Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Last week was so busy. My kids had a snow day on Monday and that threw me for a loop. Monday is one of my super high powered work 'til I drop dont' stop to eat days. But with high high energy boys home, productivity suffers. It was my son's birthday week so the last two days of the week were over loaded with party errands, baking cakes for parties and cupcakes for the class and of course shopping. Birthday shopping and Christmas shopping. I had appointments and after school activities to shuffle them to. We all know the drill.... it's just life.  By Friday,  I was really tired. I even  started to make a cake... threw in the mix, the butter, and 3 eggs. Next... I put the beater in and started it up. HOLD on... the eggs. They were still whole. Whole entire eggs. Slow down Momma...

I shopped for goodies all morning to make a fun albeit crazy party for my now 11 year old that night. I had been in the kitchen for nearly 3 hours putting together silly food challenges/ games/ making another cake when the random TV show in the background cut out to the Breaking news.

I watched the news unfold. Each minute it was worse.

My body grew numb. I was sick to my stomach. My frenetic motions around the kitchen came to a hault. I was paralyzed. Stuck. Life changed for me at that moment.

I have kids. I have elementary school aged kids. I have worked in schools. I have friends who are teachers. This is too close.

I had been a bit 'nervous' to host 15 boys  and 1 little girl ( love her for joining these guys...!) for a birthday party. How chaotic would my home be that night?
As of 1p.m. on Monday... it no longer mattered. Bring them to my house now and let the noise ring through us.  I wanted kids to surround me.

Firday afternoon, it took all I could not to pick those boys up early that day. I wanted them Home with me. I needed them. But, that would be confusing and upsetting to them. So, instead, I busied myself as best I could, washed my face and tried to gather my own emotions.

Once I finally got them back, Nick, my 8 year old said, "Mommy, WHY are you squeezing me SO hard??" He loved it. He said it with a smile and squeezed me back.  Lucky lucky me...

It's the saddest thing I have ever known in my life. There have been other horrific events, of course. But I am a Mom and this is so real to me. The fact that I can picture it all... is what makes the unimaginable, imaginable. My kids practice lock downs. Do they pay attention? Can I ask them? Will it scare them? Do they do any good? Where would they go if this happened? Are their classrooms in a vulnerable spot? I hate that these thoughts are in my brain now...

None of us know the answers. None of us know how to stop this from happening.  In my head, it's multi-faceted but I only know of One thing I can do.

Sure, we have guns that are way too high powered and fast for the every day citizen,  there's mental illness, insanity, psychosis, and evil. There are too many medications, chemicals in our foods and environment. There are absurdly inappropriate video games that are desensitizing people from reality.  We have technology everywhere that allows already introverted people to withdraw into a life behind a screen.

Who knows... that's just a bit of it right?

But what can I do? All I know is I this. I can make sure my kids know they are loved. They are awesome. They are special and they are worth every single bit of my attention. I vow to be more patient, to listen more, to always put Down what I am doing or look away from my 'screen' to hear them and answer them and talk to them. I vow to hear their concerns and to watch their behaviors. I vow to teach and show them how to be kind and thoughtful of others and to do for others as they would have done to them.I vow to give them something good to take away from every single day and Never ever let them go to bed thinking anything other than we, their parents, think they are the most incredibly awesome people on earth. That is my goal.
I vow to slow down and savor all the moments that are easy to let slip by.
You just never know.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Jingle Bell 5K Race report

Even though it's still 2012, I started the new season yesterday with what is likely to become an annual family event. 

My gang of 5 ran the race last December and this year we recruited my brother's gang of 5 to join us!  I have a handful of fun pictures but this googlechrome is telling me I've reached my max of photo uploads. (I am bothering to write this in case anyone knows how to help me fix that problem...??? )  I might get one photo in here later.... 

When life is super busy and during the work week we are all up and out of our house by either 4 a.m. or 7 a.m., getting up early on a Sunday isn't always welcome.  And yet... things like this are worth it. We went through the routine Sunday morning, ate our oatmeal or bagels and grabbed coffee and headed on our 60 min ride to Freeport.  

The problem is that it's December and the weather can be uncooperative. My husband and I growled as we drove over icy covered roads and watched 28 degree rain pour down on us. Ooops... sorry guys. Who wants to run in that! We definitely anticipated trying to race on roads that were slick with black ice and unsafe and also very slow.  I felt bad.  But, we drove on and hoped for the best. 

Of course... I won't leave you hanging .. in the end we were very very happy we did it!!! Here's the short story... after all.. it only takes a few minutes to run a 5K so this race report better not turn into a book! 

We all met at the gym and got all the kids ready with their race numbers. I headed out to warm up. While I was out there I bumped into Jeff ( my younger brother... ) and we shared a moment of, "Yikes, 5Ks hurt! How fast ? Ok..let's help each other along..." I ran off and found a 'secret'  ladies room in a starbucks instead of waiting for 45 people back at the gym. On the way back out, I FLEW into the air and landed on my butt/ hands.. nice. It was ICY!!!  Luckily, the roads were ok. You had to stay where the cars had driven if you could otherwise it was slick but the worst was the sidewalks.  As I found out. 

Time to race... 
I hugged all 6 kids, kissed Mark ( he wanted to run along with Nick to make sure he was ok. Nick's 8 and would have been fine... I kind of think Mark was avoiding the insane sufferfest that 5Ks can become... Don't blame him!! And, I did appreciate that he was with Nick since it was so icy.), and headed to the line with Jeff.  
The started yelled GO with barely any warning ( it was 10:00, so that's really all the warning that's necessary) and we were off.  
I felt good!!! 
Running has Felt very very bad lately. I've been slow. A variety of body parts have hurt me and been sore. When I've tried to pick up the pace and add some speed, I thought I was going to fall down. It has been ALL I could do to run even 60 min at 5K pace lately.... so I wasn't sure what this would bring. 

About 1/4 mile, maybe not that far, probably 1/8 mile down the first road, I peeked at my garmin for kicks. 
5;25 pace. 
Ha! Slooooooooow down nellie. I chuckled out loud. 

I reeled it in. I didn't see Jeff and thought I was ahead of him. The first turn put us on a hill that was pretty slippery. At the end, I nearly ran into a huge puddle but at the last minute managed to jump all the way over it... phew. When I looked up, Jeff was 5 ft in front of me. Oh! There he is.. not sure how he got there. So.. there we stayed... 
mile 1 was 6:08. The guy next to me grumbled out loud, "too fast." 
I knew it was pretty fast but I felt good so I just kept on....
I thought out the kids and wondered how they were.
I waved to Mom and Dad standing on the side of the road. 
And, I kept my eyes on Jeff's back.  
We ran down a hill and around a corner on our way back up that hill and for the last 1.5 mile. Jeff turned and looked behind him, but off to the side. I knew he was looking for me.  Haha... I was there. But too close for him to see me. I wasn't trying to be sneaky ( I admit, I have been sneaky in other race against women, but not yesterday with Jeff) but I was 100% unable to speak since my HR was >190 and it was all I could do to get air. So.. I just ran along and figured I'd either say Hi on my way by :) OR... tell him I was there later.  Time would tell. 
A short bit later... we started passing the runners going in the other direction. I missed my family but we did see Jeff's kids and wife,Leigh. Leigh yelled, "GO Jeff!" and then moments later, "Oh, GO Ange!" I didn't think twice about that but apparently that alerted Jeff to the fact that his big sis was hot on his heels. 

Over the next mile, he put some distance on me... and eventually pulled away with a ~20 sec lead. :) 

The last mile is mostly uphill which is not easy in a 5k! But the last .1 is at least a nice downward slope... 

