Monday, July 28, 2008

New Jersey State Triathlon Race Report: The View From the Back

There was a fatality yesterday. A 52-year triathlete, John Hobgood, died during the swim, and his body was not discovered until late Sunday night. It's horrifying and shocking and sad, and reading that news put things into stark perspective fast. My heart goes out to his family. I can't even begin to imagine what they are feeling.

I hope my little story will not sound too mundane in light of this tragedy.

We left our hotel at 5:15 to get to the race site by 5:30. Transition opened at 5:45.

Transition, just like LBTEPA and Jessie taught me.

Then there was some pump drama:
Pump. Drama.

There was also some number drama, when I realized that the volunteer had put my age on me instead of my race number. Thanks to whomever gave me the tip to bring markers. Then there was rack drama, and some drama with women around me not sharing space. I guess they missed the memo. The memo about being nice. Whatever! If triathlon teaches you nothing else, it teaches you to let things go. There's already enough things to worry about, you don't need to add more.

All my D.C. tri peeps were fantastic, walking around taking hundreds of pictures and checking each other's transition areas. It was so much fun, I hardly had time to get nervous.

Carolina, me, Casey, Sandy, Ryan, Bryan, Heather

The Bad News Bears

I had to leave my glasses in transition, so if I wanted to see anything, I had to put my prescription goggles on. Walking around in black spandex and goggles is a look, people, believe me.

There were about 210 D.C. Tri Club members competing, and we all walked down to the swim start to watch each other take off. It was awesome to have so many people you know surrounding you and encouraging you, cheering and trash talking.

I love this photo! L-R: Lindsey, me, Greg, Sandy, Bryan (photo courtesy Sandy C.)

The Swim:
My wave—females 50-59 and male and female first-timers any age— started around 8:45. I had been up and on my feet since 4 a.m. by the time I got in the water. Amazingly, I was not nervous. I knew I could do this. I'd swum 1,500 meters many times without stopping.

The water was nice and warm, and I just told myself this was just like swimming in the pool.

Err, not so much.

Right away I was off course, alone, and last. I tried to speed up, which was dumb, because all that did was leave me breathless. I tried like hell to be in the moment, one of several mantras for the day, but it was tough. Funny how this never happens in the pool! The volunteers in kayaks were so attentive—one even told me to get the water out of my goggles. They were that close. Plus they shouted encouragement. Just. Freaking. Awesome. The only way out was to keep breathing and put one arm in front of the other. With 800 meters left, I finally started swimming smooth and easy.

Swim: 46:42

I was slightly disappointed because I had done this distance—and longer— so many times. But whatcha gonna do??

Unlike Philly, there were no big strong people to help you look elegant getting out of the water. Lucky for me, NOD was there to document everything.

I am too standing up.

This is not your mother's triathlon. Wait! It actually IS your mother's triathlon.

Running uphill to transition.

T1: 4:35 Which was an AWESOME time! But it was mentally rough running into an empty transition area. I tried to just focus on racing my race. From my rack to the bike mount was about 125 yards. I ran as best I could in my cleats over tarmac and grass, uphill (again with the hills!), and finally got to the bike mount, where the kindly volunteer told me, "Don't worry, you have all the space you need to mount!" since there is no one else here!


How does this thing work again?

The Bike:
The bike was one long loop and one short loop that you did twice. I felt confident because I had put in the mileage and knew that I could do this. Many, many, many people blew by me and I started thinking that maybe I wasn't so far behind after all. But they were soon gone, and I was alone, which was just hard.

If only I had remembered!!

If only I had remembered what my friend Sandy told me this morning, as we were debriefing via e-mail:
You were definitely NOT alone out there. Even though you didn't see us until you came around the bend to the finish, we were all running right by your side the whole time....cheering you on in our hearts!!
When I read that? I started crying.

I still had fun on the bike. I tried to remember that I was in a race, despite all evidence to the contrary. Like say, competitors, for instance. It was pretty flat so no downhills to fly down, and conveniently? No uphills! We were sharing the road with traffic, and the cops were fantastic, holding back cars when they saw me. I felt like a rock star. I thanked every single one of them.

I also sang "Woodstock" (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young) about 10,000 times in my head. I have no idea why.

Bike 39K: 1:32:53 (15 mph) I was pretty happy with my time. Exactly what I expected.

