Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rev3 Quassy Olympic-Race Report Part 2: FINALLY!

Going into Quassy, I knew it was going to be hilly...and I questioned whether I was ready for hills and I was dying to know....just how hilly was it?  I've done a few hilly races, Vineman 70.3 and Wildflower Long Course and Big Kahuna up in Santa Cruz, and i've managed to hold my own, not being zippy fast, but other than Wildflower, the other races didn't leave me feeling like I was dying :).  So, as long as it wasn't as hilly as Wildflower, I would be ok.

So..how did it all go? Like this:

As I stated in my previous post, I didn't have the easiest time in getting to the race/getting set up and all that jazz, if it weren't for my amazing Trakkers family, I probably would've thrown in the towel, but thankfully they were all helpful and able to lend a hand in making sure Soren was entertained while I got my bike's rear wheel in gear (long story) and got all set!!

After an awesome dinner with my team, I headed to the hotel to check in....at 9:00 p.m. :).  For the first time in my life I actually requested help with my bags...Soren isn't much help in that department just yet, so the front desk guy helped us get into our room and I put Soren to bed, he crashed like i've never seen. Thank God....I needed to get my stuff together for the race!

I piled everything in the bathroom and put all my stuff together, however, I discovered that the new race laces I bought were missing a piece so I wouldn't be able to use them....moving on.  I then discovered I had the wrong tattoo numbers....whatever that's what Sharpie's are for!  So, I got all my stuff together and then realized that Dave didn't have a spare key to get into our room.  I text'd him, but he was driving, so I just lay awake until he arrived, just before midnight.

He brought a bagel for my morning breakfast :).

Anyhoo, 5:00 a.m. arrived quickly and I put on all my awesome Trakkers gear, and was absolutely stoked to have my race uniform on, and couldn't WAIT to test out my new TYR Hurricane 5 Wetsuit.  WOOT WOOT!!!  Yeah-so, I used a wetsuit for the first time in a race, I knew though, that it would probably fit and with some TriSlide, it would go on no problem. 

I scarfed part of a croissant that Dave brought along with part of a bagel, banana and I sipped on some yummy EFS drink.  Desperately trying to get hydrated...I knew I was behind, but I was doing what I could.

Game time: Got everything set up in transition, I was really excited, I had a new wetsuit, new goggles, helmet and cycling shoes!  I finally decided that the cycling shoes I had pee'd on multiple times during Ironman Florida and Arizona were "done."  Yeah, I know, I probably lost a few readers with that admission, but the shoes were SO comfortable!! :)

It went like this:

Swim: The wetsuit went on like buttah.  Seriously. No issues, pulled from the inside out, I was astounded at how awesome my shoulders felt, I didn't have that "pull" that i've had from other wetsuits.  Wow, it was going to be really awesome swimming in my Hurricane 5! I lined up in front, I always do, i'm not particularly super fast, but i'm not savvy enough to push through people either, so I try to play to my swim strengths and I line up just behind the front women.  We jostled for a while, took me a while to find my rhythm.  We hit the turnaround and I was getting a really really bad headache, dehydration effects were hitting me.  I kicked harder, just trying to ignore it.

I didn't wear a watch so I had no idea what my time was....felt slow...actually, my first thought coming out of the water with my headache was "if I get on my bike, it'll be by the grace of God," it was hurting that bad.

Bike: Once I got on and started pedaling, gave myself some time to settle in, I smiled.  No, actually, i'll admit, I teared up.  For someone who didn't know how to shift a bike during my first triathlon, i've improved quite a bit and man...I love cycling.  The Rev3 Quassy bike course is phenomenally beautiful, it is hilly true to the talk, but forgiving as well.  My only issue on the bike:  I lost my water bottle with EFS at mile 5 of the bike.  It flew so fast over a ravine, while I was descending, I had no chance to retrieve it.  So, there I was, dehydrated, and now no water.  Ugh.  I was mad. Really mad because I knew I couldn't push too hard on the bike and have nothing left for the run and totally get myself into a position where I was really hurting.  So, I just pushed through, but held back a bit to keep my heart rate down.

