Lancaster Family YMCA Duathlon Race Report

I woke up in no shape, and with no desire, to race.  Can’t I just curl up on the couch instead?  It was a local race, the first duathlon since July, and my last chance to race a duathlon before heading to France for the World Championships – so it was a no-brainer to go gut it out.  I arrived at Speedwell Forge, just north of Lititz, and found a great number of YMCA volunteers with big smiles ready to help.  I arrived at the best possible time to get a great spot in transition, and with plenty of time to warm up, as much as I didn’t want to.  The temperature was mild, but with humidity at 100%, the air felt thick and I could almost feel what little energy I had escaping me.  I knew in the back of my mind that once the race started, I wouldn’t have time to pay attention to how bad I felt, and would be able to turn out a good race.  Now I just needed the race to start…

They sent us off on the first run and we looped around the transition before heading out onto the road, and a long gradual climb.  I was right – I was feeling okay now and just had to race smart.  2 men quickly stole the lead, and were out of sight probably before the 1/2 mile mark!  There was another male in between us, and I tried to keep him in sight.  After a few more rollers, we turned right onto what appeared to be a fairly flat road, and I was so thankful for this.  Even though I train on roads like this, I wasn’t feeling those early hills on the run today.  Suddenly the road turns into a pretty steep downhill, which only meant one thing – we were coming back up.  Although the gap from the guy in front of me grew, I made it into T1 in 4th place with an 18:35 split, and was happy to get on the bike…so I thought…

We headed out in the same direction of the run, but this time made a left turn.  Then…climbing.  My legs were not ready to cooperate after that run!  I struggled up what seemed like an endless hill – and was happy to hit the steep descent on the other side only to come to a T and make a sharp left.  Now we were onto a nice flat road and I tried to get into my rhythm.  On this stretch the first guy passed me, but I tried not to let it get me down.  Despite my lack of power that day, the bike course was actually great – we did two loops on some nice country roads which included some rollers, a couple of climbs where I got out of the saddle, and some technical turns.  It definitely wasn’t my strongest bike, and I knew it was because I wasn’t feeling well, but as each guy passed me I felt more and more defeated.  There were a few times where I felt like I was really riding strong, but they were always preceded and followed by periods where my legs just wouldn’t cooperate with what my mind was telling them.  Frustrating, but we’ve all been there!

I came into T2 ready to get this 2nd run done and be finished!  I quickly passed 2 of the guys who passed me on the bike, which lifted my spirits a bit.  Once I climbed out of the valley and made the left for the last mile, the lead cyclist was waiting for me and rode beside me for a while and we chatted a bit.  The distraction was helpful.  I could then see where the next females were in the race, and knew that my gap was huge.  And yes, I think that made me ease up a bit, as much as I hate to do that.  Coming into the finish it was time to kick, but there was nothing left.  Oh well, I made it!  1st overall female and 8th overall competitor for the day.  I was feeling better than I had at the start, and confident that in the next 2 weeks, I would be ready for World’s!

Run 1 – 18:35
T1 – :23
Bike – 1:09:25
T2 – :24
Run 2 – 20:33

Chris Thater Memorial 5k Race Report

For those of you who have not checked it out, the Chris Thater Memorial Race weekend in Binghamton hosts some great events!  It’s not often that you get to see elite runners battling it out in a fast 5k, followed by a pro cycling race that draws riders from all over.  With some pretty nice cash purses in the competitive races, you are sure to see some of the sports’ top athletes!  Throw in an expo and live music throughout the weekend, and you got yourself a fun event.  Make sure to add it to your calendar!

What made it extra-special for me was getting to see Craig race on Saturday before my race on Sunday.  We’ve spent most of the summer going our separate ways on the weekends to our events, so it was fun to be able to travel and race together.  Craig finished 17th in his race – he rocks!

Craig chasing the leaders

After his race we checked into our hotel and while he showered, I went for my warm-up run.  This race meant a lot to me in terms of testing my training and fitness with World’s less than a month away.  Which means I did not taper.  After the morning’s bike workout, a 4 hour ride in the car, then walking around in the sun at Craig’s race, my legs felt horrible during this warm-up run.  But for some reason a bad warm-up run = a strong race for me, so I was fine with it.  We headed to dinner at a great little restaurant downtown, the Whole in the Wall.  We had very delicious organic steamed summer vegetables and tempeh over brown rice with a tamari-ginger sauce.  It was the perfect pre-race meal!

