Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The other side!

Well. Here I am. I have a ten part post planned, but I can't write it all out right now because I only have my Iphone. Do you know what a pita it is to type out a post with one finger? Still, I wanted to check in and say wahoo! I had a great race! And I ran that god damn marathon!

To run the marathon in an Ironman you really must execute the rest of the race correctly, and that is, simply put, not easy. I did the swim and bike according to plan- which is what I am most proud of. Let me tell you, it is not easy to hold back on the bike and let other girls get ahead of you that you know you could get. You have to have faith that you will get them on the run, knowing that even if you take it easy on the bike the run is still going to take every ounce of will power and fight you have.

My run was great for the first 15 miles, and then, as it does for everyone, it got wicked wicked hard. I was unbelievably bloated, I was so sick to my stomach that I couldn't keep down gel, and my farts were getting very close to Not being benign little stinkers. At mile 25, with just half mile to go it happened-- I started barfing and couldn't stop-- and the farting was, alas, not farting anymore. But I sort if recovered, made it through the final half mile, and then collapsed and spent the next hour hurling in the med tent. Ah well... At least I know I did what I set out to do: I literally ran until I collapsed! (I'm proud.):)

My splits were 1:05 for the swim ( very rough and cold!)I finished 3rd AG so even though it was slow I was pleased with that; 5:56 for the bike which is what I could pull out given my wattage caps (I was 11th AG coming off the bike), and 4:04 for the marathon, which is slower than I wanted but still in the ballpark of what I had anticipated. I finished 8th AG, so I did run a few fading girls down. Yay!

8/145 for AG, and I think 42nd female including pros, and 29th female not including them. No kona yet, but I will get there! I will write a more detailed post when I'm not composing on the phone. I've got some stories! Thanks for following me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tomorrow I depart....

Thank God. I need to do this f-ing race already.

Today I packed while my kids ran rampant--under the sprinkler, through the house with wet muddy feet, through the garden, over the swingset. Yep. School's OUT!

I had a good hard swim this morning which was nice because I feel like taper is turning me into a big blob. Then I went running and tried to imagine mile 20 of the marathon. It wasn't happening, so I just ran.

And that's all she wrote in terms of workouts... Yep. I'm done. I have a few minutes of s/b/r on Friday, and a blip of s on Saturday, but other than that.... It's just that 140.6 on Sunday. no problemo.

I am so ready for this if for no other reason than if it doesn't come soon I will go insane. I do NOT do well when I train this little. It is quite possible taper will kill me. I feel like a pent up wild animal.

Interesting image there.

Anyway. DID you know I share a birthday with THREE amazing triathletes? One, Craig Alexander--who is of course the most awesomely delish pro out there (oh, and he's actually good, too, huh/) and then Molly (who won Lake Placid--won it!) and then Dave--who is an uber runner/triathlete who is only a few years younger than me. (just a few.)

I'm going to try to post after the race, but that depends on how good the internet connection is (or is not) at our cottage. We rented on Lake Hayden so that we could get some R&R for a week after the race. (Or as much R&R as you can get with three little people, anyway.) The owner of the cottage said she is taking out the water trampoline for us, and let me tell you, I think I'm more excited for that than the race! She warned us it was cold. WHATEVER. We're Maine stock and also have wetsuits if that's not enough.

Anyway, you should be tracking me, of course, so you will know how it goes down. See you on the other side. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

No, it's not today. It's tomorrow. And as you ALL MUST KNOW BY NOW, I am turning 40. I have been basically obsessed with this fact since I was 38.5, so I feel a sense of relief that my b-day is tomorrow and it will be official. 4. fucking. 0. And really, Thank God. Thirty-nine is so ominous--so it's almost here. Forty is just clean. It is even.
It is.

By the way, my birthday makes me a Cancer in terms of astrology. Although you likely won't admit it, you do know a bit about the signs. Am I right? Maybe not if you are a guy, but definitely if you are a girl. My rising sign is Scorpio, by why of explanation, because if you do know something about the signs, you would know that Cancer doesn't appear to quite fit. (No need to mention that this may be b/c astrology is bullshit.)
If I had my choice I would be an Aries. I love Aries. They are confident--cocky even. I also like Virgo, because they are steady and intellectual. I am not steady at all. I could use some steadiness. 

