Monday, June 30, 2008

Lake Placid Training Camp 2008

I had a blast!!! It was a great trip.
Day 1: We left on Wed a.m. at 8:00. I was very sad to leave my family. I have left my kids for a few days before but never without my husband by my side. I was told by many that it was "healthy" but I was still sad to go.
Upon arriving in Lake Placid 6 hrs later, we quickly got settled and headed UP (key word) the road to Mirror Lake. This was our easy day. However, mentally it was tough. We drove on part of the bike route to get to the lake. It was ALL UP HILL!! Several in our group had been there before. But Mike and I were new to the whole thing and we were getting a bit nervous. Was the entire 112 mile course Up hill???
We hit Mirror lake and I was in heaven. It is so clean and clear but that's not the best part! There is a wire buoy line to follow!! You don't have to sight! If you can position yourself well in the race, you can just swim like you swim in a pool and follow the line! I was a happy little fish out there that afternoon. I was still fresh from the easy day we'd had (just driving so far) and I was so excited to be able to swim my regular stroke. After the swim, we did a quick 3 mile run around the lake. That was day 1. Piece of cake. I was having fun with my new friends and feeling just fine.
Day 2: The epic ride. I would be lying if I didn't say I was scared. I had only ever ridden 75.5 miles, once. It was 4 days earlier. I have done some 50 milers this summer but that's a LOT different than 112 miles. Half our group has been training for IM Lake placid This summer. This was their 12th century ride!! It was Nothing for them.
After lots and lots of advice on fueling, I had my bottle all ready with 700 calories for the first 56 miles. That still seems like a Lot. I had Sustained Energy, Carbo pro and HEED mixed together. The weather was iffy. Thunderstorms were in the forecast. We just headed off and hoped for the best.
When we started I could Not wipe the smile off my face. What fun to ride with other people!! I have Always been alone on my rides. Never with one single soul. I was so happy . Our pace was very doable. I was feeling confident.
About 5 miles into the ride the sky opened up. It POURED!!!!!!!!!!! It poured hard and it poured long. We were freezing. The tires from my friends in front of me were spraying in my face. Ok, so that part of riding with others isn't so great.
Then, our coach got a flat. A Staple! Apparently some locals aren't happy with the triathletes that take over their town each year and they sabotage the course with glass and staples! How lame is that!! Ten minutes later, it was my turn! My first flat. I was bummed. Luckily, some of my group stopped and helped me out.
We hammered on. We were wet and cold and had about 80 miles to go! Oh man.
Meanwhile, the hills!! They weren't So bad. We climbed a lot but it wasn't too scary. There were sections that were quite nice to ride too.
After Papa Bear, (one of the big hills) our awesome supporter Nat, appeared with the car. He had piles of jackets, fuel, spare tubes, you name it. He was there and ready. He was on the ride with us at first but turned back during the storm b/c he knew we'd need someone around. He was everywhere out on that course! Thanks Nat. We owe you.
Mile 54.3....oh so close. We had a planned stop at 56 to get new bottles of fuel. But wait Ange. Not so fast! I had another flat! How depressing. We got it fixed and headed on to catch up. I was stuck at 54.3 computer died. That was a downer. I really wanted to watch my record miles tick away.
The rain stopped and we stopped to refuel. We headed off on lap 2 still soggy but refreshed at the same time. I was in the lead group with 2 men. I wasn't sure if that would last but I just rode on. It was a great lap. If you can call 56 miles a lap that is. We only stopped once. The rain subsided and the sun even popped out a bit. I felt awesome!! Mile record. Mile 99...100!!! Those poor men I was wiht had to deal with a yelping girl when I hit my first century! We started to discuss how to handle the last few miles of an Ironman Bike leg...that must mean we were near the end. Well let me tell you...we finished after 116.5 miles and I was so so ready! The last few miles were up HUGE hills and my legs were shaking at one point. My knee had started to bother me and I prayed it would be ok. Rolling into Whiteface Chalet after that was sheer bliss. I was SO Proud of myself. But wait, we're not done yet.
Into our running clothes and out for a quick 5 mile run. I actually felt just fine. I was certainly fatigued at the end but I was hanging on with the 2 men and felt strong.
From there, we headed back to Mirror Lake for a 30 minutes swim. I'll admit I was not as zippy as the night before! My arms apparently got used out there in aero for all those hours!
Day 3: My knee was Not good. It was stiff. If I bent down, I couldn't get back up. I wasn't sore othewise but I was concerned about my knee.
We headed out for an easy 20 mile ride to loosen up our legs before our run. I had to really use my left leg to compensate for my knee pain. I wasn't happy about this.
The run started shortly after this. I felt great on the run. The course isn't too bad but there is one loooong hills at mile 12-13 and therefore, at the end. Brutal. I pushed hard for our 13.1 mi run that day and was absolutely friend when I finished. Again, we dove in the lake for a 1.2 mile swim. That was it. All I had left.
I was starving and quite depleted until I got some lunch a while later. After that, I was great. I have not been sore or overly tired since any of it. I am so so excited to conquer Ironman 2009.
I learned so much from my experienced friends. They were all so giving with their knowledge. I loved it.
I was home by 12:00 on SAturday and that felt awesome. My boys were so loving and sweet and it's always wonderful to be in my husbands arms.
Speaking of husband, he just drove in. I completely lost track of time!!! Time to start dinner. Back to reality!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Time to go

