Tri-ing in Central MA


I started tri-ing the summer of 2000, one year after my daughter was born. I figured I could do all the sports seperately, but could I do them all together? Well, did Danksin that year and there has been no looking back...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TDD Sprint - 19 Sept 09

After Timberman, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do another race...but there was quite a few planning on doing TDD, and I wanted one more time w/the gang. Due to managing an injury through training for Timberman, I had to stop running, so I convinced my son to be part of a relay team and run for me. That gave him ~3 weeks to train and get up to 3 miles...but he was game and did outstanding!

The TDD Triathlon is a memorial race for Tyrus, Dante, and Daniel Vescio, and a fundraiser for the UMass Memorial Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. So a very worthy cause. They let go three star balloons as a tribute to the triplets and a little boy sang the national anthem - he did awesome!

The race was in Douglas Ma, a few towns over from me, so very easy to get too and didn't mean I had to rouse the troops before 6:15 AM. We were all grumbling though when the time came!
We got to the race site around 7:00, parked, met up with Cake and Suzy and brought the stuff down to transition. The race venue is beautiful, but not set up well for a triathlon (more on this later). Grabbed our race packets got body marked and kept asking ourselves *why are we doing this again?* given that it was MAYBE 50 degrees, IN THE SUN! Dang it's going to be chilly. We met up with Beth, Eve, Lynn and Carlee...generally milled around and tried to stay warm.

The race went off late, but no one seemed to mind as we wanted it to warm up some more! It was a 1/4 mile swim, with (5) waves and a TON of first timers. The waves went off every (2) minutes and relays were in the last wave. Cake was in the last wave also and we couldn't believe the *mayhem* that was going on in front of us. Think mass start for the entire 1/4 mile. There were people everywhere and you couldn't find open water. GREAT! NOT! Needless to say, I never got into a rhythm, tried not to get kicked and swam as hard as I could to get out of the mess.

The timing matts were at the entrance to transition, so the swim time includes a run from the beach to the entrance. I hit my watch on the beach to get a realistic time, 5:50...uh, ok, no way was that 1/4 mile! Swim: 6:19

Into transition and Wyatt was waiting for me...trying to talk to me about the swim...asked if I needed help...dang it - I can't talk and breathe at the same time!! Decided to throw a long sleeve shirt on to cut down on being cold and couldn't get the dang thing down over my body...yeesh...I started laughing as I grabbed my bike and headed out - telling him thanks! T1 - 1:51

You had to ride over a sandy/gravelly road within the park before you got to the pavement (still within the park)...what a mess...I ran my bike out over the crappiest part and then got on. It was hard to get going and then once I did, I had to dodge all kinds of traffic as people had NO CLUE how to ride in a race. There were many a time that I was on the wrong side of the yellow line passing, and when I let them know I was passing on the "LEFT" they didn't move! This happened throuighout the bike part and got scary in places. The route was mostly rollers w/one steep hill around mile 8. I saw people walking their bikes on the smaller hills before mile 8 and thought, what the heck are you going to do later on??? There was never a time where I wasn't in a pack of people. Coming back into the park was nuts too, as you had runners coming at you on the right. Worst was when one of the runners who was on the return loop cut right in front of me and 4 other riders, to run on the left side of the road. He didn't even look and had been any closer, I would have clocked him ( I was doing ~20 mph)...I made some smart ass comment as I went by him, couldn't let that one go.

Had to dodge more bike traffic AND an ambulance coming out before I was able to get back to transition. They had cones up seperating the runners and riders, but the riders got the rocky side and I had to swing out wide at one point to avoid them and got yelled at for it - better to get yelled at than to go down. Been there done that! Bike - 39:12 (or something like that)

Into transition, gave my son the chip and sent him off. My daughter was helping out by directing the runners out of transition....T2 - 0:33

Whew, I am done! The plan was to get my camera and get some pictures of Cake and Suzy in transition, but Cake was so fast that all I could do was cheer her on as she ran out to the run! I was able to get a couple of Suzy and help her go the right way out!!! ;p I then made my way over to the finish and got my son coming in. He did awesome for only having 3 weeks worth of training and not doing many hills. Run - 31:30

Total: 1:19:26

Ok, besides having fun w/DS and the other triers that were there, I will NOT be doing this race again. It was INSANE and poorly thought out by the RD. Apparently, the number of athletes doubled from last year (~500) and its obvious that the race venue CANNOT accommodate that. If I did this race as a "1st timer", I probably would never do another one.

Let the OFF season begin!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Timberman - 23 August 2009

In 2008, I was part of a relay team, which was *supposed* to be me (swimmer), DH (biker) and my BIL (runner). My BIL got injured and couldn’t run, so I took up the torch and became both the swimmer and the runner. It was a hot day and I was undertrained for the run, so I was hurting big time by the time it was over. I swore swore swore! that I would NOT do that again…and yet, come Oct 1, I was chomping at the bit to sign up and this time it was for the whole thing…

Over the fall/winter months I was battling hamstring/Achilles issues so had to stop running for a few months. In addition, my shoulder started to hurt and was finally diagnosed w/a partial RC tear and a labral tear. Yeesh. But I worked with my doctor and PT (who ended up being my coach) and started healing up. I was able to swim w/o pain and started running again in February. I was building up and following my plan and things were feeling good. Hamstring was doing well, shoulder was feeling better (might have something to do w/the PT and the two shots I had, but I digress). Unfortunately, I re-injured my leg during a 5K race at work and it would plague me the rest of the summer. It now became a *game* to manage the injury and still get adequate training in so that I could finish the run.

I was fortunate that Suzy and Cheryl took the plunge with me and we were in constant touch throughout the training process – offering support, tips and encouragement – not to mention the great training rides we were able to do together. Thanks ladies!!

Race Week
Felt good to taper – while my hamstring felt better, the pain had now moved to the outside of my leg and was affecting my ITB, so I really needed to rest and pray that my leg would hold up during the race…I was diagnosed with bursitis on the outside bursa so once the race was over, it would be time for rest, recovery and PT.