I ran SO hard, I wondered if I'd throw up. In my book, that's a successful 5K effort. It's an all out 110% go for it race.  But the beauty is that once I crossed the line and walked around for 10-20 sec, I was fine. 
In the end.... 3rd overall woman with  a 20:29 time ( 6:31 pace) I am totally happy with this for this time of year. It's not a 5K PR ( in fact, about 1:15 slower than that!) but it is a 15 sec drop from last year at this race.  I don't expect to be at my fastest right now but I am so happy that my Dec baseline is a bit faster than last year. I can't ask for more than that!!

Of course, I'm a proud Momma to have my kids in there with me too. It's only a matter of time before they all start passing their Mom and Dad.  Cameron was right behind me with a 22:45, Tommy next up 23:46 and Nick and Mark came in at 25 and change. My niece and nephews also ran so so well and strong with their Mom and Jeff crushed it yesterday! 

FUN day!!! 

Now.. back to training for long course...  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Here I go again... attempt #..... 6? I am failing my blog big time. I have started multiple posts, finished one only to take that back down because my tone wasn't where I wanted it to be.

It's 7:07 p.m. My husband just left for a meeting. One son is in the room next to me writing a paper. He's making me jealous of today's kids because he has some cool cut and paste  program for the bibliography section. I HATED the bibliographies!!! Sigh... I need to remember.. for the most part, I am happy I lived my childhood back in the days before facebook and texting and tweeting and phones with cameras. What a mess all that has become.

My other two sons are downstairs playing. Right in earshot. Big time. Currently, it's all laughter. Albeit wild laughter.  They're chucking a big physio-ball around the room at each other. It's only a matter of time. I have experience with this game.

When the bell chimes at 7:30 and it's officially, 'time to go up.' We begin showers, and picking up rooms, and trying to put away some of the laundry baskets. We'll brush teeth, talk about the random balls of dirty socks, wet towels and random Tshirts strewn about.  Then it's story time. So I'm almost out of time.

OH wait!!!  Here they are. The 2 wild things.  "What do we do?"  That's what they just said to me.
Um... go back and play more so I can try to write this blog?( haha.. I didn't really tell them that. )

Hey!  That took... 5 more min. for this.

Triathlon. The 3 discipline sport with MEGA gear and gadgets.
It's a blessing and a curse, those gadgets.   I know this as an athlete but now I know it even More as a coach.

Last night ( yes, I ran out of time when I started this post.. kids came up and we played a brief round of charades instead. )I found 3 of my old running logs. They are from 1997, 1998, and 2005. I don't know where I put those missing years in between. Well... actually... I had a baby in 1999. And 2001. And 2004. Ah ha.... it makes perfect sense now that I think about it!!  No log books were kept!!! Yup, that's it. I ran, but certainly didn't keep track of anything other than what I needed to for the babies!

Ok... here are some sample entries from my logs:

Monday 4/7: up and down Paris Hill, 117, Christian Ridge ( the route),  knees hurt, 12.5 miles, 1:50
Tues:  4 miles , 50 degrees ( no time recorded )
Wed  6.2 miles 4p.m., 60 degrees, new shoes ( no time on this either )
Thurs:  End of Christian Ridge, 58 degrees, 4 p.m.a , shoes better, 6.2 miles ( no time.)

and so on... At the end of each week I wrote the total mileage and maybe a comment or two like:
Good week, down 3lbs. Or
"awful week... kids have the flu. I felt gross too."



Simple simple  simple.  No heart rate numbers, no pace, and only occasionally a total time for the run!

Was that better?  There are pros and cons to everything.  Here is what I can tell you about those days.  When I felt good, I pushed hard. When I was tired, I ran easy. When I was sick, I took a day off.  I ran day after day after day otherwise. I varied my distances and I ran different routes.  On long runs, I noted more details. I logged what I ate before and during the workouts and I noted the conditions outside But otherwise, it was all simple and based on how I felt.

It's interesting for me to see, I was running pretty close to the same speed I am now on most training runs.  Does that discourage me? The fact that I'm not faster? NO!! I'm reading from a log book I wrote when I was 27 years old! Ha! I am keeping up with my 27 year old self... and besides that.. more importantly,I'm racing much faster now. So.. no worries.  My mind is stronger for racing than that kid was. :)

Back to my point....
I've been at this for a long long time. Not just triathlon, but involvement in sports in general. I started swimming competitively at a very young age and continued that right through college. Then, I ran and ran and ran. I ran marathons and other short races. And now, I'm into  this sport.  The advantage I have, in my opinion, is that when I was learning to race and train as a kid, I was 100% reliant upon myself and how I felt. It was all about my body and what it could do each day.  Sure, we had watches. I'm not that old.  But, they were just watches.  There was not yet an obsession on analyzing every last split and lap. Swimming is a sport that can be  won or lost by Fractions of a second.  It's not without minute details and focus on times and splits.  How did we deal with that?   We practiced starts and turns and strokes over and over and over and over for hours and hours and hours day after day after day.
And then on the day of the meet, we'd focus our minds, steady our thoughts and go after it.  We'd hit the wall with our heads down and then look at the clock to see the results.

I'm really not old and didn't grow up in pre-historic times before HR monitors or stopwatches. But my roots are in sports that didn't require tons of gadgets and it was before the days of training peaks and power files and TSS scores.  I grew up in the 1980s era of 'no pain no gain.' Now we all know that that is a silly motto because of course, if there is pain, you stop.  But.... I think there's another way of looking at that.

One of the lures of Triathlon, is that it's there for adults. There are adults, like myself, who grew up in the world of racing  who realized at some point in their grown up lives, they couldn't live without it any more.   And then  there are the adults who are new to competitive sports and have set racing Triathlons as a goal to help reach  a new level of fitness and personal accomplishment.  Lucky for all of us, Triathlon has age group racing right up into the 80s! So if one desires they can keep going and going. I love it.

Now here we all are. The 'type A' adults determined to do their best in this fun sport.   They are driven to set goals and work hard and make it happen! Fabulous! Again, I love it.  To make it more fun we now have complex online training logs ( can't live without mine, I know that!) , power meters that measure everything from time, speed, cadence, watt output at that moment, on average, for the lap,  normative power, TSS, IF, VI , kilojoules, and 100 more things. We have garmin watches to measure our average pace, lap pace, actual pace, distance, time, elevation gain, cadence and heart rate. Phew. And, this is just the beginning!!! GOOD stuff! And, used properly, very helpful training tools.

There are just a few simple catches.

We can all be too dependent on the data to tell us how we feel and many take all the numbers way too personally. What do I mean?

I think it's SO important for people to learn to shut off the gadgets and feel how they Really feel.  I think too many people get completely reliant on the Garmin to tell them how they feel. Just go run. Dive in the water and swim down the lake. Turn off the feature that tells you what route you took around Crystal lake. After all, you know. You went over there and then back a ways, around that dock and down to the red buoy. Right?  How did your arms feel? Did your stroke feel fluid? Were you breathing comfortably or was today a struggle?  I don't care if you wear the cool watch, just don't look at it all the time. Breath the air, watch your form in the shadows, play with your pace and see how your breathing changes when you do.  When you're done, hit stop, write things down, and move on. So many people get completely  distracted by data and forget to just ...train.  They forget to listen to their minds & to the cues their bodies are giving them.

Here's what I mean by taking it too personally. It is not healthy or wise for people to stay in race ready form ALL year long. Why not? It sounds appealing! Well, for one thing, you risk burnout.  The level of training we do for this sport with hours and hours  on the bike, miles upon miles of running and 100s of trips to the  pool can't be maintained 12 months of the year.  Our minds and bodies need a break!!!  We need to rest and recover and rejuvenate for the following season.
What happens during this period? We decondition. And that is OK! In fact, it's good. You don't need to turn into a sloth, but cut way way back and lose the schedule and the feeling of , " I have to do a 2 hr bike today. I can't miss it."
As a result, our run paces will slow, our power output fades and you likely will not swim your fastest 100 free during the off season.
Big deal!!! Right? After all... your next race is 8 months + away.  Relaaaaaaaax.
And, do not stress when you look at your garmin.
I can't tell you how many runs I did over the past several weeks that caused me to Laugh Out Loud when I looked down at that 'pace' square on my watch. Ha! Really??? My Heart rate was right in it's happy place of zone 2 but my running pace was about 1.5- 2 min off my norm. Seriously.
I felt heavy, and 'thick' ( not sure....just the word that was coming to my mind while out there), and uncoordinated on the road and in the water. The power readings on my bike caused me to call the SRM and garmin Help numbers to make sure the thing was calibrated.  No joke. It was fine. Darn.
Yes, that slow and that weak. Only 1 month after racing at Worlds out in Vegas.

