Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Kids are Triathletes!!!!!

We had a great weekend last week. For that matter, this entire week has been filled with fun summer activities. I uploaded a bunch of pictures for this post yesterday, and for some reason blogger turned them into hieroglyphics over night. I just tried to put them up again and they are still coming through as greek symbols. Any idea why? I hope I can post the shots soon. We'll see.

But a quick story instead.

I was invited on a group ride last Saturday morning. We were at our camp for the weekend and that's very close to the home of my friend Bob. He arranged a ride with several other men. Men. Fast men.
I admit I was hesitant. I can hold my own but I have never gone on a group ride with fast men. I have ridden with One man but that's not the same. Plus, I hear stories all the time about how hard these guys hammer on their rides.
Bob assured me that he wasn't going hard that day. It was just a day to ride. So, I said yes. I appreciated being included and I knew I would get a great workout and it would be fun to go with other people for a change.
Our camp is on a little island in Sebago Lake. At 6:00 a.m. I attempted to sneak onto the dock and start the boat. There was a mist over the lake, the sun was already bright in the sky, and a few loons sang to me as I made my way across. Not a bad way to start the day.
The ride turned out to be super. I had a blast. I worked my tail off. And I think, I held my own! The guys were very "chivalrous." I kept thinking that. Nobody ever said I was slow, but Bob and for a few miles, Dave took turns riding with me so I felt like I was 'with' the group. It was a very high quality 50 miles for me. Fun morning.

Later that day, bob and his family joined us for an afternoon at the lake. We did all the things you do on a hot summer day. We relaxed, went for a boat ride, there was swimming and tubing, lots of eating and several cocktails to top the night off.

Father's day was a little different this year. Rather than allowing the Father of our 3 boys to relax and sleep in.... we were up and scurrying at 6:00. The Kids were in a RACE! That's was their turn. We were all slow and groggy after a late night of fun but boy was it worth it in the end.
There is a new Youth Triathlon series called Healthy Habits Youth Triathlon Series. (
This was their first race in our area and over the summer there will be two more. One in Sanford in July and another at Winslow park the day after our popular race, Lobsterman. (for all of you locals with children--you should consider these for your kids.)
We arrived at the race site and began to set up their Transitions.
The kids got body marked, they put numbers on their bikes, they had race belts for their race numbers and speed laces in their shoes. (yes, there mother is a triathlete...)
And boy, actually boy oh boy oh boy, were they nervous. (get it? 3 boys? ok, lame one.) But seriously, they were so nervous. It was cute. I assured them they'd be fine. When I ran off to do something at one point, Mark even had all 3 practice their transitions. So cute.
The race meeting was held and all 3 were standing together in their suits with their goggles on their heads already. ( I have a cute picture of this if blogger would cooperate!)
we moved into the pool area to begin. It was HOT and we had to wait a Long time. this was the only part that was tough. The swim waves took a long long long time as you can imagine. They started with the older 13-15 yr olds. They swam 200 yds and did pretty well.
Cameron's group was next. 175 yard swim, 2.8 mile bike, 1.2 run. Cameron is a good swimmer. His form is excellent but his turnover is ...patient. He is a careful. But he swam that 175 very well and headed off. He rode his bike hard (note to self: he needs a new bike for his birthday...with gears and all that cool stuff) and then finally it was the run. Cam can Run!!! He took off and followed this guy in ablue shirt who was the lead runner for all the leaders in each wave. Cameron looked so strong. He finally came through the balloon arch at the finish line with the biggest smile! He donned his medal and headed for the table of food. Ahh..finally it was Their turn to get the food and not mommy's! He chose to linger at the finish with the others while I ran back and forth and back and forth to be sure not to miss the other two. He was feeling cool..and independent...I could just tell.
Tommy was up next. He is the most spirited child I've ever known. He was so excited to hit the water and start his day. He swam 125 yrds, biked 1.2 miles (?) and ran .6. He looked fast and strong the whole way. He was 3rd out of the water (it was close) but he blazed through T1 and took the lead. He cruised into the finish area looking buff and ready to hit up the post-race refreshments with his brother. They were totally psyched.
Little Nick had been completely anxious all morning. He barely let me leave his side. He sat on top of me in the pool area for an hour only breaking away when I forced him to so I could run around outside watching his brothers. Nick's race was a25 yard swim and .6 mile run. An Aquarun for his 5-6 yr old age group. Just right.
Nick has been taking swimming lessons for a while and can swim 25 yards alone, but it's slow. And he can barely get his arms out of the water. And, he's not terribly strong. I never ever take my eyes off him, even when he's at lessons. Some of the other kids chose to wear flotation devices for their swim but Nick went with nothing. He was ready to impress his brothers. By now, Cameron had recovered and came into the pool area to watch his little brother. He went to Nick, on his own, to wish him good luck. It was sweet. And he even sat by Nick's side while I ran back and forth from the pool to the finish line (NOT that close together btw!) to make sure I caught Tommy's big finish.
Finally, it was Nick's turn andhe was off. I stood at the end of his lane and clapped the little guy on. My parents were there watching and they cheered from the sideline of the deck. Mark was our volunteer for the family so he was on the run course watching the boys in action. As Nick neared the end of the pool, a huge smile broke out across his face. He was so proud. He hopped out, walked as they were told across the deck, and then bolted over to T1. He grabbed his race belt, red visor, threw on his sneakers and hurried away. How did my baby's legs get so long?? He ran like a little rabbit. Mark saw him come around a corner out on the course and later told me, "He looked just like you. He was totally focused and barely looked at me." That seemed funny to me... to hear what I look like and that my son was following suit.
Nick ran down the road to greet us all at the finish with a huge smile. They gave him his medal and we hugged.
I watched the kids all morning. They were quiet and nervous at first and then they began to barrage me with questions. When things started, they became antsy. While racing, they were serious and barely looked at us while we cheered. When they finished, they were happy.
But the most notable thing to me, was their pride in themselves. It was so evident when talking to them after. They each wore a little smirk when I pointed out them what they had accomplished. They have watched their parents race over and over. This time, it was all about them.
Tommy ended up winning 1st in his age group (he's 8 but was in 9-10 group) and Nick also won his age group. Cameron was 4th. That was a little uncomfortable as the two little brothers walked up for their prizes. However, I had a chat with Cameron. He is 10. He raced in the 11-13 yr old group b/c he'll be 11 by the end of this year. There is a Big difference between a 10 year old and a 13 year old! He had a tough age group. He realized the truth in this and was fine. He knows that we don't alwasy win but as long as you do the best you can that day, it's considered success.
There were probably 50 kids there that day. It was a true joy to watch so many young people enjoying something Active!!! I won't go overboard with that soapbox right now, but we all need to keep our kids moving. There are too many unhealthy distractions in our world today and our youth are really falling prey to it.
So get out there with your little ones and have fun! Run, swim, play soccer, golf, throw the frisbee, go for a walk, hike a trail, ride bikes around the block! They'll love it and when they're 40, it'll be a natural part of their day rather than a chore.

Congrats to my boys!!!! I'm so proud of you!
hopefully...I'll follow up with pictures soon.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pirate Tri at Point Sebago--A race day for the Family

Seven days after my big Half Ironman and it was time to race again. During the run last weekend, I decided I would skip this sprint. (Actually, I was quite sure I would skip the entire summer but I was Definately not racing this sprint only one week later...) However, as we all know, time heals all wounds and by Wednesday I was back in the game. I took Monday and Tuesday Off. I was sore, exhausted, and ticked off with myself. I analyzed last week's race with my coach, with my nutrtionist, and with myself. I raced my heart out last week...and yet I also made critical errors. A race is a race and if you make your mistakes on that Day---it's just too bad. You can't go back and change it. You can say, "if only." You must accept it in your head and heart and do your best to move on and learn from it.

So I felt sad for a few days. I kicked the dirt and growled at myself for being so unwise.

where is the moment we needed the most'

you kick up the leaves and the magic is lost

they tell me your blue skies fade to gray

they tell me your passions's gone away.....

and I don't need no carryin' on

Because you had a bad day

you're taking one down

you sing a sad song just to turn it around

you say you don't know

you tell me don't lie

you work at a smile and you go for a ride

While I felt my passion was lost during that race last week, I just had to accept it as a bad day. It was my fault. Sure, the course was a bear. It was definately the hardest course I've ever raced on. (ok...the elements were much harder in Hawaii but the hills on this course are challenged by none.) Yes, there was heat and very high humidity. But you know what? I train on hills. Big time. I knew it would be hot and we've had heat here this year. So, enough about that. I made some mistakes and raced the final leg of that race totally underfueled. That is not a chance happening. That was MY fault! It's heartbreaking to make such big errors on a race that required tons of training, all of my mental energy to prepare for, lots of time and travel for my family, and let's not forget a lot of expense as well.'s tough. But now...I'M tougher.

So as that song says, (yes, a tad corny. Forgive me. But I heard that song last week and it struck me how some of the lyrics were so fitting. I lost my verve to sing my other song during the race but this one fit this week. ) I had to work at a smile and go for a ride.

I went out for a ride last Wednesday and enjoyed myself. I didn't ride hard. I didn't ride far. I just got on the bike. And I liked it.

The next day, I ran a little. And while my quads were achey and I had zero energy, I liked that too. I realized my passion was not in fact,gone away.

So I decided to race on Sunday and prove to myself that the Magic wasn't lost either.

Here's how it went down.

Our plan was to spend Saturday at our camp so we could wake up on the lake and boat over to the race venue. I mean---when do we ever get to do that?? How fun! A 30 minute boat ride to the race sounded great and the kids were excited too. We'd bring their Grandparents (their camp is on the same little island in the lake) and it would all be perfect.

But, Mother nature interferred. Saturday was supposed to be rainy with possible rain into Sunday.

We decided to stay home and bag it. Bummer.

We were productive at home and felt fine with our decision, but sad.

And then at 4:00, the sun came out. Nice forecast folks.

We questioned ourselves and waffled back and forth.

Finally....sleep at home, get up earlier, drive to the dock and boat over anyway.

So we were up at 4:30 and ready to haul the kids to the car by 5:15. But what was out the window now? FOG. Thick thick fog. Fog + Boating = Trouble (or atleast possibly a missed race because we were lost at sea...)

I tell's never easy is it? We drove over to the lake and decided to see how it looked.

Verdict---good enough.

Here we go.... Our party boat was loaded with bikes, gear, snack, clothes and....

kids who were a little shell shocked at 6:30 a.m. Yes, all 3 are in that picture. Grabbing that wool blanket at the last minute was a good call!! Regardless of the chilly air, it was a fun ride. The kids did like it and it was a refreshing to start the day.

Race time:

We got to the venue and did our normal prerace Prep. Well....I did. Mark was racing too but he is a lot less worried about time, and warm up, and his transition area. He races occasionally and always does a great job, but he is a lot more laid back than I am. It's true. I admit it. And that is fine. I am sure that having two of me in a marriage would = spontaneous combustion.

Mark's parents were on their way (via car ) to take over at 8:00. So I had Cameron with me and he took the other two. Cam was a great sherpa and helped me carry the bike pump and helmet to transition. However, once his brothers were set loose on the jungle gym on the beach, I lost my helper.

I chatted with my friends and met a few nice ladies on the bike rack. A bunch of us had raced together at Rev3 so we exchanged, "this should be better than last week right?" comments. I just love seeing all my buddies at these events. It's one of the best parts.

I was feeling good. The soreness was gone. My head was back. I warmed up and made my way to the start.

Let's just get to the good stuff.

The waves were like this. men 30-39 first, women 30 sec later. men 40-49 3min later, my wave 30 sec after that.

Swim---It was a beach start and this went well. I just ran fast, dolphin dived a few times, and starting sprinting. I came up on the men in front of me quickly and swam through them. This was a 1/3 mile swim. Nothing but hard swimming. I had to cut through a lot of people but it went by without much ado. I just made the turns and headed for shore.
T1---I stink STINK at getting my wetsuit off. I dont' know what to do about it. It gets caught on my feet every single time. grrr.. on the bike.
Bike-14 miles with several decent hills. I felt good!! One thing about last week's race, I am stronger for sure. Yes, racing tears apart your muscles and leaves you begging for mercy. But it also increases your fitness in ways nothing else can. I hit this course hard. 14 miles? Piece of cake....My HR was soaring and I was working for every second of the ride. My legs responded and a few times I had excellent surges on the flatter areas. I worked very hard at not recovering much on the downhills...I just kept pushing. I rode most of the ride with some men. We commented at the end that we just couldn't shake one another. Before I knew was over.
T2-I raced through this one fairly well....lots of great cheering as I made my way to the course.
Run-5k - I definately felt tired as I started running. I just put my head down and worked on turning my legs over quickly. I knew I was ahead of the women so I turned my sights on a few men ahead of me. I could see a few of my friends on the road ahead so I just focused on their backs and worked on making the writing on their shirts visible before I finished. It seemed to take a long time to get to mile 1. At that point, I turned on my watch. Mile 2- 6:37 I was feeling good and in control of my pace. This route was an out and back with a lollipop. On the way back I saw a few friends and my husband. He was right there and looking strong.
I was pushing hard for the final mile. I knew my buddy Mike was within the 3:30 I needed to close in order to catch him. I could see my friends Bob and Steve right ahead.
The whole time I was racing, all I was thinking about was my fire inside. Did I have it? I had a mission yesterday. To prove to myself that I could still fight to the end. That's all I wanted. To push hard and run to my ability all the way through.
The final mile was slightly downhill. Because of that, my watch read 5:40. I was sure that was wrong but everyone at the end said it did measure to a full mile. I'll take it. If am a little off I still know it was a fast mile and for that I'm psyched. I did pass Steve at the end and he gave me an encouraging slap on the hand. Bob was too fast though and I could not cathc him.
run split 19:49
overall 1:09
1st place!! I'm really psyched with this. I had a blast.
I was 9th overall with the men. My swim time was 4th/392 in the entire field of men and women. This is always fun to see. bike 18th and run 9th overall men and women
My friends all did a super job out there too.
Bob won his age group and Steve was 2nd.
Kurt won the men's race.
Tim, Mike and Matt went 1-2-3 in their age group.
My friend Kelsey took 2nd overall.
Abby, Rob and Jeff all won their age groups.
and my husband, Mark was 37th overall with a 1:17. He finished with a 20:16 run and later told me he had a broken rib!? (injury from earlier in the week but he didn't want me to knwo before the race. gee..think maybe I would have suggested Not racing?)
But now---for the Big Races of the day!!! MY KIDS!
Nick geared up for his big FUN RUN!!!!! Just the cutest thing ever. He toed the line where he stretch his legs over and over and over...too funny. He ran his little heart out down the road and through the finisher's chute. Happy as always. He told us later, "I thought I was going to win but then people went by me!" Yeah Nick...that's what happens!

Next up--the AQUARUN for Tommy and Cameron.
Tri-Maine gave them the full Tri treatment. They had body marking, caps, chips, and race numbers. They felt very official and were appropriately nervous and excited. Tommy was less than thrilled with his pink cap I must say. ( gotta love the ears sticking out and the hawaiian shorts )
His wave was up first. We had his transition on the beach with a towel, slip on shoes and his shirt (required beccause his # was pinned to it. We'll get them a race belt for next time.)
The swim was about 150 yards or so in a small lagoon near the beach. They started at one end and swam to us. Tommy led for most of the swim but towards the end, veered off course and came out of the water in 3rd.

here he is making his speedy exit to T1. You can see his flashy shorts whizz by....

He had a great Transition and luckily at the last minute remembered to peel his cap and goggles off. He left the beach in First! Go Tommy. Now the 1/2 mile run.

He ran off down the road and came back far ahead of the pack! First place Tommy! Way to go! He got his pirate medal, some snacks, and was ready to sign up for another race!!

Cameron's race was next and I feel horribly, but I don't have pictures of the swim! Too much running around I guess. He swam well but was clearly shaken up. His swim was longer and he was with more people. There was a cluster of kids and they were whacking arms with each other. I knew this would bother him. He persevered and got to the beach! He was also with 11-13 yr olds because he'll be 11 during this year. The kids in front were clearly older and they were excellent swimmers! It was fun to watch all these kids engaged in a such a healthy activity! I'll skip my little rant about the health of our children these days but let me just say YAY to all the parents who are out there getting their kids MOVING! It's so important.
Back to Cameron...
we had some discussion about Transition and in the end, he wanted socks and he wanted to tie his shoes. Ok. We rolled the socks into little balls and he did that very well. It's Not easy when you're wet and you're 10! He ultimately decided to just stuff his feet into his sneakers on top of the laces and give it a whirl. He did a great job getting himself all set to run a mile... GO CAM!
Cameron's becoming a great runner. The kids all do track twice/ week so they are used to some distances now. He picked people off one by one and finished with the 2nd fastest run-- 7:51 for a mile! Pretty great after a stressful Swim!!!
I'm SO PROUD Of all the kids!!!!! They told me they had a lot of fun and definately want to do the Full Youth Triathlon next weekend. But today, Nicholas told me, "we have to work on our open water swimming Mommy."

Cameron running to the finish line!!!

My athletes
award time

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rev3 Run-The Hardset of my Life

Let's get to the finish line of this race....

I love running. And I really love running in Triathlons. For several reasons. First, it means I'm off the bike. Not that I dislike the bike so much but I'm always afraid of mechanical issues on the bike leg. I like to be in control. I am not in control of things like mechanical issues on the bike so---I ride as fast as I can so I can end that helpless feeling and get on with the race. Sort of warped but it goes through my mind almost every single race. Second, I can hold my own on the run, {usually} so I feel confident. And confidence feels Good!

I was very cognizant of the fact that this particular course was Not easy. "It's a tough run. It's very hilly." they all said. Fine. Hills. I run hills every single day. I don't love them, but I can do them. I was confident. And ready. Unlike my usual approach, I even swam today with the run in mind. I held back a tad. I rode smart and in control. My heartrate was never sky high. I had saved myself for this run.

Given all this you can imagine my disgust when I headed out on mile 1 and felt horrendous!
At that point it was just a feeling, because I was running really fast! I had to fiddle for much too long to get my race belt snapped and then my visor on. The velcro came undone and I spent most of mile 1 stuffing my gels down my shirt and messing with my ponytail/hat situation. I really didn't look like I knew what I was doing. Finally, I was put together and able to check in with Mr. Garmin.
It toggled between 6:23, 6:30, 6:15, 6:40. Cool! But a tad too fast. Slow down Ange. {I later realized mile 1 is downhill...the ONLY real downhill I remember I must tell you.} So, hence the fast times.
But despite my nice 6:xx on the clock, I had a problem.
I could. not. breath.
I wasn't breathing heavy like I was running too hard....I just couldn't get air. I was wheezing. It was very unsettling.
I slowed way way down and concentrated on easy deep breaths. It didnt' work.
I gave a mediocre thumbs up when I saw my friends Erin and Stacy go by. (Girls!! So sorry I didn't wave and cheer and yell encouragement to you!! I was dying!)
I'll admit I was even a little scared. I immediately started getting very distressing negative thougths in my head. Where was my song? Where was the song I sing over and over to myself to assure myself I will Rock the course? It's what I do!!! I brainwash myself mile after mile of every race. I KNOW I can do it. I can push harder than anyone. So why why why these self-defeating thoughts??
I became seriously annoyed with myself for losing my posititve focus. ON MILE 1!!!!!!
An aid station appeared at that point. I stopped (!!) and put my hands on my knees. I really needed to get a grip and get some air. I took methodical deep breaths and felt slightly better. (of note: I do not have diagnosed asthma...but I have had issues several times with this type of breathing problem such that they have prescribed an inhaler for me. I usually have it at the end of races and only occasionally need it. So, I was a little familiar with this feeling. However, I had Never experienced it During a race before.)

Time to go on. I turned the corner. And swore. Probably out loud. Let the fun begin. The road went up. It went way way up. And up up up went Ange. (ok--I just couldn't resist. You all remember the children's book Are you My Mother? If not, just ignore the last few sentences. )

I put my head down and shortened my stride. I just kept climbing and knew I'd eventually get to the top of hill #1. After all, it's just a hill. Right? I always run hills. (just keep telling yourself that Ange.)
Except, this hill didn't end. It really didn't. At least I don't remember it ending until about mile 5. (if you're reading this and you raced on I delusional or was this the case?) The road turned to dirt (which is fine...) and it just twisted and turned and continued to ascend into the heavens of southwestern CT. There was an aid station along the way and I asked, "when do we go down?" The guy said, "ohhhh I'm sorry. You still have a ways to go." Grrrrr.....

The air was so so humid and I could not get enough oxygen. I had dreams of someone carrying me off with an O2 mask on my face and that sounded just lovely. Please? Anyone? Oxygen?

My body felt weak and useless. And this made me angrier and angrier. Why WHY couldn't I run?
I became sad and upset with myself. I started giving myself excuses. "You had a great year last year. It's ok. YOu can't have a great race every time. Maybe you need to take the summer off."
WHAT???? Was that ME?
No...I don't know who it was. But it wasn't me. Because I am sitting here now and I am EAGER as a Beaver to race again. Just skipping ahead a little in the story.

On and on I ran. Or I shuffled. All the while holding my handful of gels. I had 4 with me. One every 3 miles. I might not need that many...but I should at least have 3!
Ha...did I take them? Nope.
Every time I got to the aid station I poured water on my head and drank some. I avoided the Cerasport because I hated the taste the one time I took a sip.
I felt sick and couldn't get air and a gel just would not settle right. I knew it.
Or was I again, delusional.
You are probably starting to see that this was not my best run ever. In fact, it might have been my worst run ever.
I stopped a handful of times and walked up some serious hills. I felt like I was faster that way and it allowed me to regroup. Every time I ran, I was holding a semi-decent pace. The problem was those breaks to walk and stop for breaths.
This run course was amazing. It was tougher than any run I have ever done. No question. I can honestly say that I struggled more on this run than I did on my 26.2 through Kona.
There was one woman that passed me early on, but we stayed within sight. She had on a 1 piece tri suit that was pulled down around her waist! She looked nice and cool with just her jog bra on but I kept wondering...will she pull it up and get dressed before she finishes? Despite my stops, my walks, and my shuffles, I managed to hold of most of the women. I only remember 2 or 3 going by me while on the run. I guess that I wasn't the only one suffering out there.
The first 8 miles were torture for me. The climbing was truly relentless and I felt devoid of all energy and zipp. I had finally managed to take in a gel around 4.5-5. Clearly, not soon enough. Nor was it enough to get me all the way. I believe I should have had more. Perhaps that was part of my problem out there. I am still analyzing the day.
It is not an excuse because there is no excuse. I have control over my intake and I dropped the ball. More calories on the bike (I had ~400 for 3 hrs) would have set me up for a better run. I've never been a girl who can live on bird food or portions so I'm foolish to think I can start now.
Back to mile 8 and beyond. I broke the run into segments in my head. It was a 12 mile run...because the last mile is just the last mile and that's always Fun! The Last mile is Fun! (right?)
Now, I'm at mile 8. I will run to 9. At 9, I just need to get to 11. At 11, it's just 2 miles. Anyone can run two miles. That's how fuzzy I was...I had this run broken into all sorts of little chunks. Rather than just RACING like I was supposed to, I was busy breaking it into manageable little pieces. Silliness.
After mile 8 the road mellowed for a short time. I was running with a man and we made eye contact. Big WIDE eyes at each other. He started with, "I train in the Adirondacks! I have NEVER ridden or run on more hills in my LIfe!" wasn't just me. "I know. I train on hills. But this is absurd." We trotted on. We got close to the park where the finish line was screaming out to me, but instead, we turned left. And ran further and further away.
I was breathing again at this point. And I was running. The garmin and watch I had so carefully turned on and prepped pre-race, were being ignored. I Refused to look. My goal pace was OUT the Window!!! I was now there to finsish the race. I fantasized about the finish. About collapsing into my family. I would make it. Of course.
The constant self-talk and actually, self-yelling was exhausting.
This road was an out and back segment. I saw my friend Mike heading for the home stretch! He looked Great! He said otherwise but I could tell he was lying. He was just trying to make me feel better. :) Shortly behind Mike, was our friend Tim. He looked a tad less peppy...but he smiled and he was moving forward which meant success to me!
Mile 11!!!!!!!!! Allelujia!!!!!!!!!!
TWO MORE MILES TWO MORE MILES!!!! Anyone can run TWO MILES!!!!!! yahooooooo!!!!
I made the turn at a timing mat. There was a lady cheering there and over and over again she kept saying, "way to go! Kick ASSphalt!" She was so proud of her pun. cracked me up. And then, I smiled at her and she said something else to me.
In a different Language!!!
I know my expression said just that. She responded, "Are you from Norway?"
omg no....... too funny. I am sponsored by Norway Savings Bank from Norway, ME and my shirt has their name and logo on the back. She only saw the word Norway. What an odd little misunderstanding. It gets funnier every time I think about it.

I continued to run. I was getting my stride back for a few steps. I know my pace wasn't That bad...but I was hanging on for dear life.
I started to stagger. There were big folding road signs marking the course and miles. One was in front of me. On the road. In my way.
Crash! I ran right into it. I am sorry but I had lost control and could no longer go side to side....I was moving forward only. I knocked the sign down and just shrugged. A girl on the other side of the road laughed.
I ran on. I saw a girl going the other way--walking. She looked like me. Wiped. I yelled, "You can do it! only 2 miles!!" She rolled her eyes and began to run.
Now Ange...take your own advice. GO!
I came upon Brian. His race belt said Brian. "Hey Brian, let's get each other to the end.."
We were stride for stride and this felt good. But then he dropped back and told me thanks....I assured him I wasn't going too far!
In fact, just past that we hit mile 11.9. And the cruelest thing ever. The final mile of this "race" was UP HILL!! And I'm not talking a roller people. NOne of these were rollers. This was a bad a-- hill. A climb. Again, I uttered are you kidding me????
I tried so so hard to run. To keep my turnover steady and just DO It! A gang of men eased past me like it was nothing. They were chipper and full of flowery helpful words.
And you know what happened to me?
I fell to my hands and knees!!! Just like that! COMEON ANGELA!
I have no idea why I fell apart so badly. But I did.
At that moment, I had a SERIOUS talk with myself and reconvinced myself that I am Strong and Tough and to get my sorry self OFF THE GROUND!
That was it. I ran in . I ran and ran and ran and wanted to cry and laugh and smile and fall down all at the same time.
I entered the finisher's chute to this:

Ahhh....My little people. They do rock I must say. They were happy and excited and somewhere in my head I hoped they were proud. They had No idea what their Mom had just gone through but they were there with enthusiasm that only little children can give you. My two littlest boys ran ahead of me (just before this) - on a mission to BEAT MOM! Cameron, my wise 10 yr old was chatting with me instead. "Mommy..the only reason they're beating you is that you just raced 70 miles." Yes, Cam. That's it. (For now...we'll talk again in 10 yrs.)

The announcer said my name and then said, "And a mother of 3! wow! Way to go! " And that made my day. I was looking for all the kudos I could get at that point since I had just truly disapointed myself with my sluggish zippless run. I crossed the line and hit the ground.

"Are you ok??""
"Do you need help up?"

I hobbled to a chair and proceeded to hyperventilate a bit. My husband was more than jubilant with my performance. Huh? Mark...I died. I truly died on that run. But but but!!! You still beat everyone!!
I didnt' beat everyone but it turns out that I did hold my own to the field that day.
I was 1st in my new age group and 9th amateur woman. 20th when you add in the pro field.
My run 1:51. (8:29 pace)
getting my award: free running shoes, $ from Cannondale, a free race entry and a plaque. Not bad!

I walked away from that race feeling disappointed. My day wasn't a complete bust but you know...I made some errors and it really cost me. I am not 100% sure where it all went wrong or what happened but I know that I should have been able to do more with that run. I let thigns get to me and that is a sure way to break down.
If you want to race well.... you must train hard and train consistently. But you also need to believe in yourself and hold that positive outlook for the ENTIRE RACE! If you back down in your head, your body will follow.
That said, I am very proud that I was able to hold off most of the women despite my troubles. That gives me even more confidence heading into my next races. It was a tough day out there for almost everyone and I am really proud of myself for hanging on by a thread and working hard all the way to the finish.

The day's drama was not over. More to come.....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just keep riding.....

It became evident early on that this was not a race course for a PR. Actually, I knew this before I started the race. And yet, I had my watch on, my garmin ready for the run, and the computer set on my bike... for now.

I cruised out of Quassy Park ready to rock. I ride hills all day long. So I was prepared mentally for this race. In fact, in order to ride flat roads, I must go back and forth on a 5 mile stretch. I do this at times in order to work on specific speeds or to rest the legs. But otherwise, I'm forced to be a climber. I live in Oxford Hills. The Foothills of Western Maine. My road is Paris HILL Road. And yet I drove away on Sunday announcing to my husband that we do not in fact live in hills. We are delusional. Middlebury, CT has hills.

I went off track. Back to the race. As soon as I started riding I heard this rhythmic noise. flip flip flip flip flip flip. ARGH! What is that???? I checked my tires 1000 times to be Sure they were strong and full of air. (refer back to PolarBear race report to see why...) And I was flying so I knew I wasn't hearing a flat. But flipflipflipflip...?? Huh?
I was trying not to ride into the middle of the road while loooking over my bike but I did slow and sway around the lane. I had no idea.
Finally---whap! Something flew off the bike. I never saw it. Something had been stuck in the spokes it seems. Hmmm...whatever.
Honestly, I don't remember a lot. So don't don't have to endure a mile by mile account of 56 miles of climbing.
I do remember this.... there were Men. Lots and lots of men. And that's it. The first 10-15 miles or so were very very crowded. There were packs of people and Lots of drafting. I did my best to ride clean. I dropped back when I was passed. I didn't hang onto the gangs even though I could have very easily. But I must comment....many many guys out there seem to be very irritated (just guessing but that was my impression) when a woman catches them. I experienced this quite a few times on Sunday. I would work my tail off to get ahead of a guy, my wheel would go in front of his, and then he'd look me in the eye, and stay there. Grrrrrrr..... I'll leave it at that. Rules are there for men riding with men and women with women and men with women!
Moving on....
I rode along with men for this entire ride. It was strange. I did have a couple speedy ladies fly by me early on. I wasn't sure how old they were b/c the ages on our legs were blurry. I also knew I had a hard run ahead and I wasn't too concerned. I have felt very confident and strong on the run and felt that if I rode smart, I could catch them. So that's what I did. I rode steady and strong but never hammered. I pushed as hard as I could on the down hills that were safe and focused on keeping my cadence up on the hills.
This ride was pretty intense. It was Hilly. There is no other way to say it. We climbed and climbed. The downhill portions were often capped off with a sharp turn to the left or right which made it difficult to carry over speed. I must say that they did a great job marking the course with Caution signs and left/right signs. There were many helpful police on the roads stopping cars and keeping us safe. The course was wet so this was key. My dear friend Mary Lou actually crashed at the bottom of one of those hills. Get this...another Midcoast Tri Club Team member had just crashed in that same spot. He was in an ambulance with a broken hand. Mary Lou fell, hit her head and was knocked unconscious. So they took the other man out of the ambulance and put her in. What are the chances? And..another friend's husband was at that very corner (mi 35) watching and was able to call for help for MLou!!! yikes...
The road was never ever flat. However, I felt good. I never felt too tired and my quads were hanging strong with the climbs. More than anything, I just got sick of it. I became bored. I wanted to see some women out there... where were they???
I thought I was doing a good job with nutrition. I had a gel at 1 hour, I had sips of my bottle and did finish it by the end (220 calories) and at hour 2, I had another gel. That's 400 calories. ok... I felt ok. I didn't want pain in my stomach again from eating too much. I was trying to keep it simple....
When we hit the mile markers on the course I realized just how slow my ride was averaging. At 2:04 I hit 40 miles. Really??? doesn't matter.
Just. Keep. Riding.
I admit that I did feel like I would never see the end. I wondered why I wasn't catching all the 35-39 women who had started ahead of me in the water. I was confused by this. And frustrated. I even said out loud at one point..."Where are the Women??" Some guy, riding near me up this hill, said back "you're ahead of them all!"
Huh? No...really. I don't think so! I knew this wasn't really true because I had seen a few go by. But it made me wonder. Where was I in this field? Was I still chasing or was I now being chased? I had no idea.
At one point, we were climbing yet another long long hill. It was a big open field and man did it Stink! I'm familar with that smell. Cows. Plenty of them up here in our pseudo-hills of rural Maine. I guess I stopped paying attention because next thing I knew my chain was locked. No!
I stopped and prayed nobody would run into me while my head was down fixing my bike. I wiggled the chain and tried again. Nothing.
One more time and I got it. Dumb mistake. The course required so much shifting that the bike got ticked off and called it quits.
The rest of the ride is fuzzy. I just rode and rode and figured I'd eventually get there and be able to start running. My quads were definately feeling the fatigue by the time I neared the park but I know I rode smart.
Unfortunately, I think I rode smart but failed to fuel my body enough. And where do you end up feeling that??
you got it...the run....
but first, I rode into Quassy and was once again ready to getmeoff this bike.
The Transition area was so cool there. It was clean and organized. No mud or uneven ground to maneuver on. I loved it. I slipped my back wheel into the wooden groove, grabbed my gels, hat, race belt and I was off.
"HEY PINK!" Some guy called me Pink. "Your Hat!"
I dropped my hat. It was pink. I made the decision to run back for it. It was super hot out and I needed it. annoying little moment.
I ran back out the OUT path and was happy happy happy to see my little guys with their hands outstretched for high 5s!! They rock. My hands were full of all my stuff but I managed a semi-Mommy slap for the kids. Mark and Mary were right there and I gave them a beautiful look and mouthed off about the ride, "Oh mY GOSh! that ride! !" ( You can see Mary's blog for a lovely look at that face I made.)
My ride time was 2:55. (19.1 mph). I ended the ride in 1st place for my age group and 15th position overall (pros included) .
And now...the fun begins...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rev3 Half--The Swim

I get pretty fired up for races. I am nervous, excited, anxious.....ready to put my heart and soul into whatever I am doing. My performance at races is important to me. It's where I get to put all the training out on the line. Many many hours/week are spent preparing for those few hours on the race course. You better believe I am going to give every ounce of myself every time I toe the line.

I stood around in my wetsuit for 45 minutes. I was sweating. It was so humid outside and I was really uncomfortable. The water temperature was so warm that the pros weren't allowed to wear wetsuits. I was jealous. Very very jealous. I chatted with my friends. I realized I was too chatty (that's one way my pre-race anxiousness shows through) so I decided to take a walk to find my own focus and game face. I saw Nat and chatted with him. And then I saw my husband. I hadn't seen him yet since he stayed out of town at his sister's house. I ran over to hug the kids and saw Tommy (middle boy) off to the side with a huge amount of blood running out of his nose. I felt sad for him but wasn't worried. He gets nosebleeds. I assured Mark that missing the swim start was Not a big deal that he Needed to go take care of that with Tommy. I hugged them all and headed to my corral.

This was the start of a new phase for me. I am in a new age group now and as a result, I get to start Last. In the last wave. I knew this and decided it would be fun to try to catch the women in front of me. I would enjoy that rather than being chased down by them.

Finally..we entered the water to our ankles and prepared for the odd beach start. For some reason, that just feels strange to me. Everyone in the field was in the water except us. I felt left out. I wanted to Get in that Water!!! The gun went off and I began dolphin diving. I think I did 2 or 3 and then was able to swim. I pushed very hard from the Go to get out ahead of the group. I felt a little light...almost like I didn't have total control of my arms. It was almost as if I was lightheaded. I ignored it, put my head down, and found my stroke. I focused on the front of my stroke..lats lats lats. I watched my pull under the water and focused on catching hard and pushing. I spoke to myself---Use your arms Ange. USE them. Be strong. Pull Hard. They don't need to do Anything else today. PULL PULL PULL---- I talk to myself when I race. Sometimes out loud.
And then the strangest thing happened.
I got clobbered.
No big deal right? It happens all the time in Triathlon swims. I had already caught people from the wave in front of me and it was momentarily crowded. At least that's how I remember it.
So--it's not usually a big deal. But the last time I raced in open water was in Kona last fall. I was traumatized during that swim and felt like I was going to drown. I was truly scared for my life for a while in that swim. And while I have talked about that many times since, those deep feelings inside have dissipated.
They came rushing back at that instant I was hit in the water yesterday. I had a visceral reaction and began to panic for a moment. A flood of emotion and fear ran through my veins. This was the most unexpected reaction. I am a swimmer. I grew up in the water. I love the water. It's bizarre to have those fearful feelings doing what I love to do most.
I recovered and swam harder to escape the person who was trying to drown me.
I swam strong and steady but never felt like I was pushing the red line. I usually feel like it's harder. I never know my pace while out there so I just hoped I was doing what I needed to do. I knew I had a tough day ahead of me so I was trying to be smart. "Just swim strong. Hold your stroke. Long arms. PULL hard. Easy legs. Pull. pull. Dig. Reach." This is what I say to myself. I had moved through the pink caps--the wave in front of us. I swam by some blue caps. I saw grey. Black. More pink. A few orange. I just continued to site and look for holes to get through. I did not want to be touched. At one point, someone grabbed my leg above my ankle. It wasn't a brush or a hit or even an accidental swim over. It was a Grab. A solid hold on my leg. WHY??? What on Earth was that person thinking he/she was going to do? Hook on for a ride? I don't think so! I lose any ounce of kindness in situations like this and I suddenly become joe-swimmer and I kick like I know how to kick. There! I took care of that.
Throughout the swim, I was stroke for stroke with one other red cap. A woman in my wave. Hmm... a swimmer. I wonder if she can ride. Or run? Can she run? Cause I can run. I bet she can't. She can swim and that's it.
I was convinced. So I let her swim stroke for stroke with me without worry. We took turns drafting off each other. Occasionally we'd separate to go around multicolored cap groups and then we'd end up next to each other again. We really had the same stroke rate and pace. It was kind of fun.
We were heading for shore now. I was siting off the big yellow marker buoys and waiting to see the Huge Brown Arches on shore. (why brown? Ick...and hard to see!)
I was just cruising along and then OUCH!
HEY! WHAT the....?????
I had Crashed into a DOCK! How pathetic. In a matter of 10 strokes or so without siting (see you have to site) I had veered to the left just enough to go off course and run into a floating dock anchored off to the side. My left hamstring seized at that moment but I stopped kicking again and let it loosen. I laughed at myself. I'm such a dork. I bet I'm the only one who swam into that dock. And at that moment I lost my red cap partner and became 2nd out of the water in my division. Darn. Not that it matters in the end, but I had a plan. I was going to beat her out of that bath water lake and grab 1st for a good start to the day. Instead... the dock.
2nd out of the water. 28:05. A decent split for me. Good for 2nd in my division and 7th overall--and that includes the Pro women. That makes me feel pretty good I must say.
I ran out of the water and up the hill (theme of the day) towards the bike. I was in control. I saw my family and Mary. I accidently dropped my cap while running to T1. I later learned that little Nick was terribly worried I'd get in trouble for that. That was just a sign of things to come---a sign that I was slowly losing control of my motor skills...dropping things, running into things....

I found my bike and methodically went through T1. Nothing too interesting to note. Except most of the other bikes were still in their racks. Cool.

56 miles of I come.

After all that... I have no idea what to title this race report....

This is part 1 of my Race Report from Rev3 Half Ironman at Quassy Park. My head was so messed up (aka--NOT focusing on what it was Supposed to be focusing on) during the race, thatI was writing my blog in my head while I ran. I had a title and all sorts of amusing and interesting comments to write on this post.
Now, I am home. I am showered. I am semi-recovered. I am alive. I actually did manage to find that elusive finish line. But the words I want to write to describe that race escape me. I think I left them out there --maybe at mile 11.5 when I crashed into a road sign.

I'll begin with the easy part. We left home on Friday with the big 'ole Suburban packed for a raod trip. All 5 of us were excited and ready to entertain each other for our 5 hour ride to southern CT. I was racing and the boys and Mark were staying at their cousin's house. All was good. The boys were wonderful travellers and we only suffered one 5 minute tantrum from my oldest because he was bored and one 10 minute energy outburst from my 8 y.o. because he's well, an energetic 8 y.o. boy trapped in the car for 5 hours! You're both excused because otherwise, they were good as gold.

It was hot out. As we drove south, the mercury rose. It was humid and around 90 when we got to our destination.
My guys dropped me off with all my gear, hugged me goodbye and headed south to Aunt Leslie's. I settled into my hotel and greeted oodles of other Maine Tri friends who were also staying there for the race.

It was fun to hang with my friends, talk racing, talk IM training, discuss what to eat and what to do (or more importantly Not DO) the day before the race.

The day before the race went well. Nothing too interesting. The heat was high and the humidity was higher. I stayed off my feet except for my 30 minute warm up workout, a quick bike cleaning, and the hour or so it took to get my packet and rack the bike. I ate a gazillion pancakes and watched Top Gun.
Lights out 8:45. Not bad for a couple of girls!!! Oh, I was rooming with Mary! Mary came down to sherpa us and to enjoy some fun training on the hills.


4:08 and I'm awake. Alarm 1 at 4:14, alarm 2 at 4:15 and finally the wake up call. Good thing I was prepared! Poor Mary.
Typical scurrying around that morning to gag down my oatmeal, banana, some bagel with some pb, and then to find coffee. I find it So difficult to get food down on race morning. I have to choke it down. Mike, Matt and I met at 5:00 and drove off to Quassy park. Ready for a great day.

There were storms through the night and while the rain had stopped by Sunday morning, the threat was there. The sky was dark and looked like it would surely rain. Despite the lack of sun at that point..the humidity was very high. It was not a comfortable morning.

The bikes are racked in nice little wooden blocks at this race. I had an end spot that was next to the Pro section. It was perfect. I had Plenty of room for my transition gear and I was able to watch the hot shots do their thing. Mirinda, Amanda, Michael, Natasha, Craig Alexander!, Joanna, Desiree, Terenze, and our own Mike Ciazzo! Pretty cool I must say.
Oh yeah...backing up a day. Mark was driving me to the race site for packet pick up and bike racking. We were driving up a back road and 2 cyclists were pedaling up the hill in the middle of the road. They weren't moving over at all. The woman was pretty strong. She looked really really fit. I was having a conversation in my head, "Hmm..she looks like she might be fast. never really know. I can take her. Don't let looks intimidate you." that taken care of. Mark was NOT in a rush to pass. I was encouraging him..."hun...please go around them. We need to get there. blahblah..." Finally we went around these two. This woman I was going to take down? Desiree Ficker. Um...well...ok....Maybe not. And now I also know why Mark wouldn't pass. Ha....

I did my typical morning things. Donned my running shoes and did a little warm up. Checked out the buoys in the lake. Stood in line 3x for the bathroom. Headed to the beach with wetsuit in hand.

Here we go.....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's Race Time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've been so so negligent with my blogging...things have been busybusybusy!!! And now, my brain is in pre-race mode which as my close friends not a stable place. So, my writing will most likely show this.

I spent the day packing for Sunday's Half Ironman. Does it take everyone hours and hours to pack?? I don't know why it takes me so long. In my defense, I am not just packing for myself. I am also packing for my 3 kids and a 5 hour drive with said boys. It takes thinking and planning!! (because I'm a little obsessed with being prepared and organized.) If the weather is cooperative, I can pack one outfit/day. But if rain or cool air is a possibility, there must be Options! And in order to have all their shorts, tshirts, jeans, pjs, warm shirts for dinners out, sweatshirts, bathing suits, etc etc ready, I must have all the laundry done. Of course, as I've elluded to before, my kids (and I) eat a lot. So I must plan for that. We have my cooler with pre-race food and snacks, sport drinks and gels, and their cooler with plenty of snacks, sandwiches and drinks for them! Sigh.....and then of course-race gear!! It just takes me all day.

Now, I am packed, the kids are in bed, my feet are up, and I am blogging. My husband is switching the brake pads on my bike, putting the bike rack on the car, and packing his own bag.

The first big race of the year. Rev3 70.3 in Middlebury, CT. I'm completely fired up and feeling strong and confident. It's's time to push the limits and put the hours and hours of training to good use. It's time to make all this worth it and have some Fun! ( the training IS fun...but racing is even better.)

I can honestly barely focus long enough to write this.... my mind is going 100mph right now while I think about the race. Yes, my mind is already on the race.

This was about the most boring post ever but I can't focus more than that right now. Here's the deal---I've been training hard and it's been going pretty well. I feel good. I'm totally excited and ready. A Race Number 1 is here and I'm ready to hit it hard and give it all I have.

Full report coming soon.....