Wednesday, November 26, 2008


This is what I'm thankful for. Crazy boys outside in pajamas. :-)

And of course, my husband.

I'm giving thanks for my wonderful family this year.

Friday, November 21, 2008

12 days

I went 12 days without doing Anything. I'm proud of myself. That is a good solid break I think.
Today I ran an Easy 4 miles in 25 degree air. It was cold at first, but so refreshing.
My lungs felt like they were going to explode as I climbed the 1/2 mile hill I start with on each and every run. (that's just the way my road's not a crazy warm up I instilled upon myself.) Once I hit the flat roads I felt better. However, my quads are clearly out of sorts. I was slow. I didn't try to go fast but my easy run pace was slow. Oh well. I'm not worried. It is, however, odd to have my last memory of running one of cruising down the finisher's chute at the World Championships for the race of my life and then to hit the roads at home 2 weeks later barely able to jog through 4 easy miles at a normal pace.
So that's that. My long break is over. Hmmm. I think I'm happy.
I will not start Training yet. I will start exercising again though.
That will feel good.
I had begun to feel rather blobbish. I started sleeping poorly. My headaches became more frequent. My energy levels have been down.
I need to feel like myself again.
So my 5 hour training days will have to wait a bit.
But when I want to swim I will swim and when I want to run I will run. Will I bike? We shall see.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Now What?

I'm officially in the off season. Ok, now what do I do?
It is true that I am enjoying my "free time." (more on that in a bit) I enjoying going to bed without laying out 6 sets of clothes--swim stuff/travel to and from swim sweats/bike clothes for warm inside trainer rides/run clothes for sub 30 degrees and wind Or run clothes for treadmill Or run clothes for 40+ degrees, etc etc
I enjoy going to bed without preparing my nutrition for pre/post/during workouts.
I enjoying not writing out the minutes of the days to make sure it will all fit.
4:35 alarm set
4:55 out the door to pool
swim 5:50-6:25
6:27-6:58 drive home
6:58-7:02 Greet kids, kiss hubby, drop bags, bye to hubby, take over where he left off with kids: no joke here.....all in 5 minutes
7:03-8:00 clean kitchen, make sure kids are done eating, dress 3 kids, redress 1 kid because pants are too short, redress antoher because shirt is itchy, brush 3 boy's hair with wet brush because hair Won't lay down otherwise, listen to them fuss because water is in their eyes-again, brush 3 kid's teeth (ok, 1 does it alone), make 2 lunches, collect library books/homework and pack bags (I know I know...should do this the night before...but note fact that I'm preparing for MY day! :-) Bad mommy here), remind them 3 times to put on socks, oh yeah...I Have to get dressed, put hair out of face, try to hide goggle eyes, EAT! I have a long brick headed my way after alll, make sure bike is hooked up to traiiner, say Hello to 5 contractors walking around my house, discuss where I want outlets, how high should shelves be, what color is trim, "GET IN THE CAR GUYS!! We're late!" Ahh I forgot to brush MY teeth!! "I'll be Right there!! Just get In and Buckle up!!!"
8:00 Phew. I did it. We're off.
8:15 hug Nick 10 times and kiss him more. Leave at preschool. :-( Still miss the little guy.
8:25 drop big boys at school with hugs even though they're pulling off towards playground.
8:35 Home. Try to avoid contractor's questions, change, grab nutrition bottles, hit the trainer by 8:45-9:00
ride ride ride ride ride ride
12:30 maybe 1:00 Off bike. Dry sweat, change out of jog bra and shorts that are gross and soaked, put on running tights, shirts, hat, gloves, mp3 and head out the door for 9 mi run avoiding crazy looks from contractors leaning on their trucks for a smoke break.
2:20 In the house. No shower. Guy is working on bathroom. Ok fine. Who needs a shower?
I'll just change my clothes AGain, wolf down a few calories and hop in the car.
2:45 pick up Nick. "Hi Mommy. Do you have a snack for me?" In my head, "Hon, I've been training since the Moment I left you and YOU want a snack? I've had a lousy glass of recoverite and a luna bar! That's it!!!" To him, "yes sweetie. Here's a granola bar." Breath. Mommy first.
3:05 Pick up big kids. Head home. More snacks. There's lots and lots of dirt through house and the contractors are still there.
Breath. I Need a shower!! Maybe later when hubby gets home. Right before I make dinner. Right before I lay out clothes for tomorrow's workout.

So...that's what it was like. For months after school started while preparing for Clearwater. The race of my life. It WAS worth it.
I'm still busy. I am volunteering in kid's rooms, I am shopping for things for this house project, I am taking care of typical Mommy things. We all know what those are. Moms are always busy. If you take away 1 thing, others fill it's space.

