Saturday, August 28, 2010

Running off the Bike

I have been resting this week. It's been nice but also disconcerting. I rely heavily on training to make me feel a number of things: alive, justified in relaxing, like I am moving toward something of import. Without it I always feel sort of helpless--like I am letting something I've worked hard for go.

So, unsurprisingly, I was so excited to get up and ride this morning. It's been five days since Timberman, and I was ready to tear it up! I started early in the morning and felt awesome (and rested!).

Then a chipmunk ran out in front of me and I ran over him. Like RIGHT over him.

That may sound funny, but it really made me sad. I went back to check the spot--hoping maybe I hadn't killed him. But I did. I killed him. (or her.) The rest of my ride was sort of lackluster after that. I get to feeling good again, and then I would remember that I callously smushed wildlife and took a life.. When I got home and I told Andy he gave me a hug, and for some reason that made me cry. I know it's just a chipmunk. But I killed it.

Poor guy.

Okay. Enough on that.

I got a number of comments on my last post about running off the bike, and that made me want to write about it.

It is really looked down upon to run poorly off the bike. Have you noticed that?

Triathletes--especially very experienced triathletes-- have disdain for it. I liken it to college seniors rolling their eyes at freshman who when partying barf at like 9 a.m. because they haven't yet learned proper partying pacing. It takes a season of heavy drinking to build up tolerance and to understand the subtle art of drinking enough to make one wasted enough to secure a hook up--but not to puke before--or especially during that hook-up. It doesn't matter if one pukes after the hook-up. Likewise--you don't want to fall apart on the bike or during the run (puking during the bike or run is especially unfortunate)--but if you fall apart or barf after the race is over, then that is fine. The analogy works quite well.

So aside from simply gaining experience, what things contribute to an athlete having a good run after a good bike? It is a combination of things for sure--and not always the same things.

Some people will have you believe it is straight forward. I don't believe it is. One belief is that if you go too hard on the bike--especially if you hit "superthreshold" heart rate or watts too many times for too long each time during the bike leg, your run will be in the crapper. However, I know people who race the bike incredibly hard from start to finish and they are still able to pull out a good run--even when the data says they should not have one.

That said, for MOST people that theory holds true. It is not smart to stand up on your pedals and hammer up a hill at peak wattage in the start of an Ironman, for example. It will certainly not HELP your run, and it very well may kill your run if you do it too many times.

There are a number of other things that can kill your run, though. Here is a short list:
- you didn't take in enough fuel on the bike
- you took in too much fuel on the bike
- you took in the wrong combiniation of fuel on the bike.
- you had only one type of sugar on the bike
- you didn't take in enough fuel etc on the run
- you cramped on the bike or you cramped on the run
- you held a pace/wattage that was way too high on the bike even if it felt "easy" at the time.
- you took the run out too hard
- your training volume on the bike was too low
- your training volume on the run was too low
- your training volume, in general, was too low
- you did too much work above the correct hr when training
- you did too much work too far below threshold during training

OR it could be as simple as:

- you suck at running
- you suck at biking and it took a lot out of you even though you didn't bike hard
- You had bad luck

I think it's important to list out reasons for a possible failure on the run because people are SO quick to make assumptions as to why a run sucked. The truth is there are so many variables, and any combination of them can cause trouble. 

I think the thing people like to blame most is nutritional failures on the bike. I think the nutrition explanation is usually bunk. Most of the time people simply haven't done the training on the bike or the run or both to insure a good run--especially at the longer distance events. You can argue with me on that--but I'm pretty sure I am right.

Now the question--why was MY RUN 15 minutes slower than my 1/2 marathon PR at the half on Sunday?

Answer: My run volume and bike volume going into the event was not sufficient. Also, I have been running like shit for awhile now--probalby because of accumulated fatigue from IM training and racing.. Finally, that run course is hard, damn it!

It may be I am wrong about why I didn't run closer to the time I can do for an open 1/2 marathon. I don't know.
I'm open to your opinion, even though I will likely not listen to you. 
Here is a picture from my run at Timberman. I think I am looking svelte... even if I am also clearly not running fast enough!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Timberman 70.3 Race Report

 It always feels good to be on the other side. Ahhhh…..

I have been draggggggginnnnggggg a bit this summer, and I was worried last week that my mojo wouldn’t return in time for the race. But it did.

Since CDA I have been chillaxin’. I wanted to enjoy summer and not stress about training, and so that was what I did. I wasn’t completing all of the workouts Jen had set out for me (specifically on the swim), and the workouts I did do were done with less verve than usual. During my last few road races I haven’t had a lot of fight, and I did have moments last week where I thought maybe I shouldn’t race at Timberman at all. But I really wanted to race—really because all of my friends were there and Andy was racing. So with Jen’s help (she gave me several very long pep talks this week) I fought my way into a good mental state for the race.

And I ended up having a good race.

It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t the sub-five effort I had pined for when planning my season last winter. But it was a good, strong, hard effort, and I’m proud of myself for pulling it out.

