Thursday's 3 things...

1. Outdoor Bootcamp has started up again, and I'm sore already. I have day 2 tomorrow. I've gotten all but 1 workout in this week. My nutrition has been pretty good besides....

2. The Pirate's Booty. I have become addicted to Pirate's Booty and I'm cursing S for introducing it to me when we were in Boston for the half marathon in May. Its so easy to eat to eat the whole bag.

3. I feel like I need another Tri on my list before Septembers big race. I'm considering the Webster Danskin Triathlon. It was my first Tri ever, so it could be fun to see how I've come along. Just not sure if I really want to pay for another race...

Ever have Pirate's Booty?
What fun activities are you getting excited to do this summer?

Litchfield Hills Olympic Tri Race Report

Litchfield Hills is an Olympic distance triathlon put on by the Hartford Marathon Foundation.

I picked this race to be a mid-point in my training for Pumpkinman 70.3, and didn't spend any time analyzing the course maps, looking into elevation, or the field of racers from previous years. In fact, I only looked into anything on the day I received my final race instructions in my email, and the day before the race for directions. The only "prep" I did was kinesiotaping my right knee the night before and packing my gear.

I remember seeing a comment in the email about a "screaming hill" out of transition, and a 2 mile climb at the end of the bike into transition, and rolling hills in between. No big deal. It also mentioned bringing shoes to wear for the quarter mile trek from the swim to transition on a rocky path. I ignored it, because how would you find your shoes getting out of the water?!

I picked up my bib the day before, but I still wanted to leave early to have plenty of time. I hate feeling rushed, or getting a bad spot on a rack, so we left at 5am. We got there slightly after 6, and as we approached the park, drove up some killer hills. "Holy crap, I hope these aren't the ones I have to climb," I jinxed myself.

After body marking, I headed into transition to set up.

Gear all set up!

I met a woman who has done the race a few times. I told her it was my first Olympic and I was really nervous. She told me, "Well, you picked a really challenging course!" Wait.... what?? At this point I still had thought I just had that last 2 miles of hills, but now I was getting even more nervous. After setting up, Kevin and I went to the beach to check out the swim. The buoys looked so far away, and I figured it would take me forever.

Another racer recommended shoes for after the swim, so I decided to use my flip flops. After wiggling into my wetsuit, and heading down to the beach, I got ready to start. It was a relatively small race (only 218 finishers), but everyone looked so serious! Not the usual fun sprint races I'm used to! I was in the 2nd wave, which was all women, including Athenas.

Swim start, 2nd wave

Off we went! I swam smooth & strong, no panicking, little contact with other swimmers. Only problem was the congestion near the turning buoys. The water was fairly clear, I could see feet in front of me, swimmers to the side, and had no trouble sighting. I couldn't believe how good I was feeling throughout. I got to shore to hear a man with a megaphone shout "33 minutes!" 

exiting the water
Official Swim time: 33:03
.9 miles
Overall : 171/218

I saw Kevin and I got my flip flops, and started the .25 mile trek to transistion. I didn't want to hurt myself tripping or spend energy running up the hill to transition, so I walked briskly with Kevin, then jogged once I got to the top of the hill. I sat down to get on my bike shoes, get the helmet, sunglasses, eat part of a LARABAR, and get ready for the bike.

T1 time: 7:02

I headed out on the bike, feeling good about my swim time. My Garmin behaved and started perfectly, and off I went!

exiting transition to the bike

The course started with a nice downhill, then a few rolling hills. I thought to myself, "I can totally take this course, no big deal!" Then came more down hills. I was flying! Some of my splits were faster than I had ever seen.. 

I actually topped of at 43.2mph! I had to hit the brakes on some of hills because they were so steep & I was so nervous! The first 15 miles were amazing, and I was calculating how quickly I could finish. I only had the last 2 miles of hills right? I think my Garmin lost some reception earlier (maybe around 15), and had me about 2 miles off the course, but I had no idea. When the hills hit, I was unprepared. They were frequent and big. There were little or no downhills following. The last 5 miles were a steady incline up. I actually had to get off my bike 3 times and walk up the hills, because my legs just wouldn't  go anymore.

I hit the top of a big hill where some volunteers were. I was walking. A race photographer tried to take my picture. I yelled, "Can you at least wait until I get on my bike??!!" A volunteer told me I had a downhill, another uphill, and the finish was less than .1 miles away. I realized my Garmin was off, and celebrated in my head. I was dying of thirst, I had run out of water about a mile or so ago.