Run: I finished the bike, quickly laced up my Avia Quest Lite III's and and for the first time ever, I actually grabbed water from the transition area. Downed two cups and just ran.  Again, no watch, so I had no idea what my time was. I knew at about mile 2 that I was in for an interesting run.  I managed to hold my own with the hills, but I did walk a tiny bit on one hill.  I was mad I had to walk, but I was sort of running out of gas!  I definitely didn't train well on hills for the run.  My favorite part of the run was seeing our Mama Bear-Carole Sharpless out there cheering us on, that was super awesome! 

Honestly, the thing that saved my ass on this run was purely First Endurance's Liquid Shot....having had nearly zero calories on the bike, I downed the FE Liquid Gel, finally got rid of my entire headache and gave me the energy I needed to push through my run!  I finally found my groove at mile FOUR. Yeah, we wonder why I like the longer distance stuff. Takes me forever to get started huh?? :)

Mile 5-6 has a hill at the very end, and I had found my groove but was quickly losing it after that last hill! NO!!! Then all of a sudden two women came out of nowhere, both had 33 and 32 on their legs.  Crap.  Now I had to work.  It was in literally the last 500 yards.  I gave it what I could, I held off one woman but the other passed me! 

The funniest part about the finish is that Dave mentioned later he had Soren waiting for me in case I wanted to hold him and run across the finish line.  I remembered early on I had thought about that, but we never discussed it.  Then Dave goes "But, um, you looked really pissed so I thought maybe you wouldn't see us" :).  I was pissed! I was so mad at the other woman passing me and I was trying hard to be competitive!!

Ha.....even when I don't train as consistently as I should for these races, something in me sparks when i'm racing and no matter how little or as much as I train, I take it seriously and I get angry when I race!  Not a "mean" anger, but just a "go for it" anger! :)  No one likes being passed, no matter what the age group is!

My thoughts: Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous race, water was perfect, bike hilly but forgiving and i'll be honest, that run kicked my butt just about the same as Wildflower Long Course. No joke. It's a hard course. But i'd love to do Rev3 Quassy again!!!

Final Stats:
Swim: 27:04/13th in AG
T1:2:40..god i'm slow
Bike: 1:30/15th in AG
T2:1:54..impressed, this is WITH shoe tying :)
Run: 54:12-I ran the first two miles at a 7:59 pace.  Would love to maintain this speed someday :)
Finished: 19th in my AG...so, a total of 6 people passed me-i'll get 'em next time :)

Majorly huge thanks to my amazing sponsors:  TYR-your wetsuit is buttery/perfect-can't wait to wear it again.  My fancy TYR goggles were perfect, never a fog or a leak, just a perfect fit!! SBR Sports, as usual--TriSlide and Foggle left me "chafe-less" and "fog-less" :), i'm always bragging about your products!!  KESTREL, sigh, where do I begin---amazing amazing ride, I love my Kestrel Airfoil Pro--it has 650 wheels and rides absolutely smooth and slick. LOVE IT! Avia---my Quest Lite III's are perfect, plenty of cushion, but not enough to weigh me down!! First Endurance Nutrition: for saving my ass on the run with the amazing vanilla flavored liquid shot! And last, but definitely not least: my favorite new way to relax before or after a race:  Recovery Pump!! Absolutely amazing recovery system..I spent several hours of bliss in my boots once we got home from the race!!!

And obviously....a huge thanks to Dave who as usual took care of business so that I could race with some peace and quiet :).  Next up: a blog entry on Rev3...a whole 'nother blog post in and of itself and how amazing this organization is! :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rev3 Quassy Olympic-Race Report Part I

This race report is going to have two parts because something in me was sparked and I need to write more than just a race report.  This should actually be called "Triathlon Brattiness" but just stopping short of calling myself a brat, i'll keep it as "race report" but.....i'm really calling myself out. 

I started to write this race report about three times before Quassy even started.  The first time was when I had to call my friend to come watch Soren so I could load up the car on Friday morning.  Sounds ridiculous right?  Well, living on the 3rd floor of a building, I knew I was going to have a heck of a time loading bags and a bike with towing a toddler beside me begging to either A: hold/twist/drop/throw my keys or B:stop to twist all the door handles on every door of our building. 

It could've taken me easily two hours.  Friend came, I was rescued.  The next time was when I arrived at Quassy and I realized that walking my bike and pushing a stroller was going to be an interesting turn of events.  Luckily I had some awesome teammates to help me out!!  The last time was when I realized that the only water I had drank all day, the day before my race was the two glasses of water I had drank during dinner, other than that just one caffeine-free diet coke.  Excellent race preparation.

