Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Happy Election Day!

If you're American, VOTE!

If you're Canadian, call your American friends and tell them to vote!

It's been almost a month since my last post. There has been a lot of post-triathlon tapering, wine-drinking, baking, and sitting. But not everything has been slothful. I ran the Oktoberfest 10k in Waterloo a few weeks ago, and finished in a record (for me!) 59:33. I was pretty psyched about that, especially because the weather SUCKED! It was about 40F, windy and raining.

This past Sunday (Halloween!) I ran the Poland Springs Marathon Kickoff 5M and finished in 48:36. At this point I consistently run a sub-10 minute/mile.

David & I are signed up for the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot in Prospect Park. I'm training to run that in <45 min - that is, a sub-9 minute mile.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Life After Triathlon

It has been a week and a half since Westchester. It feels like waaaay longer. In the past 10 days I've done more sitting on the couch than I did all summer. Whee! I love sitting on the couch.

Tonight, however, I broke tradition and started an indoor cycling program here in Brooklyn. The program is offered through Jack Rabbit Sports, and is led by Jonathan Cane from City Coach.

The setup is like this: In a local Pilates studio, Jonathan has set up 6 CompuTrainers. The CompuTrainer is a nifty contraption into which you set the back wheel of your bike. Pressure is applied to the back wheel to match a specific course, so that when you hit a hill on the course, it simulates the resistance you'd feel cycling up a hill.

It's really really cool.

Tonight we did a 12M time trial, just to assess our relative fitness levels and abilities. The course was pretty hilly, there were a number of climbs and no flats. (The other thing about the CompuTrainer is that you don't get to coast on downhills, you still have to pedal.) The interface looks like this. I was the little green bike, 2nd from the top. I finished the course in 51 minutes, and had an avg wattage of around 120. I don't know what that means, yet. My avg HR was 183, which is CRAZY high. I guess even after all that triathlon training I'm still out of shape. Heh.

So yeah, now I really want one of these contraptions at home, but the fancy programmable ones are wicked expensive ($1100!). I guess I better draft that letter to Santa...

Monday, September 27, 2004

I did it!


Overall Place: 628
Bib Number: 104
Wave: 8
Swim: 0:37:18
Place: 647
T1: 2:53
Place: 362
Bike: 1:46:02
Place: 637
T2: 1:49
Place: 371
Run: 1:06:03
Place: 593
Time: 3:34:03

How the day went:

I woke up at 4:20, took a quick shower and packed my stuff (I'd laid my transition area out in the hotel room the day before). I made a couple of peanut butter sandwiches to eat before the race start. I got down to the hotel lobby around 4:45. Stacy (the most awesome coordinator from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) had arranged bagels and fruit for us, so I ate an orange before boarding the bus to the race site.

We'd done a practice swim and set up our bikes the day before, so all that was left was to do a final bike check and set up our transitions.

At 6:30 I ate my sandwich, and at 7am I donned my wetsuit and headed down to the beach for the pre-race meeting at 7:15.

One of the race referees explained the swim course, a simple rectangle with all buoys on the right. That is excellent for me as I breath on the right and that makes it much easier to sight. David even managed to find me on the beach in the sea of wetsuits and multi-coloured swim caps, and snapped a picture of a way-too-happy me with Coach Ken.

I was number 104. I was in the Athena category (women weighing over 150lbs.), which went out in the 8th wave. Because there are so many participants, triathlons have wave starts so that 800+ people aren't running into - and vying for space in - the water at once. (Trust me, there's still plenty of vying for space among 100 people!)

My swim time was 37:18, which was about what I expected. I panicked a little at the beginning - I felt somewhat competitive, and didn't want to be passed by everyone in my wave. I calmed down about half way out to the turn point, and actually passed a few people in earlier waves at the last buoy going out.

