Thursday, August 26, 2010

Timberman 70.3 Race Report

I'm sitting in a quiet house. I can hear the cats walking around. I can hear the wind outside. I can hear, my thoughts!!!
I just dropped my 3 little boys off for their first day of school. The summer ended too early. The forecast is predicting temps in the high 80s and 90s next week. While we should definately be at the lake or the beach on those days, I admit, today is quite nice. I have missed the quiet.

These few hours of solitude are allowing me to sit to write about my big race last weekend. My 'A' race of 2010. I say that with a smirk. Honestly, I go into every race as if it was the biggest of the season.

Timberman 2010. It's hard for me to believe it's only been 4 seasons since I toed the line for my first Half Ironman on the same race course. My bff Mary and I raced our first 70.3 together in 2007. I just wrote a whole paragraph about how much has happened since that year. I went off on a big fat tangent. Nobody wants to hear about that now....back to the race report.

Mark and I spent the weekend in NH alone this time. The race requires a 4:00 a.m. start and as well seasoned at races as my kids are, that is too dang early for them. Thanks Mom and Dad....the kids had a lot more fun playign with you guys!!

Ok. Race day came along and I felt fine. I was up early doing my typical pre-race routine. I drank my coffee, at oatmeal, choked down a tiny piece of bagel ( I need to change this...I can never swallow it..) and I am honestly not sure what else. I had enough, I know that.

We arrived by 5 a.m. and got our parking spot in the park.
Before too long, I was body marked, my transition was set up and I was trotting around the site doing a little pre-race run warm up. Everything was going smoothly.

I was in the lake warming up with plenty of time. I often miss my swim warm up. This time, I was ready. I was wiggling around in the wetsuit nice and early,making sure I would be ready to GO from the gun.

Mary and I found each other at the start, as we always do, and lined up at the front of the 40-44 y.o. pack. The pros had left the beach 20 minutes before us. THis year, the swim started on the beach instead of in deep water. I am not sure if they adjusted the buoys for this distance or not...I assume they did.

It was finally our turn. I shoudn't say that. We were wave 6 / 18!! In the big picture, we didn't wait long at all!

I felt good. I was ready to work hard for the next 5 hours, give or take. The weather was cooperating beautifully. After a summer of high heat and humidity, we were blessed with clouds, cool temps and possible rain! Perfect for racing.

I looked around at my competition. Before I could think about things any longer, the gun Blasted.
This shallow lake required us to dolphin dive over and over and over. Seriously, I think I did at least 10-15 dives before I gave up. I maximized my history as a butterflier during those dives and added in a few kicks under ther water before exploding off the lake bottom for the next dive. I could see with my peripheral vision that I had gained a lead. I even heard someone yell to me while out of the air, "GO ANGE!" That was a cool boost. The lake was so shallow that people waiting for their waves were lined up along the swim start watching and cheering. As I said, after at least >10 dives, I was sick of it and decided to swim. I am not sure this was the best (aka-fastest) decision but it felt right at the time.
My stroke was fine but per usual, I felt a little....light and spacey when I firt started swimming hard. This is a hard feeling to explain but I think it is basically caused by swimming hard with a minimal warm up. I would typically swim 1000-1500 yards before truly feeling ready for a fast effort.
SInce I am used to this, I didn't panic that my day was "off" and I just swam on. I had my own water for a while. Before nearing the turn buoy, I began hitting the men 50-55 wave that left 4 min before us. I was able to maneuver around them without much ado and made turn #1.
I knew I was in the lead.....I just sensed it. I hadnt' seen any purple caps near me nor felt any hands on my feet.
The water was warm but my legs weren't hot like they were in CT at my first Half of the season. What Did surprise me were the Waves!!! On the 2nd section of this swim, while we were parrallel to the beach, the swells were huge! I was getting pushed way way up and then slammed back down. I was fine, it was actually rather fun, and I reminded myself that while it was most definately slowing my pace, it was also slowing down everyone else. I savored my comfort in the water and continued to swim hard. I focused on my lats and pulling the water with force. I stopped kicking. Yup...I did. My legs float up and down in the wetsuit so I just allowed that slight movement to be the kick and decided to save my legs for later. Mile 64 for example. I knew I'd need those legs at that mile!!
Alright, enough on the swim. It was uneventful for me. My lines were fine. I stayed rigth along with the yellow buoys. I headed into shore and felt pscyhed that my goggles weren't leaking, I wasnt' being clobbered by people I was passing. However, I must say that there were a few instances of arms on heads and kicks on other people. I am SORRY!!! I never really know how it happens, and who knows whose fault it is!But in this situation, I know that I am passing folks who started 4, 8 or maybe more minutes ahead of me and therefore chances are I am happier at that tiem than they are. So, I hate to have crashes for everyone's sake at that time.
Finally, the arches were in sight and I swam all the way in. I swam until I only had to stand up and take 2 steps out of the water. I heard Mark and I heard someone else yell my name. I knew I had the lead so I had to hustle. I was being hunted.
swim: 28:54. A bit slower than other 70.3 swims but you can never compare. The chop, the course, the crowds. Who knows. I was sub 29 and that was my goal.
I was stripped nicely by a big guy ( I purposely ran to a Man rather than some of the kids they had there and said, "Big guy!" I've been bamboozled by young kids Trying so hard but unable to yank my suit off....not this time.)
In and out of T1 in 1:55

I headed out to ride and immediately had...Negative thoughts. NO!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to spare you with all the details of What those thoughts were. They are for another post. But, they reared their ugly head.
I 'banished the bugaboos' and hammered on. (Anyone else know about the bugaboos as kids?? I digress...)
within a few minutes, I was back in the game. No problem.
My legs felt heavy though. Why is that? There was a lot of climbing to start the ride. I remembered this. The first 15 miles actually.
One of my goals for this race was to Stay FUELED! I practiced my nutrition all summer long. I had a plan.
So...10 minutes into the ride, my HR had mellowed what I thought was enough, and I began the plan. I took a few big sips of bottle #1.
Almost instantly: pain.

