Monday, September 28, 2009

CELT Sprint Tri RR or Being Cold Part Deux

Yesterday was one of my favorite races of the season, and also the last Tri of the season.

weep weep.

I am ready for tri season to be over, but I am never ready to say good-bye to my Maine friends. The CELT tri is fantastic because I get to see so many of these friends--not all (we missed you, Ange! Martha!) but many of them. Also, it is in my hometown of Cape Elizabeth. I had a very good race to boot, I always seem to at CELT, and best of all I was able to witness Alina's relay kick some booty and win 1st relay overall, and I was able to see Ange's little bro, Jeff, win his first triathlon! That dude is going to rock it next year.

The weather for this race has not cooperated for the last few years. Last year it rained--hard. This year it rained-hard-and it was really cold, too. The cold was my downfall. Actually, the cold was NOT my downfall. My downfall was that I thought I was above the cold--somehow super-human and unaffected by it, even though I have Raynaud's Syndrome, even though I'm small, even though I get cold and need a sweatshirt when it's 75 degrees and sunny. I swam the 425 in the warm pool, and then ran outside to T1 in my bathing suit. And I didn't cover up. I raced in my bathing suit. And it was in the uppers 50's. And it was pouring rain.

For the first time in my life I actually suffered from what I now realize was the first stages of hypothermia. Hypothermia is not good; this I learned too. It makes you-- unaware. It's not just that I was out of it; my mind and body actually weren't working right.

I shook violently through the second half the bike and well into the run. I was sick to my stomach, which I attributed to lack of fuel at the time (insane since it was a SPRINT and I was only 25 minutes into the race). On the bike I didn't shift for the last few miles because I couldn't work my hands. During the last mile, I had trouble even handling the brakes because of the shaking--which for those that have experienced it was a bit like the shaking you have when they administer the spinal block during a C-section. I had very strange thoughts in T2 (like, I can't get my shoes on. Well, good effort, Mary. We should probably sit down and stop now.) I spent a really long time putting on my running shoes. Putting them on baffled me. I couldn't figure out how to do it, and they are slip-ons... In this picture I am just starting out. I got the shoes on! I'm not that blue yet. On the run I went off course and into a neighborhood from the trail--on a course I have done twice before, and on a course where runners were around me moving correctly. I was disoriented enough so that when I returned to the trail after going off course, I stopped at every corner for the rest of the race to try to figure out what the signs meant. It seemed normal when out there. When I finished the race I was blue. This is me at the end of the run. Check out those lips baby! I think this picture sort of says it all.... haha! Get me a hot shower or get me the emergency room!

Despite all this I had fun in a weird way. Another strange thing is that the sensation of being cold stopped early on in the run--and I wasn't aware that I wasn't firing on all cylinders during the race until well after the race when I started to piece things together.

It took me until late last night to finally get my body temperature up enough so that I didn't have to wear about 10 layers of clothing. Andy kept encouraging me to get in the shower to warm my core up, but I didn't want to take off my clothing to get in the shower.

So this is the lesson. Don't be a dumb-ass when it's cold and wet. It only takes a few flipping seconds to put on a jacket. I wore my pirate bathing suit that said ARGH on the ass, and that is what I have to say about my dumb-ass behavior. ARGH.

So what else?

I finished really well, anyway! I was third overall, and second AG. I was beat by my friends Katie and Stacy. I knew Katie would beat me (which she did by a good five minutes!) but with Stacy I knew it would be a toss-up. I am slightly faster on the swim; she is slightly faster on the bike; we are virtually equivalent on the run. I knew if I made even a small mistake or spent too long in transition I wouldn't beat her. So yes, I made the COLD mistake, and she took me down! Ah well, you can't win 'em all. Mike, my nemesis, also beat me. grrr. This is annoying because this was our tie-breaker race. I beat him in two races this summer, he beat me in two. Now the score is three-two Mike. BOO! I still think we should count the mid-winter classic 10 miler, at which I beat him--and then we would be 3-3. He says no--only triathlons count. BOO AGAIN!

After the race I had an awesome time chatting and catching up with everyone (after I took a warm shower, that is...) My Dad's good friend and work partner (they are eye surgeons) was there and she was the only 70+ competitor to complete the race. Go Liz!

My friend Steve did the race with his family, and on the way home Andy and I decided that NEXT year we will do the race as a family relay. I will swim, Andy will bike, and Jordan will run or Jordan will swim, I will bike, and Andy will run. We shall see...
It's going to be fun.

For now, good-bye 2009 triathlon season!
It was an awesome one for me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lobsterman Pics

Dawn in Cape Elizabeth

Struggling with my zipper--before I really freaked out and started shouting for help.

Focused and not looking for the camera, for once!

Not feeling great, but not feeling too bad either!
Until I am passed...

Passing him back is not happening...

But he didn't get the special prize buoy! Note the beer in hand--the real prize. My friend Melissa is in the background making fun of me with her own special prize lobster buoy. Can you imagine what my kids have done with that thing this week?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lobsterman Race Report/ Dover Sprint Race Report