During that time, I kept my cool. I wore the watches and uploaded the data. Did I worry? No. Ok.... I had occasional fleeting thoughts that went something like this: " Ange, you are about to turn 43. Maybe your day is done. Maybe you've seen your fastest years. Is this the beginning of that turn...??"  
Sure, I had those thoughts. However, pretty quickly I realized this. One doesn't Suddenly slow down and lose all their momentum.  I ran my fastest ever 10K in August. I took a bunch of down time in Sept and early Oct....so therefore, I am slower.  So Buck up, back off the 8p.m. cookies, and go run some more. And you know what? Starting last week, I began to feel a wee bit better.  Ah ha!!! It just took time. And patience. And consistency.  Now, when I look at my uploaded data, I see a nice rise in the graph. My HR is moderating and my pace is dropping.  Beautiful.  It took a while, but I'm coming back. Slowly but surely.

Faith. And Patience. And Consistent hard work. The numbers are just tools that allow us to track progress. Both the ups and downs. When used properly, it can be fun to see.

But first-- you Must be able to strip those gadgets off and feel the raw effects of the workout and identify what that is like. After all, that is really what it is about. Moving your body across the land and through the water ( if we're talking Triathlon) as quickly and efficiently as you can. So... stop and FEEL that for yourself without the computer telling you all about it.
And second, you must be able to record the numbers with an objective frame of mind knowing that the information is a tool that is used to plan your program and watch your progress.

That post got way too long! Enough is enough!
Get out there and train and eat a whole bunch of Turkey!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!!  Count your blessings!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Step by step

by step by step by step....

And then, one day, when you might not expect it,  you will  feel good.  Ahhh......

I started 'training' again last month.  I didn't take too much time off for my off-season ( another post on this one later...) but my running sure did take a hit. I think when you combine taper with the 3-4 weeks off/ recovery period, you can't expect anything else but a decline in speed and that wonderful feeling of lightness when you run.

It's ok with me. I am not really a patient person in general. This is something I strive to work on in life. And yet somehow, I am totally patient with this process.  It happens every year and eventually, it all comes together. It's important to take a break, to the the body chill and heal and to start fresh again. You aren't really starting fresh after all. If you've been running for years and years and years as I have, you don't Lose that aerobic base and endurance. You just lose your feel. You're no longer sharp and fresh.  You may have gained a few pounds. So what!  Just be patient. Be consistent.  Relax. Go slow. And then go slow again, and again, and again.  Get your sleep. Eat your veggies.  Drink water.

And then one day, you will feel good again. Promise.

Today was my day. The circles under my eyes that were dark and deep have finally started to lift. I was much kinder to myself this week and had a bit of an awakening. I cut myself some slack. It wasn't yet November and I realized, hey, this is just wrong. There is no reason for me to be in such a hole this time of year. It's not right Any time of year but certainly not right now. It's Fall. I have a long way to go.....

So I have been turning the light off a bit earlier and turning it on a bit later. After the first no alarm Saturday I can remember in a long time, I chilled with the boys for an hour, drank a few cups of coffee and then  headed out for a nice fairly long run. My HR monitor was on, but I never looked. My garmin was on the other wrist, and I never looked at that either. I just ran. No music. No watch.

It was cool and fresh. The roads were quiet. I was alone.  When I started, my legs were a bit heavy. I did a bit workout yesterday. I was expecting that. I just ignored and took light easy steps. I relaxed my shoulders. I thought about things....
I just ran.  That is it. I solved a few problems, I wrote a few other blog posts, I made a few lists, came up with some ideas... nothing taxing, nothing that I remember.

Around mile 6 or 7 I snapped alert. Hey! I'm really cookin'! I feel Good! I feel like.... me! I felt like myself!  I didn't need to look.. .I know my pace. I knew what I was running and I knew how it compared to last week.  That run last Saturday with my husband. The one when we finished and he asked our time ( a route we do ALL the time... ) and it was about 5 min slower than 'normal.' We laughed. I told him it was ok. He had succumbed to 'my' pace that day.

I started imagining scenarios. Races. I do that.. it's a secret. Shhh....
I fast forward to races I have coming up. Maybe the race is in a week.. maybe it's 8 months away. It doesnt' matter. I go there. I feel it. I create my finish line. I visualize the clock and what I will do. I write the story myself. I might even tear up thinking of the moment I pass her. It's what I do... I let myself dream it and then I work, day after day, to make it real.

Running.  There is nothing else like it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I should have listened

My alarm buzzed at 4:06 a.m. today. After realizing that I actually planned that most annoying noise to yell at me at that hour, I wavered. Usually, I am UP. It hurts... but I am a robot and just Go. I don't think. My pile of sweats lays at the end of my bed on the floor, easy to grab without effort.  Not today. Today, I thought twice. Instead of changing instantly, I walked into the bathroom. I had a little pep talk, came back out and got dressed instead of crawling back in bed.
Onward. I "need" to swim at least 3x week in order to make any gains. I've been swimming my entire life and because of that, it takes more than two 3000yd or so workouts for me to see any progress. My progress is always quite minute but it is progress nonetheless.

I hit up the coffee maker, grabbed my back, my post- swim snack and drove away.

Five minutes into my ride ( ~40 min ) I was proud of myself and happy I went. I was awake and writing a good swim workout in my head.  10 x200 today. That was my plan.  I was ready to rip 'em out and end the week feeling good.  ( Well... I still, as we speak, have another doozie of a workout ahead of me so I wasn't really ending my week. More like, starting the weekend on a good note. )

Five minutes after that, in the middle of some song I remember enjoying, I felt it. The car was shaking.
Huh? It's a new car. It rides smoooooooooooth. Something was up.
I turned off the radio. Put down my coffee.

damndoubledamn. I know that feeling.  I've felt it before......

Now... I live in a Very remote area.  I often think about my car breaking down on this ride and therefore, keep my cell phone ON and in my lap while driving. In the winter, I keep a warm down coat, boots, mittens, and hat in my backseat- just in case.

The first 1/2 of my ride is a dark dark dark wooded road. Not a single street light ( ok , a few when I go by Hebron Academy) and not a single place to stop, safely. No shoulders on the roads either. It's just dark and quiet. I love that I am usually the ONLY car out there because it's a nice way to start the day. Just me, the stars ( maybe), my coffee and some tunes.

But it's not so great when the car starts shaking.  LUCKILY I was basically AT the halfway point of my ride and just about at a corner with THE only store. And a light. PHEW!
I pulled in and got out. I knew it, a flat tire.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.  Yes, I swore. I almost cried. And then thought.. what do I do?
It hadn't been shaking too much... I decided to drive home. I'd just go slow. I'll be there in 10-15 min, go back to bed, and deal with it after. How bad could that be???
I started back. I drove all of 10 sec, maybe. The car was NOT going to tolerate this. It was worse and absolutely not able to be driven.
I went back and parked. And called mark's cell. nothin'. Home. Nothin' huh...

I called. They had a place 6 miles away. Good! how long can that take?
Turns out, a long time when the station TURNS DOWN the call.  They wouldn't come!
I got up at 4:06. It was now 5:20 and I got a 2nd call from AAA saying they had to call another place and it would be 30 more min.
I was not happy.

