Friday, February 27, 2009

Rolling along...

I am boring right now...not much to talk about.

I don't have any deep thoughts.
No race reports.
Nothing juicy to talk about.

I'm just rolling along with my life.
My 3 little boys continue to amaze and challenge me. I am more in love with them each day. I am in more amazed by them as time goes by. And yet, they continue to drive me bonkers more than I can express. Ahhh....little boys. they are just so FULL OF IT!!!! And yet, they make my days so happy and full of joy. Never a dull moment around here!

Training is great. I am adjusting very well to the load I think. When I started with my awesome new coach, Jen Harrison, back in January, I admit I was suffering. I was tired. Worn out. Don't get me wrong. I was So fired up to get going with the season, but it was tough at first. I had been on a break for a month or so since Worlds so I wasn't very fit.
It's almost March and I'm feeling great. My running feels much smoother, stronger, faster. Swimming is amazing. I feel sharp in the water. I feel long and strong. I'm swimming 200s about 8+ seconds faster than in December. As my kids say, Sweet. And biking. Well, who Knows?? :) Its' trainer riding. But I'm chugging along and getting some nice long rides in lately. Long for trainer rides anyway.
The point. I feel great. I am enjoying the work and prepared to keep building.

I'm in Maine. Now, I am a true Mainer at heart. I absolutely love, no Need, 4 seasons. I really do. I'll spare you why I love each and every season but let it be known that I will always live where I can enjoy the seasons.
That be said, ENOUGH OF WINTER ALREADY!!!!!!! I mean, come ON! It snowed TWO FEET here the other day! That is actually Underestimating what we got here in our yard. I kid you not. TWO FULL FEET OF White stuff on Top of the piles we already had. It was a gorgeous snowfall. Stunning. I got the camera out immediately. But, since then the temps have risen. It was almost 50 today! Which would be nice if all that snow wasn't turning brown. And get this. It's raining right now. Blek. I hate winter rain. It is so so ugly. Fog, mist, damp, wet, brown, snow.
So what am I going to do about it????

I'm throwing all 5 of us on an airplane to SUNNY SAN DIEGO! Woo HOO!!!! 6 a.m Sunday we are Out Of Here!!! I can hardly wait. I will be running in shorts, Biking on a Road on a bike that moves for the first time since well, October! Or was it September? Not sure. And the best... I will be swimming Outside in a 50 meter pool! Oh my gosh. So psyched.
Packing for 5 for a week on the other side of the country has earned me a vacation I must say.

Next time I check in...I plan to be 3000 miles away with the wet snowpants and boots out of my mind.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Got one

Yesterday I ran in the PolarBear 5k road race.
It was a beautiful day in Maine. A bright and sunny Valentine's day.
The race started at 9:00 which allowed me to see the kids before I drove down to Portland for a quick little run.
It was bright and sunny but also pretty cold and very windy. Considering it's February, it really was as good as it can get for racing however.
The run started at my Tri shop. A bunch of my friends were finishing up their long spin class that morning when I arrived. I sometimes join them for that class. It's great....time flies by when biking in a group. I was jealous they were finishing up...I had the same ride the next day. But I'd be alone.

