Wednesday, April 29, 2009

On the road again.

"Tell me baby, what's your story - where you come from and where you gonna go this time?" - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Another day, another race, another flight. Only this is not just any of those singular things. I'm off to St Croix for arguably the world's toughest 1/2 Iron triathlon. I've raced this even the past 2 years and I love it. Hot, hilly and hard.

The swim is in the Carribean Sea, the bike over chewed up roads that could pass as dirt and the run is an exposed heat trap. It's awesome to say the least and I'm so excited to meet friends down there AND bring my Momma bear with me!

More updates (and hopefully photos!) to come!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Packing and odds and ends

It's that time again... packing for another race. I love packing, it's this exciting ritual. I love to organize things (a little too much when I was little, so now I force myself to live a bit disorganized!).

Setting out my race gear is always exciting - while I've raced a bunch of times on my bike this year, St Croix will be my first Tri of the year. A brilliant event - brutally hard, brutally hot and totally awesome.

I fly out early Thursday AM and then get a few days of beaching before and after the race. YAY! Enjoy the weather lovelies!

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Hate Cancer

I apologize for the departure here, but I just found out that a dog I loved and lived with for 5 years has passed away. Her name was Union, a smiling, beautiful dog with a shiny black coat and a heart full of love. She had spirit and was the number one motivator for a run (and especially a swim) even on a freezing cold day.

Many a nap were taken with Union, walks all over Block Island and various cities. She was always up for an adventure and she taught Luna, my Great Dane how to swim in Andy's Way out on Block Island early last Summer.

She battled Cancer in the past and it was known that it had more than likely spread, but no one can ever prepare for the loss. When my situation changed last year, it meant leaving Union behind. I still remember the last time I saw that smiling face, rubbed her belly gleefully and sang to her "I love you my U-U girl". She was loved by many (and many strangers when she'd go exploring) and undoubtedly she knew all of this.

To all mourning her, my condolences and deepest sympathies and to all that have gone through a loss of any kind, my thoughts are with you as well.

Over the Moon

Yesterday was the 3rd Running of the Nutmeg State 1/2 Marathon and 10k Eco-Friendly Charity Race. We were asked last fall to be a part of the EarthRun Global alliance of eco-friendly charity races to be held on April 26, 2009. Pretty cool!

Bruce Raynor of Athletes for a Fit Planet was on hand (he is our environmental consultant not to mention Ironman, cyclist and more!) to help us offset carbon emissions. Through the purchase of carbon - offset tags ($3 a piece) we were able to offset nearly 14,000 lbs of carbon emissions - or just under 7 tons!!

Yesterday's race was a huge success and in fact, the prep leading up to the race was the smoothest of all the races we've done. I have to say, I could not have done it without a lot of help and I am thankful beyond words for my friends, family and the many volunteers, sponsors, town and state officials that made it happen.

The temperature yesterday was predicted to be in the mid-eighties, well, it ended up being 92 degrees!

HUGE thanks go to Crystal Rock Water Company out of Watertown, CT and the only water I drank growing up (since our town water in the area is not-potable). We had enough water for thirsty athletes, volunteers and spectators who just roasted out there.

Despite the heat, we had over 300 competitors post great times. 60% of our field was women!! SO COOL! We also had a few young runners. A boy named Jason Beaver who is a few weeks shy of his 8th birthday set the National Record for the 1/2 Marathon distance AGAIN! 2nd place behind him was an 11 year old boy who was running his first 1/2 Marathon. 3rd place was 18 year's old (this is in the 19 and under category). Just incredible!

I am beyond overjoyed at the way the race unfolded - before, during and after and am now more excited than ever to race!!!

Thank you again, everyone!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Packing awards

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Keep on Keepin' on

I like to tell people that there is nothing like watching a race to build up your motivation to DO one! With the flurry of activity this week, I'm finding the workouts I'm getting in are better than ever.

St Croix is a little over a week away and I'm psyched. I love this race - the heat, the difficulty, the atmosphere. This year, I'm bringing my Momma-Bear down with me as an early Mother's Day gift.

Yup, remember: Mother's day is coming up!

Happy Training y'all!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Packing race bags

My life this week? Wearing the 'race director' cap. If you can volunteer, we can use you!
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Friday, April 17, 2009

The Adventure Continues

With all the race prep for the 26th, I nearly forgot (nearly) about Saturday's Battenkill-Roubaix road race. 62 miles of dirt, road and other nastiness that hurt so good last year, I signed up as soon as registration opened in the Fall.