T2 3:45: Everyone was gone, which was all kinds of depressing. And the ladies who shared my rack had taken ALL the spaces, so I wasted time shoving bikes out of the way. So. Annoying. But Number One Daughter and BF were at every stage cheering me on and ringing the cowbell which brought a smile to my face.

T2 is a lonely place for the back o' the pack.

The Run:
Two out and backs. Out 1.5 shady miles and back PAST the finish, where I could hear people cheering finishers (oh the humanity!) and then out another 1.5 sunny and slightly hilly miles, and back. I started out feeling OK, not the usual legs-in-cement feeling. That was soon replaced by the death-march shuffle, though, so it all evened out. I saw a few people I knew on the course, which was nice, and managed to pass a few people. 21st C Mom had wisely suggested that I come up with a run strategy, so I set my watch for run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute. I also planned to walk all the water stops. I stuck to run 10, walk 1 for probably the first 5k.

First 5k. Stick a camera on me and I'll run every time.

NOD and BF were fantastic, cheering and telling me I was right on pace. Which I think I was at that point.

And then? It was all over.

Only it so wasn't all over!!

I was either being passed as I took walk breaks or passing as I started running. I didn't feel bad. Then again, I didn't feel so good! After about ten hours, I saw the 1/2 mile to go sign and I started running again, this time downhill. I could see the finish in the distance.

The Perfect Ending:
You know how time and distance seem to blur in a race? Well, I was dead certain that the finish was not the finish, that there was going to be some crazy-ass run around the park and not a straight shot into the chute. So certain, that I started walking again, figuring I still had a long way to go.

I was wrong. Someone yelled to me that the finish was right around the corner, and I looked up and saw a tidal wave of people rushing to the net calling "Go Jeanne!"

I could NOT believe it.

There were all my friends, cheering like maniacs—for ME!

Let me tell you: It's very hard to maintain the death-march shuffle with that kind of support, so I managed to kick it in to the most beautiful sound in the world. People cheering for ME.

I cried. I kissed Simon (sorry big guy!) I hugged everyone.

Me kissing Ironman Simon. Words I will not likely ever write again.

Run 10K: 1:27:01 (14:02 min miles)

How could ANYONE be disappointed with friends like that?!

To quote from the final scene of "It's a Wonderful Life,"
Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.
Not to wax hyperbolic (as if!), but it was like V-E Day, V-J Day, Christmas, New Year's and the happiest day of my life.

But it took me from the this morning until 11:37 p.m. to realize that.

Final time: 3:54:54

After much hugging and crying and kissing everyone packed up and left. We were all a little sad because this race was the end of the New Triathlete Program—as one person said, "the most fun I've had as a grown up." The masseuses were gone and so was the food, so the kidz and I loaded up the car, I did a little striptease in the parking lot and we headed to WaWa (the "7-11 of Whole Foods"--Lindsey), where I forced myself to eat a soft pretzel and chocolate milk. I had only had oatmeal, three Gus and Gatorade all day long. (And God only knows how I managed it, but I gained 4 lbs from that regimen. Sigh.)

Then I drove five hours through a hurricane back to D.C.

I thought I'd feel like death on a cracker today, but aside from being a little tired, I feel fine!

And I'm pretty sure that I want to try that again!

New Jersey State Triathlon Race Report Part One

My D.C. Tri friends--brothers and sisters!--cheer me in to the finish!

Here are the stats, but they don't even BEGIN to tell the story:

Jeanne McCann 51 F BETHESD MD
1.5k Swim: 46:42 (51:53)
T1 4:35
39K (23 mile) Bike 1:32:53 (15 mph)
T2: 3:45
10k (6.2) Run: 1:27:01 (14:02 min miles)
Total: 3:54:54

Place: 12/12 F50-54
Gender rank: 254/263 F

I am happy, sad, elated, thrilled, disappointed, crying ... it's like PMS on steroids!!!

I will tell the story as soon as I pull myself together!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

You Want Hills?

Forget Alpe D'Huez, take a look at THIS:

Savageman HIM, Deep Creek Lake: There's a reason the SavageMan is considered the Most Savage Triathlon in the World, and the Westernport Wall is one of them.

This is the race my evil friends are urging me to do--the inaugural Olympic distance thankfully does NOT include this tiny speed bump.

I'm not sure if this video is gonna PUMP. ME. UP.!

Just Felt Like It

Dedicated to all my NTP peeps...and everyone else I know! (Hi Casey!)

Those were the days.

