Posts Tagged triathlon races
Chameleon – a distinctive and highly specialized clade of lizards with the ability to change color.
140.6 Distance Triathlete – a unique breed of athlete specialized in long endurance racing with the ability to change and adapt to any situation on a course.
A Coach, a Wife, a Sister, Daughter, Teammate and Athlete were the expectations of the weekend as I traveled to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio for the Rev3 Full Triathlon; one of those roles, I was sure to fail, if not a few.
The Coach – Earlier in the season, I had planted the seed of my NJOY RACING team coming to Cedar Point and race with me and get a taste of what a triathlon was, even if it meant I bribe them with relays & roller coasters, so be it. To much my surprise people committed than I had ever dreamed – 4 sprint relay teams, 3 half relay teams, 5 sprinters, 3 half distance, 1 full aqua-bike and 2 full & 1 boat volunteer. In other words, I had over 20 people coming to race with me and only 5 of them had completed a triathlon previously. Needless to say, if I had not raced I would have been stressed enough, let alone having signed up for the full distance race, but there was no way I was not going race. I LOVE my Rev3 races and get to be part of a team as an athlete and not a coach. Not to mention, I belive they run the best races in North America.
The Daughter & Sister – Unfortunately, like most people in this country, my family has lost sight in the importance of taking responsibility for their health and life more active lifestyles (and their excuses are not unique). In the 8 years of racing with over 100 races, they have been to less than 5 of them, so I thought it would be a good idea to not only invite them to come watch, but be part of the team and join a relay team of the sprint distance. 3 agreed – I was ecstatic. In my job, I get to change lives in a very positive way. I give people a chance to live longer, healthier lives. I help people feel better emotionally, physically about themselves and build confidence in ways they may have never had. This was my chance to not only have my family there with me, but also have them do something healthy with me. It was my opportunity to help give them a better quality of life. Who knows, maybe once a year they might want to join me for a family event?
The Coach – Rev3 picks the best race locations! On paper some might not seem like the most exciting locations: Sandusky, Ohio – but who doesn’t like a good roller coaster? Fun, family friendly locations with lots to do…and doesn’t hurt to be $$$ reasonable places. So when waking up Saturday morning to pouring rain and a flooded bike course, it was very disappointing the sprint triathlon was cancelled. However, you make the best of it and do what you can. Troopers on team NJOY went ahead and ran the 5k, all getting race PRs! As the day continued it got beautiful, sunny and dry – ROLLER COASTERS!!!! That’s what we did and had a great time doing it. After the first ride I thought it was about the stupidest thing I had ever done before the race I was about to do, and only more stupid after the second. But like drinking, after a few it doesn’t really matter how many more you ride once you realize your body is going to feel it tomorrow regardless of how many.
The Athlete – Race Day…could not have been more perfect with the weather as the day began. In the morning this girl woke up as Athlete. I have often been asked why I don’t race with the athletes I coach…this is why: I need to focus and take care of me and only me, and I don’t like to talk to people at all before a race. Simply, I am no good as a coach before a race and some of my athletes got a taste of that in transition before the race even started.
The race course was great, even for a flat bike course, which are not my favorites to ride. I love 2 lap courses! Mentally I know where I am at all times and what is coming up and makes the course easier to master. Due to a sprain shoulder, I had not been in the water since KMD Challenge 4 weeks previous, so my swim was not fast by any means, but I still enjoyed. On the bike I went out averaging 19.5 mph to mile 70, but after nutritional issues causing my stomach to not be able to hold in my calories I lost all energy and took a small nap in the ditch before finishing the rest of my ride. I know that sounds crazy, but it is the second time in a long distance race I have ever gotten sick and the same thing happened: couldn’t keep my eyes open, took a little nap and woke up feeling fresh and ready to take on the world! The problem I believe was – using new gel I had never used before and couldn’t hold it down (and any time I ever get ‘sick’ like that I immediately fall asleep). No, I’m not a rookie and will spare you the details to why it happened. I know better. After falling off the leader board with that move (I had been one of the top 5 females overall) I finally made it to the T2 and was mentally questionable, stomach was questionable, but legs felt great. Off I went after a brief conversation with my husband who was there to cheer me out onto the course. Time to take down some runners!
All day I had been looking forward to the run, but with my head and stomach playing games on me, I was uncertain of the outcome. I made it to mile 6 where I had convinced myself I was not going to make it through to the 2nd lap and this is where my saving grace came to my rescue. Rev3 Teammate Tim Andrus put me back together. I never name drop, but he gets all the credit in the world for this – I could not have done it without him. Stopping to complain about my iffy stomach, he got me moving while he inventoried me – asking me how my legs were. When I said they were fine, he told me we can get my head and stomach together and coached me through my nutritional changes and in no time I was off and ready to take on the next 20 miles.
The Wife – By mile 12.75, 1 hour and 52 minutes later convinced myself the only way I could complete this race was if my husband was there at the turn-around to tell me to get out there and finish the final lap. But he wasn’t there. He had gone back to the hotel room with everyone else. As the world came to screeching stop, the tears flowed and the rage set in as I completely lost my mind. I start screaming at the one person who was there to get my husband on the phone and yell at him to not bother coming because he was too late. As I continue to run while sobbing, I am conversing with myself out loud that I would never be in this situation if I were married to a triathlete. A triathlete would know the final turn-around is one of the most crucial points in the race. Of course he should have know, even though I had never expressed that to him…but then again he is not a triathlete. So he didn’t get it.
Client coaching the coach – at this point to only one out there attempting to pull my head back together was a long time client of mine who helped me pulled it back together for the next 4 miles. Forever grateful and ever so sorry he had to deal with my crazed psychosis, as we laugh about it now.
The Husband – shows up at mile 19ish after my client told him to get there, but I wanted nothing to do with him until mile 20, where I decided to let him know he wasn’t there for me when I needed him the most. Let’s be clear – half my family left Saturday, before the race had even started. The other half left after I had gotten on my bike, so at this point I was left with only 1 on the run – and now he had left me. As soon as he said he would have never left had he known, my switch flipped and I was perfectly fine and off to finish the last 6 miles. I had never been so focused at this point, taking down one mile at a time as I tried to hunt down every female I could who was head of me. (Still, he is banned from any important race I have from here forward.)
The Finish Line – I had made my way up to 14th overall as I crossed the finish line, taking my highest placing ever overall and in my age group at 4th in a Full Distance race. As I came across the tape, I found my husband standing there while they played our first dance song at our wedding (Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’…our first dance was in a nightclub in Vegas). My athletes who were still in town were all there to see the athlete cross the finish line. It felt surreal and was a blur. Oddly, I don’t remember much. I felt good, but I was dazed, and then it was over.
