Monday, June 29, 2009

Confidence

Confidence - eh? It can be so elusive at times. Thankfully, I've had some nice affirmations as of late.

Ironman prep is going well, but this weekend I was itching to race - to really race, so I hopped into the Sharon Sprint Triathlon at the last minute. It had a reasonable start time of 8 AM and was on my local stomping grounds, so I thought, how could I not?! Eric said it was ok, as long as I got in a nice long ride afterward.

Race morning came fast (as always) and I made my way to the race site up in Sharon. The weather gods smiled and the sunshine was blinding. I got in a nice long warm-up, run, then bike, then swim. It made a big difference getting in a long swim warm-up, especially with a tired body.

The gun went off and got a kinda bad start, but settled into a rhythm, swimming alone.

At the turn-around buoy, some off-course swimmers ran into me coming the other direction - that was less fun. I watched the pack that was just in front of me, including mister Mike Pyle, take off. Coming out of the water, I saw another pink cap. 7th overall out of the water (yes, I love mass starts!). Off on the bike, I was feeling good and cruising right along. There were no police or marshals which made things a bit sketchy and dangerous, but I avoided death (narrowly). There was another woman that stuck with me - she and I went back and forth. My bib butt seems to go downhill fast, but it was on the uphills I was catching and passing her.

I dismounted the bike holding 7th overall and 1st woman still and was hoping my running legs would come around. The first 1.5 miles of the 4.3 mile run are uphill - and steep uphill - and I felt it. 2nd place woman came around me and accelerated. I tried to stay with her and keep her in my sights. Well, that worked until about the last mile - a steep downhill, where she pulled away from me. I was running like a muppet, but somehow just couldn't take the brakes off. I watched 1st place cross the line and pushed hard in - she beat me by about 14 seconds. It hurt so good and though I would have like to have won, I'm still pleased with my race. I was 11th overall and 2nd place overall woman, setting a bike and swim course record. We beat 3rd place by almost 5 minutes. Pretty cool.

Lots happening and plenty more training, but in other good news, Sam is back!

Pics soon!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Scenes from a long run

This not-so-little momma snapping turtle was making her way from the lower pond at the horse farm, to the upper pond. This is the 3rd turtle sighting in so many days - looks like it's time for these girls to lay eggs...and eat the Canadian Geese.


At the end of a long run, it can be a bit disconcerting to hear a rustling in the grass - I thought it was a snake! This turtle was enormous. I'm bummed I couldn't zoom in. The legs and tail, not to mention neck on this thing were as thick as my calves (and those of you that know me, know that my calves are bigger than my quads, so that's big!!)! Claws on the feet were finger length and that epic shell was about the size of 5 or 6 basket balls bunched together. HUGE.

Grabbing my camera for a bonus few minutes, the turtle could care less as I snapped away. A few footsteps after this shot, she wasn't quite so happy and went into a downward-dog like pose while hissing. That was my que to do some "strides" practice back to the car.

Today, Wednesday is a triple-workout day. 70 min. run this AM, swim at lunch and bike race, plus some tonight.

The diet was supposed to be over today, but will continue as I'd like to lose an additional 10 lbs from the 10 I've already lost. It'll happen!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lake Waramaug Tri and Housy Hills Road Race (CT Cycling State Championships)

It has been a hectic few days, and it's not showing any signs of slowing down!

Friday night was the 9th Running of the Lake Waramaug Eco-Friendly Charity Tri. Despite the raining weather leading up to the race, race day itself was glorious. Sunny and warm, we really lucked out for the 2nd year in a row at our new location.

We had a great showing of athletes and many first-timers, including friends Jeremy Mikesell, Jodie Ellis and Nicole Griswald. It was a blast and we had a number of returning athletes. Next year, we are planning special awards for athletes that have competed at all 10 year's worth of events.

There were epic battles that took place in the men's and women's races. Aubrey was edged out on the run and took a strong 2nd place finish. Timmy Steitskal took men's laurels by almost 3 minutes - he's come so far in a few short years and def. got a fitness bump from Rev3 a few weeks ago.