Part I: Introduction This was my third time doing the Lobsterman Olympic, and apparently, three times is the charm! I had a breakthrough race this weekend! Wahoo! What exactly is a breakthrough race, you ask? I finished well--5th OA for women. The four women who finished ahead of me are four of the best triathletes in New England--even nationally, really, so there was no shame in finishing after them. I was the first non-elite woman to finish. I had a solid time for a course with a longish swim, a longish bike, a strong wind, and a solid, tough 6.2 mile run. These things could have made it a breakthrough for me, but these are not the aspects of my race that feel like the real success. The real success, I think, was my total confidence when racing. I believed I would be the first in my wave out of the water (I was second, but the point is I BELIEVED I would be the first), on the bike I weaved in and out of the age group men and women on the course like I was totally in control and the riders were just pawns in my game. I used each rider to my advantage by pulling up close behind him/her to catch 3 seconds of a draft, and then passing each in one smooth, quick pass. I was only passed by a few guys who were able to stay ahead of me, (Ted, you were one of them!! Of course...) (I passed all the other men back). My bike was the first bike back in transition in my area (div. 35-49 year old women) and this didn't surprise me. I didn't have the fastest bike split for women (5th there), but I had the fastest swim/bike combo (not including the elites), and I just knew this would be the case. On the run I did not doubt I would keep me lead. I passed many people, I saw no women in close distance to me on the turn-around (age-groupers, that is), and I knew I would win age group overall. That is why this was a breakthrough for me. I knew I would race well. I believed I could be the first Age-Group woman to cross the line. This belief has been building in me, with the help of Jen, of Ange, of good race results and a few years under my belt of experience and consistency. But this is the first time I have had a race that really came together; a race in which I felt in control and totally assured that the outcome would be good throughout the race. I don't think confidence can be underestimated in importance when it comes to racing. Part II: The Race Andy and I had a leisurely trip to Freeport, the race venue, after staying at my parents the night before in Cape Elizabeth. It was leisurely enough so that I almost blew a gasket I was so tense at our lackadaisical pace. After picking up coffee and bagels at Dunkin' Donuts, Andy suggested we sit down to eat. I was like WHAT? Get your ass in that car! Then he suggested we stop for gas. GAS? Are you kidding me? No fucking way! We need to get there! We got there. We were early. (Not as early as Ange, though.) :) It was freaking cold that morning. Like in the 40's cold. We were told that the water was in the upper 60's--but um--that was wrong. It was in the upper 50's, if that. People shivered and procrastinated getting into their wetsuits. I warmed up well by running, and then the transfer into the wetsuit wasn't so bad, because the run had warmed me up. I couldn't get in the water to warm-up, though. I had been instructed to, but I just couldn't do it. I got my ankles wet, and decided to get in and get freezing wasn't a good plan. Sorry, Jen! As we waited for the race to begin, I chatted with Ange, Martha, Mike, Mark (Ange's husband), Jeff (Ange's bro) and a few other friends, and Alina came by to say hi and wish me good luck. She had come all the way to the race with her three kids in tow to cheer us on... Thanks, Bean! I couldn't find Andy before the race, and this bothered me. I didn't even get a chance to say good luck. Finally the elites were off. I watched Ange take an early lead, right behind Catherine S. I know her stroke so well I was able to follow her even as she faded into the distance. After many a long minute, finally it was our turn to enter the water. It was an in-water start, and I got right up front and parked myself there. When we heard the GO GO GO! I really went all out, totally hypoxic, quickly at the point where breathing every stroke still wasn't enough. Then I settled in, right on the feet of a girl in front of me. I noted she was the only white cap (my wave) around us, and I made up my mind to stay on her feet and out-kick her at the end. This didn't happen, but it WAS a good plan. Instead I followed her as long as I could, and then eventually she broke away from me and I couldn't catch her. Damn. I crashed through the stragglers in the next couple of waves, and then pounded my way to the final buoy. The water still felt cold to me, and my feet and hands were numb. The water wasn't rough, but it wasn't totally calm either, and I swallowed a fair amount of salt water. I convinced myself this salt would save me from hypoatrenmia, and let it go. Ha! The one part of the swim I haven't mastered is getting out of the water. If I swim too close to shore I stumble over when getting out, but if I stop swimming too early I can't drag my body through the water to the shore fast enough. Tough to figure out. I opted for the too close to shore route, and as per usual, I nearly tipped over as I ran out. I found my zipper and began to pull. Tug. Nothing. Tug. Tug. No movement. I pulled harder. WTF? I began yelling for help. A volunteer came over and messed around with it a bit, and then un-hooked it. I still don't know why it wouldn't go down, but I thanked the volunteer who helped me profusely and ran off. I was pretty freaked. My fingers were totally numb, and like many people, I simply could not get my wetsuit off as a result. It felt like I was in transition forever. Turns it out it wasn't that bad; only 1:40. I found out later that Andy took FOUR MINUTES in T1! He couldn't get his wetsuit off, and then he put on a shirt, put on gloves, took a shit (not really) but four minutes??? We have been joking that he must have had a little party in T1 and we all missed it....Doesn't look like he was in much of a hurry to beat me! Onto the bike. After the Kennebunk Oly in which I raced elite and spent the entire bike leg alone, I was SO appreciative to be with the age groupers for this race. It took a few minutes to get my legs, but when I did I just was on fire. There were so many people! People! I love people! I'd zip up behind a rider, and then dart around her/him. I did this over and over again. It felt like I was in a video game and I was winning. I'm sure people were annoyed with me for getting so close to them and then darting around them, but it was a WINDY, WINDY, day. It's not cheating if you ride up on someone and pass them within 10 seconds, but if you do this repeatedly, it makes the whole ride easier, because those few seconds during which you are riding up behind someone DO add up, and they DO help. The ride went fast, probably because I felt so strong and so confident. About five minutes before the end, I rode up on Andy. Oh, he was BUMMED! I passed him. He then passed me back. I let him stay ahead for a bit, and then I was like, NOPE! and passed him again. The thing is, Andy is a good rider, very strong, and the fact that I was passing him boosted my confidence even higher. I was also so happy that Andy could see me racing. He rides with me all the time on everyday rides, and I'm so poky. I have a hard time being feisty until I'm in a race--but he's never witnessed me this way. He's watched me from the sidelines, but not from within the race. I knew he'd pass me back on the run, but it was still fun to be ahead for a bit! T2 was faster than T1, though I nearly forgot to take off my helmet. Duh. I felt very slow running out, but my Garmin had me running 6:20 pace, so I knew it was just the feeling of being slow, and not that I was actually running slowly. I felt okay--not super, but strong enough, and pretty soon I had my legs and was chugging along. Not three minutes into my run Andy passed me. Damn! I tried to pick up my pace, but the dude is just too fast. Turns out his run split was 18th fastest of the day. This from a guy who has only done one other triathlon, a sprint, more than a year ago. My run was NOT 18th fastest of the day, but it was 8th fastest for women, which isn't so bad! I felt strong and steady throughout, and like at Kennebunk I was able to negative split just slightly. I was hoping to go under 44, but given how hard I worked the bike, and given the really hilly nature of the run course, I was still happy with a 44:30. Andy was there at the end, as was Ange, Mike, and Mark, and we all shared our race stories. Mike, my nemesis, had had a bad race, and didn't beat me this time!!! cackle cackle. We are racing again next weekend, though, and I know he's out to get me back. We hung out after the race, collected our lobster buoys, (which were the age group prizes.... please!), had a beer or two, and then Andy and I went out to Gritty's (a local pub we really like) for a late lunch. It was a great day. I raced well and I got to hang out with all of my friends to boot. The next morning I got up to do the swim portion of a relay with my buddy Mike and his brother Jay at the Dover/Sherborn Sprint. Members of my running club (GNRC) were going head to head in the relay, and I planned to do my job and get us some time on my swim. Unfortunately, the swim was only a quarter mile, and so getting Team Gilio/Gilio/Holt-Wilson a lot of time wasn't going to happen. I decided I would just give it everything and see if I could get us two minutes. After yesterday's race, I was supremely confident. I would be the fastest swimmer of the day. This was a small, local, newbie type of tri, and I had it covered. Yeah, right! haha! A bunch of young boys and girls kicked me ASS--. We're talking like middle-schoolers. I'm assuming they swim for their local teams. I didn't even win my wave! Still, I was the fastest of the relay people, and I DID get my team two minutes, so that was good. Jay and Mike kicked some butt too, and we ended up being third relay overall. Pretty cool. It was fun to catch up with my GNRC people! Final Times: Lobsterman Oly 22:07 (11th), 1:13:15 (5th), 44:36 (8th) = 2:22:53 5th OA, 1st AG (not including Ange, who raced elite), 1st non-elite Dover Sprint 5:48 for swim (.25 miles) 3rd relay OA I will post pics when they come out!