Anyway...... you get the jist of my day thus far. I finally got home. I crawled in bed for 25 min.  I 'm not sure why. I was wide awake. I had already had a mug of coffee. I was wired and bummed out.  The kids were up.  It just made me feel a little better.

I knew this before, but today I really felt it.... Getting up at 4:00 just because and getting up at 4:00 to workout does NOT leave you feeling the same way.  In other words, I feel like I got run over by a truck. Usually, I run in the door at 6:30 after my swim days and feel ready to rock.  I always feel ready for bed at night after a 4:00 start but now, it's 9:40 and I feel ready for bed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

4.6, IM and 20 years strong

Two minutes after sitting down at the table for dinner last night... the house shook.  
Truly... it shook.  I have never experienced an earthquake in my life. After all, we live in Maine! Our weather is pretty tame. We are mostly spared by huge natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes.  So... a 4.6  earthquake took Us by surprise! It was strange.  
I was putting my first bite of food to my mouth when a Loud rumble started. Mark's water glass was shaking. The two of us just looked at each other with wide eyes as if saying to each other without words, "WHAT THE  &*(^* ???"   My mind went to the furnace. And our pellet boiler. Or.. ? SOMETHING down in the basement was blowing up. I was sure of it. Either that or a huge truck was running into something next to our house.  One of my boys made a wimper of panic. He was scared. I am not sure, but I think it lasted about 10 seconds? Not long. But long enough to be alarming. I think there were 3 distinct rumbles.  It was loud. Mark and I ran downstairs and started searching for evidence of a problem. Smoke? Fire? Anything?? Nothing. 
That was the first time it crossed our minds.. earthquake?? Here? 
So what does someone do here in 2012? I admit, first I did say, "Call your parents."  ( They live 1/2 mile up the road from us.) I did have a small moment of 'old fashion' communication/ inquiry there. 
But the next second, I grabbed my ipad and checked facebook. I was ready to ask if others in our town felt anything. I was late to the game. It appeared that nearly all my other friends had already posted, "Earthquake" on their page. 
Ok- that's it! Strange... apparently it was felt in Vermont, NH, NY, and MA.  But the epicenter was about an hour from where I live.
That is that! My first earthquake.  


I was up early today and in the water by 4:55. Geez... I am not sure if I am proud of myself for these mornings or if I'm slowly coming to grips with how crazy I am.  
Regardless.. I was in the water and excited for the workout. 
IM day!!!!  Blast from the past! I was an IMer  ( fly, back, breaststroke, free in one race)  and butterflier back in the day. I swam both ALL the time in practice. I could do fly for  nearly the whole workout without thinking twice. Not anymore... 99.9% of the time I swim free these days. After all, my days of racing 200fly and 200IM are long gone. Triathlon is all freestyle so, that is what I swim.  Except for the occasional backstroke during warm up and warm down. 

Yet today was 6 x 200IM!! oooeee!!!  Bring it!

That is one way to get the HR up and boost your cardiovascular fitness!!! Do something you never do and do it hard! Wow, it was hard. But I am proud to say, I did all 300 yards of fly with no 'scooter.' ( aka- 1 arm fly. we called it scooter in HS. I'm not sure why.)  I had fun with this set.  

I will definitely be mixing more 'strokes' into my weekly swimming now.  

Finally, 20 years ago this past spring, I graduated from College at UVM. 
TWENTY??? sigh.. yes, twenty. 

On Friday, I'll travel to Ohio to spend the weekend with 4 women who are truly the best girlfriends anyone could have.  They were my roommates, my co-swim team friends and captains and my partners in crime. :)  We rarely see each other. We rarely talk. But when we do, it is as if not a day has gone by since we were living together back in our Carriage house on South Union Street.  These friends are the real deal. We have each other's backs. We listen. We care. I know, without hesitation, that if I needed anything, they'd be there.  I truly cherish these rare  friendships and I can not WAIT to spend a few days with them.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Week 2

I've decided to try a new approach.    I have run out of time in my days lately.  I now have a full time job that    feels  squished into half time hours ( school days have shortened lately ), I'm Mom to 3 busy busy boys and I also make time to train myself.   As a result, I am having  trouble sitting to write lengthy well thought out blog posts!!!  I hope to find time for that some more as time rolls along. But for now, I am trying to turn over  a new leaf to write short & frequent posts instead.  Sometimes that's a good  approach to follow with training!! Lots of short & easy runs... that's how I plan to blog for a bit.

I'm at the end of week 2 of my new training season.  And, I'm happy to say, things are getting just a wee bit better.  Other than my painful and mysterious calf incident last week, things weren't bad per se, but they sure weren't good.  

Let's talk about that for a minute though.
Good. What is good?? Oh no.. I'm digging myself a hole for a long post here. And I can't do that. It's 7:38 and I have until 7:45 to do this.

I'll have to come back to this because it is important and it's the theme of the month with my athletes it seems.

In short... it is muy importante that you take time off at the end of a season. I feel this VERY strongly. For many many reasons.  Your mind, your body, your family.... your mind.. did I say that already?  Take a Break folks!!!  It's OK and it's OK to get out of shape.  The Goal is to decondition!! It feels strange and sloppy and sometimes quite bad to those of us who strive to be fit and ready to rock at the drop of a hat. But in reality, you can't do that. You can't stay in perfect racing shape all year. Why not? For one thing, if you do, when the big race arrives next July for example, you will be flat.  The goal isn't to be race ready now but to be race ready then. 

In other words.. Patience everyone! Patience.

3 minutes left!!!

My first few swims were slooooooooooow. But more than that, they were sloppy. My arms were moving in strange directions. I have no idea what was going on under the water but a strong effective stroke was not how it would be described.
That's ok. I've been here before.
How to handle it?
Go back to the pool another day. And then another. And then another. And.. you get the point.

Today, I swam for the 3rd time this week. No big deal. Except, I haven't done that since... Early September??

It's slowly clicking.  I cant' take a lot of time off my swim splits anymore. I've been at it too long and I'm on that end of the age curve. But I can maintain and here and there, I pull out some long lost speed.  The 200s I swam 3 weeks ago were just a bit off. :) That's a nice way to put it. last week, not as bad. Today, I did 5.  The first one, at a moderate-easy effort, was decent. The time was faster than the best times 2 weeks ago. Ahh.. Keep in mind, we're talking about 4 seconds.  That's all I get these days. But #5, that was better. Of course, I was working my tail off. I was pushing and focusing on the underwater pull, kicking off the walls ( doesn't  always happen. Hope my old swim coaches aren't reading. ) , Not breathing off the walls ( again, don't tell the old coaches!) , and pushing that 3rd 50 that always seems to be the worst. And, hey! I dropped down to my in-season 'decent' time. Not even with my best times... but my good times.  There.  And again, that's 8-10 sec between my worst 200 a few weeks ago and today's good one.
Not a lot of time. But that's all I got.

I will go back to the pool Monday. And Wed. And Friday. And then again, the next week. No matter what. I will run and bike and run and bike and lift and stretch and roll and massage.

If I keep it up, in a few more weeks I might even drop 2-3 more seconds! :)

patience.... one of the keys to success.....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Oh How I've missed that feeling!!!!

I really needed a break after my last hoorah out in steamy Vegas. I was done mentally and physically.  I am not one who dreads the post- season time off like so many. I need that time. I love having an undefined period of time when I can get up in the morning, shower, get dressed and go through my busy day without figuring out how to fit in the run I must do. I enjoy deciding after 6-7 days that I want to go for a run or a swim ( notice I am not saying bike) so I just go. I don't wear a watch. I don't decide before I leave home how long I will run or even what road I will take. I just go. I look around. I go slow. And, I don't care.  I enjoy staying up a bit too late on a Tuesday because I don't need to set my alarm for 4:04 a.m. on Wednesday. Instead, I get to sleep in 'til 6:15.  ( funny how life changes as we get older huh? Sleeping late is now in the 6:xx hour on weekdays.)  I will stay up and watch a fav show with Mark or just mess around online or read some magazines. I enjoy that time!!!

