Monday, July 28, 2008

Portland Urban/Epic Race Report- (~1 mi swim, 25+mi bike, 5.7 mi run.) Too much drama for one race!

Saturday's race is one I will never forget. I experienced so many emotions and challenges--and I feel I conquered them all.
Here goes.

We arrived super early as usual. I was so nervous. This was a big day for me. I was going to start in the Elite wave. I wasn't 100% convinced I belonged there although I had amazing friends giving me so much support and words of assurance. It was suddenly time to hop on a shuttle for Mackworth Island. The swim began on a island and we swam across Casco Bay to a beach in Portland Harbor. Very nice in theory. Very tricky in reality. I got in to warm up on the island and just did a few minutes of gentle swimming. I picked my head up to see if the pre-race meeting was underway yet and saw No One on the beach!? Woah. The current has pulled me way way down around the other side of the island. I fought to get to the shore and walked back! Crazy. I searched for Mark, Mary, Alina, Mike and any of my other friends to warn them. "The current is real! Take it seriously!"
It was time. We were to swim straight out and go through some buoys and then through the rest of the sets all the way to the beach. Ok, got it.
THE SWIM: I felt this surge of confidence come through my body as my wave walked over the timing chip mats. There were 13 of us. I was calm and ready to rock. I positioned myself next to a girl I know well and desperately want to beat and planned to draft from her. Off we go. We were in a pack. But I was right there. I felt awesome. No need to draft...I was side by side this girl and it felt good. Suddenly though, our group dispersed. There were a few arms near me but the whole group was spread out. Ok...I figured I knew who went ahead. Keep going Ange. Here's where it got interesting. I came upon the first buoy and fought like MAD to make the turn. The current was pulling me so hard. It was like swimming in an endless pool. Upstream in a river. I got so I was nearly around it and whoosh-I was under the frickin orange thing. I the current kept me there. The thing bobbed and flopped all around. I was totally trapped. I have been a swimmer since I was 8 yrs old and I have never feared for my life in the water like I did at that moment. I started to panic as I turned on my back and pushed the buoy off my face over and over again. I screamed for help from the kayaker but just then I got loose. Shit. I was so so scared and it took me a few minutes to mentally recover from that one. I finally got my head back in the game. I did worry about all the remaining swimmers however. I was really worried. I was sure someone else would have that happen. Little did I know....they were all on shore watching us struggle to make that turn and the race director changed the course. He said, "Well, this clearly isn't goign to work. Skip that section and head for the next set." Mark was livid I guess. He knew that meant our times were going to be slower and he was just watching out for me.
The girl I had planned to draft off was right there. I saw her the whole swim. Yeah! I was psyched. The rest of the swim was great. I did get a nasty cramp in my calf towards the end though. It locked up. I worried about that for the rest of the race. Time will tell.
I came otu of the water side by side my main competitor. First time I've Ever done that with her. I was so so excited. Good day so far. I heard my Mom and DAd, my kids, my dear friend Lexi and lots of other enthusiastic voices. I love racing. It's such a rush.

