Thursday, July 31, 2008

Urban Epic Pictures

I'm still sorting through them, but here are a few random shots! The one of the girl in the wetsuit that is NOT me is Alina! Go Alina! There's also a bike shot of Ange. If you look closely you can see the blood on her shoulder and arm.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Urban Epic Race Report

Team Triple Threat: Lorenzo (Alina's brother), the hub., Alina

Me and the Hub. post-race

Just for the record, I was NOT supposed to do this race. It wasn’t in the plan, and until I found out that Clearwater was such a slim possibility, I didn’t even consider racing it. But when Clearwater DID become unlikely, I began to realize that Urban Epic and the local races might be as important to me as Timberman 70.3. It’s local, all of my tri and swim friends, new and old and including the hub., were doing it. I really wanted to be a part of the fun. Also, I had some race strategies I wanted to try out. I did some experimenting and practicing and it paid off, I think. I learned a lot.

We had to rack our bikes the night before the race. I actually like to do this. It’s one less thing to think about in the morning. Alina and I showed up with two of my kids in tow to catch the pre-race meeting Tri-ME was having to explain the course and to rack our bikes. (Alina competed in relay with her brother and the (my) hub. She was racking her bro’s bike for him.)

I checked in, got my number and then we listened to what the race director had to stay. Swim: strong current, new course, blah blah, stay right, blah, blah. Bike: be careful. Big descent early on that later you must climb (this turned out to be the understatement of the century), lots of potholes, city streets, be careful blah blah, Run: nice and flat—only 5.7, not 6.2.

I half listened. It would be fine. Just follow everyone else, that’s what I do.

I should have listened more carefully. Oops.

Anyway. I went to rack my bike. All good. I placed my seat on the rack and wham! My seat post slid to the top. I took my bike off the rack and examined the offending seat post. It slid up and down. The clamp was not holding the post in place. WTF?

I panicked. Luckily I hung out with EXACTLY the right people last weekend at L.P., the very people who could help me and the very people who were right there, ready to help! I had Alina run to get Tim, one of the owners of Peak Performance in Portland. He examined my seat post, removed the clamp. As he removed it fell apart in his hand. The metal had split clean in half. Apparently this might be because it was clamped too tightly, but nothing is certain.

In a very calm voice he said, “Okay, Mary. This clamp is broken. I need to go to the shop to get a new clamp for you.”

At first I was like, Fuck! My kids are here! I was supposed to be home by 7! This is serious! It can’t just be fixed right here!

Then I settled. Just a clamp. Can be replaced. And, most importantly, here was this super nice person offering to save my ass. Thank you, God. Thank you, Tim!

I hung out as Nat, the mechanic, drove down to the store to get the part. Then, later, I watched as he carefully replaced it and carefully placed my seat in the exact place it had been before. I wanted to kiss the whole crew from Peak Performance. What a close call. Can you imagine if that clamp had broken apart on the course during the race? Disaster narrowly averted! Peak Performance will have my eternal loyalty and devotion. Thank you Tim and Nat!

The next morning the hub and I rose early and silently crept out of the house. Lauren, my superstar cousin/nanny was taking care of the kiddos during the race. I had a Luna bar and we stopped to get coffee. I have graduated from egg, cheese and sausage on an English to a Luna bar and coffee. Not bad, huh? Ha ha! We got to the race site and met up with Ange and Alina. Also there were tons of acquaintances and friends. It was really fun to know so many people.

The swim was point to point. It began at Mackworth Island and ended at East End Beach in Portland. It was advertised as 1.5K, but in truth was about 1.5 miles. This was fine by me. I love the swim! This would give me a chance to get out ahead of some of the super fast woman competing in the race.

Although Ange and Alina are both 35-39 AG, they weren’t in my wave for this race. Ange was placed in the Elite wave which started the race (Go, Ange!) and Alina was doing a relay so she began 3 minutes behind me. Although Alina and I had practiced the swim for this race the week before, neither of us was feeling overly confident as the elites went off. This is because at the last minute they changed the entire swim course! This time we would leave from the opposite side of the island and face a massive current.