The short version
  • Hard swim—rougher and slower than past Timbermans—I think for everyone 32:02, 5th AG.
  • Strong bike on which I felt awesome 8th AG 2:44:26 . Cool temps and little wind.
  • Okay run, not my best by far, but not my worst either. 1:47:15 (11th AG) The rain and cool temperature really helped me out on the run.  It could’ve been ugly—but instead it was only a little ugly.
  • Total Time--5:08:02. 4th/149, 391/2141Overall

The Long Version:
I got up at 4:00 a.m. and choked down about 400 calories of breakfast. Argh. I love to eat, but eating pre-race is just the worst. I have been experimenting with pre-race morning breakfast. A bagel and pb is too heavy, so I tried having just a little bagel and pb, a banana (or some of it anyway), most of a bottle of Ensure, and coffee. I think it worked okay.

Andy and I got on the road by 4:40. We were staying a half hour away in Wolfboro. When planning for Timberman I forgot to find lodging, and by the time I got around to it there was not much available. But it totally worked out. We entered Ellacoya from the opposite side of the lake as everyone else was entering, and so we slipped right in to park our car—no line—at 5:10. I took this as a sign that the day was going to be a good one.

I have a pre-race routine at this point. Here it is (because I know you are all fascinated by such things!)
Step 1: Eliminate. Aka trip to porta potty. This is wise because no one is in line yet. Everyone is entering transition at this point and getting marked.
Step 2: Get body marked. Set up transition.
Step 3: Eliminate: The lines are still not bad at this point, but they will be soon. Even if I don’t really need to go, I go.
Step 3a: Warm up. (note: this only happens in races shorter than 70.3. I only do a swim warm up for 70.3 and up….)
Step 4: Double check everything in transition. Grab wetsuit and head to water.
Step 5: Eliminate. This is usually unnecessary but better safe than sorry, I always say. There is usually a line at this point, so I get some pre-race meditation done while I wait, or some socializing, depending on who I see.
Step 6: Put on wetsuit and get in water to warm up.
Step 7: Eat a gel.
Step 8: Freak out because the pros have just gone off.
Step 9: Continue to freak out – putting goggles on and off over and over again – until my wave starts.

In most races I stand with Ange until we enter the water. We are always the first to cross the timing mats after they let our wave in. (Yes, we those annoying ones who MUST be first.) The first ½ Ange and I ever did was at Timberman, and so the start of the race brought me back to that first time. I was absolutely terrified before the start that day. I remembering saying goodbye to Ange before the canon went off and feeling like I was saying goodbye forever—like as soon as we put our faces in the water we were headed for the grave.

This year we pushed our way to the front as we usually do. I like routine.  However, this year it was a beach start as opposed to the deep water start of other years. I must say I like the deep water start better. I had to do like 12 dolphin dives before I even got close  to being able to really swim because it was so shallow. But other than the dozen or so dives I got right into it. I found some feet attached to a girl in a Farmer John and tried to move as quickly as I could to stay on them.

The water was warm and I felt suffocatingly hot in my wetsuit. I tried not to think about it. It threw me, though…. this wasn’t the Timberman swim I knew. The start was all wrong, the water was way too warm, there was no sun glare because it was very overcast, and worst of all – the water was not CALM. The swells were large and annoying and I kept swallowing water. WTF! Timberman is a calm swim! It is cold and calm! Where was I!? Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming….

I followed Farmer John girl off course and wouldn’t you know it? I smacked my head right into a kayak! Duh. I stopped after hitting and looked up at the dude in the kayak kind of stunned. He pointed to the buoy I was supposed to swim toward. Oh shit! I said aloud and then Farmer John girl (who had also stopped) and I headed over to the buoy. Argh. When will I learn NOT TO FOLLOW PEOPLE and to sight on my own?

I lost Farmer John girl and I didn’t care. I was feeling hot and grumpy, and the swells were really pissing me off. I needed an attitude change, and fast… and I was thinking this I swam right onto a light blue capped woman who was moving… well, very slowly. I apologized and then moved on. I was NOT having a great swim for sure.

But it ended. I clicked my watch (31:50) and heard the announcer say, First purple cap out of the water!
WHATTT???? I don’t think so… Ange is in this race!
Then I heard him say, Oops! I stand corrected. THIRD purple cap out of the water! Okay… that was more like it—Ange,  Farmer John, then me. Then I heard my friend Mike shouting, GO Mary! Third, Mary! Third! 

 Coming out of the water with my super cool orange Blue Seventy goggles.

(Later I found out I was actually fifth. Umm…. Did the purple caps just sneak out of the water or something so no one could see them?)

I got stripped and found my rack. But where was my bike? I ran up and down the line of bikes? Panic. Where was it? Where was it? 643….639… 635… Oh My God Oh My God Oh My God! Then she appeared… suddenly taking shape in front of me. Weird! Okay… helmet, shoes, belt, GO!

I was psyched to be on the bike. It was cool outside, I knew the course, and I was third in my AG to be out on the course (except I was actually fifth.) I immediately passed a girl with a 43 on her leg. Okay. One down! Only Ange to go! (except, apparently, there were actually two others…) 

I worked the bike from the start. My goal wattage put me straight into zone 3—and I felt it. Could I really hold this for 56 miles? Who cares! I was having fun! I got down snug in aero and stayed there, and starting playing stick as close as you can to your goal watts no matter what the elevation. It’s a fun game. It occupies me when I could space out and notice other things like how I am breathing too hard for this early in the race.