Back to the race.
I warmed up a solid 20 minutes. I was feeling good and my head was in the right place.
I felt crazy doing it, but I positioned myself at the the front of the pack at the start. I had no expectations of staying right in front, but I didn't want to get trapped behind people like I did at the 10 miler a few weeks before.
One, Two, Three...GO! ( no gun, just my friend Nicole yelling Go! Gotta love Maine races. )
Off we went. Down the road into the wind. I counted about 4 guys in front of me. And then, Me. That's it. Ok, where are they? hmmm.
The first mile was essentially one big hill. Well, 3 big hills that filled most of that mile. I barely noticed them. I just held on and tried to suffer suffer suffer. There was no time to let my guard down at all. Push on girl.
Mile one hit and I barely took time to check my watch but I swear it said 6:03. Not sure if that's possible. But, that's what saw. I couldn't hit my split button with my big gloves on so I just kept running.
Every now and then, footsteps closed in on me and I got passed. By men. Hmmm.....what's going on?
Mile 2....still going. Still in front. Where are they?
Ok Ange. Time to start taking this seriously. Was this My race? Woah. I have NEVER won a road race.
I just focused hard on keeping my pace. I was determined not to let myself slow down.
The thing about a 5K, no matter what point of the race you are in, you are alwasy almost done. I mean, you're almost done when it starts! It's a really really short race for us endurance athletes!
I knew I was almost there when we rounded the corner and headed home on the final road back to the shop.
I heard more steps behind me. Do I turn around? I never ever ever turn around in a race. I just focus on going forward. But...I had to know. Was a woman behind me? Was she about to sprint past me at the end?? I could Not let that happen.
So,I peeked.
Another Guy! (working hard not to get girled! ) Ha! love that.
This was MY race!!!
I won!
My big goal for the year is an Ironman. A mere 137.5 More miles than yesterday's sprint fest. But, this still made me feel awesome. It gave me a Huge boost. A little spring in my step as I continue with my winter training.
I had a PR by about 2 minutes. I'll take it.
Next up...PolarBear Sprint Triathlon. I think it's a good omen. My first Tri by the same name as my first win of 2009. Yes, a good omen.
time: 19:35 pace 6:19 1st woman/35 12th OA/210

Friday, February 13, 2009

Random things about my week

This week has been up and down. We all have those. I have a few moments that have forced me to take a deep breath and just go with it. It's February. Losing 45 min in the pool isn't going to change my season. Not at all. But losing 1 1/2 hrs of sleep because of that will change my day!

Here's what happened. I was tired. But, I had stuff to get done. Just like we all do. I had been awake well before 5 several days in a row. Last Saturday I was up before 4 a.m. for a long group bike ride. Well worth it but it sort of kills my energy for a few days. I am turning over a new leaf and trying to get more sleep though.

Anyway, I pulled myself out of bed at 4:30 to get to the pool. I could have gone during the day, but this would be more efficient. I had the scariest drive there. THICK fog. I could not see 1 foot in front of me and I almost went off the road a bunch of times. 5:20 and I'm in the water. All is good. I had a little over an hour to swim and I felt great. 5:45-lights out! The power went out in the pool area! Shoot. I stood up and watched the 30 HS scramble out of the water screaming like they were going to be attacked by the monster in the dark deep end. I laughed. There was 1 teeny tiny emergency light on in the pool area so I kept going. I've known the guy who guards there since I was a HS swimmer myself. He said it was ok. I had a yellow cap on. I wasn't going to get up at 4:30 a.m for 1500 yards! I swam and swam and barely took any rest. I was on a mission. I know my time was limited. At 5:55 he said I had to get out. The emergency lights were on battery and they would shut off soon. Sad. Sad. Tired me. Ok, I regrouped and headed out. As I walked out of the building, the lights came on. I should have stayed in bed. I rarely say That after I do a workout in the morning. But this time, it was true. That sleep would have been way more valuable than 1+ hrs of driving for 2000 yards.
Maine had some freaky warm weather this week. I am typically not a fan of warm winter weather. It just usually makes things feel dirty and slow. But it's been very bitter this winter and when the sun popped out with temps in the 50s on Wednesday, I was one happy girl. It felt amazing. I went out for a run. I stripped off 2 layers, threw my headband and gloves on the ground, and actually felt like my legs could move again!! I really need that run. It reminded me that I am getting stronger and when it counts, I will move fast again. It was perfect. A perfect spring day in February.

Kids. I have to stick stuff in here sometimes about them. They make me laugh. they make me nuts at times too but they are funny little people.

My 7 year old, Tommy, watched Nick making Valentines for his class the other day. Nick is 4. Tommy said, "Nick, are any girls in your class hot?"

what did he just say?

Nick had no clue and probably wanted to say something about the sweater little Olivia wore two days ago.

I casually asked Tommy. "where did you hear that expression? "

"At School."