Backing up a few days..... the Wednesday before the race, I went for a relatively mellow 40 min run. No big deal. However, I could barely finish because of Intense stomach pain. It radiated into my shoulder and neck. It HURT! It wasn't a typical cramp. IT was pain. I blamed it on the delicious and yet less then idea pre-run meal my Mom had made us a few hours before. Yummy pasta, lobster, scallops, shrimp and a salad on the side. Who can resist that while sitting at the ocean!? Not me! So, I blamed my odd stomach pain on the ..scallops. I moved on and forgot about it.

Until, mile 3 or 4 of my Half Ironman ride when a pain very reminiscent of that Wednesayd, began to surface. NO!!! Not now! Please!

I tried to push it to the back of my brain and rode on. I climbed, descended, swirved around nervous cars, hammered the flats, and then repeated. I watched my clock and forced my electroylte & carb filled drink into my belly.
More pain.
double damn. I NEED my calories!
Ok....plan B.
Stop drinking. Sip a bit of water. And wait. Wait it out. Give yourself 25 minutes to let it settle and start again.
I went through this cycle over and over again for atleast 30 miles. During that time, I had moments of strength. I was able to tuck into aero and hammer through some flat sections. I was complimented by a man in a neon yellow vest that flapped in the wind. I smiled and thought about that odd wardrobe choice for a race. I came upon a woman flying along wearing a Tri Kit from one of our local coach's team. At first, I didn't recognize who it was. And then, I saw the gorgous hibiscus painted on the white cervelo! Mary Lou!!! My buddy Mary Lou, who is 59 I might add, is a rockstart cyclist! I am not exaggerating. This woman is Fast!! I rode past her and said a big hi! Moments later, she returned the favor and said, "I'll be your rabbit for a bit!" We had fun out there for a few miles and then said our goodbyes after the turn around.
My stomach was iffy. I had a few periods during which I had to come out of aero, sit up straight and stretch, adn pray for the pain to subside. Then, it would clear and I'd ride hard. Only to have the pain return again. I was frustrated. I was discouraged.But, I tried to keep my head in the game. I hadn't seen any other women my age so I knew I was still the hunted.
And mile 44.... "Go Ange!" A friendly and yet serious voice went by. Mary!!! You GO GIRL!!! Ok, nobody Likes to be passed. was Mary. And Mary is my bff. We've been friends since Elementary school so if I'm happy to see anyone out there, it would be Mary. She has worked SO hard on her biking this season. And clearly, it's working! I was psyched for her.
And yet, this was a race.
And I am a competitor.
When you are passed, you have two choices. Succomb to the faster woman at that moment. Throw your arms in the air and say, "ok. She got me. More power to her."
You can fight.
It was time for me to make a decision.
I watched her climb the hills with ease. She seemed to be breathing so calmly. Her HR wasn't high at all!? (not sure how I could tell this but it was my perception.)
I wished I was her size and could traverse those little mountains with such apparent ease.
Back to that decision.
I sure was tired. It definately would be easy to let her go. To let her have this one.
Nah...that' not why I'm here!

I passed her back.
And, we chuckled together.

We continued this game until we reached Ellacoya park. (Meanwhile, a girl in blue had passed us. We finally determined that she was in fact in our age group and now we both had more work to do....)

Mary and I dismounted our bikes in T2 Simultaneously!!! Pretty fun really. Hey girl, we've come a long way haven't we! Think back to 8/07.....look at us now. :0)

Ok. Into T2. Game on. I threw my bike At the rack. Sorry bike. I ripped off my helmet (which I now know was Crooked when I ran into T2! dork!), glasses, yanked on the running shoes, and grabbed the rest of my stuff. I was outta there!!

in 1:37. and I really MUST add T2 time BEAT Chrissie Wellington!!!!!!!!!! Ha!!! That's most likely I've ever utter those words.

Mary looked at me when I left like, "um...? HOW are you done?" Later we laughed at that too. She had dropped her garmin and really needed to get it. So..that's how.

I was really excited to be running. I do not love the bike. It is no secret. But, it's an issue as a triathlete. So, I had racked that mechanical liability and was now back on my own two feet that I can control a lot more reliably. My first 20 steps caused me concern as my stomach HURT again and I felt as if I was buckled over.
Oh oh...what would these 13.1 miles bring?

I carried my 4 gels prepared for proper fueling. However, I knew I had to adopt plan B again. Hold off on calories. Let the stomach settle.

I felt decent once I hit the road. I was being hunted again only this time I liked it. THis run course is fun. It's 4 x 5K..more or less. The out and back x 2 allows you to break the run into manageable segments and like it or not, see your competition coming at you. I was ready.

