Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Boston/New Hampshire Trip and Race Report (part 1 of 2)
So isn't this the prize that all moms/wives get after every vacation? The laundry pile from hell...all the more fun with the addition of really stinky, still wet race clothes, including running shoes! Peeeeeyyyoouu! It was a great trip--New Hampshire was beautiful, Boston was fun, racing with my friends is always a good time, and through it all we had picture perfect weather. I'll rewind and start at the beginning:
The kids and I met Joe at the Boston airport on Wednesday morning after a crazy two days of yet another doctor's visit for my Baker's cyst, laundry (trips always start and end the same!), house cleaning, and scheduled workouts. After a quick breakfast at the hotel and change into shorts, we headed out to follow the Freedom Trail. Maddy is a big history buff, and liked seeing Paul Revere's burial place and house.
I was amazed that the house is still standing--when Revere bought the house in 1770, it was already 90 years old! We headed back to the hotel after a late lunch so I could take a much needed nap (I only had 4 hrs of sleep the night before) while Joe took the kids to Tomb. That evening, a business collegue of Joe's had given us tickets to see the Red Sox play at Fenway, and we hopped into a bike-taxi rickshaw thing to get us there. We had great seats, just behind home plate, and the Red Sox won their game against the Texas Rangers handily.
Thursday we headed north, toward New Hampshire, after a quick stop to see Harvard Yard and lunch in Concord, MA. By then the kids had just about had their fill of the educational part of the trip, and were anxious for lake swims. As we got off I93, we found our first lobster roll. Mmmmm mmmm. The lake area up there is just amazing--on the far side of Lake Winnipesaukee, you see the White Mountains rising up, and all around the lake are woods of pine, aspen, and maples. It must be such a show at peak foliage time. We stayed in a great hotel, thanks to Annn, with themed rooms with lake views. Ours was a western theme, complete with Roy Rogers wagon wheel headboards. The kids had fun at the arcade at Weir's Beach before our dinner of...you guessed it, lobster!
The rest of the TriGirls doing Timberman pulled into town either late Thursday or early Friday. Before meeting up with some of them, we rented a small boat (glorified row boat!) and tooled around the lake and had a picnic on board. The kids were brave enough to jump in the water and swim around. The water was so clear, but also much chillier than the pool back home.
We then met up with Bethany and Bart at the race site for a quick warm up swim. The lake that afternoon was not very choppy, but we also stayed quite close to shore. Maddy and Joey had a good time playing in the sand and swimming. On the way back to the hotel we hit the race expo and pick up our packets. By Saturday, it was time to start gearing up for the race. Joe took the kids up to the White Mountains for some hiking, and ended up spending most of the day at some kitchy but fun frontier-type place. I spent the afternoon with Sharon, Mary, Lynn and sherpa Dave--swimming some more (much more chop!) and trying out a Guru bike at the expo. That evening I racked my bike, enjoyed a quiet carb-load dinner with Joe at the hotel restaurant (no lobster), and hit the sack after watching Michael Phelps swim for #7.
I don't know why, but I always get nervous and don't sleep well the night before a particularly long workout or race. I spend the whole night half-asleep, very aware of the passage of time, and never get up feeling completely rested. I guess it didn't help that many of the other triathletes staying at our hotel decided to leave between 3 and 4am. Our windows were open and we heard every car door slam and engine start. Finally by 4:20 I threw in the towel and got out of bed. I had to really work hard to choke down breakfast--I envied the girl who brought her french press and cereal. Joe graciously gave me and another triathlete a ride to the race site, and we got there by 5:45. I set up my transition, pumped up my tires, loaded up my water bottles and food, and found my friends. Simon Lessing, who won Timberman the year before, was staying in my hotel, and I thought when I first saw him that he was a pro. I had chatted briefly with him up at the hotel. While he was getting all set up in transition (he had race #1!), I stopped by to say hi, wish him luck, and tell him I was going to try to catch him. He said "You do that!" Yeah right! Before long it was time to lube up, get into the wetsuits, and head down to the swim start. Thank God, cuz I had to pee!
That 1.2 miles always looks so damn long, and Susie, Patty, Shawn, Mary and I went off in the third swim wave, after the pros and men 50+. It was a large wave (all women 40+), which made for IM-like washing machine conditions in the beginning. I've never had to really jockey for swim space before and I'm not sure I like it. I also can't figure out how to catch a good draft--I get worried about getting kicked in the face or something that I prefer to swim alone, with lots of empty space around me. For a lake swim, it got pretty choppy since it was a pretty breezy morning. Even before the first bouy, I passed Team Hoyt and commented to another swimmer how inspirational it was to see them out there. By the first bouy I was finally able to settle into something of a rhythm, but I need to practice breathing between swells and maybe take some ginger or dramamine before hand. My sighting was fine, even with the sun coming up on our left after the last turn bouy. Swim split was 44:57. I guess I took my time in both transitions (over 3 mins for both), maybe I should eliminate socks (ouch), biking gloves (snot rag), or switch to yankz on my running shoes.
I think the bike went pretty well, considering I had no idea what to expect. I lost my bike computer within the first mile, so had no way to gauge my speed or cadence other than by my watch. It turns out that the first 15 miles or so of the course are super hilly, and since it's an out and back course, the last 15 miles are hilly too, but the downhills were lots of fun. I was able to keep my eye on the riders in front of me to avoid potholes and prepare for turns. Miles 20-30 were out this highway, with a short loop into a town to turn around. There seemed to be a head wind each way of that leg and by this time I was getting passed by everyone and their dog. I briefly introduced myself to Mel's husband as he passed, and cheered for Chris Waterstraat as he flew by. Susie passed me on the bike, and I caught up to Shawn who made it out of the water before me. I biked for a while with each of them, before Susie dropped me like a bad habit on one of the hills. That girl can climb! It was so great seeing most of the TriGirls out there, yelling a quick hello and good job. Bike split: 3:26, avg speed 16.3 mph.
The run, according to Lynn, was supposed to be FLAT. NOT. It was a 2 loop run, which hugged the shore for about 2 miles and had some great shade but had a few painful hills. I was hoping to catch Joe and the kids spectating before heading out on the run but didn't see them. Turns out they got to the race site (not a very efficient shuttle service...) just after I left transition. I was feeling pretty good at the start of the run, with just a little cramping in my calf. I was able to take some salt tabs and it went away. The first 6 miles seemed to go pretty quickly, and Karen caught up to me and ran with me a while. I loved seeing all the TriGirl peeps--it helps morale quite a bit! Joe caught me at the end of the first loop. I was disappointed that the kids weren't there, but so happy to see him. The second half of the run is where it gets really hard and having him tell me I looked strong was great. It had warmed up quite a bit, and temps were probably in the mid 80s. The cold sponges were great for cooling off and wiping off the sweat, but didn't help the sore legs. At mile 10 I was ready to be done. Those last miles are such a battle to keep moving at a decent pace but I knew Joe and the kids were waiting for me. Maddy and Joey ran me in to a final time 6:46, just 12 minutes slower than my Eagleman time.