In Conclusion – It was a great race. It was a place where everyone was able to come together, have fun, try new things and support one another as a team. I am a proud coach, as I see my athletes work together and try a new sport that took them out of their comfort zone.
As an athlete, anyone who loves this distance can relate to the “now what” feeling you go through once the curtain has closed. That is where I am. There is an emotional let down for me goes beyond the race being over as I reflect on my experience with my family at this race and come to the conclusion that some don’t care (fore they left before the race had even started), others try to get it, but can’t quite get there (I appreciate them for trying) so by the time I made it through 127 miles I had been left by all of them. Hence, why I like racing solo so much – no one can let you down but yourself. *This is why it has taken a couple weeks to write this piece. It has been hard for me to deal with and I want to be honest about my experience.
As for my goal of attempting give the gift of a higher quality of life through fitness to my family…I failed. Why do I try when I know people will never live a healthy lifestyle unless they are willing to take responsibility for themselves and be willing the break bad habits?
I walk away with this race experience looking forward to next year doing the same distance. A chameleon can change its color to fit into its environment in order to survive. An endurance athlete must be able to do the same in order to survive a race like such.
Rev3 Portland Half – Portland, Oregon
A near perfect course; that is what the Rev3 Portland half distance course is to me, if only I could have had ocean water to swim. As you always find the Rev3 races to be well organized and fully supported with amazing staff and volunteers, I knew this race could be nothing less than a top quality operation.
Portland, Oregon – if you have never been, is a place where I believe every American should travel to at least once in their life. Great food, perfect summer racing weather and picturesque scenery that makes it almost difficult to race in because you just want to stop to take in the mountains, rivers and forest that surrounds you.
I knew I would be training through this race, but it would be my final prep-race before the KMD Challenge in Copenhagen. With already 250 miles of riding on my legs and 35 miles of running this week, I was looking forward to a hard day on the course and welcoming the fairly flat terrain. After I had crossed the finish line in Italy a month ago, I was truly looking forward to racing flat courses for the rest of the year.
It was going to be a quick trip to Portland, so as I always do, Friday I downloaded my pre-race material so I could go over the course in my head on the plane and be fully prepared by the time my plane landed. With my bike packed and all my gear ready to go on Saturday morning, I headed to the airport. About half way there I remembered I had forgotten to change my cassette on my racing wheels from the previous race…oh well, what can you do now – climbing gears for a flatter race. What is done is done.
I LOVE Pre-TSA! For all I deal with in all the traveling I do, the one great benefit I have now on national flights is my Pre-TSA boarding; no stripping down, taking off your shoes, pulling out all your computers and 3-1-1 bag – 30 seconds and you are through! I just need to be careful to never have a CO2 cartridge accidentally with me; I’d hate to get banned from this privilege. I get boarded and take off through to my first of two-legged journey and pull up my race day information file.
I want to be most efficient when I arrive in Portland, being on such a tight schedule, so I start reading through the logistics of check in and all that needs to be done. I get to the course; I need to visualize what I will be doing so I go over the swim course…sounds like cake. Swim out to the first buoy, left and keep the rest to the right of you. Since I am doing the longest race, go out to the last set – easy enough. Now to the bike…what…is something wrong here…this is not what I signed up for…is there a mistake…OMG, they changed the course!
Less than 24 hours before the race, I am just looking at the changes on the course and they are not even near from being flat. In fact, it is going to be one of the hilliest, technical courses I have done all year. Wow, I was not mentally prepared for that. But quickly decided to shift my own gears and go with it the best I could, besides, this type of bike course is always a favorite to me. Any opportunity to go fast…and I mean 45+mph fast, I am in! (Note to self: always look at the possibility of routes being changed at least a month in advance, not a day in advance)
You can’t always expect traveling to be seamless and this was one of those trips with the second leg being delayed, keeping me from getting to the race site early enough to have a relaxed afternoon. 3:30 flight lands, 4:30 car is picked up, 4:45 arrive at race site, check in and hear the end of race meeting, 5:00 hit the NormaTec booth for some serious leg compression action, 5:30 hit the road to drive the course that I now have to see.
And happy I was that I at least got to drive the course. Beautiful and engaging, filled with blind twisting turns going up and down in all directions, it is not a course you want to see for the first time in the race itself. Stunning Historic Route 30 takes you over the river and through the woods as you cross over the Columbia River Gorge 3 times, hit the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway, pass tree farms and horse farms, while taking on climbs that will last up to 5 miles long, covering a near 1000 foot gain. It will be exciting…challenging, but exciting. I was sad to have missed my team dinner because I choose to drive the course instead, but slept much better knowing what I had seen was something I could do without problem.
Without problem until…
Race morning everything was going great. Transition set up, I went back to the car to get a 30-minute nap and was feeling even better at the starting line. I take just behind the front row in the on-beach start and the horn goes off! 1, 2, 3 steps into the water, I am just above ankle deep and everything goes downhill – THWAP! There it was, I took a hard head blow to the face with an upright flailing elbow. I stumbled forward until I was able to get space to move forward by swimming instead of running, but in the first 50 meters my head was throbbing. After making it past the first buoy my head was hurting even worse, feeling dizzy and finding it hard to stay in a straight line, I kept telling myself it would be better once I was out of the water. After what seemed like an eternity of zigging and sagging across the small lake I finally hit shore 40 minutes later, resulting in a very slow swim and staggered to my bike.
I had convenience myself do just make it to the bike and I would feel okay, but even at that I found myself challenged to ride in a straight line, still dizzy I started my nutrition earlier than usual to see if that would remedy the problem. Holding out until the first aid station, I was forced to pull over to see if anyone had something for this excruciating headache I had been living with for over an hour now. After about 5 minutes at the aid station, I decided to forge on. At this point and knowing I had already lost 5 minutes off the clock, I knew I stood no chance for a prize (which at the starting line before the first 5 seconds of the race, I was feeling competitive) so I decided to back off the intensity to see what my head would do.
After hitting a series of twists and turns, feeling my head was cloudy and not sharp, I had to hold myself back from pushing the descents I knew I could take top speed, at one point I almost took my bike into the forest paths, rather than down the road. Odd, I had never felt this way before. I have put up with a lot in races, but never has my head felt this way before. “I can shake this off, I can shake it off, I just need a little more time”, I kept telling myself.
I tried. I tried all the way through the swim and on the bike. I tried through T2 and 200 meters into the run where I became more dizzy and unstable. I needed to go to the aid tent. There is nothing glorious about going to the aid tent, especially in the middle of the race and not at the finish line. More so, there is nothing great about it when you are there before the first finisher has crossed the line. After few tests of head movements and making me follow a pen with my eyes, and me getting nauseous and dizzy at almost every movement I did, it was determined I had a mild concussion. Wow, that never even occurred to me of that being a possibility.