I hit the first mat and smiled as it beeped. 7:16 pace. Ok. That's fine. Now, hold it. The 2nd half of loop 1 seems to be more up hill...But as I do on these courses, I reminded my tired self that it was like that for Everyone! I ran on. No water. No gels. No sponges. It had rained for the first 3 miles and I felt cool and comfortable. My stomach didnt' hurt but I felt no desire to put anything in it. That was ok...I was not the least bit bonkish. I felt fine. I say that but, my legs were burning. They were heavy. My feet were on fire. Hot burning coals. That must be what the road was made of. My right calf was cramping. I wanted to crawl under a bush. I secretely hoped my left achillis that was sending sharp pains would rupture so I HAD to stop running...but...I felt fine. I will NOT DNF just because of a little pain and suffering! that's the name of the game out there after all! WE have to push until we can move no more. And, dont' we all have those thoughts at times? Those thoughts of being FOrced to stop because it hurts so so badly? Is it just me? I dont' think so... Yes, I was suffering. I was counting the miles.
I got to mile 7 and thought Yay!! only 5 to go!!!!!! It's a Long run with a 5 mile tempo at the end! I can do it! Yes! My pace isn't falling off Too badly. (2nd segment 7:30 pace..)
Then, I hit mile 8. Oh. shoot. NOW it's 5 miles to go. My Math stinks when I'm racing. Ok. that's ok! I can Still do 5 miles!
Focus Ange. Focus. run. Run harder. RUn harder!
I had finally started fueling myself. At 6, I took a gel. It went down fine. I was grabbing gatorade adn water at eveyr stop. Gatorade to drink, water to clear my mouth of that sweetness after. At this point, I knew I had regained the lead. I was doing all I could to hold on to the pace. I knew I took out the first part a bit too fast, but I meant to do that...
4 mles to go. 4 miles to go. I looked at my watch. 3:58. What??? I was going to be sub 4:35!!!!!!!!!!! I ROCK!
Oh wait.
Oops. That doesnt' include the swim. Darn. THere's that racing math again. I can't believe I used to do Calculus problems in my head during long runs for XC in High School. Did I pass that class?
Alright, so I was fighting to break 5 hrs. Why did I think a 4:45 was a reasonable goal? Oh yea...the bike. oh well.
Fight girl Fight.
It was all in my head at this point.
And then, with just over 3 miles to go, blue girl!!!???
Where had she been? I was confused. I thought she entered T2 Before us?!? Huh?
Anyway, she was FLYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There was no chance in me staying with her. I was running as hard as I could.
She ran on and so did I.
I fought my way back up the hills into town.
I was giddy when I angled Left to the FINISH instead of the 2nd loop. I ran hard to the line and made it.
4:59. 24. Close one
run: 1:39:02. I made that too...sub 1:40.

Mark was behind the fence at the finish within moments. I hovered there with him for a while and tried to breath. After multiple puffs on my inhaler, I was ready to stand alone and cheer Mary in.

It was a great day. Mary had a huge breakthrough, my friend Bob made a dramatic full blown huge effort finish with a full body slide across the finish line, my dear childhood friend Lexi finished her first 70.3 with an awesome 6:03, a few of my athlets had Great days out there fighting through their own challenges on the course, Mary's husband Andy absolutey Rocked his first Half with an impressive 4:52, my friend Mary Lou faced demons from a serious bike crash at the Rev3 and attacked this course just a few months later, and many more friends had great days out there as well.

As for me, I am pleased. It was not a PR but it was a good time for me. I had ups and downs yet I was able to push aside the problem spots and fight for a solid finish. I was 2nd in my age group and the 14th age group woman to finish. With 869 women racing, I'll take it!

heading out of T2:

a post-race smile with friends Mary and Bob

My concerned and supportive husband looking after me moments after I crossed the line

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's not just it??

Timberman 2008

I alwasy get a lot of heckling before races. Why? Because everyone seems to think I am 100x more "nervous" than everyone else.
I just can't imagine this is true. I think I am normal. Of course I get nervous!! Right? It's normal isn't it! Perhaps nervous isn't the right word.
Definintion: Nervous-- feeling of dread or apprehension. Relating to somebody's ability to tolerate anxiety or stress.
Ok, fine. I am Not nervous. I am not feeling dread. That is a bit dramatic.

I am excited. I am anxious. Ok, I'm anxious. but I actually think I can tolerate it. Why I start to feel anxious, excited, and aware that a rather big event requiring extreme amounts of effort and pain is imminent, I get NERVOUS! Yes, I said it. I am nervous. Again, isn't that normal?
I get fligty.
I am at times talkative. At times withdrawn.
I get a little impatient. I am intolerant of excess thoughts in my brain.
I am hyper sensitive to every single little feeling in my body.

why does my ankle hurt? My head feels fuzzy. My stomach has a pain in the upper right quadrant. I am not full of uncontrolable energy. I remember in college, during taper week at the end of swim season. Our coaches used to tell us to expect wild and crazy behavior to emerge from our teammates. We would be unable to hold the overwhelming feelings of energy as the meet date approached.
Now, um, not so much. I don't have the urge to jump over the lane line from a standing position in the pool.
Is this because I am not tapered?
Or perhaps it's because I'm a 40 year old mother of 3.