The bike didn’t feel easy. But it felt good. Do you know what I mean? I just felt great out there and I was really happy to be on the bike. What was going on!? My swim had sucked and my bike was going awesome? Huh? I had the best time on the flat part of the course. I just tucked into aero and pushed hard. I passed a lot of people, and played cat and mouse with a bunch of guys in their 50s (the wave before us). Then I passed my friend Mary Lou. It occurred to me then that maybe I was working too hard. I don’t pass MLou in races. She told me to Go for it…as I passed.

Was I in trouble?

On the way back to Ellacoya I came across a pack of people as we ascended a big hill. I saw a woman in the pack and of course checked for an age number on her calf. 40. Ummm… another one? But then I looked again. It was ANGE! Holy shit! I had caught up with Ange! (Again the doubt swept over me—was I in trouble? Had I worked too hard? I had stuck to my goal watts…? But were they too high?) 

Who cares! I had caught up to Ange! I made it my mission to stay with her. I passed. She passed back. She passed. I passed back. It was WEIRD and fun too. Whenever she passed me I just told myself, STAY ON HER ASS—do not let her go! It was comfortable… but we both clearly meant business. And then another chick passed us—with a 40 on her leg. WTF! Where did she come from? The three of us came into transition at the same time.  I hopped off my bike and clicked the Garmin 505 on my bike, and it flew off and onto the ground behind me. Fuck! Where was it? Do I go back and get it? Ummm…. Yes, Mary, that sucker is not cheap. I dropped my bike to the ground and scrambled around to find it. I saw it, scooped it up, picked up my bike and ran across the mat. When I got to my spot in transition Ange already had on her shoes and was running out. Damn! Still, I had my Garmin. That was a relief.

On to the run. I stuffed the gels I had picked up in transition down my bra, and then struggled to put my Garmin around my wrist. Then I settled in. The goal was to hold 7:50 pace. I ran a 7:45 first mile, and I felt great and I felt like it was easy. I knew that easy feeling wouldn’t last long, so I tried to savor it. I held onto that pace for the first six miles, and I have to say, it stayed easy that whole time. Christine passed me early on in the run, and I briefly wondered what she had done there that caused her to be so far back. It must have been a porta potty stop—nothing else would’ve taken that long. So I was running in third. I wasn’t thinking about catching Christine or Ange. I know them both—(Christine raced with me at FL 70.3) and I know they were likely running a minute faster per mile than me. I wanted to catch them, but if I ran too hard early I would pay. I stuck to the pace I knew I could do.

At mile 7 things started to get hard. I began to doubt that I had the endurance to hold on. I had been running so little—I didn’t deserve to have a good race etc etc…. I tried to shut out the thoughts. My pace slowed slightly, but I was holding my pace under 8 minutes per mile. At about this time Maggie passed me – Maggie with a big fat 43 on her leg. Damn! I couldn’t catch her—she was moving easily and she was fast. I prayed she was just on her first loop, but I kinda knew she wasn’t. She looked too strong to be just starting her first loop, if you know what I mean. The fact that many of the 40-44 year old women were on the course now did mess with me, though. I would pass a woman with a 40+ on her leg and wonder what loop she was on—first or second? It had to be her first  … I had been third at the start, right?

Friends shouted to me from the sidelines and from the course. (Thanks to Elaine, Kevin, Suzy, Kim, Ange, Andy, Mark, Keith, Rob and Courtney for cheering for me!) I tried to smile and wave, but I was really focused on holding on. Mile 11 was almost all uphill, and it was a slow mile. I began to despair, but I knew the last mile of the race was flattish and then down, if I could just get there. At mile 12 I picked it up and decided to run under 7:45 pace if it killed me. I felt bile in my throat, and I felt a little woozy, but I would do it, God damn it!  I crossed the line in 5:08:02 and ran right into Ange’s arms. Later I found out the number 5 woman in my AG was hot on my heels—that I had only beaten her by 16 little seconds! Thank God I had been able to pick it up on that last mile!

Right after finishing. I am thrilled to have finished 4th!

A few minutes later Andy came in. He had a GREAT race… He had a solid swim (37 minutes), a great bike (2:39) and a smoking run (1:30). He finished in 4:52 and was in the top quarter of the 40-44 year old men. I think it was a little weird for him to finish so deep after having a successful race. He's used to the running world--and here in tri land it's a bit different: the 40-44 year old men are the biggest, baddest and toughest AG for sure (maybe not the fastest, but the deepest and most difficult to place in, I think...) I’m impressed as hell with his finish. It's his first 1/2 and he really didn't train that much for crying out loud! It’s that damn run of his… he is so fast there. He was actually miffed at his 1:30, knowing he can run much faster than that. (That is the trick of IM, though, huh? Running up to one’s potential off the bike. It's certainly my biggest problem! I was fifteen minutes off my 1/2 marathon PR for the run! That's a lot!)