This summer has not been at all relaxing yet! I feel like I am still running 100mph with the kids all home. Phew. I actually feel like I might get more rest on this training trip than I do at home!
I head out at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow.
Wish me luck. It's going to be an adventure for sure!
I look forward to more time to write and read all your blogs upon returning!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Nice way to end the week

I finished out a hard training week with an intense brick. I rode 40 hard miles followed by a 5 mile run. Not too far....just hard effort. I had to talk to myself during the ride to make sure I put in the work. It woudl have been easy to step the effort back a notch after yesterday's epic ride. My butt was sore! However, I did my job. I pushed pushed pushed. I forced myself to drink my new favorite fuel: Hammer's Sustained energy + HEED. I am really working on my nutrition and making sure I take in enough along the way. I want a steady state of energy not a catch up game as I feel the need.
After Another foggy ride I was home for the semi-quick transition. A few hugs from my boys, a bathroom break, and a "how can I run now?" to my husband. I mean, my legs Must be dead. I hit the road and headed up the .5 mile hill. 4:10...hmmm...that's pretty good! It's usually 4:38 when I am fresh from bed or 4:20 or so after other bikes. Ok...mile 1 was over 7:00...but I stopped to talk to my in-laws. Good. I felt very smooth. My legs were Not tired!?? I ran the 2nd mile, waaay under 7:00. Cool. Still feelign strong! How can it be? Mile 3 faster again! I ran the last mile and worked it but did not kill myself. I just felt completely at ease with my pace. My legs were 100% with me. No wobbly aches. 6:22. WTF?? That can't be. I am still checking my watch. Did I cut a few corners? Did I miss the 2nd part of hte loop? I'm incredulous. I went home and bounced around the kitchen in disbelief? I am truly amazed at how the body can adapt to hard work. I am so proud of my 38 y.0.....birthed 3 babies, 2 surgeries later body. I think that's part of the reason I love this sport. I am tacking thigns that I never ever would have thought possible a few years ago. It is a blast. Just when I think I am going to fall apart or fall asleep, a good workout tucks itself in there to keep me going.
On that note, it's time to lay down and get some rest. Ironman camp is only 3 days away. Now I know I'm ready.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My new Record!

