Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mmmmmm soup

It's Fall, which means it's time for home-made Butternut Squash and Apple soup... with some yummy grilled cheese on Newfoundland Bread (if you haven't had this - go visit Michael at the Pantry in Washington Depot).

Last night was filled new-friends and lots of fun... I may or may not have made cookies too. Please don't tell my coach or nutritionist?!

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Monday, September 29, 2008

You'll have to wait a little longer...

(Jersey-boy and CREW member, Joe Danyliw)
(the finishing stretch)
(Don't stop 'til.... Clinton?)

So, I have a few photos for you all, but you'll have to wait until I can "share" other ones with you. I kid, I'm happy to give photo credit, but I don't know anyone that has payed for a photo.... well, ever.

Ok, that's a different post. I promised you DETAILS on the Jerseyman tri. It was a wet day. Perfect conditions. My favorite conditions. I told coach J before the race that I'd be "careful" on the bike, to which he replied with laughter. Ok, maybe I'm not the most cautious rider, but I don't consider myself dangerous (note to self: Find out if OTHERS find you dangerous). J then reminded me that I am the only person he knows with their original brake pads. The brake pads that came with their very first bike. That was 3 bikes ago. Hmmph. Ok, so I don't like to use my brakes, does that make me dangerous?!

The start was delayed, which was actually great, because I was able to give splits to the sprint swim finishers. I also met some rad people on the beach... and a kinda creepy photographer that kept telling me what nice teeth I have. Yea dude, and I'll remember to put the lotion in the basket.

We finally got the clear to start the 1/2 Iron race, just as the skies opened up. I did a few Michael Phelps warm-your-arms up moves and got lined up. The ladies were the 3rd wave, but the pro women got to go off in the 1st wave. Man, oh, man, I've got to earn that pro card... I'd love to have all those good feet to draft off! Our wave went off and I had a great start - a few nice dolphins into my stroke and I quickly found another chickadee to swim with... well, sort of, I LOVE to draft and unfortunately, not all feet are made equal. She was fast, but could not swim straight. After the first buoy, I decided to make my way thru the men on my own. She caught up with me with 2 buoys to go and instead of sitting on, she kept running into me...bashing me every once in a while. I may not be the fastest, biggest person out there, but damnit if I can swim straight! Pushed it back to the beach and came out of the water just behind the first female pro - who had an 8 minute lead. Sweet, though my time was S-L-O-W.

Out of transition (fastest transition -woot!), I was feeling good - the legs were turning over and I settled into the aerobars. My sunglasses fogged instantly, so I tossed them to some girls on the side of the road (thanks for getting those to the start/finish girls!!). The bike was fun and filled with great power-climbing - lots of false flats and some fun descents. At about mile 16, I almost ate it as a group of cars lined up at the bottom of a steep hill. With the wet roads and my seeing them a little late, I tapped the brakes and almost lost my rear wheel - YEOW! I rode just about on the yellow line and passed the cars, then made a sharp left turn - That close call was better than a large coffee - it woke me up and I pedaled on. A short while later a lady in black BLEW by me. I looked down. 26 mph. WOW, she's some cyclist! I thought I could stay with her, but all I kept hearing in my head was "hammer the swim, back off the bike, smash the run". My race plan. I let her go and promised myself I'd catch her on the run. Then, about 10 minutes later, a lady in pink came by. On the next incline I passed her, then on the descent she'd re-pass me. We continued this way for a while. I took a nice detour at about mile 45 that added a chunk to my bike time - ah well, bonus fitness!

