Friday, December 20, 2013

My Morning Routine

So I am far from a Morning Person. Actually if I could stroll into work around 11 and work my 8 hours I'd be happy. But I try to get things done in the morning to help me survive. Lately life is really hectic. I am coaching swimming at night so I don't get much time to do the little things. Workouts need to be squeezed in. And add in the Holiday rush- URGH! So here is my morning to get me through these crazy times.

I get up after hitting snooze probably a DOZEN times! I set 2 alarms and still hit snooze. Did I mention I am not a Morning Person

When I finally get out of bed I walk into the kitchen and turn on my tea kettle. Get coffee going in my coffee maker. When the water is warm in the tea kettle I get a mug of water and some lemon.

That goes on the sink and I hop in the shower. When I am out of the shower the lemon water is at a temp I can drink. While I finish up my post shower face toner and moisturize.  Its so dry here in the winter I am using coconut oil on my skin and even throwing a little in my hair to help it stay healthy.

While I get dressed sometimes I'll finish laundry or pick up the house. I'll figure out what leftovers are going into work with me for lunch. I make a seltzer in my Soda Stream for the day. Make sure work out clothes are packed. Since I am trying to make it to the gym at lunch or when the weather is decent get outside for a run.

I pour my coffee into my travel mug and the left overs go into the mug after I finish my water to sip on while I do my make up. When I am dressed I will start making my breakfast. Generally its something I can have in the car. Egg white with spinach and cheese sandwich or a smoothie. This way I am getting in protein and some veggies and/or fruit. I have found without protein in the morning I am ravenous!

I take my multi vitamin, probiotic and lately some vitamin D. Do my hair. Throw my lunch and my breakfast in my bag. Throw my TYR workout bag on my back and head out the door, I sip on coffee and my smoothie on my ride or eat my sandwich.

This is how I am getting through the craziness in the morning this time of year! How do you manage?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cold Weather Running- My Rules of Thumb

With everyone doing their SPONSORED Holiday Running blogs I thought I'd add a non- sponsored version. Last night a friend and I were talking about how many layers to wear for a cold weather run. Now I am someone that gets warm. We have dipped into the 20s so far this year. Not super cold but cold. Some of my cold weather staples are:

Fleece Lined Gloves
Light acrylic "toss" gloves. The ones they sell for 99 cents at the pharmacy.
Mittens - I find gloves leave my finger tips really cold.
Ear Band
Cold Weather Base Layer
Light Run Jacket
Fleece Lined Jacket
Full Length Tights
Fleece Lined Tights

When it is in the 30s- I'll opt for tights or capris and light running jacket. Sometimes my toss gloves, since my hands get cold.

When it is in the 20s- I'll opt for tights. A base layer and light running jacket. Usually go with a hat or ear band. Either Fleece Lined Gloves or my mittens.

When it is sub 20- I'll opt for the lined tights. A base layer and fleece lined jacket. Hat and mittens.

Sometimes I'll throw on a running scarf to give me another warm layer if the wind is whipping.

I am thinking it is time to invest in some smart wool running socks. My regular run socks leave my toes cold for the first 30 min or so.

I don't know if I heard this somewhere or made it up- but I always dress for 10 degrees warmer than it really is outside. That way I am cold when I start but okay when I am warmed up and running.

Of course, all of this changes with precipitation and then depending on distance too. But these are some of my general Cold Weather Running ideas.

It was in the 20s and windy this day- mittens, hat, tights, cold gear and light jacket and SCARF :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Turkey Day- Trotting and Relaxing

Another Thanksgiving which means another Turkey Trot. For the last few years we have run the local 10k and this year wasn't going to be any different. I had texted my friend and team mate from Luna Chix, Lisa to come out. How many people can  you text at 11pm to come run the next morning at 8 in the freezing cold and they'll actually show up?!  Even though D didn't feel like running when we got up. We hopped in the car and headed to the race.

A couple years ago it was in the 50s on Thanksgiving. This year it was a FRIGID 20 something with 50mph wind gusts. I think it was the howl of the wind that made D not want to go out to run. To be honest I wasn't too excited either. I had spent the last week doing any workout that wasn't swim, bike or run. I had only run 2 miles the week before. This 10k was going to be interesting and COLD! Lisa being from Minnesota thought we were wimps.

We headed to the start line and tried to hide behind cars to block the wind. So much for 8am start time. Come on we are getting really cold. We stood in the mass of humanity singing the national anthem and suddenly before it was over, the group surged. WAIT?! what?! We aren't going to finish the national anthem?

Turkey Trot is the best place to end up with people lined up on the start line that don't belong there. Look if you aren't going to run a sub 20min 5k move back! Walkers just put yourself in the back! It is chip timed. I laughed and told Lisa luckily I am not going for a PR. D buzzed off and we joked that we would see him as he did his second loop.