That was a throw-away paragraph, and normally I would delete it for this reason, but it's almost my birthday, so I am keeping it even though it doesn't fit.

I am not saying much this morning, but I will say this:

Yesterday I went to a swim meet and watched my daughter compete in the 100 meter fly--long course--at MIT.

She is eight.

It took her a long time--2:45 to be exact. The first 25 was just beautiful. Her stroke is nearly flawless now--for 25 meters, anyway. Then it begins to fall away. She began breathing every stroke at about the 40 meter point. At the turn I thought for sure she would pause to compose herself.

But she didn't. She just kept going. No, it wasn't especially pretty. Her arms barely skimmed the surface, and by 75 meters it looked as if she was practically swimming in place. But she didn't give in. She didn't do a breaststroke kick (which would've disqualified her). She just kept going. And she finished. I couldn't see her face because she was at the far end of the pool, away from me. I saw she allowed the timer to help her out of the water.

When I watched her finished I got teary.
Everything makes me teary right now, of course. I am celebrating a big b-day, today is the week anniversary of letting Linus go, in a few days time I am doing an Ironman and I am very very nervous about it. Still, I think the tears may have been just because her finishing was poignant.

You need to keep going. 
After you turn 40, after your puppy dies, when you are in the second half of the marathon of an Ironman, when you are swimming the 100 meter fly in a race.
You keep going. It is that simple.

When I asked her how it was she said simply, "It was tiring." Then I asked her what her favorite event was that day. She had done a 50 meter free, 50 meter breast, 100 meter back, too. (The day previous was 50 fly, 50 back, 100 breast. 100 free--Big weekend for a little kid!)
Anyway. I thought she would say the 50 meter free, in which she PR'd and placed well. But you know what? She said she liked the 100 fly the best! "Really?" I said. "But why?"

"Well, because I felt like I really did something. And now I want to try it again. I know I could swim it better next time."

GOD I felt connected to her in that moment. I get that, Jordan. I get it.
Bring on the Ironman.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I started taper this week. Taper makes me feel helplesssssss. I know that many of you are like me--which is to say obesseive and compuslive and addicted to the knowledge that you just went out and worked out for five hours so you are definitely getting it done.

Taper makes me feel like I'm getting nothing done. This is ironic since I have actually gotten an enormous amount done since taper began. I've done things like hung pictures, paid bills, sorted my closet and my drawer(s) that contain my workout garb, replaced ink cartridges, written thank you notes and obsessed over my AG competition at CDA, and updated my athlete schedules until after I get home form Idaho. You know, important stuff. I also sent Mrs. Z away. She's on route to CDA. I think that means I'm actually going to go there, and I'm actually going to race.

My training and taper for CDA have been different than they were for LP.

How? Oh, I don't know. The actually weren't that different. They just feel different. I have the same fabulous coach, and she is training me in a similar way as she did last time.

My training for LP was done in the midst of a rather massive mid-life crisis, while I was still working. I got down to race weight for LP because I got sick, and was also in ummm-- turmoil.  Despite this, my training volume was actually higher than my volume for CDA. My CDA training involved more long riding, but fewer total hours.

During taper for LP I had a UTI which I didn't actually know about until it became full-blown during the race. (very special.) I never felt good when tapering for LP. I was taking Ibuprofen every day to keep a slight fever down and I just felt tired and grumpy. I remember I kept emailing Ange and complaining that I needed taper.. I just ached to do less than I was doing.

This time taper feels different. I feel like I am finally feeling a bit rested--which is, I think, what I'm supposed to feel. My times in swimming and biking have shot back up this week to where they normally are. For awhile there I wondered if I would ever swim faster than 1:25 pace or run faster than 8:30s ever again. What a freaking relief to go out there and swim and run well! (or well for me.)
I'm thinking this is all good. Still, you never know.

Another thing I feel good about is that I have A PLAN.
It's not a sort of plan, it's a PLAN.

The gist is:

Just swim. Don't loaf, but don't KILL IT. Try to get clean water. Don't panic and don't go hypoxic.

