Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Columbia Triathlon

"The bike course is nothing but ups and downs and rights and lefts. There was not even a stretch of road that was straight or flat. You are either climbing a hill, descending, or winding your way through a wooded countryside. Beautiful but challenging."
-New Columbia Course record holder, Chris Lieto

After lots of worrying and whining I got it done and even managed to cut over eight minutes off of my 2007 Columbia time! Not bad considering I have not been as consistent with my training as I would like to be. Maybe less is more sometimes? Hmm..guess I am not supposed to say these things!

The weather was not looking good as the weekend approached so everyone was a little apprehensive. We left DC around 2 (following a triathlon 101 clinic with the Fall Team and a stop at California Tortilla, of course!) and did all the necessary check-ins and bike drops and then headed off to the the Baltimore area for a very nice dinner/early bedtime.

No rain at the start of race day but it was definitely chilly. After setting up transition areas and heading over to the other side of the lake to see TE off it was time to put on wetsuits and brave the cold water. And I mean COLD! The website was predicting temps in the high 60s but it had to have been much colder than that. I got in and survived the initial shock but never really got warm. In hindsight it may have worked to my advantage as I somehow came out of the water in under 30 minutes at 29:44. Rock on!

This transition was a lot slower for me than usual. I don't know if it was the cold or the faster swim or even the long run out of the water but I was really disoriented and a bit dizzy when I got back to my bike. I sat down for the first time ever in a transition and took a minute to collect myself and get my bike gear on. I opted to keep my vest on which ended up being a good choice as it god pretty chilly out there! Total time, 3:54.

The bike was exactly as I expected since I had done the race on the same course last year. It was definitely hilly and with the wind and the in/out rain it was definitely cold. I had some shifting issues on the uphills as my bike refused to go into the easier gears. I managed to pull myself up all of them regardless and even caught some speed on a few of the downhills. The cars were not as much of a problem as last year but the bikes were worse. I had some people pass really close without warning and one jerk even came up the side of the road on the right despite the fact that I was about as far over as possible. Whatever. I managed to stay up and ward off all flats and get through it all without incident. There was a really bad accident on the course which was tough to pass. I fared better than others like LE who got held up 30 minutes for a medical helpcopter to land. Yikes! Total bike = 1:36:16.

Not a big deal here, although still slower than normal. Changed shoes, added the hat and kept the vest and rolled out. 2:15.

The run at Columbia is pretty notorious for the hils. Even though you expect them it is still tough to take. I managed the run the whole thing (with a few small breaks in the water stops) and actually felt pretty good. I didn't have my usual bout of run 20 and then suffer intense stomach cramps but I still avoided gels/food just in case. I took in water/gatorade at every stop which I think helped as the sun became an intermittent companion. Towards the end of the run course I found myself in a group of 2 other 29-year olds which was nice. We talked and ran and all finished within a few seconds of each other at the end. Not my fastest 10K but still not the worst. I ended up doing it in 58:36 with a 9:36 pace.

Total race time= 3:10:42.

2007 was 3:18:25 so all I need to do for 2009 is cut off 10 minutes to get a covedted sub-3. :) Or....maybe I will just do a relay.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Today was the big day. Kickoff for the TNT Fall Season!
I am so excited that it is finally here! The triathlon team is upwards of 100 strong and I had the chance to meet many of them today at breakfast. It looks like lots of brand-new triathletes which is very cool.

It is always exhilarating to see the full scope of the TNT program. In a room full of staff, participants and volunteers you really get just how many people are involved and what 2 million dollars kind of looks like. I am looking forward to the challenges and excitement to come.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I must be totally insane...

For once I've let TE talk ME into something crazy instead of the other way around! On September 26-27 I will be participating in the Ragnar Relay, a 182-mile team relay race from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC. It's official..handing my entry fee over to him tonight!

According to the event website, "This 182 mile adventure-fest will push you and 11 pals through the stunning scenery of the Potomac River Valley. Starting in the Appalachian town of Cumberland, MD, your team will head east along the C & O Canal as it snakes along the Potomac, around night fall you'll get off the trail and run through the quiet streets of many charming historic Civil War-Era towns, ultimately passing within the shadows of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. The race (and your stamina) wraps in the heart of the nation's capitol."

It should definitely be a challenge but I am sure that DCDD is up for it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

T minus three days!