Friday, September 18, 2009

How I Train.

Someone actually wants to know how I train! Although I'm suspicious. Nega-Coach, is that you? Is this a trick? Also, it could be Mike (not Gilio), and not Nega-Coach. If it is Mike, please know that I really liked talking with you at the workshop, and I think you're smart and funny, and not abrasive at all, and my ranting was/is not directed at you AT ALL. And thank you for talking with me about the Nike Free shoes, too.
AND if this is just some David I have never met, which you most likely are, then hi!

First, before I get into the beauty of how I train (or how Jen trains me, I should say) I need to mention that
I get to race tomorrow! Andy and I are racing the Lobsterman Olympic in Freeport, Maine. Then, on Sunday, I'm in a relay for the Dover Sprint. I'm doing the swim. It's like 500 meters, I think. What could be better than that? Then I get to watch Jay and Mike, my relay teammates, suffer. Should be fun!

My goal is to work so hard in this race that I come close to puking at the end. That will be success. And not to be a chicken on the bike, that's another goal--both on descents and corners, and around pacing.

So onto training. Naturally I could go on and on about this, and the question is how specific to get. I will start with the general:

My fav. triathlon book on training is Joe Friel's Going Long. Lots of my early understanding on training for long course triathlon comes from him.

Before I get into each discipline I will start by saying that I believe in nonlinear periodization. Periodization is considered nonlinear when it mixes together all of the training types (aerobic, anaerobic, muscle-training, speed, strength and power), throughout each training cycle, and changes in emphasis are not extreme. I find that most triathletes are taught to train, and do train linearly--that is, each phase of training is distinct from the others in terms of what type of training is emphasized or de-emphasized. I believe it's important not to allow any one part of your training fall behind the others, because each type of training is inter-dependent. Should any one aspect of your training by side-lined because of the phase of training you are in, you risk that aspect becoming a limiter to your other aspects of fitness. (This thinking is taken directly from Brad Hudson's Run Faster.)

In my case, neuromuscular fitness is a limiter in the swim, bike and run. I have learned over the years that my endurance/aerobic fitness is quite strong. I can build it quickly and it stays with me. I'm lucky that way. However, neuromuscular fitness, for me, is a limiter. My body loves long, slow miles, and it takes a great deal of focus and practice to get my body to learn and retain speed, strength and power since my body wants to be programmed to run long and slow. For this reason, the long, slow base training followed by a short period of sharpening does not work for me. I need consistent, steady focus on neuromuscular adaptations to race well.

I usually do three swim workouts of about an hour/3000 or so yards each week. During base training and peak IM training some of those swims get longer and can be up to 4000+ yards. Each workout has some intensity--though the amount and length of intensity varies depending on what period I'm in and what I'm training for. In the winter I often do a few meets, and my training at those times is geared toward swimming faster in the pool (as opposed to the strength/endurance needed to swim long in OW). My favorite workouts involve a lot of IM (individual medley--fly, back, breast, free). In base or peak training I top out at about 11-11,500 yards a week.

I do three-four rides each week, with one, sometimes two of the rides involving intensity, and one ride longer than the others. The other two rides are usually recovery or medium effort rides. Usually the long ride is a brick--that is, followed by a short (under an hour) run. At times there are race-intensity efforts of 5-15 minutes followed by short recoveries interspersed in these long rides. The intensity workout varies according to the period of training I'm in, and also what I am training for. It often involves repitions of high zone 3/low zone 4 efforts (heart rate) for 10 minutes followed by several minutes of recovery. The long rides are between 2-6+ hours, the longer ones occurring in the base phase and during IM peak training. My highest volume week so far has been about 230 miles. I have a long way to go on the bike, I know.

I am a fan of Jack Daniels, Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald. I have read all of what each has written (Daniels (Jack Daniels' Running Formula) and Hudson(Run Faster) each have one dominant book. Fitzgerald has a few, but I like his Brain Training for Runners the best. As a triathlete I can only run 4 times a week, though recently that has increased to 5 days because I am also training for a marathon. Two of those runs are recovery runs or medium-effort runs. One run involves intensity, frequently fartlek, sometimes tempo, sometimes intervals (usually longer ones) on the track. I also do one long run, which usually involves some slightly faster than race pace running when I am close to a specific race. My mileage caps at about 50-55 miles per week, but most of the time I hover between 35-40. I've never run more than 60 miles a week in my life. I find it's impossible to do when you are also focusing on the other disciplines. Additionally, I'm not sure it's necessary, given that I do so much work on the swim and bike to build aerobic endurance.

This is a very typical type of schedule. Nothing too novel. Where I differ from some is in my belief (like Hudson) that all systems should be a part of each training cycle.