I came out of the water with another TNTer. Coach Earl was standing at the swim exit yelling something at us but I could barely understand him. I was trying to get my wetsuit off and run to the transition area, and also wanted to get my heartrate a little lower before starting the bike. Also, I generally feel like crap when I finish a long swim, and I'm still researching ways to combat that. Yesterday was a bit better, but I still had stomach cramps 6-7 miles into the bike.

As promised, the bike course was hilly. And, I choked a little on it. Still, I made it back to T2 with under 2:30 on the clock, and at that point was hopeful that I'd be able to finish the race in under 3:30. I quickly changed my shoes, ditched my helmet and gloves, grabbed a water bottle, and headed out on the run.

The run was a pretty course - first an out and back along the boardwalk, then through Rye Town Park (which was a little uneven, and made me a little nervous) then through the well-groomed streets of Rye.

The morning until then had been mostly overcast. The sun had started to come out while I was on the bike, and halfway through the run, it was hot. Very hot. At the water stations (there were 4, I think) I would drink a cup and pour a cup on my head/face. I think that slowed me down. I was a little under hydrated after the bike, as the first time I took a drink, I dropped my water bottle, and was left only with a bottle of sports drink. So the run took me longer than I would have liked - I know I can run 10k in under an hour! But still, an 11 minute mile isn't horrible, and my time is right where I predicted it would be.

Overall it was a fabulous day. Kari & Shari both did well. If I ever questioned the value of Team in Training, it was obvious on race day. I couldn't have asked for a more supportive, energetic group of individuals. From the coaches and mentors right down to my fellow teammates, everyone cheered for everyone else. And our families were all there to celebrate at the finish line.

Thanks to everyone who supported me over the last 4 1/2 months, either through donations or words of encouragement or just patience after long training sessions.

Next up? The Florida Half-Ironman, May 2005. Yes, really.

In the meantime, I'm doing an indoor cycling program through Jack Rabbit Sports in Brooklyn. This fall I'm going to focus on nutrition, do some weight training, and try to get generally stronger and fitter for when training for the half starts in December.

Friday, September 24, 2004

At the Danskin tri last weekend

Last Pre-Race Post

This is it, the final countdown to Westchester!

All my stuff is laid out, ready to go.

I ate a bunch of whole wheat pasta with chicken and veggies for dinner.

I snuck in a 1/2 hour nap this afternoon, and I'm off to bed now.

We're planning to go out for breakfast in the morning, and leave around 10:30 to drive to Rye. If we get there early enough, we'll also drive the bike course. I'm preparing mentally for the hills, and I have lots of mantras ready for Sunday.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Are You Ready?

That is the question of the day.

When I was little, my parents used to count down to big events (vacations, someone coming to visit, piano recitals, etc.) by counting the number of sleeps left. "Only 6 more sleeps until Grade 3!" - for example.

Well. Only 3 more sleeps until Westchester. At least 2 of those better be damn good. I expect to be a little high strung on Saturday night, so I'm not expecting to get 8 hours then. But tonight and tomorrow night, I'm in bed by 10pm.

So, am I ready? Yes. Absolutely. Kari gave me a great e-pep talk this morning, and I've received emails and cards (yes! people sent me cards!) wishing me luck (and stamina) on Sunday. I've talked to my mom (hi Mom!) every day this week. She's driving down with a friend tomorrow morning, and we'll all drive up to Rye on Saturday morning.

I'm taking tomorrow afternoon off to regroup. Also to get a haircut and squeeze in a final yoga session before the race. Tonight after I drop off my bike, I'll finish my laundry, then do some general housecleaning for the Mom Visit.

I'm ready. I'm going to kick some ass on Sunday. It's going to be great.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Last night was our final GTS - a taper jog in Central Park. 1M warm-up from Bethesda to the reservoir, one loop of the reservoir (with a 1M pickup), and a 1M cool down jog.