My kids were signed up for the Timberkids Adventure Run, so they were excited and ready to go. We met up with Suzy and Cake at Suzy’s house and started the caravan up to NH on Friday afternoon. We decided to drive the new part of the bike course, to get a feel for it. They had added a *jog* to the return portion of the course, to avoid crappy pavement, but in doing so, the RD added another short hill around mile 40 or so. Yeesh.

We went straight to the Gunstock Inn to unload and clean up the bikes before we headed up the street to the Expo for packet pick up. We dodged most of the rain on the way up, but a few T-storms came through while at the expo and everyone was huddled in the vendor tents. Packet pick up went well and we did some shopping. Headed out for dinner and the wait at various places was insane (50+ minutes) but at that point, we decided to wait it out and had some great food and service at T-bones.

I can’t say enough good things about the Gunstock Inn – the Inn keepers are wonderful hosts and are very accommodating to the racers. They provided us with late check out on Sunday and had the breakfast set up prior to 5:00 am on both days so we could fuel up before heading over to the park. Chrissie Wellington and the Hoyts stayed at the Inn along with a slew of other race support personnel.

Saturday am I took the kids to the pool and organized my bike stuff so that I wouldn’t have to take a ton of things with me come race morning. We headed over to the park for the kids race in the early afternoon and to rack the bikes. The kids had a great time. Rachel was a bit nervous not knowing what an *adventure* run would be like, but she loved it and wanted to do it again after it was done. It was low key, no times and the kids went off every 3-5 seconds. There were kids of ALL ages, from 3 year olds to 13 year olds. So cool to see them this excited and having a good time. They had goodie bags for the kids, but underestimated race day sign up and only had enough for the first 130 kids. Whoops. We headed back to the Inn to relax while Suzy and Cake went back to the Expo to meet up with some other friends. We met back up with them at the carbo load dinner and stayed for the race meeting which covered changes to the race course, number of aid stations and drafting rules. Nothing new, but always good to hear it again.

We met up with our respective husbands at the Inn and my family and I headed over to a friend’s house for a little while. They just bought a condo not 10 minutes from the race site…hmmm, something to keep in the back of my mind. Back at the hotel, finished up some last minute packing and crashed.

Race Day
Met up with Cheryl and Tom at breakfast and caught the shuttle over to the race venue. Saw Bob, Suzy’s DH, at his volunteer spot. Uncovered my bike and started to set up transition…pulled my sneakers out and CRAP! Left my orthotics in the room! Panic sets in…how the heck am I going to run now?!?! Grabbed Bob and called the Inn, asked them to put a note under the door for DH to bring them with him. Ok, deep breath, hopefully this will work out. Back at my bike, continue to set up and see Colette (another WW). She’s here from NY racing with a group called “Moms in Motion”. Snap a quick picture and a hug and we go back to setting up. Still a bit panicked about my orthotics, so ask Bob to call my husband at 7:30 and tell him to get my orthotics and give them to a volunteer who can then put them at my transition spot. Best I can do, keeping fingers crossed that it works out.

Now reality is hitting and I am starting to feel sick…race is delayed due to an accident on the bike route…so it gives us a bit more time. Meet up with Suzy and get our wetsuits on…head over to see Cheryl, a few more photos and we head over to the swim start. Get a bit of a warm up, but the race is ready to go, so we have to get in line to cross the mats. Once in the water, high five Suzy and get towards the front on the right. We don’t quite hear the “Go Go Go”, so they have to repeat it, and then we’re off. Get going but start having a small panic attack, can’t breathe, wetsuit feels tight and generally I start to freak (ok so *this* is new). Breaststroke for a bit to calm down, get mental with myself and everything calms down. Get back into the groove and am able get my face back in the water and continue. Use my coach’s advice to not sight too often and look for feet and caps. Works pretty good until I almost swim into a kayak (again!), but keep doing this and it works for the rest of the swim. I concentrated on form as I didn’t want my back to tighten up (does that for some reason) and stayed relax. Swam until I hit bottom and I was up and out. Swim: 38:43

Up the ramp and over to the wetsuit strippers…that was cool! Ran over to my bike and decided to throw socks on, grabbed my glassed and helmet and I was ready…I was right near bike in/out, so that worked out well. T1: 3:16

Out on the bike, I remembered the mantra that Mike (coach) told me…”Bike so you can run”…”take it easy on the 1st 10 miles, cuz what you do on those miles will come back to haunt you later on in the race”. In the middle ring and spinning up the hills…kept cadence high (85+) and was happy to be on the bike. Stomach wasn’t too happy though (lake water?), but I knew I had to start eating and drinking otherwise I would be in big trouble. My stomach really didn’t settle down until after the 20 mile mark or so and then I was fine. Weird. At mile 10 is the “Marsh Hill Monstah” and everyone slows down on that – got in my small ring and spun away as best I could. Devil Lady from Mooseman was there and so was the camera(s). Yeesh. This hill is the worst on the course, so it’s nice to get it done and over with. Had fun on the rollers and then out onto Rte 106 for the long out and back (~32 miles or so)…about that time, my back decides to tighten up and so does the outside of my right leg (dang it!), but I keep to the plan, high cadence and no heavy pedals. Relaxed into my aerobars and that seemed to relieve the back, so kept that in mind. Fortunately, we had cloud cover; otherwise, it would have been brutal out there. Hit the turnaround point and just for yuks, decide to check out my speed, 18 mph, whoops! Started the return trip, continued w/my nutrition and high cadence. Started looking for Suzy and Cake, but never saw them. Saw quite a few people w/flats, and prayed that I didn’t get one either. People were very friendly and we all joked about the “police” on the course and make sure you pass in 20 secs, etc…one thing though, not enough people (mostly guys) would say “on your left” before they passed and quite a few flew by with little margin, so that if I had swerved to avoid something, there would have been a collision. Rant over.