Miles 1 and 2- 9:09, 8:31
The first part of the course was a lot of dodging the 5k runners that seeded themselves in the wrong spot. And to be honest- I know better I could have saved myself and put myself up closer to the front. The first couple miles were uneventful. A bit slow with all the weaving.

Miles 3-4- 8:51, 8:49
Then we turned the corner the river is to the left and the wind started to howl. It was so bad you couldn't even get enough of a full breath. I pushed but it felt like I was going backwards. Then luckily the second loop takes you out of the wind again for a couple miles.

Miles 5-6- 8:45, 9:11
As we hit the wind again I pulled back on my mittens and my scarf. Looked down at my watch and realized I wasn't going to PR, which wasn't the plan. But I could beat my time from last year which I thought was a 56. The wind literally stopped me in my tracks at one point, in mile 6. As we turned off the wind whipped road Lisa tried to push me. "Come on Juls Don't let me beat you." I just laughed and said WHATEVER! haha

We crossed at 55:50. And my time from last year was a 58:30 so I crushed the course. And even running and chatting with Lisa, being pushed around by the wind, and I ended up 4 min away from my 10k PR. We had fun taking pictures after then headed home.

D and I were planning on having "his" thanksgiving- Dutchgiving. We laid and watched the Macy's parade and hung out with no place to be and no timelines. Got up and watched football and warmed up our turkey pot pies from the local farm. We ate the pot pie and pecan pie and even fell asleep watching football. It was a really nice relaxing holiday! If you have never had a relaxing holiday I highly recommend it. Sitting around with no one else's timeline or stress or pressure was really nice!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Athena... another point of view

With my 2nd Place Ribbon at my First Tri in 2009
So those of you that have read this blog before have probably seen My Journey. The Basics- I am a former USS level swimmer turned collegiate swimmer then turned lazy heavy woman reformed to a triathlete. When I entered the world of running and ultimately triathlon in 2009, I was interested to see a division known as Athena. At the time Athena rules were any woman 150lb or more could compete in this division, the rules have now changed to 165lb or more. I competed in my first triathlon in Athena taking 2nd in the division.

I continued my triathlon obsession in the 2010 season with a few aquabikes and a sprint after having hip surgery in April 2010. In 2011 I had a full season with the top off of my first half ironman. As I trained I think I just ate whatever I wanted and my weight stayed constant even with the amount of training I was doing. In 2012, I did 2 half iron distance races, this time I got overly conscious about what I was eating and I don't think I fueled enough! As 2013 started I decided to get my act in gear and track my calories with my workouts and try to be sure I was fueling enough and not too much! This lead to a 20lb weight drop. As the season has progressed I have continued to drop weight and depending on your scale I am no longer eligible for the 165lb Athena division.

At my first 5k in 2009.
In the 2010, 2011, 2012, and start of 2013 season I competed in Athena when it was available though some races didn't offer it and in those cases I competed in my age group. At some of those races I was fortunate enough to win my age group and more times than not I was on the podium in the Athena division. Sometimes the Athena division was more stiff competition than my current age group, I distinctly remember finishing some races being 3rd Athena but I would have won my Age Group.  Since in Athena you compete against everyone, no matter age, that meets the weight requirement.

Athena Podium at Quassy 2012
I have seen Athena as a great stepping stone to get me into triathlon. It offered a way for me to compete and gain confidence in the sport. As I have dropped weight my speed has improved. I have worked hard to gain speed on the bike and after the years of weight struggles I am seeing the gains in my run times. Athena offered me the same comfort many people get with a Newbie wave at their first triathlon. I see it as with Newbie waves , Athena is not meant to be competed in forever. I see it as USAT offering a less daunting, less intimidating way to compete in a sport that is flooded with women with 10% body fat. Interestingly enough Caroline Steffen who came in 2nd at Kona this year is 5'10" and 150lb- so by the old standard she would be an Athena!

Athena Podium Quassy 2013- last race I was eligible for Athena
Athena women have become a group that can be very judgmental at times but at times they are a great support network for the women looking to overcome the intimidation of the sport. The group can have a mean girls mentality at times, being judgmental of those that are not really Athenas. I think the group should offer support to the ladies who want to compete and not judge others who may not weigh exactly 165 on race day. And further more be understanding that you are the minority- and USAT, fitness companies, and other organizations can not function on the needs of the few outweighing the needs of the many.
At the finish of Army Ten Miler Oct 2013
I was registered to race Athena at a race in Sept. I received an email from race organizers reminding me of the change in the weight classifications and letting me know I could change to age group competition if I no longer met the rules. I chose to change to Age Group competition because as I said depending on the scale I may not make the 165lb cut off. When I arrived race morning to rack my bike I was confronted by a woman who was registered Athena, since I was originally registered Athena I was racked near them. She was sure to ask if I would be competing Athena. I assured her that at packet pick up I had changed my registration to Age Group. This is not the first or the last time I have seen this happen to me and other women. Come on Ladies the world is judgmental enough why do we have to judge fellow triathletes?!

