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!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Danskin Results!

I'll post race details tomorrow, but for now check out the results! (Yes, I'm very happy with my times!)

Thursday, September 16, 2004


Tuesday night we had the official TNT Westchester send-off. We received our race day itinerary, TNT singlets, and lots of information about race weekend. After the preliminaries, Coach Ross took the podium. He started out by talking about cookies. "If you had a choice, would you rather have a cookie that is slightly undercooked, nice and gooey, or one that has been left in the oven too long and is crunchy and stale?"

He was speaking of tapering, a magical word we've been waiting to hear since May 15. For the next two weeks (or at this point, 9 days!) we're supposed to take it easy with training. No more long runs. The theory is that anything that's going to help you athletically takes 2 weeks, so at this point it's too late to affect much change anyway.

In the interest of not burning my cookies, I've taken it really easy this week. No training Monday or Tuesday. And then, no training Wednesday - I skipped both the run and swim GTS in favour of doing laundry and going to bed early.

This morning I did a short run in Prospect Park. I plan to swim tomorrow morning, and take the afternoon off work to laze around.

Remember kids: Don't be a burned cookie.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Anti-Rain Dance

I believe I am cursed.

When I ran the 5M race in August, it poured.

Torrential rain forced the cancellation of the swim at Danbury.

I have 3 races (Fitness Magazine 4M, Danskin Sprint Tri, and Westchester) scheduled in the next 2 weeks, and rain is forecast for all of them.

Word on the street is, since Westchester is a major qualifying race, the organizers will not want to cancel the swim. I guess that's good. Biking in the rain is a little scary at best, and I can't imagine it in a race situation. Ugh.

In the good news, I am planning a trip home in October, and I'm going to run the Oktoberfest 10k while I'm there. Seems I'm hooked on these things!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

NYC Century Bike Tour

This morning I woke up BEFORE the crack of dawn to haul my bike, 2 gels, a Clif bar, and my own fabulous self up to the top of Central Park to partake in the NYC Century Bike Tour.

Over 5000 people participated in this morning's ride. It was a perfect day. Volunteer marshals led the packs from 110th St. down 5th Ave., over to Broadway, and across the Brooklyn Bridge. We rode through Brooklyn Heights and Carroll Gardens into my own stompin' grounds, Prospect Park. There, at the 15M mark, was a rest station with fruit, and bagels with peanut butter. I actually ran into a friend of David's there who was also doing the ride!

Action shot!

For the 55M route, we continued into Brooklyn, through many different neighborhoods, and around the greenway (which led through Coney Island!). There was another rest stop at Canarsie Pier. Kari & I both changed flats on the route - luckily we are now practically experts! At mile 42 we were back in Park Slope, and I opted to head home instead of continuing through Astoria and back to the Upper West Side.

Kari & I in Coney Island

Fixin' a flat

It was a perfect day, and a great, relaxed ride after yesterday's challenging training session.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Congratulations Nicole!

Nicole's triathlon was today! I haven't heard an update yet, but I'm sure she kicked some serious ass! Watch her blog for updates...

As Nicole was doing the real thing this morning, I completed a final hard BRick before Westchester. We met this morning shortly after 7am in Central Park. It was a gorgeous day - probably around 70 degrees, and mostly sunny. I had a great sleep last night, too, so I was ready to race! We started out with a :10 OAB warmup jog, then push-ups to exhaustion to simulate the swim. Then 18M (3 loops) biking, followed by 6M (1 loop) running.

I forgot to start my watch as I headed out on the first bike leg, but the second took just over :22 and the third was around :24. That puts me at a 4min/M pace, which isn't great, but doesn't totally suck. My run this morning kicked ass, though. I completed 6.2M in 1:02! Straight off the bike, including Harlem Hill! I was thrilled about that, and I'm more convinced that I can do the run at Westchester in <1 hour if I push myself.

Tomorrow morning I'll bike to Kari's for the NYC Century Bike Tour, of which we're doing 55M. I'm doing yoga in the afternoon, and if I'm feeling particularly ambitious, I'll swim in the evening.