Enter the new section of the course, and the pavement is saweet! But dang it another short steep-ish hill…right about then, I would have liked the potholes! Lol. Down shift and dang it! drop my chain…get off, get it fixed and up I go. Back out on 106 for a short time and then onto Leavitt back to 107, this time *down* the Monstah – yikes! Fun but scary at the same time – hit 42+ mph and guys were PASSING me! Turn onto Frank Bean and start that small hill. Climbing to the left of one person, who moves to his left to avoid something, so I move left, only to find that I am blocked by a guy from behind who is starting to pass me, I try to move back but there is nowhere to go. Can’t slow down or speed up to get out of there, so get crowded out and pushed over. Slam right down on my left side, with my elbow taking the brunt of it. Several strings of curses go thru my head and some out of my mouth and I just stand there trying to regroup and take stock. A volunteer tries to come over, but there are so many riders climbing right now, that he can’t get through. Everyone is asking if I am ok, and I just stand there (tears are flowing now) and nod my head. Haven’t a clue how long I am standing there, but finally get it back together and check my bike – looks ok, but dropped my chain again, so fix that, get in an easy gear and find a place to blend back in. My elbow is a mess, stinging like crazy, glasses are fogged (from the tears) and yet all I can think about is get going and get this time back. Fortunately, there is only ~8 miles left and those go by uneventful. Bike: 3:16:23

Into T2, praying orthotics made it – don’t see them at first, but then find that they are in my sneakers…thank you!!! Throw on my fuel belt, some chapstick and out I go. I am on the opposite side of the run out and the chute is long too…so it feels like I ran ~1/4 mile just to hit the timing mat! T2: 2:28

Mike told me to run out of transition and then walk once I hit the road to let my body regroup and get acclimated. Did just that and took it easy. My goal was to do the run in ~2:15 or so based on my last long run and thought that would be feasible. Walked a few minutes and everything seemed good, so started running. I kept everything to 6/1 intervals and it was working. I drank at every walk interval and at every aid station (there were TONS!). It’s a two loop out and back course, so you see people everywhere. It had started to warm up and had gotten humid…joy. But stuck with the plan and finished the 1st loop feeling good. High fived the family as I went by – so cool to see the kids and DH. Started on the second loop, up an incline and all hell broke loose. The heat finally hit me…so slowed down and decided to walk up the majority of the incline and then start again. ITB was holding up, but was starting to act funny, so I knew the downhill’s would be dicey. GREAT – NOT! Now I was in management mode and kept plugging along. Grabbed some snow from the aid station courtesy of the local hockey team and poured water over my head – oh much better…able to run on the flats and in the shade, but the hills, it wasn’t happening. Saw Suzy, Tom and Colette several times – they were all looking great!! Hit the turn around and got some inspiration from the locals – they were great and included and acapella group. Very cool – got squirted by some kids and hosed down by others and was able to pick it up again to my 6/1. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long and was walking more than I was running, but at this point I was in double digits and on the home stretch. Was able to run the last mile or so and was never so happy to turn into that finishers chute! High fived the kids again and ran it in. Heard Cheryl in the chute and smiled (at least tried to). Run: 2:28:35

Overall time – 6:29:23 Mike had given me a goal time of 6:40 and I had a secret goal of 6:30 or better. Had I not imploded on the run, I would have even come close to 6:15.

I collected my finisher’s medal, cold wet towel (nice) and water bottle. Headed over to the med tent for my elbow and then went looking for Cheryl and my family. Cheryl looked good from her swim & bike and she was cheering everyone on and waiting for her husband, Tom. Found my family on the other side of transition and went and sat in the lake. It felt good, but wasn’t cold enough and I started to feel really crappy. All I wanted to do was lay down in the shade. DH and the kids helped me with my stuff and we headed out. I tried to find everyone to wish them well, but couldn’t and I was fading fast. I started to hurt everywhere and I knew I needed a shower and A/C bad. Kids were great and found me ice and cold water and that helped enough to get me back to the hotel. It took ~3 hours for me to feel good enough to eat anything.

Lesson learned – I am NOT a long distance runner!!

Overall a GREAT experience and a great race! Thanks go to Suzy and Cake for slapping me upside the head when I started whining, for being sounding boards and great training partners. Thanks ladies!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mass State Oly

Massachusetts State Triathlon, Intermediate Distance - 26 July 09
0.9mi swim, 19.5mi bike, 6.2mi run

Have been battling hamstring issues since last fall and was doing well until I did a 5K in June, when I re-aggravated it. It's been iffy running since then, so was concerned with how it was going to feel come race day. And to top it off, the ball of my right foot has been sore coming off the bike for any run longer than 3 miles. yeesh.

Anyway, as the ultimate goal is Timberman, this was not an "A" race, but I still wanted to do well. I was nervous about the swim as my back can get tight and I am always afraid that I will be zig-zagging...

After driving through some nasty rain showers, on the way to the race - what was up with that?? I got to the park right as transition opened and looked around for Suzy and Cake...not there yet, so got my packet and started setting up transition. Skies were a bit funky and it wasn't sure if it wanted to clear up or rain again. There was a quick shower while we waited to get in the water, but other than that we stayed dry.

Met up with Suzy and Cake and milled around waiting to start. Couldn't hear the announcer and they ended up starting late. For some reason, they had the sprint go off first and with 7 waves overall, my wave didn't get into the water until almost 9 am - ick. I was not happy with the way the buoys were laid out, they were few and far between until you started heading back to the beach - I knew it was going to make it difficult for me to stay straight and it was starting to bother me. But did my best and tried to look for other people so I didn't go too far off course.

Lined up on the right out at the start buoys and had just enough time to hit my watch and go! Got into a decent rhythm and promptly got dropped by my wave. great. Kept going and somehow managed to NOT go too far off course and caught up with some of the other waves. Once I was back w/people I felt better and relaxed some more. I knew I was getting closer to the beach when I could smell the burgers...

Swim - 28:41

Up the small incline, into transition and changed up. For some reason, the wetsuit didn't want to come off easy despite the body glide and almost fell over. my hands don't seem to want to work well when I come out of the water. frustration set in, but took a deep breath and got out of there.