I should quit my whining, because honestly, I had a lot of time to think this weekend, I have some people on my mind that don't have it going so smoothly right now or people who are struggling and worried about "real" things in their lives.  When I start to talk about how many things were odd or wrong with my race preparation or the things that I struggled with, it sounds really really lame to complain about.  Seriously.  Who cares if Dave had to rent a car to come watch me race since we're down to one car in Boston and he got to the hotel at midnight the night before a race, we got up at 5:00 a.m. to head to transition and I woke with a headache realizing I was indeed, dehyrated, but even worse, I had nearly nothing to eat for breakfast, and my fast shoe laces I had bought were missing pieces to them so I was going to have to...gasp....tie my running shoes during the race instead of slipping them on.  gasp.  Boo Hoo. :)

Perspective people.....here are my thoughts: sure, racing is MY time, it's what I love, it's someone else's time when they read a book or paint or see a movie or they shop alone.  I race, it's one of my most favorite things in the world.  Dave and I are opposites, I train because I love competition, the thrill of a race.  Dave..he loves the training and the race is just the reward for all the training.  In my own "mommy" world, racing has become a part of my identity, something that I look forward to because it makes me feel like "me" and I can focus on each of the sports and challenge myself.  So, I guess I get frustrated when things don't go smoothly before a race because I want to feel good about myself in a race.  But.....come on, seriously, when you think about it, most people I know are working either full or part time, they're juggling having time for their kids, themselves, juggling finances, struggling to even visit family, and if my biggest worry is that I was dehydrated before a race---I need to kick myself in the pants for even considering that a "worry."

I'm not saying Dave and I don't have any struggles, please don't take what I wrote as that, i'm merely saying the fact that I have the time in my life to train and race and enjoy that time is a gift in and of itself.  Each race I do should be seen as a gift and be grateful for that opportunity, not dwell on all the nuances that may go wrong.

What prompted me to write all this out exactly...well, I realized that I was getting a bit into of a frenzy with how things weren't going smoothly and I've come in contact with people at races before who I actually felt like they were so obsessed with what was going on in their race preparation that I thought to myself "do they even realize how lucky they are?"  People who spend HOURS away from their families training for races and their families come to support them, only to have them get all irritated because they didn't "PR" in a race.  How annoyed would you be if your family member spent hours away from you and then complained of the one teeny tiny nuance that didn't go perfect.  Perspective people. 

I'm not saying people don't deserve time to themselves, but....realistically there is time to yourself and then there's the guy on the run this past weekend who I was talking to who was complaining about not getting a PR on his run and he mentioned his five-week-old baby.  I couldn't even wrap my head around that, I just thought "Dude, you have a freaking INFANT and no doubt your wife is sitting on a rock around here in the heat, in the transition area after getting up super early no doubt on zero sleep and you're complaining about not having a PR".....what a jerk.  And I hate to say it, he's not the first one to make comments like this, I hear it quite a bit throughout the triathlon community and it drives me insane. 

It just really made me think about perspective.  I started my race being grateful to have my first open water swim of the season, ride my bike for the FIRST TIME SINCE VINEMAN (yes, i'm finally admitting, it, I didn't do any trainer rides or rides outside before Quassy, it was all spin classes, huge admittance, but whatever it's my blog), I teared up riding my bike, I love it, it's fast, fun and I had a great ride, and the run, I was so grateful to be running in the shade, and best of all, being greeted by my awesome husband and son at the finish.

You have to take the time to be grateful, life isn't always about YOU and your PR's and lining up races and flying around all over to get in as many races as you can.  Life is about juggling and sometimes juggling a lot of things at once, makes you appreciate being able to have time for yourself more...I got my pants in a bunch initially when I was trying to make my race logistics work, but i'm glad by Friday evening at dinner I had sorted out my selfishness and kicked myself in the pants and got to focus on the fun part, finding myself lost in the fun of a race!