Taking the philosophy of there will always be another day to race, I found no need to try to play hero and finish the race in a dazed cloud of confusion leaving myself to wonder if it was really worth it 3 weeks from now. It is always good to leave from a race feeling like you can’t wait to be able to have a do-over next year, rather than the feeling of – that sucked and never again. I left with the do-over feeling.
It was a great ride regardless. It was a great race. My only regret is that I didn’t get to hang with my team as much as I had hoped, but there will be a next one soon enough.
The Race Report
A plane ride, a train ride, a bus and a subway – typical modes of transportation when traveling through Europe and on any other given day two girls traveling from coast to coast in Italy would have never raised an eyebrow, but take two bike cases and race luggage and you get a lot of questions.
Questions at which I couldn’t translate word for word, but when staring and pointing are followed by words we quickly learned our first Italian words of our trip: bicycle – bicicletta, swimming – nuoto and running – esecuzione and race – corsa. Along with the language of body gestures, we quickly started to adapt our new foreign land, as we became Italians for the week.
A typical European race start, so we had time to get up, eat breakfast and stop for a café before going to transition. Not even a minute after uncovering my bike the rain fell. Goodness that it only fell for about 5 minutes and then it was on to a slightly cloudy day with gradual increasing wind. In transition we met a group of Americans in the Navy who are stationed in Sicily (Christine who did her first triathlon ever and did amazing! We will be visiting you in Sicily.) Who take their days off to do races throughout Europe. I ran into one of the girls I me in Panama who was from England; I am finally starting to run into other international travelers which is so exciting for me!
After we hopped out of transition we walked back to our apartment to listen to some music, relax and suit up…that’s right, we put our wetsuits on before we left our apartment because we were so close to the start (it’s really the only way to go if you can pull it off).
Pushing off shore at 8:50 with 300 other athletes in the same wave always causes a little chaos, but much to my surprise the start was easiest part of the race! As the wave started off swimming in the direction of Croatia, the choppy waves and current made it difficult to stay on course, but somehow I managed even though there was a moment of doubt on whether or not I would survive. The swim took us straight out 850 meters with a turn toward the north for 300, which we were informed if at this point we hit shore we have missed our turn and have definitely gone too far.
Time for the bicicletta! Onward and upward…literally, as we took on a 2 lap, 2 hill climb, too long course. Locals lined the towns and top of the hills while enjoying their morning café as they cheered you on yelling your name (or my Italian version of it…Keembarly, which I loved).
After making it to the top of the first hill, which was a joke in comparison to what we rode earlier in the week on our attempt to ride the course, I found myself at ease now know what I had in store for the rest of the race. I spent the first 90 minutes taking the scenery; it would have been a crying shame had you gone through the entire ride and not notice the small villages, and olive groves painted with the back drop of snow covered mountains. I greeted the local spectators with frequent buon giorno e grazie as they were just as wrapped up into the race as I was. Feeling strong and fit and committed to this race 100%, not only was I having a great time taking in the experience of riding in Italy, but also I was working hard and feeling good as I did it. The ride was so much fun as you take twists and turns up and down the hills. If you are brave enough to go aggressive, you can get some good speed down some of the descents. On others you may be not so lucky and take the chance of wiping out on the switchbacks, as I almost did a couple times…I swear my rims hit the road. As the second lap came around I had a few moments where I thought maybe I had gone out too fast on the first lap like I always do through the first half of and 70.3 race I have ever done but somehow I convenience myself to hold on to the end and keep up the fight against the increasing wind speed.
Nutrition was going well until the aid station in Peniella had no water on the second lap and only ISO which I was not about to try for the first time in the middle of this race. That was only until I ran out of water and was left with the only other aide station what was strictly ISO and 4km from the end of the bike…and I took it with no other choice, leaving the outcome of my race to my nutrition.
First lap I got passed by only a couple women. A few more passed my on the second lap as they were tucked tight in a giant peloton of 30 plus people in the final 10k stretch into the wind heading back to Pescara. It made me sick. It’s so frustrating to get beat and passed by people who don’t follow the rules. And there goes my only tangent on fairness and rules.
I made it through run transition almost as fast I as I did the first one and with no problem. Taking to the road by foot I head toward the hills. At this point I think any hill would have felt like a mountain, but one of the hills took my 8 minute pace run to an immediate 9:30 and kick my ass from there on. Would not have been so bad had it on been on the course to run 3 times, but it was. I passed a few, a few passed me and in the end I came out with a fairly slow half marathon. Could I say I was disappointed with my run performance…yes? I gave I had to give and there was nothing else left in the tank. The disappointment lies where I have been running my best in about 5 years, so I expected more out of myself.
But all in all, I went out on the swim start aggressively and cranked it hard on those hills never letting up. Finally in the end on the run in the final kick about 1.2km to the finish line as one girl tried to pass me I decided to go for it and never let up. Running through the narrow crowds across the sandy beach as spectators cheered my name followed by a lot of “bravos”, I ran across that finish line with nothing left in me. I gave it my all. Feeling so good about what I had accomplish, I didn’t even care what place I came in, but then again I have never really cared in the past what place I had ever gotten at this distance. But giving all what was left me gave me the best finish I have ever had in a Half Ironman – 5th in my age group and 20th place amateur, with only 1 other American beating me (who passed me in the first 5k on the bike).
Swimming beyond the shores into the Adriatic Sea, racing my bike through the Abruzzi Region and running along the streets of Pescara I found myself the new “repeater” race I would do. It is one I would repeat year-to-year with no questions asked. I have always been fond of Oceanside, but now the little town of Pescara, Italy has stolen my heart and my lust for triathlons in Europe. I cannot wait for next year; I will be stronger and faster and speak better Italian.
…and my lame attempt to translate using Google Translate
Una Gara da Ricordare
Un viaggio in aereo, in treno, un autobus e una metropolitana – le modalità tipiche di trasporto che viaggiano attraverso l’Europa e su qualsiasi altro giorno dato due ragazze che viaggiano da costa a costa in Italia non avrebbe mai alzato un sopracciglio, ma prendere due casi bicicletta e bagagli gara e si ottiene un sacco di domande.
Domande a cui non riuscivo a tradurre parola per parola, ma quando guardando e indicando sono seguiti da parole che abbiamo imparato rapidamente le nostre prime parole italiane del nostro viaggio: bicicletta – bicicletta, il nuoto – Nuoto – esecuzione e la gestione e la corsa – corsa. Insieme con il linguaggio dei gesti del corpo, abbiamo subito iniziato a migliorare il nostro nuova terra straniera, come siamo diventati italiani per la settimana.