T1 - 1:40

The way out of the park was flat, but the road was more like cobblestones...bumpy as all heck! And we had to worry about runners for the Sprint. But once out, the roads were pretty good. 1 hill to speak of, which we had to do twice, but all in all a fun ride. Passed a few, was passed by some, but overall felt pretty good. Back and right leg started to tighten up towards the end, but just kept pushing since I knew it would loosen up once I started running. For some reason, they had the T2 timing mats far far away from the dismount area, so you lost pace because you had to run about 100 yds to the timing mats. weird.

Bike: 1:06:00 (17.9 mph)

T2 was uneventful if you discount the fact that I almost couldn't get my bike racked again and was ready to throw the dang thing on the ground. @#$@%@# but finally got it in there, changed my shoes and was out.

T2 - 1:47

Knew this part was going to be ugly and the first 10 minutes or so proved my point. My left leg didn't want to work right, even though it wasn't really painful. Was doing run/walk intervals (8/1) and I was behind pace from the get-go. phooey. Caught up with Cake just after the 2 mile mark and she was looking GREAT! The more I ran, the more my leg loosened up and I was able to get to a more normal stride by the 1/2 way point. It was a fairly flat course through neighborhoods, and thankfully the sun never really came out as there wasn't any real shade during the middle portion of the run. After the 1/2 way point, I upped the run segments to 9 min and was able to recover some time. I wanted to break 1 hour, but it wasn't going to happen, so decided to be happy w/sub-10 min miles. Saw Suzy on the way back and she was looking good. Back in the park and under the shade, I felt much better, but soooo wanted to get it done. Tried to pick it up some more, but not sure it worked...smelled the burgers again and heard the announcer, so knew I was almost home. Sure enuf, saw the finish chute and picked it up to get it done.

Run: 1:01:32

Total time: 2:39:39 6th in AG

I liked the course, and would do it again. For some reason they seemed a bit dis-organized. Late start, no water bottles at the end of the race, massage people left early, etc....BUT it was a great day and fun to race with friends.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The road to Timberman 08 started in Aug 07

This all started in the end of the summer of 07 while talking with my brother-in-law, Bruce. He's the runner in the family and we were talking about triathlons and running in general. He's done several marathons and in general just loves to run. Anyway, he was talking about ramping back up for Boston and somehow we got to the idea of doing a relay for the Timberman 1/2 IM. I volunteered to swim, if my Hubby would ride and Bruce would run. They were sold and we registered in October of 07 as Team CNN (Chaput, Nowak and Nowak). All we had to do was stay healthy...Ed had separated his shoulder in September while riding, Bruce had some nagging hamstring issues, but they were getting better and I was having foot surgery in November. But heck, the race was almost 1 year away...we'd be good by then...right?

November comes and goes, I have surgery on my foot and am able to swim and bike by mid-December. I'm back to running by the end of February 08. Ed's shoulder is doing better and better. Bruce's hamstring is doing well. Ok, Team CNN is holding up pretty well.

Ah, but I spoke too soon. Ed wrecks his ankle while running in April 08. He's in a walking cast for at least 3 weeks and then an aircast after that. He doesn't get back on the bike until June and then has to be really careful going up hills, not to put too much pressure on it. Uh-oh, this isn't looking good.

I join Suzy and her husband as the swimmer for a relay team at the FirmMan 1/2 IM the first weekend of June 08. The weather was in the 90s, but the water was rather chilly. Still, did fairly well with a time of 31:31. Figure it was a bit short, but having never swam the distance without stopping before, I didn't know what kind of time to expect.

Around that time, Bruce does a local road race and tweaks his hamstring again. He's got to lay off the running for a while, but assures me he'll be good to go come race day.

Hmmm, I'm doing ok, but the rest of my team is not too hot...BUT we still have time to get healthy again, so we continue on.

Around the end of June, Bruce isn't doing any better, in fact he's getting worse. His sciatica is bothering him, he can't run longer than 5-6 miles without pain. yikes! Decision time...I contact my Dr and PT and ask about ramping up my mileage to 13.1 in 6 weeks or it doable given the amount of time and the fact that I had surgery in November? Both give me a resounding YES and my PT gives me a running schedule (of sorts) to follow. Ok, so now, I am ramping up my mileage in case Bruce can't do it. Ed, on the other hand, is doing well and his biking is getting stronger. Phew.

About 2 weeks before the race, Bruce and I decide it's best that he figure out what is going on with his back and legs and that I have enough mileage to be the runner. So I contact the RD and request the switch. Team CNN is now Team Nowak, but we leave the name alone. BUT another glitch - Ed may have to WORK the weekend of the race (he's self-employed, big job, big $$) - what the heck?!?! Can 't ramp up for a full 1/2 IM THAT fast! back up is Suzy...who was game to step in at the last minute.

After a few nerve wrecking days, Ed finds out he's working on Saturday only and will be able to make the race. Phew!

Oh, and the Friday before the race, Bruce finds out that he has a possible ruptured disk, so no running, no lifting, no nothing for the foreseeable future...

So now here we are in August 08, and ready to rock and roll...

Timberman 1/2 IM - 08

It was a bit bumpy getting here, but finally race weekend is here. Both my kids are doing the Timberkids race on Saturday and then will be cheering mom and dad on in the 1/2 IM on Sunday. Busy weekend for sure!

We head up to NH Friday afternoon and on the way, the front tire on my son's bike blows 'cuz it was too close to my cars exhaust. GREAT! now what. Call Suzy and Cheryl, who are coming up to volunteer, to see if they can swing by a bike shop and at least get me a tube for his tire. They come thru with flying colors!

Get up to Gunstock and packet pick-up only to have them tell me that I can't get my husband's stuff as he needs to pick it up in person. Ok, so how is this going to work since he's not getting here until late Saturday night?? Sunday am, we have to go to the registration booth to get his numbers, etc. Sheesh. BUT they were good enough to give me my Brother-in-law's goodie bag even though he didn't make it.