But suddenly, without warning, or planning, it ends.

I STOP enjoying that feeling. Because instead, I start to feel, nothing.  No fatigue. No soreness. Just.. nothing.

I get a little restless. I start to feel lazy and ... weak. I slowly but surely move out of the 'I have been training   so hard for months I need a break' Ange to ' I think I've sat on my butt long enough I need to MOVE' Ange.  

I said to Mark one day,  I miss that feeling. I miss walking up the stairs and feeling my legs ache when I get to the top. I miss that whole body fatigue and eye burn because I rode my bike for 80 miles that day.

He just looked at me.  He knows by now. And, thankfully, he just accepts me.

Anyway.. it's BACK! My achy feeling is back. :) With a few unwanted pains I must admit.

Training kicked off a couple weeks ago. Slowly but surely I'm making my way back to the land of the wiped out Triathlete and I love it!!!  Swimming is slow and sloppy but this week, less so than last week. I had a super hard workout this morning that left me breathing heavy at the walls with my arms feeling heavy. I LOVED IT!!!!  There's no better way to start the day really.  I rode for 3 hours outside yesterday in very chilly Fall air but now, my quads are tired and I feel alive again!!!  Ahhh... It's all part of the cycle.  Work hard, rest & recovery, work hard again. Repeat. Over and over. Keep your head down and focus on the day to day details and jobs at hand and the big stuff will work it's way out when you get there. IF.. you stay focused and persistent with the details.  slightly off tangent there...

That leads me to my story about my 1 achy pain that is not welcome.  My calf. Details... I guess I was complacent and overlooked a few details that do matter.  Hard to know for sure but.. .I do have tight calves.
And finally, it came back to bite me.

Last Wed I was out for a relaxed 60 min run. It was slow and easy.  I was on the roads I always run... very hilly.  But again.. that's my norm. The weather was mild.. ~60F with some pretty heavy rain by the end. No worries. I love rainy runs.
So, about 3/4 mile from home , without warning ( ok, maybe a SLIGHT twinge 2 -5 sec before) my right calf SEIZED!!!!!   Oh it was bad. It was not a cramp cramp.. it was a painful baseball rock that formed in there. OUCH!! It hurt me SO so so much. There I was. Pouring rain, NOT that close to home, and on the clock to get my kids.  Damndoubledamn. 
I stepped out of the road and rubbed that knot as much as I could handle it. It hurt to touch. I couldn't even step on my leg. I really wasnt' sure what to do at that moment let alone what damage had just happened.  Alright... long story short, I got home. It hurt and I limped but I got there. I iced and stretched and rubbed. I was secretly a bit happy my son's away soccer game was cancelled because driving 90 min right then with that leg didnt' seem so comfortable or wise.  I limped around for a few days. It improved, but only a bit. And, no more running.
Until, today. Today I will try. It no longer hurts to walk or to rub or to go downstairs. I think it's safe to say I escaped something that could have been a lot worse. I guess I'll really know after I try to run today.

But... WHY??? Why did this happen??  I truly don't think I was dehydrated. I always drink a ton of water. I hadn't been completing any other long or hard workouts. (just started back... ) I am in Maine, in the Fall. It's not hot.  Hmm...??  Guesses?
All I know is that my calves are notoriously tight. I will and Have started rolling and massaging Diligently EVERYSINGLEDAY now. No matter what.

And that is that!!! The feeling is back and I love it.

Now.. to get back to this feeling... the Ironman Finish line joy.  That's my plan and I can't wait.

Monday, September 17, 2012

One more burst...

I did something on Saturday that wasn't necessarily the smartest athlete move but it certainly feels like it was the best thing for me.

Saturday was the annual Lobsterman Tri in Freeport, Maine. I do love the race. I've done it a number of times. Not last year, because I was getting ready for Kona. And this year, it wasn't on the plan because it was only 6 days after the Vegas race.  My husband Mark, however, does it each year without fail. My brother and sister in-law often do it and lots of friends too because it's basically the last Tri of the season here in Maine. ( it was in the 30s here last night..... time to get out of the open water!)
Also... In a way, I grew up in Freeport.  I didnt' live there but my Grandparents did, my parents do now, we have a cottage on the point across the way from where the race is held. The venue is gorgeous being right on the ocean. There's really no better place for a race in Maine.  You get the point, I hate to miss it. However, I was prepared to spectate and cheer for Mark this year.
But then.. my brother Jeff had a great idea! Let's RELAY it!!! YES! I honestly didn't hesitate. It was his 40th Birthday that day and for his own personal reasons, doing the whole SBR wasn't in his cards.  He asked our friend Paige to swim ( great swimmer ) , Jeff would bike and he wanted me to run.
Ok... well... hmm... 6 days post a Half Ironman. Yikes. I knew it wasn't ideal. Or Smart.  As hard as it sometimes is, I DO appreciate and respect the need for rest and recovery post- long endurance race.
Nah.. I'll do it! What a great way to help my little bro ring in his 40s with my parents there, my kids, Mark on the course, I thought it sounded like fun.

Race day came and while I could walk just fine by Wed, there was still loads of fatigue in my legs.  When I jogged to warm up, well, it wasn't pretty.  No light and fresh race day feeling for me!
That's ok.. I would the best I could.

Paige had a good swim and handed the chip to Jeff.
Jeff Rocked his bike and came in several minutes off his PR for that course and ahead of when I expected him.
My turn.

As soon as I hit the race course, something happened.

I had another chance. This was my official last chance to end 2012 racing on the note I wanted to end on. My race in Vegas was fine.  Sure. The times were quite a bit off my norm and certainly off what I hoped to do. I knew half way into that race to flip the  garmin around and not worry about it. I didn't realize nearly everyone was slower than normal but I did know the field was suffering. I knew after to keep it all in perspective. I am mostly happy with my 11th place finish at a big World Championship event. (The sting is the fact that girls #9 & #10 were RIGHT there within a min or two.... that bugs me... )   I walked away from that day knowing I gave me all I had, that day. I know in my head that 107+ degree heat for someone from New England, is simply, very tough.  And that is that. I was sucked dry and as a result...

I could NOT run hard!!!!  

THAT is what was bugging me. I wanted to RACE that run and push myself out of my own skin. That is how I race 70.3 races. I am running my heart out. I don't pace.. I don't hold back... I am racing hard.
On 9/9, in Vegas, I wasn't doing that. I was strong and steady and proud of that, but I was not racing with the push that I usually have.

So... when I hit that course on Saturday, despite my fatigued legs all body from the week before, lightning zipped through me and I took off.

I was a woman on a mission. I ran my heart out. Did I PR a 10K? No.. but I am really happy with what I did.  I pushed beyond what I thought I could do that day. In fact, around mile 1.5-2 my quad started to seize. The tired legs were there but I had pushed that so so far back in my brain that I didn't notice. But my left leg was rebelling. I was still moving 'fast' but I was limping. The pain was intensifying and the muscle was growing tighter and tighter. I wondered what would happen.. if I'd be forced to back way off and even walk. I tried to ignore it and magically, it loosened enough to hammer on.
Mile 4 is my favorite with a 6:07 split! I was psyched!!
I chased down anyone in front of me ( I DID have the R on my leg for the relay so it wasn't the same as really chasing them down but it was a game I was playing in my head.)
I wanted revenge.. revenge on that run last week. I needed to get out there, run my a-- off and prove to myself that yes, I can in fact, Still run hard and fast.  I got through that 10K in 42:20 and feel so so happy and like I redeemed myself a bit. In my own head... it just made me feel good. I was pushing hard and running out of my comfort zone for that day.  Just as a race should be...
THANK YOU Jeff for getting us on that relay!!! It was JUST what I needed.

Now.. I really rest....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ironman 70.3 World Championships 2012--

What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas. Isn't that what they say? I'd like this one to stay there please.