Andy and I post finish. Thanks for the picture, Jodi! I'm framing it! 

Anyway, It was a great race for both of us, and an awesome way to celebrate making it to year 11 of our marriage. 

That was the day! More pictures to follow... I know my friend Mike got some good ones!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Timberman/Anniversary/Puppies and other Stuff

Saturday we travel to NH to compete in the Timberman 1/2! This will be my third Timberman, my sixth half Ironman, and my twenty-second triathlon.

I feel like I have done more triathlons that that, but I just counted them up, and that is the number--21 so far: four in 2007, seven in 2008, six in 2009 and three so far in 2010.
The breakdown of that 20:
Eight sprints, sixth Olympics, five Halfs and two Full IM.

Fascinating, huh? Should I count up my road races now? Just kidding. That would take a month...

I am psyched to race this weekend. I have been dragging in mojo-land a bit for the last few weeks, but I think I'm ready to roll for this race. Jen keeps assuring me that my endurance is there--that it doesn't just evaporate overnight--and that I have done the work to keep myself sharp. I am choosing to believe her because 1. She has been at this game longer than me and knows her stuff and 2. Why not? It doesn't do me much good to not believe her, now does it?

So I am going to hammer this puppy. I plan to swim hard, bike hard (although I do have a wattage cap and I will not go super-threshold on those stinking hills! I did learn something, Kurt!) and I will hammer the run (although I will not take it out too fast--I promise, Jen.) I'm going to nail my nutrition: 1 gel at the start and 8 gels during the event, three bottles of water/sports drink and sports drink (what are they serving now? I can't remember) at all running stops that don't include intake of a gel. (Nine gels... argh..... I did get some new flavors, Thank God. Have you ever tried Pineapple?)

Anyway, it will be an awesome race for me. I know it.

I think I might be most psyched for this race because Andy is doing it. Naturally I've always wanted Andy to become a triathlete, but I didn't think it would happen. Truthfully, it still may not. He is a runner first (wait, have a bragged yet about how he has run a 2:41 marathon??) , but lately he has discovered bike racing and I think that will take off as the new obsession/true love for him.  If I can get him to do a few tris each season I will be a happy camper, though. He will do great at Timbeman if he doesn't fry himself on the bike. He is a great runner--and will reel people in big time if he keeps a little gas in the tank. It will be fun to see. HOPEFULLY, I will able to watch him finish because my wave starts 20 minutes ahead of his.  I will use the thought that he is going to pass me any minute on the run to motivate me. If he passes me on the bike I may have to spit at him, though.

Andy and I celebrate our 11th anniversary on Saturday, so our 1/2 is kinda sorta a way to celebrate. Those of you who are married longer than a few years know it is a big deal to make it to eleven. We have both grown and changed a lot in the last 15 years since we got together. Sometimes those changes went over well--sometime not so much. But we have made it this far--and we are racing together on Sunday. Not many couples race together. Have you noticed that? It is one or the other conceding to the lifestyle, and not necessarily embracing it. Andy gave me racing--he brought it to me. He did not know the monster he was creating when he first brought me down to the Brew Run in 1995...
but thank you, Andy. It was a big gift.

Anyway, enough gooey sentiment. In four weeks we will get out real anniversary present. We are getting our two new pups. Andy and I raised our first two puppies together--saw them through their lives--and then their deaths. We are starting again now. That seems symbolic to me. Oh wait, more goo. Sorry.

Okay.. none of this has anything to do with Timberman. IN SHORT. I plan to race like a superstarrrrr....
My prediction is that Ange will not only win our AG, but also be the first female amateur.
I have a whole ton of friends racing... Mel, Kim, Rob, Keith, Jana, Suzy, Kevin (I'm thinking Kevin will be first amateur out of the water--and he will beat many pros, too, though probably not Potts). Also Jon and Mandy will be racing--who I haven't met but who are bloggy friends. Hmmm. I feel like I am missing people. Sorry if I missed you. It will be a partA for sure.

Okay, and just one more thing about the Smurf stuff. This morning I was reading the Portland Press Herald article on the B2B 10K that my mom saved for me. In it Rob--of smurf commenting fame--was quoted because he was the third Mainer to finish. All I could think was wow--wouldn't it have been a great story if he HAD been one of the Smurfs? SMURF finishes 10K road race in 31 flat!! Anyway--
Holy smokes that's fast!!
Also wanted to give a shout out to Joanie and David. You guys are great organizers, andthe B2B is always a great race. Thanks.
I figure if the Smurfs read my blog, maybe they do too, you know? And David, if you do read this, you should be in touch. Can you get on FB already?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Brew Run RR-- or-- the race In which Mary Gets Bitten in the Ass by Bad Karma

So I owe the Smurfs an apology.
I was a bitch. You didn't deserve my ire, and I'm sorry I so carelessly flicked it at you without concern. That was mean. I can be mean, but my tirade was maybe even a little meaner than usual for me, and it was also unnecessary.