Me at 16 when I was swimming 6 hours a day
To be honest- I couldn't be happier to be no longer eligible! I am getting closer to what I used to look like at 16 when I was swimming 6 hours a day. Jillian Michaels said something when I went to see her Unlimited tour that stuck with me- if you are overweight and say you are happy you are lying to yourself. The more and more I see my hard work pay off the more and more I see that as TRUE!

So get out there and test yourself in your Age Group. See what you can do. Hell I qualified for USAT Nationals for 2014 in my Age Group. Test yourself to try to be the best you you possibly can be and PLEASE stop judging others because you don't like it when you get judged! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sub 2 Goal Accomplished

After my 10K PR at Tufts and my faster than expected performance at Army Ten Miler I had a new goal for my half marathon on the calendar. I had hoped to just squeak in this year under 2 hours in a half marathon. But given the new times I thought I might be able to get closer to 1:54. Only a couple weeks removed from the Army Ten Miler I knew my legs weren't super fresh. And I honestly hadn't done any half marathon specific training- still resting on the training from the tri season. I figure I might as well go out and push it.

Race morning was cold and as we were standing there the temperature just kept dropping. It was in the 30s when we started. I had read online the course was flat. Then the pre race announcement said something about rollers. OH MAN come on!? Well it is what it is. Gonna have to try and do it anyway.

It was a smaller race, they offered a half marathon and 15 min after there was a 5K. D signed up for the 5K with his hip being an issue for the last month or so. And a friend was running the 5K too. They both did great D won his age group and our friend came in 3rd. Kinda wish I had been there to see it. I didn't even get to see him get his trophy :-*(.

The course started out with a little climb but there were decent downhills where I could get my feet back under me. The race didn't have a good stay on this side of the road or that side so it was hard to tell where I should be. When in doubt I stuck with facing the traffic.

Miles 1-3 8:29, 8:02,  8:24
I had hoped to stay between 8:30 and 8:45 so I was under pace to start. I hoped I could just hold on.

Miles 4-6 8: 32, 8:37, 8:36
Still holding pace. A bit of zig zagging on the roads with which side should I be on?!

Miles 7-9 8:30, 8:45, 9:12
Miles 7 and 8 were feeling good. The "rollers" hit in mile 8. Somewhere in Mile 9 we hit dirt road. I started thinking OMG it is Quassy again. Dirt and hills. Great! 

Miles 10-13 8:39, 9:03, 9:06, 8:35
Okay get your head on straight for Mile 10. Came out of the dirt road. Finish strong. Then Mile 11 and 12 I hit the "I AM NEVER RUNNING AGAIN" mental block. The "why am I out here?!" There weren't many people around anymore. The woman I was near was walk running. I had that I am not going to do anything for a LONG time feeling. Though I knew I would still be able to get in under 2 hours.

Finish time 1:54:10 Avg Pace 8:42 Overall 172/332 AG Place 26/61. I was so happy to have finished right at the time I had predicted for myself. I didn't just barely finish under 2! It was so cold when we finished we just grabbed some pictures and got out of there. I am hoping next one is a flatter course and can be a 1:50. Haha always come up with a new goal when I reach the goal!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Army Ten Miler Recap: Third Time's the Charm Right!?

After doing the Army Ten Miler now for 2 years I know exactly where to stay and how to handle race logistics. We flew down on Saturday hit up the expo and then headed back to the hotel to relax. The expo is always filled with lots of goodies. It's a fairly big one in comparison. I didn't end up with Army Ten Miler gear this time but I did find a good deal on my sneakers and some other things that I would normally have to pay for shipping.
 As I said after Tufts I had reset my goal a bit for the Army Ten Miler. I had originally hoped this year's time would be 1:30, taking 9 min off my time from last year. But following the 10k at Tufts I had higher hopes. The Runners World Pace Estimator had me thinking a 1:25 might be possible. Okay let's give it a go.

Luckily I was seeded in the 3rd wave- Blue- 10 min after the first wave starts. So I knew I would be with faster folks meaning less weaving. All positive in shooting for my new goal 1:25. This race is run just as you would think- Military Operation. You would never dream of jumping into a higher seeded wave since they have Soldier's manning the corrals. The cannon signifies the start and each wave gets its own cannon boom.

To the resounding boom of the cannon Wave 3 started down highway 110. Yes you read that right- they shut down the major highway to start this race- in both directions we start on one side of the 2 lane divided highway. The fist mile is on the open highway, in the past I have had to do a lot of weaving since I started further back but this year it wasn't too bad. I tried to avoid too much weaving and wasting energy.

I am always surprised in run races how many people run with their music either not in headphones or with it so loud I can hear it through their headphones. This race says you can't have phones or music players. I think they are a bit more relaxed about it than they used to be but even saying that you can't cuts down on the amount of people with them SIGNIFICANTLY! I was happy that for the first mile all I could hear was the shuffle of everyone's feet across the pavement. It was soothing.