We meet up with Suzy and Cheryl and grab some dinner before relaxing in the hotel. Later on that night I realize that all bikes must be racked the day before, but I can't because they didn't give me the bike number!! ACK! So another thing I need to figure out...does not let me sleep well.

Saturday am, we get up and Suzy, Rachel (daughter) and I hit the pool. The Gunstock Inn has a beautiful 25m pool and a huge fitness center - yeah, we're in heaven. We grab some breakfast and I proceed to clean up my husband's bike. Get it all cleaned up, but now the front derailleur isn't working quite right. Ok, so now I have to not only get Wyatt's tire fixed for his race, but need to get that looked at and get the bike number so I can rack the bike. If it's not one thing, it's another. sheesh.

We head up to the expo (awesome) and I drop off Ed's bike for adjustment and intended on getting Wyatt's tire fixed. However, they won't do it as the tire itself is cut and they don't have a replacement. NOW WHAT!?! The kids race is in less than 2 hours and he doesn't have a bike. Fortunately, the ski area had a camping grounds which rented off we go and I rent him a mountain bike for his race. It needed some serious lube (which I had) and we get him all set up. AND I am able to get Ed's bike number so I can rack his bike later. phew.

The kids race was awesome! Unfortunately, they had to call it due to some threatening thunderstorms. Wyatt was able to finish, but Rachel only got thru the swim and bike. She was very disappointed! AND there were many kids that didn't even get to start! There were many many tears being shed - and not just by the kids either. Ironically, it never rained and the storms just broke up.

Finally, race day. Ed got up to the Inn around 10 pm and was a bit tired from the drive and from standing around all day. He wasn't looking forward to getting up at 530, but was game enough. We got down there around 6:30 am and grabbed his numbers and got body marked. Then we got to wait, and wait and wait as the relay teams were in the last wave, over 1 hour after the 1st one.

The water was fairly warm and they had placed buoys about every 100-150 yards which was great for staying on track! It looked so LONG!! Yeah, I was nervous. I just wanted to get on with it.

Finally, we were lining up and they were playing "running on empty" by Jackson Browne as we crossed the mat. I was thinking...not the greatest song to START a race on! ;p We started about waist deep and I lined up on the right. I was able to get into a decent spot right off, and stayed right along the buoys. With so many people around it was easy to stay on track and follow the bubbles. I felt pretty decent for the most part. The swim was an inverted U and out on the long side it was pretty choppy. At one point, I can remember thinking, dang this is LONG!! SO I had to start making up breathing games to stay focused and not get board. I am happy to say, I did pass some people in the 2 waves ahead of us, so that made me feel pretty good. But I was really glad to get out of the water. I swear, I must have swallowed 1/2 the lake! Swim: 38:45

Crossed the mat, waved to Cheryl and Suzy and ran to the "relay pen" to give the chip to Ed. He took off and now I could rest and entertain the kids.

I ate some breakfast, relaxed, drank a ton and tried to keep the kids from getting bored. all in all it worked pretty well. It was fun to cheer everyone else on and watch the pros come in. Man, they are fast!

Around the 3 hour mark, started getting ready and looking for Ed. He came in looking beat in 3:10 and change. took the chip and off I went. Now to see what I've got.

At this point it's gotten warm and there is a slight breeze. It's a 2 loop out and back course, with some long inclines. Oh goodie. But I remember some of it from when I did the sprint a few years ago, and we drove it on Saturday, so I know what to expect, or so I thought. They had bands playing along the way and sponges, water, food, even SNOW! to help us out. It was awesome! At the turn around point, the whole neighborhood is out and had the street decorated in a Hollywood theme -complete with a bubble machine! This stuff made it so much better!

The 1st loop, goes fairly well, and I was holding a decent pace. But right around mile 8 things start to decline. I'm hydrating well, and eating ok, but I am losing steam. So I increase my walk breaks by 30 seconds or so and keep pouring water on me to keep cool. Ah, that's better. I miss the mile 9 marker and start to panic a bit when I think I have totally blown my pace...oh, phew here comes mile 10! There is a decent hill around mile 11 and I give myself permission to walk up the last 1/2 of it and I end up passing Team Hoyt. Everyone is congratulating them (myself included) and getting inspiration from them. At the top, I pick it up again and find my running legs, but my quads are starting to talk to me and both of my feet ache. OUCH!

I hit the 12 mile mark and realize I will break 2:15 easily and try to pick it up to break 2:10, possibly even 2:05. But its not until I see the "final kick" green arch way that my legs finally agree with my brain and start running again. I turn the corner and head for home. I see my family cheering and bring it on in.

Run: 2:06:50

Total time for Team CNN: 6:00:39

I was tired and achy and vowed to NOT DO THIS AGAIN....yeah, ok, heat of the moment (no pun intended)...but it was great! Timberman has to be the best supported race I have done in a long time. We've got reservations for next year at the Inn all ready.

Who's going to join us?!?!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Appleman 2008

Hmmm...not too sure what to make of this race...felt good going in...not so good with the results...strange day for sure.

It wasn't one thing, but maybe a bunch of little things...but I'll get to that.

Met up with Cheryl and Suzy at 6:30 am, got the gear ready and walked down to transition. Parked our bikes and got our goodie bags...Suzy's wasn't ready so they slapped one together including hand writing the numbers on pieces of paper for her bike and run...

The transition area was tight as it was small and had over 500 athletes...but as luck would have it, I was on a rack leading out of transition and had a fair amount of room on the other side to throw my stuff. cool. Began setting up and chit-chatted with the ladies in the area. The woman next to me said she wasn't having a great training season, let alone race season, so we talked about the best way to attack the race and just take it one part at a time (she did great, and looked good at the finish). I met back up with Cheryl and Suzy and headed down to the beach to get in the water and warm up a bit.