These ARE the days!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mine for the Taking

2004 Olympics triathlon silver medalist Bevan Docherty of New Zealand at the 2005 New Plymouth ITU World Cup triathlon.

Now, that's what I'm talkin' about!

You Say Go

I love this kid.

Game Face: On!

Stay tuned for entertaining and /or motivation vids every single day this week. It's a week 'o fun!

Let's start with the fact that I. Am. on. Full. Freakout. Alert.

Someone asked me what do I have to be scared of since I've already done a tri? I dunno, how about this little scenario:

Tonight: Practice tiring changing skills!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Training Tri Race Report

What's the difference between a a training tri and a non-training tri, you ask? When you find out let me know, because, except for a smaller size, lack of any swag, and no bike racks, it turns out you still gotta swim, bike, and run. I guess because it had the word "training" before it, I expected, oh, I dunno, maybe some help!

Alas, no.

D.C. Tri held a training tri last Sunday, the day after our epic 45.8 mile bike ride. I was so stoked from Saturday's festivities, I could not fall asleep 'til the wee hours. I think I got a solid four hours. Plus? When I woke up I was practically hemorrhaging (TMI? Sorry!)

So my mood was not the best when I arrived at Haine's Point at 6 a.m. The course: a 400 meter pool swim (CAKE!!! I can do this standing on my head!), a 16.8 mile three-loop bike ride (not so much cake!!), and a 5k (oh running, why do you hate me??) around the peninsula.

Transition was on a grassy median strip, and was very laid back. Bitching commenced at 6:05 sharp. My worry at that moment was having to run from the pool--in bare feet!--through the parking lot and across the street. The girl next to me pretty much told me to HTFU, and then she put a towel across her head, laid down and fell asleep until start time. A strategy I need to adopt!

For the swim, we had all estimated our times beforehand. I guessed 11 minutes. We got body marked in order of swim time, and got in line. You got in the pool in 20 second increments and swam 50 meters up one lane, down the OTHER SIDE of the same lane, ducked under the rope and did the same for the next 3 lanes until you reached the end, hauled ass out of the pool, and ran to transition.

So off I went on my first 50 meters, la-de-da, not so hard, is this?? When two chicks lapped me. No problem-o, go for it! About halfway down my 2nd 50 meters--BAM--head-on collision. I was sure I had hit the wall (literally), but no. No, no, no. It was another swimmer, starting his first lap--on the WRONG side of the lane. (I dunno, maybe he was English.) Sigh. It shook me up but no damage was done. And it gave me something else to be annoyed about for the next, oh, hour or so. Score.

At the swim start there were tons of people, volunteers, it was a busy place! At my swim exit, it was quiet. TOO QUIET. Like a morgue QUIET. I thought I was surely the last one out, that the volunteers had given up on me. But no. There was one stalwart who said, "you're O.K., go!" (Hmm, that's the name of a band!) Let's take a short musical interlude here:

Swim time: (Guesstimate) 11 minutes.

T1: 3:49

Bike: There was a strong headwind on the point but once you rounded it, it was, curiously, a tailwind! By the time I started, I could see bikes in the far distance. I was pretty much one loop behind everyone else. Soon, there were people running. I decided to say something encouraging to every runner I passed, which made me feel like a NICE person. As I started my third and last loop, I was starting to feel DISCOURAGED as I watched all my friends drop their bikes to head out on the run. One of them (Hi Jason!) called out to me "Push it, push it, push it!" so I hunkered down and pushed it, thanks to Jason.

Funny how it's the little things that can make a difference.

Bike: 16.8 miles 1:05:19 15.43 miles / hour

T2: :56

And then there was the little 5K. I noticed that the wind had died down. I noticed that there weren't that many runners I could see. OK, there were NO RUNNERS that I could see. There was however, one chick in front of me who was walking. I started my death-march shuffle and hoped she would not start running just so I could feel some kinda good by passing someone. Eventually she started running, and eventually I passed her. Score.

I have no idea why I start walking. I'm not winded, it's not like I'm running fast, and nothing hurts! It's the MOST ANNOYING THING. I had hoped to better my run time from my Philly tri, but I just stopped caring. Whatcha gonna do? A sweet girl started walking with me, and then she said, "You wanna finish this thing?" to which I replied, "Go ahead, I'm not ready to run," (HENCE THE NAME OF THIS BLOG). I tried to pick it up for the finish.