We headed into DC and I was feeling good. Hoping to stay on a 8:30ish pace, knowing that would put me on a 1:25. My legs felt good. I even had time to laugh at the "Unlike Congress You are WINNING" sign. I tried to give a Looking Good or Nice Work to every Wounded Warrior I passed. I was feeling pretty good. Every once in a while I'd feel my quads twinge a bit but not too bad.

When you come down along the National Mall the course loops on itself and you can see the other runners from the faster waves, and the roar of the crowd is awesome. They usually have a band playing and the screams are fantastic. It is a great boost right before the last couple miles on I-395 back to the Pentagon. The miles on the highway can be tough. They are really quiet- again you hear the shuffle of the feet around you. And quite a few people end up walking and stretching on the barriers. I was trying to keep my eye on pace and time. I wanted to make up for the first couple miles that the pace had been a little slower than I wanted. I wanted to finish strong.

As I came down off the highway toward the Pentagon. I ended up near 2 Army Rangers. One said to the other "We are almost done. Start Fast. Finish Faster." The crowd coming into the finish screamed for those Rangers the whole way in. And that Ranger kept yelling out "Start Fast. Finish Faster." It was almost as if D was finishing the race with me. My last mile was a sub 8 minute mile! Those Rangers motivated my butt!

I crossed the line even faster than my goal 1:24:27. Thank you to those Rangers for the extra push at the end! I took 15 minutes off my time from last year!I was psyched! I can't believe how much my running is improving. I think I am still figuring out what my actual run speed/pace is but it is fun to try it out!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tufts 10K and Plans for Army Ten Miler

On Monday the ladies from The Boston LUNA Chix got together to run the Tufts 10k. I rode in to the city with Lisa and Cynthia my team mates. It is always nice to have traveling buddies. We got to the common with a little time to spare. Did last minute prep and dropped our bags, since it was a mandatory bag check.

The team and some of the regulars that run with us gathered at the LUNA tent and chatted. I had hoped I would run the 10k in 55-56min. Which is one of my goals for this year. We moved toward the start line and Danielle, another team mate, and I pushed toward the 8 minute mile area. I had hoped to keep it on the high end of 8 minute miles but sub 9s. I was shocked how few women had put themselves up in the 7-9 minute mile area. Which I had hoped would equate to me having some space to run.

The gun went off and I was quickly over the start mat. Danielle was gone from view fairly quickly. I knew she would run lower 8s than I had planned on. I hit the first couple miles and felt good. Okay- keep it up. Just push. See what you can do. I was shocked how few women were in front of me. I saw the lead pro women with their 5 minute miles- CRAZY fast! I hit the turn around and miles 4 and 5 took a little dip. But seeing my team mates as we looped back on ourselves was a good boost. I figured when I hit 5 it was time to dig in and see what I had left for mile 6.

I pushed it and thought lets just see. I crossed the finish and looked at my watch- woah! Then I got the text message of my official time 51:40. HOLY MOLEY! I killed the 55-56 I wanted to run. I actually maintained a 8:19 average pace. I had forgotten I had signed D up to get the text too and my phone rang. He was so excited for me. Danielle was shocked to see me when I returned to the LUNA tent and there was high fives and dancing! HAHA. I was so shocked and excited! The team went to a fundraiser and had some lunch it was a great day!

The race made me realize I am still learning a lot about my pace. What is my pace what I can do when I push. And really what is my max speed. It made me look to see what I could possibly attempt for the Army Ten Miler this weekend. I had hoped to go just under 1:30 before this result. Figuring that would be great after my 1:39 last year- and be a 9 minute mile average. When I plugged the 10k time in the pace predictor I was shocked it suggested a 1:25. Okay new goal 1:25-1:30. Hoping to be closer to 1:25 for the Army Ten Miler. Race day is Sunday so let's see what these legs have!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Run Around Hopkinton Marathon Relay

The Boston LUNA Chix provided some LUNA bars for the Hopkinton Road Runners race in October. As a thank you for the bars the team was offered a team spot on their Run Around Hopkinton Marathon Relay. Teams of 2-6 complete the 26.2 mi course around Hopkinton. We quickly realized a lot of the team was going to be racing in NH the same day as the race so only 2 of us were able to take advantage of the offer. Lisa and I hated to give up the free entry to a race. Lisa was in the middle of training for her 50k and had done a trail marathon training run the weekend before. I had offered to do around 10 miles since I was getting ready to do Army Ten Miler.

Race day arrived. Lisa got the word from her coach that it would be pretty cool to do back to back weekends of marathons. She thought what the heck and would give it a shot. I was still trying to figure out the course logistics to do the 10 miles I wanted to do. When it finally dawned on me- it’s a 2 loop course. Well guess I am running a half marathon then, it was the only thing that worked logistically. We walked up to packet pickup and realized the race was pretty small, about 30 teams. The Hopkinton Road Runners were so happy to have us there and thanked us for the bars again and again.