Saturday was all about clean-up - I took Luna up to Uncle Al's that day and we had fun running around and cleaning up. She has really grown up and is an amazing dog.

Sam and I opted to make it an early night in with Housatonic Hills bike race early Sunday morning. 6 AM came around FAST and we were up and out the door.

Pulling into the parking area, I realized I didn't have my race license with me - ugg. Thankfully, who did I see sitting behind the registration table, but my friend and crazy amazing cyclist and cross-country ski marathoner, Brian! I told him my dilemna and he got me all checked in.

Despite the rain, the temp was nice and as it neared start time, the ladies lined up and the sun came out. It was steamy on course and we were all dripping instantly. The new course is 55 miles for the Women's 1,2,3 race. 2 brutal laps. About 8 miles in, you hit the old KOM on Hut Hill Rd. An acceleration came and I didn't react in time, I watched a gap form and with my HR at 188, desperately tried to close it. A few girls caught up to me and we started working together - for the rest of the 1st lap, the break would dangle about 200 meters in front of our chase pack of about 12 girls. By the end of the first lap, a number of people had dropped out or faded. Making our way up Constitution hill again for the start of the 2nd lap, Heidi, Kristen, Edie, Cindy and a few other girls and I decided to take our time and re-group at the top and resume our paceline. Making our way to Hut Hill, we saw a rider ahead - it was Gabby from 3rd Nature.

In a total bonky haze, she turned around and came back down the hill towards us. Once she turned around, I saw something on her leg - I thought it was blood, but it was really a chocolate gu she had stuffed in her short's leg. I was just bonky enough myself to actually want to reach over and grab a finger-full. Yea, nasty, I know!

About 17 miles in or so, you hit Davenport Road and climb towards Painter Ridge Road -this is by far the most painful part of the course. Our group split here again and I saw 4 girls ahead about to turn onto Painter Ridge - as much as it hurt, I put it in the big ring and pounded my way up and over and after those girls! I caught on, told them we had a big gap and we accelerated. On that stretch, we caught Cheryl Wolfe of Bethel and she locked on with us.

Up the KOM for the 2nd time, Cheryl and I were chatting and let a little gap form. The other 4 girls saw this and accelerated. We spent the next mile trying to catch back onto them. Hitting Rte 67, about 2-3 miles from home, we each took turns at the front. Near the finish, I decided to work the downhill section - I came in well to the 1km mark and went for it. Went a bit too early and just had nothing in the legs for a true sprint, I rolled across the line happy and beat. The promoter emailed me and has me as the Cat 3 silver medalist from CT, the results got a bit messed, and are being updated. Will post a link soon!

Today is a nice long run, but broken into double runs to get a bit more speed. Yay.

I've lost 10 lbs on the diet so far, another 6-10 and I'll be psyched. I'm extending the diet until that happens. 2 short weeks and then I'll be down on the shore!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Girl, Interrupted

With tomorrow's race fast approaching (the 9th running of the Lake Waramaug Eco-Friendly Charity Triathlon presented by Danbury Hospital), it has been a little hectic here.

The diet was going well until last night when my starvation and crammed schedule forced a call to the local Chinese place. General Tso's Tofu was just right, but that slip up just added an extra day to the "cleanse".

Tomorrow's event is looking great, the rain today will give way to sunshine tomorrow and I can feel an epic battle at the front of the race and many smiles at the finish line.

Sunday is Housatonic Hills Bike race and then the final push for Placid. Looking at the calendar, Sam and I realized we're booked solid thru the Fall - and even Ironman! Jersey shore is coming up soon and plenty of other adventures. YAY!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Posting - no more "courage.com"

Greetings friends!

As you may have noticed, I've removed the ability to post on this site or contact me anonymously. I believe that you don't write to say something, you write because you've got something to say. So, with that, if you've got something to say [to me] then do so openly.