(side note: speaking of being 40. There is a new add on for Target right now. On that add, they sing the Free to Be song. Do you all remember that soundtrack? Did anyone else, my age of course, sing that with their buddies while dancing around their bedrooms?? it brings back memories for me. See.....I'm tapering. I'm laying on a bed in a hotel room watching Saturday afternoon Tv. Bear with me. )


I don't think I'm the only one feeling nervous today. Just sayin'. fess up folks. We all get nervous right?

I know I am in a good place to race when I feel this crazy feelign. It means I am focused on what I need to do. I care. My mind is in the game. I work day after day after day on this sport. I work Hard to make it fit into the family's schedule. So...I am determined to make every single race 'worth' all that time.
Plus, I just care. I want to do well. For myself.

We have a nice comfy hotel room. I was in bed by 10:00. That's not super early but we slept until 8:00. Not bad. I had a cup of coffee, did my 30 min warm up workout, drank some protein powder, showered, went out for pancakes, and now, I am laying down watching Blue Planet. it's actually pretty cool. I like whales and sharks and penguins. It's better than the Jack Lalane infomercial I had it on before.

enough babbling....time for me to close my eyes and visualize my race. Oh yes. One more thing.
Last nigth I dreamt I was doing an Ironman. At some point on the run, I grew tired. Of course. Very convienently my Suburban appeared on the side of the road. So, I hopped in. I drove the next few miles of the course instead of running!!! Then, just before entering the part of town where people mgith see me, I ditched the car and finished the run! I don't recommend you try that. Pretty smart of me though....

more on the other side.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Saying Good-Bye

I was just about to go to bed last night when I read a strange post on Facebook. A woman whom I've become friends with via Triathlon and morning swims, said she was heading to the Y for "one last flip turn."
I know she wouldn't Quit Swimming....once a swimmer, always a swimmer. So I knew there was more to that sentence.
A pit formed in my stomach.
I responded to her. "why?"
At that point, I began receiving emails from a few other friends, "did you hear. The Y is closing."
This is not good.
Where will I swim? where will my kids swim?
This should not be a question one ever has to utter.
I was spoiled as a child. I grew up in a town with it's own community pool. Swimming was HUGE in my town. It was our Football. Swimming ruled many people's lives in my town.
Here. It doesn't exist.
I live in a beautiful community filled with mountains and lakes. We have one traffic light. We have long winding roads through the woods and over the hills.
However, there is no community center nor is there any swimming pool for the town. I live in the Oxford hills of Maine. Our High School includes 11 towns. There are 11 towns that come together to create this community. And there is No pool.
Lewiston-Auburn is not a town. It's a city! The Auburn YMCA is still in business, and yes, they have a pool. But it is 4 lane-20 yards. Something like that. It's an old facility that needs a face lift but bless it's heart, it's still open.
However, there is a huge huge void now. There was a huge void before but now it's worse.

When I decided to try the sport of Triathlon in 2006, that was the biggest question. Where would I swim? (I have to add that I did do a few Tris in the 90s but I was still a collegiate swimmer or just out of school so I didn't really train yet...)
I finally realized I COULD in fact wake up early early and make a swim happen.
I would drive to Lewiston by 5:45, swim from 5:50-6:20 (yup, tha'ts it) and then still be home for Mark to go to work at 7:00. It was sort of comical. I swam 1800-2000 yards 3x week. It's all I had. I made it work.
And then! It was like Christmas...they extended their hours and opened at 5:30!!!! yahooooooo!!! to make it even better, our guard would open the doors at 5:20 (because he's cool) so if I left home by 4:40, I could get in the water by 5:20 for a FULL HOUR swim!!!! PeRFECT!!!!

For a few years, this worked nicely. Now....I have a problem.
There's a pool 45 min away, and it's a MUCH nicer pool. But, they open at 6:30. Hmmm...can't get back for 7:00 a.m. with that schedule.
I don't know what to do.
My 6 y.o. said, "where will I take my swimmnig lessons Mommy?" sad.

When I was in High School, I set the pool record for the 50 free at that pool. 26.1

My 3 boys learned to swim at this pool.

For years, I have swum next to a man named Brooks. He was a swimmer when he was younger too. We had fun racing from time to time.

I became friendly with a handful of older women that would come to do water exercises around the pool every morning. They rreally really need those swims. It gave them social time, time out of the house, and it kept their aging bodies agile and strong. Now what's next for them?

Less than a year ago, my Triathlon shop shut down in an instant. It was a loss. Not just of the place I shopped, but it was the place I saw my friends. I made connections. I had fun.

Today, my pool shuts down. The feels are the same.

If you are reading this and you live in this area, call me. If you have the motivation to join forces to remedy this problem, I'm willing to go for it.

For those of you out there with pools down the street from you or perhaps, several within 20 minutes, stop and appreciate that for a minute. It's really tricky when you have to go to such great lengths just for a nice swim.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Preparing to Take Revenge -

A few months ago, I travelled to South Western Connecticut for a big Half Ironman. I was fired up and ready to rock. I was fit and strong and full of early season energy.
I hit the race course...and bombed. I made some errors and ended up walking and begging for mercy along the way. Ouch. Not the way I like to attack my races.
I kicked my feet in the dirt and analyzed those 5 hours for a few days. Or maybe, a week or two.
And then, I got over it. Temporarily. I learned some good lessons and accepted that I am human and have bad races from time to time. We all do.

Ok. That was then and this is now. I want revenge on that torturous June day.
Timberman 70.3 will arrive in a few short days and I am going to proove to myself that I can in fact tear up a Half Iron course. I can't wait.