Un inizio tipica razza europea, così abbiamo avuto il tempo di alzarsi, fare colazione e sosta per un caffè prima di andare a transizione. Nemmeno un minuto dopo aver scoperto la mia moto la pioggia cadeva. Bontà che solo caduto per circa 5 minuti e poi era una giornata poco nuvoloso con progressivo aumentare del vento. In transizione abbiamo incontrato un gruppo di americani in Marina, che sono di stanza in Sicilia (Christine che ha fatto il suo primo triathlon e ha fatto incredibile! Noi vi sarà in visita in Sicilia.) Che prendono i loro giorni di ferie per fare gare in tutta Europa. Mi sono imbattuto in una delle ragazze che mi a Panama, che era in Inghilterra, sto finalmente iniziando a correre in altri viaggiatori internazionali che è così eccitante per me!
Dopo aver saltato fuori di transizione tornammo al nostro appartamento per ascoltare musica, rilassarsi e soddisfare up … è vero, abbiamo messo le nostre mute prima di abbiamo lasciato la nostra casa perché siamo stati così vicini al punto di partenza (è davvero l’unico modo da percorrere se si può tirare fuori).
Spingendo off shore alle 8:50 con 300 atleti di altre cause sempre un po ‘di caos, ma con mia grande sorpresa la partenza è stata parte più facile della gara! Come l’onda ha cominciato nuotare in direzione della Croazia, le onde increspate e la corrente ha reso difficile mantenere la rotta, ma in qualche modo sono riuscito anche se c’è stato un momento di dubbio sull’opportunità o meno sarei sopravvissuto. Il nuoto ci ha portato verso l’esterno a 850 metri, con una svolta verso il nord per 300, che sono stati informati se noi a questo punto ci ha colpito riva abbiamo perso il nostro turno e sono decisamente andati troppo oltre.
Tempo per la bicicletta! Onward e verso l’alto … letteralmente, in quanto abbiamo preso in un giro 2, 2 Hill Climb, ovviamente troppo lungo. Le montagne di neve superiori con dolci colline di aziende olivicole dipinse il paesaggio in tutta la corsa come si guidato da una città all’altra in Abruzzo. Gli abitanti del posto allineato le città e la parte superiore delle colline mentre godendo la loro café mattina ti acclamato urlando il tuo nome (o la mia versione italiana di questo … Keembarly, che ho amato).
Dopo aver in cima della prima collina, che era uno scherzo in confronto a quello che abbiamo cavalcato all’inizio della settimana sul nostro tentativo di cavalcare il corso, mi sono trovato a mio agio ora so quello che avevo in serbo per il resto del gara. Ho passato i primi 90 minuti, tenendo il paesaggio, ma sarebbe stato un vero peccato ti aveva attraversato l’intera corsa e non notare i piccoli villaggi, e uliveti dipinti con la caduta di schiena delle montagne coperte di neve. Ho salutato gli spettatori locali con frequenti Buon Giorno Grazie e come sono stati altrettanto avvolto nella corsa come me. Sentendosi forte e in forma e impegnati in questa gara 100%, non solo stavo avendo un grande momento di prendere l’esperienza di guida in Italia, ma anche stavo lavorando duro e sentirsi bene come ho fatto. La corsa era così divertente come si prende colpi e gira su e giù per le colline. Se siete abbastanza coraggiosi per andare aggressivo, è possibile ottenere qualche buona velocità verso il basso alcune delle discese. Su altri si può non essere così fortunati e prendere la possibilità di cancellare i tornanti, come ho quasi fatto un paio di volte … giuro la mia cerchi colpire la strada. Mentre il secondo giro è venuto intorno ho avuto alcuni momenti in cui ho pensato che forse ero andato troppo veloce nel primo giro, come faccio sempre fino alla prima metà di gara e di 70,3 che io abbia mai fatto, ma in qualche modo me la convenienza a mantenere il alla fine e mantenere la lotta contro la velocità del vento in aumento.
Nutrition stava andando bene fino alla stazione di aiuti Peniella non aveva acqua al secondo giro e solo ISO, che non avevo intenzione di provare per la prima volta nel bel mezzo di questa razza. Questo è stato solo fino a quando ho finito di acqua ed è stato lasciato con la sola stazione di aiutante altri ciò che era strettamente ISO ea 4 km dalla fine della moto … e l’ho portato con altra scelta, lasciando il risultato della mia razza alla mia alimentazione.
Primo giro sono stato superato solo da un paio di donne. Un po ‘di più il mio passato al secondo giro come erano stretti nascosto in una volata gigante di oltre 30 persone nel tratto finale 10k al vento di tornare a Pescara. Mi ha fatto male. E ‘così frustrante per ottenere ritmo e passò da persone che non seguono le regole. E ci va la mia tangente solo sulla correttezza e regole.
L’ho fatto per mezzo di transizione run quasi veloce come ho fatto io il primo e con nessun problema. Prendendo la strada a piedi mi dirigo verso le colline. A questo punto credo che qualsiasi collina si sarebbe sentito come una montagna, ma una delle colline preso il mio ritmo di 8 minuti di corsa ad un immediato 9:30 e calci il culo da lì. Non sarebbe stato così male era stato sul sul corso a correre 3 volte, ma era. Ho passato alcuni, pochi mi ha passato e alla fine sono uscito con una mezza maratona piuttosto lento. Potrei dire che sono rimasto deluso della mia prestazione run … sì? Ho dato ho dovuto dare e non c’era nient’altro rimasta nel serbatoio. La delusione si trova dove ho fatto funzionare il mio meglio in circa 5 anni, quindi mi aspettavo di più da me stesso.
Ma tutto sommato, sono andato sul nuoto inizia a gomito in modo aggressivo e difficile su quelle colline non mollare. Infine, alla fine in fuga nel finale su calcio di 1,2 chilometri al traguardo come una ragazza ha cercato di passarmi ho deciso di andare per esso e non mollare. Scorrendo la folla stretti di fronte alla spiaggia di sabbia come spettatori applaudirono il mio nome seguito da un sacco di “bravi”, mi sono imbattuto in quella traguardo con nulla in me. Ho dato tutto me stesso. Sentirsi così bene quello che avevo realizzare, non mi importa neanche che posto sono entrato, ma poi non ho mai veramente curato in passato, quale luogo che io abbia mai ottenuto a questa distanza. Ma dando tutto quello che mi ha lasciato mi ha dato la migliore finitura che io abbia mai avuto in un mezzo Ironman – 5 nella mia fascia d’età e dilettanti 20 ° posto, con solo 1 altro americano battendo me (che mi ha superato nel primo 5k sulla moto) .