Run: 36:43 (11:50 min/miles)

I did not feel elated at the end. I felt "I'm hungry/I want to barf." I didn't feel so hot, which was a damn shame because there was another FANTASTIC D.C. Tri barbecue in full swing, with loads of goodies. I forced myself to eat a veggie burger (at 10 a.m.), and hung around waiting to see if barfing would commence (it did not) before finally deciding to head home.

1. A training tri is actually terrific training, and D.C. Tri puts on a great one.
2. They can't all be peak experiences, now can they?
3. If I was fast, then I wouldn't get to experience getting better.
4. I don't know why I felt so crappy. Lack of sleep? Long ride the day before? The whole bleeding to death thing?

I'm glad to have two tris under my belt before next Sunday, where my ONLY goal (I swear to God) is to HAVE FUN.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Riders in Search of ...

Just a typical weekend.

Up at 5:30 on Saturday, drive to Vienna (that would be Vienna, Virginia) to meet up with my homies:
L-R: Greg, Jason, Carolina, Rachel, Catie, Sandy, Julia, Casey, me

for a nice, leisurely 45.8 mile ride.

It was leisurely because a) we have this little ohmygodwhathaveisignedupfortri coming up in two weeks, and b) we had a "training" tri on Sunday (which is in the running for the Most. MisNamed. Event. Ever.) so my crew was taking it easy.

We went out on the W&OD trail, which intercepts with many cross streets, so has many stop signs on it for several miles, so is a) great practice for clipping in and out (hi greg!) and b) makes it hard to go too fast.

W&OD elevation map; also? It was downhill most of the way out.

Which meant? My peeps went slow, and—I got to pass them! I got to pretend that I was faster. I was even out front at some points. It was some kind of serious excitement for me, since I've never been first ever EVER EVER!! IN ANYTHING!!! (OK, so they let me be first. I will take what I can get.)

We rode out to Leesburg, where I had to beg everyone to dismount and get their photo taken with this sign. I guess they are shy. Soon enough though they were tripping over each other to get into this historic shot:

There is one difference between these photos. Can you spot it?

The ride was planned with two stops in mind: beer and ice cream. Not necessarily together.

There's a sign on the trail with an arrow pointing thataway to a brewery. So we followed the arrow, which led us to a lovely industrial park, where we rode around for a while, in search of a brewery.
If only we could see SOME clue that there actually is a brewery around here.

Finally found it, but there was no place for the bikes, so we wisely made the decision to carry on to the next stop: Dairy Queen!!

Jason and Sandy vie for the cutest award.
Catie is a third contender.

We are some badasses! Don't mess with us! Yum, Blizzards!

Casey is totally hardcore.

Next up: My "Training" Tri Race Report. Don't touch that dial.

Contributions to the "buy jeanne a new tv" fund will be gratefully accepted. Although I honestly think you people should not be ENCOURAGING me to watch TV. C'mon!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I biked 45 miles saturday and did a triathlon this morning, but those reports will have to wait because some of you are RELENTLESS about the state of my living room. So without further ado, here is the AFTER photo. Wait, should we look at the BEFORE again? Lets!

After! Look, it's a metrosexual couch! Thank you Craig Newmark!

So tidy!

Stay tuned!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Track Workout, The Tour, and a Couch

Monday's tri schedule—T minus 19 days 10 hours but who's counting—called for a 45-minute run. I figured that was the perfect time to introduce track workouts back into my training. Cuz it's really going to help me at this point.

There's no arguing with me though. Really. I've tried.

I even decided to run over to the local track INSTEAD OF DRIVING as I usually would have (way back in the day, when I used to actually do track workouts). I got there, all ready to roll, and discovered this:

Yeah, track all gone. Being rebuilt. But, I'm nothing if not flexible. I decided to just run my 400 time, x 4, and walk 2 minutes in between. Does this make sense? Whatever! I ran 2:21s (according to McMillan, my 400 speed workout goal), and for all I know, the distance each time was 100.


Let's just call it intervals and be done with it.

The Tour

I love watching the Tour. I've tried to understand it, but it's pretty hopeless. Basically it's hot boys in spandex going fast. And, let's face it, we all watch it for the crashes. (Just kidding! Hold the hate mail!) And, could someone PLEASE tell the announcers that it's not the Tour DEEEEE france??? Sheesh.