Am I happy those crazy crazy days are over? I guess.
But mostly, I'm lost.
I am stir crazy.
My body is Desperate for a good dose of endorphins.
I am eating like a maniac. What happened to that off-season weight loss? I am eating junk. I think I'm over it now though. Ready for good stuff again. I just Had to have a bunch of cookies, and chili, and tacos, and a donut. A BIG donut. It was good! I dont' really want another one though and that is a good sign.

I am a triathlete now. It's in my blood. I want more. I know I can go faster. I am Itching to go faster. I want to try again. To push harder.

For now, I will try to enjoy setting the alarm for 6:05 instead of some ungodly 4:00 hour buzz. I will enjoy taking showers just because that's what one does each day and not because I stink with sweat.
However, I dont' feel good. I have headaches. I feel sluggish. My energy levels are down. I know my body needs to get back at it.
It's been 8 days. I will not do Anything until next week. I swear. I know it is for the best. Many many people with Far more experience than I are promising me that it's the the right thing to do. I Will do it but interestingly, it's almost harder than training each day. It's just not who I am anymore.
So, I'm hanging on.
This is just confirmation that this sport is where I belong.
And you know what, I am a far happier and more patient Mom when I am in the midst of my training. I can't pinpoint why but my overall focus is much deeper.

Rest on Ange. It'll be over before you know it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Race Report-World Championships 70.3

Before I begin with the details of my race, I can sum the whole race up by saying, "What an experience." I learned so much from this race. I gained a lot of confidence in myself as a competitor. As a racer.

I was very anxious as I prepared myself for the trip earlier in the week. My stomach started to wiggle, and gurgle and hurt! I was anxious to leave the kids. I was anxious about the entire event.

I sacrificed a lot at home for this race. School is in session for the boys. That makes life busier. My mind was distraced with this event much of time. Our home is under construction. Instead of keeping things under control and peaceful at home, I chose to train for 5-6 hours at a time. There was stress. There were tears. But in the end, there was success and satisfaction. And I do believe, I also have children who are proud of their Mommy. That means a lot too.
I put so much work into this race and then SO much money to travel there. My family was helping with the kids, my husband took time off from work. I just felt the need to make it “worthwhile.” That said, a strange calm came over me on Friday. I just knew I was ready. It was finally time to actually race and do what I knew how to do.

Sat a.m. Mary and I headed out of the hotel to the transition area to get body marked and check our bike tires etc. We were allowed to check the bikes but not take them out and we coudlnt’ go to our bags. We had until 6:30 and then transition was closed. It was dark outside but there were HUGE spotlights all over. There were TV cameras. There was awesome music blasting. And the fittest looking athletes you’ve ever seen. No one looked soft. No one looked like a first timer. All the bikes were rockin’ fast. It was a bit intimidating. Remember I'm from Maine. We do have big races that sometimes pull in 500-600 people, but the scene is much different.
We got marked with stamped #s rather than markers. I was enjoying the special treatment. There was a guy running around transition helping everyone pump their tires. There were volunteers all over the place.
After a few trips to the bathrooms (and we are proud to say we avoided porta potties the whole a.m!) we headed to the beach.

We were finally in our corral with 75 other fast and f it looking women. I had no idea how I would hold up against these women but figured I just had to go for it. I positioned myself in the front and on the right so I could hug the buoys. The course went straight out, a short turn right to antoher buoy and then straight back to shore.

Finally….a Gunshot. And it really smelled and sounded and in some ways Felt like I got shot. It was right next to me and I smelled that smoke immensely. It was a running start but the water was quite shallow for a ways out. I scooted down and dove over the water 6-7 times before I could begin swimming. I saw 1 girl head out like a shot. She was gone. Ok ,no problem. Another one was next to me but a few strokes ahead. I could tell she was strong and would probably move ahead. I settled into 3rd and tried to find my groove. I had really hoped to warm up but the format of the morning didn’t allow for it. I was off for a bit but felt ok. After a little while, I had a strange sensation around me and realized I had a draft pack behind me! In what felt like slow motion, 3 or 4 other women surrounded me. Darn. I thought I was safely in 3rd. Guess not. This is Worlds after all and I had to work for it! We hit some big swells as we approached the turn buoy. We made the turn and headed back with the sun directly in our eyes. There were now 4 of us in a straight line across. I sighted off their arms the rest of the way. We were all stroke for stroke. Sometimes I was two or three strokes ahead of them and sometimes they were ahead of me. We caught some of the swimmers who had left ahead of us and dealt with some kicking and thrashing all around.
The swim is my favorite leg but there is a serious thrill for me as I sight and see the crowd on the beach and the huge arch paving the way for us. I get so excited. At the same time, I knew 56 miles of nervous biking were headied my way. I was tired too. I had swallowed a lot of water. I was feeling it already. I was having my first “low” and started to doubt myself and what I could do for the next 69.1 miles. Here’s where the mind games began. I took another look at the crowd and regained my excitement and focus. I wish I had pushed myself to stand up a tad bit faster because all of us came out of the water together but I somehow clicked that mat behind most of them. Darn. It didn’t matter in the big picture of the race though and that’s what was on my mind. I just had to get my bearings as I stood up.