My training has gone pretty well. By the end of last week, my legs were screaming for mercy. I have started resting now and I can feel the energy and zipp returning...slowly but surely. I don't need it all today. I need it sunday. So I patiently wait and do what I can in the meantime. I drink my recovery drinks after every workout, I go to bed early (on that note...better finsish this up...) and I won't overschedule the fun this week. (unlike the rest of this summer. Phew! Can't keep this crazy pace up forever!)

I won't lie. My mojo has waxed and waned this summer. I have gone through some bonafide ups and downs in my head this season... questioning what I am doing and why. I'll save that for another post.

My successful 10K last week pushed me back into my zone. I can't explain why...but something clicked inside me. Good timing...I am more than ready to do my best on sunday.

Tomorrow I will start the day with a swim. Each workout I do this week pulls extreme focus and plannning from me.

It's race week and I am on a mission.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Beach2Beacon 10K

Saturday was the running of Maine's biggest road race. (I think I have that fact correct.....) This 10K was created 13 years ago by Joan Benoit Samuelson. She grew up in my hometown and was even coached by the same man that coached me in HS Cross Country! (Just a cool little fact.) Joanie's vision for this race has come true and it now draws elite athletes from around the world. The race is a point to point race that starts on a road by the beach I grew up Lifeguarding at and ends at Fort Williams Park, the site of the most photographed lighthouse in the country. It's a beautiful venue. The allure of this beautiful race has caused it to grow and grow and this year they capped the entries at 6500. We used to mail in paper registration forms but now we sit by our computers at 8:00 March 12th and pray we can click fast enough to get in before they are full 27 minutes later.
Mark and Jeff, my husband and brother, are STreakers. They have run in every single Beach2Beacon. They get automatic entries. I took a few years off when I was pregnant and post-Ironman. (I learned this year that that is in fact, no excuse.)

Friday night we moved back to Camp for the weekend. This weekend was different on our little island however. It was a family reunion for Mark's family. The population on Lindsay Island swelled to over 50 by Saturday. So on Friday, we arrived to find a handful of cousins and Aunts we hadn't seen all summer. Mark and I were disciplined that night however, and headed to bed nice and early with the kids so we would be ready for action nice and early Saturday.

4:30 a.m. I was up, brewing coffee, and diving into the lake. I did a short warm up swim just to get the blood flowing. I felt great. We were absolutely blessed by Mother nature because the heat and humidity FINALLY broke and we had crisp and Cool air that day!!! It was wonderful. And, unprecedented for B2B!

By 5:40 a.m. we were crossing the lake in our party boat with the whole gang. We hurried into town to meet my parents and my brother. My parents are true race day rockstars (and have been since I was 8, I must add) and took all 6 kids in 2 cars across town to watch us finish the race. ( the other 3 are my brother's kids.) They've been doing that since the kids were born. You can imagine the various stages they've had to deal with....assembling baby joggers, carrrying and changing diapers, feeding baby food, runaway toddlers....oh yes...they've earned their own medals in this event!!
But this year, all 6 kids are rather self - sufficient. Still wild, but at least they can walk the distance without much ado ( you have to park far away from finish ) , they can even carry their own snacks, and understand, "you need to wait." about whatever the issue is. ( I hope it was that easy at least?? Thanks MOM and DAD!!!)

We drove to the start and unloaded ourselves into the masses. It's hard to describe the scene but somehow I managed to see most of my friends that were there. I stuck to Mark's side and we corralled ourselves in between the 6-6:30 pace area. By the time the start was minutes away, a handful of my Tri Friends were all in the same spot. Mark, Ange, Mike, Tim, Bob, Jeff, Josh, Ann, Carrie, Rob, Mary... and more. It was fun. ( I didn't see Mary at the start but I know she was in that mess somewhere.)

I was feeling good and really pumped up. I was determined to go fast. I wanted a good race. There was no need or excuse for anything otherwise. My husband is a fast runner. He is a natural. He doesn't train much at all. Maybe 2-3 x / week on a Good week! There is no structure. No plan. He just runs. I started him in on road races when we were first together and back then, I beat him. Now, I can't. I crush him in triathlons but road's all him.
He has broken 40 a few times. I really really want to break 40 someday. My PR before last week was 41:30. I ran a 42:30? in a 10K in July. I hoped to get near my PR this past week.
My plan was to just Stay with Mark. I would turn myself inside out if I had to but I would just stay on his feet. I could do it.
I grew up on these roads. I know that course like the back of my hand. I know where certain houses are. I know who lives where. I know who I'll see at each intersection. I don't even need to look at my Garmin for the mile markers. I know where they are like you know your training routes.

The national anthem played. The crowds moved forward. The gun blasted.
We weaved in and around the crowds. People were moving fast but there's just no clean road for the first few miles. I was with Mark. We were running side by side and it was comfortable.
mile 1 6:14
Keep going. Find your groove. I felt total control. I wasn't pushing too hard. I was working but my body could handle it. Who was behind me? How close? I had to push harder.
Mile 2 I didn't look at my split. I had glanced at my watch and knew I was holding pace.
We were in town now and Mark surged ahead to get under a hose. He gained ~5 steps on me. And that was it. He wasn't going to slow down and I could NOT get back to him. He did it for the hose, not to loose me, but that's all it took. Ok fine. Just keep him in your sights. He's 6'3" so I can do that easily!!
I ran by Shore Acres and heard the greatest sound. CHRIS!!! My BFF from growing up (friends since age 6) was home from Chicago and she was out there cheering!!! Yay !!! I smiled and waved and in my head I wished her a Happy 40th Birthday!!! I wish I had had the oxygen to yell that too but I thought it Chris! So happy to see her and her little baby in her arms! I smiled for a while after that.