I also differ from others in the per mile pace of recovery, medium-intensity, and long runs. I prefer to train by heart rate, which I guess is actually not uncommon. At the workshop I was at this weekend they recommend running a good 3 minutes slower for my long runs than my marathon pace. That's 10:35 miles for me--and I find the thought of running that slowly absolutely ridiculous. During a recovery run, I try to keep my heart rate in zone 1 only. This is very slow running for me, but still not as slow as was recommended. It usually translates to a 9:00-9:10 pace. For a regular, moderate run, for warm-ups and cool-downs, and for long runs, I hover in mid-zone 2,which for me is between 8:30-8:10 pace usually. For long runs, however, I often pick up the pace progressively as the run continues, starting at 9:00 pace or so and finishing according to Jen's instructions--usually around 7:30 pace. This type of running goes against what many coaches recommend--as it combines two types of hard-workouts, namely the long run and some tempo running. I should also say that as a race draws near, I often slip in pace miles and pick-ups all over the place--just to get the body snappy and ready to move.

I often follow the hard/easy protocol, but not always. Long course triathletes must do a lot of their racing in a fatigued state, so it makes sense that some training should be done when not fresh. My long brick is often followed the next day by a long run, for example.

I also race more frequently then many coaches recommend. I believe frequent racing keeps me in touch with the feeling of race-intensity pain, which is very hard to create in training. It also functions as a way to do race pace work. When training for Boston several years ago I did a long race roughly every other weekend, and alternated racing with long, easy runs. The effect was that I built endurance, but also got my body used to the pace I planned to run at Boston. It worked. And it was really fun.

Some people break down more easily than others. I have noticed that I can really pick up my hours/miles per week for several weeks, and then I just will suddenly shut down, first physically, then, soon after, emotionally. Often I don't see it coming. I'll have a few great workouts in a row and then I'll crash. I have learned to listen to my body, and when it shuts down, even if I can't figure out WHY it's shutting down, I back off. I hate to admit when I can't handle a workload, but as I get older I have become more careful. I've only be seriously injured once, with a bad bout of Achilles tendinitis, and my plan is to not let that happen to me again.

Finally, I do some lift and I do do functional exercises and core exercises, but not as frequently as I should. I don't stretch often, and I never do Yoga or Pilates, although I would if I had more time. I believe my weaknesses are primarily on the bike. I need help technically--as in pedal efficiency, cornering, getting on and off the bike quickly and smoothly, and I need work on increasing my power. Although I hate to admit it, I think that these two things will come if I do base work this winter and get my mileage up. My swim and run weekly mileage are higher comparatively to my bike.

I'm sorry if this was really boring to you. Actually, if it was boring you would've stopped reading by now, so who cares. I'm not sorry. I had fun thinking about it. Thanks, for asking David! Hopefully at least you read to the end!

There is no reason for this picture. I just like it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Running Fast

I like to run hard. I like to run hard over long distances. I like to see how fast my body can go at different distances and in different conditions. I like to see how fast and hard my body can go compared to other people. I just like it. And that is one of the bigger reasons I run. What is fast to me is likely pathetically slow to many. And to some, my fast is super fast. But the point is, for me, it's enjoyable to push my limits. It's also enjoyable to figure out how I can get faster. I am not prejudiced against people who for run fun and fitness--who have no desire to go faster. I don't get them, but I was wrong to say I am prejudiced against them. Because I'm not. That was stupid. Sorry. However, I am prejudiced against people who believe that by running slowly (as in 2.5-3 minutes slower than one's marathon pace) for long distances almost all of the time, they will get faster, and they preach this approach like it's gospel. It's true one builds aerobic endurance by logging many, many miles, and to gain this endurance it is good to run conservatively so you can 1. run longer so that you can 2. build more endurance then you would if you had to put in fewer miles because of fatigue, and so 3. you can burn more of your fat than your available carbs and 4. to save oneself from the taxing nature of hard running so you can run again the next day and be consistent in your training and 5. so you can prevent injury and so 6. you can eventually run faster while maintaining a lower hear rate, and 7. you can chit chat comfortably with your friends while you run. I. Get. It. I also get that some people are able to get faster by building their aerobic engine to the point where they could literally run forever, and then they can add on a little pace running before a race and pull out a P.R. But I can't do that. I tried. And I know other people who have tried, and who can't do it either. I'm talking about this because I have pissed a few people off by saying I am prejudiced against people who just want to run for fun and fitness. I feel badly about that, because, as I stated before, it's not really how I feel. But I also want to clarify that the real beef I have is with people who advocate a certain way to train, and they act as if this is the only way, and any other way is for the impatient, the uniformed, and the cocky. I. am. informed. I repeat that. I am informed. I read a shitload about running. About triathlon. About swimming. (I admit I haven't read enough about biking, but I did just order six new books on biking and cyclocross from Amazon last night.) I read magazines, scholarly journals, I read books and blogs and tri/running websites and biographies. I read it all, basically because I'm a geek, but also because I like to be informed so I don't end up talking out of my ass about things when I haven't actually studied anything except for my own particular point-of-view. So, in short, I never meant to imply that I don't like slow runners, or runners who run, long slow distances. What I don't like is the high and mighty know-it-alls of the world who believe their way is the only way and treat you like you're an ignorant if you don't agree with them. That's what I don't like. Just to be clear. Here are a few articles for your enjoyment that go against the grain of what you may have been taught that I have found in the last few weeks. I'm not saying these articles are to live by or even to consider more than with just a passing glance, I just think they are interesting, and, importantly, they are CURRENT. That is, they have been written recently enough so that the research involved within is fresh. You can see I'm partial to articles written by Matt Fitzgerald. He is always just a step ahead, finding interesting tidbits that challenge common thinking about running, which is why I like his work so much. Pre-Race Breakfast Doesn't Matter Better to Go Barefoot Ibuprofen is Bad, Bad, Bad Running Makes You Smarter Cycling Bad for your Bones? Running Technique: Speed Work Can Help Eating Fat Ain't So Bad Don't Skip the Recovery Run

Monday, September 14, 2009

Running Coach, That's Me.

Well, it's me if I take this 100 question multiple choice test, and if I take a CPR/First Aid course within the next 60 days.

Of course, a coach is not a coach unless she has clients, so maybe I am not a coach just yet.
At any rate, this weekend I went to a RRCA two day course in rocking Hartford, CT to become certified as a RRCA running coach. Why, you ask? And if I was to become certified as a coach, why a running coach and not a triathlon coach?

Excellent questions. Well, the truth is that although I have been tossing around various career ideas, becoming a running coach was not at the top of this list. I love running, I think about running almost all day every day, but still I hadn't seriously considered it as an option. My friend Kristina, however, (aka Marathon Mama), had been considering it, and asked me if perhaps I wanted to escape the domestic bliss of my life for a weekend to attend this course.

