.

Run: It was hot and I've been dealing with a sore/tight left hamstring so that was a distraction. Keeping my mind on the course that I also knew ahead of time made it just a little easier to push through it. I didn't run my fastest but focusing on technique and quick turn over Steve and I practice during the week makes all the difference when your body is tired.
Run time - 46:04 6.2 miles
Total time - 2:54:30

Comparison: I used to run to put the miles behind me and not think about technique at all. Steve and I have focused every run on technique and speed over the last two seasons.  Although I am pushing hard in a race I am still mostly relaxed and thinking of all the pieces of running.

After I finished I was asked how I placed and I had no idea. At this race there are six different races at the same time. Olympic and Sprint distance: Triathlon, Duathlon (run to bike to run) and an Aquabike (swim to bike).  The results weren't being updated so I had to wait until the awards to find out that I finished 1st female!! I was surprised because it wasn't my fastest race but humbled that I did so well.

Awesome job to all who raced and pushed themselves to cross that finish line!

Congrats to Joan Daly for completing her first Duathlon faster than she expected. So proud of you and you look amazing keep up the hard work! 

Next up: Mont Tremblant June 20th Elite race #2

Monday, May 18, 2015

Front Page of the Newspaper!

I was reacently intervied about ny training and racing by Rachel Brown who writes for the Berlin Daily Sun. She told me the story would be in newspaper. I had no idea I have a nearly life size photo of me on the front page with an extended story to follow! 
         Meghan Skidmore is a tip-top athlete, a triathlete to be exact. But it wasn't always that way. A good athlete in her youth — she says she played soccer in high school in Connecticut — she didn't get hooked on triathlons until she tried one while in college in Vermont.
        "There was a triathlon (in college) in spring; I tried, I did it. I don't remember how well I did. It was a pool swim, a bike and then a run, the spring of 2007," says the 30-year-old, affable and very fit Skidmore.
       Skidmore's next triathlon was that summer at Webster Lake, Webster, Mass.
       "That was my first official triathlon, I really wanted to do one. There was not a lot of training, just biking and running, no coach," she says.
        Now she has a coach, and the game has changed for her: Something inside her just wants to become better and better.
        Skidmore was on hand at Great Glen Trails, where she works full-time, as does her agent Regina Ferreira, to talk about her experiences, her dedicated training with coach Steve Vosburgh, her goal to obtain her Pro Triathlon license in 2015, an accomplishment that would put her in the elite-pro category with the opportunity to become professional.
         She has her sights set on the 2015 World Triathlon Championships in Chicago on Sept. 15.
Skidmore explains a triathlon is a swim, bike and run in that order, they vary in length.

     "Half Ironman and Ironman are typically longer. A sprint is a half-mile swim, 12-mile bike ride, 3.1-mile or 5K run; Olympic is a mile swim, actually 0.9, 24-mile bike ride, 6.2-mile or 10K run; a Half Ironman is a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and half marathon — 13.1 miles; and a full Ironman is a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a full marathon — 26.2 miles," explains Skidmore. She says pros complete an Ironman in eight to nine hours while amateurs may take 13 to 17 to finish.
      Skidmore typically competes in the Olympic Triathlon. On April 26, she completed the 5150 St. Anthony's Triathlon Olympic (Elite) in St. Petersburg, Fla.
      "This was the earliest in the season for me. I learned so much from that race. Not saying that you can buy experience, but I guess I did because of the cost to enter the race. Now I know what the bar is," she says, smiling.
      "The biggest thing in this race that added to my time was the swim. The average time was 25 to 27 minutes. I did it in 35 minutes. It was the first time in open water in the ocean. It was choppy, swelly; it was in a cove, but the waves still come in," says Skidmore, who trains indoors with Vosburgh at the White Mountain Aquatic Center, outdoors at Echo Lake and from First Bridge in North Conway on the Saco River.
       "To prepare, I watched some videos with Steve. We could look at the bike course before. It was in the city and the roads were closed for the race, mostly through small neighborhoods and it was flat, not like training here. It was 82 degrees with humidity," she says.
        How did she do in Florida?
        She wrote on her blog: "My feet hurt and my legs were noodles, but I did it. I raced with the elites. I finished in two hours and 34 minutes, placing me 8th of 13 in the elite women and 33 of 48 men."
       "The top girl to beat finished in two hours. To meet requirements for the pro card, I have to finish within 8 percent of the top female finisher. For me, it would have been two hours 12 minutes. I finished in two hours 34 minutes," she says.
         Some races are entered by age categories, represented in four-year increments, while some are elite races with no age category.
         "It is easy to be competitive in an age group, in the elite /pro race, age groups disappear. I race with a girl who is 14," she says.
       The elite/pro races are important for Skidmore to reach her next level, and they must be races with a cash prize. The race in St. Petersburg gave away $33,000. The top female was awarded $10,000.
       "I was pretty successful last year — overall female, the next level is elite-pro and to break in you have to apply for the pro card. Elite and pro are pretty much the same. The USAT (USA Triathlon) use pro and elite interchangeably for the pro card, but some races have pro and elite classes, it can be confusing, a gray area," she adds.
       To obtain the pro card, Skidmore must find races awarding over $5,000 in prizes in the Olympic category. She says the cash Olympic races are hard to find. Half Ironman and Ironman with over $5,000 cash prizes are more plentiful.
      "I think the reason is cash draws more competition," says Skidmore, adding there is a cash prize calendar to help find races.
       And if she obtains her pro card and becomes pro, what next?
      "After pro card, am I ready to be a pro,?" she asks.
        She responded: "There are two ways to be a pro: You could be fully sponsored, train a lot more, do meet and greets, race some races and maybe earn some money or not. I think I can have a pro card and still work. How much more can I push myself mentally and physically?