We had been warned repeatedly that the current was strong. We could avoid this, though. We had to swim out to the red buoys, straight ahead, and then the current would sweep us up and basically carry us the next mile to the finish.

Ummm. Right.
Didn’t work out like that.

The elites were first.
Sucks to be elite.

They tried to swim to the red buoys. They were off course. They were more off course. They were SO OFF COURSE there was no way they were going to make it to those red buoys! Finally, they began to try to swim against the current toward the buoys. They swam in place. It was fascinating to watch. Really. They literally could not budge! One elite swimmer finally made it and turned around it. He (or she) got beyond the buoy and then it was like Bang! He/she was shot from a canon into the current. The whole AG crowd on the beach ahhhhhed in unison. It was amazing! One by one the elites struggled around the buoy and were shot into the current at lightening speed. One elite just wasn’t making it, though. He was struggling in place and it didn’t look like he’d ever get to the buoy. I couldn’t watch it was so upsetting. Later, I would pass this guy. n the swim.

The race director made a snap decision. The Age Groupers would not head to the red buoys. They would swim straight out, grab the current and then aim for the next set of buoys further down the swim course. There was certainly no argument from us! No way did I want to fight Mother Nature on this one!

When it was finally my wave’s turn to go I was ready. My thought was that I would get out front and keep swimming to the right until the first set of buoys we had to go through were close by. Alternatively, I would find a fast blue cap from my wave who seemed to have a good strategy and follow him/her. This is what I ended up doing. Worked great.

Right before the swim started I turned to the guy next to me. We had both creeped out ahead of everyone else-- A mark of a confident swimmer. “Are you a superstud swimmer?” I asked. “You bet,” he said. “Good,” I said. “I’m following you.” Then the race director shouted for us to go.

I followed said dude. I couldn’t really draft him. He was just ahead of me—but not too close. Perfect, however, as a moving sight marker. I just looked for his blue cap every time I sighted. Worked like a charm.

The swim took me close to 34 minutes. It took some swimmers over an hour. Some 1.5 K swim! Ha ha!

After the swim I staggered onto the beach and looked around frantically for the hub. There he was. Yes! I screamed, Hi! And ran on. The fact that he was there meant that Alina had not passed me! I knew there was a good chance that she would. She is an awesomely fast swimmer. But she didn’t. She finished a minute and a half faster than me, but she did not pass me! Yeah me!

There was a .65 mile run to T1. The run was significant enough that they had us do a mini-transition right at the beach. We had to find our white trash bag with our number on it, pull out our running shoes, and stuff the wetsuit, cap and goggles into the bag. I was worried about this little mini-transition. How would I find my bag amongst the hundreds of other white trash bags? But it worked out. It usually does.
T1 time: 6:56

At T1.5 I pulled off my shoes, stuffed my feet into my bike shoes and pushed my new pointy helmet on my head. I felt pretty dumb about the pointy helmet. I need all the help on the bike I can get on the bike, which is why I got it, but I'm not a super good biker, and I didn't want others to wonder why such a lame cyclist had treated herself to one! Anyway. I carefully mounted my bike and began to ride up the winding hill onto the course.

I admit it. I am a chicken on the bike. Within a mile there was a really steep descent that ended at an intersection where cars were zipping past. I braked the whole way down. No way was a bombing down this hill straight into traffic! After this crazy descent the course wove its way through city streets; streets with potholes, grates, manhole covers jutting out, rocks, glass--you name it. Also, there were cars everywhere. We must have crossed a dozen intersections--all of which were manned by policeman and volunteers-- but that wasn't enough to stop my heart from racing at each one and my legs from braking until I was going about 2 mph. Finally we left the city and began riding on slightly less trafficked roads. This race definitely was urban, I'll say that.

My average pace at this point was 17 mph. Not even funny. I started to push harder to make up lost time. Then I slowed again. The plan was not to hammer to make up lost time. The plan was to practice: practice pacing for my 1/2 Iron coming, practice being disciplined about sipping my drink and taking in gels. Disciplined about not letting a slow start ruin my careful and thoughtful race plan. But I wanted to hammer. 17 mph. You had to be kidding me!