The crowd was huge at swim exit. I heard Mark, Andy, and Marni yelling to me. I was struggling with my wetsuit and unable to give them a big smile but I was thinking, “Hey I hear you! Thanks guys!! Here I go!”
We ran up a long beach and hit the showers. Those things are great. The water was warm and super powerful. It felt so refreshing. And the wetsuit strippers! YES! Finally some strippers who meant it!!! I have used them a few other times and practically had to help the kids (yes I had some 12 year olds once) rip it off. I had 2 girls this time who Yanked that baby so hard. I was psyched and thanked them.
I ran to the rack where my gear bags were. Blue bike blue bike blue bike. I had to keep saying that to myself. I was afraid I’d forget which was which!
There were volunteers Everywehre in the changing tent. They were Amazing. This girl kept offering to dump my bag but I had a system instead. She handed me my glasses and I just went about my thing with my shoes etc. She took over from there. She repacked my bag for me and sent me to my bike. Fun stuff. I loved this. I ran to the bike, prayed for no flats or crashes, and off I went.
This bike course was NUTS!!! At first, I was breathing so hard and my glutes killed. I was a bit worried. After a bit I settled in and felt better. These roads are crazy. It was really flat (although there were actually a few small hills over bridges etc) and very fast. Somehow I managed to be alone on the roads most of the day. But let me tell you, these draft packs are insane!!! I think about 5 packs went by me during the race. I have no idea how many people were in them but let’s say 40. At least. It was scary. I’m sure they were going 30 mph and they were just cheating their asses off. Not only was it super dangerous the way they just took over the whole lane but it’s flat out illegal. And they didn’t care. Oh well. What can you do? There were a few women mixed in there too. That's how some of them got such fast splits.
The miles just flew by on the bike. I was having fun. Each 10 miles that hit were 10 less miles for me to flat on! I was super worried about something technical ruining my day. But, I made it. I got all my nutrition in while I was out there. I took time to slow down for gels, for my bottles, to stretch my legs after not climbing for an hour…I think it paid off.

So I climbed over the bridge to the finish area and the energy was amazing. The music was blasting. The crowds were huge. I love that stuff. When I climbed off the bike, I was swarmed by volunteers again ready to take my bike. I didn’t have to rack it myself! I loved this. I ran over to the gear bags and should have started my red run red run chant but I forgot and grabbed the blue bag! Oh no. But lucky for me the volunteers were there again to tell me and have me drop the blue back and grab the red and all was good.

I had a decent transition except my race # had ripped off my race belt Before the bike so I had to spend time reattaching that. Besides that, I was fine. My stomach killed heading into the tent and I thought I might be doomed but when I ran out, I was fine.