 If I had more time, it would benefit me, but I am still getting pretty good time," she says adding that finding sponsors is a full-time job.
        "People don't just jump at you and give you money. You have to work hard," she adds.
But first she has to find the races in which to qualify and there is the cost of entering the races.
       "You have to have criteria going to races. Florida was expensive — $1,000. The five elite races are super expensive. I may not be able to go to others," she adds.
        That's where fundraising comes in.
        Her Team Skidmore and agent Ferreira work hard to raise money. Skidmore, who lived in Randolph and in the employee cottages at Great Glen during the summer, reached out to businesses north of the Notch for support. Three years ago, she moved to Intervale to be closer to her coach and to the White Mountain Aquatic Center.
        There are some events planned for north and south of the Notch to help raise funds:
• Shannon Door Restaurant and Team Skidmore will be hosting a benefit night on May 28.
• Berlin Bowling Center will host Skidmore Bowling Benefit Night, June 13.
Libby's Bistro hosts a benefit night July 9.
        Skidmore, who also gives back to the community, wishes to thank businesses for supporting her:
Mount Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails, Gorham Family Dentistry,, Mount Washington Valley Bicycling Club, Stan and Dan Sports, White Mountain Aquatic Center, Comfort Inn & Suites, Peak Health Sports Massage, Top Notch Inn, Jay's Quick Lube, Gorham Hardware, Pollock Photo, Smith & Town Printers, Skratch Labs Hydration and Stabil Icers.
        Skidmore also invites anyone who would like to do a training run with her, whether it be easy or hard, to zip her an e-mail:
       Speaking of training, coach Vosburgh and Skidmore connect.
       "There are no words to say how grateful I am to Steve. He keeps it fun, fresh, never boring. We have toys in the pool. He is so technique-oriented, to get the extra edge," says Skidmore.
      They met at Great Glen Trails, where Skidmore works.
       "Steve skis and bikes at Great Glen, and we got to talking back in 2010 about my hobby, and he gave me some suggestions for my first Half Ironman. We continued working together after that race," says Skidmore, adding that Vosburgh is the Nordic ski coach at Kennett High School.
Here is a typical day of training.
       "Tomorrow, before I go to work, a one-hour swim at the aquatic center. We will transition to outside at Echo Lake. We sometimes swim at First Bridge downstream to where it bends and gets shallow and then upstream past the bridge," says Skidmore, who works at least an eight-hour day in an active position, skiing, taking photos on the Mount Washington Auto Road.
         After work, it is a brick work out.
       "It is either 1 ½-hour bike or one-hour run, either or both. You have to train your muscles, and you do the workout in the swim/bike order. If you do a hard bike and a hard run, your legs feel like bricks," she explains saying you train like that so come race day your body isn't saying, 'What are you doing?'"
        Then it is home, shower, have some dinner and sleep.
        "Sleep never seems long enough. Still haven't found time to manage everything. Although I have Regina, I still must post race results on my blog. Having a social life is important, but I am not a night owl," she grins.
        It would be hard to be a night owl with six days of specific training and one day off. But it really isn't a day off; it is a recovery day.
     "In the winter, Sunday is a free day but an active day. I either ski or go snowboarding. In the summer, it is Monday, some physical activity, but unstructured," she says.
     Skidmore and Vosburgh work with an online training program.
     "I have an online log. Steve gives me my workouts. I write down what I did, how I felt. He can log in and see how I am feeling. We talk every day. I also have a computer on my bike, (an aerodynamic, triathlon Cannondale Slice bicycle) which can take me through zones one to five. It is really wattage goals; you go by those numbers," she says.
      Skidmore can't say enough about Vosburgh's coaching technique.
     "The cool thing about Steve, he knows how to layer things in, knows the psychology of training. There are some workouts we wouldn't have done two years ago. Even though he never raced in a triathlon, he is so in tune with a training plan, reading books, watching videos. He is like a sponge," says Skidmore, adding that Vosburgh biked competitively since his early teens, has a strong background and ran track.
        And there is that devotion.
      "Steve is so dedicated to train me. It is just as easy to be dedicated to train with him," adds Skidmore.
        For more information visit:, or call Ferreira at (603) 915-6665.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Team Skidmore Fundraisers

