Bricks Multisport Triathlon Race Report…and the infamous “trophy”

As I eased back into racing last year, I decided that this year I would get back to triathlon.  Then I realized that it was the end of June and I have yet to do one!  Something needed to be done 😉  So last Sunday I got on the computer to see if there was anything local, and was happy to find a small sprint tri in Smyrna, DE.  A sprint – yikes – I had to look back on my results to find that the last time I did a sprint tri was the Musselman Mini in July of 2005!  As many of you know, I’m much more interested in the longer races.  My swim is…well…not up to par – to put it nicely.  So I rely on the longer bike and run to make up for it!  However today’s 1/4 mile swim was what I needed, especially since I’ve only done 2 swims since my crash at the beginning of the month.  One on Wednesday was 10 minutes in a lake – simply to see if my old, ragged wet suit would hold up.  The second was Thursday – a 20 min swim in the pool just to get my body to remember what to do!  Signing up for this race was also a way to remind me that I need to focus more on my swimming…

Turns out my wet suit practice swim wasn’t necessary, since the water temp was 80.  Normally this would evoke feelings of distress in me, but I was fine with it.  With a swim that short I would rather not have to deal with it anyway.  That’s something I never thought I’d say!  I got in for a very short warm-up swim, before I realized we were going to be delayed half an hour, but was feeling pretty calm.  Thanks to the nasty storms that passed through the area the previous night, the race crew had quite the task of rebuilding the transition, and making the course safe enough to race on.  What a great job they did – no one was going to complain about the slight delay!

I wasn’t expecting to have a “good” swim, but I really didn’t want my first swim in 3 years (to the month) to be a total failure.  So I decided to focus on staying calm and swimming steady.  And it worked!  It probably had a lot to do with the fact that it was so short, but I was able to stay calm and smooth throughout (although not fast), and it was a real boost.  Time to hop on the bike and play catch up.  Of course I had no idea how many women were in front of me, and with duathletes on the course before us that made it even tougher.  So I just rode and hoped for the best!  A HUGE thanks to Gretna Bikes for the awesome rental HED wheels to help me out on the bike – they were great!!

Coming into T2 I was once again stuck behind someone who was in no hurry to move through the transition, but this wasn’t the kind of race where you get impatient over something like this.  I embraced the delay and even took a few seconds to wipe some sand off my feet before slipping on my run shoes.  These definitely weren’t fast transitions for me 😉  Heading out on the run I really noticed the heat, and even though I drank a lot on the bike, I was looking forward to the water stops!  I still had no idea where I was position-wise, but soon enough I saw a female ahead of me who I was sure did the tri.  She looked fast and strong, so I figured there couldn’t be many, if any, women ahead of her.  I was anxious to catch her and pass her, but cautioned myself to be patient – I didn’t want to work so hard and catch her only to burn out in the last mile.  Thank you Suzanne for keeping me running scared – awesome racing today!

On to what you’ve been waiting for…the unique award!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE crazy awards!  I think this one might just miss the podium of my favorites, but it definitely wins the award for the biggest and definitely the heaviest, weighing in at 37.4 pounds.  I actually think my back is sore, not from the race, but from carrying the thing to my car!  I should have recruited a young, strapping male to carry it for me 😉
I’m not sure what to do with my brick – I’m open to suggestions 😉  But it’s definitely cool!

Fighting to Improve the Lives of People Affected By Cancer

Yes, it’s that time of year again – the Team LIVESTRONG Challenge Philly is right around the corner!  A combination of 2 things I absolutely love – riding my bike and supporting an extremely worthy cause.  Every one of us has been touched by this disease in some way – whether you’ve known someone, loved someone, or lost someone to the ruthless Big C.  Some of you have even come face to face with the disease and had to fight the battle of your lives.  Programs like LIVESTRONG are integral in this battle – raising awareness, increasing outreach, and facilitating collaboration in an effort to improve the cancer experience.

Yes, once again Lance Armstrong is making headlines, and not in a positive way.  Regardless of our opinion on his past or present, I think we can all agree that the LIVESTRONG Foundation deserves support!  I will once again be riding 100 miles to show my support in the fight against cancer.  Please consider supporting me, or anyone you may know who is participating in a LIVESTRONG Challenge event.  Or better yet – join the movement and find a LIVESTRONG event near you!  Even if it’s only a dollar, that dollar will go towards the movement to improve the lives of people affected by cancer!

Thank you and happy training!!  🙂

Blackwater Duathlon Race Report

It had been quite a few years since I’ve raced on the Eastern Shore so I was excited to head to Cambridge last weekend for the USAT Duathlon Long Course National Championship.  I can’t say I was feeling mentally prepared for such an event in the week leading up to it, but I was hoping that after I arrived at the race site Saturday to pick up my packet, that “race mentality” would kick in.  However, like at most packet pick-ups, those pre-race nerves set in.  But I think I was too drained to even let that get to me.  I headed back to my mom’s house for the evening to relax and prepare for what the next day had in store for me.