Also, I was alone. I had been alone since the start of the bike--so much so that I often contemplated whether I was going the right way. Right at the beginning of the bike I had passed one woman and one man had passed me, but I hadn't seen a soul since then. I tried to push it harder now that I was out in the open, but it was difficult. I felt as if I was on a training ride.

I rode that way for some time. I had gotten a big enough lead on my AG in the swim that I didn't see any of them for a long time. About 25 minutes into the ride my former next door neighbor and former babysitter growing up passed me at lightening speed. I knew she would. I was just waiting for it. She smiled and we exchanged niceties. A few AG men from the wave that had started ahead of me passed me too. I was getting passed a lot. Sort of deflating. It's great to be fast out of the water, but kind of sucky when your bike isn't nearly as strong as your swim!

At the half way point we entered a lolly-pop turn around. I shifted into granny keep safe mindset again. Have I mentioned I also brake for every turn, especially left-handed turns? Argh. The second AG woman from my wave passed me then; Carrie. She is a serious rock star cyclist. In fact, she had the fastest bike split of the day for women, including Becky Lavelle and the other pros! (Granted, Lavelle did get a flat, but there were other pros in the race as well.) She sailed passed me and I wondered if she'd catch Erin. Those two are pretty competitive, but Erin seems to usually come out on top. Maybe not today. Carrie was moving!

The rest of the ride was uneventful until I hit the steep descent (now an ascent) that had welcomed me into the ride. Oh My God. I don't think I've ever been closer to teetering over on the bike. If my average mph was slow from being cautious, it was going to be seriously pathetic following this hill! Volunteers stood at the top ringing cowbells, but they couldn't drown out the sound of my heaving breath as I tried to crest the damn thing!

Finishing the bike I knew I must be 3rd or 4th woman overall, not including the elites, like ANGE. :) A bunch of men, but only three women (that I counted) passed me. The bike had been 26 miles as opposed to the 40K, advertised, but this didn't surprise me. The 1.5K swim was actually 1.5 miles and the run was reportedly quite shy of a 6.2, plus they had that weird .65 run to T1. Not exactly an Olympic distance race at all.

The advantage of having been downright pathetically conservative on the bike is that I had a pretty strong run. It wasn't ripping fast, but it was steady and in control. I felt tired but confident during the whole thing and I finished it in about 7:09 pace, which is pretty good for me; about 10 seconds per mile slower than my regular 10K pace. I was pleased. I had enough gas to be silly at the finish. We'll see how those pictures turn out!

At the finish I found the hub, Alina and her brother Lorenzo. They had crushed the relay field by more than 10 minutes. They seriously were a Triple Threat (their team name). Alina had the 2nd fastest swim split of the relay competitors and the hub. had the fastest run split. Lorenzo was 4th, I think, on the bike. Pretty awesome.

Then Tim walked up to us(Tim who had helped me the night before) and told us the bad news. Ange had crashed on the bike.

My heart dropped. Was it bad? Was she okay? Did she finish? Alina assured me that she had finished--that she had looked strong and that she hadn't noticed her looking injured. Then Ange limped over.

Her shoulder was taped up and she had nasty bloody scrapes all over her arm. She also looked a little stunned. She explained that she had nearly missed a turn at mile 4 and had to brake very hard, very suddenly. She flipped over the bars. No one was around. Had it been me, I would have sat there until discovered, and then I would have dropped out of the race. Not Ange. She got back on that bike and finished with a bike split much faster than mine. The girl amazes me. She then went on to pass several of her elite competitors on the run, running would had to be close to 6 min. pace. She finished fifth among woman. The top three women (including Lavelle) were pros. The other woman, a local athlete that is really good, was third overall. Ange would have been faster than this woman had she not crashed. But you wait. She's going to get her next time.

We stood around for awhile waiting for the awards. Because Ange had raced as an elite she was out of the AG running, and so therefore I was 2nd in my AG. Carrie, the girl of fastest bike split fame, was first. I was the fifth non-elite woman overall. I was 12th woman overall including the elites. I'm pretty proud.