I feel great about my training, and my readiness for Westchester.

Thursday, September 09, 2004


I am anxious.

Last night, I barely slept. I kept having dreams - dreams about transition areas, dreams about BRicks, dreams about next weekend (in which I'm doing a 4M race on Saturday then the Danskin tri on Sunday). I woke up this morning feeling entirely unrested. It doesn't help that almost every time after I swim, I am completely congested, and spend most of the night sneezing and blowing my nose. Ugh. I also went to bed with wet hair, and that, combined with fallout from Hurricane Frances, made for a rather damp sleeping experience.

On my to-do list: Get a decent night's sleep.

I'm also anxious because the next three weekends are completely booked. This weekend I have a hard BRick workout on Saturday (15-18M bike + 6M run), then the NYC Century Bike Ride on Sunday. Next weekend are the aforementioned races, and the following weekend is Westchester.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

6.8 Miles

Last night's run GTS was very straightforward: warm-up to the reservoir, 2 or 3 loops, then cool down back to Bethesda. I vowed in the afternoon that I'd do 3 loops, for a grand total of 6.8 miles, and I did!

Once again I ran with Scott (of Scott and Alanna fame). We paced each other nicely. We did recovery jogs for the first .6M of the loop, then a 1M pickup for the remainder. My splits were great:

1M warm-up: 10.28
.6M recovery: 5.22
1M pickup: 9.54
.6M recovery: 6.07
1M pickup: 9.33
.6M recovery: 6.25
1M pickup: 9.19
1M cool down: 12.10

Total: 6.8M in 1:09.21! That's probably the best run I've had since I started training!

We talked about the Westchester bike route before last night's session. The elevation profile is posted on the race web site. I'm a little worried about it. It's maybe not quite as bad as Danbury was, but looks like there are some biggish hills in the first 10 miles or so.

Monday, September 06, 2004

52 Miles

I can't believe I haven't updated in 5 days! Believe me, that doesn't mean I haven't been training.

Let's see. Thursday of last week, I did a BRick in Prospect Park with the Tri Association of NYC. Amanda from TNT was also there. I had a pretty lame bike (3 loops), then did a short out-and-back. It was an OK workout.

Friday was D's birthday! Happy Birthday D!

Saturday we had an open water swim at Coney Island. Bright and early, and I do mean early. We met on the beach at 7:15, donned our wetsuits, and jumped in with the jellyfish for a :45 swim. After that we ran an hour along the boardwalk. Unfortunately my knee hurt again, so I took it easy on the run.

Yesterday, Kari, Melissa and I biked to Nyack! 52 miles and 1 flat tire (Kari's) later, we were back in the city. I don't remember ever having been so tired and so hungry! It was a great ride, and I'm looking forward to doing it again this fall.

One last bit of news: I signed up for the Danskin Women's Triathlon on Sept. 19. It's a sprint-distance tri, good for newbies, and even though it's close to Westchester, I'm eager to fit in another race this fall.

On the docket this week: 5.2M run tomorrow night, a technique swim on Wednesday, and an actual prescribed rest day on Thursday (which happily coincides with the start of football season!).

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


That's right folks, tonight I slipped into what Coach Scott referred to in his last email as a "neoprene bondage suit" and swam a half mile. At the 1/2 mile point, we exited the pool, took off the wetsuits, and swam another half mile. It was pretty fun! The wetsuit felt tight at first, and hot, but I think my time with it was better than without. Unfortunately I forgot to time my 1/4 mile splits, but my time for the whole mile was 40:30, including taking off the wetsuit. So I'm pretty happy about that.

Last night we ran a full loop of Central Park (6M). I ran most of it with Scott, significant other of Alanna (see: Danbury). We pushed each other to make it up Harlem Hill, and really really really wanted to finish in under an hour. We were close, at just under 1:02.

After last night's run, my knee (the surgery one) was really bothering me. I iced it last night, and again this afternoon. Hopefully it'll be OK!