Mile 3 and into the center of Cape.
Time for a little chat Ange. you're half way. 3 miles to go. How hard can 3 miles be?? You did two Ironmans! You can run HARD for 3 miles!!! So stop feeling any pain and just GO !!! Just run run run! Turn over the feet. Push back. PUsh. You won't be any less tired if you slow down a bit.

Mile 4 Ok..two miles. I remembered Rev3 and the point of that dreadful run at which I had 2 miles. This was much easier than that race. MUCH! TWO MEASLEY MILES! Seriously...two miles! Two loops around the block! PUsh hard. Push back and dig in. Don't take baby steps. Run like you mean it! Run like you want to Get somewhere!

I am not sure if it was during this mile or the next one, but around this point I heard, "Hey Sis!" WTH!!!!!!!! Ok, I know he has been dying to do that for several years since I did it to him at about the same spot a few yrs ago. I gave him that 'not so welcome' "Hey bro!" But I must say, this year, it SHOCKED ME! And totally Impressed me! This is my little brother that just did an Ironman 2 weeks ago!!! How on earth were his legs moving that fast??? Impressed doesnt' begin to express how I felt. Go are ROcking this year!!!

That's ok.. I just kept pushing. No need for anyone else to pass me. SO keep running hard!!!

I periodically looked at my garmin to see my current pace. It was alwasy right down there where I wanted it. I lost all ability to do math and figure out if I was on track for a PR or even, a sub 40? nahhh....

Mile 5 The hills. This course isn't very hilly. There are a few little bumps along mile 3 but until mile 5, it's faily mellow. Mile 5 however, has a few decent climbs. Just enough to kill your quads and your pace. That's ok...just go. You are so close.

This is where we start to see even more spectators as we get closer to the park where it ifinishes. ( but this course is very cool in that there are people lining the streets the entire way. They blast music, give out water, spray hoses, wave signs...the town gets into it!)

Up over the hills.. I'm dying now. I heard recognizable voices hollering for me and saw a few faces as I ran by. Thanks Roger! Alina! Mrs. Patton! I knew my family was on the same corner as every year but I missed them! I heard my name however and they did see me. I love smiling at the boys each year though..sorry kids!

At this point, I'm almost out of my mind. I was running harder than I had ever run. The course rounds a corner and gives you the illusion of being a quick run down the finish line. But NO! Hahaha!! we Tricked you! You aren't even at mile 6!

I rounded that corner and saw my watch. 38:38. I wasn't sure how far I had left. I just knew, I was close. And then I heard a most familar voice, my buddy Mike, "Kick it Ange!!"
Oh man! goes! I cranked into that one last gear. Mike said Kick it and I knew he was doing just that right behind me.

I ran so hard, things were blurry. And then, the funniest thing happened, I was about 15 yards from the line and my legs turned into total rubber. they were bending in and out in distorted angles and I am serious, I almost went down. My knees buckled and I caught myself at hte last second. I even chuckled. I've never had that happen.

I crossed the line and dropped to my hands and knees. I was fine. Just needed to really stop. Two arms were on me in a second. One was a medical helper and the other was Mike. He's alwasy there... thanks Mike! I was fine.

Finishing time?

50 seconds off my PR. I was PSYCHED!!!!!!!!!! No sub 40 this year but that is OK! I broke my PR by a ton and I feel awesome about that. Mark was 39:45 and JEff was 40:09. Amazing. Mike was a short 2 seconds behind me and another friend Tim just a few more behind him. Within minutes, all my Tri friends were flying over the line. We all huddled around chatting and hugging and just doing what we always do post-race. Of course, we were shuttled away within a few minutes but that's what I love about my tri peeps...everyone's so friendly and supportive.

On the way home I checked the splits on my Garmin. I checked them over and over because something didn't seem right.
6:58 (the hills...)

I was even MORE excited that I kept my pace so steady.

I don't know exactly where my head has been all summer. Sometimes it's been focused and postive and other times, not so much.

Sometimes all it takes is one race to get things back on track.
After this race, something clicked inside me again. I think it was a small validation that I am still where I need to be. I am ready and strong. I can head to my 70.3 next week with my head held high and know I am in the right frame of mind for a great race.

I ended up winning my age group/391 and
I was 391/ 6500 overall. I never thougth I'd say anything like that at Beach2Beacon so I'm feeling really happy with that race.

We rushed back to the island for a big family party. Lots of food, drink, waterskiing, swimming, singing and chatting. The next day I woke up, had breakfast with the family, procrastinated a bit, and then drove the boat over for my 16.5 mile run. OUCH!

Time to hit Lake Winnepesauki for the big final hoorah of the summer.

You can see my brother back in the crowd of men chasing me...he's in a white shirt/blond hair...getting ready to make his move!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bethel Tri or as it's officially known: Maine State Triathlon

Last weekend was the annual Bethel Tri. That's not the real name, but it's what we call it. Bethel is just a short 30 min up route 26 from our house. It's the town we frequent every weekend in the winter months to ski. In a way, it's a hometown race.

