Race Report: PolarBear Sprint Tri

On Saturday I completed my first tri of the season! Last week I was going to write a goals post for the PolarBear, but then I realized I didn’t even train for this race and thus I had no real goals. This race really just snuck up on me. I registered for it back in December when it first opened for registration, and then I forgot about it until about two weeks ago.

I hadn’t swam in almost two months, I rode my bike outside for the first time this year a week ago and also did my first and only brick prior to this race then as well. Nothing like being super prepared for this race! I raced the PolarBear last year and had a decent race, even with my knee injury. Last year I thought I was going to DNF because I could barely run. This year at least my knee was fine. I was just worried about my severe lack of fitness.

Before the masses hit the pool

Before the masses hit the pool

The Swim

Since this is a pool swim there were 10 waves of swimmers that spanned from 8:30-10:30am. I racked my bike around 7:45am and then had to wait until 10:30 to swim, because I was so lucky and was assigned the last swim wave. Urgh! Most people were done with the race even before I started. Reason number one I hate pool swim tris. I swam for the first time in about 2 months on Wednesday night. I knew going into the PolarBear that was swim was going to bad. That is was. I shared a lane with another girl who totally lapped me. At least I flip-turned the entire 525 yards! I’m the type of swimmer that needs a lot of warm-up time before I can settled in and find my groove. I’m a much better open-water swimmer as well, since I suck at kicking. I felt like drowning throughout the swim, but managed to muscle my way through it. I was never out of breath so I could have pushed it a bit more, but I just wanted to survive in one piece. Last year I swam a 9:20 or 1:47/100 yard pace. This year I was definitely slower.

Swim: 9:54 (1:53/100 yds) 5/15 AG; 114/253 OA

The Bike

The only bike that I have ridden in 2 months was a spin bike. I was doing super good building back my power from December to mid-February and then I stopped. I rode my bike for the first time outside (and in 2 months) last Sunday. I had no expectations for this bike leg. I just didn’t want to embarrass myself too much. I made a quick transition. On the way out of transition I lost the straw to my water bottle and thus had no way to drink any water on my bike. I was super thirsty too, so this was not a pleasant situation. It was only 11 miles and I could get water at mile 1 of the run. I survived. There was quite a headwind on the bike course. I don’t remember it being this bad last year, but maybe it was. At least it had warmed up a bit during my 3 hour wait! A few guys passed me on the bike and I played cat-and-mouse with another woman racked next to me in transition. She passed me and then I quickly passed her again. She passed me again about half way through the course. As she rode by me she commented that I was tough to catch. I later caught up to her in T2 so she didn’t finish much before me. I had a decent bike considering very little training. Last year I finished the bike in 36:06 and this year I finished in 36:47. I was only about 40 seconds slower this year so I’ll take it! And as a bonus, I averaged 142 watts with a VI of 1.05. That’s really good for me!

Bike: 36:47 (18.8mph) 2/15 AG; 126/253 OA

The Run

Last year I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to run. This year I knew I could, but it would be slower than molasses! I’ve been running a few times a week lately, but focused on slow, MAF training style to build my aerobic base. I haven’t done any speed work since 2012. I felt okay on the run. I was in a comfortable pace. I wasn’t out of breath, but it was work. I could have pushed it more, but I just went with it. I passed some people and a few guys passed me. For the most part I was running alone. There were no age group marking on the legs this year, which I did not like. I could not tell who was in my age group. I passed the woman who I played cat-and-mouse with on the bike. I chatted with her for a minute or two and then finally passed her for good. Most of the run course is on trails and grass. It’s not my favorite footing. I’d much rather run on pavement. Last year I managed to hobble a 28:04 run with my knee injury. This year I was slower at 28:36, but I’m pretty sure it was long this year. My Garmin read 3.2 miles instead of the supposed 3 miles.

Run: 28:36 (9:32/mile) 6/15 AG; 146/253 OA

Overall, it was an okay race. I didn’t have high expectations for this race since I didn’t train for it. Honestly, I thought about skipping it, but decided to use it to “brush off the dust” and perhaps motivate myself to begin training more seriously for Timberman 70.3 in August. But, right now, my focus is on my upcoming vacation to Belize and Guatemala in a week! I ended up placing 3rd in my age group and finishing in 1:17:47. Last year I finished in 1:15:44. I was within a minute of the 2nd place girl as well. Next race is most likely the Norway Tri in July. Maybe I’ll actually traing for this one…

My "trophy"

My “trophy”

Finish: 1:17:47; 3/15 AG; 41/119 W; 132/253 OA

~ Happy Training!