Tonight the Sam-boy and I will make the pilgrimage up to Cambridge, NY and we are staying at the beautiful Hopkins House B&B owned by friends Aggy and Charlie Duveen.

The forecast is for rain and I have a feeling it will make an interesting race that much more so.

Today I rode with my friend Greg - a super strong road cyclist who competes for Independent Fabrications. He's super strong (ahem, never gets out of the big ring) and always makes me laugh (and drop my heels). Today's ride was no different and Greg puts up with my ridiculous questions and last-minute bike problems. Yup, even when road riding, I can't stop little bits of the triathlete from showing thru.... wait, you mean I shouldn't be making changes to my bike the night before a race?

I think a big part of why I enjoy and do well at road cycling, is the fact that I don't put pressure on it. It's just more training for me and when I'm done with that, I have another workout to do..blah, blah, blah. What Greg and I talked about is the fact that in triathlon, generally, the fittest person wins. With all the technology and tests we have, it's a real science - watts, calories, heart rate. If you keep to these settings, you'll perform, barring some hugely catastrophic event. In cycling, the smartest* person wins - you need to be able to spot a move, make a break, and do all the little things tactically, to win. It makes for exciting and dynamic racing.

I told Greg about my friend Megan, a talented runner and triathlete, who tried her first cycling races this Spring. She asked me for words of wisdom and I said the best advice I was given was "when an acceleration comes, get on a wheel" - and accelerations come, but then the pace backs off. We are not used to this as triathletes, where we have a single "all-day" pace, especially as long course folks! We may be able to hold 20 mph for 5 1/2 hours, but ask us to go 20 mph, then accelerate to 28 and hold it, then climb, and then accelerate again and we can't keep up.

Coach E has been great and what's fun is that my plan this year is complimenting my cycling greatly - with a focus on speed and intensity, I'm noticing that I'm more capable of moving about the field - attacking and counter-attacking, chasing down breaks and the like.

Tomorrow will be a lot of fun and I can't wait to report the day! Wish us luck and good luck to my Teany teammates competing closer to the city tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


A quick note to say thank you to sponsors old and new!

Many thanks to Harney and Sons - fantastic tea from here in CT. Eco-friendly packaging and business practices (and the delicious flavor) make a perfect sponsorship fit! Be on the lookout for Harney tea at the upcoming Nutmeg State Eco-Friendly Charity Races!

Cannondale - Sweet bicycles made in the USA - and bonus, C-dale headquarters is here in CT. After riding my carbon Slice and Super-Six, I'm never going back...

Bear Naked - Granola to fuel your life, another CT-based and started company! Organic and eco-friendly.

Xterra Wetsuits - the fastest, most flexible wetsuits on the planet - also just plain rad people!

SRAM and the World Bicycle Relief Fund - parts and accessories - light, fast and amaaazing.

LaraBar - super yummy, whole food and all organic!

LouisGarneau - Time Trial helmets that weigh less than my vented one - saaaweeeet!

WinSkins Printing - custom clothing and printing.

TeaNY Cycling Team - CRCA and my favorite group of guys and girls.

and a HUGE thank you to my coach, Eric Hodska.

Happy training and racing y'all!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Musings

1. No one like paying or doing taxes, not even Accountants. They are a lot of work, but when I see cool rails-to-trails projects or town parks, it makes paying them worthwhile.

2. Running on the railroad tracks is like doing strides all the time.

3. Lover's Leap State Park is really filled with lots of lovers... really more high school students in cars making out... It's actually kinda cute!

4. It's fun to celebrate holidays with people of a different religion. Last week, my family celebrated Passover - we had a few non-Jewish guests and it was fantastic. A great way to share and really embrace the holiday where you open your doors and welcome people into your life - to renew your faith in God and humankind. Easter is very similar in many ways - A holiday filled with hope and happiness. Though for the Christians, their Messiah has already returned, there is no lack of joy and remembrance. I had the pleasure of celebrating with Sam's family up in Vermont and it was a blast.

5. Eating is important. Drinking water will not sustain you. Neither will a protein shake. I found that out tonight when I passed out during my brides-maid dress fitting. Ooops.