I told Lisa I would join her for the second loop. That way if she didn’t want to finish a full 26.2 we would finish the race, and she would have company on the second loop. There were a few pre race announcements Lisa put our baton in her Camelback and she ran off. It was a misty morning and I headed back to the car to hang out, stay warm, and eat some more. She had hoped to be coming in for the half marathon around 2 hours. She texted me to let me know she was right on pace. Then it started to pour rain!

I headed to the start/finish area. The race director asked if we were just splitting the race in half. I told him she was going to run the whole 26.2 and I would join her for the 2nd 13.1. He asked that we have one of us run through transition points to not completely screw up the timers. Lisa smiling came through the chute and we headed out.

The start/finish was at the camp I worked at from 16-20 as a lifeguard. I knew the property pretty well and the surrounding area. We headed down a wood chip trail that connected to a trail through the woods for the first mile or so, then popped out on the street. We kept a decent pace and chatted about how Lisa had just gotten soaked in the downpour. How she was feeling? How this back to back marathon thing was feeling? We hit the first water stop and I realized this is a small race with people planning on running 6 or less miles at a time. It was just water at the aid stations.

Everyone was so nice.  Everyone remembered Lisa coming through on the first time and was shocked to see her again. We ran and chatted. It was a nice course on a nice fall day. We went through Hopkinton State Park. I run through there on a few triathlons so I knew the area. Coming out of the park was supposed to be the TOUGH leg. It was we climbed up 135 in Hopkinton- reverse to the start line of the Boston Marathon. We stopped at the top to take a picture. The poor cops thought I had collapsed, and came over to offer help.

We hit the High School for the last transition point. As we came out of the transition Lisa mentioned she had seen apples in the front yard of a house so we stopped to pick one to eat. I commented this wasn’t in any of my triathlon nutrition plans. She welcomed me to the world of ultra marathon eating. We snacked on the apples for a bit. We stopped at the last water station and talked to the mom and her daughters that were running it.  As we came close to the Finish, about a mile out, I grabbed the baton from Lisa to be sure we showed that we had 2 people on the team. We crossed the finish together in a full out sprint. I pushed Lisa a little to sprint with me at the finish (she wasn’t too happy about it after the 26.2 mi). Everyone was coming up to us but mostly Lisa since she was the only person who had run the whole 26.2 mi course. They were shocked! They were surprised I had run 13.1 also. I guess we were the only ones who decided to be a team of 2 and split things that way.  We had 3 teams behind us when we finished.

Lisa finished in 4:15. A great marathon time for just dong one the weekend before and on a course that wasn’t 100% road. I did my half marathon in 2:08. Just about 6min off from my half marathon PR. Not bad for randomly deciding to do a half marathon this weekend and again not 100% on road. Like I said I had only planned to do about 10 miles.  I looked at the half marathon as a training event and just ran with Lisa to enjoy the distance. I had a great time running with her like always! Both of us had great training runs! We both realized that we are nuts and it isn’t normal running behavior to go out and run a marathon or a half marathon as a training day. But hey both of us had the ability to on that day and we had a lot of fun doing it!

Shoulder Update

After 5 weeks of racing, and of course some training between each race, my shoulder was done! When I was swimming in college I had issues with my shoulder that finished my career. At the time I had a MRI and was diagnosed with shoulder impingement and bicep tendon issues. The doctor at the time just handed me 800mg motrin and said take these before practice! I did a lot of icing before and after practice and a lot of time was spent at the trainer. As I said this pretty much was the end of my swimming career, between the injury and my horrible grades I was getting I decided not to join the team the next season.

So after 5 weeks of races, each of which with about a mile swim. My shoulder hurt. I was getting pain and tingling down into my hand. Oh man I may have overdone the swimming. I had kept a pretty steady season of swimming at least 2 times a week and then add in this topper I was done. My doctor thought it was time to have it checked out. My doctor had got me thinking it was possible there was a tear in my labrum tendon or other muscles.So I started to prepare myself for okay you are 30 you have been swimming since you were 6 its probably time for surgery. I had actually even joked with my hip surgeon that at some point I would see him for shoulder surgery.

 Last week I had an MRI Arthogram on my shoulder. Lucky for me the hip is the most painful MRI Arthogram and I already had that. They don't feel good by any stretch but it didn't hurt nearly as much as my hip.The day was not fun with all the injection and the time spent with my shoulder turned out or overhead to get images.

But- I got the results the other day. No rotator cuff issues. No labrum tear. No bicep tendon tear. WAHOOO! I have impingement syndrome again, which is the general bucket for shoulder issues. And I do have some thickening of the ligaments. So time for some PT to get the junk out and some lifting to help strengthen the shoulder.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Great End to the Season: Nationals Qualified

I received some awesome news. This season has been full of surprises and rewards!

 I qualified at Mill City with my 1st place in 30-34! I am so excited. Time to start planning for 2014!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mighty Merrimack Swim- Repeat?!

