Monday, August 27, 2012

Time to Trial and Rev 3 Old Orchard Beach

I recently competed in the Timberman swim - bike - gorge yourself in the food tent event. Oh wait, you have haven't heard of that race? Sorry suckers! Because let me tell you it was a grand day. It started with the the announcer commenting that the men's pro wave looked like a bunch of porpoises as they dolphin swam their way from shore. This made me laugh. :)

Before I could perseverate on the porpoise comment too much it was the pro girl's turn and we were off! Since I had only committed to the swim/bike I was going to try and go ALL OUT.  The fast start I had been getting used to in the pro field was no different here and Cait Snow was off the front in a jiffy.  I got jostled a bit and lost some feet, and than caught some feet and before I new it I was getting stripped from the wet suit in 4 place. Now it was really TIME TO TRIAL!

Instead of paying attention to my power meter, I got to have some fun. I covered it with duct tape and just hammered as best as my little quads could hammer. Out of transition, out of the saddle, up the hill, zoom down the hill, stand and climb, hunch the shoulders, tuck the head, ouch this hurts! I ended up catching a girl and not letting anyone pass me except for the wonderfully, talented Linsey Corbin around mile 30. She is a machine.

I stripped my duct tape off the power meter half way through and noticed I was averaging 20 watts higher than normal! WOOHOO!

I zipped into T2, unclipped, handed in my chip and made a made dash for the food tent with my friend Ry who also signed up for the Timberman swim-bike-food tent.  After our bellies were full we went out to cheer on my friends and my little sister Deidre who qualified for 70.3 World's in 2013. Vegas here we come!  I also learned later than day that my husband finished Ironman Mont Tremblant in 10:50:13. What - a - day!

On to Rev 3 Old Orchard Beach Olympic triathlon! Why didn't anyone tell me that Olympic distance triathlons HURT BAD! Oh wait, my coach told me. And I still signed up.

My friends Connor, Ry and I traveled down to Old Orchard Beach early Saturday morning so we could get a workout in and then get on to the real pre-race ritual. (i.e.: Trying to wedge as many pancakes into our guts as we can - most often followed by food coma - most often followed by afternoon nap.)  This is a pre-Ironman ritual but I feel obliged to practice it even before sprint races.  Ever wonder what a pro triathlete eats? So do I!

The ride up was smooth and before we knew it our clown car (packed to the brim with 3 humans,  3 bikes, 3 pairs of race wheels and training wheels, and 6 bags of race gear) had arrived. All we had to do was open one door and everything pretty much exploded onto the driveway.  The driveway belonged to the awesome Marc Dupius who opened his home up to not only one or even two but three absurdly smelly triathletes.  Thank you Marc!

The workout went well. I have been feeling strong on the bike and the hip is getting better each day. Workout done, pancakes in the belly and then as we were walking to packet pick up I saw this:

Oh my! A larger than life picture of my melon! It was actually a very cool aspect of racing Rev 3. Overall race organization and little perks like this make Rev 3 series worth RACING!

And the race pretty much went like this: 30 seconds prior to the gun start Connor yells from the side lines: "The Honey Badger Don't Give a Shii...."  I proceed to crack up just as the gun goes off to the one and only beach start I have ever participated in. we goooo...the sand is hard to run in. Oh boy I just belly-flopped like a porpoise...swim Amber....catch those feet. Ouch! Olympic race pace hurts so good.

Okay I am vertical now. Out of the water....running the 1/3 mile on concrete into transition and onto the bike in 4th.......2 minutes behind the leaders....go!  Again, I covered the power meter and tucked my head and just went for it. I kept Sarah Gray in my sight the entire race and never let anyone catch me until the last mile. The bike course was beautiful and rolling and just a blast.

Here comes T2! My first run off the bike in 11 weeks and only my 5th run in 11 weeks. GULP! This could be ugly (could = most likely, without a doubt would be UGLY) I promised myself that I would not be afraid to fail. What would you do if you knew you could NOT fail? Sprint your butt off!  So I did indeed sprint out of transition. I saw my coach and he made me smile. He always, always tells me the girl in front of my is dying. What an awesome little liar.

I checked the watch at mile one: 6:04. Oh boy. Mile 2: 6:20.  Gulp. Here we go. Time to hit a massive wall in an Olympic distance race. Who knew?

I ended up passing 2 girls and then getting nipped in the last mile and ended up 6th which is a podium spot in the Rev 3 world. I will take it!

Up Next: Pumpkin Man! Man!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Focus on the Positives

I have high expectations for myself in the world of triathlon. And I had very high expectations for this year's Ironman Lake Placid.  But unfortunately the nagging hip injury was not cooperating and I was forced to make a very tough decision.  I would pull out of Placid and take a (gasp) mid season break.  I wanted to cry and stomp my feet and feel bad for myself.  How was I going to deal with not being able to reach one of my biggest goals of the season?  How could I deal with NOT racing and even worse being forced to REST for a few weeks?

The answer was to learn from my mistakes and try and grow as an athlete. I did indeed pout for awhile but I also took the time to take a critical look at my diet and training and recovery protocols and learn from the mistakes I had made.  Too much intensity during a training run, not enough calcium in the diet and forgetting that recovery days are when you get stronger.  Everything happens for a reason and sometimes you have to take a step back and realize it's all about the process.

I am back in full training mode now and I actually got to race the Top Notch Triathlon as my first race back.  The rest period proved helpful as I felt rested and absolutely raring to go on the start line.  I was 100% mentally ready swim/bike/run myself into the deepest darkest depths of the pain cave.  Not to mention the race takes place in Franconia, NH - one of the most beautiful places in the state.  It was just a wonderful, beautiful, adventurous day.

I say adventurous because this triathlon includes a mountain bike portion.  And mountain biking is NOT this little ballerina's forte. The day starts with the bike - 3 miles on the road and 3 miles on a twisty, rocky, muddy trail. Gasp! I did this race back in 2007 and I couldn't mountain bike then and despite putting a little practice in on the old mountain bike nothing has changed.  I'll save you the sad sorry details but will say I survived the mountain bike (i.e. only face planted a few times). After I disengaged myself from my muddy mess of a bike the race for the course record started. I knew it was going to be close.  I plunged into Echo Lake for a quick 1/2 mile swim to the base of Cannon Mountain.  The run portion of this race goes directly up mountain.  I traded my swim cap for my Speedy Zoot race shoes and off I went! There were parts of the run were I kept doubting myself. Was I breathing so hard because I was out of run shape or was I breathing so hard because I'm running straight up a vertical? :) When my mind began to wander I tried to re-focus on the positives. I reminded myself that I am finally racing and that I do love uphill running.  Danny was hiking up and cheering on and as I passed him he told me good job and gave me an update of the runners ahead of me.  Just as I thought my quads were going to explode from a steady stream of lactic acid I saw the finish clock and crossed the line proud to have gotten the female course record. I was even more proud of one of my friends, Ryan Kelly, for winning the race overall!
We are so hungry after the race that our medals looked tasty

Link to the race article - Page 20