Here are my excuses:

1. I didn't P.R. and I was feeling bitchy as a result and took it out on the Smurfs.
2. Clearly my daily dosage of Zoloft just isn't enough.
3. I have always had issues with Smurfs. They're so fucking happy and smiley and cute. I even thought this as a kid (and yes I am old enough to have watched the show as a kid). I wish I had caught the running Smurfs in a year in which they were not Smurfs but the running Superfriends. I actually liked the Superfriends.
4. I have jealousy issues. I really do want to be fast enough to hold a 7 minute pace while smothered in blue paint and wearing huge ass diapers as opposed to simply being able to barely hold a seven minute pace while smothered in sunscreen and wearing shorts and a bra.
5. FINAL EXCUSE: Look at my mug. I was in pain. Cut me some slack, Man.

(But, hey--Solobreak! The dude in the white is checking out my shit, too! Snicker.)

Okay. The Smurfs probably still hate my guts, but I just want all Smurfs to know that I am really sorry I made you the target of my excessive bitchiness. I would say I'm not usually a bitch, but that would be a lie, so I'll just keep it at sorry.

On to my race report in which bad karma came to bite me in the ass.

In case you hadn't figured it out, the bad karma of which I speak derives from my thoughtless and self-absorbed tirade against the Smurfs.  Papa Smurf had a little chat on the side with Mama Mitochondrion and--poof!--on or about the 3-mile mark I bonked. 

This race (the Brew Run) is 5.2 miles long. Who bonks in a race 5.2 miles long? Apparently me--at least when touched by Papa Smurf induced bad karma. I need to say up front that I rarely bonk in any race, let alone one so short. I always take a gel even before dinky little 5ks to insure that I have enough glucose to last me. I almost always race with a gel in my pocket in case I start to feel even slightly bonky. I'm just that kind of girl.

Not this time. Last week I spent on Cape Cod with my family and my in-laws. Saturday was our day to move out of our rented cottage, and because we had to be out of there mid-morning, we spent the afternoon waiting around in the sun for the race to begin at 4 pm. My junk was packed and smushed in the car, but I had left out a little beach/run bag which included my running shoes, shirt, bra, shorts, Garmin. But no gel. I forgot about the gel. We had lunch at noon, and I had a few slices of pizza. I figured the pizza would do. I didn't feel like trying to dig out a gel in the muck that was our stuffed van. And I didn't need one anyway... the race was what--35 minutes long? Whatever.

Oh, silly silly silly me. I had a decent warm up with Andy and then lined up just in front of the seven minute pace sign. I was ready to rock and roll. I looked for Andy, but couldn't find him. I knew Jordan (my daughter) was somewhere there too, with her Uncle Doug, waiting to begin her second ever road race, but I coudln't find her either.

Then we started. I took the first mile out in 6:30 because it was largely a down hill mile. The gentle hills began in mile 2, and I slowed to 6:50, which was my target pace. I was running along, feeling good when it hit. I suddenly felt empty and wobbly--and not just a little wobbly--I felt alotta wobbly. What WAS GOING ON? Well, okay. I didn't wonder what was going on. I knew as soon as it hit. My hands got shaky and I felt light-headed. I was crashing. I needed even just a smidgen of sugar. Gatorade would do the trick...

But then I got to the mile three water stop. There was only water. OF COURSE there was only water! The race was 5.2 miles long! Who needs Gatorade on a course that short? My pace immediately slowed further with this realization. I felt awful. I was shaky and empty. I didn't feel sick, I didn't feel tired. I simply felt weak-- so, so, so weak- and also stupid stupid stupid!

I kept running. What else could I do? This was a good test and a good reminder, I reasoned. Better I feel the ickiness of bonking in this little race than next week at Timberman, right? I had a few moments during which I contemplated just dropping out, but then I remembered that Jordan was running. What would she think of me if I quit? She certainly wasn't going to quit, I knew that. I fought as best I could and picked up my pace just slightly. The last half mile was slightly downhill--and that was such a huge gift. I held on, and finished in just over seven minute pace.

Oh well. I still finished 3rd in my AG (40-49), so that was good. I was the 23rd female. The last time I did this race I was 11th and finished two minutes faster. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh again.

I saw Andy right at the finish. He finished in under 30 minutes and was 1st AG and 15th overall. That dude never ceases to amaze me. He trains like a quarter the time I train and then whips out a 5:45 pace. Doug and Jordan came in at exactly an hour. She was so proud and gleeful! Doug, apparently, had had to do quite a bit of cajoling to get her to the end. I think it was pretty tough--but she did it! Thank you, Doug! You are the best uncle ever.  Jordan finished 2nd in her AG (8 and under).

We drove home last night and I felt pissy the whole way. I should have felt great. Jordan and Andy had both raced awesomely well, and shouldn't I be feeling super for them? Unfortunately, my self-absorption has no limits and I was still feeling shitty. I had made enemies with Maine runners by running my blog mouth and I had bonked big time in a short, short race. To make matters worse, Andy was driving home separately because we had two cars and I was with the kids, and they begged the whole ride to listen to Kiss 108. 