So in my previous 2 race recaps I talked about 5 weeks of racing but I had left out the swim race recap thus far... UNTIL NOW! ;-) Honestly I love OWS races. It is my thing. This is my 3rd year of the Mighty Merrimack. Last year I won- so even with the already planned tri's I was contemplating going back to defend my title!After everything with D crashing at Timberman and the mess of a week leading up to and racing at OOB, I had written off spending another entry fee. Then in a very sweet gesture for taking care of him while he was injured D bought my entry to the swim. He wanted me to go back and defend my title. OH okay if you insist! Haha ;-)

I convinced my friend Jen to join me. She raced it with me last year and had won our age group. D played support with his still healing rib. The water was pretty chilly. I went sleeveless but I could have gone with the full sleeve wetsuit. Swim only races can be interesting. There are usually a few crazy fast young swimmers who show up. Lucky for me most of them don't own or wear wetsuits.

We headed off and D walked the whole wall along the course with me. I could hear him screaming when I was taking a breath. As I hit the turn around I tried to draft off the guy next to me and he pushed me off after a couple strokes. Okay fine I get it we are out here alone I'll leave you alone. So I took the lead hitting the turn around. And luckily the swim back is with the current so I always make up a bit of time.

Then all of a sudden I felt it, if you are a swimmer you know what I mean, the guy behind me hopped on  my feet. That bastard wouldn't let me draft him for more than 2 strokes and now he his hangin off my feet. I was pulling him along. SERIOUSLY?! I could hear D screaming on the wall, I had no idea what he was saying. I knew the course well and I could tell from the things along the wall I was getting close to the finish so time to find that other gear.

I dug in and found it. Luckily my leech behind me didn't have it and I lost him. 1 male finished before me in the 1mile wetsuit. I got first female in the 1mile wetsuit, with a time of 30:22. Not my fastest 1mi swim but I always seem to think the course at Lowell is long. A minute faster than the year before. Jen even came in second female wetsuit! YAY! So happy to repeat and thankful for the entry!

After we went across the street for a bite to eat. I decided to jump in the kids rides outside and I have not laughed that hard in a LONG time!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lobsterman Tri- A Tri Bucket List Item DONE!

So let's start this off with I HATE CAMPING! I never did it as a kid- my mom despised it so I think that is where I get my hatred from. When a friend asked to have D and I join a bunch of them camping and racing at Lobsterman, with a little convincing we decided to go along. Now I might hate camping but D hates it more than me! And when we arrived in Maine to find out that most of the people had bailed on the camp/race weekend and it was pouring rain I was looking up hotel rates!

Anyway we survived a night in a tent. Luckily I happen to have a very nice tent- I know strange for someone who hates camping. It has come in handy at other races too. After a not so decent night sleep on the hard ground we got up early. There was something nice about literally rolling my bike 200ft to transition- so one plus to camping! So from the pouring rain transition was literally a swamp. GROSS! Luckily I didn't have to set up in a puddle or mud.

Honestly coming off the high of the previous weekend  performance and this being the 5th week in a row of racing for me I was pretty much going through the motions before the race. To be honest I was done. I knew this was it for the season so I wanted to finish strong but part of me thought of leaving on the high note of Hero's the weekend before. My shoulder had now gotten to the point that I was taped up and was getting pain down into my hand from the season of swimming and the 4 previous races taking their toll.

Swim- 31:41
This was a mess! Freezing cold ocean water! The caps of previous waves were the same color as the bouys. And look at that time, it is 2 min off my usual half iron swim time. That might give you an indication of how the course wasn't well marked. There weren't enough bouys and the finish arch was black and in the shade. It was so hard to sight this course. I had to have swam long. I was really disappointed with this portion of the race. Which stinks since it is usually my strong part.

T1- 2:00
Run up a hill which was super muddy and grassy. Lovely with your freezing cold feet from the water. My hands weren't working when I got to my bike to take off my cap goggles and wetsuit. I tried to move as fast as I could but it was hard with such cold hands to even buckle my helmet.

Bike- 40k- 1:22- 18mph
Who starts a bike course when you are on tri bikes on a dirt road?! The course was hilly. Don't let anyone tell you its rollers. It was flat out hilly. Like wish I had my road bike not my tri bike hilly. There was little places along the course to even get down in aero and hammer. That being said I still managed to pull out 18mph. D went by at some point where I told him how much I was hating the race and he agreed.

T2- 1:37
Maybe I should call this the slow transition race?! Same hill from the swim into transition to rack the bike. This time it was even worse. My foot with my cycling shoe fell in to my mid shin a huge mud spot! ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!!! Actually there may have been a couple cuss words in there too. Okay just grab stuff let's finish this.

Run-10k- 1:02- 10 min pace (URGH!)