Final times and places:
225 competitors
Age Group: 2/13
swim--about 1.5 miles: 33:58 rank: 19/225
bike--1:20:54 boo! 19.1 mph rank: 80/225
run--40:45 rank: 38/225

Think my ride was a little too in control. Claire, I really need your help!
It was a great race.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

All I have to say is, Where the hell is the Ark? I want to get on it! It won't STOP RAINING!

There is a short story by Ray Bradbury called All Summer in a Day. Is anyone out there familiar with it? It takes place on Venus. On Venus it never stop raining except for once every seven years.

I am in that story.

In other news, when I went to pump my tire today the tip of it flew off and the tire went flat. The hub. is in MA. I had to change it alone.
And I did it! It took me 12 minutes. Not bad. (Okay, it's bad, but it's not bad for me!) It looks to be perfectly fine. We shall see on my ride tomorrow. ha!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lakd Placid 2009: Holy Shxx

Hey everyone! I fear I'm losing all of my readers because I have such limited access online right now! Ahhh! Sorry-and I do plan to get all caught up on eveyrone's blogs VERY soon. I hope you are all having a fantastic race season!

So I'm in! Ange and I and a couple friends stayed up all night in line and it's now OFFICIAL. We will be competing at Lake Placid in 2009!

I plan to write a more thorough report of the weekend soon. For now, just a few blurbs:

Holy shit did it rain. It never stopped. It was torrential. This didn't seem to deter the 2500 IM athletes from taking on that course! How inspiring!
Less inspiring was the realization that between Ange's family, my family, and our friend Mike's family, we had eight kids to take care of as we watched the race. And did I mention that we were CAMPING? Camping, eight kids, torrential rain. I think we were serious IRON spectators! The thing is, kids are so resilient. They had a great time, and are still talking about the weekend. Crazy! I need to give a HUGE shout out to the people at Peak Performance in Portland, Maine. They let us camp out under their tent the whole day. Thank you Nat and Tim! You saved us!

Also totally inspiring: My coach, Cait, and her longtime boyfriend, Tim Snow, got married on Friday night at Mirror Lake. Then Cait went on to WIN the race, running a 2:59 marathon, the course record for women, to boot! I cried watching her run the final lap. It was truly awesome. Tim (remember, Hi, I'm Tim?) finished 10th overall, Jesse finished 18th and was the 4th amateur, Pat (another QT2 coach) was 4th in AG, and all the other QT2 athletes had great races--esp. Kim!

Ange and I had lots of time to hang out, chat, commiserate about the pouring rain--especially because we decided to go to wait in line at midnight the night before registration! (I will add that this was not my idea... ha ha!) It was nuts! But we were 15th in line, and secured ourselves a spot very nicely! We were able to hang with Tim (owner of Peak Performance) and Mike, the other family guy with whom we were camping, and so it was acutally kind of fun in a twisted kind of way. And most importantly, the torrential rain stopped by about 11 pm, so though we were totally damp, with wet shoes, sleeping bags and clothing, at least we weren't rained on....

More stories later!
I'm excited times a thousand for this race!
Next up: Urban Epic Triathlon on Saturday. Ange, Alina, and all my new Maine triathlon pals will be there. I can't wait!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Scarborough Tri Race Report

1/3 mile ocean swim
15 mile bike
3 mile run

This was the most fun I’ve had in a tri all season. First, it was super fun to compete on old stomping ground. Scarborough is the town adjacent to Cape Elizabeth (my home town) and we frequented Scarborough Beach in high school. It has great sand and great waves. Second, my friends Alina and Heidi and Alina’s oldest, Maria, came to cheer Ange and me on. They even had a sign that read Go Mary on one side and Go Ange on the other! It was great. Third, Ange and I were right next to each other in transition AGAIN. Not the same rack—we are talking right next to each other! She was number 65 and I was 66. Something is clearly going on here. Finally, the surf was up, baby! Not just a little up--we are talking six and seven feet waves up. It was nuts! It was so fun!