The bike. KP the master power man talked to me last weekend (thank you, btw) and helped me to understand how I need to ride the bike using the meter. I already knew how I needed to ride the bike, but he talked me through it in a way that was CONCRETE. There is the old don't go too hard idea -- which is all well and good but what the fuck does it really mean? How hard is too hard? I am competitive and impatient, and nothing is too hard in my mind if I want to pass the chick with the 40 on her leg.

So we talked ranges in terms of power. This is the range for downhill, this is the range for flats, this is the range for hills, and most importantly, this is your superthreshold number which you should do everything you can to NOT HIT.

Okay. I get it. I ran the bike plan past Jen, and she said GOOD. Exactly. We have always talked about it in terms of not spiking the hr (because until now I only had hr to work with, of course.) This works except that there is such a lag in the reporting of hr that it makes it easy to just blow it off when climbing a hill or passing. Oh! No problem! I'm still in zone 2 (when 10 seconds later it registers that you are, in fact, in zone 4).

The run. My plan is to run it. My plan is to not walk the water stops--to not walk at all. It won't be smoking fast. I get that now. I did LP and I understand how the marathon is NOT LIKE a marathon. It's a different beast. You go slowly--much more slowly than you can in real life running. My plan is to keep a pace that allows me to run approximately 30 minutes slower than my marathon PR. If I can do that, I will officially consider myself a GODDESS. I have nothing against a little walk except that I know what happens when I walk when I am that fucked up tired. It HURTS to start running again. It hurts more than just continuing to run. So I'm going to just keep running until I keel over. Hopefully I will reach the finish line before that happens. The goal for this race is to run the second half of the marathon. That is really, in the end, what I need and what I want and my biggest biggest goal.

I also have a fueling plan, but that's even more boring to detail. It involves eating and drinking 220-240 calories an hour and taking salt tabs. UUEUE!

I know I'm boring right now, but forgive me. I am laser focused on getting this fucker done.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Yesterday my youngest, Lara, turned five. She will go to kindergarten next year, and all of my children will be in elementary school. On Sunday we threw her a party with a jumpy castle and I made her a cake.

Also yesterday, the best dog ever, my so sweet and awesome pup, died. The vet wasn't sure if it was renal failure, or maybe bladder cancer, or maybe the tumor on his bottom pressing against his organs. It didn't matter. He was in pain, and 98 years old in people years. And he was deaf and mostly blind, and really could not walk very well anymore. And he was ready to die. But that doesn't make it okay.

And next week I turn forty.
and then a few days later I do an Ironman.

I am occupying a weird space.

I have a few ideas for good posts, and they are coming. But first I need to say that a few days ago I was 26. I was moving into an apartment, and living alone for the first time. And I got a puppy and I named him Linus.
A few days after that I moved in with Andy, got another dog, Minna, got married and then just a few days after that I had three babies (on separate days, of course.) I nursed them all for many days, and then after just a little bit, they could walk and talk and swim and go to school and write and read.

And then yesterday my little yellow puppy was lying in my lap as the vet pushed in the needle that would stop his heart.

Someone needs to tell me how this happened... how time got moving at warp speed and brought me here. I can't be forty next week. I can't have lost my little yellow puppy. I just got him. I just brought him home to my little apartment with just a bedroom and a bathroom and me and him.

RIP Linus and Minna. I hope you are with each other again. I miss you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A little photo shoot:

Does Mrs. Z look sexy OR WHAT?
I'm slightly worried she will make the boy bikes swoon if she's seen in public. I'll try to counsel her through it, as I know just how this feels--to be objectified because you are so damn hot. It's just really hard to deal.

Seriously--she does cleans up well. And also seriously, I will be giving no advice on how to fight off advances since right now I am positively homely with stress acne and raggedy nails and untamed hair that I am too busy to give a damn about. I'm going to have to get myself cleaned up to match Mrs. Z before I make my way to Idaho in just two. short. weeks. Oh mama!

This paragraph is really for the chick readers:
Don't you feel like you need to beautify before you race? Pedi/Mani, waxed and shaved, trimmed and colored and coordinating attire? Really! I don't know about you, but I treat races like the prom.  Then on race day I get up at the crack of dawn, pull my hair back without combing it and go sans make-up. Then I pummel myself into oblivion until I am a blistered, bloody, chafed, salty, sweaty, urine soaked wreck.
That pre-race beautifying-- it truly defies logic.

