Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lake Placid!

Tuesday afternoon, Joey and I started our journey north. The car was all packed up with race gear, suitcases, bikes, and a portable DVD player and movies. I was a little worried that since we weren't leaving town until 4pm that we would hit serious traffic around Baltimore. Luckily, the worst of the traffic cleared up and we flew up 95, making it into Lansdale, PA (outside Philly) in under 5 hours. We stayed with the Kraynaks, whom we had not seen in almost 3 years. It was nice to catch up with them and their growing family! Joey was able to get some good running around/play time with the boys on Wednesday morning. While it was very tempting to stick around and play all day, I was anxious to hit the road! Joey was such a trooper in the car, considering day 2 of the drive took over 6 hours. He only asked ONCE if we were there yet, and that was just a short 45 minutes outside of Placid.

I was releived to see that the worst portion of the descent into Keene had been repaved, and tried to point out landmarks to Joey as we pulled into town. I don't think he quite believed me when I told him that people on skis actually launch themselves off the jumps! We were both very happy to be done with the car ride, and were greeted at the house by Dr. Rick, Amy, and Lynn.

The house we are staying in was built in 1917 and recently completely remodeled. Joe and I have a bedroom with a sleeping porch just off it--Joey has slept out there several nights already. Every detail in the house is so well thought-out and executed. It is GORGEOUS!

Wednesday evening, a group of us met up for our first jog around the lake. It felt good to stretch the legs--Lynn kept up with the speed demons while I took my "leisurely 45 min run" workout to heart. While Joey explored the house's toys, the rest of us hit the grocery store and tried to buy them out of bananas. Soon after a good dinner of spaghetti/salad/bread, it was time to hit the sack.

Thursday morning, I was up with the smell of coffee (can I just say how wonderful it is to wake up to a full pot of freshly brewed coffee?!) and soon headed out with the Ricks for an early morning swim. The lake temperature is pretty nice--a refreshing 70 degrees--so it's warm enough that your hands and feet don't freeze, but cool enough that you don't work up a sweat. Just after we started our loop of the course, Karen, Shawn, and Shelley started their swim. Blake took this cool picture from the dock:

Later that morning, Karen, Shawn, Amy and I headed out on our bikes. We took the route out of town along the bike course--down those short, steep hills with sharp turns from transition. If I survive that, I'm doing pretty well! I had missed my chance to do the Keene descent with Bethany and Deanna since I swam early. Instead, the rest of us rode out the run route, then climbed the Cherries and Bears and Bastard back into town. By the time we were done and all cleaned up, it was time to hit the town for some lunch and a little souvenir shopping. Joey was all about the shopping, except when it was time to hit the expo and athlete check in. Apparently triathlon and Ironman stuff is not cool, but he did score a new hat that says "Support Crew" on the back.

That evening, Amy made a great dinner of steak and mashed potatoes, and after a quick visit with the folks from Mountain Ash, it was time for sleep! Friday morning was a little more of the same: morning swim, followed by a quick run around the lake. It was sunny and warmer, so Joey and I packed a picnic lunch and headed to the lake. It wasn't quite the relaxing interlude I was expecting--they were hosting the kid's fun run at the same time and it was packed with Ironman families. Maybe I'm biased, but in comparison to my pretty well-behaved kids, there are some real brats out there. (Little kids that just whine/cry at what they can't have or do, kids that kick and throw sand, kids that swim around growling saying they're an "ocean monstow".) So we ended up coming back to the house, and I had a much more pleasant nap on the sleeping porch!

Today it's time to pick up the husband at the airport, ride the descent into Keene (coach Karen insists I must do this), and then check in my transition bags and bike. I make dinner tonight--broiled salmon, brown rice, green beans. My friend Heidi will also get here around dinner!!! Yey!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

With less than 18 days to go...

This showed up in my email last night. I got all queasy reading through it. Can I really get through the first loop of the bike course by 1:30? The second by 5:30? The math in my head just isn't adding up to me making any of the cut offs. I better swim damn fast.

Thank you all for your encouraging words (yes, D, even yours helped!) I will show up for race day and give it the ol' college try. I think my mantra will be "Forward Progress." If I keep moving, I'm getting closer to the 140.6 mile marker. All I can do is give it my best, knowing that it will be a long day.

