Monday, August 31, 2009

We Have a Winner!

So many worthy entries!'re not going to believe this, and I couldn't have planned it any better if I tried, but the winner is:


About time this woman ran into some luck.

I entered all your e-mails into this handy little random list thingy (well all the e-mails of those of you who um, actually read the directions), and bodabing, aj popped up first.

Well done! Dick will be contacting you shortly with your Major Award.

(Tuan, does this mean it's

Friday, August 28, 2009

Weekend in Review

First, let me share my Major Award from the North East Olympic Triathlon:

It seems to have an inner radiance, non?

They don't just hand these things out like candy, people! (Well, they kind of do...)

Anyway, we can all revel in this high point of my life so far.

But wait!

I followed up that stunning victory with the final D.C. Tri Training Tri last Saturday.

I am pleased to report that our long national nightmare is finally over.

Progress. Has. Been. Made.

August 22, 2009July 12, 2009July 13, 2008
swim 400 yards10:47 (2:42/100m)
10:34 (2:39/100m)11:11 (2:48/100m)
t13:50 4:053:47
bike 16.8 miles1:02:38
(*16.09 mph*!!!)
(15.52 mph)
(15.54 mph)
t2 1:291:321:24
run 5k36:17
(11:40 min/mile)
(12:27 min/mile)
(11:53 min/mile)

I have finally broken out into 16 mph on the bike.

I'm a 16 mph-er!

Of course, to achieve progress on the bike, I (apparently) had to give up a little on the swim. Sigh.

And no walking during my blazing fast run, either, of which I am damn good and proud.

Afterwards, as usual, we all gathered for post-barbecue and other goodies at the picnic area on Haine's Point. I was feeling good!

Right up until I passed out.

I had just introduced myself to Alejandro, and he was in the middle of answering some fascinating question I had tossed his way, when all of a sudden: Who turned out the lights??

Everything went dark. I knew I was about to faint, since that was a favorite pasttime of mine during high school. I quickly sat down and put my head between my legs and proceeded to sweat to death. I wasn't feeling so great. I asked Jason if people would think it was weird if I laid down on the ground, and I don't remember what he said, not that it mattered. Quick-thinking Jason put his first-aid skills to use by making me eat a bag of chips, stat. Thanks, man!

I am prone to low blood pressure, so that's what I think it was. I had a Gu and HEED during the race, so I don't think it was low blood sugar.

Always the drama queen...

Everything was fine after that.

So fine, in fact, that I came home and ate everything in sight, and then got ready to take my friend John up to my 'hood, Skyline Drive (part of the Shenandoah National Park), at o-dark thirty Sunday morning:

Photos courtesy Tammy, who we happened to meet on this overlook.

John is a trooper!

Elevation. I love this ride. It's haaaard.

This time the only wildlife I saw was a turtle crossing the street, and some squirrels. I am getting better at going downhill, too. I no longer spend the entire time contemplating death by bike.

A beautiful, peaceful day in the mountains. Toss me some chocolate milk at the end, and I'm GOOD.

Oh, and I made another pie after I came home (technically? A cobbler.) Blackberries and peaches.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Last Chance at $100 Gift Card!

Contest closes tonight at 11:59!

Details here.

If you already left a comment and a reason why you think open-water swimming is great, but forgot to leave your e-mail...rut-roh, you are OUT!

I will write a post in a few days a) extolling the virtues of open-water swimming, and b) announcing the winner. Watch this space!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

North East Triathlon Race Report!

Well, my third Olympic Triathlon is in the bag, and I gotta say: It's exactly as hard as I remember it. It does not get easier. But, I came home safe, uninjured, happy and healthy, and with 3rd in my age group! WHEE! (MUST I tell you how many people there were in my age group??? Sigh. Three. There were three.)

Swim: 41:30 This is a huge improvement. The water temp was 85F, so wetsuits were totally out. There was no current, and no wind. It was like swimming in a bathtub. I still freaked out beforehand (mostly because the race directors kept up a CONSTANT patter about what to do if you get freaked out, and how you can still drop down to the Sprint if you think you're going to freak out, and I gotta tell you: It freaked me out! Many thanks to Will, and Becky, and others who helped talk me off the ledge! And to Shannon, who mostly made fun of me. Heh.) But I didn't have to stop once after I got going. I just got in a rhythm and kept it going the whole swim. No freak out. It was awesome. Yay me.

T1: 4:42 I can explain this. When I got out of the river, I started my gimpy jog, determined to knock some sense into T1, but felt shooting pains in my left breast, every time I ran. I don't know wtf that was. But that's how I blew T1. Pain went away on the bike. Well, that pain went away. Sigh.

