Thursday, August 22, 2013

Timberman 70.3 Race Report

Last year at Timberman 70.3 I was dealing with a slow healing hip injury and opted to compete in just the swim-bike portion.  It was very hard to drop out after the bike in 2012 but I knew it was the right thing to do.  It definitely left me wanting revenge and to prove to myself that I was a stronger more durable athlete than I was one year ago.  I was extremely excited to return to my hometown course and really give it a go.  I was also prepared to take some chances this year as I was already qualified for Vegas and this race would be a good indicator of fitness.

Because of the excellent race organization, challenging course and large prize purse ($50,000) Timberman always attracts a strong field.  This year was no different and attracted the likes of Andy Potts, Terenzo Bezzone, Leon Griffin, Amanda Stevens and Melissa Hauschilt as well as many other strong pros which would make for some fast racing!

The day before the race I had my traditional gluttonous pancake breakfast with Danny and my sister Deidre. We then rolled ourselves to the pre race meeting and pro panel. I was honored to take part in the panel and it was great fun to joke around with the Melissa and Amanda. Two very humble and very fast girls.

I had a great "homestay" with my friends Audra and Alex. Alex made me the best dinner before the race and for that I owe him big time.  Thanks so much you two!

Race morning snuck up fast - (I dealt with my usual race night insomnia...Anyone out there have any ideas how to fix that?) - and before I knew it I was chugging some coffee and getting ready to DO WORK.

SWIM: 27:17

The video below is worth watching. Stroke for stroke this is how the swim went down. I somehow landed myself smack dab between super swimmers Mandy McLane and Miranda Tomenson.  And let me repeat: I was in the middle.  Lots of time for the little menace to strike again.  I would swim into Miranda, over-correct and swim into Mandy, say sorry under water, over correct and swim into Miranda.  Oops.

The menace

Except for the feeling of claustrophobia throughout the entire swim I was happy with how relaxed and strong I felt. I was also confident Mandy and Miranda would swim quick which meant minimal thinking and guess work on my part.  And as far as I'm concerned the less thinking I have to do, the better.

Bike:  2:29:01

HOLY MOLY!  My bike legs are slowly coming around. This was a big step in the right direction.  Lot's of credit goes out to this guy:
See that blood on his face?  He means business.
And lot's of credit goes out to these guys from MC CYCLES:

See that Aero helmet and moped?  He means business.

See that intensity he has during flip cup?  He means business.

And so I was determined to be all business on the bike.  I was frustrated with my performance in Germany. I know I am a better athlete then the one that showed up on that particular race day. However, I've come to realize that you can't always predict when you are going to have a not so great race. No matter how hard you train, sometimes you just have an off day. I had an off day in Frankfurt but I did NOT let it get me down. I know that one bad race doesn't define you and it really is all about the journey.  Onward!

I started the bike feeling a bit nauseous but kept the positive thoughts flowing. After 20 minutes I had my game face on and was rolling along on the speedy Felt going back and forth with Mandy and eventually Miranda.  I love a good hometown course because I know every bump and turn and hill. Keeping the speed rolling into and out of the turns is hugely beneficial in saving watts but keeping up speed.

I actually felt strong enough to charge on a flat section. This never happens to me. Flat sections are this little midget's nemesis.

Pulling away on the flat. What!?

I did feel a tinge of remorse charging on the flat because Mandy was fighting a great battle with me but I also knew she could run so I was actually excited to get a few minutes on her entering T2.

Head down charging.
And in case you were wondering, I am indeed aero in the above picture. As Kurt will point out: the pointy end of my helmet is much smaller than my head. So head tucked = good aero position. And head tucked is especially good if you have an exceptionally large melon.