My first reaction was Nah... I'm not ready for that.
But my second reaction was, Hmmm. Why not? Get away? Spend sometime with my uber cool, super smart, super fun friend? See if coaching is something I might want to do?

So I agreed.

We started out Friday night, got some dinner (and wine, of course), and headed two hours west to our snazzy hotel. Okay, it wasn't snazzy. But it had a treadmill and it had free coffee available in the morning, so it was snazzy enough for moi. We were both wiped out upon arrival, not because it was particularly late, but instead because we had 1. had wine two hours previously, and 2. because Kristina had done some super crazy 20 miler with like 19.999 miles at marathon pace that morning, and I had gotten up at 4:45 a.m. to complete a brick that was supposed to be done on Saturday, but obviously couldn't be because I planned to attend this course all day. So although we are wild and crazy women, and although the strip of highway our hotel was located on looked ripe with potential with its seedy, airport bars, we reigned ourselves in and hit the sack by like 9:30 p.m. Oh yeah, we play hard.

The next morning I got up--and drum roll please....
of course. on that snazzy treadmill.
The treadmill was fine, but it was a fucking sauna in that minuscule, so-called fitness center. There were no fans, no air-conditioning, and the windows were tightly sealed. Oh Mama. Luckily, a short recovery run was on the docket, so I was fine. One interesting aspect of that run was that I was facing a mirror. I watched my legs run for 45 minutes. I like my legs. They look pretty strong. However, my gait is a little fucked up. I think one of my legs could be shorter than the other.

Onward. We went to the course. There were about 30 people there, and we were to meet in a tiny, tiny room. Uck. The instructors introduced themselves, and then we sat and listened and took notes.
All day.
Like 8-6:30 p.m. all day.
Actually I found it all very interesting. I like school, I like lectures, I like taking notes and I really don't mind sitting on my ass all day, as long as exercise preceded said sitting. The instructors were knowledgeable and good presenters, which helped. I especially like the section on exercise physiology. There were some interesting folk in our class. It's curious the cross section of people interested in becoming coaches. Curious--and scary.

After our marathon-length class, Kristina and I got dinner, had wine, (of course) and surprise! Hit the sack early again. I tell you, we are just wild. I got up early again the next morning to drumroll please....

of course. on the snazzy treadmill.
Are we getting Groundhog Day here or what???
This workout was a little harder then the day before, and involved 10 miles of running and several miles at marathon pace. I had to ring out my shirt when I finished. It was nasty. I was sweating so much that my inner ears pooled with sweat and my headphones kept falling out as a result. I had to wipe down that whole minuscule gym when I was done because my sweat had flown everywhere. Luckily, I was the only individual partaking in the awesomeness that was this fitness center, so no one was showered by my sweaty excretions. Kristina, lucky for her, was running outside.

The second day of the course was much like the first, except that it involved a little group work, so that made the time pass more quickly.

Because I know you are currently riveted, and want to know exactly what pearls of wisdom and insight I have now that I am a running coach aficionado, I will highlight some key points of my learning:

1. Don't take ibuprofen. Like ever. Or you'll die. Think hyponatremia. Think renal failure. Think holy shit I can't believe I took like four on IM day. (I am being facetious, but really, I DID learn that it is so, 100% not a good plan to take Ibuprofen on race day--or any day you work out. Not only is it dangerous, it doesn't help block the pain or prevent muscle damage in a way that will allow you to complete your workout or event more easily.)

2. Jesus, why does everyone insist on running slow miles AS THE ONLY way to train? Okay! I DO get it from a physiological stand-point. I get it's the best way to build an aerobic base. But there is more than one way to skin a cat, and long slow miles day after day with only a teeny tiny dose of possible pace work after like a thousand weeks of base is fucking BORING!!(And not terribly effective in getting you a PR, I will add.) Is it so WRONG that many of us want to run hard on some days--and not just LONGGGGGG? and not just at a heart rate just above one's sleeping heart rate? I repeat, Jesus!!! IT MAKES ME NUTS. Have these people read Jack Daniels, Matt Fitzgerald, Brad Hudson? It's not all Mark Allen my friends! Sure, that dude knows his stuff, but his way is NOT the only way!

3. Wow. You have to handle couch-to-5kers with total kid gloves. At least according to these folks.

4. Don't stretch after you run, even if it hurts so good. You could rip muscles fibers because your muscles are tender and fatigued.

5. I want to try the Nike Free shoes-- a little at a time. This is not because they were advocated for in this course. It's just because I thought about this a lot when I was spacing out.

6. Kristina is quiet in class. I, on the other hand, am obnoxious and raise my hand all of the time.

7. I am prejudiced against people who don't aim to run fast, but just run for fun and fitness. I am also prejudiced against people who run long slow distance and advocate running long slow distance, and who have run long slow distance for years and are still really fucking slow.

8. Runners think triathletes are vain, pompous, too competitive, too focused on image, and too Type A. Runners also feel it is just fine to say this to a triathlete's face. OH YEAH???? So what--maybe that IS true. BUT We are still cool. And smart. And interesting. And colorful. And vibrant. And full of energy and verve and drive.
I refrained from saying that runners are also just jealous of because triathletes of both genders are fucking hot compared to their running counterparts. This is, of course, not always true. Kara Goucher, for example, is unbelievably hot. But triathletes have fantastic fantastic fantastic bodies compared to runners. There is simply no debating that. So there.

9. I think I would be a good coach. I really do.

10. I pee more than the average person. I had to get up like 10 tens during the class.

That's what I learned. Some other stuff too, but that is the best of what I learned. Hope my learning somehow benefited you.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I find it interesting that one day I can feel so completely motivated that I can't imagine not being completely obsessed with triathlon, my goals, Kona, my own personal, athletic perfection. Then, overnight, that motivation is GONE. I can longer reach it. The push for Kona seems unrealistic and stupid. The need to spend my days squeezing in workouts seems hardly worth the occasional pleasure of succeeding in a race. Pushing so hard I want to puke seems completely asinine. The chant from the movie Meatballs begins to ring in my head, "It just doesn't matter! It just doesn't matter!"

I got up this morning to get in some time on the bike.

Just as I was to begin my son came downstairs with poop all over his little legs and ass. Oh boy. I went upstairs and poop was everywhere. Clearly he had attempted to clean himself up, but hadn't quite succeeded. Yep. This was going to delay the bike start. Blek.