Bike: 1:46:45 (13.2mph) Very hilly. It took me a while to get going, I was kind of hyperventilating at first, so tried to slow down. The hills were rough, but not as bad as at Columbia, for instance. I tried to let loose on the downhills. The course went through lovely countryside, lots of woodsy parts, and had a decent amount of shade. I passed a few people. And that would be the last of that...

T2: 2:27 Also a nice improvement. Heading in the right direction.

Run: 1:24:44 (13:40 minutes/mile)--This totally blew. It was brutally hot and hilly. The course was 10k out and back along the side of a highway, with no shade. I pretty much just threw in the towel, and decided to walk fast, and run as much as I could on the downhills. I maybe ran 2 miles total. Oy. But the beauty of out-and-backs is you see so many people running towards you. I saw tons of D.C. Tri peeps. Everyone was unbelievably encouraging, which is why I love this sport!

Total: 4:00:06 (My goal was to come in under 4:00 hours. Good enough!)
Place: 3/3 F50-54 (YAY!!)
Gender: 112/114 F

Oh, and p.s.: D.C. Tri won 5th straight MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP! Go us!

And for you history buffs:

July 28, 2008
New Jersey State Olympic Tri (race report)
Swim: 46:42 (51:53)
T1 4:35
Bike 1:32:53 (15 mph)
T2: 3:45
Run: 1:27:01 (14:02 min miles)
Total: 3:54:54
Place: 12/12 F50-54
Gender rank: 254/263 F

Sept. 14, 2008
Nation's Olympic Tri (race report)
Swim: 48:07 (this swim was long, I'm told)
T1: 5:11
Bike:: 1:45 /14.1 mph
T2: 3:49
Run: 10K 1:25/13:49 min. mile
Total: 4:08:27

Sept. 21, 2008
Savageman Olympic Triathlon Relay (race report)
Swim: 43:43

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kayak, Bike, and That Other Thing You Do in the Water

Last night I went kayaking for the first time ever. It cost $5. Since I don't have the kid's camera anymore, and strangely, other people don't feel the need to photograph every single thing they do, you'll just have to imagine the scene: The C & O canal, dusk, sun slowly setting, mosquitoes slowly eating me alive. It was blissful, and peaceful, and I got told by the instructor that I need to "put more force into it." A familiar rejoinder, sadly.

It kind of looked like this.

The instructors taught us a few strokes and then had us play tag with the kayaks. A lovely way to spend a hot summer night.

Saturday I went on a 33-mile bike ride on the very very hilly Eat-a-Peach charity ride, out in the hinterlands of Westminster, Maryland. I was grouchy and grumpy and not feeling it, but I just got in the car and put it in drive, bitching to myself the entire way. I should have manned up and gone for 40 miles, but I gave into my worse self. I rode alone most of the time, and what do you know: My mood actually lifted. It really IS all about the bike!!!

The ride went through bucolic (and hilly) Carrol County, out in some real country, with no cars, lots of corn, cows and horses. Also geese. The first rest stop was at 9 miles. Are they kidding?? I was barely warmed up. The second was at 20 miles, at a cute little country nursery. There were a ton of people stopped, including a bike team that was helping some chick change a flat. I flew right on by. 33 miles took me 2.5 hours which, if you're keeping track, is slow. But whatever. I passed people like they were standing still. The ride organizers saved their worst for last, of course: the longest and steepest hill at about 31 miles out. It went straight up. God knows how I didn't fall ass over teakettle. Instead, I passed one teenager pushing his bike up a hill. I felt smug (and what the heck, why not?) even though he was riding a banana bike that was about 6 sizes too small. I take what I can get.

At the end I forced myself to run, and got in 2 good miles in the hot sun. (I've been following 21st Century Mom's admonitions to always run after biking, no matter how short or long. Listen to the mother!) So that was my longest brick yet.

While out on the run I heard my name called (is there anywhere where I am not known??? The fame thing--so hard!) It was none other than the overachieving Adam, who rode 67 hilly miles, fast (read his excellent ride report). We met up after my run to gossip while I stuffed my mouth full of bagel and he of pizza. After that, I stuffed my pockets full of peaches, came home, and in a fit of "Julie/Julia" madness (the link is to the blog that inspired the book that inspired the movie), made this:

And finally, the sport Whose Name We Dare Not Speak:
I have a triathlon coming up, the Northeast Olympic Tri, this coming Sunday, located in the unimaginatively named town of Northeast ("The Land of Pleasant Living"), Maryland. I'm considering this my "G" race, cuz that's how far down in importance it is to my "A" race. (What is my "A" race, you ask? Lemme get back to you ...)