Tomorrow night we drop our bikes off at a bike shop on the Upper East Side. As I have a business breakfast to attend tomorrow morning, I biked into work today. I had a yoga class from 7:30-8:30, then I met my friend and co-worker (and fellow cyclist) Doug, who lives in my neighborhood, to make the trip into the city. It was surprisingly fun! I expected to be much more scared of biking in traffic, but it turned out to be not a bad ride at all. Except for the flat I got when crossing the Manhattan Bridge. That wasn't so fun. I fixed it, and it was flat again by the time I got to work.

In a panic, I called Toga to see if they could check my wheels before the race. Will said no problem, bring them in. At lunchtime today I took the wheels up to Toga. Will took one look at the rear wheel and said, "Well, your problem is that the tire is really worn. And also, this piece of glass." Heh. Right. So I dropped another $100 on a new tire, new gloves, a CO2 inflation system, and 2 more tubes.

I'm so glad I replaced the tire! Will told me the primary cause of flats is worn or underinflated tires. (I have also been underinflating my tires.) Now I know, and am even better prepared for Sunday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Danskin Recap

Yes, the rumours are true, I'm a triathlete now!

Saturday morning the NY Metro Area received the remants of Hurrican Ivan. I opted out of the 4M race to get an extra hour of sleep and to avoid the torrential downpour. Kari hauled her bike and excess gear down to Brooklyn on the subway, and Andrew picked us up to drive to Jersey. We picked up our packets at a hotel near the race site. (The race packets were the best I've ever seen - full of goodies. Go corporate sponsorship!) We then drove through the race site just to check it out - the bike course was amazingly flat.

Sunday morning we woke up very early. 4:50am early. We dressed quickly and ate english muffins with peanut butter, then piled into Andrew's car and headed to Sandy Hook.

We arrived just after 6am, and unloaded/assembled our bikes. As I was pumping up my front tire, I broke the valve and ended up with a flat! Goddam. Fortunately I am well-versed in fixing a flat, and changed it fast. We walked our bikes to the transition area, racked them, and laid out our transition items. It was very cold. The energy was really high. An announcer was updating us on the water temperature (69F) and wave starts (Kari was in wave 4, I was in 6). We donned our wetsuits and headed over to the swim start.

The first wave (elite) went out just after 7:30. The other waves (by age) were each 4 minutes apart. Since I was in wave 6, I was able to see the first few elite swimmers come out of the water, which was pretty exciting! We had to swim out around 2 yellow buoys, a red buoy, then 2 blue buoys. The current definitely made it easier to swim out than back! When I finally reached the end of the swim, I was a little disoriented, but managed to get my wetsuit halfway down on the way back to the transition area.

I'd been worried before the race about T1, as it wasn't something we'd practiced. It turned out to be pretty easy - wetsuit off, dry feet, socks & shoes on, sunglasses, helmet, bike, and I was off. My gloves were in my Bento Box and for such a short ride (11M) I didn't bother putting them on.

As I mentioned before, the bike course was super flat. On the way out I couldn't believe how fast I was going - 22-23MPH! I was psyched, and thought at this rate I'll be finished the bike portion in <30 minutes. At the turnaround point I realized why I'd been going so fast - the wind was blowing in that direction. All of a sudden my pace was 11MPH. What a drag.

Finally made it back to the transition area. T2 is easy - helmet off, shoes off, shoes on, run. The run course was a sort of wiggly OAB, with a water stop about every mile. I ran the first mile in under :10, but was a little slower for the rest. I had a decent finish, and my overall time was 1:40. Kari finished in 1:35 - she is a kickass swimmer!

I'm really happy with my time.

Previously in this space, I estimated my Westchester completion time to be 3:30. I'm still very much hoping to do that, but I'm a little more cautious knowing the hills that await on the bike course in Rye. My pace this past weekend was over 15MPH, which translates to 1h40m - on a completely flat (albeit windy) course.

Shari drove the bike course last weekend and reported, "it's hilly. nothing as steep as danbury but many longer inclines. it's tough--there are enough flats and downhills to recover but we'll be working straight thru till the end. it's very pretty, there are a couple of windy passages..."

5 days to go!