It was muggy, but fortunately the sun wasn't out so it wasn't too bad. Got in and did a decent warm-up, narrowly missing 3-4 head on collisions w/swimmers coming in. (whoops) The water was clear and they had treated the lake earlier in the year, so the weeds were in control (yes!).

Listened to some pre-race announcements (tried to anyway) and then the National anthem and buddhist monk chant - loved it! Suzy and I were in the last wave and Cheryl the one before us. Watched the other waves go off and figured the best place to be was on the far right. Some of the guys in the first two waves weren't doing too good, in fact a few turned around and came back to shore and one was swimming way off course - felt really bad for them!

The swim started out uneventful and I got to the 1st turn buoy no problem. Hugged it real close and kept on going. next time I went to site, I noticed I was WAY out and had to angle back to my right to get back close to the buoy line (what the?!?!) At this point I notice that my arms feel tired and my breathing isn't that great (a bit wheezy)...hmm, not good, decide to dial it back and recover. Ok, arms feel better but breathing is still messed, but manageable. Round the next turn buoy and head on in. In the next minute or so, I get swum over by the same person TWICE! and then my watch strap decides to start to undo...what next?? Nothing...out of the water in 15:31...

Run up the beach and thru the pools of water and do as quick a change as you can with a wetsuit on. T1: 2:32

Get on the bike and feel better, start pushing from the start as its a short rolling course and really wanted to fly. Ended up playing cat and mouse with another woman in my age was rather weird, just when I thought she pulled ahead and I wouldn't catch her, I would be right back in it. Passed her at one point and she says "you're really pissing me off"...uh, ok, then get in front of me and stay there! Sheesh. ANYWAY, I am in front now and I hear something, and look back and there she is hanging just off my back wheel to the left...and we stay this way for a couple of miles...where is a race official when you need one??? She does eventually get ahead and I thought for good, but I catch her just as we hit transition. Bike: 32:00

T2 actually goes according to plan - in and out in 0:46

The run STUNK from the get go...just couldn't get it together and my breathing was all messed up. I did beat the other woman out of T2, but she passes me within the 1st 1/4 mile or so. Harumph. Hit the 1st mile in 9 min or so and knew it was going to be tough from there on out. Legs didn't want to go, developed a stitch, looked like it was going to pour at any minute, so really high humidity...but fortunately, NO SUN! This is a nice run too, no real hills and part of it is in the woods. So keep assessing and trying to get rid of the stitch. Shortly after I turn into the woods, I see Cheryl up ahead. Yell to her to run with me and she turns around and says "Oh, CRAP!" and starts running again. Tell her she's looking AND doing good as I go by...I just want to get this done, so I don't stop. Once in the woods it's a bit trickier and I decide to walk a good portion of the hill. THIS ends up being my saving grace...breathing is easier the last 3/4 of a mile and I am able to get my legs back under me. So, I get it in gear, and am able to pick it up a bit - and feel more normal.

Run: 27:13

Total time: 1:18:03 8th in my AG (with drafting lady in 7th)

Overall, I was slower in every leg EXCEPT for T2! Go figure. Going back thru the race in my mind, it's tough to figure out. No idea why I got tired on the swim...that has never happened before...I felt really good on the ride and well the run just plain stunk. I think it was combination of things...I had run 8 miles on Wed (1st time at that distance in many years), then jumped on a plane and was away until Friday for work, and Saturday we were busy and it was hot. My breathing was not right from mid-swim on...I haven't been using my inhaler, didn't need it, but probably could have used it during the race. But who knew?

Since I can't go back and change anything, I'll just have to chalk it up as "just one of those days."

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Webster Lake 2008

I do this race every year and love the venue – only 20 minutes from the house!! I had been watching the weather all week as this race is notorious for being either rainy or really hot! Forecast was for rain after 10:00 am…cool…I’ll take that!

Met up with Suzy and Cake in the parking lot and went and got our goodie bags and body marked. Our rack was close to the bike and run out, but we couldn’t quite figure out how we’d bike in, oh well, I’ll just follow the pack… Set up transition area and went down to hit the bathroom and check out the swim course. The swim was a triangle, but it looked like it was short…which given my swim time, I was right.

By the time we got back up to transition area to get our stuff, there was a line which had to have 100 people in it waiting to sign up via race day registration!! Unbelievable! FIRM really was not ready to handle this and as a result, the race didn’t start on time and some people didn’t have chips before the 1st wave even went off. WOW! Rick and Dick Hoyt were there and their race was being filmed. Cool.

Suzy and I were in the 4th wave and as we watched the others go off, it was apparent that staying to the left, closest to the buoys was a good place to be. So, that’s where I went. Got into a pocket early and a decent rhythm and felt pretty decent. But for some reason, was having problems staying straight, so had to keep siting. On the second leg of the triangle, was doing well, passing some of the people in the prior waves, when I thought I heard someone yell. Look up and was literally 6 inches from swimming head on into a kayak! Ouch, that would have hurt…a guy was hanging on to him, resting and the kayak had moved in close to the buoy line for him. Sheesh…after that the swim was uneventful, and finished up strong. Swim time: 11:33

The run up to transition is always interesting as it’s a good ¼-1/3 mile! At least you get the blood going to your legs – but man it can be tough on your feet! Tried to get in and get out, but still took me a while. T1: 4:14

I love the bike course on this race despite the “killer hill” at ~4 miles…Legs were burning a bit, and tried to spin them out, but they wouldn’t loosen up. Hmmm, this ought to be interesting later on…I was making good time and getting psyched to start climbing…but what the? Shifted my chain right off the large front gear, but was able to shift and pedal it back on…phew. Kept going and started climbing, alternating spinning and standing…shifted to my smallest front gear and DANG IT! Chain came off…lost all momentum and couldn’t pedal it back on! What the @#$@#%!!! Pull off to the side before I fall over and take someone else with me, futz with it and finally get it back on…that cost me a couple of minutes, I think. And since I was at the steepest part of the hill, I had to run my bike up to the crest before I could get back on! UNBELIEVABLE! So, I’m covered in grease and totally frustrated but now riding and getting back up the hill. The rest of the ride went pretty uneventful and was able to regain some time. I had wanted to break 39 for the bike, and missed it by less than a minute…bike: 39:46 (18.3 mph)