RUN: 1:27:17

First things first, I would like to give a shout out to my lead biker. What an awesome volunteer. She absolutely made my day.  I needed her words of encouragement because I had so many bad thoughts popping up in my head. I would be cruising along and then think: On no! Look how fast the girls are running behind you.  I spent the entire run trying to think positive and stay focused. I was pushing as hard as I could and I could only hope it would be enough.  There were so many people out on the course giving me words of encouragement and Danny and Ry were giving me splits that were also encouraging as I was slowly catching Amanda Stevens.

I finally hit the last mile and breathed a sigh of relief. I was confident I had secured 3rd female and that was a great feeling on a hometown course.


At this particular moment in time I thought it would be appropriate to clap for myself. Not sure what I was thinking.

Amanda, Amber, Melissa
Overall the race was a big step in the right direction and makes me even more excited for VEGAS BABY!  2 weeks!

Thursday, August 8, 2013


I am happy to report I took the overall female win and broke the course record this past weekend at Top Notch Triathlon. This event is great fun and anyone looking for a challenge should mark the date on their calendar for next year. The event starts with the bike which is half road and half mountain style, transitions to a beautiful swim across Echo Lake and finishes with a quad busting run up Cannon (mountain goat style). 

Overall I felt very strong the entire day which was a pleasant surprise because this was a non taper event. The morning started with showers but as the seconds ticked down to start the sun starting poking through and it got warm!  As soon as the gun went off and I charged to the front hoping to pocket some time because there was a 100% chance I would be losing ground as soon as I entered the woods. I’m not only awful at mountain biking I’m actually quite the menace.  

And this is how the  mountain bike portion went down:  attempt to bunny hop a rock, fail, scream like a child, fall off the bike, curse, fumble to get back on,  pedal like hell to make up time, face plant, curse, mount the darn bike again, inadvertently get in someone’s way, apologize, pedal pedal pedal to try and catch said person,  hit a rock, nose dive over the handle bars, face plant, and curse.  If nothing else, my spastic riding gets the heart rate going which turned out to be a good thing. Historically, I have had great swims post spaz-attacks and this year was no different. I called out one last curse and hurled myself into the water like a crazy amazon lady.  I noticed my arm turnover was fast and my catch was strong. I exited the water in 15 overall and also was lucky enough to break the female swim course record.  Who would have thought riding like a goon could help your swim stroke?
The hill run was what I was looking forward to all day because this is where I am in my element. My secret dream is that all Ironman will someday end in a 26.2 mile UPHILL run. J  I smiled at the awesome crowd as they cheered me on and informed me I was first girl. I jumped into my ZOOT SHOES and charged up the hill. 

Right off the bat I felt strong. I passed a few guys and found myself in 10th overall. My breathing was steady and my legs were ready to charge.  I was running with a great guy who I later learned was a talented Nordic ski racer and we kept encouraging each other through labored gasps the entire way.   The percent grade was relentless but I’m pleased that I kept the pace up and was able to run the entire grind except for about 30 seconds during the rocky scree section.  I crossed the line with the run course record, overall female course record, and and 6th  human overall. The first person I congratulated at the finish was my great friend Ryan Kelly who took 2nd overall and bested the guys course record!  

To date, my season has been full of pleasant surprises and I am surpassing many of my goals.  Because of this, numerous people have approached me and asked me what I have done differently in my training this year.  And my answer is: NOTHING. I have changed nothing and this is a great thing.   The secret is this: I have an outstanding coach who I believe in 100%.  I have been fortunate enough to be amazingly consistent in my training, I have a wonderfully supportive husband  and I have great, great training partners.  I can count on one hand how many workouts I have missed in the past 3 years.   I have put my head down and have been consistent day after day;  5 hour trainer rides, pool workouts that make the lungs scream, stupid long bike rides in the rain and early morning long runs with the stomach and the legs revolting.  I believe that if I am consistently strong and I push through the sub par workouts and the lactic acid  and bottle up all the positive energy I get from nailing workouts  I never thought I would get though, I believe that I will surpass even my wildest dreams...   

Up next: Timberman 70.3!!