Stay tuned for play-by-play of Quassy.....it was a good one :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon Race Report :)

There wasn't any crazy training for this race, more like consistent runs a few treadmill speed workouts and I actually ran off the spin bike thinking a "brick" workout may actually help train me for some fatigue in the race.  The gory details: my longest run was 9 miles (once), but, I also ran 6-7 miles a few days a week.  The spin classes i've been going to have my heart rate hovering around 168-170 for the entire class, so I felt confident on race day that even though my training hasn't been all "running" specific, I had been working my body hard in different ways and I just had to hope like hell it would all come together.  And by some graceful force: It did :)

I had an awesome race.  My goal for the race was to really try to "race" it.  I've never really done that, most of my half marathons were either too flat to really "count" (think Silver Strand out on Coronado, CA, terrific course, super flat, but not all that realistic in terms of terrain for most half marathons).  I wanted to see how hard I could push myself in a half marathon.  Starting out feeling good, let my lungs settle (hoping that my asthma didn't kick in!) and see what would happen.

I was also sort of desperate to get some speed back.  Since having Soren it just hasn't been there and granted, I hadn't up until now, really been able to work on speed, the first year after having him, I worked on building up my endurance and just feel good at racing again.  This race I really wanted to see if I was anywhere near where I had been prior to giving birth.

I woke up race morning pretty ready----ate some oatmeal, mixed in some First Endurance EFS with water and Dave and Soren dropped me off.  True to toddler form, Soren had a fever, so they were going to watch me run by at mile 5 and 8 and Dave was going to take him back, no need to stand around in the heat at the finish line!

I used some of my favorite Tri-Slide on my feet and arms etc to prevent any chafing.  Not that that *ever* happens to me :). Checked my bag and lined up at the start...gave a final tug on my awesome Avi Quest Lite's and I seated myself at the 8:15-8:30 corral, my experience tells me as long as i'm not walking, i'm better off starting out with a faster pace and settling in there than having to weave my way through people.  It was pretty awesome, the race starts out by the World Trade Center Boston which is a bridge away from downtown Boston, so you have a gorgeous view of all the tall buildings and just a great scenic way to start a race.

The horns sounded and we were off!  I'll just go through some miles here:
1-3:  settling in, felt pretty good, didn't start off too fast, kept thinking about the last race wondering if my stomach would bother me, it felt fine.
4-7: just looking for leg turnover, wondering if my stomach would bother me.  Still fine.  Didn't see Soren and Dave, just hoped it meant I was running so fast they missed me.  They did :)
*Took a huge swig of First Endurance Liquid Shot in Vanilla...this stuff is like downing caramel.  Heavenly on a hard run!! 
8-10:  Saw Soren and Dave on my way back (you run through the whole city, down the Charles River and into Cambridge by Harvard..very cool!).  I was starting to breathe harder here but my legs felt pretty decent, but I knew I couldn't move faster.
*Another yummy swig of liquid shot. 
11:  Ok, I wanted to push harder here, but just had to keep myself steady.
12-13.1:  Energy pretty spent, but rest of course was flat so I geared up and found some last minute speed to sprint the finish on my toes.

I was pretty elated when I finished, I kind of teared up a little bit.  It's no surprise obviously as i've said in this blog, I always see myself as a slow runner, but not in this race, I finally give myself permission to say that I felt as though I was fast!  :)

Finish time: 1:50
Average pace: 8:25/per mile
Average heart rate: 168 (yowza, this is kinda high for me to maintain at a half marathon....but, I did it!)

Super excited to have had a solid race and honestly without some really amazing support, I wouldn't have been able to have had such a smooth race.  Huge Huge thanks to: Avia, First Endurance, Recovery Pump and SBRSports!!! 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Do you have what it takes?

I've been thinking a lot lately about dedication and drive and what motivates people to do what they do.  Whether it's their career or their activities, but what makes people "good" at what they pursue.  I'm not talking about scores or rankings or how people finish in a race or how high they score on a test, but more-so, their perceived "worth" in what they do and if they feel they're successful, how do people define themselves as "good."

My parents recently came to stay with Soren while Dave and I went to Spain and we were talking about how I got into triathlon and how way back in the day when I was a high school tennis player, I hated practicing.  In all honesty, I was a good tennis player, I was really good.  Was I great, probably not, but I was good.  I was ranked in the state of Virginia and I practiced, but half-halfheartedly.  Finally, my junior year, my dad or my parents rather, were "done," I was the last of their three girls and my dad had grown a bit tired of me wanting to travel and signing up to work with good coaches, when I didn't want to practice. In my own mind, I was good and I was happy just going out and banging the ball around, winning matches here and there, but practicing, eh, I just basically wanted to walk out on the court and "see what would happen."  I had a bit of athleticism, so I could get away with less practice, but my poor dad, shelling out dollar after dollar, grew a bit tired.  A coach finally said he could guarantee me a scholarship to a smaller school to play tennis, but i'd have to practice before school and after school.  I thought about it for a day, decided I was too social and decided to stop playing tennis after my senior year in high-school.  I wrapped up my senior year being co-Captain and MVP. 