But I am off topic. Mrs. Z has had her new crank installed--her new crank with the ever so hotter than hot SRM. Now I just need to learn how to read the meter and interpret its (hopefully not) cryptic knowledge about what I need to do on the bike at CDA--all before Tuesday when she is sent off via TriBike to the wild west.

NO. PROBLEM. I have Andy working for me 24/7 installing and calibrating and hooking up and mounting (that doesn't sound good--although perhaps it speaks to my open-mindedness as a wife?) and so on.
I am frantically in touch with Jen to figure out how to determine the ballpark IM wattage goal for CDA before next Tuesday. ek!
I am trying to figure out good ways to thank my friendly SRM dealer for helping me on the power front. A case of beer? Eternal gratitude? 1000 more PITA emails from yours truly asking how to use power data to up my game?

And now I'm off to play with my new toy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Who Needs Mt Lemmon? Just go to Connecticut!

I had no idea.
Just one state away.

The hardest riding... EVA.

Oh whatever, I'm sure you're coming up with every hard place to ride in the country--the world. I know I haven't ridden so many places that I have the authority to say CT is a bitch and a bear to ride  more than most places.
However, I'm here to tell you that Connecticut, at least southwestern CT, is a hell of a place to train if you want hill work. Actually, more at Mountain Work.

I was supposed to race in CT this weekend. The Rev 3 Oly. I didn't. That is a post in itself. I'm not that interested in writing about it (it feels yucky to do so) so I will give it only a pararaph:

A few of my key workouts sucked last week--or, I should say, I sucked when trying to execute them. I was tired. And so when it came time to get ready to race, Coach Jen said NO. And for once in my stubborn existence, I listened. First I threw a tantrum, and then I cried, but in the end I said, Okay, I won't race. I know it should've been an easy decision. But it was not. Understand that skipping Rev 3 Oly means that I care enough about CDA not to take any risks to jeopardize the outcome there.  I can't look back and say, Oh, maybe if I hadn't raced that Oly....When you attempt to do everything right, you have nothing to fall back on if things don't go right. It is a risk in itself. It is not a risk I take lightly, or with which I sit easy. I'm not sure I have articulated exactly what I am trying to say. I think it may be as simple as saying-- I fear failing--I fear it when I have done everything in my power not to fail.

Okay! Enough on that!

Back to CT.
Holy shit! Is there ANY flat part of southwestern CT? If you live there, do tell....

I rode on Saturday as all my Mainer friends (Ange, of course, and Melissa (Okay, Mel is from MA), Mike, Matt, Stacy, Erin, Mary Lou, Tim, Rob, Ted, Nate, Doug) did their best to chill and get ready to race the 1/2 the next day. After examining an online map, I decided to stay on Rt 67 West as long as possible, and then turn around and come Rt 67 East home. There would be no turns for me except to follow 67. As I have covered on numerous occasions, getting lost is always a just around the corner reality for me, so I needed to make my journey as difficult to fuck up as possible.

Little did I know, route 67 pretty much went up a mountain.
Here is a view from atop a hill on my ride. I'm not sure what town I was in...maybe Milford? You cannot get the full effect of the elevation from the snapshot, but at least the picture captures the terrain well. It was beautiful country; truly pastoral.
Below are a few cows. I took this because I love this kind of cow--the kind who have those long bangs that go over their eyes.

Below: I didn't take this shot, but this is the kind of cow I'm talking about: How can he see? He is hilarious!

It was hot and humid while I rode, and I was just a sweaty mess by the time I got back. Despite my hard effort I had only averaged 14.5 mph!! Holy Moly! It was at this point that I began to realize that my friends racing the half were in for some fun...I am quite slow when I train, but ummmm. Not that slow.

I then went on a very hot run during which I fantasized about submerging my body into a lake full of ice. I was parched, salty, and so sick of hills. Even listening to Lady Gaga didn't help my mood and my desire to get back.