I admit I was a little gun shy about the swim when I arrived. At the Cohasset Tri we had to run into the surf and the first buoy was only about 200 yards away. I immediately got trapped under bodies as people punched and kicked their way to that first buoy, and I panicked. This was the same kind of run start into the ocean, but the first buoy was much farther out (thank GOD) and so people spread out once we dove into the waves.

The first part of the swim was crazy. It’s hard to even call it swimming. I would take a few strokes, get knocked backward by a wave, stand up and try again. I felt like I was swimming (or flailing) in place! It has been reported by Alina and Heidi that Ange did the BUTTERFLY to get through the waves. I know you all know she is a kick ass swimmer, but what you may not know is that her when in college, her events were the 200 fly and the 400 IM. If you paid me 100 bucks I’m not sure I could complete a 200 fly! Anyway, apparently doing the fly through the waves worked, because she had one of the fastest swim splits of the day. I think she must have done a few strokes, then dove under a wave, and then emerged swimming the fly again. Pretty cool.

Once I finally got to the first buoy I did okay too. It was smooth sailing then. We were out far enough so that we rolled with waves before they crested, and we were with the current, moving right along. It was hard to sight, though. The huge swells got in the way of viewing the buoys. When I finished swimming and tried to run the final steps to the beach, the ocean totally played with me. A wave crashed on me and I lost my balance and the current just pulled my feet in every direction. It was horrible and hilarious at the same time. Finally I stumbled to the sand, and then began peeling my wetsuit off as I tried to run through the deep sand to the boardwalk. I saw Alina and Heidi cheering for me. That’s all I needed to get me to pick up the pace and get my game face on!

(That's my game face... ha ha)
My transition was a little slow. We had to stuff everything into a plastic bag with our number on it so it could be transported to the finish since this was a point to point race. I got distracted when I noticed Ange left her green transition towel out, so I stuffed it in her bag before pulling my bike off the rack and running out.

There was a long stretch of hard packed sand to travel over once we were allowed to mount our bikes. I am a sand wimp! I am still so new to biking that I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to lose control of the bike and fall. One poor woman was behind me as I slowly moved through the sand. I think she didn’t dare to pass me because of the sand and because the path was narrow, but I still didn’t pick up the pace. I just crawled until we got to the road.

When I finally made it to the pavement I got up in my saddle and cranked! The girl behind me passed me immediately though, probably so filled with pent up anger at my slow pace that she couldn’t control herself. A minute later I flew past her again. She was a woman, and so therefore I had to pass her. That is the rule.

I passed a bunch of men. I rode past Mark, Ange’s husband, and he recognized me and said hi. I went on passing men for awhile. I knew that I was one of the first in my wave out of the swim, so I figured I must be doing well as no women had passed me on the bike yet. I was just having this thought when a woman sailed past me like I wasn’t even moving. Woah! I knew immediately who it was—this woman Carrie who lives in Cape Elizabeth and is a scary good cyclist. I tried to go after her, but that was a joke. Soon she was just a dot in the distance. No one else passed me until the end when one other woman passed me. It was Allison, a friend of Ange’s and another awesome cyclist. I knew I would beat her in the swim. I was hoping to hold her off on the bike until at least the run, though. She is an awesome cyclist but an even better runner.

By my count I was in fourth for woman at the end of the bike. Ange was first out of the water and I knew I probably wouldn’t see her for the rest of the race. I did not. I had passed the pissed chick early in the bike—still not sure who she was. I passed another woman close to the end of the bike who I knew was Bernadette, an awesome swimmer who had, predictably, kicked my ass in the swim. Carrie and Allison, as predicted, stormed past me at lightning speed after I beat them in the swim. The 40-44 women started three minutes behind us, so I knew I probably wasn’t a TRUE fourth, but it was fun to pretend.

The run started downhill. Wahoo! I was flying! I hit the first mile. 5:52. What? Okay, I was flying, but I have never down a 5:52! I felt great until I realized there was no way it was a real mile. Still, I was encouraged and picked up the pace.

I heard panting behind me and I knew I was about to be passed. Was it a girl? Ahhh, no. just a guy. Okay. I began to run scared. I knew a ton of women must be close behind me waiting to take away my precious fourth place.