I did it... I rode 75.5 miles on my bike this morning! Yeah me! And it wasn't that bad! I was in a funk when I started.....5:10 a.m., total fog, and miles and miles and miles ahead of me. I couldn't imagine how I'd get though it. But I did. And I felt good! I'm a tad sore now but I'll be fine. The rest of the day was busy but fun as we went to camp and swam, went boating, ate good food and hid inside during a thunderstorm that amazed the kids. Good summer day. Now, I will re-pack the bike for tomorrow morning's brick and give it a go again.
Time for sleep!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Down Time

I seem to be noticing a trend. It appears that I really need to shut down for a short bit after each race. I must stop to take a deep breath, analyze my performance for the pros and cons, get some sleep, heal the muscles and then hop back into training. Physically I am able to get back on the road or in the pool after 1 day of rest but mentally, I feel I need more of a hiatus. After my first race, I was feeling a little down about this. I was worried. Worried that I wouldn't be able to maintain the intensity all summer long and into the next year with an Ironman looming in 2009. However, after Mooseman last week, I accepted my state of mind with peace. I realized that my body wanted to continue pushign through the workouts but my mind wanted a little break. I didn't pour over my training plan every second of the day. I didn't read Triathlete magazine at night, I neglected my blog, I just stopped thinking about it for a while. I did the work, I jsut didnt' think about it to the point of obession. Is this ok? Do you guys do this?
We have had a lot happening around our house in the past week. Things that needed my attention. Last Friday, my husband had oral surgery to remove a cyst in his jaw. It had grown over the past few years. At the appointment, the doctor tried to convince me that he Thought it would benign but we had to be sure. Shit. What if it's not??? It would take 1 week until the results of the biopsy came back. That is too long. Mark was put under general anesthesia and well, the rest of the day was a total mess. I had a doped up husband to get home and care for, 3 little boys coming home from field day at school hungry and tired and very much needing Mom attention, and a meeting with our contractors to choose windows for our addition. It was just a bit much to say the least.
Saturday afternoon my parents and Mark's parents came for an impromptu cookout. It was a good time and nice to share Father's day with My Dad and Mark's as well.
Sunday, despite the fact that it was Father's day, our friend arrived at 8:00 a.m. with a big excavator. As you might imagine, the 3 (ok 4) boys in my house were FIRED UP!!!!! A giant hole was dug in our yard. It took hours and hours and entertained my family quite well for the majority of the day despite the rain. We'll be building a new addition later this summer. It's going to make our house so much nicer for our family of 5. Best of all, Mom is getting a new Master bathroom. Yeah!!!! As years go by and I have 3 teenage boys and their friends in my house, I am going to need my own private bath.
Lots of good stuff like that here in Paris. The kids are in their last week of schoool. There are fields trips, pajama day, ice cream socials, baseball games and concerts. Hard to believe my oldest will soon be a 3rd grader and my little Tommy in first. My baby, my little Nick will be heading to preschool in the fall. Where does the time go?
I have had to step back from all my Tri thoughts/focus a bit lately and focus on my dear family. I am ready to get my mind back in the game now. I will head to Lake Placid one week from tomorrow. I hope I can survive my first 112 mile ride.
Later today I will do a fun track workout. Some run focused time is in order.

'til later....

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mooseman International Race Report

My first Olympic distance race of the year has come and gone. I experienced so many emotions. There were ups and downs and I hope I can learn lessons from the day and move on to be a stronger athlete.