Of course when I got back to the hotel room I wanted to shower Ange with my stories of sweat and mountains and incredibly slow speed. I did, but I modified a bit. During the ride I couldn't stop thinking about how hard that freaking half was going to be. I was honestly concerned. I'm not sure anyone, save my friend Mike who had actually ridden the course a few weeks prior, knew how bad it might be--especially if the heat and humidity didn't lessen by the next day.  I was cooked, and I had only ridden 45 miles easy and done 5 short miles off the bike.

The next morning Ange got up at the crack of dawn to get ready to race. Her nervous energy is second to NONE. She muttered to herself and scurried frenetically, all the while trying to be quiet so I could sleep. Finally I was like, Just turn on the light! Who cares! Please! haha!  Soon she gave me a nervous hug goodbye, and I told her I'd see her at the waterfront. It was funny for me to think how we had reversed roles. Just a few weeks back it was me getting ready, my nerves close to panic as Ange lay in bed and as I prepared for FL 70.3. Your turn, Ange! Next year I need to make sure we get back on the same racing schedule.

 Hours later I was standing with my friend Nat as we watched Ange's and Melissa's wave (and Mary Lou's--who he was there to see) go off. 

Then we watched everyone come out of the swim. Here's Mel (this is  the only good picture I got of any of my friends. Too busy cheering!)
It was all very exciting. I never get to watch a triathlon unfold since I am always competing.

But then... sigh.... everyone was on the bike. I decided to go for a swim myself. I swam across the lake and back, and then I got out and watched the pros come in off the bike with Mark (Ange's husband) and her boys.

Here are Ange's boys acting super good. I took the picture so Mom could see how angelic they are when she is racing:

The highlight of this period of time was watching Craig Alexander get off the bike and then run right by me. I tried to bat my eyelashes and look hot, but he just ran past, oblivious to my attention. Ah well.... (Craig would go on to win, of course...)

Then the age groupers started to come in. Despite the fact that Ange's wave was the last to go off, she was still one of the first female age groupers out of the water and also one of the very first off the bike. 
When she ran past us, though, I knew that I hadn't been wrong to be concerned about the course and how they would fare.

This is Ange's WHAT THE FUCK!!!! expression as she went out on the run course.

Oh yes... I think the picture says it all, don't you?

I preceded to watch the rest of my friends get out on the run course. With the exception of Mike, who again, had ridden the course previously, the expressions were very similar to Ange's. 

Before I knew it it was time for the leaders to come in. I missed the win by Craig. (oh sad day...) and of Miranda Carfrae, but I watched a few pros come in and then the top male age groupers. You could tell from body language alone that it was NOT an easy day for anyone out there. The air was thick with humidity, and when in the sun you just ached to move to shade. 

Eventually we watched our friends run in... Doug, Nate, and then Mike (who totally stayed cool and had a phenomenal race) and Rob and Tim.. and then Ange. Oh boy could you tell she was ready for that race to end. 

We learned that Mary Lou had crashed on the course, and this was horrible horrible news. She had slid on a wet corner and had been brought to the hospital with a concussion and a broken collarbone.  Everyone else seemed to survive well enough (though Tim did spend some time in the med tent.) We watched everyone else come in--Stacy and Erin and Mel. The report was universally agreed upon: the race had been nothing less than brutal.

Ange was 1st age group and 8th or 9th amateur--even though her finishing time was a good half hour+ off what she normally does.

It was an epic day! 
Despite everyone's gruesome tales of the course I was still sad I hadn't raced, too. I do hate to feel on the sidelines. Center stage is more a favorite place of mine...
It did give me some power to watch all of my incredibly tough friends, though. There was some ENDURING to be had at that race. I need to take that with me, and use it on the marathon at CDA.
Next Post: 
I have a new friend.
It's an SRM delivered from Maine via my BFF. (cough. snicker) Thanks BFF. Thank you thank you thank you.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Maine Weekend Extravanganza Part Deux, aka Mary Gets her Ass Kicked in Biker Land by Biker Dudes (who are over 70)

I must say I was feeling pretty good coming off that swim meet. I know my post about it was boring, but really, the day was a good one. I was a cool kid swimmer. I swam 100 fly and 100 back as fast as my teen-aged self. I was looking svelte in my super cool fast skin. I was BFF with Alina, who is like SO cool in swimmer land and swims faster than the speed of my light. As a very special bonus, my kids didn't even drown or get abducted while I swam my events! (Jordan later described the day as one of the best of her life. "You had like no idea what we were doing! It was awesome! Do you know how many snacks I ate?" (Oh boy.... I get a parent prize for that, I'm pretty sure!)
Anyway, Life.was.good.