Whole in the Wall in Binghamton

Race morning was fairly relaxed – with a 10:00 start time I had plenty of time to chill out and prepare for my race.  When I’m racing Kenyans, Ethiopians, and Russians – I don’t feel the pressure of where I place.  This is definitely not a race in which I am competitive.  However I had a goal of hitting a PR (this is my PR course), and more importantly, going sub-18.  So the pressure I felt was simply my desire to boost my confidence for my September 23rd race.  We headed out to the race nice and early, so that we could watch the Syracuse Chobani crew in the men’s 4/5 race and hang with Mrs. Skinny.  Watching others race is a great way to get pumped up for your own.  Great job to Skinny Phil, Fred Harle, and Jason Haight!

Post-race for Phil & pre-race for me! Thanks Mrs. Skinny

I lined up for my race feeling relaxed.  I had a plan to take it easy during the first mile…yeah…that’s like me turning down a vegan chocolate chip cookie!  The first 1/2 mile felt HARD – and I wasn’t settling in.  Then all of a sudden I felt strong, and tried to hold back a little and be patient.  I hit mile 1 at 5:33 – oops again!  But I did not let the negative thoughts get into my head, because I was feeling in control.  Instead, I decided to start using my training to keep me going strong.  Funny how sometimes when I train, I visualize races to push me, and now I was turning back to my training to get me through a race!  I was thinking about my track intervals, and how I could maintain my speed over the duration of the workout.  When I would hit a hill, I would think about my race simulation runs – powering through the hills by my house.  And it all seemed to work (along with hearing people cheering for a female runner behind me in the last mile).  I came across the line at 17:53, reaching both of my goals for the day.  I’m feeling READY!!

This race proved to me that my training is on track, but it also has me rethinking 20k Nationals this weekend.  Although I love that race, and feel a special connection to it ever since it became my last race in 2009 before my painful, extended hiatus, I feel like I want to stay on track with my final block of training before France.  It’s a long drive, and a Monday race.  So I may be lying low this weekend – staying home and focusing on fine-tuning my training.  There’s still plenty of season left after September.  Eye on the prize!

Another Great Race

Bad Kitty and the Cougars dominate again!!  Okay, so there was only one other all-female team in the traditional course race, and we didn’t make top 20 overall…by a long shot…but The Great Race is always an excellent event with great friends and a fun atmosphere!  It was year 4 for our team, but each year only 3/4 of the team remains the same.  It’s normally a scramble to find to find that last member, and this year proved to be no different.  It wasn’t until Wednesday night that the decision was made that the race was on – and our rowers set out for a warm-up paddle on Friday evening.  Amy snagged a good one this year – a super-strong cyclist Natalie who also happened to be a rower for Dartmouth back in her college days.  What a perfect complement to our always-dominate canoe star Caryle!  So my trip was set – drive up Saturday afternoon, race Sunday morning, then head back to PA.

Bad Kitty and The Cougars 2012

I was also excited to get a good run in – the last running race I did was Boilermaker, and it was time to see how my training was going.  I had a nice relaxing warm-up and then lined up at the start among some tough competition.  Fortunately, some of the fast women were racing the short course, but I still had my work cut out for me.  It’s always cool to see the doves released during the singing of the national anthem, and then the cannon blasts to make us all jump into action at the start!  The first thing I should have noticed is that me and another 10k female were ahead of the 5k females – not a good sign for me.  Then when I realized I was playing cat and mouse with Karen Simmonds Brady, I knew I was in trouble.  After a 5:42 split at mile 1 it was time to back off.  I was passed by another female around the halfway point, and then as I was expecting, super-speedy Lori Kingsley came flying by with her strong finish, passing both myself and the 2nd place female.  This put me in 4th place, but my 38:15 was not only 33 seconds faster than last year, but a PR from 2009’s 38:18 finish at The Great Race.  So I couldn’t be disappointed with my results.