It's been a week like that. I got up the other morning to find that my youngest had cut her own hair and then painted her eyebrows in fluorescent yellow sharpie so that that her hair and eyebrows would match. I screamed when I saw her--the flourescent sharpie was truly scary-- and she burst into tears. It took me forever to convince her it was okay, but that generally it's a bad idea to color your eyebrows with permanent marker and cut your own hair on a whim.

But I digress. I cleaned up the mess, gave Noah a bath, and by then it was too late to start. Jordan and Lara came downstairs and demanded breakfast--as in "Where's my breakfast!" in high pitched squeals. As I poured cereal and milk, Noah dressed himself in maroon, flannel-lined long pants and a green rugby shirt. He threw himself onto the floor in a fit when I told him he needed to change into something else--that he'd swelter at school in that outfit. As I poured myself coffee I began to calculate how I was going to get the workout in later on. How many hours do I have here? or here? Could I stick it in here? And then I noticed that Linus, my ancient pooch, had pissed and shit on the floor in the dining room. Then Lara came in the room, scissors and Barbie in hand. Barbie now has a crew cut. I found the remains of her flaxen locks all over the family room floor.

And then it hit. Who fucking cares. I felt tired. Did it all really matter? Who cares if I don't get that bike workout in?

I care. I do care. I do love this--the training--the racing--the goal setting. All of it.
It's amazing, though, how real life can just drain you sometimes to the point that you're numb to your own passions.

So this morning I didn't get on the bike. And now that my kids are in school for a few hours (preschool, alas, doesn't last more than 2.5 hours at a stretch) I am writing. And then I'm walking Linus. And then I'll get on the bike for the time that's left. And it will be good.

On another totally random note, I just want to share that when you let your kids do things all by themselves, they usually rock.
I have been letting Jordan cook. I hate cooking and she loves it. So she's the chef. I really let her do it all. She turns on the burners, puts things in the oven. She's gotten especially good at pancakes, but she's very good at cake making too. This is the cake she made for Andy's b-day yesterday. You need to know she did everything herself, and she even managed to let her sibs help her. I had no part of the whole thing.

I think I'm a bit of a braggart when it comes to my kids. Sorry. Can't help it. But really my point is that if you totally ignore your kids and let them just do shit--adult shit--like cook, they get really good at it because they had to figure it out on their own.

My friend Mike sent me some awesome pics of Jordan and me in that 5k. Here's one.Her form is really good. Especially compared to mine. Andy has agreed to take me to the track and teach me how to run. He's convinced I have no idea how to run fast. I think he may be right.

Good luck to all my Peeps racing this weekend! That means you, Kim!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Ghost, the Ghost of Minna, the Ghost of my Running Legs

I'm extremely, extremely sick of all the music I listen to when running.
I need help.

Yesterday I made a new playlist, desperately searching through my I-Tunes library to find anything that might be inspiring and which I wasn't already totally sick of.
One of the songs I chose was the Indigo Girls' Closer to Fine. I loved, and I mean LOVED this song in my early twenties. It spoke to me. I was very deep as youngster, of course.

Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it
I'm crawling on your shores

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains
There's more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine

Listening to it again I marveled at the fact that it spoke to me way back when. What did I possibly KNOW at that point that would have connected me to that song? I had sailed my ship of safety til I sank it? Oh Please! At that point I was building that ship of safety; using hammer and nails, iron and steel, using every tool I could find to insure I was bound so tight I'd never be left alone. And I had gone to the doctor? The mountains? Looked to the children? OH PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! I was too busy building the damn ship to do any of that!

At any rate, the song still speaks to me. Over the years I did wrap my fear around me like a blanket, and in the end I did sail my ship of safety til I sank it. Or maybe I didn't completely sink it. It's kind of three-quarters-sunk. It takes serious balls to totally sink your ship.
I came pretty close, though.

I still agree that darkness has a call that's insatiable and that when in the dark it's hard to hear the call of lightness. I also agree that the less I seek the more okay I am --if by okay one means less agitated, conflicted and forcibly out of touch with the nothingness.

I realize I'm speaking in tongues and you are totally skimming. STOP SKIMMING! Or, actually, just skim. It's fine. I will talk shop now and stop with this drivel.

*In short*, (this is the important part) I have no good running songs on my I-Pod. Help me out! I need songs that will get me moving and will not make me think too much.

On the training front:

I was like slower than shit last week. That's a stupid comparison, as shit is neither slow nor fast. It just is. But you get what I mean.

It was a tough week. I had just come off the Olympic race in Kennebunk, and it had tuckered me out more than I was willing to admit. Jen put three seriously hard core workouts on the schedule for the week, and I felt some dread, knowing my body probably wasn't up to the task. Naturally I felt it necessary to keep this to myself, as I am, like so many of you, completely unwilling to admit defeat until after it's happened.

And as predicted, it happened. I hit my pace/heart rate targets for the killer bike workout on Wednesday. However, doing so put me into such a hole my legs were sore to touch on Thursday. On Friday I still wasn't recovered, but I attempted the fartlek run on the schedule anyway. To make it more manageable, I decided to do it on the track. I couldn't wear my racing flats because I had blistered badly wearing them during the race, and I needed them to heal. So I wore my clunky trainers, which totally felt WRONG on the track. The idea was to go 2,3,4,5,6,5,4,3,2 minutes at faster than 5k pace, with 1/2 the interval time as recovery between each. I hit the first two minutes. I hit the first three minutes. Then I didn't hit anything for the rest of the workout. By the end I was barely hitting half marathon pace.
I forgave myself. I would make it up on Sunday's marathon pace run. I would nail that one.

Sunday rolled around and I was still not right. My legs felt like lead when I started my run. Things looked up, though, when 10 minutes into my run I met Jo. Jo is a chocolate lab. We hadn't met before, but we were fast friends in no time. She smelled my hand as I jogged by, and I asked her why she was hanging out all by her lonesome. She just panted, and then took off, as if to say, "Wahoo! I found you! Let's go, sister!" We ran together for a bit. Then I started to get worried, as we were getting farther and farther away from were we had met. I checked her tags. Jo, Hartford Street, and a phone number. At this point we were at least 1.5 miles from her home. Not good. I said, "Go home, Jo!" She wagged her tail and darted ahead into the middle of the street as if to say, "No way, man! Let's RUNNNNNN!" What to do. What to do. I ran on and so did she. She darted under my feet. She raced into the distance and then came crashing back to me. It was like running with Minna, my chocolate who we had to put down last month. I know I'm crazy, but for awhile I even convinced myself she WAS Minna, come to visit and to tell me all was okay.