We ran straight on a trail for awhile, and then did a 180 and came back the way we had come. This is when I really got scared. At first I didn’t see any women. All good. Then, they came. There they were, one after the other, probably only a minute or two behind me, coming coming. Yikes! I saw this woman Catie, a 40-44 who I know had a good chance of winning the race. She was moving! I got a little panicky, and began trying to run faster. This didn’t really work. I was already maxed out!

I hung on and didn’t get passed before the end (by any WOMEN, that is. Psych! I had finished in fourth—at least for now. We’d have to wait for the results to see how many 40+ women had kicked my butt. Later I learned this number was TWO. So I finished in sixth; fourth AG. The top six women were all between 38-45. And Ange had won the whole thing. She is a superstar!

Final splits/rank--out of about 300 competitors
Swim: 10:55 Rank OA: 37
Bike: 46:17 Rank OA: 42(includes both transitions)
Run: 19:12 Rank OA: 61

I feel great about my race! They gave me 2nd AG because Ange and Allison were 1 and 3 and they are 35-39. Wahoo!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bad Air Quality and Other Little Tidbits

   This is my playground, baby! Apparently the air quality here in Maine is super bad this week. This is a result of the pollution sent our way courtesy of the mid-west and the south. Thanks, guys! Kidding. Anyway. Generally speaking if the newspapers warn us of bad air quality I notice, tuck the info away in my bag of info I plan to ignore, and then put on my running shoes. This is not easy to do when you are living under the same roof as your mother, however. Take this morning's conversation. Mary: (comes in dripping with sweat after a refreshing 90 minute bike ride..) Hi Mom. Mom: Please tell me you're not going to run now. Mary: Ummm... Mom: Did you read the paper? Look at this-- (Mom quotes in a pinched voice, "'Ozone doesn't have a smell, and you can't see it, so it's the perfect thing to ignore,' said Edward Miller, Executive director of the American Lung Association. Miller acknowledged that many residents don't pay attention to air alerts and don't change their behavior, refusing to follow general tips such as refraining from strenuous outdoor activity." Mary: ummm.... Mom: And this, "Miller likened the effects of ozone to 'a sunburn on your lungs?'" Mary, we are talking sunburn of the lungs! They advise not to exercise at all and between today and yesterday you have been out there for hours! Mary: Ummm.... Mom: I really don't think you should go on that run. Mary: Ummm...Ummmm..... Ummmmmm.... So, are the kids at the beach with Lauren? (Lauren is my awesome 17-year-old cousin who babysits the kids when I am working out each morning.) Mom: Does your throat feel scratchy? Mary: (Thinks to herself, yes, in fact my throat feels like I just smoked a pack of Marlboro's... Hmmmm....)No, I'm fine, Mom! I feel great. I think that thunderstorm yesterday really pushed that bad air out of here. I'm not going for a long run. I'll be right back. Mom: Why? What is missing one small run? Mary, I'm starting to believe that you have a problem. Normal people do not work out in this weather. Mary: Really? How come I just saw about a dozen people out riding and running this morning, then? (Mary thinks to herself, hmmm. I guess I was the only one at the track yesterday, wasn't I....and, I guess I didn't see anyway out riding this morning, either. strange.) etc. etc. Of course I went on the run. Did you even doubt me for a moment? Come on. You would've too. I know you out there! Admit it! Admit it! You run in this shit too! Anyway. My child care arrangement with Lauren is working out superbly. Each morning I rise, ignore my children as Lauren gets them breakfast, and then leave the house to do my thing. :) I return, and they look at me and say, "No! Mommy, you just left! Go out again! You're not done yet, are you? Don't you have to swim in the ocean now?" It's really quite awesome. After a shower I collect the kids, haul them to the beach as they weep that they want Lauren, and that is that. They are all in love with her. She takes them on walks, does puzzles with them, plays games with them, feeds them their favorite, forbidden snacks, watches Curious George with them on TV and paints their nails and does their hair (well, the girls, anyway.) They are IN HEAVEN. I'm getting anxious and excited about my race on Sunday. This week has been a recovery week for me which I really needed. My heartrate has been stubbornly low for weeks now. The last two days it has just started to rise (hopefully this isn't due to the air quality!). Also, I slept well last night. This has been a problem the last few weeks. I have that jumpy leg I've been doing too much thing going on. This week I have just done a few recovery rides and only a little bit of zone 2 work. It's been nice, and I'm back! Super Mary!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