It is hard to believe that the Fall Team in Training Season starts in just three days! That's right..kickoff for the Nations Triathlon and Accenture Chicago Triathlon Teams is on Saturday, May 10th. There is still plenty of time to register for the program if you haven't had the chance to do so. Talk to me for more information or visit the TNT website here.

If you don't already know, I have signed on to be a bike/run Coach. I am really excited and really feel that this brings my TNT experience full circle having been everything from a participant to a team/training captain. I am really looking forward to the opportunity and can't wait to get started! I have an amazing set of co-coaches and an equally fantastic group of Team Captains. It is going to be quite a ride!

This week has been full of last minute schedule edits, clinic planning and information session attending. It is definitely a busy time but it is also very exciting! Lots of new triathletes have been signing up and getting pumped for the season and already asking great questions. It's on!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Back! And with a Race Report!

I know I have said it before but this time I mean it.
I am back!
Back to work, back to life, back to blogging.

I do apologize in advance though for the footnotes. I have been reading a lot of Chuck Klosterman recently and well, you just can't help it! Pick up "IV" to see what I mean.

St. Anthony's Triathlon has come and gone.
It was definitely a great birthday! As far as birthdays where you wake up at 4 am and torture yourself for upwards of three hours on anyways. ;)

The day started a little hectic as the three alarms (one clock radio and 2 cell phones) EL and I set managed to not go off. Not a one! Hindsight says a wake-up call should have been in order as well but hey, we made it! EL luckily had the foresight to wake up without an alarm and the rouse me from bed just in time to sunscreen, force a bagel down my throat, get dressed and make it downstairs in time for the early shuttle to the transition area.

Although this was my third St. Anthony's, the feelings of nervousness and excitement felt just like the first time* in 2006. The feelings might have been a little elevated as I realized this would be my last year in my 20s and in my age group I eventually got over it and had the body marker write "29 TODAY" down my left leg. Boo yeah!

Transition closed without incident at 7 and we headed over to the beach to get ready for the wave starts. Two. Hours. Later!**

The SWIM started pleasant enough but turned vicious fast. I don't recall ever having a swim as brutal in terms of kicks to the stomach, scratches to the arms and actual pulls and shoulder push offs..not to mention the swim-over by the Relays. ugh. I managed to escape the water somewhere around 33 minutes. Totally underwhelming.

T1/the BIKE went well until I realized too late that a fellow competitor's powerbar had gotten all up in my grill, er, had wedged its sticky, nasty mess into my cleats and pedals. Seriously?!?! It was horrible. I could not clip in for 6 miles even after stopping to try and dig what I could out from the recesses of the crevices. Blah. I decided to use a speedbump to my advantage and hit one hard to force my feet into the speedplays. It Worked!
Other than that incident the ride was fine, even fast. For me anyways! Maybe it was the aerobars. Or maybe it the adrenaline. Or possibly it was the total lack of regard for proper hydration*** I don't know. I do know I managed to get out of that leg right around 1:23. Sweet!!

T2 was pretty uneventful. I did take the time to reapply sunscreen with a quick spray of the shoulders, arms, legs, changed the shoes and then remembered to place my Birthday Tiara on my head over the hat and hit the course. As usual, it was HOT! This is to be expected when you start a race in Florida at 9 am and hit the RUN somewhere around 11am. Blah. It was great though seeing lots of familiar faces on the out-and-back run and somehow managed not to throw up somewhere around mile 4 where I was forced to walk for a short time. Fortunately I pushed through and finished the run in just enough time to get me out of St. Anthony's, FINALLY, with a sub-three finish****! What a great birthday gift!

*- "Feels like the First Time". One of the Songs in the Foreigner catalogue and one of the songs I heard live accidentally when staying at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas. Hanging in our hotel room Sunday night waiting till we had to head to the airport for a red eye flight the sounds of Foreigner suddenly wafted through the windows. Close inspection showed the actual Foreigner (with probably nary an original member) on stage 30 stories below on the pool stage. I guess you can't play stadiums forever!

**Except for people like TE and KC who started in their age group waves right after the pros at 7:04. My age group went at 7:58 or something like that...a whole 4 minutes before the final TNT waves. There went my chance to actually see people finish instead of seeing them blow past me on the course!

***huge mistake! I only drank 3/4 of one of the two bottles I brought. It came back to bite me hard on the run where I almost threw up.

****2006 results had me somewhere around 3:04. 2007 brought me in right around 3:10.