But it wasn't Minna. It was Jo. And we were like three miles from her house. I had to run back. GRRR! I had a solid 18 mile route planned. So much for that!

After dropping off Jo with a grateful babysitter (Jo had jumped her fence--again, so much like Minna!) I was off again. My pace had been sporadic until this point because of my running with Jo. But now I was alone. No inspiration, no new good tunes on my I-Pod and 10 miles to go. At one hour I was supposed to pick it up to marathon pace. No problem. I could do it. I picked it up, and WHAT! Not even close. I picked it up more and more. Not even close.

I never really did get close. I held it all under 8 min. pace, but it was a pathetic effort. When I got home I contacted Jen in defeat. I needed some rest. On paper I shouldn't need rest, but nevertheless....

And I'm drained today, still. The darkness is pushing me around hungrily and I just need to snap out of it. Hate that.
and that's that.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Walpole 5k Race Report or Mommy Can't Stop Bragging About her Baby

Today my daughter ran her first 5k. I'm the moron with my hands in the air and she is the cool one with the nice form.

She rocked. Seriously. I'm so proud I can hardly contain myself.

Our Stats:

1. We averaged 9:50 miles and we negatived splitted. SHE IS JUST BARELY EIGHT. Eight- year-olds do not negative split. She is clearly special.
2. She did not walk. I REPEAT. SHE IS EIGHT.
3. We chit-chatted the whole way. When she saw another kid her age, though, she'd hunker down and pass the sucker.
4. We finished in 31:02. (The race was a smidgen long).
5. She placed 19/40 in her AG. Her age group was ages 1-14. Only ONE child her age beat her. The rest were all 13/14 year-olds.

After she finished we got some water and then watched other runners come in--men, women, teenaged boys and girls, kids.
She said, "Wow, did we go faster than all those people?"
And I said, "Yes, sweetheart. We did."
And she said, "I think I can go faster next time. I wasn't breathing that hard."
And I said, "Yep. You're going to run faster all right. But today was a pretty incredible first try."

Okay. I'm obnoxious. I know.
It's just that she is my little peanut.

And she is a runner.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's All About the Bike.

It can be argued this is true for everyone doing triathlon. I'm not so sure. However, at this point it is all about the bike FOR ME.

It's about more hours on the bike, more focus on the bike, more dedication to the bike, more reading about the bike, more intervals and hills on the bike, and no more excuses ABOUT the bike! Me and Mrs. Z., TLA.

(Sorry, that rant was more for me than you.)

The problem is, I am a runner. I am a runner playing at triathlon. That needs to change if I ever want to get significantly stronger on the bike.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a gifted runner. I'm just a runner. I think about the run far more than the other two disciplines. I have been running for the last 20+years, and I have only been biking for the last two and a half. I was a swimmer in high school, but I didn't pick it up again until I started triathlon. It's always been about the run for me. Running was, and remains, my first and true athletic love.

I will slack on a swim workout or I will cut a long bike short. I will skip a recovery bike all together, but I will NEVER skimp on a run. In the last month I have digested three books on run training and two on sports nutrition (remember I'm a geeky reader, librarian type in the end) but have I even searched for a book on biking training? umm. no. I feel deprived when not road racing, and I squeeze one in any chance I get, but I've never done a bike race or a bike time trial, and I have currently no desire to do so. When I race, I smile on the bike at the camera because I'm just rolling along, noticing the scenery and saying Go get um'! to bikers who pass me. But I'm all business on the run.

Case in point--the ride at last week's Oly: (Note that there are no bikers in sight. I was so alone on that ride! I might have been smiling just because I was so happy to see a person, even though he was a photographer and not a biker.)

Compare that to my run at last weekend's Oly:
and compare my bike photo to how I look after my run at last week's Oly:
I am at a slight disadvantage on the bike do to the fact that I'm both short and small. This is an advantage, of course, on the run. I have less to carry. However, unless I get stronger and more proficient on the bike, I will never be able to take advantage of my advantage on the run, because I will be too pooped to execute the run the way I know I should and can.

At this point I have two ways of racing triathlon on the bike.

1. I don't work the bike hard enough and I have a solid run. *(example would be last weekened Oly, at which I had a good run).
2. I work the bike very hard and I have a shitty run. (examples would be Lake Placid or Mooseman Half).

What I need to be able to do is to work the bike hard, and STILL have a solid run. And this means, I think, less about my run training, and more about my bike training.

My question is this:
In your opinion, what is the key to solid bike training? What have you done that you think significantly contributes to a strong bike leg?
I have my ideas. And I know Jen is likely killing herself trying to satisfy my desire to run hard and fast while still getting me to work on my bike.
But I want to hear your ideas. I'm also interested in any books you may recommend on biking.

Kona Or Bust

Page 140 of this month's Triathlete.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Double Race Report: Rockland Swim and Kennebunk Oly Tri