As a side note, this is a personal blog. No one is required to read. It is just another manner to keep up with friends. It is not a place for personal attacks or attacks against my kin (yes, I used the word 'kin', I'm country, ok?).

For those interested, my Lawyer is a loyal reader and even anonymous comments may be tracked back to their owner with the assistance of the very helpful Google staff.

As my Grandmother always says, "if you've got nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all." She also said "Never write or do anything you wouldn't want read in open court".

Crazy Town

"I was coming down the mountain" - Jane's Addiction

Well, coming down and then climbing another. With Greg, that is. On Saturday. After an hour and fifteen minutes of yoga and meditation with Doug Greene.

This past week has been intense - lots of training following Rev-3 and lots of prep for this Friday's 9th Running of the Lake Waramaug Sprint Tri. As you saw in the pictures, the eco-friendly, recycled and compostable water bottles have arrived (with vegetable dye print!) as well as the organic t-shirts and other goodies from sponsors. Everyone has really stepped up their game this year and we are more excited than ever for Friday night!!

Always in need of volunteers if any of y'all are free! Day before, day after or day of, I'm happy for any and all help!

So, back to the weekend. Long story short, Greg pulled my sorry corpse all over CT, NY and MA - "let's set it at 20" he said and I don't think I even grunted a response, I just hooked onto his rear wheel and prayed for the pain to end. Now, usually I can block this out - acknowledge the discomfort, know that it will pass and move on. Saturday, it didn't move on. It didn't pass. The legs felt heavy and my heart rate was sticky. Climbing up the murderous alternate to Rte 45, Greg advised me, "Don't cry when you see this first pitch". Maybe I would have cried an hour before that, but I had nothing left. I put it in the easiest gear, pushed my butt back on the saddle and climbed. And Climbed. And climbed.

Greg looked at me and laughed. "You're overreached" he said. Yup, perfect term. My little adventure at the beggining of our ride (the team time trial up to Litchfield, then the silly antics with the boys)took their toll. "Don't do your run" he cautioned. But somehow I thought I'd feel better if I did run.

Strapped on the sweet new zoots and headed out of the beach - up the old Waramaug run course and back down to the beach to complete the epic day. Truth be told, I did feel better after the run, but my ego was still suffering from the ride. Candy and Soda stops are pretty rare for me and on this ride, I took 2.

In happy news, I weighed myself today and I've lost 10 lbs since Wednesday on the Cleanse diet round2. It's good news and I'm feeling great, though my sunken eyes are a certain sign that my iron levels are low... brocolli, here I come!!

So fast!!

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Delivery

The new eco-friendly, compostable and totally rad new EndureIT bottles!
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What do you do when you're not training?

Buy an Iphone 3GS, of course! White, 32 GB and totally awesome.

This afternoon I will take the first photo and, cringe, post it here to let you all track my weight loss progress with me. I'm doing it to hold myself responsible for the change. Prepare to laugh your asses off!

Back to training tomorrow - thank gawd!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Benchmarks

Yesterday, Sam and I raced the Rev-3 Triathlon in Middlebury, CT. I had gone back and forth as to whether or not I'd race and at the last minute, I opted in. The days before the event, I hung with the Cannondale crew at the demo truck, not doing a whole lot besides drinking beer and bs'ing with passers-by! It was a nice way to relax and get excited for the race all at once.

Sunday morning came faster than expected and at 3:30 the alarm went off... it was time for some applesauce, banana, sports drink and a protein shake... I hopped back into bed for another hour or so before waking up to begin the true pre-race routine. Tri suit, timing chip, sunscreen, fake tatoos from sponsors and mascara (it's just part of the routine, ok?!). By 5 AM we were out the door and on our way to Middlebury. No one was out - and why would they be, isn't Sunday usually the go-to 'day of rest'?