Nuoto al di là delle sponde nel mare Adriatico, la mia bici da corsa attraverso la Regione Abruzzo e che corre lungo le strade di Pescara mi sono trovato la nuova razza “repeater” farei. Si tratta di uno vorrei ripetere anno per anno, senza fare domande. Sono sempre stato appassionato di Oceanside, ma ora la piccola città di Pescara, l’Italia ha rubato il mio cuore e la mia sete di triathlon in Europa. Non vedo l’ora per il prossimo anno, sarò più forte e più veloce e parlare meglio italiano.
Panama City, Panama
I spent the past week reminiscent on my time in Panama and there is only one way to sum it up…not enough time. Usually I pick my races with the intent of exploring every minute I am not racing, but this time was a different.
At the very last minute I decided to sign up for Ironman Panama 70.3. Last minute meaning, two hours before registration closing on January 31st and racing on the 12th of February. I wasn’t ready, I went back and forth on the decision, but was persuaded after numerous people gave the two thumbs up for the destination. Well, I am all about the destination races. The opportunity to swim in the Panama Canal was irresistible!
Three days before I was to leave for Panama City there was the big announcement, which I was not expecting at all; Lance Armstrong was going to race the same race I was doing! Was this going to have an influence on my racing, absolutely not…or at least that is what I thought. As I started getting myself ready for the race, I came up with the brilliant idea of trying to find a pro to interview about traveling to races. (You will soon see where I am going with this) I keep my packing simple, maybe it is the years of practice, maybe it is that I get tired of schlepping so much stuff around, or maybe it becomes too much for me to keep the clean-unused clothes from my dirty ones when repacking. But I have mastered the art of packing; I know exactly what extra foods I need, how little I need for my race, how many pairs of running shorts, sports bras and cycling shorts I truly need. I can pack and unpack my bike in 15 minutes – apart and reassembled…I only wish TSA could learn to properly close my bike case so they don’t damage it anymore than what they did on this trip (yes, I am very bitter and upset over this. Brand new bike, year old case and they manage to damage my bike and case due to their carelessness; but we will save that for another story.)
Always apprehensive about doing a freshman race, but after hearing so many great things about the country itself, I was easily sold on the destination. Knowing I was not ready for a race of this distance I knew it made no since to try to taper, so I decided to train right through the race. Strategy worked out great until about 30 miles into the bike and then again with the last 6k to go in the run. In all honesty, it was about the least prepared race I have even been to a race. But I won’t get down on myself, because I can always come out on the other side and say I had the fastest swim of my life by 5 minutes in a non-wetsuit race. 5 MINUTES! Sheepishly I will admit there was a current, but the excitement of getting to swim at the mouth of one of the World Wonders of the Modern World is enough to get anyone’s adrenaline pumping to where it would impossible to have a bad swim. A straight shot, point-to-point, saltwater swim that was just below 78 degrees Fahrenheit and not over-crowded swim; even the less confident swimmers were bound to have an ego boosting first event. It was AMAZING and I would honestly say this is the first time I have ever done a race where I said I would come back to, just to do the swim again.
But before I get too far ahead of myself – Panama City is one of the few countries I could honestly say is one where I would recommend everyone travel to at least once in their life. There is not only a lot to do as far as endless beaches, untouched jungles, a rich culture that links back to ancient civilizations, but Panama is the gateway that connects the East to the Western World. It is a city that only 5 years ago had buildings that scrapped the sky at 10 stories is now covered with 40, 50 and 60+ story buildings that look just as modern and architecturally interesting as what you would find in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. In fact, it was told to me by the only English speaking local I found, that the city is often referred to as Little Dubai in Central America because of the architecture and booming industry there. It is a country where Central America connects with South America, but there is no road linking the two – only jungle, which is one of the most dangerous passes in the world to make.
There is so much to do; at least a week is needed to begin to scratch the surface of this small country. As the old mixes with the new, you are able to find the classic open-air fish markets and ones with local needs, to high end shopping within a couple miles away. The unscathed natural landscape is breath taking as you look from the stunning ocean view to the lush jungles of Central America which houses animals that include ocelots, pumas, snakes and sloths (which I missed seeing). Then you look to the Canal, which is beyond anything you could imagine. It is a place where natural landscape mixes with steel as it cuts its way through an entire country, forging the path for massive cargo ships to cruise lines to pass from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. Then you have the Panama Railway that runs along the side of the canal almost point to point.
On the bike course we were lucky enough to get to experience the most of what the country has to offer over 56 miles/90km. With it being an out and back course with lots of hills…LOTS of hills and crosswind, you get the opportunity to ride on the very well paved course as you ride over the Panama Bridge of the Americas, then finishing on the Pan-American Highway, getting to see the new age skyline of Panama City. Once you get over the fear of blowing off the bridge, take a moment to enjoy the view of the Canal and landscape that surrounds the city.
With the excitement of having an amazing pro field at this race, the crowds and volunteer support was above and beyond. (Apparently having one of the most recognizable athletes of all time participating in the race; not only brought an excitement in the air to the other athletes but also brought a mass crowd of media I have never seen at a race like this.) I will be first to admit it is cool to get to compete in the same race as Lance Armstrong. It was even better once I found out how many race photos there were due to the abundance of photographers on the course attempting to get shots of the newbie.
As the race transitioned off the bike and to the run you got to experience a whole new geography of the country as you find there are several islands off the coast of Panama and there is a series of them that are connected by a causeway; and this where the run took place. Tropical, windy, hot…VERY HOT. I will quote Rookie Armstrong by saying, “it is hotter than donut grease,” and it was. If hadn’t set myself up for 6 hour of torture to begin with signing up last minute and not fully trained, I did myself in by picking a race located 9 degrees of the equator in the dead of the winter. I wish I could say that my run was better than my never-ending ride, but it didn’t get any better. In fact, it took 15km before I actually felt like the legs that were placed under me started to work. In most cases I would say booking your hotel as close to race location is a good idea, but when you have to run by your room 4 times during the race; it can be mental torture when you feel like your race finished the moment you got out of the water.
The race was finally over! As happy as I was to have crossed the finish line regardless of what my time was, I found the race to have an unusual excitement. Maybe it was having Lance there. Maybe it was the Latin hospitality. Maybe it was the range of athletes who came from all over the world. Whatever it was, I wish every race had this type of buzz.