Kevin was waiting for me a little bit down the road. I was so happy to see him! I told him my legs were toast. I told him that I just rode/walked up all those awful roads we drove up earlier and wanted to die.

coming up to Kevin

yikes, I'm tired!
When I saw the volunteer with the "Dismount Here" sign, I told him I loved him, and was so happy to see that sign. Getting of my bike was fabulous. My back was killing me from struggling up the hills, and my legs were done.

Official Bike Time: 1:52:12
24.8 miles
Overall : 214/218

Kevin met me by my transition area. I almost started to cry. I told him my legs were done, I couldn't do it. He told me to put on my sneakers and go. So I did.

T2 Time: 2:09

Race belt, visor, sneakers, out. There was no volunteer telling me where to go, In fact it seemed like all the other athletes were already finished, and on the course for the run! Luckily there were spray painted arrows on the ground telling me where to go. A few runners wished me luck as I headed out on the run.  6.2 miles, and I had no idea how I would make it. 

I decided to make it a run a little, walk a little. First I started going by minutes, then switched to walking up hills. They weren't nearly as huge as the bike, but there were still plenty.

I got passed by one woman, but soon had another one in my sights. I got closer, and closer, but told myself not to focus on passing her, but just feeling strong throughout. Soon, I caught up to her. "Do you think they'll still have beer for us at the finish?" I asked her. She told me she just wanted to jump in the lake. I focused on the beer, and a soft serve ice cream cone we could stop for on the drive home.

I walked up most of the hills, and when I had to. I felt like I had nothing left, but was running on determination alone, because seriously my legs were done. Finally I saw the 6 mile marker, not long now! I picked up the pace and sprinted to the chute...

Official Run Time: 1:21:35
6.2 miles
Overall : 213/218

I was so happy to be done, I couldn't believe I finished! I almost cried, and Kevin took my picture.

Official Time: 3:55:59
Overall Place: 214/218
Athena Division: 7/8

Things were winding down. I knew there weren't many people behind me, and saw many racers driving away in their cars while I was still running. We packed up my gear, and Kevin took it to the car while I got food and beer. I told the beer girl it was the only thing I though of for the last 3 miles of the race. After some 10 Penny Ale, a veggie grinder, and some apple pie, Kevin came back. He got some food & I got another beer. The race volunteers gave us a HUGE 3 foot grinder to take home because they had so much extra, score!

Kevin had the car parked closer, and we drove home. Then Kevin asked... 
"Wait, how's your knee?"
Could you believe it felt amazing all day? Not an ounce of pain whatsoever.
My kinesiotaping magic: Patella mechanical correction for lateral tracking patella, 2 subpatella straps, and inhibition of my IT band. Perfect.

Great finishing food
Awesome race medal
Clean lake swim
Nice Tech shirt

Overall a Tough Course
The disappearing volunteers
Athletes standing/eating on the run course who had already finished 
The super fast racers made me feel like such a slacker

Probably not a race I'll do again, but I did learn a few things...
1. Be prepared & KNOW the course details on elevation. 
2. Pay attention to info in emails and advice from other racers.
3. Get the training miles in... (I got some great workouts in at the cape, but slacked after that)
4. Pick a race with less hills.
5. Practice more hills.
6. Freeze the waterbottles the night before (I did this, and it worked GREAT!)
7. ALWAYS have Kevin there to push me on (He's a great motivator)

I took a rest day today, but tomorrow is Officially Day 1 of Pumpkinman 70.3 training!

Litchfield Hills sneak peak...

Just a sneak peak before the recap....

Mostly so you know I survived this...

Thank god for those new wheels, I needed every advantage with those killer hills. It was a tough race (I can't say toughest since Disney wins that title), and I honestly can't even believe I finished. I wanted to give up and cry after the bike. I have a lot to work on over the next 11 weeks before 70.3!

Seriously, zoom in and check out my face. priceless.

I'm baaaaaaaack!

I can't believe I haven't posted in over 2 weeks! Life has been busy & getting in the way of blogging. I'm sorry to leave you hanging, and even more sad that I haven't been able to keep up with all of your blogs. Hopefully life will calm down soon!

We went on a great vacation to Cape Cod that included lots of running, biking, and yummy eating!

Biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail

Lobster Dinner at Moby Dicks!

Delicious lunch on the deck!
The following weekend, we had a tag sale and made a killing! We were excited to make more than enough to cover the price of plane tickets to Ft. Lauderdale for our September cruise!

Now we're debating getting Scuba certified for an excursion in Cozumel. I won't lie, I'm a little nervous about the whole operation. Being underwater for so long, the tank to breathe from, the depth of the dive. We're still debating it.

Today I got new wheels for my bike....