Time to raise some money!! Check out the three fun events this summer to help me with the costs of traveling and racing.  A raffle with great prizes will be held at each event.   

I am so grateful for the support I have in the community and I wouldn't be here without those who have donated or given me words of encouragement, it means a lot and goes a long way especially when I am racing or trying to get through a tough workout. 

Hope to see you this summer! If you have any questions or want to donate a raffle prize shoot me an email or give me a call (860) 377- 4206.

Pizza at the Shannon Door - Thursday, May 28
The Shannon Door Pub hosts Team Skidmore Thursday evening from 4 -10pm with a portion of proceeds of every pizza sold being donated to Team Skidmore!

We'll have a raffle with prizes from local business'. No need to RSVP just show up with an appetite!

Shannon Door Pub Rt 16 Jackson NH, 03846

Bowling Night - Saturday, June 13 

The Berlin Bowling Center shuts down for Team Skidmore 6 - 9pm! Spend your Saturday night bowling a few strings with friends. We'll have a raffle with prizes from local business'.

Tickets are $25/per person, and include an evening of bowling, friendly competition, pizza, salad. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

For tickets please contact: Meg    |    (860) 377- 4206       
                                           Regina  |  (603) 915 - 6665

Berlin Bowling Center 283 Main Street  Berlin, NH 03570

Dinner with Liz at Libby's Bistro - Thursday, July 9th
Libby's Bistro hosts a wonderful dinner for Team Skidmore! Enjoy expertly and lovingly crafted food by Liz Jackson’s culinary team. Cocktails at 6:00pm dinner at 7pm
             “Liz Jackson, who has been with us before, proved herself again to be the
                         most versatile prep cook and baker, as well as all-purpose kitchen expert.” 
                                                                                       -Julia Child, Baking with Julia

Tickets are $35/per person an must be purchased in advance.

For tickets please contact: Meg    |    (860) 377- 4206       
                                          Regina  |  (603) 915 - 6665

Libby's Bistro & SAaLt Pub 111 Main Street, RT 16  Gorham, New Hampshire 03581

Monday, May 11, 2015

St. Anthony's Triathlon

Race Day Temp: 80º
                 Humidity: 98%
                 Light to moderate winds
                 Water temp: 84º

Start time: 7:03 am
Arrival: 5:40 am

It was still dark when we pulled into the VIP parking lot, yes I personally paid for VIP parking! Finding parking in a city was one less thing I wanted to worry about and it was so worth it. Plus Gina didn't have lo lug around my pack for the whole race.

I was so nervous but in a good way. I set up transition and walked past the race announcer and he looked up my number and saw I was from NH. He called me out and mentioned it must be tough coming from the north and racing here I smiled and agreed and chatted with him for a minute or two.

Because the race is so big bikes cannot leave transition the morning of the race so I did my standard  running warm up to get my legs ready. I returned 15 mins later and was nearly soaked in sweat.
Steve and I chatted about all parts of the race. Here I think he is telling me some waves will be small and some will be big. Just kidding I have no idea what he is saying.

The swim was a point to point so I had to be sure to build in time to walk to the start and Steve and I talked more strategy. At this point I zone in on just the swimming and forget about biking and running. He tried showing me a huge tree for sighting because the water was so choppy but we were too close to shore to see it. The swim was parallel to the beach for a while then it turned out to sea. 