In my effort to get an interview with a pro, I thought it would be great to attempt to get Mr. Armstrong, but then again what are the chances? Normally the pros are fairly easy to encounter and I knew I would have to work for it if I was going to get one. The morning before the race while I was out testing my bike out I looked ahead about 100 meters and see him. Black and yellow, he was hard to miss as he looks up like a spooked gazelle as he runs across the street with his bike in hand and gracefully mounts his bike and starts to accelerate away in the opposite direction as I was going. Without thinking (logically), I go for a U-turn and the chase was off. It was for the next 10 minutes of my life I actually believed I could catch Lance Armstrong for and ask for an interview. Yes, I really believed it…until I lost him. Of course, but wow, what a rush it was. No, I never got my interview with him and hopefully one day I will get the chance. But I think I something a little better; later that day I ran into a fellow pro great, Rasmus Henning. Approachable, nice and well spoken, Rasmus happily took the time to have a quick word with me about traveling throughout the world for his races…had he has raced in a lot of places. So in my very first interview I got a European Great and he had a pretty good race, taking 4th overall.
After 55 hours of him making his way from his home in Lanzarote to Panama City, he wasn’t the only one who traveled great distances to make the race. At the start of my race I found myself standing within a group of 3 other girls with one being from Sweden, one from Quebec and the other from London and all here for their very first half ironman race. As I asked them, “why, why Panama?” I got the answer I had hoped with, “Why not? Sounds like a great place for my first. I have never been to Central America and have always wanted to see the Canal.” These are the athletes I love being around; people with the same passion to discover the world like I do through racing. It was one of the first times ever I found myself at a race where I felt like I actually fit in. What a great place for a race, and even a better place to meet other triathletes.
I wanted to get sick. I was driving up the hill I would soon be descending on my bike; steep sharp blinding turns, giving complete confirmation there will be no reward at the top of this climb. Instead of the need for speed which I have been hoping for, became thoughts of a new strategy; watching my lines carefully so I can live to tell the story of When I Survived Ironman Lanzarote. Until now, my biggest decision I thought I had to make was if I bring a full length or sleeveless wetsuit, and now I see I have bigger fish to fry; all I am thinking about now are my wheels, the weight me on my bike with the wind and the grade of the descent…oh my. There is nothing comforting to me right now other than the sweet thoughts of a marathon I get to do afterwards, but only if I survive. I know this is only one of the many hills I get to climb, but this is the one I will loose sleep over. This is what Computrainer cannot prepare you for.
1350 athletes, 137 women and 17 are in my age group. None of that matters to me anymore, not even the rough swim start of 1200 men beating you down. If asked what my goal was at 7:00 this morning, I would have told you something completely different from what I am going to tell you now. The weather has changed, the wind speed is up and all I am looking for is to be done before the sun goes down. My race number is 64, my gear bags are all in the front row, bike in the front; I couldn’t have a better transition layout, and being the master of transition…too bad this isn’t a short course race, those extra thirty seconds over everyone is nothing here.
What I will get to see along this torturous route is something amazing. As shown a few days ago the hardened lava desert in the south, terrain, rocks and sand changes so much in such little amount of land. I lived by my motto of “I’m Lost” to the fullest today. Leaving without a map didn’t help and I didn’t pick-up one until I hit Haria (aka – panic point on the bike course). This is when I needed to stop to let the tension out of my shoulders, more so than indulge in the spectacular view that lay before me. I pulled off at a vineyard, yes…a vineyard. As I pulled in I was looking around looking for grapevines, but never saw a thing. Asking the man who ran it how long it had been here, I was shocked when he said 150 years. With my curiosity and confusion taking over, I asked where the grapes where and where the wine was made. He told me right here. We were standing about 400 meters from the opening where the top of the volcano blown off 200 years ago. Personally, I thought it was just a communication error. I bought a bottle of wine and he gave me a detailed map. It wasn’t until I was heading down the hillside and noticed hundreds of pits dug in the ground with plants in them…grapes! I didn’t know!
I got to see amazing wind sculptures from the late and very famous Lanzarote artist Cesar Manrique. So many intersections all over the island with his pieces of work; they are everywhere; I wish I could have gotten pictures of all of them, but I had to manage my driving. There is a cactus garden, Mirador del Rio and so many little stops along the way. I came across a beautiful town called Punta Muijeres where the lava rock spilled into the ocean creating these pools. These pools are now at the door steps of many locals’ houses. A man walking his dog stopped next to me to share admiration for his little village. I took a few pictures and he smiled and said with a sigh, “muey bonito”. “Si, muey bonito, muey,” I said to him. Fishing boats lined up beyond, with shades a blue that range from dark azul all the way to brilliant turquoise.
As you reach Orzola everything begins to change. Memories of my trip to Ironman South Africa came to mind as the beaches mixed with rocky shores and the waves crashed ten meters into the air. Lava rock mixed with sandy white beaches blends into the backdrop of high cliffs that drop straight into the water. When I say straight in the water, I mean there is no room for road, so you must backtrack through the hills to get to the other side.
As you make your way down past Teguise, a beautiful town in the center of the island, but still magnificent view, you start to find a green moss-looking plant growing onto the rocks. There is a castle there and a few churches that are stopping sites, but I was more interested in getting to La Santa, but not before I make a stop at Famara. Famara is a surf town where you will find the best wind sports and surfing on island. The surfers look just like the ones you will find in California, and I am sure they have a similar code, like The Nod, we triathletes use throughout the world. When I stopped in the town, I was clearly an outsider. Not knowing the code of social acceptance, I took a few pictures and moved onto La Santa.
The packet pick-up is always and interesting thing. You never know what you are going to get. Ironman packets outside the US are always so much better. Kick-ass back pack is what we got pre-race. (IM South Africa – they gave us jerseys). The location is far from the race start and this is your host hotel. The idea of being bused to the start of the race and waiting to be bused back after the race does not do it for me. There is nothing to do at La Santa other than be at the resort. However, the resort is pretty impressive. It is an endurance athletes’ dream! Since there is no sand beach and you cannot swim off the coast there; the resort build an inlet. So there are able to get the tide, swim an ocean course in the protective area of the resort! There is a track with field events, VO2 Max testing, lap pools, weight room and so much more.
I have officially made my round of the island. Tomorrow is tune-up and drop off. Take a deep breath in and go for it. There is nothing more I can do now, but listen to my words I tell everyone who does there first race; enjoy every moment, good and bad for there will never be another one like it.
And there won’t!
Do You Speak English? I’m Lost.
I believe this is going to be my theme for the week. Already I have used this phrase countless times. I am having a difficult time with the roads not being marked well or even reading them at that! I never had this much of a problem anywhere I have ever driven and am starting to wonder why the lady at the car rental actually talked me out of renting the GPS. The Map; it is a marvelous tool, if you know how to use it. Luckily, growing up as a country girl there are two other things my Dad taught me (next to driving a manual) map reading and direction. I learned my north, south, east and west – and using my sense of direction has gotten me far on this little island; as long as I know where east is, I will make it back to my apartment. Learning how to read a map is priceless, but I will say, with modern technology, it is much easier having someone speaking directions to you, rather than pull over every fifteen to twenty kilometers to check your map, since driving and reading don’t go hand and hand very well.