So something I didn't mention yet is my family has a
house in this area of Maine. So I know these roads pretty well. I had a good idea where the run course was going and I knew where I was pretty much the whole time. I knew going out how hilly the run was going to be. So the thought was just finish strong. As I went out I saw Lisa and John. Lisa asked How I was doing? I told her not so great. She said I looked awesome! I told her SHE WAS A LIAR!! I just wanted to be done. I saw D and we did the nod, not much was said we were both pretty cooked.

I finished in 3:00 exactly. Not a bad time just not really what I think I am capable of, but I think after 5 races in a row it was all I had left. And to be honest the swim was a mess, the bike was pretty good, and the run was horrible. Transition times were slow but transition was HUGE and the grass was a mess! The big draw for this race is the lobster bake after, they don't tell you until you register you have to pay another 25 a person to eat it! Well I knew we could get lobster cheaper close to there. So we hung out for a bit packed up and headed down the road and had lobster at a spot we have eaten at before. Honestly- I don't really think the race is worth the cost and the big thing of the lobster bake after is not what they make it out to be since you have to pay so much extra for it. Well anyway- I took this one off my bucket list!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hero's Tri Olympic Distance Race Recap

Following Timberman and OOB, D received a note from the Race Director for Streamline events asking if he wanted to do Hero's Tri. Since it wasn't the same weekend as the other events we were already registered for we figured why not. After everything that happen at Timberman it was going to be an interesting come back for D, read about it here . In order to save us a bit of time on Sunday morning we booked a close by hotel to the race on the Cape. Turned out to be a fairly decent place for the night. We drove in to the race location, sadly had to park a couple miles away and ride our bikes into transition.

I laid out my transition surrounded by lots of newbies. I kid you not some of these layouts were for full clothing changes. Eh to each their own. I kept my spot skinny like usual. I am generally okay with whoever is around me as long as they don't creep into my space. We bumped into friends and headed down to feel the water out. It was chilly I was happy to be wearing a wetsuit. Kim told me she was going wetsuit less good for her! I am not into that anymore!

Swim- 20:59
The race was broken into fairly large waves. Honestly that doesn't bother me too much I am a comfortable swimmer. I seeded myself right near Kim and knew if I timed it right I might be able to catch a ride for a bit on her feet. Which I did for a little while then we started quickly hitting the wave in front of us. I felt great in the water. I was starting to think this might be good. As we came out of the water I was shocked to see the time on my watch. And Kim was half way up the beach in front of me. It was nice to have someone to chase in the water! THANK YOU KIM! I joked with her as we ran into transition

T1- 1:02
Ripped off the wetsuit and Kim didn't wear hers so she was flying through transition. I tried to get my shoes on fast and helmet. As I put the helmet on I heard a crunch in the ear piece?! OH crap lets just go it will still work. We hit the mount line at the same time and Kim told me to go she wasn't going to keep up anyway. I was like aw come on what fun is that?!

Bike- 21mi- 1:08:09 18.5mph
The course was a ride out to the Joint Base, a little bit of rollers to get there, and once you were there flat glory. And while you were out there almost exclusively cyclists on the road. There was little to no road traffic. It was nice to ride along side the runways. Only problem was you were exposed along those parts and there was a bid of a headwind.  D came flying by on the end of the first loop. Said that I was up in front and that I needed to keep it up. I kept my head down and tried to keep pushing. You did 2 loops of the base than hit the little rollers back to transition.

I came into transition to a lot of cheers from the spectators and the relay teams waiting on their team mates.  Generally this is what happens when you are toward the front. Ok guess I am doin okay.

Run- 6mi- 53:32 8:50 min /mi
My thoughts were just push as hard as you can. See what you can maintain. Don't hold back just go all out. I had a few woman get by me some I knew were on relays and others flew by me at like 7 min pace I knew I wasn't going to be able to do that. As I saw D on one of the out and back's he gestured 8th. I waved him off. He told me I better keep it up. I was able to as much as I could. As I came into the finish he was in his usual spot SCREAMING pick it up! Your out in front. Every second counts!

I crossed the line as the 9th Female in the race! A top 10 Female finish! I took home 2nd in my Age Group! Finish time 2:24:29. I was psyched. The other great thing was when we asked a guy to take a pic of us at the finish. He admitted to me he paced his bike off me while we were out on the base riding. A guy! Not bad! I am starting to think my cycling is coming along well time to get a faster run!!!

The night before I had laid out some numbers for myself in hopes that I would have some good goals for the race. I was happy to write down the results next to the goals and see I shattered what I thought i would be able to do that day!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My First Triathlon Relay- Team Pace Booty

After an epic weekend at Timberman we spent the week staycationing at home. Mostly just watching movies and rubbing neosporin on D's road rash. The road rash and rest of the injuries seemed to be healing nicely. I had planned to be a part of a relay at Old Orchard Beach in Maine the weekend after Timberman. The original plan was to be on vacation in NH and ME for the week though we did end up spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday in ME. As usual when we are in ME we attempted to eat our weight in lobster.