The next morning all was well again, though. I hopped onto my faithful steed (mare?) Mrs. Z and we made up for yesterday's poor showing by hauling ass all over Westwood and Dover. I then ran a T run faster than I had run the race yesterday. So there.

And today we went on a trip to visit... our new puppy! We get her ( a little yellow female lab) in four weeks. We are getting a male Boston Terrier pup the same weekend. they are going to be best friends. I absolutely can't wait.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beach to Beacon 10K Race Report-- otherwise known as Mary has not PR’d in the 10K since 2006—and she still hasn’t.

I didn’t do much last week in terms of workouts. Jen and I decided I should bring down the volume slightly so I might have a shot at PRing at Beach To Beacon.

I wasn’t sure about this plan. I have Timberman in two short weeks, and my training volume has been quite astoundingly pathetic in training for it. To come down in volume (especially given my volume wasn’t especially high to start with) three weeks out didn’t seem right. But I did it anyway. My mojo was kinda in the toilet last week anyway, so it was actually pretty good timing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still excited for Timberman. I love that race—and Andy is racing too—and Ange and my friend Mel. That is tres fun.  Also, I reason I just did an IM seven weeks ago, and so I MUST have some residual endurance fitness from that.  

But then again…. I just do not feel ½ IM race sharp at all, so maybe it won’t be my best ½ ever.  

But then again…. maybe it will be a fantastic race. I’m just going to race my heart out as if I was right on target with my training, and we shall see what happens. I figure I’m not carrying a lot of fatigue, I know how to race a ½, I know the course at Timberman, and just seven weeks ago 112 miles didn’t seem so bad…
So I could have the race of my life.  Yep. That’s my take and I’m sticking to it!

But that’s way off topic.

Back to B2B 10k.

I didn’t have especially high hopes for this race, but I held on to the dream that I just might squeeze out a PR. I don’t often do 10ks, which is likely the reason my PR from the summer of 2006 still stands. 2006 was a great summer of racing for me. I hadn’t started triathlon at that point. Instead, I was totally geeked up about my running.  I had spent the last five years giving birth to children and I finally had my body back. I was training for the Clarence de Mar Marathon in September, and I raced every weekend that summer to prepare for it. Don’t let people tell you that too much racing will totally slaughter you. Okay, sometimes it might depending on what you are training for and what you are doing when you are NOT racing,…. BUT I raced every weekend that summer, I PR’d constantly, and then I qualified for Boston at Clarence… I’m just saying.

Anyway, I had a great race at Beach to Beacon that year and went 43:05. Since then I have only done a handful of 10ks, but I have yet to break that time. Saturday I came close—but not close enough. Still, I’m not that disappointed. I did two little 5Ks in the weeks prior to the race so I could try to get my race legs back. Both of those races were slooooowwwww for me—nearly a minute and a half of my 5K PR.  At B2B my 10K was faster than those two 5ks combined, so that’s a good thing. I can’t complain. IM to 10K is not exactly an easy transition…

I seem to be spending a great deal of time in prelude to this report. Maybe that’s because I don’t actually have that much to say about it.
It was perfect weather. My friends were there. I was rested and ready to race.
And of course,
It hurt.
It hurt a lot.
It hurt in that awful way that only 10Ks do.

The first mile was somewhat flattish. I was careful and only allowed myself to take it out five seconds faster than my goal pace. I saw Ange, Jeff, Tim, Mark, Mike, Bob and a QT2 shirt (Mark S) out ahead of me, but I didn’t try to catch them. I was being smart and good. (I’m usually neither, so this was quite an accomplishment…)

During the end of mile one a small group of men and women who had painted themselves blue began to run alongside me. They had contrived adult-sized white diapers that off-set their blue legs and chests, and they had little white beenie hats that looked like the tips of condoms. They lalala’d the Smurf song as they ran, and they and made cracks about that evil creature Gargamel.

Warning: Bitchy paragraph to follow…

I seriously, seriously wanted to vomit all over them. Their attire and singing could be the most annoying thing I have witnessed in a road race in my life. First, they looked positively stupid. WTF? Why Smurfs? What does that have to do with anything? Juggling? That’s kinda cool. Carrying a flag? Total respect. Wearing fatigues? God bless you. Dressed as a FUCKING SMURF? Get the fuck out of my way you imbecile!!
I do not appreciate people holding hands and skipping and lalala-ing as if they have all the energy in the world while I am sucking wind and desperately trying to keep my pace under 6:50. I know that road racing is supposed to be all good fun, but dressing like assholes and humming 1980s cartoon theme songs while others around you are seriously trying to race is incredibly, incredibly obnoxious, and I don’t care if I sound like a bitch in saying so.

So, in short, I was not a fan of the Smurfs. I thought they were freaking stupid in the 1980s, and I still think they are stupid. Humph. End of Bitch session.

Mile 2 was more pleasant than mile one, simply because I left the Smurfs in the dust. It was also nice because I saw my h.s. good friend Chris, who was cheering on the sidelines. Hi Chris! My friend Mark (S) passed me around that time, and it took me a second to figure out he must have made a porta potty stop, because he HAD been significantly ahead of me. He trotted off and I felt that annoyed envy I always feel when I’m literally killing myself and someone passes me as if they are just taking a leisurely Sunday jog. Sigh. He was the last familiar face I saw until the finish, which is odd since I knew probably half of the 5770 people racing.