Into transition (again, fastest -woot! If only the race was about transition times!) I dropped my bike and headed out - there was pinky! I told her how impressed I was with her bike - wow! Usually I reserve bike ass-kickings for my friends Hannah or Silke to give me! The first 1k or so is a loop within the park. I was SO excited to run and felt awesome, then "uh oh, my tummy is, um, oh my gosh, where is a bathroom!?" I was told there are plenty of "woods". No good, I run back to transition and use a bathroom, then I'm out... Total time lost: 110 seconds. Ok, much better. Cruising along and having a blast. Coach J and JoJo drove out to about mile 3 on the course and gave me a much needed lift. Pinky had moved into 2nd. I was currently in 4th. Lady in black was up the road. YES! I'm going to run them down. Right after I do something unmentionable behind this tree. Dangit. I head out of the woods and see a woman hard charging behind me. I hope she's a relay. I could hear her coming for a good mile and a half - She storms by and I ask if I can have a piggy back ride. She laughs and says she just wants to beat her husband. Rock on. I'm in 5th, but I think I can still make my way into top 3. More GI revolting ensues and as I make my way out of the woods, I see another woman coming up the road. Not sure what happened today, but this is the first time I've ever had to take a bathroom break during a race - not to mention 3!!

I reach the turn-around and there's something great mentally about knowing you're on your way home. Only 6.55 miles to go. I made up a bunch of spots on the way back and picked up some great encouragement along the way - it's always inspiring to cheer and be cheered by other athletes! The cops were a hoot and I think they enjoyed the scantily-clad, rain-soaked women. With 6k to go, I spotted the chick in black. I focused on reeling her in. I was so focused in fact, that I was completely shocked when a woman came storming by me with a mile and a half to go. I tried to hang with her and she dropped me, checking over her shoulder just to make sure. I put in a surge and passed the girl in black, not wanting to lose any more spots. With 1/4 mile to go, I could hear someone behind me. I tried to open up the stride and thankfully, I took it home. Top 5 overall. Not a bad day at the office, though the day after always means analyzing the little bits of the race. If I hadn't taken 1 bathroom stop, I would have been 3rd. If I hadn't taken all the bathroom stops, perhaps I'd be doing the victory dance. Every race is a lesson and I'm just happy to have gotten the chance to race another tri this season and before the BIG MOMMA. I think in a lot of ways it was good for getting me over Placid. As much as I hate to admit it, the crash and the Medical DNF were really hard to overcome. Similar conditions made this race eerily familiar, but the vibe was so good, I couldn't help but be happy and inspired. I know JoJo will be back at this race and depending on what comes next year, I may be back on these roads in the future.

Today officially starts the 2-week taper. Any ideas for good sacrifices to the kona gods or do those 5 attempts to make it count?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Jersey - Only the Strong Survive

Oh New Jersey - I can't say anything bad since I didn't grow up there, but I do have many family roots there - grandparents, parents - and they are freakin' tough. I expected no less from the Jerseyman 1/2 Iron tri.

After many pow-wows with Coach Jim, John and good friend and mentor, Eric Hodska, I opted to do a 1/2 Iron to 1. end my epic week of training and 2. lead into my shortened, 2-week taper for Kona. I did the 2-week taper part before Ironman Lake Placid this year and it worked brilliantly - ps. Age Group dude that crashed me out, I'm going to find you and make you pay my medical bills! Ok, maybe not, but it makes me feel better to say it.

After John's HUGE success at Ironman Kentucky with the 2-week taper, 1/2 Iron plan, we're putting it to the test in the "ladies arena". Either it will be brilliant or incredibly stupid - I'm hoping for the former!

I'll post a full report and pics tomorrow, but in the meantime, the weather was just what I wanted today (pouring rain, windy and cold - I LOVE hard conditions). Racing was FUN and I had a smile plastered on my face. A few unforeseen GI issues and a 30 minute detour on the bike (all of the leaders went off course), I didn't have my speediest day, but still a solid day at the office, ending up 5th overall woman.

Congrats to all of the competitors - great to meet so many of you!!

Lots of thoughts.... until tomorrow!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yes, my ride is sweet. Thanks Cannondale!!

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Yes, I have joined the evil empire.

It's official. I'm blogging. It will be super-fabulous. Rock out and stay tuned for more pictures, posts and other fun as I make my way towards Kona in 2 weeks!