We had to run down along side of transition and in the back to get back in and that was a major pain. Got back to rack my bike and noticed a yellow lens on the ground…whoops! Rode the whole course with only one lens in my glasses! Fortunately, lost it in transition and not out on the course…T2: 1:40

This was my first full race since my surgery and so far, the foot was holding up pretty good. The run is fairly flat and loops thru a neighborhood, with a couple of short rollers. Get out on the run course and my right Achilles started acting up, so tried to get my stride out and relax…told myself I would take a walk break if it didn’t start to loosen up after the 1 mile mark…1 mile came and it was fine, so kept going. On the way back, my foot started to get hot and sore, so again, made a bargain that I would take a quick break if it got unbearable…never happened, so was able to finish up running. Saw Suzy and tried to do a high five, but missed and only caught a few fingers. She looked good! After that tried to stay relaxed and pick it up a bit. Got passed in the last 100 yds or so by someone in my age group and just couldn’t get it back…she finished 4 seconds in front of me. Oh well. Run: 23:42 (2.8 miles)

So total time was 1:20:50, good enough for 15 out of 34. AND a good 1 minute faster than last year, despite my dropped chain. Run was about the same, but that’s ok considering I wasn’t even really running until March of this year.

Met up with Cheryl and went back to cheer Suzy in – she did awesome!!

It’s a fun race and by the turn out FIRM had this year, looks like it got popular overnight! They had a hard time handling all the race day registrations and timing was a bit messed up for a while after the race. But they finally got it sorted out, but not sure how it worked with the awards (not that it mattered to me).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cranberry Country Triathlon - Pre race

First time doing this race, first time doing an Oly. Suzy twisted my arm back in February to sign up for this race and despite the HHH environment on race day, glad she made me do it. To say I was nervous was an understatment. I was caught in that not so fun place of wanting to do it and wanting to go home.

The whole family came with me down to Lakeville. We stayed overnight at a local hotel, so the kids could use the pool and I wouldn't have to get up at some un-godly hour to drive to the race.

We met up with Suzy at registration late Saturday afternoon and checked out the course. The buoys were out and it really didn't look too bad. Not sure the actual mileage as the race website said 0.8 miles in one place and 0.9 miles in another. I had emailed the RD, and he didn't give me a straight answer, saying that it would be determined when they put the buoys out. Nice.

We figured out the transition area - the racks had spaces with our names on them - so no need to worry about getting there super early to set up. But man the run from the swim was pretty long and getting out of transition for the run was just as long. Oh well, everyone had to do it right?

We were also checking out the locations of the port-o-potties, as I figured I would need to use them before I went out on the run. There were 3 near the bike in and out, but nothing along the run out. I spoke with one of the race organizers and asked him why there weren't any near the run out. He said that last year the run out went right by them, but they changed it this year. He said he'd look into moving at least one to the run out. I thanked him profusely. (phew) As we were leaving, they had 1 hooked up to the back of a pick-up and were moving it.

We then headed over to the hotel, checked in and decided to beat the evening rush and get dinner early. Found a local diner and had some good food. After getting back to the hotel, my daughter and I headed down to the pool, while DH and son stayed in the room and watched the Red Sox. DH was recovering from his 75 mile ride and my son was recovering from 2 days of off and on fever.

Suzy joined us and we chit chatted about the race, our jitters and our WW friends doing an Ironman...

Cranberry Country Tri - Race Day

Ah, the moment of truth...I did sleep good despite having the weirdest tri-dream ever. I dreamt that I had done the race, but didn't finish the run and needed to go back and finish it, so I wouldn't DNF. Mind you, in the dream, I could remember running the first 4 miles of the course, but not the last 2.2 and I couldn't figure out where I had left off either. AND it was the next day that I was trying to finish. What the?!?! Bizarre.

Anyway, met up with Suzy around 6:15 to head down to the race site. It took us literally 10 minutes to get there - saweet.

Headed over to transition to set up and there were quite a few people already there. Very official race, checked the bikes AND your helmet before they would even let you into transition. Off course, my helmet was buried in my tri bag, so had to dig it out and held up the line. sheesh.

I set up transition as usual and helped Suzy out with taping GU to her bike. I used my new aero-bottle and my fuel belt for the run. Had forgotten about the fuel belt and ran out of fluid. Whoops! Bummed some Gatorade off of Suzy for my pre-race bagel & peanut butter.

At this point, you could tell it was going to be hot and humid...

After getting all set up, we hit the port-o-potties and got body marked. Met Cheryl at the body marking and chatted for a few minutes. I also ran into another friend of mine who was doing the run part of a relay team. Fun to see other people you know at a race. :)

They weren't letting anyone swim at the start line, so we went into the water at the finish. Did a nice long warm-up and got my breathing (and heart rate) under some semblance of control. Adrenaline was in full gear now. Headed over to the start and watched the first wave go off. Smokin' fast! Suzy was in wave #5 and I was in #6, so we had a little bit of a wait...yikes, here comes that adrenaline again.