But loosing my way has gained me many adventures. I got to have an amazing date tonight in what is one of the most romantic pieces of paradise I have ever seen with Myself. A hidden cove where the locals hang out. Around 6 pm the fresh evening baguettes are dropped off at the stores, so I picked one up, got an apple, Spanish cheese, almonds water and chocolate and had myself a picnic. Sitting there along the beach, the kids are playing, lovers snuggling, an old man swimming laps; this is a daily ritual for these people. I sat and enjoyed the people and the place, had a wonderful time with myself. After eating I decided to climb the volcanic rock that surrounded this little cove. Words and pictures cannot begin to paint the picture of this natural beauty. The water beneath is this dark clear blue, the reflection of the dark sand is something I’ve never seen off the coast of the US, Caribbean, Mexico or India. After my dinner, I continued to loose myself through the streets of Puerto del Carmen I got to see boys playing on their balcony with Super Soaker’s shooting unexpected passersby. It is amazing what you will see and find when you allow yourself to get lost.
As I took a dip in the water today for a lap around the course I swam into another fellow racer who is from the UK, taking on his second Ironman. After talking for awhile we found ourselves making a swim date for tomorrow morning, which I am looking forward to.
I also got the chance to hit the run course and do one full lap (since it is a three lap course, each lap getting shorter). I will be first to say, it is NOT flat like they say it is. However I will give credit to it seeming flat after everything you go through on the bike course. Small rollers, but they will feel bigger after 180km of biking leading up to and the wind could play a factor, as well as the lack of shade…which is none. As the days get closer I am getting more and more excited. Athletes from all over Europe are starting to arrive and no matter what language they speak, everyone speaks the language of “The Nod”.
The Nod is eye to eye, wordless acknowledgment and slight tip of the head form of communication that I have found all over the world with other athletes. I find you get The Nod more often when traveling overseas. Everyone here does it. No formal introduction needed, no handshakes required, just The Nod and you find yourself socially accepted.
As the evening comes to an end the smell of the salty sea air is exchanged for smells of local cooking. Rain starts to fall and I quickly run to the balcony to grab my drying clothes, now wet. I make a cup of tea and start to go over my pictures and find myself feeling so lucky that I have a life where I get to see all these things. It really is amazing what I have got to see throughout my life and can’t wait to see what else the world has to show me!
Abu Dhabi International Triathlon
4:00 a.m. – morning wake-up call. I feel great; slept through the night and only woke up 3 times, which normally I wake up every 90 minutes in fear of oversleeping (which I have done before). Made oatmeal, turned on some music and got my things together.
• Karate Kid’s – You’re the Best Around
• Barry White – My Everything
• B21 – Darshan
4:20 a.m. – the phone rang again; thinking it was my husband to wish me a good morning I answered with a cheeky response only to find it was the front desk giving me a second wake-up call.
5:00 a.m. – I headed out the door to the race site
5:30 a.m. – I am at T1 (transition 1) and am all set up; from sun block, to gels, water and helmet, I was ready to go.
6:00 a.m. – start stretching and dynamic warm-up
6:30 a.m. – watch the Pros start and take on the first lap of the swim
7:00 a.m. – swim warm up and meet Michelle from West Palm Beach, Florida
Everything has gone perfect, just as planned.
Everything was perfect…until the start of the race.
7:10 a.m. – The horn goes off! (I was a little confused because everything was in English until the last couple minutes before we started, then it was all in Arabic and then the horn) I start my watch and go running into the water. Took my first dive and came up so fast…WHERE ARE MY GOGGLES?!?! On my head! Quickly I pulled them over my eyes, but full of salt water, I tried to continue but soon realized this was not going to work and was forced to stop and make my adjustment at a full halt. After making my adjustments I was off again. Immediately to follow came a mouthful of salt water…swallowed. Two strokes went by and another mouthful…swallowed again! This is not looking good. A mass start with mainly men and one of the few who swam without a wetsuit, I found myself surprisingly calm and found a rhythm quickly.
8:10 a.m. – Exit the cold Arabian waters and shift from horizontal to vertical…whoa, stomach not feeling too well. Salt water may not have settled well with me.
8:13 a.m. – On to the bike for 200km. First 20 minutes, not bad. As I closed in on Zayed Port, the course shifted into the wind. This is where I was officially welcomed to hell. 20+ mph winds that was unrelenting. As soon as the sun was high in the sky andd the heat settled in (39 Celsius) causing mirages off the road. Then the sands started sweeping over the roads, forcing sand into your face and mouth.
At this point I was in the battle, fighting off the elements and not giving in. My stomach was churning which made it difficult to stay in my aerobars. I tried taking in fluids; not too much, not too little, I have practiced this 100 times and the formula has never failed me. As we entered the Yas Island Circuit Formula 1 race track I found temporary relief with the excitement of riding on the track. The excitement didn’t only affect me, but every athlete who entered the track. Smiling from ear to ear, even if you weren’t going fast, you felt fast. For those minutes riding the course I felt like a badass. Hands down, riding the track is one of the coolest things I have ever done. I wish I could have done lap after lap after lap; simply awesome.
Riding the track was followed by a greater reward; WIND AT YOUR BACK, finally! 16mph quickly turned into 23.5mph and as I started gaining momentum so did my stomach. It got to the point where I just couldn’t take in any water and I was fighting my own internal battle. Still feeling green under the gills a decision had to be made quickly – chance going out again for another lap to take on the full 200km or make adjustment and complete the 100km portion. Quick adjustment and went for the 100km.
After cutting my distance in two, I advanced to T2. Once I got there I asked where the med tent was and made my way there. I wasn’t overheated, I wasn’t injured, I was ready to puke up all this salt water that was not allowing me to take in what I needed to go on. The medics were incredible! They gave me ice, which I put on my stomach. Also gave me a little magic pill to keep me from throwing up my fluids and had me lay down. As I laid there I started to doze off and fell into a 30 minute nap. When I woke up, I felt much better, except for the new-found pounding headache I had and the med tent had nothing to alleviate this problem. I asked if I was allowed to go back out on the course. After they told me I was able to do whatever I wanted, I put on my running shoes and headed out to the run course.
Along the first kilometer I asked spectators if they had anything for a headache. Always ask a woman…within the first 5 women I had scored! Within 10 minutes I have a solid stomach and head and I am feeling run ready. How far I will go, who knows. At this point I am on my own agenda, doing my own distance triathlon. When I started this morning I was all in, ready to go and spend my entire day going the distance and at this point I just wanted to get in some of the run so I could cross the finish line. That is when the Abu Dhabi KShah Triathlon was created; Long Course Swim, Short Course Bike and Sprint Distance Run. I will take on a little bit of each race.