Bad Kitty and The Cougars 2010

Just when you think you’re done racing, you still have the transition…  Once you cross the finish line you have to run down the alley to find your cyclist and hand off the sexy, sweaty wristband.  The cyclists are stacked in line itching to go, making it hard to find a little Bad Kitty in the mix.  Before long I could see a little hand waving above a sea of helmets, and Amy was off to chase down those boys while I got to cool down and relax.  Less than an hour later I spotted that disc wheel and pink kit coming towards the finish – poor Amy looked quite lonely as I’m used to seeing her arrive with a few guys.  Today she had to do all the work by herself over the 19 mile ride, but she had a strong race and was the fastest chic on the bike for the day!  The final hand-off was made to Caryle, who dashed down that good 1/4 mile stretch to meet Natalie and the canoe for their 4 mile paddle.

Bad Kitty and The Cougars 2009

As with every year, we never manage to see the girls out on the water, so we basically wait in anticipation to find them after the race and hear how it went.  They were happy to report that at the turnaround, they were told they were the first females – not that we had any doubts 😉  With another successful race in the books it was time to catch up with friends and enjoy the post-race party.  Air Guitar Arnie was certainly enjoying himself that day!  Such a fun race with great friends – I can’t wait to do it again next year!

This man can dance!

Maryland 2XRIP Olympic Duathlon Race Report

This was year #2 for the MD 2XRIP Olympic Duathlon, and I’m so glad good friend and fierce competitor Yvonne Carter convinced me to check it out!  This was the first year they had an elite field, and the guys had a decent showing with 15 in their field, but the females only had 5 signed up, and 3 compete.  Hopefully word will spread about this event and next year the elite fields will be large enough that the men and women have to start separately 😉

With the first run being only 2 miles, it was tough to try to hold it back a little.  We ran through nicely paved trails in the park and then hit the streets on a closed road course – the run loop had a great mix of everything!  I hit mile 1 at 5:30, which is a little faster than I should’ve gone…but the desire to beat some of the elite males was too strong 😉  So I chilled out a little and arrived at T1 with an 11:45 split (and 5 gentlemen behind me) and headed out onto the bike.  The bike course was equally awesome – winding through nicely paved country roads with some fun rollers and a couple of opportunities to get out of the saddle.  The only problem with running faster than some of the elite men, was quickly being passed by them on the bike…  It took the wind out of my sails just a little bit, but on the 2nd loop of the bike the rest of the racers were now on the course to provide some company.

Heading out on the 2nd run I was really wishing the run distances had been reversed 😉  As I made my way down the road I was able to see where the next females were coming in on the bike.  Although I NEVER feel safe with a lead, I feel like I may have taken a little too much comfort in it as my pace seemed to be slowing on that 2nd loop (1 min per mile slower to be exact)…  My next thought was to go for the course record – but of course I couldn’t remember the time to beat.  I knew it was 1:57:…something…  Coming in towards the finish line I mustered up what kick I could manage, and crossed the line in 1:57:03 – 16 seconds faster than last year’s winning time 🙂

RIPIT Events did a great job with this race – as did their sponsors and volunteers.  The race benefited Adventures for the Cure, which also had a great showing of athletes at the event!  Great awards too – definitely an event to add to your calendar next year!

Boilermaker 2012 Race Report

This year was my 3rd Boilermaker, and I’ve come to really love this event!  Even with 18,000 runners, I swear there’s a volunteer for every 10 runners.  The event is well-organized and well-supported – not only by the staff and volunteers, but by the spectators and community that line the streets for practically the whole course.  It’s like running a big city marathon at about 1/3 the distance 😉  The picture of the post-party gives you an idea of how big this event is – although it’s hard to tell that all of those little specs are runners!

It’s also an awesome experience to run with some of the World’s top runners – even if I only see them from behind at the start… I basically had 2 goals this year – first I wanted a PR.  That’s usually a goal at any race you repeat, but since this was my first Boilermaker without training under a coach, it meant a lot to me to prove to myself that I am on the right track with my training.  I also wanted to extend that goal a little further and run sub-58.  Last year’s time was 58:38, so I figured this was obtainable.  Although this was an important race for me in terms of building my confidence, once I was there I started doubting my training for this particular event.  I have only done one race longer than 15k, and it was a trail race at the beginning of the year.  My races leading up to this have been flat courses.  I’ve been focusing a lot on speedwork at the track, and haven’t done any hill work.  But I couldn’t let these doubts get to me now.