I said, "what does it mean?"

"It means you're pretty."

Oh, ok. I just smiled at him and avoided makign a big deal.

Then, with the sly grin that Tommy does best, he said, "Mommy, You're hot."

Ohhhh, that boy. He knows how to work it doesn't he! What a riot.
Tomorrow is a 5K race. I think I have done one 5K! How can that be? I'm looking forward to going down for a quick little run. I need to run fast tomorrow. I need this. It's not a big race to me at all. I just need to have a successful fast run and head into next week ready to rock. This will be the last race I do until Tri season kicks off in May.
Happy Valentine's Day to all.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Swim Meet!!

This meet was Tough!!! Humbling. Quite shocking to my system at times I have to say.
I train hard almost every day of the week. Long runs, long rides, hard runs, hard swims, you know the drill. Hours and hours and hours of swim, bike, run. So I know I am strong. I am fit. And my endurance is getting there.
And, I have always, in my heart, been a swimmer.
But I have not Raced in a Meet in about 17 years. That's a long time. A lot of time to lose the feel. The feel of going fast off the blocks, the feel of "flailing your arms" for a 50 free (right Steve?) , the feel of hitting each turn on the right stroke, just the feel of going super fast. It's not something that comes automatically. You have to practice it. To nurture it.
I do swim quite a bit these days. But no way Near what I swam for yardage each week in HS or college. It makes a difference.
You get the point here. It hurt.
My first event-200 IM
Cool. This was one of my events in HS and College. But, I was in a heat with All men. That was a tough way to start.
I dove in and started having fun with the first 50 fly. The problem? This huge tidal wave coming at me from the men waaaaaaay in front of me. Shoot.
I killed my way through this event and felt my lungs burn like I haven't felt in a long long time. It hurt but I pushed on. My brother, a great swimmer himself, honestly reported, " I could tell on that 2nd length of breaststroke that you were hurting." Thanks Jeff. But, he was right.
FInishing time: 2:39. Ouch. Best time before this? 2:12. What's a little 27 seconds! :)
I was shaking when I finished this race. My heart was racing. My muscles were pulsing. I had 1 heat of 100 fly before I swam again. So...about 3 minutes by the time they started that race and my turn.
I was back on the blocks for the 100 fly. My main event in HS. I was mostly a 200 butterflier in college...even longer. This race was scaring me. I was tired. I was unprepared. I had shoulder surgery 2 years ago for a torn rotator cuff and therefore have not been swimming butterfly...until about a month ago. I would do a 25 here or there after 1 yr post-op to test out the arm, but that was it. I mean, as a triathlete, I don't need to do much fly.
There I was. On the blocks just Hoping I could get my arms over the water for the whole race!!
Off we went. I felt good. I took it out easy. My dear friend, Alina, was in the lane next to me. I felt comforted by this. She and I grew up swimming together. Literally. We swam and swam all through our early years. We travelled near and far to meets together. To be next to her again was exactly what I needed in that moment.
So, back to the race. Or the swim. It wasn't too much of a race! I slowed each 25. But you know what, my arms came over the water!! Alina crushed the race. She did awesome. Go girl. As for me, well, I'm ok about it. 1:12. Only 13 seconds slower than my college PR!! Woah. If not for that 200 IM a few minutes earlier, Maybe I could have pulled out a more respectable time.
After that, I relaxed. My muscles kept shaking but I did have fun! I have to say though, besides that 100 fly, I swam in heats with all men Every race! that was tough. It prevented me from having any real Races! I couldn't go head to head with anyone and that was too bad. And I had major tidal waves to contend with off the walls!
50 free was next- 28. 4
100 Free 1:02
50 fly 30.8?
100IM 1:12
Not too bad. Not too great but not too bad either.
I was back in my hometown for a meet. My parents were there. My husband and kids were there. A good friend I know from triathlons came with his daughter. And best of all, I was back in a swim meet with Alina, Mary, Jeff and Steve!! A priceless blast from the past. I am so glad I did this today.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Race Report - First of 2009

The first race of the season has come and gone.
And you know, I'm pretty happy about that. It wasn't a bad race. But it wasn't a great race either.
The best part? I had fun. I had fun with a bunch of friends. It is a great way to start Superbowl Sunday.
The day was quite cold. When we left home it was 2 degrees. I knew it would be warmer in Cape since it's on the coast and we're in the foothills of some mountains. The thermometer slowly rose to about 15. Not bad. I'm sure it was a bit warmer for the race. Pretty good for an early February morning in Maine.
This race takes place in my hometown. The racers set up home base in my old cafeteria. We use my old swim team locker rooms to change and go to the bathroom. (although they've been completly redone and are unrecognizable. I still can feel 'us' swarming in there every morning of our HS swim season getting ready for school with gossip and curling irons.) It's a very nostalgic race for me that way.
I have been doing this race on and off for years. My Mom and I reminisced about the time we wore Huge cotton sweatshirts for the race. It's comical to note the difference between that and what we wear now.
Mary and I had a nice little warm up. We got in line and found all our friends and eventually my husband. He was running too.....despite a Serious lack of training. More on That later.
One flaw in this great race is that even though we wear timing chips, they are not activate at the start. Our times start when the gun goes off even though 650+ people are forced to filter through a small area. This results in many times being slower than they should be.
We took off out of the HS area and before long, I was able to break out and get my spot. I felt good. I was able to turn my legs over faster than I expected. The first mile is mostly downhilll so it's a little tricky to guage yourself.
Mile 2-3 are mostly up and downhills. I was finding my groove. My breathing caught up with my legs and I felt strong. My splits started a little higher than I wanted (just over a 7 min pace) but they were slowly dropping and that felt great.
The first 5 miles are pretty hilly. I felt strong and convinced myself that the 2nd half was relatively flat. After all, I grew up on these roads. I knew Just what the course was like.
By mile 7, something was happening. My right leg was locking up a bit and darnit, we were still climbing! There is a loooooooooong road that goes by the beach I used to lifeguard at, the strawberry fields I used to pick at for a summer job, and my old church. I tell you, that road Never ended that day. Mile 7 was absolutely forever. I was losing steam. The long gradual hills around that loop were maddening. I don't how I forgot about those!
My splits were slowing by about 10 sec/mile and that made me mad.
Finally mile 8.
I was concentrating on pain. I wasn't going to let a little pain get to me! This is where it starts to hurt for all and I was Not going to give in to it.
I really faught those demons that try to make you slow down.
I pushed.
I suffered.
Mile 9, finally. While my splits weren't going down anymore, and had even creeped up to about 7:20, I did reach one of my goals. I had caught the girl with super long hair in front of me. I picked her out around mile 4 and was determined to catch her. And I did. Yeah.
This 10 mile race hurt. It's a 10 mile race after all. I mean, that's pretty far to run your heart out. I realized I am in fact, now a bona fide multisport athlete.
I missed the swim. I missed the bike! I missed the feeling I have when I start running After the bike.
Final time 1:11.54. Almost 2 minutes off my PR from last year. oh well.
however, I was 2nd in my age group!! Yeah. 118th/686 overall. And to make it even better, Mary was 3rd!!! So fun to get the surprise of hearing my name in that group and then to immediately hear Mary's too!! Yeah girfriend!
Now, my husband. He is some sort of freak of nature athlete. I tell ya....He came in 25 seconds behind me!!! That might not sound so astonishing. I mean, he is a 6'3" man after all. And yes, he runs. But I honestly think he has run 1x/week for the past 5 months. Some weeks, none at all. Some weeks, maybe twice. I am amazed by him And annoyed. :-) In good humor of course. I hope he has passed some of his natural athlete genes down to our kids!! Lucky guy. I just wish he would get out there and train more and we could see what he could really do!!

Next up...A Swim MEET!!!
I haven't been in a meet since March 1992!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait.
Events that day:
100 IM, 200 IM, 50 fly, 100 fly, 50 free, 100 free, and Relays!!