Steve and I way out in the point finding the BIG palm tree to sight on

The male pros started followed by the female pros then the elite females and males together. That was different usually males and females are separate. As we walked out to the start buoys I thought to myself what am I doing in this wave. Then that passed and I felt special and proud that I challenged myself to register as an elite. Even if I finished last in the category I was going to be ok with that. 

We treaded water for about a minute then the count down began I shifted my body to horizontal as Steve and I practiced in the pool. It takes a few seconds to go from treading water vertically to being in the horizontal swim position so might as well get there before the gun goes off. 

BANG!! I swam as hard as I could for the first 100 yds or so to get position and the more I sighted the more swimmers drifted away from me. I tried my best to draft and deal with the choppy water.  Before I reached the first buoy the wave of swimmers had big gaps in it. After I turned to sea the waves got bigger and I swallowed so much water I had to break into breast stroke a few times. It was not my best swim. Last summer my average swim was around 27:00 and I have improved a lot over the winter. I clocked a 35:00 so I had a lot of catching up to do. 

As I got closer to the shore I began to visualize the bike course. We drove it and rode it so I had all the pieces together in my head, yup all 24 miles and 27 intersections/corners. I started drifting past the exit due to the current something I forgot about in the ocean I had to re-sight and locate the stairs.

I climbed the stairs a bit dizzy from the waves and being horizontal for awhile and ran into transition. 

I knew exactly where my bike was in the sea of about 2,000. As I exited T1 the announcer mentioned Stacy Sweetser of Sweetwater Swim Studio and myself right behind her both of us from NH. She started 13 minutes behind me and passed me in the swim. Shes an excellent swimmer glad I took a swim session with her! 

The first 1/4 to 1/2 mile of the bike course was a brick road but I was prepared for it, it was actually fun and I felt like I was racing like the pros on cobblestone! 

I passed her before we got to pavement and she said go get em' Meg! Once on the course I was able to visualize each turn and prep for it. I looked down at my computer to check in with wattage and cadence but I forgot to put it on my bike so I had to go with feel. At first it threw me but after a few seconds I let it go and forgot about it. I tried to bridge gaps and stay with those that passed me for as long as possible. I drank a ton in the first 10 miles and negotiated the corners at speed while pedaling. I took my gel a little earlier then planned but it worked out well. As I was coming back into the venue I start spinning a little higher and lower the power just a smidge so my legs are fresher for the run. I had picked out a spot during the preview but I was getting close to passing another girl so I went for it before the mark and it was a confidence booster so it was a good move.

Back to the cobblestone and into transition I picked my spot out and switched over to run. I should have taken a few seconds to wipe my feet because I paid for it later. As I run in with my bike I try to have quick turnover and light feet to prep for the run.

Running out is always so exciting for me, the course is lined with spectators cheering everyone on it's very easy to get caught up with that and run faster then I should but it feels so good. I knew the run course so I tried to push through each mile as fast as I could. At mile three my 100% waterproof super sticky bandaid starting peeling off. I ignored it and kept going. The cool water at the aid stations helped and I dumped as many cups of water on myself as I could.

Between mile four and five it got hard and painful. The temp was high and the dirt I didn't wipe from my feet started rubbing in the insole of my shoe, I don't wear socks so after while it was getting raw. I changed my stride a little and it helped but it didn't go away. I just kept pushing it out of my head and knew I was getting closer to the finish. Once I hit mile five I did the best I could to complete that mile faster than the last. Coming down the last straight away I focused on my form and pretended those in front of me were pulling me closer to them. That always helps!

I rounded the last corner into the parking lot to the finish chute and gave it my all. I finished just behind Stacy we congratulated each other as she waited for her husband.

My feet hurt and my legs were noodles but I did it, I raced with the Elites! I finished in two hours and thirty four minutes placing me 8th of 13 in the Elite women and 33 of 48 Elite men!

I found Steve and Gina and they gave me the biggest hugs, they were so proud of me.

When it's hot I usually jump back in the water but the temp was 83º so I found a shower to lower my body temp.

It was a great intro to my season.

As for meeting the criteria for my pro card, I wasn't fast enough. I needed to finish with in 8% of the fastest pro female. Her time was 2:00:30 I was 34 minutes behind her, a 2:12 would have met that criteria. Even a few of the pro women didn't finish in that time.

It was an incredible experience and as I get into my season that gap will close. It might take a few seasons to get that close but I was happy with how I did and where I placed!