The Game

This guy was still hanging around D.C., so I dragged him to my first Nationals Game (actually, he treated me, but you probably guessed that). I must say, that if you can get past the blaring, blasting, ear-splitting music, idiotic announcing of word games and contests, and advertisements, you have a decent chance of watching a ballgame at this park. God almighty, has this country completely lost its mind? Are we totally incapable of even the SEMBLENCE of silence??? Everyone knows that the ONLY music allowed at a ballpark is ORGAN MUSIC. I was so tired I had to leave my escort halfway through (although I still say the Nationals could have pulled it out!) so that I could make it to bed by 10 p.m. I am a laugh riot to hang with these days.

A Couch

Number One Daughter is basically renovating our apartment single-handedly. She really needs to be an interior designer. Last Saturday she bought us a new (used) Crate and Barrel couch from Craigslist! Here's the before photo:
A Goodwill store threw up

I'm too tired to take the after photo now. (Tired? Or Lazy? You choose!) But you'll be amazed.

Next Up!

Tomorrow is a three-hour ride, followed on Sunday by a "training tri." I hope we get to wear water wings, flippers, training wheels, and ... well, what would constitute a training aid for running? How about someone CARRYING ME??

(I've heard, but I can't swear to it, that tri training can make a girl CRANKY.)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

It's a D.C. Fourth!

It's the annual July 4 Autism Speaks 5k:

2005: F48 566/709 28/34 34:41 11:10

2006: F49 474/728 21/37 32:42 10:31

2007: F50 614/883 14/26 32:18 10:23

2008: F51 936/1393 21/42 32:33 10:28

I'm amazingly consistent, I'll give me that.

This July 4 began the same as the last three: me shaking Number One Daughter out of a deep and restful sleep to go run a hilly 5k in 90F heat and 99 percent humidity.

I had no hopes this year for any sort of record, except maybe a PW. (Not true. Secretly I hoped I could place. It's fun being me!) I told NOD I was hoping for "under 36 minutes." How's that for setting the bar?

Last year D.C. Spinster paced me to a course PR. This year I was on my own. I wish I could say what it is about this miserable, hot, hilly race that compels me to tackle it each year. Cuz NOD would really like to know.

NOD and I started out together and she tried talking to me, but soon realized that talking is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. She took off and I didn't see her 'til the finish.

The race starts with an uphill, but there are surprisingly more downhills than I remember. It weaves through the wide streets of chi-chi Potomac where there's a new McMansion every other house. The millionaires come out to watch, and some even turn on their sprinklers for us. There's a nice neighborhood feeling to this race, with lots of walkers in this race, and also lots of kids, which can be disheartening--if you're me. For a while I was behind one elderly gentleman who grunted loudly with every footfall. Which is SO AGAINST THE RULES. No sounds of misery allowed.

Well, I did set a record. I set a record for the most walking. I don't know why I can't remember that if I would just keep running, I might actually beat myself. I made 2 miles in 20 minutes flat, but then, as usual, the course started winning. Until the homestretch which is a nice long downhill, where I let it rip, and passed a few people. I have a nice finishing kick, if I do say so myself.

It was HOT.

After discovering that YET AGAIN I failed to win a medal (how OLD do I have to be?!?!), we went home and took naps.

Around 2 p.m. I was abruptly awakened by the phone and found myself talking to David who was in town for work. Too bad for the first 5 minutes of the conversation I thought he was another David.

We made plans to meet, and I ended up taking him to a VIP block party on Capitol Hill. You know, that place where all the movers and shakers live and work.
Capitol Hill: The seat of world power.

Poor guy has such a hard time fitting in.

We'd hadn't been there five minutes and he already had a job. Nice.

David and two chicks.

Later we trekked to the Iwo Jima Memorial and watched the fireworks through the rain while everyone screamed at the people in front to sit down, and the people in front screamed back, so then everyone had to stand. The land of the free!
My two BFFs!

Fireworks over the Washington Monument.

Another perfect fourth of July.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Only a Memory

I put out an APB for photos from last Saturday, and the peeps came through:

The beach at Sandy Point, near Annapolis, Maryland.

More beach. Too bad there's not some GIANT structure somewhere around here, like say, a big long BRIDGE, that I can use to sight off of...

Mistress of all sports Sandy, left, and me, at Sandy Point. (photos courtesy Sandy C.)

You've seen the "Elaine dance"? This is the "Elaine swim."

Awww. Weetle baby ducks!

Cantlers, where I had the best crabcake of my life. THANK GOD FOR JON without whom none of this would have been possible.

My nemesis, Jon. I never had a nemesis before!

You would NOT believe the inspiring views you get in triathlon! My peep Casey shows us some. (photos courtesy Sheriece M.