My good fortune continued. My mom agreed to take care of the kids the following morning while I competed in the Time Trial, and Alina agreed to come over with her kids to help out my mom and take over when my mom left for church. I was covered, AND my kids were in Heaven. First an all day affair where they could run loose and eat treats, and now a day with Gramma and Aunt Alina and the kids and NO MOM! Wahoo!

I got up way too early and set out for the race. My folks live in Cape Elizabeth where the TT was held, so it was only a short jaunt to get there. I parked and went to get my number.

Talk about different than what I'm used to... First I had to pay a fee for a one day bike license to race. (Actually, I didn't pay it. My friend Bob was very chivalrous and paid it for me so I wouldn't have to hike it back tothe car. I owe you a beer, Bob. Maybe two or three.)  Then they gave me my number. It was just a paper thing. I was shown how to put it on my jersey, sort of up under the arm pit where it could be viewed by officials. Oh, okay. Well, that's different! I fucked it up, of course. I was told later by my friend Chess (who kicked my ass in the race) that my number was upside down. Oops!

I saw a bunch of people I knew at sign up, so although I did feel out of my element at this bike thing, I still felt pretty comfortable. Erin, my neighbor growing up (and also my babysitter!) was there. She is an uber biker and I suspected she'd smoke everybody, guys and girls. I saw Ted, who was running the whole show, and I also saw Bob, of course. When we got back to the car Steve and his son Nick were there. It was cool. I knew people. I was not alone. Then my friends Stacy and Erin (another Erin) ran up to say hi. They were out for a long run and  not competing. That made me sad. I wanted them there!

I went to warm up. I decided I'd go steady for a bit on the course, and then check in back at the parking lot to see what happened when the race actually started. It was set to begin at 7:30 a.m., but I wasn't supposed to go until 8:06. I arrived back at about 7:35. An interesting scene had developed.

There was a little group of people who were in line waiting to get sent neatly onto the course. Then there was everybody else. It reminded me a little of bees swarming. You had the little center, where a bee would settle and then get sent on his way. Then you had the rest of them, hovering and doing loops around the parking lot, up down around up down around to stay perfectly warmed up. Most people had on KITS. Usually people dress in kits for triathlon, but they are sort of toned down kits--not a lot of writing and not so bright. Also, everyone had on skin tight long sleeves. Is this a cool trend about which I am not aware? There was a mixture of road bikes and TT bikes. Mrs Z fit right in. But I didn't.

I had on the cutest little green lululemon tank and my black Zoot tri shorts. I felt quite styling. Then Steve told me I wasn't supposed to wear a tank top. Apparently you must have sleeves to compete as a bike racer.
Really? Why? So I changed into my boring lime green running shirt I had brought to run in after this whole thing was over. Snore.

Anyway, I decided I would act like a bee, too. I hovered around looping in and out and in and out. I no longer recognized anyone b/c they were all decked in kit and helmet and serious face. Why was everyone so serious?  I did recognize Kurt, but I think that is only because he said hi to me and I figured out who he was only then. He looked very tall and bee like, too. I felt like a midget on a dwarf bike and in running clothes. Damn. I hate feeling like I am not in the know.

Finally I gave up on the bee thing and went to watch the people getting sent off onto the course. It was very organized and civil, the exact opposite of a mass wave start in triathlon or the mass start of a road race. I guess it most closely resembled a swim meet in its orderliness. I chatted with my friend Cathy as we waited to start. Cathy and I went to high school together. More importantly, Cathy HAD ON A TANK TOP. I was very jealous. (Cathy also has really cute Newfies at home (you know, the big black dogs). I am jealous of that too, but that has nothing to do with this bike race, of course.)

Finally it was my turn. I wobbled a bit after being sent off. It's a bit weird having someone balance you and then push you off. It reminded me a bit of sending a kid off without the training wheels for the first time. So I wobbled up the street and then, well, I started hammering. Isn't that what I was supposed to do? Hammer?