My mom and I left at 4:30 am Sunday morning – she is quite a trooper getting up that early to come watch me race!  It was great to catch up with her on the ride down and the conversation helped to keep my stress level low.  I had realized that morning that I forgot to bring socks.  No big deal – I race tris without socks.  But once I was setting up in transition I felt some urgency in locating a pair of socks to race in.  Just at that moment I found my friend Jocelyn, who not only came to my rescue with a pair of socks, but even gave me a choice of socks 😉  You ROCK Jocelyn – and you have a new pair of Powerman Alabama socks coming next time I see you!
It was a Team USA reunion in Cambridge, and my nerves quickly settled as I realized I was just lucky to be there with such awesome competitors, and I was going to enjoy the race!  I went for a short pre-race warm-up run and felt ready to go.  The women’s wave was 2nd to go off, and as we gathered at the start we were chatting away when all of a sudden Vig says “3…2…1…GO!!”  None of us had even toed the line so we shot out of there like a cannon!  I led the charge briefly before I was passed by someone I didn’t recognize. This woman had a chiseled body, perfect running form, and an effortless stride.  I felt it was best not to go with her – just race my race 😉  At the turn-around I felt confident I could hold my 2nd place position going into T1, although the distance was already wearing on me.  I got a little re-charge when I passed long-time friend RV, who said as I went by: “it’s your fault I’m here!  6 years ago you talked me into this and it’s changed my life for the better!”  And that’s what it’s all about – spreading the passion of the sport!  RV you are a great athlete with an even greater spirit, and I’m honored to have been a part of your journey!
They do not have a run split for me, but my 10k was somewhere between 37:46 (WOW) and 39:01.  I hopped on the bike and made my way out to see how far I could ride before the inevitable pass by Gail!  Sure enough she wasn’t far behind and I cheered for her to catch the woman up front.  I was feeling great on the bike out – only to realize at the turn-around it was due to the wind helping us!  The trip back in was pretty rough, and I just couldn’t wait to start lap 2!  The great thing about a 2-loop out-and-back course is that you get to see where your competition is the whole time.  Starting the 2nd lap I knew that if I could just hold my pace, I could come in off the bike in 3rd place.  Coming into that last turn-around, I was expecting to see Gail in the lead.  She made me smile when I saw her, right on the 1st female’s heels, and she gave me that look of “who the heck is this girl I’m chasing?”  She did catch her before the end of the bike – just as I knew she would.  Kudos to you Gail – I bow to your bike prowess!!
I was about 6 miles from T2, and just pushing as hard as I could to finish that bike and get back out on the run.  And that’s when it happened… I don’t know if it was a small gust of wind, or I just wasn’t paying enough attention for a brief moment – it was probably a combination of the two…  All of a sudden I see, and hit, and ledge in the road and before I could even react, my bike and I were airborne!  I came down on my left side and skidded a few feet down the road.  My bike, still attached to me by one foot, landed on the drive-train side.  I think I looked like a pretzel, as I took a few seconds to absorb what just happened, and threw my head back in disappointment only to be reminded that I was wearing an aero helmet!  I quickly got up and assessed the damage.  My elbow was cut open and bleeding pretty bad, but nothing was sticking out of it.  My hip was hurting but my shorts saved me from too much road rash there.  A couple small cuts in my hand and the other elbow and that was it – I was okay!  Next was the bike – I lifted the rear wheel to check the pedaling/shifting – it seemed fine.  I’m still in this!  I hop on the bike, and quickly realize that the front tire is flat.  No problem – luckily I crammed the Vittoria pit stop into my bento box (see, they’re good for something).  I start to fill the front tire and before long the stuff was spraying out the side of the tire.  That’s when I knew my day was done…  Nothing left to do but start the long walk down a very lonesome road!
Not long after that the next female passed me, then the next, then the next.  I was pretty bummed to be out of the race, but even more upset that my poor mom would be back in transition looking for me!  But on the plus side I got to cheer for many friends as they rode by!  Almost every single athlete who saw me offered me a tube, CO2 – and just help in general.  Some even slowed up to a stop to see how they could assist me!  It’s awesome to be a part of such a caring and selfless community!  After what seemed like 3 endless miles, a pickup truck pulled over in front of me and stopped.  I could tell by the bike laying in the bed of the truck, that I was being saved!  Rick (or it may have been Rich…) was on his way to church when he found the first guy walking along the same desolate road.  As he helped me load my bike he said “I hope I don’t come across any more of you – I’m outta room!”  I was extremely gracious to him for saving me another 45 minutes of walking.  When we arrived Vig helped with my bike and I quickly went to find my mom, who sure enough was pacing around and looking quite worried.  From there I hit the med tent to get my wounds cleaned up, and turned in my chip, before finding as many of my friends as I could to congratulate them.  I was happy to see nothing but smiling faces – everyone had an amazing race and awesome results!  Congrats to all of you!
Lesson learned?  FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS!  That should be standard for any race right?  Or anytime you’re on the bike period!  It just shows you the importance of being in the moment at all time.  All I have is scabs and bruises – I was pretty lucky!  In fact, I take this as a positive sign that my bones are pretty strong right now 😉  As for the bike…there is a crack in the carbon rim of the front wheel, and some scuffs on the bars, etc. (sorry baby), but overall it survived its first, and hopefully last, crash!  That makes DNF #3 for me in my career, and although everyone wants to finish their race, I’m still grateful every time I get to start one!
Safe riding everyone!