I headed off and made a plan. My quads were Not on fire like my last 70.3 so I wanted to play it smart. I decided to take it “easy” for the first 6 and then to let it go. I would build into this run. I dind’t want to blow up. I wanted to enjoy the day all the way through.
Mile 1 felt smooth and easy. 6:40. Ooops. Ok, so maybe I’m off the pace a bit. I thought it felt easy! Try again. That was too fast. Next mile had a hill (the bridge..big hill actually ) and I was over 7:00. Ok, that’s better but let’s see what I am without the hill. I felt ok. I started running between 7:10-7:26. I was ok with this. But I started having to deal with mental issues along the way. I was just so tired. I wanted to lay down. Really. Just be done. Enough. I had had enough. I wasn’t really miserable, just done. You know that feeling?
So I had to talk myself out of that. Losing focus? Time for a gel. This is something I’ve learned. I took a salt, a gel, lots of sponges down my shirt, water on my head, I drank Gatorade constantly. It was getting hot. The roads there are white b/c they’re concrete and so it’s super bright.
We ran over the big bridge, down the road, off into a neighborhood and then back over the bridge, all the way to the finish line and psych…not done yet….go around again! So like I said, I had a plan. I was just going to get to that turn and then play the game. I was doing ok. Around mile 5 we went through another Ironman arch and they had a message board. I had one! A. Bancroft U are a Winner. I had a moment of feeling important out there in the sea of hard core triathletes so my stride grew longer and I pushed on. It was surprisingly “fun” to go through the finish chute even though I had another loop. The music was still blaring and the screaming crowd is good for a tired soul.
I saw Mark, Andy and Marni as I came in for the turn and back around again. They were awesome!! they screamed and took pictures and yelled great reminders about water and pace. I hope you all know how very much that helps. Your support means everything out there. I could Not do it without you.
My legs felt loose and I decided to try to pick it up. Well, ok, I thought I did but my splits just wouldn’t get faster. But they were dropping too much either so I was ok. I kept them all under 7:30 so that was good for me. New plan. Get to the neighborhood and then when I was back on the bridge with 2-3 miles to go, then I would start to go hard. But my mind kept going places. It kept going to LP’09. How am I going to do that run?? I had to get away from that because it was bringing me down.
I forced myself to stay in the moment. To look around and look at all the people with me. I focused on the runners I went by and the fact that I was hanging on and doing my job that day. I ran by Sister Madonna Buder and told her she Rocked and gave her a thumbs up. THE BRIDGE!! I was almost there. I started to smile. I smiled and smiled and then geez, I got a cramp. Darn. Ok, no big deal. Remember those hard hard hard miles I ran through and pushed myself to exhaustion during training. Why was this different? It’s such a head game I think. I am learning how to get out of these ruts when out there… I think that’s a huge part of these endurance races.
One mile left. I wasn’t pulling out faster splits but my effort was huge and I was hanging on. I was happier than I can explain. The emotion of getting to this race, of hanging on for months and months of hard training when it was the “off season” for others close to me, of fighting pain and fatigue to push on was overwhelming me. I saw my watch as I came into the long finishers chute and was ecstatic. I did it. I started pumping my arms and jumping around. I was one of those crazy finishers jumping all over the place. I loved it!!!
After I crossed the line this huge wave of relief and satisfaction came over me. I just kneeled down on the ground and smiled so big inside. Of course, I was swarmed again with help, “are you ok? Are you ok?”
I’m GREAT!!! I was so great.
I waited for Mary at the finish and we had the biggest happiest hug ever.

It wasn’t quite over. Mark and Andy found us at the end and Mark told me I was 5th in my age group. Cool!!! A neighbor called my father in-law who called Mark to tell us. Funny. There I was At the race and my supporters back in Maine had to let us know this.
What did this mean? I was heading to the podium! Top 5 get awards!
We went to the awards that night. Thousands of chairs lined up on the beach in front of a HUGE stage with video screens on either side. After awarding the pros their prizes, it was time for the age group winners. They called each of the top 5 in the age group up to the stage. We were awarded M-dot trophies. Our names and and times were on one video screen and we were on the other. We held our trophies over our heads while cameras snapped away. My 6 minutes of fame. I did feel like a rock star for a minute. I mean, little me from Paris, Maine. Pretty fun.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Clearwater 70.3-World Championships

What a fantastic experience. I had a blast!!!
A Race Report will follow but for now I'll just fill in some fun details.

Overall Time: 4:42.0 5th place in the 35-39 age group

Swim: 27:33 (6th in Age...however, 3 of us tied and two others were within 30 seconds. Close pack)
Bike: 2:32.11 (13th age group)
Run: 1:36.10 (5th age group)

I'm thrilled with my race. I enjoyed the day so much. It was a thrill to be part of such world class event.

Race report soon! I need to sleep first..

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What makes me smile

When I picked my 2 oldest boys up from school today, my 6 year old was waving a 8x11 school envelope in the air.
"What's this Tommy?"
"Open's for you."

15 Good luck cards. 15 cards wishing me "Good luck to your race!" "Mrs. Bancroft I hop you win god luck" "I wish you good lukc...I hope yor the best wun out thar!"
Exactly what I needed.
Thank you Tommy. You Always make me smile.

almost time to go!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Easy girl

hang on
slow down
don't push it
enjoy the moment
did I say SLow down
hold back!!

Ahh, The trick of taper.

The body's feeling good.....6 more days.
I have slept 10 hrs two nights in a row!!!
My mileage has been cut back and I'm starting to heal.
I swam Friday and had to hold myself on the wall and say, "STOP!" Time to get out of the water. I had to fight the urge to swim 100s just to see how fast I could go. I ran today and fel the same way. Light, fresh, strong. But as I circled my neighborhood loop for my final mile, I had to fast forward the mp3 player to a different-less motivating song so I wouldn't fly around just to see how fast I could go!!
Keep my eye on the prize. The big goal is Next week...........I must hang on. Keep focused. Stay rested and fresh.