Old Orchard Beach is a Rev3 event, both 70.3 and Olympic distance. I was starting to get really bummed I wouldn't be racing the 70.3 myself. D was really bummed he was too banged up to consider signing up for the Olympic when extra spots opened up. We did get a nice ride on most of the Olympic course in on Saturday followed by a short run. Then Team Pace Booty checked in, race ready!

Sunday early wake up (AGAIN!) 3am is too early for anyone! Had to pay to park- URGH! But we were right by transition. After helping out the team biker, Kellie, with some forgotten items, bottle cage, bottle and fuel, I put on my full sleeve wetsuit and headed to the water. Come on now of course I was doing the swim leg! As I hopped in to get some water in the wetsuit and try to get used to the freezing temps- my timing chip slid right off my ankle. MUTHER! I raced to the start to see if I could find someone to get me a new one. WHEW crisis averted and without the knowledge of the team runner!

I placed myself out in the front of the wave and I was the first one to dolphin dive my way through the surf. The waves were tough on the way out but that meant current to ride on the way in. I found a guy I was going to draft off figuring if he was in the relay wave he had to be a legit swimmer. Well he may have been a legit pool swimmer but he was ALL over the place. Well forget that let's go!

I put my head down and tried to bury myself in my swim. I was going to finish 1.2mi get to transition and I was done. I had a goal for a 30 min swim or even better day sub 30. I pushed as much as I could even to the point of fighting back getting sick in the water. As I came out of the surf I looked at my watch- you have to be EFFIN kidding me! 34?!? How am I slower than last week and I pushed harder? This has to be a joke!

Oh well RUN. There was a .3 mi run to transition. ARE YOU KIDDING?! And stupid me- didn't think ahead with that kind of run and put on a sports bra and tri kit I just went bathing suit with wetsuit. ROOKIE relay move! I ran as hard as I could. And got the chip to Kellie to rock the bike.

After I thought I might puke but a nice big burp helped! I was done for the day so I changed up and hung out. It was strange to be sitting around. I am so used to this all being mine! It was strange to have other people to depend on. I watched some pros come and go in the Olympic and saw some friends come and go on their 70.3s. Then we sent off our runner, Sara, that little girl is a piston! Kellie and I hung out and got to cross the finish with our team. It was fun but a totally different tri experience than I am used to.

Come to find out from friends after the swim course was measured incorrectly and people had anywhere from 1.4-1.45mi swim. So if that was the case- I'll take my 34min swim. This is what my wrist looked like as I headed back to the real world for a week worth of meetings- 70.3 Make-A-Wish racer bracelet and my Rev3 bracelet!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Review Lululemon Booby Bracer

I am so thankful for the Lululemon at Natick Collection for thinking of me for the opportunity to test out their new bra. The new Booby Bracer is advertised to provide a higher level of support from the former highest level support they offered called Tata Tamer. When I was asked to be a tester I was given a video that described a new bra that provided a high level of support, without the infamous uni-boob. The material that the bra is made of is supposed to mold to you as it warms up with your body heat.

When I went in for the fitting Jen provided a couple sizes to find the best fit. I am a 36DD in my regular bras and the 38D fit best to provide a level of support, and still able to breathe. I also tried on the original Lululemon maximum support Tata Tamer and was surprised that this was what was considered a high level of support. My quick test in a fit room is to grab the straps on either side of a bra and using my hands bounce the bra up and down. I figure this gives a pretty good feel for the amount of bounce I will deal with running. I let Jen know that the Tata Tamer would definitely work for cycling, yoga and other lower impact events but wouldn’t be a running bra for me.
For those of you that don’t know I am a NO BOUNCE kind of woman. I don’t want my boobs to move at all when I am running- which is no small feat when you are trying to support double Ds. My bra of choice that I brought along to my fitting was Moving Comfort Fiona, it is what I swear by. Jen was surprised by the fit of the Fiona being so tight. As I explained it is the only way I know to keep them from bouncing.  I know it seems silly but when you have 10+lbs on your chest any movement feels amplified. So I generally go with the strap ‘em down theory! 

I was impressed with the fit of the Booby Bracer when I tried it on in the store. The band felt snug and laid flat (something I have an issue with sometimes with the Fiona). I loved the adjustable straps- they have a hook to them which laid flat and didn’t irritate my shoulders. I have to say I really do appreciate the separate boob idea; it would be nice to have them look like 2 instead of one flattened blob. I was really excited to take the bra for a test run. When I got out there I felt a bit of bounce, assuming I may have left the straps a little too lose I tightened them up. It helped a bit but I still had bounce. The strap around the bottom stayed flat and comfortable for every run. The straps didn’t dig into my shoulders or cause irritation at all. I didn’t experience any chafe at all from the material. It was really nice to have my boobs separated and not in one blob. Though the cups didn’t provide enough support to keep them from bouncing. I really like the concepts of this bra and its comfortable materials; I just wish the cups provided me the support I needed to keep my boobs in place while running.

For another user’s take on the bra and the Booby Bracer video see the Lululemon site: