Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crank the Kanc Race Report

My first bike TT was this past Saturday! It turned out to be a great day despite the fact that I was a complete novice and unsure how to tackle the event. When push comes to shove, I do know how to just shut things out and work hard. So, that's what I did that day. The morning started out a little rough. We had to leave home by 6:15 a.m. with our three little boys. I made a plan with them the night before and discussed the fact that their typical 5 course breakfast ( I am not kidding...) was not going to happen. I packed a cooler and filled it with lots of food to help them survive until 7:30-8:00 when they could search for more food in New Hampshire while Mommy prepped for her ride. However, at 5:55 a.m., a couple of them decided that they would indeed starve if they didnt' eat Right then!! sigh....what is it about boys and eating?? (I say that with a grin because I do understand the driving need for food.) But seriously, they are completely willing to watch Saturday morning cartoons until 8:00 or so without breakfast but if we are on our way somewhere...Stop everything while we get out 3 bowls of oatmeal and yogurt.
Ok...I"m off topic. As I said, the quick departure from Paris Hill road was not as smooth as I had hoped.
Once we recovered from that stress...we enjoyed a pretty ride through rural Maine and NH and arrived in good time in Conway. I headed inside for my race # and start time. They had me in the Singlespeed category! Good thing I noticed!!! I don't even know what that means! (later, I did see the single speed bikes....that stuff is crazy!)
I met up with my friends Steve, Mary Lou, Nate and Kurt. It was great to see everyone and to have their advice.
We got our bikes ready to roll and headed off to warm up. My family headed off for more food. Yup...told ya. Every hour we're searching for more food around here.
The race started at 9:00 and every 15 sec. a racer started. I was told it was ~15 miles of false flats and gradual climbs with the final 6+ turning into hard uphilll forcing you into your small chain ring.
Ok...Just go for it.
9:33... I was off... Praying for my tires to stay inflated and the my legs to stay powerful.
I felt great. I didn't have my race wheels on or my aero helmet. I wanted power data and I basically spaced it on the helmet.
All I can really say is I worked hard. I was completely focused on keeping my cadence fast ( a newly discovered serious issue I have) and my power steady. I flew by a lot of people. And some fast fast men flew by me. I had my head focused on getting to mile 16 because of two things. That's where my family would be cheering me on and that's when the real climbing would begin.
Here I am coming up the hill to the mile 16 point.
riding by my gang. It was nice to be going uphill when I saw them because I could focus on smiling and saying Hi to the kids. Mark, Nat and the boys were there with encouragement and smiles. We had to stick our race #s on our sides because they do their own timing (no chips) and the timers with stopwatches had to be able to see them clearly at the top. I must say, it was crinkly and annoying in that spot..I really did notice it the whole way.

A brief snipit of what my boys do while they wait for Mommy.

Nicholas--not sure if he looking for a 4 leaf clover or watching a bug.

At the Top with Steve (foreground), Mary Lou ( in the coat), Nat (blue shirt) and me.

With my can see how pretty it is there.

I felt Great the whole way up. I was able to push hard all the way up the climb and I felt super about my day.
Here's how it ended up:
Time 1:14.49 21.5 miles ~2600 ft ascent
2nd Overall woman, 1st age group
(I even won $$ !! Very cool.)
My average watts for the ride were 214 and my cadence was above 95 until the final climb which made it go down to 89. The graphs were very very steady the whole way and I just feel Great about how I was able to maintain my strenght throughout the race.
It was a much needed happy reunion with my bike. I needed to race (on the bike) and feel strong and fast. I know that my Polarbear ride was a mess because of my flat tire. I know there was a reason my time was 3 min slower than usual. But what stuck with me was the way it felt! I needed to erase that feeling from my head and feel my real self.
Rev3 Half Ironman is in 11 days and I am Ready. I am SO ready. I am ready physically and NOW I am ready mentally.
Bring it on....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Next UP--Crank the Kanc!

I'm racing on Saturday. It's not a Triathlon. It's not a road race. It's not a swim meet.
It's my First Bike TT. I have no idea what I'm doing.
This is Crank the Kanc.. in other words Crank your gears UP the Kancamagus Highway. It's a 22 mile hillclimb that apparently ends with 6 miles that make you beg for mercy.
Talk about climbing out of my comfort zone. I couldn't be more out of my comfort zone with this one. But I can promise you that I'll put it all out there and Push these legs until they're burning.
If anyone has any thoughts...shoot 'em my way. I am all ears.
One thing that is nice--I have no expectations. I feel no pressure. It's all new and it's an open book. I'll gain nothing but mental toughness and experience pushing myself to a new place on the bike.
All I need to do, as my friends continue to tell me, is keep my tires inflated.


I'm a proud Mom.
Do you all remember those Presidential Physical Fitness tests we had when we were kids? I always had fun moving my way through those challenges.
Ok--it's my son's turn. He's in 4th grade. He has been active and involved with sports for years. However, he's been growing inches in his sleep and his running form has lacked finesse until recently. He is at that 10 year old awkward stage. He's long and lanky and trying to find his place in the social world. He has friends that are cool and fast and seem to know just what to say and how to move. Without laying too many personal details about my son out for the world, let's just say that 4th grade hasnt' been smooth as butter. I admire him and how he knows right from wrong. But in the end, he's a kid who just wants to be accepted and liked.
Now, back to running. Last year he ran track. He did this strange thing with his arm where it would swing behind him when he ran. This year, it stopped. His form is good. And he is getting faster.
Last Friday was his day to run the Mile at school for the physical fitness test. Parents were invited to come to the HS Track to watch their kids. Sadly, I was out of town this day. I was enjoying myself at the USAT coaching certification course in Orlando but I was disappointed I was unable to watch Cam run. He was fired up. The two of us had gone for a few 2 mile runs together. I warned him about pacing. I encouraged him to take it out with control and try to go faster and faster with each lap. As frustrated as I can get as a Mom with 3 boys, because they seem to 'never listen,' I will say that Cameron listens Very carefully to me with this type of thing.
Mark went to the track to watch.
I called him during my 15 minute break that morning.
I stood in the parking lot with tears in my eyes. Not because of Cam's good run...but because of what happened at the end of it.
The grade was split into two groups. Imagine running on a track with Half a Grade!! That's 40 or 50 kids per heat! Cameron went in group 1 and was separate from his friends.
1st 400 1:51
2nd 400 1:47
3rd 400 1:50
final lap 1:37
Mile time 7:05 !!!!!
Cam won his heat, overtaking someone else during the final lap.
As he rounded the final corners all his friends in the 2nd group, the kids he tries so so hard to be accepted by (yes, friend is a tricky word at this age) and who sometimes laugh when he is teased, began Chanting, "Cameron Cameron Cameron Cameron." His teacher was beside herself with happiness for him. They high fived him. They 'belly slammed' him. (whatever that is...remember, 4th grade boys.) It was a happy moment for him. Only one other child in the entire 4th grade ran faster than him!
Tears of pride ran down my face. I shut my phone off and went back into my classroom.
That's my boy.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

PolarBear Sprint-Race Report

Polarbear Sprint has come and gone. It was an interesting day for me. I was fired up for this little race. This little race draws nearly 500 people each year. It's the first Tri in Maine each season and it pulls all of us out of our homes to shake off the cobwebs and see what's in store for the season. This was my 3rd year at Polarbear. I was more than ready to turn on the turbo and give it all I had inside.
I woke to the sound of cold rain. I wasn't worried....this race is often rainy. Despite temps in the 70s and 80s all week, yesterday was had 40s and rain. I knew I wouldn't notice the cold enough to care during the race, but did feel bad for my family who was coming to spectate.
I did the usual pre-race routine. I warmed up. I said Hi to some friends but all our conversations were short and shallow as we were all focused on the fast hour of racing we were prepping for.
The swim was at the Bowdoin pool. This allowed for 16 lanes with 2 swimmers per lanes. I went off in wave 3 with some super speedy swimmers surrounding me. The girl on my right was 26 years old (on our legs), and built like a bada-- swimmer. (found out later she did a 47" 100 free and was in the Olympic trials. ahem...ok...I'll try to keep up.) My brother was a few lanes down and of course, the awesome woman I would be honored to keep up with, was a few lanes from me as well. I had a college guy in my lane. ( A bunch of Bowdoin swimmers jump into this race.) I was ahead of Olympic girl for 36 yards or so. And then, not so much. The guy in my lane was ahead of me, but didn't lap me. Otherwise, I have no idea. I just swam my heart out. I felt strong. I just focused on keeping my stroke together and using good power under the water. I tried to kick but not too too much. I was 100% the whole time. I hit the wall less than 15 yards behind the girl who has won this race....forever. For the past two years, I have been second. Amazingly, I had Trouble climbing out! The pool is angled up and it is hard to get out.. in my defense. I managed. But I lost a few seconds. Off I ran... to T1. My bike was racked on the first rack and she and I were there together. I finished putting on my helmet and glasses (mistake) a few moments behind her.
Time to go.
T1 14 seconds!!! Ha! Fastest of the day. Pretty good huh! I decided to leave my bike shoes clipped into the pedals this time. I can do it! I practiced a bunch.
Well....I'm running out and my glasses are totally fogged up. The humid air + my wet body = foggy glasses. I grabbed them off and kept them in my teeth. We mount the bikes and then have a short road and turn, then anther short road and turn.
I STRUGGLED with those Shoes way waaaaaaaaaaaay too much! I was practically in a stop at one point it was a mess. Grrrrrrr......
"It's not over it's not over go go goooooooo." That's what went through my head.
I turned the corner and began hammering. The song I use to psyche myself began to repeat. As I said before, I meant business. I may be out of sight at this point but I was NOT giving. Race on. I am coming!
I was cruising along at 22 mph. I felt good. But not great....
Something was up.
As the ride went bike started to get heavier. I was pedalling through cement. Up a hill. With a headwind. I could NOT turn my legs over. I shifted all over the place. My speed was slowing and I was pathetic.
WHAT is going on???? My effort was 100%. I was Still in the game. I had not accepted that it was me..I was convinced everyone was doing what I was doing.
One by one, speedy men whizzed by. I only take satisfaction in that because I know I killed them in the pool.
No women went by me. But, I didn't go by any women either.
And then, KP went by. His legs were spinning around like pistons on an engine. I was floored to see his legs move like that. HOW is he doing that?? WHY won't My legs GO??? I watched him slide away further and further. He's's ok.
the ride got thicker and thicker. Strange way to describe a ride. But that's the best thing I can say about it. I was pushing through a wall.
I finally got to the last road and my stomach was gurgling. I actually felt myself get sick but hold it back. And then, "LET'SGOKID!!!GETMOVING!" (or something like that) My friend Bob rode by and hollered to me. He told me later that I looked like I was standing still and he was horrified for me that I wasn't Moving it! He was flying even faster than KP! His cadence was insane! I was even more appalled with how sluggish I felt. Hmmm...
Ok. Done with bike. I didn't leave shoes on this time I clicked off and ran into T2. Next time I'll try it.
I ditched the bike (why am I Always so happy to ditch my bike in T2?) and ran off. I felt SUPER! My legs were turning over like they Should have for the ride. My watch died during warm up so I have no idea of my pace. I just focused on giving it another 100% effort. I was still convinced it wasn't over. I caught Bob and ran with him for a minute. He told me we were at a 6:30 pace. Cool. I felt amazing and kept going.
This run is on the road for a mile and then into the woods. We run on a path with mud, roots, leaves, and then into a soccer field and back into the woods. As I headed into the woods, the race director (also a friend) said, "Go Angela. Just a couple of guys to pick off up there." Guys? Or girls? I wanted to stop and clarify. Ok...just GO! I saw my family up ahead but was on such a mission I could barely make eye contact. No time for chatter...I had to get Moving! I ran so hard and felt so great. I was strong and steady and could have kept going for a while. On the second loop in the woods, I came up to a girl with the #20 on one leg and 26 on the other. OHNO!! that was super speedy olympic swimmer girl!! I can't let this happen! I put my head down and snuck right by her. I didn't want her to feel motivated to keep up so I just went by too fast for her to realize what was happening. There, phew!
I ran like a mad woman into the finisher's chute.
Done. Good effort. I think....what was up with that bike?

I was happy to see all my friends and family at the end. We stood around hashing out the race and talking about how we all felt. I love my Tri friends....everyone is so cut throat out on the course but in the end, we are all just friends who love to race.

What happened over the next few's just strange. I found out my splits and how disappointing my bike really was. I theorized with myself and with my coach and with my friends. why? why would I feel SO bad on the bike and so good on the run? What would make me ride 3 min slower than my norm for this course?
I was 2nd in my age group and 4th overall. I lost it on the bike.
I woke up today to 3 beautiful little boys. My youngest jumped in front of me with his little green striped pjs and with a smirk said, "Happy mother's day." I stopped caring about my strangely hard bike ride and just focused on being lucky to be a Mom to them.
A little while later, we unloaded the car. My bike specifically. It had been in the car...safely. Mark had Carried it there (it was rainy and muddy and we didnt' want the nastiness in our new car so he carried it much of the way) after the race.
The tire was flat.
My tire was flat.

(I need to add something...I was riding on a tubular disc. When those flat, it's not the same as a clincher. You are able to ride on it longer without noticing it--well you notice Somethign but it's not the same whompwhomp as a clincher on the rim.That's why I was so oblivious!)

Instead of being upset about my bike...I'm relieved. And, I want more. Please please get me back on a race course again soon. I can not WAIT to get revenge. I felt the fitness in there. I know it's in there. Bring it on...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Game Face

My first Triathlon on the Season kicks off tomorrow morning. It's called the Polarbear sprint and it's held at Bowdoin College. It's called that because the PolarBears are Bowdoin's mascot but it's appropriate because we all have to pretend we are polarbears with the weather we are often handed for this race! Last week, we had high humidity and temps in the upper 80s. Actually, after morning rain, Yesterday was in the 70s! Tomorrow, it'll be a different story. The forecast calls for rain and temps in the 40s. Woohoo! It actually doesn't bother me as a racer. But I do feel bad the oodles of family members that will be there to support us and for a few extended family members who are racing for their First time! It'll be always is.

Last time I raced, I was in Kona, Hawaii. A far cry from Brunswick, Maine. This event is approximately 126 Miles shorter than that day and possibly 60 degrees colder. Talk about shifting gears. The funniest part? I am possibly just as nervous. Is that possible? It sounds absurd, I know.

I think this is what it comes down to for me. A race is a race. I take them all seriously. The Ironman in Hawaii was intense. I was there to put forth my very best effort. I was "racing" myself. I was there to appreciate how far I had come in a short time and to feel proud of myself for my huge Ironman success in Lake Placid that qualified me for the Wrold Championships. I feared the winds and the heat. I respected the distance. I was in a zone that allowed me to focus on each leg of the event and execute my plan. It took a lot of though. And a long long steady effort.

This opposite. It's 100% fast and furious. There is NO time to do anyting. No time for your mind to leave the game. No time for socks, no time for a bathroom break, no time for a little sunscreen. (not that we'll need that.), and no time to find the pace that you can sustain. You must immediately Get Into that Fast pace and never look back. This race has become personal for me. For reasons that are soley for me myself and I. I willl leave it at that. But I do care. I have specific goals and I mean business.