Mini Transition: Time to strip wetsuits, put goggles etc in a bag, don sneakers and run to the real transition spot. Yikes. That half mile was Looooong and Fast girl was looking Stroooooooong. Go me go!
Real Transition: All was good. I zipped along and headed off about 10 seconds behind.
Bike: Here's where things get fun. For the readers that is. Not so fun for this Mom turned triathlete. It was a city ride. I didn't know the course. But that's not unusual! I started off and right from the get go realized I was unsure about where to go. The roads weren't marked well in my opinion and there weren't enough volunteers. I can't coutn how many time I had to yell, "which way???" to cops directing traffic. Not good.
It was around mile 4 or 5 and I was in a neighborhood. Because of the frequent turns, I could not see fast girl. There as Nobody near me. Not a spectator, not a volunteer, not a poor soul watchign us whiz by out their window. I decided I should take a gel. I had it out in my hand when at the last minute I saw a small arrow pointing right.
I braked and at that moment I knew it was over. The bike stoppped hard and fast but I kept going. Straight over the bars. I screamed in fear.I could feel it all happening. I slammed down on the top of my head and rolled to the left. I have No idea how I came unclipped, no idea what happned to the bike. I was in the middle of the road stunned. I was so hurt. I was in such shock. I just sat there or was I laying? I'm not sure. I wimpered and cried for help. Nothing. No one was anywhere near me. I jusst looked at the blood on my body and figured, "it's over. All this excitement and this is how it's going to end? I hit my head! I might be dead! I definately can't ride. Wait...I can see ok. It hurts but I'm not dizzy. No one is going by me yet. Get up!!! Let's go and see what happens." I picked up my straw, my CO2 cartridge, my damn gel, and I don't know what else. I was so happy to see my bike was working and ready to rock again.
Off I went. I wanted some hugs though. I felt sorry for myself for a while and went pretty easy. My head was throbbing. I wanted to cry. I just sort of made pathetic "I hurt" noises. My friend Steve went by me and said, "Hey you ok?" I yelled, "I fell on my head!" Kind of funny now htat I think about it. Not the fall....the way I expected him to hear me and do anything.
So, on I biked. The course remained strange. Lots of potholes, construction, unmarked intersections with irritated policemen. Not good.
I also can't begin to tell you how disgusting my hands were. The bike was covered in HEED when I fell. I was so sticky. It's been a family joke since I was about 1 that I do NOT like sticky hands. My parents would have been proud. :-) Forget the whacked head! I was riding with sticky hands. Gotta find humor in these situations.
I figured I was out of the running. It was not my day. But I'd finish come hell or high water.
I got to the turn around and there she was. Fast girl. She was RIGHT THERE!! Alright, back in the game. What if I hand't fallen!! ugh. that annoyed me. I grabbed a water bottle from the volunteer and tried to wash up. I poured it over my hands and aero bars. Much better.
I had about 13 miles left. I decided to start working. I started seeing more of my competition closing the gap. A few more minutes on that road and I would really have been in trouble. I was happy to see some buddies go by...Mike, then Mary and I knew Mark would be right along. Should I tell him? I decided not to. I didn't want to make him worry. THere he was. I smiled and he screamed Good luck stuff and that was that. I later learned that he saw my blood. But, he also saw my smile so he was ok with that.
Towards the end of the bike I was passed by a woman Pro. She's from ME but has moved to CO to focus on Triathlons. She young and fast. That's ok. I held on. We conquered a big steep hill wihtout too much ado. Another friend was at the top of that and I saw him do an open mouth double take when he saw my road rashes.
Ok, bike is done. One more thing to conquer and then I can cry. I kind of wanted to cry.
I was so so careful coming into T2. I always slip getting off my bike. I didn't this time for once. Enough blood for one day. There was a lady there who had on a blue shirt (later learned she worked in the med tent) who asked me if I was ok. First one to ask. I thanked her and said yes.
No time to stop.
The Run:
I felt great heading out of T2. There was music playing and tons of people around. I flew around the corner went for it. 5.7 miles. For the first time in a race this summer I felt good on the run. Perhaps my easy bike helped me! Remember that Ange. My stomach wasn't sick and I could breath pretty well!
I came upon my parents and kids. Before I even got there I could see worry in Mom's eyes and heard her say, "I know you're hurt Ange, you're ok, be tough, it's ok." Oh man, I almost cried. How did she know? Steve. My friend I saw on the bike right after my fall had told them. He had said, "Ange is hurt. She' s ok but she's banged up so just know that." Dad followed me up the hill and asked more questions. "You really ok? Shoulder? Head?" Yup-yup-smile-I'm great-can't let on now.
The run was solid. Mile 1 6:51. Ok, that's good. I saw the young Pro right there. Mile 2- 6:24. Cool. Was it a realy mile? Had no reason to doubt it so I chose to believe the clock. I missed the rest of the mile markers but I was gaining on the young Pro. I kept the same pace. I would pour it on later if I had to. I saw some other competitors coming at me. But, I was ahead. They are fast runners but not That much faster than me. I had 3+ miles to go. I could hold on. I continued to gain on the girl in front of me. I don't know where fast girl went. Somehow I missed her on the run. Oh time. I was focusing on this new one. I had a plan. I would "hide" behind her until about .5 to go. She didn't know I was there. At that point, I would hear and see the crowd and I'd go for it. I knew I had her. And then, Ahhh She turned around!! Darn. She stepped up the pace. Some guy caught up to me and said, "You're going to get her right? You aren't running around here with all that blood for nothing are you? " I loved that.
You know, I dug deep. I did really work it but I just couldnt' get her. I was feeling the emotions of the day seep up. I hit the finish line with a smile...proud of my day. And then, I let it out. Two friends were at the end of that shoot and after saying, good job they saw the wounds. One of them grabbed me and I screamed in pain. Poor guy. He didn't know. He hurried me to the med tent where I spent a long time getting cleaned up and looked over. It all hurt so so bad. I was in big time pain. Just touchign my shoulder made me squirm in agony. My friend stayed with me and I was thankful for that.
While sitting there, I also felt so bad I wasn't at the line to cheer on my friends. But, I did see Mary finish strong. I saw Mike cruise in and I even saw Mark crank out a good race. People were watching for me and telling me when they were coming.
As the afternoon wore on, I felt sick and dizzy. I couldn't focus on a conversation. I went back to the tent where they had a big conversation with me about concussions. I had landed on my head after all. I had to lay there for a while. I didn't want Mom and Dad to know so they snuck out to get Mark. I wanted to hang out and have fun with all my friends but it was a bit tricky feeling that way. I just wanted to hide in a dark quiet corner.
I have seriously deep road rashes on my arm and shoulder. My legs is all scratched and I have bruise on my face that makes it hurt to eat. My shoulder is so swollen. I can move it more than before but not well adn it doesn't feel good. You see, 2 yrs ago I crashed and tore the rotator cuff on the other shoulder. Surgery followed and it was not good. I can't go through that again. I'm scared. I woke up Sunday feeling like I got run over by a truck. My entire upper body hurt so so bad. I just layed in bed and cried and cried and cried. I hadn't really let it out yet. I have worked so hard this summer, well, all year. The season is going well. My big race is in 18 days. Life is full of curve balls though. I will get through this. I am feeling damn lucky to be alive. Honestly, the feeling of smashing on my head was truly frightening. While sitting on that road, I just kept moving my head back and forth in disbelief. Waiting to see if I was still me. Am I thinking clearly? Is it all over from here. I almost quit the sport. My kid's lives flashed through my brain. It scared me. It scared me to the core. I will never forget that feeling.

In the end, it was a good race. Not sure how but I'll take it.
I placed 5th for women....3 of them ahead of me were pros I think. Fast girl was less than 2 minutes ahead of me. If only......
I will always remember this race. I proved to myself that I can race hard when put in a situation and I can hammer on when faced with challenges.
What a day.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Something happened yesterday...

and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

I went to get my race packet for tomorrow's race. It's an Olympic distance race in Portland, ME. I missed it last year because it was the same weekend as Timberman. This year, it's a month earlier. I grew up just outside of Portland so this is very cool. I guess the whole course is along the ocean.

All the big guns come out for this race. All the top girls in the state that I try so hard to beat in other races will be there. It's the race that I imagine while I'm out training. I picture myself overtaking them on the bike or closing in on the run. Whatever the scenerio, it gets me fired up. I have no idea how realistic it is or not but it's been a goal of mine. I am super competitive. I race myself and I race others. I don't know if that's a good trait of mine or not but it's who I am. I set goals for myself each year and this year, one of my goals was to race this race adn at least "scare" the top guns out there.

So back to yesterday. I picked up my packet and read the board with our waves listed. I noticed that several of my competitors were in a different wave even though they are in my age group. Next to their names: elite. What??? Since when do we have elite waves here in Maine? What does that mean? I had a lump of disappointment thinking that I wouldn't be able to go head to head with the fast girls.
I sought out a friend of mine who is in charge of the place and asked him quietly what that all meant. He wasn't sure but he left me and asked the race director. Next thing I knew, they moved me to that wave. WAIT A MINUTE!!! I simply wanted to know the scoop. I wasn't necessarily looking to Join them!!!!!
Here's the deal. We have some Pros racing tomorrow. Becky Lavelle is here to race amongst us the day before she heads to Bejiing!!! How cool is that. There are a few other pros too. I'm thinking they added this wave so it would be good for them. The criteria is that you have placed top 5 in one of tri-maine's races since last year. I have done that for each race so I feel good about that. But....elite is such a strooooong word. I just feel a little silly standing up there amongst those guys. It's men and women. I actually feel better about beating a few of the men in the water than the women. I imagine Becky is super fast all around and I Know at least 2 of the other women are blazing fast in the water. So....please please please don't let me be last out of the big blue sea. Please.
I am up for the challenge. I will get to race the race I've been dreaming of. Am I nuts?? Yup. I'm quite sure of it. It's going to hurt like hell. I'm going to feel like I'm dying. What I must do is get into the mindset that I am just as strong as they are and GO FOR IT!!! I can NOT let myself get psyched out by the 'idea of it all.' I've been good at that over the years. Psyching myself out that is. But now I'm older and wiser and need to Throw that OUT THE WINDOW!!!
Now that I've written all this I know how I feel about all this. I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm scared and I'm flattered. I have to get out there and hold my own on this one. Prove myself. Put all these hard training hours to good use. This is it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I have so many stories from this past weekend in Lake Placid. I mean, we camped with 8 kids in the pouring rain! We had tons of fun and in our minds we became "Ironspectators" :-) but the thing that keeps going through my brain is a mere 15 minutes I spent from 11:45-12:00 a.m. on Ironman day.

Mary, Mike and I were on our way to the "line." Actually, the line didn't exist yet but we were Super prepared and got there hours and hours early. More on that later... right Mar?
We were able to get to the finish line to watch the final 15 minutes of the race. It is unlike any other finish line. It's almost midnight, the sky was quiet after a full day of torrential downpours, and there were hundreds of loud enthusiastic spectators cheering on the day's toughest. It gave me chills.
We watched athletes roll in that had been on that course since 7:00 a.m. Unreal. Every Ironman finisher went the distance and they all deserve every bit of accolades they can get. It's an unfathomable accomplishment.....I say that as I signed my name for next year!
But these folks finishing just barely on time, or not, were otu there for the past several hours in the dark. The roads were quiet. They were out there with their own footsteps just continuing on with their dream.
I was completely inspired to watch the faces of these people explode with pride as they staggered by us to the final chute.
Sometimes they had family members with them and sometimes they were alone. However, they weren't really alone. Every single person in that crowd was 100% devoted to each finisher. The energy was palpible. This is why I want to do the Ironman. I want that moment. I want to run down that chute and feel what must be the most amazing pride after achieving an incredible physical and mental challenge. I want that so bad.
When there was 1 1/2 minutes left to the cutoff, there was a nervous quiet in the crowd. Mike Reilly was announcing the time and watching for more finishers. He ran down the chute and met the man who was trying to get there on time. Other people were in there with him too. Htey ran and ran but it wasn't to be. He missed it by 5-10 seconds. Heartbreaking. But as Mike Reilly said, he is an Ironman at Heart. Absolutely.

More stories to come..

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm In!!!!

Ironman Lake Placid 2009 Here I Come!!!

I spent an amazing weekend Full of mini-adventures with my family and two other awesome families camping in Lake Placid.
I can't wait to tell stories.
Unfortunately, I have ooodles of laundry and I'm sweaty from my morning run. After living without a shower for days I am going to take one every time I feel gross today! And that's now!
more to come..

Monday, July 14, 2008

Scarborough Sprint Triathlon Race favorite so far

The day started at 4:01 a.m. Mark and I crawled out of bed and began our pre-race routine. It was a blast to head off in the dark with my husband on this adventure. Usually it's just me. I loved sharing this with him.
We actually got to T2 Second!!!! What a riot. THe only other person there at 5:40 a.m. was my friend Ali. She is apparently as neurotic as I am and likes to get there early too. It's Always been a trait of mine. Mark just rolls his eyes. We drove over an hour to get there and we beat almost everyone.
This was a tricky race logisitically with two transition spots & a different finish area. So we drove to a parking lot to leave our car, collected just the things we'd need at T1 and rode our bikes to the start.
The race started at a beach I used to go to as a kid. This wasn't the beach I lifeguarded at. It was around the corner from there. The "big" kids went to this beach because there were Big waves. My beach was the flat water-boring beach. Well, Jordan's beach (as it was called when we were kids) didn't let us down today. You could hear the surf as we racked our bikes just a few hundred yards away. Word was was goign to be a challenging swim. I was getting Psyched!!! I love helps me tremendously against the less experienced swimmers.
Here's the weird-awesome----a little twilight zone thing----I went to put my bike at spot 65. Another bike was there. I asked 'the guy' if it had to be In Order...No, this was fine. Good. I looked at the stuff as I contemplated how to do mine. HEY!!! It was MARY's AGAIN!!! She and I are ALWAYS together. Our last names are not close, we don't live together, we registered way way apart, we just can't figure it out. It's so great, but really hard to figure out. The triathlon gods are looking out for us!
We headed to the beach for warm up. OMG!!! The waves were HUGE!!! It was a riot. We warmed up a big and just got tossed all around the beach. If you did it wrong, the waves would break on you and throw you right back where you started. I practed reaching down to the bottom and pushing up off it like a dolphin stroke. It was fun. I was SO so excited.

Finally we started. I admit that my start didn't feel terribly smooth but I did my butterfly trick and before I knew it I could start swimming. There were lots of pink caps near me and a few ahead. Hmmm, I was goign to have to change that! :-) After a week at the lake and swimming every day I felt strong and solid in the water. After a couple minutes, I took over the other girls and went ahead. The current was pushing us to the left so I ended up really hugging the buoys and just making the turn. I was rising and falling with each stroke. The swells were just enormous. I drank tons of salt water. Tons. I just continued to push hard and remind myself not to let up a second. There was no time to spare. No time to be distracted by the fun of the waves. Heading into the beach was a RIOT! I the huge waves forced you to body surf from time to time. I felt like I was 10! Finally I hit the sand but the waves sort of pulled you back and it was tough to get up. I was dizzy and a little out of it but I had just had the BEST swim ever. It was a total blast.
I ran uip the carpet and who was there? Mark. He was in the wave ahead of me and I caught him at the end. He had just said to my friends spectating, "Hey! I beat Ange!" When he heard, "GO ANGE!" He laughed so hard to turn around and see me. He was all chatty but I had to just smile a bit and motor on. He'd understand. I was in this for the big prize. (well, no prize but you know what I mean.)

I hit t1 and did ok. There was lots of sand and rocks but I forced myself not to care. I headed off on the bike and my girl didn't let me down. This bike comes Alive when I race!!!! Woohoo.
I rode around on flat familiar roads that I grew up driving around. It was a short ride (15 miles) with only a few small hills. I saw my Mom and Dad Twice on the route. That was great fun. Here's another funny moment. My little brother raced too. He really hates that I can beat him. Sorry bro. Mile 12 was a corner and my parents were standing there. I saw Jeff. I saw Mom and Dad. None of them saw me. After they yelled, "Go JEff GO!" I hollered to them, "Hey! Dont' forget me! :-) " They were psyched. Poor Jeff. I overtook him right in front of Mom and Dad! He was great and yelled for me to go for it. I did.
T2 was fine. I slipped with my bike Again when I got off. What is up with that??
I headed out and wasn't happy. My stomach HURt! WhY?? Too much water? I only sipped water on the bike? I just felt like darth vader breathing. I had to keep going. I knew this was my race to loose. I fought to the end. It was only 3 miles but I really felt bad for the first 2. The girl who was 2nd at Mooseman ( I was 3rd) was racing. She started in a wave 6 minutes behind me. I raced this whole race alone...well, with men. I was ahead of all the other women which was fun because people were yelling YOU GO GIRL FIRST WOMAN and stuff like that to me. I never get that and it was a real rush. Hey, they're talkign to me!! I soaked in my moment.
I ran and ran. I tried to really make it hurt and not leave anything behind. I run so well off the bike at home but in these races I'm suffering. I'd like to know why. I have a hip pain that is quite bad so that's on my mind. but I just was so out of zip! I passed a few girls going the other way and they looked strong. My friend Ali is a Tough tough runner and she looked so solid. I had to keep moving.
I hit the finish and got a great welcome from the announcer as the first woman finisher. He did howver, acknowledge that we had to wait 6 minutes to see if the next woman could beat me. yikes. I had so many men congratulating me at the finish. It was cool to be recognized like that. Even the surgeon who operated on my torn rotator cuff last year was there! That was great to show him how well I've recovered.
So....what happened????

38 seconds. I got her by 38 seconds. YEAH!!!! I knew it would be close and I knew I had to keep focused. It was my race to loose after the swim. I knew I had her there but our bike splits and run splits are close.

My first victory this year. I feel so happy. It's a real thrill for me.

My friend Mary did so well too. I'm so excited for her. I am going to let her write her race report though. :) Ok Mary?
Mark did well but had a strangely difficult bike. He's good on the bike but he had real troubles otu there. His run was fast though. Faster than mine and I think 25th overall.

Big weeks ahead in training as Timberman approaches. I hope I can hold it all together for that.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Time to Party again!!!

I just wrote an entry and it disappeared!! UGH!!

So, now I will write only a few sentences and be very boring!

We're back from a fun restful week at the lake & tomorrow WE race!! Yeah! My husband is joining me tomorrow and I can't wait. Lots of home town buddies too. My brother and friend Mary will be there too.

Promise to join in the fun of blog land soon!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Summer Vacation!

I've been neglecting my blog and my blog friends. I'm so sorry!! I have been reading a few entries here and there and miss keeping up with you all. Summertime is here and we are never home!!
After returning home from Lake Placid, my training has gone well. I wasn't overly tired from the trip or extra miles and I was able to hammer out a few great workouts last week.
Yesterday we headed to Freeport, Maine for our annual Fourth of July cookout at our family's cottage at the coast and last night we camped out with the kids for the First time!!! We had tons of fun. The boys were so excited. We'll hit Lake Placid again in two weeks for 3 great nights of camping. But I'll be able to share that experience with my friend IronMatron Mary!!! :)
Now we're home and packing up again. Tomorrow we move to "the island" for our week long summer vacation. My husband's parent's have a camp on Sebago Lake in Southern Maine where we'll live for a week. Lots of fun in the water is what it amounts to. However, there's no power. So, no computer. I will surely miss keeping in touch with everyone and reading about your adventures.
One week from tomorrow I'll race another sprint Tri and will be back Monday to report on that. I'm excited for the race. There will be lots of friends, it's my hometown area, my husband will join me, and it's a relatively Low pressure event. Yah right....I Always find a way to put pressure on myself.
Enjoy early July everyone!!!
Talk to you again next week!!