6. Good friends are always friends, no matter time or distance or circumstance.

7. The right high heel can make anyone look better.

8. Carbon bikes really are more comfortable.

9. Italian is not hard to learn...especially if you know another Romance language and like pasta.

10. Battenkill-Roubaix is in 5 days and I hope my super-stealth dirt-road riding has payed off!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Triple-Threat Tuesday

Yup. Here we are again - another Tuesday, another 3 workouts. It can be hard to find the drive - to find the time, the inspiration, the motivation.

Recently I've been finding each of these things from sources around me. My Teany cycling teammates, my dog, my boyfriend, friends, athletes, coach, the cookie I had after breakfast... the list goes on. The point is that no matter where the inspiration comes from, it's there.

Talking with some athletes recently, one commented on the weather. She just could not get herself up and going w/ a gray sky. One thing that I love about Coach Eric is that there are no free passes. Every workout has a purpose and a place. Sometimes the workouts themselves serve as motivators for the workout later in the day. Last week, Eric had me do some 20 minute intervals at a faster than 1/2 Ironman race pace on my bike. They were hard, but were that perfect distance to utilize my fitness and speed. I finished the workout feeling confident and excited for the swim later in the day. Mind you, it helped that I knew a certain cute boy would be waiting in the pool for me, but that is another source of motivation all together.

Having a partner (whether it is a good friend, the dog, spouse) can make a world of difference in the lonely world of long-distance triathlon. So many of us make friends with our ipods, we forget about real connections. Some of my best workouts are the ones I've shared with Sam or close friends. It doesn't have to be an earth-shattering workout either - just one that leaves you feeling refreshed, inspired and ready to tackle the road when you do have to, "go it alone".

Mental toughness is as much a part of the sport as fitness, but like anything, you need to fuel it, to keep it going. In this sense, you can never do this "individual" sport alone - there is always a dependence on others. We count on others to get the motivation to start and commit, the motivation to do the work and the motivation to have it all pay off on race day. There is nothing better to think of when going through a tough spot out on an Ironman course than the people that helped get you there - the people that are baby or dog sitting. The people that are waiting in the rain for you to finish a 10+ hour race, the people that put up with your dietary and sleep time restrictions. Yup. You better believe that you finishing is about more than just you. Go!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Got to keep on Movin'

It has been a busy time, yea, I know, what else is new? No excuse for not writing here.

Things are good here in Mandy land - the 3rd Annual Nutmeg State Eco-Friendly Charity 1/2 Marathon and 10k is coming up fast on April 26 in Washington Depot. Check out EndureIT for more info.

The race was selected to be a part of the EarthRun Global Alliance of Eco-Friendly running races to be held on Earth Day. Pretty cool!

The event t-shirts and awards this year are better than ever and it's looking to be a rockin' day. If you are around and can volunteer, it would be spectacular!

In other news, bike racing has been off to a great start this season. The Bethel Spring Series brought out some MAJOR talent this year and rather than being a "training" series, it was a full-on hammer-fest race with many National Champs, Pros and Category 1 and 2 cyclists. To add to the difficulty, teams showed up in force, making for really dynamic (read: hard) races!

This year, at the urging of coach Eric, I opted to do the women's race and the men's Category 3/4 race. It has been fun and gives me a whole new appreciation of my Sam-boy who has done the 3/4 race and then the Pro-1,2,3 race each week. It's epic, that's for sure.

Each week, post races, I've been heading out for a recovery run, despite the recent stresses, the body is holding up well and my training is going great in preparation for St Croix, Ironman and before both of those, Battenkill-Roubaix bike race.

Feeling confident going into the races, especially with all the dirt-road riding, climbing and descending I've been doing out of my house. This week will bring even better prep with an invitation to ride with some of the super-fast Stage-1 Fusion Think riders on the Housatonic Hills course.

Lots of fun being had and I hope the same is true for all of you. This is why we do it, right? For fun?

Yesterday, after my races, I was sitting with some of the girls from other CRCA teams. They mentioned that I'm always happy when I'm racing. Part of my happiness in cycling comes from the fact that I'm relaxed, that there's no pressure. I like to do well and I'll do everything I can to do well, but my focus is Triathlon. Recently, I've been reminding myself of how enjoyable I find training and racing triathlon - I became addicted to it from the very start - the sense of community and comaraderie that you find at these events is unmatched. I've made so many friends out on the Ironman courses and I'm already getting excited to make new ones this year.

Happy Training!!