The transition was packed with those classic type-A's that arrive as soon as transition opens. I like to have an hour from when transition closes. That way you have enough time to take care of what you need to do (fill tires, put nutrition on the bike, use the bathroom and check everything over once more) before going down to the water for a warm-up. I have to say, it was great being around Sam. The way I feel before bike races is the way he feels before triathlon - no nerves, just amazing calm energy. We did some on-land drills to warm up, and to our amusement, found we'd be starting in the same wave.

Now, a bit of back-story. There were some bets (well, more than a few, try an office-full) going around Cannondale as to who would beat whom... In any event, like a true diplomat, Sam said he wanted to cross the line holding hands with me... I think he re-considered that after he realized how gross you get during a race.

The first few waves of athletes went off into the chilly, but calm, waters. The clockwise course was changed to a counter-clockwise course and I was super excited (as I tend to breath left during races). We barely made it thru the corral and I was fixing my goggles when the cannon fired. Crap! I hadn't even picked a good line-up or anything! I did my best to get into the water (well, maybe not my best) as I got pumled and knocked about by the over-eager boys. Goggles off and a few dunks later, I got myself back together only to sight and see the lead pack about 20 meters in front of me. I swam like hell, but swimming alone is no match for a pack working together. I swam alone the rest of the way and not as straight as usual. I exited the water with my slowest 1/2 IM swim to date of 33 minutes.

Exiting the water, I was surrounded by friends. One of the biggest benefits to racing local is that everyone knows your name. I was super motivated to make up for my swim as I entered transition. Waiting in there was the Cannondale dream-team of Curt Davis and Eric Hodska (Cappie, their swimmer was still in the water). Eric asked me how it went and as I got ready, I filled him in and said I would make up for it. Onto the bike, I felt great immediately - it helps that the first few miles are a speedy descent. Onto the hills, the legs were spinning smoothly and I was taking it easy. I had orders to take it easy until about mile 27- coming out of Litchfield. Things were going well. I felt that I was going easy, yet I was averaging over 20 mph for the first 20+ miles. My tummy was good and I got in all of my nutrition without incident -even swallowing the salt tablets (usually it takes a few tries to get them down).

Going thru Thomaston, the temp read 71 degrees - just perfect for triathlon!

That was about where Sam caught me - calling out "Hey Sweetheart!". With the wind, I didn't recognize his voice and prepared for a nasty glare and 'keep your hands to yourself' type comment, but was pleasantly surprised to see my boy! He looked great, happy, smooth and fluid. He took off down the road and I couldn't help but feel proud of him.

Out of Thomaston, we climbed up rte 254. All the pre-race chatter was about the murderous bike hills - well, though my speed declined in the 2nd half of the bike, I didn't feel wasted. I think I just took the climbs too easy - instead of powering over, I was thinking of saving my legs for the run. Good intentions don't always pan out.

Back into transition and onto the run, I thought of coach Eric - he said to take the first few miles easy and let my legs warm up. I was in great spirits (probably due to the caffeine pill I popped coming off the bike). I was cheering people on and they cheered back. I had a few run buddies and it was a blast.

The bike was not the challenge of the event, but instead the run. The run course was changed at the last minute and oh buddy, did it hurt (so good!). It became a real race of attrition as many athletes were slowed to a crawl. Though the sports drink did not agree with me ( I threw up after every sip), I found the course a lot of fun. I stopped looking at my watch a few miles in and decided that timing miles was useless, I just had to keep running. Simple as that, just keep running. I passed a number of people in the last 4 miles, though the last mile climb almost finished me. I crossed the line happy to have completed the first tri of the season, no injuries, no mechanicals, just fun. Sam and my Mom were waiting there and it was glorious.

I saw coach E - both of us were hoping for a more impressive performance, but I think I have new motivation for Placid.

Goal 1. Loose 15 lbs. Goal 2. Get in more s/b/r time Goal 3. SLEEP Goal 4. Clean up the diet - 1 beer or glass of wine is ok, any more than that is excessive. Goal 5. Keep the happiness and positivity I had during this race - I found my happy racing space, that relaxed place where no negative thoughts can enter. Eric had me focus on my Prahnayama (a yoga breathing technique) to ward off any distractions and it worked.