I travelled to N.H. on Friday and met up with my brother, my friend Mike (not racing) and my friend Mary. We had dinner and then headed to our teeny tiny cabin to organize our piles of gear for the next day. It was a fun time to share the experience with them. I enjoyed the evening. Mary and I felt like we were at camp. We were in a tiny room with tiny twin beds so close that we could have held hands. It wasn't the most comfortable little place but we had a good time.
The forecast had been for hot and humid weather. Since we were wearing sweats the night before, we didn't believe it. When race morning arrive, there was fog across the lake and the temps were still mild. Things looked good.
We all choked down our planned out pre-race meal at 4:45-5:00 a.m. A good 2-3 hrs before the race start. All planned. Time to digest but still be fueled.
Once at the site we headed quietly to Transition to organize yet again. Mary and I were next to each other!!! How does this keep happening?? It's really great. The time we are Not near each other will be really sad. We went through our typical pre-race rituals and while we'd heard the start may be delayed, they still shuffled us to the beach as if it would begin at the planned time. We got in for a Short Short warm up. It was Freezing. I grew up on the ocean. I swam in the ocean Every morning...the Maine ocean...and this was worse. This was so so cold. Our faces hurt. There. Ready. 7:15 now? Let's go!! Wrong!!!!!!!! We ended up standing on the beach until about 9:00. Not good. We had zippo swim warm up and we now had no calories in us. But what else could we do? You see, the fog on the water truly impacted the ability for them to keep the racers safe. They had to shorten the course in the end and this was a big fat bummer for those of us who are swimmers and rely on the extra minutes in the water to gain on the field.
Finally we started the swim. It was a Bar fight out there for a few minutes! I was getting clobbered. I finally pulled out of it and felt pretty good on the swim. The lake was clean and beautiful and I sighted well. I found my rhythm and felt strong. I wish, oh do I wish that it was longer. A mere 13+ minutes in a race that takes over 2 hrs.
I went to the wetsuit strippers even though my 1st and only other experience with them wasn't great. I regretted it again this time. Two young boys put in pathetic effort to get it off me. It got stuck at my ankles and they seemed to give up. Ugh.
T1 1:34 Yeah! This is Way way better for me.
I headed off on the bike with my new aero helmet on for the first time and felt strong. I had a good ride. My new bike just seems to come alive when I get out there to race. The course was very hilly and very rough. It required total attention to the road so as not to hit a hole and flip or blow a tire. Stressful. There were lots of people to dodge too and this was tricky. I found lots of people just cruising along on the the way! It can be scary sometimes. I rode hard and strong. I felt solid. Confident. Excited that I now enjoy the bike instead of just enduring it so I can get to the run. My stomach wasn't great however. I did drink all my water bottle over the course of the ride. I also had about 1/2-3/4 of my HEED/amino mix. I had one hammer gel around mile 20. But my started hurting. Was it upset because it was basically empty when I started? I didn't dwell on it.
I hit T2 and while trying to get my bike shoe off, my calf muscle Completely cramped up in a knot. OUCH!!!! Man did it hurt. No time. Grab the hat and race belt and go. 1:06 in T2. Yeah me again. That's so so much better!
the run. Oh the run. I love to run. I love to run off the bike. But this run, well, it was about the most painful run I've ever ever had. It was just plain tough. A big mental game. I ran mile 1 and felt pretty slow and I was panting like a dog. Ok, that's normal. 6:38. Hey, pretty darn good. I was encouraged. Mile 2 6:51. oops. There was a hill, I think. Mile 3 6:57. Ok, enough. I was unravelling. It wasn't that I was just tired. I was truly coming apart. My legs didn't feel like they belonged to me. They were 2 separate flailing sticks....ok logs. (I have big legs :) ) And I felt completely nauseous. Totally sick. Gross. I got to mile 3 and the turn around and then I had to watch my competition running at me. That was scary. I had nothing in the tank. I just thought, "they're running me down and there's not a damn thing I can do about it." I just kept putting one foot in front of the other--like the song says. Mile 4 was better again: 6:42. Was it downhill? I can't remember. Now, I am pleased that I could do these splits while feeling like death. But why did I feel like death? I decided to try to get some more gel in me to see if it would help. One sip. Nope. Not good at all. I held that sticky oozing chocolate mess for the next few miles...I did get a little more water in me though.
It took all my mental power to get to the end. And it was only 10K!? Why??? I run and run and run around here. Something happened to me out there. I was completely doubting my ability to race. I just wanted to get to the end so I could lay down and die. Those are not good thoughts.
Somehow, I dug deep and finished the race. I did it. Sometimes you just have to go through the pain in order to learn a lesson and improve for next time. I am ready for that. I want to learn the lesson and do better. I am so happy that I did what I did while feeling so bad. It was a tough tough run but I still did well and that gives me great hope. I feel excited to try again.
Final Splits and Stats:
Total time: 2:17:55

Swim 13:48 (4th woman/20th overall)
T1 1;34
Bike 1:18:48 (20.7 mph for 27.2 miles--no idea where I placed for women but was 75th in the field of 726)
T2 1:06
Run 42:40 (6:53 pace, no idea for women yet but 63rd/726 racers) A few yrs ago I couldn't go under 44 for a flat 10K so I am psyched here.

3rd place for women, 1st age group
36th overall/726 finishers

Time to recover and prepare for the next challenge.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 6, 2008

And we're off.....

Time to hit the road to New Hampshire. I'll leave after lunch and begin the 3 hr drive to the Mooseman International. I've heard a lot about this race for a few years as my brother and lots of other Mainers usually take part in it. So far this week, I've been hearing about the freezing water and hoards of mosquitoes. Hmmm, great. There has to be More to this event. I'm sure of it. People love it and keep going back for more.

It will be a different type of race for me. I'll be bunking in a cabin with 3 other great friends. One is actually my little brother too and that'll be fun for us. My family will not be there. That is highly unusual and a bit disturbing for me. I need to collect myself on that one. I want to make them proud and bring home some good results for them. I will focus on that.

The nerves are setting in. I'm starting to feel that uneasy feeling in my stomach. The "what is going to happen out there" feeling. I get to this point and I really just want the gun to go off.
I'm bib # 5714. I hope to see you out there Danielle!! I guess a bunch of us bloggers will be there! I hope to meet all of you. Please say Hi. I'll be hanging out with the woman you all know as Ironmatron: Mary. I know her as my great friend from High School and Jr. High for that matter! We go way back. I am really looking forward to some good quality time with her. Yeah Mary!! Can't wait to see you!!!!
Good Luck to anyone else out there who is racing this weekend!! If you're not, you probably have some super long hard fun workouts planned for the weekend. Enjoy them.

Here in New England, it's been cool (50s) and rainy for most of the week. The forecast for the weekend is Hazy Hot and Humid and in the 90s!!!! Not too much of a change for us. And we have to Race in it after training in the cool stuff. It's sure to add a bit of a challenge. And hey, we're triathletes, we all love a good challenge. Otherwise, what's the point!? :)
Back with a race report in a few days.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Race Week thoughts

It's time to focus.
Put on my game face.
Get serious.
Remember my strength.
Have confidence in my self, in my heart, my body, my mind.
While biking this morning, I thought of words that describe what one needs and what one gains from this sport. This way of life.

Mental toughness
Emotional toughness
Strong attitude
scheduling tricks
age defiance
great nutritional habits
complete fitness

And yes, Success!!!! (you're right Jen H.! Thanks!)

I feel so lucky that I am a triathlete. I love what this sport has done for me. I will head to New Hampshire for my first Olympic distance race on Saturday with a positive attitude. I will remember that I am a 38 year old Mom of 3 who can race once again. Competing in sport was such a huge part of my life until I graduated from College. I am SO excited that I have found the world of triathlon and can use that love for racing once again. I have put in hours of training. I have been waking up pre-dawn for months and months. I have made sacrifices and I have put in some serious hard work. It will pay off. I am ready! When you get to race week, it's all about heart. Time to rest a bit, eat well, and get the mind ready and in the game.
This is when it all comes together. Whether its' an A, B or C race just go out and give it 100%. Sometimes we are more prepared than others but it's always important to give it 100% of your effort and heart. Enjoy the experience. Savor the swoosh of the water in your ears, the frantic scrambling at T1, the whizzing of the bikes, the sounds of people cheering around you, the announcer in the distance calling finisher's names, the heavy breathing of a competitor closing in on you, the sound of your footsteps as you pound the pavement to the end of the course. Go for it. Don't leave anything back on the course. No regrets. Just GO FAST!!!!