70.3 World Championship: A Dream Dashed

Ange emailed me this morning to let me know she had been browsing through the Timberman 70.3 website and had discovered a sad piece of news: they are only offering two spots to Worlds this year in the 35-39 female AG. Last year they offered five, and it rolled down to like twelve or something. This year—no such thing. Two spots! My guess is that Ange is still going to have the option to go. She has been top three in every triathlon she’s done this season—even the all New England super competitive races. She’ll be up there for sure. I really, really believe I will be up there too. I was hoping for top five AG. Timberman, like most of the big 70.3 World Qualifiers, draws a big, competitive field from all over the country. To be top 5 would definitely be a fantastic achievement. But this year it won’t secure me a spot at Clearwater. Boo!

I had been warned this was going to happen. They added more qualifying races and then cut the spots offered at each race. This will make the 70.3 World Championships much more competitive, and therefore much more sought after. I doubt sincerely that the slots will roll down at all at Timberman. You get top two, or you don’t go.

Since I discovered this little bit of tragedy (for me) I have come around slightly. First, there’s always the chance that I will have the race of my life and actually place in the top two. There is also the chance that it will roll down to me—wherever I place. However, I’m not planning on either of these things happening. Right now I’m focused on the possibilities that have become visible now that I am not so focused on Worlds.

I could do a fall marathon. I could do Bay State with my running club and train with my running friends who I miss very much. I could just play this fall and do a few sprints and monkey around. I could take the money we would have spent on going to Worlds and put it toward a trip that Andy and I could take together—a trip that includes a triathlon or a marathon—or not. I could just race my heart out at Timberman and be happy that I gave it my all without the fear that my best won’t be good enough. I already know my best is almost certainly not good enough!

I have a few good rides up here in Maine since I moved up a few weeks back. This weekend the hub. Was here and I was able to escape for a long early morning ride that took me all the way up route 5 to Cornish. Here’s a picture of Cornish: It’s so country, so rural, it’s --- ? beyond nowhere land! It’s just quiet, rolling hills, grass, wildflowers, and an occasional rusty pickup or tractor decaying in an abandoned field. The highlight of the trip was going through Limerick center, where I really felt I had gone back in time to the 1950’s. There was an ancient Variety store, an ancient gas station at which you could also get coffee, and a sweet little restaurant from which wafted the smell of bacon, eggs, and strong coffee. As I rode I kept myself occupied by trying to imagine what life must be like in Limerick or Cornish. I’m told that many who live there commute out route 25 to Portland. That’s a serious commute!

This weekend Ange and I (and her brother, Jeff, and her husband, Mark) are competing in the Scaborough Tri. I just discovered that there will be two different transition areas and the race will end in a different place from either transition! Crazy! Apparently you must stuff your suit, hat and goggles into a bag with your number on it in T1, take your bike and ride to T2 where you have placed your run stuff, and then run to the end. They bring your swim bag to the end for you (if you have packed it right--!!!) but you then must back track to get your bike! I hope they have someone in T2 guarding the bikes… The whole thing seems rather fishy to me. Hopefully it will be fun! I’m hoping for a top three AG spot. I figure Ange will go top three, so she won’t be in AG placing. You need to get top three, Ange! I’m counting on you! 

We’ve spent the week at the beach with my friend Alina and her three kids. We go to the beach all day, return tired, hungry and toasted from the sun, and then fall into bed. Okay, it’s not that idyllic. There is sand throwing, tantrums, problems with sharing, and the constant fear that one of our six will wander off or go to deep into the ocean-but mostly it’s awesome.

I miss you all out there. I am writing this on Word, hoping that someday I will be able to connect and actually post this!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cohasset Pictures

I continue my streak of smiling at the camera. The hub. thinks I'm a dork! Maybe I am....

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cohasset Race Report etc.