I was naive going into this race. I was level headed
and calm. The stories of heat and hills didn't worry me.  Why not? I can't answer that. I rationalized that the dry air vs humid air we have here in the Northeast and that I've dealt with twice in Kona is much worse so the desert heat would be tolerable.
Yeah, right.

Mark and I travelled alone and arrived Thursday night around 6:00. When we walked outside from the airport, it hit me in the face. HEAT! It truly felt like an oven door had opened and I was thrown in. We got in the car and it read 99. Ok..I'll get used to it in a few days.

Friday and Saturday were typical pre- race days.  I was really happy to have some Maine / NE friends there with me!!  Two TriMoxie Athletes ( Marisa and Tammy ) earmed spots to race at the Mooseman 70.3 in June so they were there and our good friends Mary Lou Lowrie and Nat Steele were there too!!  MaryLou raced there last year so they had some great advice and tips for us.  I really enjoyed everyone's company and support those two days.  The weekend was definitely fun because they were there.

Let's get to the race.
Up and at 'em at 3:40 and into the transition area for final preparations. Nat followed us down bright and early and got our tires pumped. (Thanks Nat!!!!! ) I was so relieved about that.. I am uneasy pumping my disc so this was comforting to have his caring hands on the rig before I hit the roads.
One snaffu....  my garmin was frozen. It turned on, but never left the garmin welcome page.  Hmm...
I wandered around trying to see if a new spot would activate it. nothing. I looked for Nat. He was gone. So... I had a chat with myself.  And actually, I was fine. I was completey calm about it. No power. Ok... Ange, you can ride your bike. Go out and just do what you know how to do. I know what it supposed to feel like. I know what to avoid and what to aim for by feel. I truly didn't really care!!! I was mostly annoyed that I wouldn't have the computer to tell me what mile I was on. THAT helps me. I plan fueling and aid stations and count down to the run.  But, it would be fine.  I was truly 100% ok with it.

I was heading back to T1 to snap it on the bike anyway when I saw Tammy's husband, Mike.  I said Hi and then remembered...HE is a computer whiz!  Suddenly, I cared again.  And, he fixed it. :)  Almost. It was completely reset and all data from the past erased. That's ok. The main thing is that it wasn't synced to my SRM so I would have to do that when I hit the course.


I got ready to go. We were lined up in order of waves ( I was #8) and let into the water with 5 min to go. The wave ahead would go... we'd line up at the in water start and then go from there...
Mark had a great view on the bridge of the hotel overlooking the swim course. Here we are lined up and ready....

Corralled for the swim start 
that's me waving.... feeling nervous for sure... but ready to go


I didn't know I was being watched with a zoom lens.... 

Focusing... or.... wondering if I REALLY had to get into that brown water.... 

Time to dive in and line up... this photo doesn't show it but the water is Brown... it's not  good. It smelled and was full of dirt and who knows what else....  I hesitated here before taking the plunge... 

40-44 women at the start 
And we're OFF!! That's my left arm right under the flag. 

that's me in the middle... my right arm is in the air...
Hi Mark!!
looking off the bridge at part of the swim course
 the swim course

THIS photo shows the water color a bit more.. That's my trying to pass someone from an earlier wave. You couldn't see anyone until you were ON them... there was zero visibility in the water.

The swim: 

I took off in the front of the pack and pushed really hard... I felt good. My body responded well and things were great. I was up front with another girl and worked to stay with her. I breathed on both sides here and there to attempt to find my position in the pack. I couldn't see very much. Besides the fact that the water was brown and smelly ( yes, it smelled ), it was dark. It was truly impossible to see Anyone until you literally hit them. No bubbles.. nothing. So, I tried to look around a bit but it was useless.  I just swam hard and sighted the best I could.  I got kicked or punched, not sure which, in the mouth and thought about how a fat lip would look. I forgot about that quickly but my lip is still sore.  The swim is always a bit of a punching match.  But after a few minutes I was alone. Again.  I had clear water 95% of the time which is nothing to complain about.  My pool was closed the last 3 weeks of the season so I did nearly all my swimming in open water. I felt natural out there because of it but wished I'd had more opportunity to push the speed. In the end, my swim was fine.  29:XX which is a min or two slow for me but who really knows. You never know what line you take, how it's measured, how the 83 degree water temp affects you, and so on... all courses are different so as long as I was under :30 and in the lead pack, I was fine. It's a long day and this was just the start. 
I struggled to get up the ramp at the finish because it went from Nothing to the edge which was way up in the water.. you had to climb up on it.  Oh well.
The run to T1 is Long!! I had a knack for choose long T1 runs this summer.  Mont Tremblant, Rev3 and now this. I gathered myself and got ready for the ride. The ride...that's the part that I stress about every time.  No looking back now.. time to ride. 
I took time to get arm coolers on and was out pretty fast after that. Again, another LONG run UP a steep hill with switch backs to the mount line. I was stuck behind 3 people who were basically Walking?! I finally  worked my way around them and ran out.
Good... let's go. 
you start UP a hill... for about a mile? Mark and Nat were on the side of the road and I yelled Hi.  They're awesome. Love those 2 out on the course together. They end up everywhere and are always so loud and supportive and it's just comforting to see friendly faces.  

I guess it was good to climb for a bit because I could mess w/ the darn garmin. I had to toggle through all sorts of pages/ settings etc to have it Search for my power and then had to reset the view so I could see the power instead of "Time of day" or "accuracy." Grr... WHY did it stop working on RACE day??? It worked fine the day before!! 
Finally, it was set. Though it wasn't correctly set to 'me' with my settings. Oh well... I had my distance, cadence, and power. I was fine. 

So.. off I rode.  In and around some loops to get us in the other direction and headed towards Lake Mead National park.  Uncharted territory.  

I was happy. Feeling good. I did have a cramp in my right side. Hmm... I ignored it. 
At the beginning of this ride, we go down...... and we go fast. As we entered the park, the terrain engulfed me. The mountains are massive. For as far as you can see it's the red rocks of the desert. I am not sure I can describe it and I have no photos because, well, I was riding and there are no spectators there. All I could think of was that it felt like a Ride at Disney's epcot center. You know those 'rides' that make you feel like you're flying through some landscape of the earth? It felt like that. I loved it. 

And then.... boom. The road turned and the descent was done. Time to climb... and climb... and climb... and climb. 
Did we Ever get to go down again? Not really. Maybe a little. There was NO point where we could just cruise and ride. It was the slowwwwwest ride of  my life. The temps were climbing  and there we were. OUt in the desert.  The park was open to the public for recreation and trucks w/ boats on trailers were flying by us with no regard. I was scared more than once.  Really? For this World Championship event they couldn't cut us a little slack for a few hours?  

I didn't feel bad... but I also didn't feel great. I just felt ...there. I was there. I was drinking a lot. One thing the Dry air did is cause my mouth to just feel parched constantly. I felt like all the fluid was being sucked out of my body. My lips were cracking... my eyes were stinging.  I was completely on top of taking salt, and gels and drinking loads of fluids.  

But when I saw the 28 mi mark on my computer and looked at the time... I swore. are you kidding me???? 

Can we please stop climbing so I can RIDE THIS BIKE FAST!!!????    
I was getting a bit grouchy... and then apathetic.... and then mad... and then apathetic.. and then I'd rally and see what I could make up and then I'd become resigned to the fact that this was NOT going to be a good bike split. 
was it just me? or... is everyone going slower than normal??
Finally... we were out of the park that wooed me 45 miles earlier. I wanted out. We were on our way to T2 which was in a different location than T1.  As a result, what went up didn't necessarily go down and the  elevation gain was in fact more.  Probably not by much but still.  Later, I was also reminded about the altitude compared with home. Ok... good to know that was another factor. And, of course, the heat. My garmin recorded a high of 97 on that part of the day. Just getting started.  

The last few miles were strange. I just couldn't move fast. I felt fine but I wasn't going fast... power was low and well... blah. I rode into T2 and was happily surprised to see Mark and Nat again.  Again, they lifted my spirits.  

They took my bike and yikes.... the body was trashed. My lower back had been hurting during most of the ride and when I got off, that + my legs both hollered NOPE! NO running for you!! great.

I went into the tent and regrouped. I got a bunch of ice into my shirt and started to head out.. and get this. That garmin read: Low battery. WHAT???  It was fully charged when I dropped the bag off. I am guessing it got bumped in the process and ran low. Luckily, I guess, it did work through the whole run. 

I took off from the tent and yay! I could in fact run. I was ok!! I ran out with a girl in all back whose bib read: Amy. She was FLYING!! I mean, Flying.  I even said something to her because I was so impressed and expected to see her disappear. And, she did. temporarily. 

It's a strange run course. You start down hill, turn back about a mile later and head up hill for 2 miles, back down for 2, up for 2... three times. Something like that. It winds around here and there. Some parts are worse than others. At one point you run around the amphitheater near the finish on concrete and it's Scorching hot on that surface and SO bright.

The run went something like this.... 

I felt good at first. I was surprised.  I knew I had 3 loops so I made a plan. I'd run the first loop and get my legs in run mode, get cooled off, start with calories and see how I was doing. Loop 2 would be hard, the middle miles always are. So I would concentrate and focus and work on digging deep. This would be the fight.  Loop 3.. .bring it home. Give it all I had and get in there.  The big picture plan was to start picking off the girls that had passed me on the bike. I wanted it back. 

It started out just like that.  First, I started passing some men. Tall skinny fast-looking men that I KNOW had passed me on the bike. It always happens.  byebye... :)  Mark and Nat were standing on the road at the beginning of the loops so I saw them a lot.  I smiled some, told them I was hot, told them it was kicking my a--, and tried to find out how Marisa and Tammy were. I had been seeing MaryLou so I knew she was ok.  

Up the first section and time to go down... yay! Down hill running.. .time to go fast. 
Um.. Legs? Let's GO! Instead.. I felt like I was running in molasses.  sigh... 
This must be at the beginning...

I just persevered and hoped it would get better.  Instead, it got hot. Very very very hot. Hotter than anything I've ever felt. No, it wasn't humid. But the heat and sun were So incredible intense.  Turns out, it was107 degrees. I have never run in air like that in my life.  It sucks you dry.  

I stopped and walked at every aid station. I was very aware of keeping myself cool and hydrated. For performance and for safety.  I put ice where I could and carried it in my hands, I dumped water on myback on my head and drank some, and I drank perform every single time. I popped salts too.  Over and over and over.   

My running was ok. It wasn't fast, but it was good. I was very very steady and felt quite strong. I felt in control. Again.. I couldn't turn on my speed like I like to in the run. I usually run So hard in these half ironmans but that day, I knew I had to just stay consistent so I could survive in the heat. 

I'm not sure exactly where, but around mile 5, I passed fast Amy! Ha! I was psyched. I passed a few more ladies in my group as well.  Our ages were nearly all worn off so I was going by memory and gut feeling.  I was definitely passing a lot of people who were shuffling along. The whole field was wearing down in the sun.   So while I was slow, I felt like I was holding on stronger than many.  


I wonder now if I was too careful? Was I too conservative with it? Did I really need to take so much time cooling? At the time, I do think it's what I needed.  I kept with my plan too. I ran every single mile, I ran up all the hills and I pushed harder on the way down. But boy... those stops added up.  Around mile 8 I moved to coke. I wasn't miserable with the perform, in fact, it tasted pretty good. But, I thought it might give me an extra burst. Unfortunately, I got to the next mile and they were out. Out of ice. Out of coke. Next station.. same... grrr...
Mile 10 came along and without warning, or change in effort, my heart started racing. Things got a little blurry and I felt sick.  oh oh..
An aid station was within 1/2 mi so I got myself there and did the whole cooling thing again. It helped.
Alright Ange,   5k. Bring it in.
I ran as hard as I could at that time. It wasn't fast but again, I was moving. My pace was hugely decreased by all my stops but it was what had to happen in those temperatures. It was an inferno. It was intense and absolutely burning hot air.  This Maine girl, with 3 kids who need her, had raced a smart and careful race in that heat and I had to respect myself for that. I had to cut myself some slack for the results.

I was finally left with 1 mile to go and I pushed so hard.  I had a feeling I saw 2 ladies my age JUST up ahead but I couldn't quite get them. If only... if only I hadn't slowed for all that ice. No Ange...don't go there. I had to get that out of my head. I did what I had to do at the time. I did the best I could at that time.

In the end, I was 11th in my age group. I've done 10 Half Ironmans if I am counting correctly.  My time was about the same as #1. Hmm...
I'm a much much stronger athlete now. So, that stings. And yet I know that if I did this course, in these temps  way back, that time would have been waaaaaaaaaaay slower.
I am frustrated that the conditions resulted in a bike and run time that I can't even really look at. And yet, I also appreciate that it wasn't just me. I spoke to many many others after the race and it was across the board. We all said the same thing.  This World Championship course in Vegas is Not a PR course.. it is tough. I think possibly, the toughest course I have ever done. Yes, the course is harder than Kona.  It had the feel of an Ironman.  A 140.6 mile Ironman... I can only speak for myself but my mind was on survival mode. It was all about staying strong and steady and tough.  Fast racing had to take 2nd fiddle that day.  It wasn't meant to be.  I wish I could walk away from it feeling 100% satisfied and psyched to end the season that way.  Instead, I feel accomplished and proud to have held on. I am being forced to think of this race with my head rather than my heart. My heart wanted more. I think I had more. I know I let myself off the hook here and there while on the course because I knew I couldn't win against those elements. I backed off in order to be smart and safe.  I guess that means I'm growing up a little? Or, did I weaken? No.. .I am not weakening.  I learned a few lessons and I conquered something new and harder than ever before.  Days like that drain me. Some of my love for racing  was sucked out of me that day. I felt powerless when I couldn't fight back even though I wanted to.  It confused me and has left me wondering... what's next?

As each day passes, I feel myself being pulled just a bit back in the right direction. The direction I am familar with.  I need a break right now but I am not done yet. I have a bit more fight left in here and that's what I intend to do.

Sunday humbled me.  I've had a number of great races over the past couple years and I guess in some ways I was due for a wake up call.

It was what it was. Not my fastest and not perfectly executed but I know I was strong mentally and somewhat physically that day so I have to walk away with my head up.

I have the greatest family... and this is what matters most.  thanks Cameron, Tommy & Nick 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Race Report! REV3 Old Orchard Beach, Maine! Remember the waves!!! And I'm not talking about the Ocean!

Rev3 came to Maine last weekend and we had a superb day for the big race.  Look at this photo....

 You can't beat it!  This  gorgeous sunrise on the beach was taken at the start of our race. Maine truly is the best place to live.

My day started in another awesome location... our little secret island on the lake.  There's Tommy on the dock.. you can see a glimpse of our camp up the stairs.  ( just a random note, those stairs are NOT so fun post- race or post-workout for that matter. ouch) Anyway.. I'm mentioning this because on our lovely little island hideaway, we live without electricity.
Don't worry... we have lights. But they aren't bright and there aren't many. When it's dark, it's dark. My day started at 3:20 a.m. Yup... that might be a record for race day start even with my Ironman races. The first wave went off at 6:15 so we had to get movin' nice and early. Ouch. The fun part wasn't just getting myself out the door with 1 dim gas lamp it was Boating my way across the lake on this big old party boat!! ( that's Mark and my Mom some other day.. in the light!) It was pitch black, I had a flash light and a little lantern and off I went. I know my way, I know where the other boats are moored, but docking was a disaster. It took me 4-5 attempts with lots of swearing ( quietly..shh...it's only 3:45 a.m.....) and frustration wishing I had just made Mark drive me over and dump me off on the dock. Oh well.. I made it eventually.  Now on with the race. ( I was just pretty proud of myself for making it out of there that way and that early!)