Gave Suzy a pat on the back and into the chute she went...OMG I'm next! Into the water we went and we had to go under a starting banner, so we were pretty bunched up. I tried to stay to the side, but it really didn't matter. Once we started, I thought, yep, now I really know what it feels like to be in a washing machine. This was by far the worst start I had ever been in. The pond was very shallow in spots. At the first buoy, there was a pole directly across from it. As long as you stayed between the buoy and the pole, you were ok, but if you got on the left side of the pole, you were walking (which many people did). I was able to get into a decent rhythm and found some feet and bubbles to follow. We had to swim the perimeter of the pond (counter clockwise) and I did fairly well until I rounded the end and swung too wide (towards the middle). Saw a kayak on my left, and then looked and saw the next buoy wwaaaaayyyyy over to my right. whoops. So a little added yardage to the swim...other than that there were enough people around that you really couldn't go too far off course. I did pass some people in the previous waves and only counted ~5 white caps passing me from the wave behind (yeah, I know, I know, but it was giving me something else to do besides counting strokes). I rounded the last buoy and headed towards the swim out, touched ground, got up and over the mat I went. Swim: 25:58

We had to run up a stone staircase, around a building and all along the side of the transition area just to get into it! Sheesh. As I was doing so, I remembered that I had forgotten to fill up a spare water bottle with lake water for my feet - crap! Oh, well, I have a towel. Get to my bike, get the wetsuit off (almost fall over doing so) and notice that my feet are fairly free of any gunk. sweet. Get my stuff on, eat 1/2 a Z-bar and head out. T1: 3:18

While I had put my bike in an easy gear, I didn't have the pedals right and couldn't for the life of me clip in. FINALLY get that all situated and head out. Once out on the course, I had to remind myself to go a bit slower at first, since it wasn't a sprint distance, so took it a bit easy the first mile or so. Suzy and I had ridden the course a few weeks ago, so knew what to expect - it's mostly flat and was going to be FAST. Woohoo! Anyway, tooling along, minding my own business, go to shift and hmm, somethings not right....yep, chain is OFF and hanging onto my crank. What the?!?!@? Tried to shift and pedal it back on to no avail. Pull over out of the way and the dang thing won't go back on. Now I am REALLY frustrated and swearing and ready to heave the bike in the bushes!! Up until that point I was CRANKING! So, after swearing some more (mostly under my breath) almost in tears, I lay my bike down (more like a gentle throw) and am able to get the chain back on. Have no idea how long it took me and I am truly frustrated with the whole thing. All this happened ~7 mile...had to make up a lot of time.

So once back on, I pick it up and get back into the groove. Go to take a drink from my aero-bottle and there's nothing there. What the heck?? Then I figure that I must have lost all of my fluid when I laid my bike down to fix the chain. So now I am down to my single large bottle for the next 18 miles or so. Then my lower back decides it's not happy and starts to tighten up...jeez, what next?? This has happened the last three races so not sure what is going on, but I couldn't stay as aero as I would have liked. I had to keep rearranging myself, trying to get my back to work its way out and trying to keep my mind off the pain. I just kept looking ahead and picking people off. I did eventually catch up with some of the crew I was riding with before my chain came off, so that made me feel better. The race officials were out in force and were tagging people. I got caught in a pack, but fortunately they weren't around then. phew.

The last bit of the bike course is the same as the last bit of the run and there were people already there - they looked great and told them so. Able to crank it right on into transition.

Bike: 1:21:54 (my bike computer had me at 1:19 and change, so w/o my little stop, I was averaging ~19.1 mph)

Heard my family cheering me on in T2 as I ran my bike in and racked. My son started telling me about the number one finisher (just under 2 hours) and told him it wasn't helping...he promptly said, "Sorry, YOU'RE LOOKING GOOD MOM" Made me laugh. then I heard him tell his Dad, that since he saw me first, my husband owed him a dollar. Made me laugh again. By this time, I had my fuel belt and shoes on and out I went. T2: 1:35

Well, the port-o-potty was there, but I didn't need it. So waved at it and kept on going. I was worried about this part the most. I hadn't done too many runs longer than 6.5 miles in the recent weeks, but had done a ton of 1 hour trail runs in the heat. I felt good and got into a good groove right off. I had planned on taking walk breaks, as I had trained that way, but wanted to do longer run segments. May not have been the best idea. Started off with 9:1 and that worked well for the 1st 1/2 of the run...then I pretty much self-destructed after that. Did I mention it was HOT and HUMID? I went down to 6:1 for one segment, then I ended up doing the rest of the race at 5:2. I was getting overheated after the 3 mile mark and had visions of having to walk the rest of the way in. Talk about a head game. I was running with another lady in my age group and we were doing well keeping each other going, but once I dropped my interval to 6:1, I couldn't catch back up with her. Bummed me out. HOWEVER, I was determined to finish and running the math in my head showed that I would still break 3 hours, with some time to spare, so that helped immensely. I was drinking out of my fuel belt and pouring water over my head at every water stop. At the beginning of the run we had a nice breeze, but it all of a sudden stopped 1/2 way thru...dang it. I kept plodding along, and there were a group of us all in the same boat, helping each other finish. I was running with another woman at one point and I said to her "we have less than 1 mile left. You've run a mile before right? Just think of it as running 1 mile on tired legs..." she laughed a bit and said thanks. I was saying it just as much for me as I was for her. I had to walk a bit just before the 6 mile mark and everyone was great and encouraging. At this point I saw a runner getting help from the EMTs - he did not look good and he was really wobbly and soooo close to the finish too. I'd say less than 0.25 miles. My feet were killing me and I could tell that I had a couple of blisters brewing, but after I walked ~1 minute to regroup, I was able to get back to running. I passed all the people who wanted me to keep going and I was around the corner and into the home stretch. I was never so glad to see a finishing arch in my life!! Done D - U - N Done!! Run: 1:01:00

Final time: 2:53:43

My family was there cheering me on and I saw them on the way in to the finish. I gave my son my finisher's medal and he wore it for me the rest of the afternoon. They handed out cold towels and water and I found some shade to recover in. After a few minutes, I felt much better and was able to walk around.

To say the run hurt is an understatement. I was fine until just after mile 3 and then everything changed as fast as you can flip a light switch. I never hurt that much so fast. I was overheating and my early long run intervals probably didn't help much. Just means that I need to work on my long runs when I do another one of these. I was just as concerned about the swim, but honestly, it felt really good.

I went back to cheer Suzy in, but missed her as I was looking for more water. I did, however, cheer in my other friend who was doing the relay. She did really well. Caught up with Suzy after the finish line and we both agreed that the run was hot and tough.

Overall, despite my nerves, biking mishap and run debacle, it was a great race and I highly recommend it. Just need to work on running long in the heat, I guess.