First, please forgive me, all of you, for not checking in on your blogs. I have limited internet access right now. Boo!

So, the Cohasset Sprint was on Sunday. I did good. I had fun. I loved, loved, loved, that the hub was there with me, competing.

Get this: The hub's number was 666. Ha! His first tri, and he is 666! I think he had fun. I hope he had fun. He kind of loafed it, but now that he's experienced what it's like, I know he wants to get out there and kick some ass.

But onto me! Me me me! That's why we blog, right? Ha ha.
Anyway. The swim: It was an ocean swim. The weather was humid and foggy and cool. The waves were big. They changed the swim so that instead of swimming out, you swam only 300 yards and then turned at a buoy and swam horizontally across, along the shore, and then in. I was psyched. I lined up right up front prepared to sprint. So did everyone else. In the first minute I foud myself trapped underneath bodies--and I could not find my way up. Panic ensued. Then more panic. Then I found my way up, cursed, and swam way out away from the group to catch my breath, my confidence--. This, as you might imagine, lost me some time. However, I think it also allowed me to finish the swim. I was pretty freaked out. I'm not sure I've ever been that panicked in the water. I swam, probably too leisurely, to the end, stumbled out, and then ran to transition.

It was a long run to tranistion. At least a minute. Maybe two? I was winded when I got there, scrambled out of my wetsuit, and set off again. Another long run. What was up with these long runs in transition? Finally I was able to mount. I wanted revenge. I was now pissed about my swim and ready to get back some time!

The Course was twisty and turny. Yuck. I like straight on ahead much better.... But it was fine. I found myself cutting back and forth with this other woman. She had a great back--very muscular and tan, and also an exceptional butt. I found myself wondering who she was and wondering if she was a model or just a tri goddess or what. Anyway, I digress. I made it my game to not let her get out of my sight. I knew by the 37 on the back of her calf that she was in my AG. I'd have to get her on the run.

The run. Sweet! I had a great run! Granted, I was breathing like Darth Vader and likely looked like I was going to die, but I still ran well for me. I passed a bunch of women at the beginning of the run who were in my swim wave. One was this woman Judy. She looked very --shall I say-- confident? lining up for the swim, and I was very, very pleased to pass her and give her a little waveon the run. I was passed by a blond woman (in my AG, shit!) who ran up to me and said, "are you one of Jesse's Girls?" I answered, yes (or I tried to answer. It was probably more of a wheeze.) Anyway, she said, me too! Stay with me! Her name was Allison. I coudln't stay with her, that was very clear. Thanks, Jesse. Stop being such a good coach, would you?
Anwyay. I saw gorgeous back and ass girl ahead and hammered to catch her. This took me until mile 2. Then, after I passed, I had to run scared for the rest of the run because I was sure she was right on my ass ready to pass me. Luckily, she never did. I beat her by like 20 seconds or so. Later, I looked at the results and found out she was from Dover, a neighboring town to my town. And then it hit me. Just last Thursday I had seen this woman running in Westwood and she had passed me! My thought at the time? Damn! Who do you think you are passing me, lady? No one passes me on a run in this town! And then I thought, Wow. She has a GREAT back.

So, the end. 107:39. final time. 5th AG, 15th overall woman in a super stacked field. (seven pros including Alicia Kaye, DeDe Greisbauer, Kim Webster, Karen Smyers etc.) 6:16 in the swim (quarter mile); 34:43 bike for 12.5 miles (acutally 11.95 on the Garmin) so that's about 20.6 mph.; 23:4? for the run, reportedly 3.2 but actually 3.35, so about a 7:04 pace.

I should mention that my buddies from QT2, Pam and Meredith kicked butt! Pam beat me by like 40-50 seconds and was 4th in our AG, and Meredith was 2nd AG. Yeah!


One more thing. I just want to report on my ocean swim this afternoon. I swam along the coast, nice and easy for about 25 minutes. Then I turned around. IT TOOK ME AN HOUR TO GET BACK. I was swimming in place! It was me against the Atlantic and her vicious pull! Grrrr. Eventually I won. It just took along time and some serious self talk.