I quickly came up on one of the pro men who was walking the start of the run. I asked him if he was okay and he said yes and I pushed on. Shortly he passed me and not 60 seconds later I passed him again. I stopped to see if he needed anything; he was cramping. We had a few words again and then I asked him if he could move at my pace and he said yes. Side by side we forged on, sharing water, our race agenda for the year and our opinion on the wind on the bike course and other small talk. We ran to my turning point together and that is where we parted; he went on to attempt to finish his race and I went on to finish my own. We both finished the day with a Long Course DNF; he for cramping, me for drinking too much salt water.
Disappointed – YES
Defeated – YES
Down on myself – YES
Questioning IM Lanzarote – YES
Did I have a good time – YES…a great time
Would I do it again – ABSOLUTELY…I have to redeem myself
September 26th, 2010
On a last minute whim, I decided to finish my season in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with the USA Sprint Nationals. Unfortunately I strained my right hamstring the week before the race and could hardly walk for two days after the injury occurred.
I love to race the sprint distance because I can just turn off my head and go…go as hard and as fast as I can and I don’t have to think about pacing and nutrition and much more of anything else. I just GO.
Getting to Tuscaloosa by plane is a trip into Birmingham and then an hour’s drive southeast. Or, if you choose to road trip like I did, is an eleven hour drive from Chicago with no traffic and a few good stops to stretch your legs and eat. Leaving on a Thursday afternoon at 5:30, you think would have been a disaster leaving from downtown, but on the contrary we made it to 65 southbound in about 45 minutes. It had been a long time since I had really taken a road trip that required me to be in a car for more than five hours, but I will have to say it is better than spending seven hours in a plane. After stopping near Nashville for a good night’s sleep, we arrived in Birmingham for some southern BBQ by 2:00pm. Golden Rule was packed…but they had the BEST Chocolate Pie ever! (I don’t eat meat, so I don’t really have much to say about the actual BBQ, but my road trip partner liked it.)
Things I observed in Alabama:
1. There is such thing as Southern Hospitality
2. Greensboro is the Catfish Capital of Alabama (lots of catfish farms)
3. They love their college football…it is safe to say; their 2nd religion
4. Next to Jesus…and they love Jesus a lot
5. Vanity plates – I have NEVER seen so many! It was amazing.
6. Tuscaloosa is a dry county on Sundays
7. Dark tinted windows on your car/truck/dooly is an absolute must
I liked Alabama. I got to see cotton field being harvested; never before had I seen that. Came across a field where you could say; another man’s trash is another man’s art. Tuscaloosa is a beautiful college town, with a beautiful race course that I really enjoyed.
Nationals is run very well with a lot of support, the volunteers know everything about what was going on and could easily answer questions no matter where you were, which is always a good thing. I would give the race an A+ on how it was run. Expo was, on the other hand, so much smaller than what I had ever seen; so if you forgot something, you would have to on an adventure to find it. Expo would be more like a D-.
Friday evening of the race I got a migraine headache so badly that it mad me sick and I couldn’t keep anything in my stomach. Saturday I had an allergic reaction to cross-contamination of fish. Needless to say, I got all the bad stuff out of the way before race day. Sunday morning was race day; I open up the door to our hotel room and saw lightening immediately as I stepped into the pouring rain. Good times. Still, it didn’t get me down. I race by the philosophy of – everyone races in the same conditions, so no matter what the outdoor elements are; it is still an even playing field.
The rain stopped and the sun came out just in time for the swim down the muddy river. I know they said the dam was closed for Saturday’s race, but I swear it was open for the Sprint race…I kept getting pushed from some kind of current, so I found it hard to swim toward the yellow buoy! But what I found to be more difficult was kicking with a strained hamstring…oh my; bottom line – that sucked. I thought the run was going to be tough with it hurting the way it did. Quickly I changed my strategy and decided to go about 80% effort from start to finish; rather than the previous plan of 100% on the swim, 90% on the bike – standing on the climbs to activate more of my quads and less of my hamstrings, and whatever I could do to hold onto the run and survive.
As I came out of the water and transitioned to the bike, I found myself at all times passing people one after the other. I felt strong and steady. The hills were easy to get up and working into the wind didn’t seem to faze me that much. About the halfway point the clouds came and soon followed was the rain. As I came down the second to last hill I decided to go ahead and start pushing myself like I normally would in a sprint race, which was for about 2.5-3 miles. From the time I hit transition, hopped off my bike and was out of the gates starting my run – 36 seconds; it was pouring rain!
I started off easy on the run and found myself running next to a foot pounding, heavy breathing, sounded like he was dying 56 year old man; I had to break away! Once I started to pick up my speed I wasn’t going to slow down. Even though I ran conservatively, I continued to pass one person after the other. Not a single person passed me on the run!
I will always find a spring in my step in the last 800 of any race and hunted down a few in the end. As I came down the shoot to the finish, I started to realize that I done better than what I had expected to due, given the circumstances of my leg. What I was more happy about than anything was that I didn’t deepen the injury and I had raced smart. Within the next few minutes I had caught my breath and felt like I had just done a challenging workout. Walked over to the results table only to find that I had placed 3rd in my age group – my first time on the podium at Nationals!
It was a good day. It was a good course. I now get to go to Worlds. I am only now more excited for next year in racing. It is time to let my body rest, my hamstring fully recover, and enjoy life for a few weeks outside of triathlons and marathons. Read the rest of this entry »
August 28, 2010 Chicago Triathlon Sprint Distance
Experience: Who doesn’t love home court? As much as many people hate this race, I still love it. I don’t do it every year, but from time to time it is nice to race on home court; the run I do almost every Wednesday evening and ride on Lake Shore Drive. It was very hot and humid this year. Lake Shore Drive however, was in the best condition it has been in years. I tried a new strategy on the swim; taking the front row and sprinting the first 200 meters. It worked out fairly well if not no one touching me for the rest of the swim is what you call successful. I rarely get hot on the bike, but I did in the first 5 miles. Unfortunately I had the slowest run I have done in year…or actually ever! The results… terrible time – so bad I found myself being disappointed with it and couldn’t really enjoy the fact that I won my age group and placed 7th overall.
Training: A lot less endurance work and more speed. More open water swims. Less riding since I didn’t have time to go north like I usually do for my rides.
Things to Know: You have to arrive very early for this race – transition closes at 6:00 a.m. and you cannot get your bike until 11:00. On the bike it is RIDE TO THE RIGHT AND PASS ON THE LEFT. I cannot stress this enough; especially to rookies – there is nothing wrong with being a first timer, everyone is one at some time; but KNOW THE RULES!!!