Part I: Rockland 1.6 mile OW Ocean Swim Race Report or, Am I nuts? Generally speaking open water swim races are canceled when storms pass through. Not this one. Tropical Storm Danny hit on Friday night, and though Alina and I had decided we'd make the trip to Rockland no matter what (no way were we wasting a Daddy Duty day!!), I was sure the race would be canceled. When I woke early on Saturday morning and went down to the beach to check out the surf, I became even more sure the race wouldn't go off. The waves were 6-7 feet and the ocean looked ready to play hard ball with anyone who dared take her on. The storm swirled around me as I looked out to sea, spitting hard, cold rain and blowing my hair into my mouth. No. Way. I'd go to Rockland, but I was NOT swimming in this. We got in the car, turned on the lights and the windshield wipers, and headed off. Alina wasn't so sure they would cancel the race. The swim was to take place along a breakwater, and she remembered it being very calm water there the year before. I scoffed at that. It would be insane to hold an ocean race in this weather, breakwater or not. They'd have to get the Coast Guard, a billion EMTs, a dozen lifeguards, extra insurance. No way was it happening. When we got to Rockland two hours later I didn't even want to get out of the car. It was in the low 50s, wet, cold and well, just plain shitty outside. Still, upon arrival it was clear that YES, the race was on. Oh God. Turns out they DID get the Coast Guard, EMTs, extra lifeguards, the Rockland Police and the Marine Guard to come on out. All this for a SMALL race. There might have been 40 participants, total. As Alina had predicted, the water along the sheltered side of the breakwater was remarkably calm (on the right). On the other side (the left) it was all waves and rough chop. We wouldn't be able to do the whole course, which extended beyond the breakwater and around the Rockland Light House, which you can barely see in the picture at the end of the breakwater. Instead we would swim to the lighthouse, touch the dock, and return, making it approximately a 1.4 mile swim rather than 1.6. Many swimmers had signed up to do a 3.2 mile swim, and they would do the up and back twice.At the pre-race meeting the race director did his best to scare the shit out of us, making sure we understood all of the risks inherent in competing in this race, detailing the early signs of hypothermia so we could save ourselves before we needed to be saved, and explaining that the closer to the breakwater we got, the safer we would be. Oh boy. Alina and I went to the car to put on our wetsuits. We then tiptoed gingerly out on the wet, cold rocks to the dock (pictured above) to start the race. I wasn't sure I was going to actually do the race until I was in the water swimming. My feet were white and numb the moment I got out of the car, and I was chattering and turning blue instantly. Jumping into the water was actually a relief. It was 60 degrees to the outside's wet and cold 53 degrees, and in the ocean we were sheltered from the harsh wind and pelting rain. The race director set us off, and I went out hard. I got on the feet of John, a Mainer swimmer I know through Alina, but he was way too fast and I only held on for a few minutes before I lost him. Then I was alone. This was, I would learn, the theme of my weekend: racing alone. The pack was behind me and the super speedy folk (Alina and a few men) were ahead of me, too fast to catch. I settled into a rhythm and tried to stay focused. It took FOREVER to get to the lighthouse. Actually, it was more like 17 minutes, but it seemed an eternity. When I got there I touched the dock, took a breath and headed back. Still alone. The way back was annoying because by staying close to the breakwater you had to dodge a gajillion lobster buoys. Still, the way back seemed to take less time then the way there. Soon I was swimming up to the dock and saying hello to Alina and the few guys fast enough to stay up with her. She was third to finish, and the first woman. It took me a minute to realize that I was the second woman. Wahoo! Not bad for competing against REAL swimmers! _______________________________ The Next Day: Kennebunk Fireman Olympic Tri: My Day as an "Elite" When I signed up for this race I noticed they had an elite division. To enter said division it was suggested one be able to go faster than 2:30 for women, or 2:20 for men. Hmmm. I could do that. I had gone 2:20 At the Lobsterman Oly the year before... Ange had signed up for the race too, so I could race in her wave if I signed up for the Elite division. Why not? It would be fun! Ummm. What was I thinking? Let me say up front that I did just fine in this race. My time placed me second overall for women, second only to Catherine Sterling, who is definitely elite. (Case in point, she placed second to Cait Snow last week at the Timberman Sprint--but only lost to her by two minutes--and beat her out of the water (and everyone else) by a minute and a half. Right. Still, I did not belong in that wave, and I will never enter as an elite again. Catherine beat me by like 16 minutes. Conversely, the age grouper just behind me was only 10 seconds behind me. I may be at the top of the heap of age groupers, but I ain't no elite... Sigh. Live and learn. There are, of course, some super fun parts about being in the elite wave. You get to rack your bike in an ideal location, and it's far less crowded then in the age group section of transition. Plus you get to schmooze with the super fast folk. The down side of this would be that you feel like a tool for placing yourself with the fast folk... I chatted with Kurt and a few other "elites" and tried to enjoy that my race number was #11. I noted that Catherine and one other woman were the only other women in the elite wave. Fantastic. What the hell was I doing here??? (I forgot to mention that Ange decided not to do the race, so that whole aspect of the fun was blown...) I am not elite, but at least I held my own in the swim. Catherine beat everyone (including all of the men) out of the water by almost three minutes. Three other elite men (including Kurt) beat me out of the water, but I was the fourth to finish--and I was only about 30 seconds behind them. So, at the beginning at least, I kind of looked like I belonged. My swim felt relatively strong, but it was very strange to be in a wave with so few people. I am used to battling it out for a position and then having to dodge people in previous waves. There was a long run across the beach (they said 200 meters--I say more like 400). Anyway. I got to transition and just fumbled about. I was definitely NOT smooth. I finally tripped over to the mounting line and climbed onto my bike. Good-bye crowds!! It was the last of people I would see for the next hour. I did that WHOLE DAMN BIKE BY MYSELF. Why? Because I was ahead of all the age groupers, having started in the first wave and having had a fast swim, but I was way, way behind the elite men (and Catherine) on the bike. So it was me--and well, ME. Occasionally an elite man who I had beat out of the water or an age grouper who had caught up to me though he was in the second wave would pass me as if I was standing still. Several men shouted out, "Hey! Great swim!" as they passed. (code--how the FUCK did you get ahead of me, woman?) e.m.b.a.r.r. ASS.i.n.g. My quads were burning and I was discouraged. I just wanted off that damn bike. Then I would remember that I was, in fact, racing, and that just because I was alone, my time still mattered, so I needed to HTFU. I tried. I really did. But my bike split was still LAME. Not so lame as to cost me second, but lame all the same. I was so relieved to ride into transition and start the run. Finally there were people! A sprint was going on con-currently, and so the sprint athletes were already on the run course. Thank God. I passed people. I ran hard. I passed more people. I ran harder. I had a great run. Though not screamingly fast, it was the fastest I've ever run for a 10K after swimming and biking. Yahoo! Finally some success! Final results: 23:17 swim, 1:09 bike (the course was a little short), and 43:58 for the run. 2:21:20 2nd Overall. 1st AG. Of course, I wasn't first Ag really, because I raced in the open division. But whatever. I'm still counting it. Because I am an AGE GROUPER! Wahoo! I know who I am...and that feels good. I am Mary: IronMatron and Age Group Extraordinaire and I like it. I completely missed riding with my PEEPS. No more elite for moi! Still, thanks for making me feel welcome, Kurt. And I missed you, Ange!!! This is Kennebunk from Ocean Drive, site of the race.