The biggest stress for me is always getting to the race itself.  Even with the amount of times I’ve been to Utica – I still don’t know where the heck I am and where I’m going.  The first year I was lucky to travel to the race with Becky Bader, and we found a nice secret parking spot that wasn’t far from the finish line, and is conveniently next to a hotel where we could take advantage of the plush bathrooms!  I’ve parked at this same spot every year now.  The first year, we found our way to the shuttle bus lines, only to find ourselves walking BLOCKS to get to the end of said line.  Cue the anxiety!  Last year, I decided to avoid the shuttle bus anxiety and “walk” to the race start.  This would probably be a good idea if I had any clue where I was going.  Anxiety quickly set in as I ran through the streets with my bag, trying to get to the start in time.

After the last 2 years, you think I would learn my lesson and have a better plan to get to the race start, but sometimes I never learn!  I arrived at my private parking spot, used the fancy hotel bathroom, and started my walk, this time knowing which direction to go, but not having a better course mapped out.  I came across a girl who was also trying to figure out where to go, and began talking to her since this was her first Boilermaker.  We ran into 2 other groups of people, all seemingly confused about which way to go.  Turns out they were all looking for the shuttle buses, and I decided I may be better off sticking with them and braving the lines.  I don’t think we were at the bus site for 30 seconds before we were loaded onto a bus and headed to the start – they really have this system down to a science now!  We arrived at the race site and I told my new friend that it would be best if we went straight to the port-a-pot lines, as they tend to be very long.  We hopped into a line and I don’t think we waited even 3 minutes!  Now I had so much time, that I didn’t want to check my bag yet, and was able to find a place to sit down and chill out.  I decided to try to use the bathroom one more time before I checked my bag and begin my warm-up, and this time walked right into one where there was no lines – this was going way too smoothly!  I was ready to race!

Standing in the corral I was more calm than I’ve ever been, and was happy to see a few familiar faces.  We noted that even though we had perfect, overcast skies (I didn’t even wear my sunglasses), we could feel the humidity like a thick blanket.  But we were lucky that we didn’t have the brutal heat that had been hitting the area the week before!  I hit mile one at 6:00 on the dot, and was satisfied with this.  I have a tendency to go out too hard most times – when you’re “chasing” the elites in front of you, and getting caught up in the excitement that unfolds during that first mile – it’s very easy to do.  My plan was to have a solid first 5k, settle in for the 2nd 5k, and then run a strong final 5k.  Last year I really faded during the last 5k, and I wanted to avoid a repeat of that this year.  It didn’t go exactly as planned – my first 5k was 19:15, the second was 19:09, and…once again I faded a bit at the end of the race…my third was 19:26.  For the last 5k the sun was out in full force, and I had already been throwing cups of water on my head at every stop and running under every sprinkler available, even if it wasn’t in my path.  So maybe that had a little something to do with my slow finish…BUT…I was able to kick it in at the very end when I saw that clock and made it in at 57:50 – goals achieved!! 🙂  I was the 4th non-elite female finisher, 19th overall female, and 1st in the 30-34 age group.  And now I’m already planning to work towards a sub-57 next year 😉

Yes I want to do it again next year.  Not only because I love the event, but also because it gives me an opportunity to visit some of my wonderful Syracuse friends!  I sure fit a lot of visiting, and eating, into my weekend!  Who knows, maybe I would’ve been just a bit faster if it weren’t for all the pre-race dining I did at some of my favorite Syracuse restaurants!  Mmmmm…

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!

LCCM Duathlon

After a fairly laid-back training week, I decided to do a local duathlon to shake out the body after last weekend’s race and get ready for the next block of training leading up to Duathlon Long Course Nationals.  For a very small race, the event organizers did an outstanding job with the LCCM/Du-Molish Hunger Duathlon in Lebanon, PA. And the sponsors and volunteers were top-notch!!  Add to that perfect weather, awesome competitors, and THE BEST cheering section a girl could have – it was a WIN all around!  Thank you to the Wolgemuth & Ilus clans for cheering me on all throughout the race and getting some great action shots!