Mile three was largely downhill and as a result I was able to run faster for the first 5K of this 10K than I had in both of my recent two 5ks. That was nice. But then the course started uphill. That wasn’t so nice. Miles 4 was rolling, and although I questioned whether I might die, I did hold my pace. If I could just hold steady through mile 5, I calculated, I would PR. I was there. 

I'm not sure how I manage to run with my eyes closed.

Alas, it was not to be. Mile 5 is a bear in B2B. It goes up a little. Then a little more up. Then a little more up. It really just goes up… and my pace slowed.  A lot. I passed a few girls during this time, so clearly I am not the only one who had a less than stellar mile 5. Still, it was a tad depressing to let go of my PR pace. As I rounded the bend into Fort Williams State Park I saw Alina and her kids cheering me on. That was a huge boost. Then I heard another voice say Mary Holt-Wilson. I’m not sure it who it was, but I think it was Kurt. So that was another boost. And then I was at mile 6…. FINALLLYYYY.

I ran the last .26 in 6:06 pace. I was hauling! This was primarily because I thought maybe if I could just sprint fast enough I would still PR… but I didn’t. I finished in 23:18—13 seconds off. Damn.

I think I spent the majority of this RR bitching about the Smurfs. Sorry about that.

In summary, I had a good race. I like the course (except for mile 5. Well, I even kinda like mile 5). I like that this race draws so many of my Maine friends, and I like that it is run in my hometown! I will PR on this course—someday.

I finished 11th in my Ag out of 390—9th if you take out the two pros my age. That made me feel pretty good and helped to mitigate the fact that I hadn’t PR’d. Ange was 3rd AG—1st without the pros, and ran a 40:40. HOLY SMOKING FAST. Congrats, Ange! My friends Tim, Mike, Jeff’s wife Leigh, and Jeff also PR’d, and Ange’s husband Mark went under 40. Yikes… My friends Carrie, Stacy and Erin ran EVEN THOUGH they just did Lake Placid, and Carrie finished like 6th in our AG. Amazing.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to my dad. He ran the course in 55:15. He’ll be 70 in October. I think that is more impressive than any other performance of the day. Congrats, Dad!

Also, apologies again for not being up to date on all of your blogs. I am seriously internet challenged this summer. I had to write this post on Word, and then go to a Starbucks to upload it to Blogger!
See you in a few.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

LP Part II and Maine State RR

The last few weeks have been filled with busy fun--and also very little internet access. Sorry if you have been feeling neglected.... I promise come fall I will be the blog reading/commenting CHAMP.

My trip to Lake Placid to sign up is now wellllll into the past, but here are a few highlights:
  1. I got to see so many friends race and that was plain COOL.All my friends finished, and all of them did well, and all of them looked psyched and happy all day-- (at least until about mile 17 of the run, but let's be real, who looks happy at that point?)
  2. I worked the mile 4/17 water  of the run, and that was also very COOL because I saw everyone close up. The problem with working at mile 17, though, is that people start to look plain exhausted by mile 17--even the pros. It's hard to escape the reality of IM when you see the glassy eyes of competitors who are trying not to despair that they still have to run nine more miles.  I remember very well how I felt at mile 17 at CDA... and the looks and expressions of the runners at IMLP brought that memory right up to the surface. On a positive note I got to see the famous up close: the first, second and third place male runner, and the first and third female runner chose to take water from ME! It must be the way I shouted water in such an enticing way....(you just need to practice at home. It's kind of an art...)
  3. I spent a long long long time in line the next morning to sign up. There were rumors that there wouldn't be spots left after the volunteers finished signing up. I had volunteered, so I wasn't worried, but I felt bad for the people waiting in line. It turns out that everyone on site did get in, but there were only a handful of spots left after that, and it was sold out in one minute after going online. I'm not sure why LP is so popular compared to some of the other IMs.  I loved CDA. Why doesn't CDA go as fast as LP?
I was super tired the week after the trip--and surprisingly unmotivated. I usually don't have motivational dips, but all last week I just wanted to sit on my arse, read and sleep. I completed my workouts, but with out much vim. It was mechanical. I suspected my race this weekend would be a shit show b/c my mojo was in the shitter...

On Friday night Andy and the kids and I headed up to Windham to meet Ange and her family so we could go their camp on Sebago Lake. Oh.... it was SO. SO. SO awesome. The kids played on the beach, Jordan and Noah tried waterskiing (Jordan loved it and actually was able to ski around the lake!), we had steaks and drinks and made S'Mores over a campfire. It was an awesome weekend. Their place is just completely awesome. Thanks, Ange!

On Saturday we left the camp and went to stay over Ange and Mark's house in Paris because the NEXT morning Ange, Mark and I were racing! (Andy was the official kid watcher, even though he was signed up to race. He gets like five billion points for that... Thanks, Andy. xo). We headed out to Bethel at the crack of dawn to get our packets and rack our bikes.

Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling to jazzed to race. The weekend had been relaxing and indulgent, and I just wasn't feeling psyched up to move my body as fast as a sprint triahtlon requires one to move. One good thing about this is that I wasn't really nervous for the race. I hate pre-race nerves. I actually ate enough for breakfast and ate again an hour before the race--which NEVER happens. I'm alwasy to geeked up to eat.

Before the race I was interviewed by Channel 8 news. I think I sounded like a dork, and I think they cut a ton out of the interview so in the end they had me saying like one sentence before they cut me out, but oh well. It was still a little cool. I then warmed up with my friend Mike. Our 15 minutes jog seemed long... not a good sign!

By the time I got down to the water the director was calling for everyone to get out. Warm up was over! Fabulous. So much for that! I got in anyway to do a few strokes, just so the water wouldn't shock me. The lake was warm, and honestly this race probably should have been wetsuit illegal. I wish it had been. I hate being hot when I swim.

Ange and I were in the third wave. All the men were ahead of us. This was kinda nice, actually, because when I passed a guy on the swim/bike/run, I knew I was not only passing him, I was already ahead of him by 4-8 minutes before the pass even happened. It also meant that if a guy passed me, I had beat him by a lot out of the water, and I still may beat him in the race. Finally, it also meant that if I passed a girl I could be pretty sure that she hadn't started after me (although it was possible, since there was one wave of relay women behind us). BUT MOST of the women started with me, so if I made it pass it was likely a legitimate, I am BEATING YOU pass.

Ange and I got right up front on the swim and when we were told to go we both pounded. I got away from all the other girls and just started sighting off Ange. This was a very bad plan. Ange started heading for a kayak instead of the first buoy. I followed her like a lap dog. Finally she stopped--looked up--talked to the kayaker and started heading back to the first buoy. Who KNOWS how much time we lost.  Damn! Lesson here: Don't trust your BF to sight correctly. haha! We both started pounding again and soon passed all the girls and got back into our 1-2 position. Ange got farther and farther away from me (man is she fast!!) and soon I could no longer see her. When I finally got out of the water I heard the shout--2nd woman! which, of course, I had hoped to hear. Later I found out that although I WAS the second woman out of the water, Ange had kicked my ass by a huge amount of time. Actually, she beat everyone in the swim, even the male pro (Mike Ciazzo) who won the race by like five minutes. She is just a swimming stud.

My transition was tres slow. I just was a bumbling idiot. So far this season this was my first race shorter than a 1/2--and my first race where I didn't have access to wetsuit strippers. Have I mentioned how much I suck at getting my wetsuit off? It is seriously painful to watch. I fumbled onto my bike, and by this point a woman had caught up to me. Damn. I stepped on the gas and passed her immediately, but I cursed myself for being so slow in T1.

I knew the bike course was pretty flat, so I had decided to try to ride as evenly as I possibly could while maintaining my LT watts. This didn'thappen. I ended up averaging 10 watts below my LT watts for the ride. It makes sense to me that this is the best I could do (why should I be able to maintain LT watts for 45 minutes?) but I still had wanted to try it, while simultaneously not allowing my wattage to dip below 105 or above 250. My watts weren't crazy high, but my speed was faster than it has been, and this I must attribute to my fitting from Kurt. Thank you, Kurt! Anyone who belives an aggressive fit does not make a difference in terms of speed--is just wrong. It does. My bike split wasn't the fastest for women, (that goes to my friend Mary Lou--who is in her late 50s and still kicks everyone's butt on the bike), but it was fast for me. I was pleased. I was only passed twice on the bike course, by men. I was pretty psyched about that. There were no women in sight. Ange was far ahead of me--and who knows where the other women were. I imagined them right on my ass. I didn't dare to look.

T2 was faster than T1, but still not fast. Somehow I got grass in my mouth and was trying to spit it out while buckling my race belt and then I tripped. Hello, I am a loser! I got up and then made my way out onto the run course.

The first mile was sorta flat and fast. I did it in 6:45 and I felt pretty good. I was working, but not so hard that I couldn't hold pace. I passed a bunch of guys and started looking for Ange. Where was she? Could I make up enough time so that I could actually make her out in the distance? This became my run goal. The course turned and went onto a trail. I'm not a fan of trail. Trail is slow. Still, I tried to keep my cadence up and my attitude posistive. I was pretty sure I was securely in second. I just had to run well to hold my place, and I was running well. By mile three, though, I was pretty cooked. I knew I didn't have much left, but I imagined that there were girls right behind me who would pass me within feet of finsihing if I didn't hold onto my pace. The last 1/2 mile I got passed by one guy, and I was pissed. No one had passed me yet on the run. I tried in vain to get him--but to no avail. My pace was was it was. I couldn't speed up.

I finished in 1:24 and change, and Yes! I was the second woman! Ange had got me by a little over two minutes, and the next woman was three minutes behind me. A solid second place for me!

The best part of the day was when I got my 2nd place award .I had already received it and was walking back into the crowd when Noah ran out and said, "Hey! Mary is my mom!!" Everyone laughed. It was wicked cute.