I'm considering it a long training day. I'm considering it a time for FUN in the water, a FUN bike ride, and then some FUN running. And while I'm busy lying to myself, my brain is busy freaking out over the s***. And the run. Yeah, everything but the bike. So to calm myself down, and re-convince me that I can indeed go 1500 meters in open water, I hied myself down to the Hain's Point 50-meter outdoor pool on Sunday after church, all ready to do 10x100, and 10x50.

Which I did. And immediately got depressed because it took me 45 minutes. In a pool. After all those lessons, and all that practice.

I want a refund.

Anyway, my plan is to magically become faster on Sunday. If I could get a s*** time that starts with a "3" I'll be deliriously happy.

There's loads more to report, but I know how you like me to keep things short, so I'll leave everyone with this inspiring video of Captain Kirk explaining Why He Is Climbing a Mountain, inspiration which I plan to use on my next hilly ride, run, or s***:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

I Did Too Work Out

Part Two of my Road Trip took me from New Haven to Falmouth, Cape Cod:

to visit Renee, my college roommate, at this lovely house she rented
Lovely outside, but reminded all of us of the setting for The Ice Storm.

I hadn't been to Falmouth before (is this the lower or the upper cape? I can never keep that straight), so this was a new adventure. Falmouth has apparently just finished its "From Sea to Shining Sea" bike path, which runs from North Falmouth down to Woods Hole. I think it's about 10 miles, but it's kind of hard to find decent info on it.

I didn't have the kid's camera, so couldn't take any photos. But it's a gorgeous path.

We were staying in a cul-de-sac in North Falmouth. My only criteria was that I get my training in. I everything carefully planned out, thanks to this handy site, with my training happening early mornings or in the evening, so as not to interfere with some serious daytime downtime. Thus:

Wednesday morning: group bike ride
Wednesday evening: track workout
Thursday morning: 1-mile ocean swim
Friday night, my last night: the Falmouth Track Club Friday Five mile race (Highly recommended by Anne, of Run DMZ (that always sounds like the name of a rap group) fame.

And, instead of that, this is what happened:

Wednesday morning: Hmm. That bike ride? Advertised as "a big boy/big girl ride...There are spots where the pace gets over 30 mph." Um, nevermind! At least I'll do the evening track workout.

Instead I went for a calmer bike ride, and then we headed to the beach:

Where I did venture into the ocean once and swam for about 1/2 hour...pretty much going backwards the whole time. And then I slept. Waking up at oh, 4:45. The track workout was at 5:15.


Well, nevermind about track! Sheesh, it's a vacation!

I was soooo glad I brought the bike. Every morning I woke early and rode about 3 miles to the start of the bike path, and from there to the local coffee shop, Coffee Obsession, where I blissfully lingered over a latte and bagel and The Boston Globe, catching up on the latest installment in Gates-gate (heh), which totally dominated the news, and the conversation.

Thursday: Early-morning open-water swim. I spent most of Wednesday night worried sick about this, but got up and drove to the appointed spot by 6:15 a.m., for a 6:30 start. Hmm. Place was pretty empty. No gathering of any swimmers. At 6:35 I figured I had dodged a bullet and hightailed it outta there before anyone could show up. Got back to base and jumped on my trusty bike, back to the coffee shop. Ahhhhhhh.

We spent the rest of Thursday biking to Woods Hole, deciding at the last minute to jump on the ferry to Martha's Vineyard, reconsidered since we were throwing a grown-up (sort of) dinner party that evening, meaning it might be nice to, you know, actually prepare food, tooling around Woods Hole (very cool place), and riding home. I took myself off for a massage, raced back, made a grown-up dinner of shrimp scampi

and posed on the extremely hip 1970's spiral staircase

My last night there, I ventured into charming downtown Falmouth, and met the Falmouth Track Club for the Friday night Five mile race.

Me: Five miles, 53:00, fourth from last. Which, ladies and germs, is a PR for moi. Ooh-rah.

Later that night, I gingerly learned how to operate a gas grill, wherein I overcooked the tuna (sigh)

And also looked at the night sky.

I miss New England.

Saturday, for Part Three of the Road Trip, I drove to the Big Apple, to spectate at the New York City triathlon. My friend Sarah's brother, Mark, was competing.

And all I have to say about that was: It. Was. Awesome.

Well, and this: Mark (and his abs) placed 12th/349, and 36th overall.

Watch it all here