In the training I've been doing since getting home from Europe, I've been working hard on truly finding my groove on the downhills and I think I'm much improved over where I was just after Torturefest. My bike computer has said my maximum speed on my Blue Ridge ride last weekend was 35mph so I have gained speed somewhere. When not physically exhausted by jet lag, my climbing is good--I spin spin spin up the hills and have silly conversations with Marit in my head. (She tells me to "Push and Pull" and I ask her where the cupcakes and beer are.)

Now I'm off to ride my bike...paying the penance for not having biked enough in Europe!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A very overdue race report

Eagleman 2009...was supposed to be alot of things--a chance to set a killer pr, a chance to hang with Jen C and party, a chance to prove my new bike fitness. Well, I guess a 2 minute pr is still a pr, but not the 20-30 mins that I had hoped. And hanging with the Mashburns and RTC folks was good, but I missed hanging out for martini happy hour post race at the hotel with Jen. As for the bike fitness, I still suck at riding in a headwind.

This man probably thinks I'm stalking him: (me and Michael Lovato just before the pro start)

A quick picture with Jen H just before her start:

Swim: They changed the swim course since the boat ramp is under construction. But that was fine, since I only remember how stinky with boat fumes the chute was two years ago. Yuck. We started in the protected cove where ChesapeakeMan swim was. Yey! No current/chop and a great sight line. Then a turn, swim past the boat ramp, and a right turn back to shore where we started the race in 2007. My goal was to put my head down and swim--not dick around and chat with kayakers or other swimmers. For the first 1/2 mile, there was this chick in my AG who could not for the life of her swim straight. Someone should tell her coach and make her do lots of sighting drills. She swam zigzagging right in front of me, and kept cutting me off. Just think how much faster she'd be if she was swimming in a straight line. By the final turn, the fast men in the swim wave behind were passing us. Passing is a kind way to say they were basically swimming right over whoever was in their way. I guess if I was actually trying for a Kona slot I'd have to swim like that too. The water got more choppy at this point, but I kept my head down and made for the finish. My 2007 swim time was 42:21 mins. This year I swam it in 38:35 mins!

Again my goal in transitions was no dicking around. Get in get out. Shaved almost a minute off my time, even despite all the mud we had to run through. (4:21 in '07, 3:44 in '09)

The bike. I felt great. I had a good nutrition plan, and felt really strong. I made it through 40 miles of the bike in about 2:30, cruising along keeping a 19mph pace. I figured 16 miles, no problemo! Then the head wind. Shit. Whenever I caught up with anyone, or anyone passed me, we bitched about the wind. 2007 bike time 3:24:15, 2009 time 3:17:52. I did meet my goal to get in off the bike before Jen H finished her run. I passed her at about the 10 mile mark looking good.

T2, took time off from 2007. (4:11 in '07, 3:41 in '09) At this point I was down about 11:30 from my '07 time. I was hoping I could do at least as well on the run.

Run: The night before the race we had some loud thunderstorms go through, and the day of the race was overcast and quite cool. The sun came out on the run, and with a vengeance. I didn't feel like I needed to take in any salt on the bike since it wasn't hot--oops. I should've known that on a run with no shade like at Eagleman, any sun could really heat things up. I started out good--feeling like I had a steady, sustainable pace. At the first mile, Jen passed me on her way in. That girl was in the zone! She almost caught up with Jerome who was just a few hundred yards ahead. By the turn around at mile 7, things just started to hurt. I had been thinking that after IM training, a half would be a walk in the park. No. It all hurts. I had been running through all the water stops until this point, but then I had to walk them and find some salt. By the 10 mile point, I needed to be done and had to really push myself to not walk. That 11 minute cushion I had out of T2 was gone and my goal was just to get the darn thing done.

That finish line was bittersweet. Glad to have it done, time to go to Europe. Sad that it wasn't the race I thought I could do. Many times on that run I was questioning why I was signed up for something even more stupid. I could just go and spectate IMUSA and have a great time and not kill myself. There are lots of questions like this swirling around in my head. Maybe that's a blog post to come...