 I was pretty excited to race on Sunday. It had been a long time. I raced a small race in July here in the town I live in. It was fun but it was small. Rev3 drew a huge crowd and the field was potentially full of great competition. I had Tons of friends racing and we had Lots of TriMoxie Athletes on the course too. The day was pretty exciting actually.  To see a production set up like that here in Maine was great. Finally!!  The pro field was deep too. Karen Smyers, Becky Lavalle, and our own Mike Ciazzo were just a few that were there.  The Half Ironman ( ok, It's not IRONman because it was Rev3 but you know what I mean... ) race went first.  Their waves were earrrrrly. I watched and warmed up in the WARM ocean. Yes, warm. Maine waters are warm right now and the temp was about 68. Lovely. That may not sound warm but trust me, it is for us!! It felt great. The sea was calm and clear and the sun was rising. Perfect. My parents were there, my brother's kids, my best buds Mary & Alina and while Mark & my guys couldn't make it ( soccer) I was not alone.

Finally.. My turn! I was nervous and yet in control. I was ready to get out there and fight for it. To race hard and see how my fitness is shaping up. I'm gearing up for Vegas in two weeks and this race was all about moving fast & staying sharp.

I lined up at the edge of the water with men around me ( mixed wave) and OFF we went. I dove 3x into the small waves, climbed up and over a few swells.
I felt strong and comfortable. I pushed hard and yet stayed in control. ( kind of need to work on NOT staying in control on this... I need to swim with others more... not sure how..)  I saw 1 girl take off next to me. Hmm.. who is this? I worked to stay on her feet and did stay pretty close but she was ahead. I was ok with it because I could see her the whole way...she was close. And, I felt confident about my bike and run. The race was just beginning.
Into the shore and a wave flipped me in and pushed me onto the sand. It was fun actually. I love the ocean.
Up the beach, I tried to smile as my name was cheered but I was admittedly a bit disoriented and dizzy from the ocean.
The run to T1 was LONG! I hated it. It was Hot already and with the wetsuit at my waist, I was miserable. It measured 1/2 mile someone told me. Not sure if that was true but it was long. The hardest part was running on the road that far in barefeet. It was hard on the feet...
into T1 There she is! I knew she was close. I was in and out of transition fast, struggled with my shoes ( still perfecting the flying mount haha) and off I went. Eh.. I felt okaaay... but not great.  We were climbing up a mellow long gradual hill and I was semi-ticked because people raved about the Flat fast nature of this course. Nope. It wasn't flat. I lost sight of girl #1 and lost my umph to go after her. Temporarily.  I rode and rode and pushed as hard as I could but... I was alone. totally 100% by myself alone. Ick. It didn't feel like a race.  Eventually, a few super fast guys flew by. Oh yay! IT's a race! I'm racing!!! And then, they were gone too.  Ladedadeda.....
No.. I didn't really act like that. I was working  my tail off but I really did have to keep telling myself it was a race since I didn't see a single sole for about 14 miles.

The course did a lollipop so finally I was heading back to town and passing the others coming in my direction.  It was fun to look for my TriMoxie athletes racing.. I saw a few and yelled! I hit town, was feeling fast and excited to run and see what was next.

OFF to run! My favorite part! I felt good heading out of T2.  The best part? I found her. She was rightttt up ahead. 
I'm going to say.... 400 yards? I'm not sure but she was in my target range.  
I started running and started thinking. 
Alrighit Ange, what are you going to do? She's running hard. She really does look strong. Her stride is quick and she wants this. Do you? Yes. I do. Ok..can you get her? Or, will you die? What's going to happen? Are you going to take a risk here? You could just get 2nd. You have that wrapped up. No! I want this. I want the win!! It's mine this time. But how.. how do I do it? can I? 
I ran through mile 1 and felt awesome. It felt easy. I was way sub 6:30 and my HR / breathing were completely mellow. Don't get me wrong, I was working. But that work felt very manageable. She was still ahead. The gap had closed. I am not sure anyone but me couldn't notice that. But I felt it. I could feel that I was gaining on her 
Time to play games.
I decided to run with reserve for 3 miles. I'd hang on, stay right behind her, but keep my gas in the tank. I'd keep the turbo charge off ... and then at the end... I'd take over. 
that was plan A. 
So... I ran through mile 2.  I was keeping my pace even but... I got her. I closed the gap before I expected. Mile 2 ish came along and I cruised up next to her and casually said, "good job" and kept going by.... 

Well...that part was easy. But NOW what was going to happen? Was she going to follow??
I just kept looking forward ( never let them see ya sweat...) and pushed pretty hard. I took some water and gel at mi 3 and Gagged big time. I even had to stop for a second... I was coughing and choking... pathetic. I regrouped and made the turn around at 3.1 and there she was... on my heels.  
I felt strong and my head was still Focused. No way girl with the bathing suit tri kit this race is mine. I want to bring home the gold to the kids this time.  
The way back to town felt great. I ran hard and felt super. I saw friends and yelled or in my case when my breath was gone, I just did thumbs up back to them. ( I can never talk when I race... ) 

Mile 5... I felt confident. I was psyched. Yes! I'm taking this thing.. it's my day. 

And, then.... I did what I never do. I looked back!!! I wanted to know if I was 'safe.'
I was. She was out of sight.  I think I turned the gears down juuuuust a hair. Just a small bit.  I ran it in and ran strong but I saved a wee little bit in there knowing that my biggest day of the year is coming in a few weeks.  

Finish line! yes!  My day. I was pumped. Mary Miller ( pro triathlete from Maine ) was working at the finish and took my name and told me I was 1st age grouper. I was so pumped. The woman I beat finished and I went to her to say congrats.  Shortly thereafter.. another woman. 3rd place I just imagined... 
We talked too. OH! I knew her... Amanda Kourtz. Awesome athlete. We raced Lake placid a few yrs ago together. She told me I just beat her there. ( need to go look that up and remember...)  That was that! I smiled for Dad's camera. I chatted and celebrated with Mary. And, then I made plans to go cheer on our TriMoxie racers and my friends.  Just as I was walking away, Amanda stopped me again. She was super serious... "what wave were you in?" she asked me. ( oh oh... wave? oh oh.... I forgot about waves.. ummm....) I was in the wave ahead of her. ooohh..... how close to us did she finish after all???

Instead of going off to change, first I  checked the Rev3 computer scoreboard. Sure thing! 1st overall! yay!!!! sigh of relief. CLose one. I  knew she must have been close!  

Hours went by and the day was SO fun!!!!  All the TriMoxie athletes: Mike, Kim, Mike, Joanna, Kristin and Beth did amazingly well!!!! My friends had good days and I had a blast cheering for everyone.  

Later.. just before award time, I stood in line and checked the official results again. 
bubble burst... 2nd. 
She DID get me! By, only 1 minute.  ARGH! SO close!!!! If only... if only I'd known she was out there too. Never ever let your guard down Ange!!!!! Lesson learned!!!!! 
But I did find out this, and it took the sting away. Amanda is going pro. In fact, that win for her was crucial for her in order to get her Pro card. So, I am happy for her. She even complimented me by asking Mary if I was going Pro too. Mary grinned and informed her that I am actually turning 43 in several months so no, my time has passed. But it was a nice thought Amanda!! :) thanks!  
I wish her the best and when I looked up her splits... woah. She ran me down with a 37:5x 10k!!! Smokin'. Yes, she will do Well as a pro!!!  

And that is my story!!!! 
I raced the race and closed it out with a Strong run and I feel GREAT about that!!! I was sore and exhausted after so I know I gave it my all and what more can you ask for. Now.. I'm recovering and training and my head is spinning with nerves and excitement and the business that accompanies travelling across the country to a World Championship event. 

I can't wait.