I was flying--22 mph, 23, 24, 26, 27! And then my quads started to burn. I was two minutes into the race. Hmmm. What exactly does hammer mean? Is this too much of a hammer? Not enough? I decided to stop thinking and just go hard and try to pass people. Passing people was fun. When you did, you KNEW you were ahead of them by a chunk of time, because you had started after them, of course. I was having fun until I got passed by some guy on a road bike. Here he is. I'm still happy and smiling for the camera, and he is just waiting to pass me and make me cry.

Do you like my cat eye glasses? They match my socks, which have cat eyes and whiskers. No one noticed this, however. I was slightly disappointed.

At this point we can have a form discussion. Most people look all scrunched in a ball when they are aero, like this: 

That is my friend Ted. It was his birthday today. I love that he is smiling! Note the long sleeves, the colorful kit and the scrunched position.

Now let us review me again. (You can also get a better glimpse of the cool glasses.)
How do I make myself more ball-like? And more importantly, should I want to make myself more ball-like? I await your expert opinions.

I know it doesn't appear I am working hard in this picture. I am. But it is slightly possible I could've worked harder. I'm simply not used to this ALL OUT thing on the bike. In a sprint or Oly you are all out, but the bulk of my training so far this season has not been geared toward that type of racing, that is for sure!

Toward the end my friend Chess passed me. She reallllllllyyyyy passed me, too. I was like in slow motion and she zipped by me effortlessly. That was slightly depressing, but it did give me a goal. I decided not to let her out of my sight until the finish. I had about 5 miles left. I could do it. I passed a few more people. I kept my eyes glued to Chess. On my final pass I darted by a man who had to be in his 70s. Little did I know he would have NONE of that. He picked up the pace and then preceded to hammer. I was like, ummm, aren't you supposed to drop back? Is that not a rule in cycling? Anyway, the man was NOT going to pass me. Two can play that game!  I put down the hammer and I raced him! I was laughing and hooting and hammering. He was not so jovial and I think he was genuinely quite pissed that I raced him to the end. Was I breaking some bike racing rule? Please tell me. I felt bad. I should've let him have it. In any case, he started five minutes ahead of me, so why the need to finish just in front of me?

I ended up placing 2n AG and 5th overall in 37:29, 21.6 average mph. That is not screaming fast, I know, but the course has a few good rollers, and I was racing on legs that have a few hundred million miles on them, so I was perfectly pleased. I would've been even more pleased if I had been fifth and there had been more than 15 women racing! My friend Chess won the whole thing, and Erin was second.

The fastest women were only a couple minutes ahead of me (Okay, Chess was 2.5 minutes ahead of me), but I must admit I was rather dismayed at how much slower I was then most of the men. I expect to not be close to Bob or Steve, but they seriously seriously kicked my ass--by almost five minutes! The fastest men (some guy named Doug and then Kurt) finished in an average of 27 mph. Dear God.

In the results I observed I would've placed at about 50th percentile for men. In triathlon I place much higher than that... interesting interesting interesting.
I noted that although the guy who raced me in the end didn't beat me, another man that age DID. I must say that many of the men that beat me looked significantly older than me AND had pot bellies. What is up with that? I will add here that Steve, Bob and Kurt do not have pot bellies. But a lot of the guys out there did.

I will leave you with a picture of:
Lorenzo! This is Alina's little bro!  He is single, ladies. I'm just saying. I like his outfit the best, too. Black is good. I remember when he and his little brother Alejandro would run around like little rugrats. It doesn't seem so long ago....

Tomorrow: At which I swim with Alina and company in the open water and drink pollen for breakfast. Also,  a few bonus kid shots. Here is a teaser. They stole the iPhone:

Long Weekend. Part Uno: Swim Meet!

This weekend I went to Maine. My home. Yes, I have lived in the lovely Boston area for 18.5 years, but I still consider Maine my home.

I swim for the Maine Masters, and they put on a "last-chance" swim meet this weekend in Westbrook. I swam at this pool for many a meet in my life: as a kid in Nautilus, for the middle school championship, for big meets like Southwesterns in high school. Entering the building was a little trippy. Nothing has changed. Not a bit. It's kinda nasty because it hasn't changed, to be honest. It needs serious rehab. Still, it was fun to be back.