The run course was ideal – a nice FLAT loop through paved trails within a park felt great after last weekend’s hills!  The bike took you through quiet country roads with a suprising climb or two to mix it up.  I was the first Overall Female and the 5th Overall Finisher.  I won a very cute pair of Oakley sunglasses courtesy of Bouquet Mulligan DeMaio Eye Professionals.  Ironically the shades are black with specks of gold – just like the Keystone Elite logo 😉

It was also the perfect race for me to try out my new bike position, and I am happy to say I think I’m on the right track!  Not only did I feel more comfortable during Saturday’s race, but also on Sunday I headed out for 53 miles to make sure it felt good over a longer distance, and it felt great!  Amazing what a few little tweaks can do!  Now I’m excited to see how I can build from here!

Happy Training!


Duathlon National Championship Race Report

After spending 4 wonderful days in Tucson, it’s hard to get back into the swing of “real life” 😉 So I’m finally finding some time to share my race report!  First off, I’d just like to say how awesome it is to not only be back in the racing scene, but also to be racing in such a great town with so many awesome competitors!  It had crossed my mind that I didn’t need to compete at Nationals this year, having already secured my slot for the World Championship in France based on my 2011 ranking.  However I quickly remembered that 1) I needed to redeem myself after last year’s race, and 2) why would I want to pass up racing in AZ?!?  The weather in Tucson is perfect, the people are super-friendly, the course is amazing, and the views are breath-taking.  What more can you ask for? 


My first day training on the course was Thursday, and BOY was it windy!  Riding in my aerobars was next to impossible, and I even had a hard time taking a hand off the bars to shft at times.  I could only hope that it wouldn’t be quite as windy on race day, and my wish came true.  I arrived at transition Saturday morning with perfect conditions!  After getting my bike set up, we were cleared out of transition by 8:00 for the first wave to start. My wave wasn’t until 8:45, which left a lot of time for the nerves to build up while watching the other races unfold!  Finally our time arrived and I lined up at the front of the pack with some fierce-looking runners!  Gail Kattouf was the only one I recognized, but we all wished each other luck before the starting horn sounded.


49 and under Female Start

We went off at a blistering pace, and I quickly secured a position in 4th place.  I hit the first mile at 5:34, which was a little faster than I had planned, but no one else appeared to be slowing down, so I just went with it!  The female who was in the lead was being passed by the other 2 women ahead of me, so I figured I better follow suit.  I passed her at the 2nd turn-around, and held my position in 3rd up the infamous hill into T1.  I had a super-fast transition, and was 2nd out on the bike.  Of course it wasn’t long before power-cyclist Gail Kattouf came flying by me like I was stopping to admire a cactus on the side of the road!  It took me a couple of miles to get my legs feeling like they had any power in them, which has been a frustration this season!  On the first lap of the bike I was passed by another female in my wave, but also saw the the female who was in first drop out of the race.  So this kept my in 3rd, and I just focused on a steady effort and not letting too many more women pass me!  On the second lap Nike Matanza passed me looking real strong.  At this point I realized I had some work to do on the 2nd run!  I held my spot through the 2nd lap of the bike, and came into T2, still in 4th place.

After another quick transition, I headed out on the 2nd run and my legs were happy to be off the bike!  I was able to get back into 3rd place, and was feeling pretty good!  I hit mile 2 at a time of 12:30, and was preparing for that final climb to the finish… I swear that thing feels longer each time!  What a sense of relief when you make the turn off the road towards the finish line!

Even though I was the 3rd female across the finish line from my wave, it turns out that a woman in the 50-54 age group, who started at 8, edged me out by :22 seconds!  Lesson learned – never forget about the women who do not start in your wave!  World-class runner Ellen Hart secured the 3rd spot on the podium – and what an honor it is to be racing with a legend!  My final standing was 4th overall, and 2nd in the 35-39 age group. 


35-39 Age Group podium

The awards ceremony is always great – getting to see so many accomplished athletes and reuniting with so many friends! I was also happy to learn that I got the award for the fastest combined run time – a Trigger Point kit! 🙂 Not only did it have a vital piece I was missing, but I also seemed to have left my TP ball in Tucson… I guess my run training is coming along well – now it’s time to work on the bike!  I am re-evaluating my position on the bike – I think I’ve lost a lot of power with the position I’m in currently.  Stay tuned…

Overall time – 1:40:35
Run #1 – 19:09
T1 – :39
Bike – 59:48
T2 – :37
Run #2 – 20:24