The weekend was super fun and pretty busy. On Friday afternoon, the Wilson clan (IronMatron Mary's family) piled into our party boat and moved into our little camp for the night. It was a blast for all of us. Mark and I have owned this place for almost 2 years now and we are so happy to share it with friends. We are watching our boys have a blast there this summer so we love sharing the Island life with our friends. Friday night we made lots of food, watched the kids reunite and then made smores by the campfire. Saturday morning Mary and I trekked to the mainland to do our pre-race bike/ run and then spent the rest of the day on the dock or the beach watching the kids play and teachign her daughter to waterski.
Once again, it was hard to leave.
But Saturday night we moved back into our home to prep for the race.

I was ready to race. I was mostly really happy to be back in my own land and racing with friends. (my last race was hours away and all by my lonesome.)
I also had oodles of family support again. My husband Mark was racing, his parents brought our kids, and my parents drove pretty far just to cheer us on again. They are all awesome!! Thanks to our Moms and Dads!!!

I went through my typical pre-race ritual. I choked down food, got overly chatty and annoying, set up transition and warmed up. As I feared, I ran out of time. I wasn't able to get a swim warm up in before they cleared the water. Darn. I really really need a swim warm up.

We lined up in our waves. The swim is in a little pond and the water was like bath water. They should have made it a no wetsuit swim. I alwasy think that though. But still...the water was too hot for me.

The swim is a clockwise course. The sun was shining. The first buoy was way off on the left. the waves were at least 4 min apart. THe water was all mine. Clear sailing. GO!
Off I went. I poured on the speed. But my arms felt floppy and they needed a warm up! I always feel so much more tired when I don't warm up. I was gasping for air and trying to get into my zone.
Where is that buoy?
There was a kayak that had been lurking in front of it before we started. I headed to the kayak. I sighted and struggled. something felt wrong. just go!! I kept swimming hard. I started to get totally ticked off at the kayak! Why won't it MOVE so I can see the buoy??? I was so irritated. I had to say something. I sighed and yelled, "please move!" He yelled back, "RIGHT!!!!!!!!!" and he pointed.
OH NO!!!!!!
I was so far off course, it wasn't even funny.
I was on the other side of the lake.
Ange, seriously?
Later, my Dad told me he was standing on the deck watching and shaking his head. He kept saying, " Sherron, where is she going? Sherron?" Someone next to him said, "oh no, is that your daughter?"
I realized I usually have the wave in front of me to site off? I didn't realize this! That clean clear water messed with me!
Grrrrrrrrr. I lost my groove. I lost my concentration. I made a hard right swam like a sprinter trying to break the record in the 100. Myhead was down. I was not in the lead. There were dozens of white caps nearing that first buoy ahead of me.
I would have none of that. This is My race.
I decided at that point to refocus and get back in my spot. But I admit, I was rattled and worried. I lost a good portion of the lead I rely on.

The rest of the swim was uneventful. I swam hard and felt fine. I didn't feel spectacular and fast like some other races but I just focused on being solid.

Out of the water and up the hill. They don't have timing chips at this race (please, can you guys get them next year?) and this is an issue. The volunteers yelled, "what's your #?" I am sorry, and perhaps I am wrong here, but I am racing. I am trying to get my breathing in check after a hard swim, I am running to T1 trying to get my wetsuit off my arms, and for that matter, I barely remember my race#! I mumbled something but who knows if they heard me.

T1 was slow. I can't get my wetsuit off. The run to the bike was far. I had to put my garmin on b/c my bike computer is dead, blah blah. It just felt messy. But off I went and started hammering.
I felt really strong on the bike. Most of the course is a false flat. You can get a lot of speed up on that type of road.. I had fun. I passed oodles of men. I passed my husband and tried to slap him on the butt but I missed. He appreciated the attempt however. I only got passed by a few men, and eventually, I passed them back. I had people yell to me, "first woman!" I love that. I kept my head down and worked on keeping it that way.
The ride was about 14 miles. Just a fast and furious ride. It was fun.

T2 was fine...I'm sure it could have been faster but I moved through, donned the shoes, grabbed the rest and took off.

I felt very good to start the run. My stomach was fine. My legs were there. I ran sub 6:30 for a bit and then made the turn into the woods. The middle portion of the run is on a dirt road with lots of gravel and a fair amount of climbing. I caught a guy wearing all black and he turned and chatted wiht me. I attempted a smile but basically got the point across that I was working my tail off and any small talk would have to wait. We ran together for a while and then I pushed past him.

I wondered how I was doing. I didn't know where the miles were. I just knew I was running around the lake. As I rounded the corner I began to hear the crowds again and I knew I was close. I was still in the lead and had a feeling it was mine that day.