Ange and I were asked to offer an Open-Water swim clinic before the meet. We did. It went well--AND we had eight people. I'd say that's an accomplishment! Then... the meet.
This was called the "Last-Chance Swim Meet" because speed suits are, very sadly, illegal for Masters' swimmers to wear in meets as of today. Last weekend was the last chance we had to put some times into our PB belts before the rule came into effect.

This matters more to "real" swimmers than to me, of course. I love swim meets, but they are only play. Because of this I decided to play with my events this weekend! I didn't do the 1650 or the 1000--events that might shed light on my current endurance fitness, but rather little events that I have never done, or haven't done for years.

I started with the 100 back. The rules of the 100 back have changed since I was a kid. First, you can't put your feet in the gutter when you do a back start. When I was a kid you could... you could even stand straight up and hold onto the blocks! (which I did...) Not using the gutter is hard, I think. I back-flop every time I try to start. Also, when I was young we weren't allowed to do flip turns during backstroke events. You had to do a swivel, open turn. They were VERY hard to master. I did them okay, but it was good fun to find out as adult that I could now flip onto my belly and do a quick flip turn. Ah.... So much better!
The 100 back was my first event of the day, and I felt fabulous. I did it in 1:15.1. This is GREAT for me. My fastest time in high school was a 1:13, done at States when I was only 14 years old. Two seconds is a lot, I know, but hey! I'll take it! I'm 40 and only swim three times a week! 

I then got out of the water, and was called to hop on the blocks for my next event, the 50 free. I love small meets because they are so low key. I hate them because the events are sometimes so close together (one or two heats per event) that you literally swim events back-to-back. I was still breathing hard from the back, and I was on the blocks again! The 50 free didn't go so well as a result. I was hoping to break 30, and I only did a 31.09. Ah well. My turn sucked, and that alone will add a second to your time. A sprinter I am NOT.

Then I had a little break, and then I was on the blocks for the 200 back. The only people signed up for this event were me and a Maine Masters friend who is over 70 and was trying to get in the national record book in  his AG for the event. My goal was to beat him, of course! I did beat him (only to be beaten by a 71 year-old man in a bike time trial the next day, but whatever)! I swam well and finished in 2:41. I've never done the 200 back, so it was a lifetime PB! Wahoo! I'm also just really tickled with that time.

The problem was, I finished the 200 back all pooped out, and I was on the blocks AGAIN almost immediately for my hardest event of the day, the 100 fly. I haven't done the 100 fly since high school, and it wasn't my event then so I don't remember what my best time was. I think it was around a 1:15 or 1:16, so I was pleased to GET a 1:16 ! I think I could've gone under 1:15 (my goal) if I hadn't just done the 200 back. Ahhh, well. I'll still take it. I swam the 100 fly in a heat with all men, who all went like a minute or faster. Haha! I think I was starting my last length when they finished.

Alina was a crazy woman cheering me on for my events, especially the fly. Long and lean! she screamed, Long and lean! I must admit on that last length of the fly I was NOT thinking long and lean... I was thinking don't barf and don't scooter!

Alina swam two events (not including relays)--the 200 fly and the 400IM. Woah. Can you imagine? And fyi, those were Ange's events in college. (Leave it to Ange to swim the toughest events possible, huh? :) Anyway, Alina was only one of a few people to swim the 200 fly.  Both her 100s for the event were faster than my fastest 100. I don't feel so bad since she is ranked in the top 10 nationally in the 100 fly in her AG. She did the 400 IM all by herself. No one else signed up! (I can't imagine why...)She finished it in 5:30. Yep, that's just about what I do my fastest 400 free in! What a rock star she is....

As we swam, all six of our kids (Alina has three, I have three) roamed the premises, playing, being naughty, eating tons of food from the snack bar. Overall they were pretty good, though. And they could watch us swim! (except they were too busy playing to notice us...)

I was wiped after the meet. We went home and had dinner with my mom and dad, and then went to bed early because Sunday was my first bike time trial!

I'll post about that tonight. Ciao!