Nice and lightweight. When I took it for a spin this afternoon, I could feel the difference, especially with the chain cleaning/lubing I did on thursday. 

This means I'm ready!

Picked up my packet this morning for my first Olympic Triathlon (and my first Tri of the season!)

Can't say I'm not nervous, because I am. I better work on getting my stuff together, wish me luck!

And I should have some good news to share in a couple weeks!

Are you Scuba Certified?
Happy I'm back to blogging?
Ever done an Olympic Tri?

Boston's Run to Remember Race Report

I know this is a little overdue...

Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, S & I packed up the car & headed to Boston. We were staying at the Hotel exactly at the expo & race start, which was a first for me. After checking in at the hotel, we headed to the expo to pick up our packets.

Nothing special here.
A boring plain white cotton T, and that was about it, besides the coupons and race fliers. After a quick lunch, we headed to the Prudential Center for a little shopping, followed by dinner at Cheesecake Factory.

Back at the hotel, I got my gear together...

My first race in my Team Tough Chik outfit!

In the middle of the night, I got awoken by a call from my alarm company. Kevin's friend set off the alarm at our house and the police showed up, nice. Finally I made it back to bed, in time to wake up a few hours later.

Race morning, we ate breakfast, got ready & snapped a quick pic.

I was nervous about this race, as most of you knew. I hadn't done a long run in probably 6 weeks, and it was only 8 miles. For the few weeks leading up to the race, I had only been running once a week for about 4 miles at a time I knew my endurance was lacking, and was hoping my knee would hold up. At least I looked cute!

We headed down to line up in a self-seeded corral, and opted for the 10:30 group. I knew I'd lag behind that, but I wanted to start up with S. The race started with the police helicopter flying overhead, and circling over us. We started off... but didn't know where the start line was! There was no area marking the race start!! I just started my Garmin over one of the timing mats & hoped it was the right one.

My plan was to go as slow as I needed to, walk when I needed to, and try hard not to DNF.

I started off slow and steady, and really started to slow around miles 6-8 and on. 

I saw S before I hit the turn around, and cheered her on. I stopped for more water at almost every water stop. One of the water stops manned by Police Academy students ran out if cups, thankfully I had my bottles to refill! The weather was hot, but thankfully there was a nice breeze as we ran along the Charles River, and lots of shade from trees lining the sidewalks. The views were pretty, so I took a couple minutes to take a picture or two as an excuse to stop.

From mile 7 on, there was a group of girls I was getting used to seeing. Many of them would pass me, I'd pass them back, for almost the entire rest of the race. There was one girl in particular, who cramped up at mile 11ish i think... I passed her & she never passed me back. Then after a short side loop, she was in front of me. I'm pretty sure, she skipped the loop, boooo!!

The hills were wearing me out!!
I started running 2 minutes or 3 minutes and walking 1 minute. My knee was achy & I was exhausted. I just wanted to be finished!!

Thankfully, I was soon recognizing the waterfront where we started, thank god, I was going to make it!! However, the same problem we had with an unlabeled start, we had with the finish line. Where was it?? Could I sprint to the end? I guessed it was the timing mat when I saw it, and picked it up to an 8:47 pace for the final push and passed a girl I had been battling the whole race.

We exited back into the expo center, there were bagels, fruit, and coconut water. I grabbed an orange and a coconut water and headed back to the hotel room to meet up with S.

Even though it wasn't pretty, I finished Half Marathon #10!
13 min/mile pace
1373/1394 Females 19-29
5336/5400 overall

yikes, I really was back of the pack in this one!

Good news?
I had plenty of time to think out there about how important training is, and how I need to get everything in for 70.3 training so I make it!

Happy Graduation Day to my Sister!

I'm exhausted, but starting to recoup after sleeping for 12+ hours long.

Friday was the roomie's Bday Party!
The decorated hotel room!
A, B & Me!

The roomie & Me!

After 3 hours of sleep, I got in my car & drove and drove and drove across much of CT. First was to find a Panera for a MUCH needed coffee & breakfast sandwich, then drive from Mohegan Sun to Danbury, CT for the last series of my Kinesiotaping class!

Somehow I survived a day full of taping, and was able to make the 90 minute drive home in one piece. I crashed at 9pm, and slept forever.

I may try to hit the pool and do my long run tomorrow instead.
My little sister's High School Graduation which is today. I can't believe she's graduating, it seems like yesterday I was changing her diapers or she was heading off to the first day of school. I guess when you have such a big age difference its easy to think like that. It also made me think about how its been 12 years since I graduated High School! I can't believe its been so long, and how much I've changed since then.

My baby sister

Her first Day of School...

Her Senior Picture

Happy Graduation Day Sister!