This was an emotionally charged race in a lot of ways and could have been stressful, but I followed the advice of people far wiser than myself and blocked out and avoided the negativity. Many thanks to the undercover security team for helping me feel safe and secure and to the many friends, sponsors and family that offered their support, love and friendship. It may be an individual event, but it definitely does not happen alone...and you all are what I think about at tough times.

Last, but certainly not least, congratulations to Sam on finishing your first 1/2 Iron and beating me by 16 minutes! I have a feeling an Ironman may be on the horizon for that one!!

Photos to come!!

ps. I think I need to do some "before" and "after" photos as I embark on this super diet and IM push. I'd love any and all feedback, advice, or even heckling as it will keep me away from the cookies and booze!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"Dance while you Can"

While there are far more profound quotes to be found in Auden, I loved this one from "Letters from Iceland".

The quote is a beautiful reminder to embrace life . Yesterday I was struggling a bit with my mo-mo (aka: motivation). I thought of this quote and remembered that I have the great fortune of a job that I love, time enough to spend with those I love and to do the things I love! Triathlon is not for everyone, but I am so thankful that I have come to this sport. The friendships and bonds I've made are unbreakable and the calmness this sport has given me is something I'm reminded of every day.

Riding my bicycle for hours, on roads unknown to others, is a source of great joy. Doing so with friends, makes the experience that much better.

Chasing Sam down makes me stronger. Riding with the girls makes me laugh louder. And riding alone makes me mentally tougher.

So, bored? Not a chance. You've got to dance while you can!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Here Comes The Bride

That's the music that played as my older sister walked down the isle on Saturday night. Dressed in a beautiful Grecian style dress, in a hall lit by afternoon sunshine, she committed herself in marriage.

It was beautiful and scary all at once. Getting our hair done earlier that day, I was all nerves, my sister? Calm as could be. She remained that way the whole day, confidently reciting her vows and showing the world that she was marking yet another "adult" landmark along the way.

It was pretty surreal. I know my sister and I are no longer playing 'my little ponies', but somehow, it didn't hit me until we were standing there on the altar - she is starting her own family - one separate from the tight-knit circle of my Mom, Dad and me.

The weekend as a whole was a wild time - Sam's birthday was on Friday (as was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner). After the rehearsal dinner we made our way to Tarrywile to party with the Cannondale crew - we arrived at about 10 PM and it was still hopping - people outside playing, beer flowing and plenty of happy sounds from within. We brought out the cakes (carrot and chocolate indulgence) and everyone sang...LOUD! It was wonderful. The festivities didn't end until nearly 2 AM.

That didn't stop us from waking up early the following morning to get in a workout before my 2pm hair appointment. I was crabby, because I didn't want to get off my bike - Sam difused the situation with an iced coffee from dunkies and I was off.

The wedding and celebration went by in a flash, but that didn't stop us from hitting the hay around 2 AM again... Sunday morning brought a chance to sleep in (mercifully) before a breakfast from 10-12. I visited for a bit and then passed out on the lawn with the dogs - the sunshine was just too much to resist.

Later that afternoon, Sam and I headed out for my new favorite run loop - it takes you thru 3 State parks and is challenging and beautiful. Sam pushed the pace for the full 2hours and we took turns attacking eachother (he on the uphills, me on the downhills). Protein shakes followed and then a phone call - "We have leftover wine, cheese and risotto!" - needless to say, we were at my parents house before they could hang up the phone.

Lots of work to catch up on this week that fell by the wayside with all the wedding craziness, and in a way, I'll miss the excitment, but more excitment (of a different sort) is just around the corner. Despite the schedule, my training has been great and I'm looking forward to this weekend's race at Rev -3 (Sam-boy's 1st 1/2 Iron ... and I don't know if I'll beat him!).