I ran down the road through what seemed a gauntlet of family and friends. Andy and the kids, AJ and his kids, Mark's parents, My parents, Christine and her kids, and then my boys...and we even slapped hands as I headed in.
It was fun. That's the stuff that makes these races so fun. Smiles and support before, during and after. I loved it.
I finished and caught my breath. My friend Mike was done and already snapping photos. (got him by 23 seconds. :) Heehee...had to say it MIke.) Another friend and one of our local pros, Mike Ciazzo was done and dressed. He blew the field away. It was a comeback race for him after a serious bike crash this summer so it was awesome to see him out there moving fast. (of note: Mike was 4th overall at Ironman Lake Placid last summer) Mary came flying in just a few minutes behind me! It was awesome. We mumbled a quick, "hey, let's 1-2 this thing." before we started and we did. Love it. One of my best HS friends, Lexi, was also there and she had a fabulous race! watch out for Lex in races to come. Mark, my husband, finished with a super strong run. And now, he's more determined than ever before to put some solid time in on the roads to have that bike feel Better at his next race. My dear friend Mary Lou was also shining on the course. she had a HOrrendous crash at Rev3 in June requiring ambulance transport and surgery a few days later. This was another comeback race and she did Great! there were lots of other friends out that day: Beryle, Jen, Tom, and Peter. JUst a fun day to be out racing.

Next Up: our Big 10K of the summer. Beach2Beacon in Cape Elizabeth. The race pulls in >6000 runners with elite runners from around the world taking the top spots. Joan Benoit-Samuelson created the race in our hometown. this will be it's 13th running. Another great day is guaranteed.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back to Lake Placid

I raced yesterday. It was a fun fun day! I'll get back to that in a minute.

I left off last week at the very beginning of my race report of Ironman Lake Placid 2010. It was going to be my first race report as a spectator. However, I am just way too busy this summer to keep up with these blog reports. So I must condense my camping weekend in Lake Placid and sum it up with a few key points.

First, memories flew at me all day long. I was reliving my first Ironman from the moment I drove into town last week. I admit, it was quite nice to be able to enjoy the Ironman scene without the aching fear in my stomach about what I needed to do on Sunday of that week. Instead, I housed a different type of nerves for my little brother. Ok..little bro is not so little anymore. He's a rock solid 37 y.o. who was 100% prepared for a great IM debut.

Second, I have great friends. We camped next to a handful of my friends who were also there to watch, volunteer and ahem....get into a "line" on Monday morning. I had a great time being around all these great people. There's no real story.. .I just love my friends.

Third, Jeff crushed his race. He was full of heart and determination and it paid off. Now that I'm writing this again, I want to go into so many details. But I'll hold back. I watched the swim start while holding my breath. I studied wetsuits and strokes as they got closer on each loop, determined to find Jeff. I think I saw him. But I can't be sure. I did see a bunch of other friends as they exited their 2nd loop. They all looked just great. Serious and ready for phase 2.
Jeff's swim was 55 min. Yup..he's fast.
The long long hours that the athlete must endure on the bike go by in a flash for the spectators. At least for me they did. It might have something to do with the fact that I was also entertaining my 3 young boys, trying to find them food, take them swimming in the lake and then walking over 45 min down the road to spectate on a "quiet" part of the course on loop 1. We walked and walked. The kids, my husband, my mother and my sister in-law. They were probably all cursing me. I was determined to see Jeff somewhere other than the Hot corner with 1000 others. I remember how much it helped me to have an extra cheer out on the road. We finally arrived at the hills and there we stood. I decided to run further away so he'd have an extra GO!
But, man did I have to go to the bathroom. Sorry if this is TMI but it impacts the story. I was desperate. I decided I had time so I ducked into the thick woods behind me. I was quick. Phew.
HEY! There's Dave Brackett!!! A friend rode by.. .Yay !! He looked amazing and strong. I called another friend to tell him Dave was on his way into town. Except that friend as actually on the course at mile 50. ( we were at 55) He said, "Yeah! I saw him! Did you see Jeff? He's right ahead of DAve!"
are you kidding me???
I missed him. All that, and I missed him.
I walked back to my family at the top of the hill. Defeated. My race plan fell through. Back to the tent to reassess.
By the way, they all high fived him and assured me he looked Great.
I tried Jeff!!!
Loop 2, I stayed put. Right on hot corner. It worked. I saw him, he saw us, he smiled, we cheered and screamed, he was gone, and that was that.
We turned and hurried down to the spot where we could see them run out of the tent from T2. Jeff came along and ran directly towards us. I could tell he had something to say. I was all prepared for some sound advice...I told him to ask me anything out there...what to do w/ nutrtion or pacing etc etc.
You know what he said? "That was a long way!"

The run was crazy. I worried earlier in the day that I wouldn't be able to fit my own run into the day. That was not the case. I donned my running shoes and chased my brother all around that route. Actually, I just saw him a few times but it took a lot of running to get to those spots. And one of those trips included a mini grocery shopping at a litlte corner store to stock up on food for the gang back at the tent.

I was so proud of Jeff. He had horrible stomach pain and GI bloating and while he had to walk, he always started running again. He pushed on...he never ever gave up. It hurt and he just dealt with it. It was awesome. It was absolutely awesome to watch him cross the finish line. He got there in 11:32!!! Amazing time!

I also tracked and cheered for a BUNCH Of other friends out there that day. Carrie, STacy, Erin,Kim, Martha, Nate, Joanna, and Dave. In addition to my friends from home, one of my athletes raced in her first Ironman and finished in a stellar 11:48!! Fantastic job by all!! They all were amazing and gave me such inspiration to do it again.

yes, that's right. I woke up super early Monday morning and drove into town with my buddy Mike. I sat, stood, and walked around in line from 6:30-1 p.m.
And then, I signed my name and paid my money.
Ironman Lake Placid 2011--- here I come.

So much for sticking to a few points! I did race yesterday. I do want to share that race report too.

I'll have to write more tonight. It's summer vacation and my 3 little guys are looking at me.