I remember walking up on the stage to get my MVP award thinking this was the greatest accomplishment of my life, how awesome it was and how cool it felt.  In my mind, I had worked hard, maybe I wasn't the most- "practiced" athlete, but, I knew I had done a good job and I had fun being a leader on my team.

What brings me to this memory?  When my parents were out, we were talking about triathlon and my dad actually said to me "if you had told me back that you would be the daughter of mine that would complete two Ironmans, I never would've believed it."  I started laughing "DAD!!! WHO SAYS THAT?".  My parents are NOT the "insulting" type of parents consumed with "self importance" so I was floored my dad would say that, but.....he was RIGHT.  Back then, I just wasn't that into "hard work," I just had fun, which is what kids are supposed to do.  BUT-it separates the good, from the "really great."

Fast forward to now and you can ask the same question for a lot of things, what makes people good parents, what makes them good employees.  Usually the same thing applies: if you love what you do, you'll be good at it.  Sometimes this is true, sometimes the rule doesn't always apply, there are plenty of kids out there that stink at playing piano but they love it, maybe because they take lessons with their favorite friends, but I think the key here is learning how to enjoy something and working hard at it and having YOU think you're good at it. 

It doesn't really matter if other people think you're good at it.  If you think you're good at it, that's all that matters and really, THAT type of mindset is what makes people WIN.  It's the "race day" magic people talk about, the PR's people set at the worst time in their lives, it's believing in yourself.  If you THINK you're good at something, it makes you work harder.

Speaking of working hard...I was thinking back to my last Ironman, Ironman Arizona in 2008 and I have some fun pictures of me on the bike, but then I came across this picture. 

It isn't even the greatest picture in the world, you'd never frame it, you wouldn't send it in an email, you wouldn't brag about it, heck, do you SEE my hair?

But...it's one of my most favorite pictures from the day, because I see the look on my face and I can see that I'm working really hard and i'm tired!

My run wasn't going as well as I wanted, planned or dreamed about, but I was going what I could to meet my goal of breaking 11:00 hours.  I actually had entertained the idea of a Kona slot, but knew I had to run my ass off.  I'm not a great runner, heck i'm not even that *GOOD* of a runner, but I work really hard at it.  I had somehow found out I was 2nd in my age group when I finished the bike portion and if I could just maintain somewhat of a decent run, *maybe* I could be within the Kona placing.  I don't even think I ever blogged about this, maybe I did.  But, anyway, my run didn't go as planned due to stomach issues so I couldn't maintain speed, but I still worked really hard and you know what, it turned out to be an AWESOME race for me for the most part! I knocked off roughly 45 minutes from my last Ironman, PR'd for myself in the swim and marathon and I did pretty well in executing my race, so I was happy.  Maybe some people say I didn't/don't have what it takes, that's ok....it only matters what WE think.

So, whatever your hobby is, or whatever your job is, it's mindset......go get it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words...

I'm really bad at posting pictures on my blog, primarily because it takes a while.....but while I think of my next post, here are some very recent pictures....Easter, Spain and just one pic so far of my sister Dawn's visit with my niece, Mia.  I have a lot on my mind right now that I want to write about, but I need to find a way to put it together that makes sense....so for now, here are some pics to ponder :)

Soren on his Easter egg hunt!

"Helping" Soren find chocolate eggs :)

Attempt at Easter family photo, Soren "cheese" ... :)

Plaza del Sol, Madrid, Spain=awesomeness

Tapas market in Madrid

Olive oil and salt potato chips..so so so good!

Royal Palace in Madrid, we just walked the grounds, not sure I have the patience for being inside on a day like that!

Wish I could make this!! Shrimp and mushroom appetizer...major yum..followed by paella and lots of sangria :)

Beer break :)

Small side-street tapas' dinner.....yum!

Toledo, Spain.....very cool!

You'd think it was me who wanted to take a pic with the train.....nope...Dave insisted :)

Building with Lego's!

It may be 40 degrees out but Soren is ready for Summer!

With his sweet cousin Mia who was absolutely adorable with him, reading/coloring, letting him climb all over her!!!