 

Race Report – Ironman Lake Placid – Part II

If you missed part I of my race report then click HERE so you can read about my pre-race and swim!

The Bike

During the final lap of the swim it had started to rain a bit. Not crazy downpour rain, but enough to wet the roads. As I ran through transition a volunteer had my bike ready to go for me. I grabbed Azul from the volunteer and ran to the bike out. The mount line was a bit scary. It’s very narrow and there were a lot of people. I was nervous that I was going to run into someone or someone was going to run into me, but luckily everything was fine. The first half mile of the course is narrow with multiple sharp turns and steep hills to navigate before embarking on the actual 112 mile journey. Soon enough I found myself riding by the horse show grounds about a mile from town. It is around here that you begin climbing out of Lake Placid.

My goal for the first loop was to take it stupid-easy. The climb out of the town of Lake Placid is no joke. Once you think you get to the top and begin the descend down to Keene, you hit rollers and climb some more. The bike route was quite congested because everyone and their mother was on the bike by now! Everyone was in everyone else’s drafting zone, but how could you not be! I was getting passed on the right by impatient men. I took my time spinning up the hills. I absolutely did not want to be stupid and go out too hard and blow up later on the second lap like a lot of people tend to do.

Finally I made it to the top of the hills and began the crazy 10k descend into Keene. The roads were wet from the shower and the road conditions themself were not that great on this section of the road. I stayed to the right, sat up, and rode my damn brakes down the hills! Large men barreled by me going about mach 10 in aero. Go for it dude! But, I prefer my skin on my body if you ask me. I coasted down the hills hitting in the 30 mph and when I could I would pedal to push myself over the little rollers in the middle of the descend.

Next thing I know, I’m in Keene and making the sharp left turn towards Jay. This is the flat-ish section with nice wide shoulders. I made sure to push it here to make up for time because I knew the slow part was yet to come on the backside of the course. I stayed aero and did a lot of eating and drinking during this section. I hit the out-and-back to Ausable Forks. The road was super crowded. I passed a lot of people and was passed by a lot of people. I swear for every women in the race there had to be at least 15 men! I saw a couple of TriMoxie athletes zoom by in the other direction looking strong!

After the out-and-back section to Ausable Forks you take a sharp right up Route 86 to begin the climb into Wilmington. This is the real meat and bones of the course. As soon as you make the turn you begin a long climb. I believe it’s a cat 4 climb, but I could be wrong. This is actually my favorite climb of the whole course. I know, I’m weird. A lot of the local people who live on the route were out and cheering us on. One guy was sitting on his ATV with a cooler and sign that said “free beer.” It made me giggle.

After we climb into Wilmington and could see Whiteface Mountain in the distance we make a right-hand turn onto Hazelton Road for a 2 mile out-and-back. I made a pit-stop at this aid station to pee. As soon as I dismounted my bike and handed it to a volunteer they asked me what I needed. Just the bathroom I said. In and out and back on my bike. I looked down at one point to take a sip from my aero bottle and a volunteer had stuck a purple smiley face sticker on my bottle. It made me smile! 🙂

I reached the 4-way intersection and made the left-hand turn to begin the long climb back into town. This is the slow section of the course. Everyone’s split for the second half of the course is much, much slower than the first since you have to climb a couple thousand feet (okay, maybe not that much…) back into Lake Placid. I took my time. The wind had picked up, but I made sure to keep spinning and stay patient. That’s all you really can do. I passed our hotel on the way. Looked at it and kept going. As hard as this section of the course is, it is absolutely stunning in scenery. Lots of river and waterfall views with Whiteface mountain looming in the background.

After a long while of climbing I passed Riverside Road and knew the famous Bears were coming shortly! Almost done with the first loop! I climbed Mama Papa and Baby Papa and approached Papa Bear. People were lined up cheering you on! It was seriously like it was right out of the Tour de France. There was a guy in a bright pink speedo jumping around and with another guy holding a sign saying “smile if you wet yourself.” As I crested the hill I heard people yelling my name! I saw Pattie and Pam, friends from camp last year and TriMoxie coach Ange! I was pumped! As I made the turn by the golf course a guy rode by me saying I had quite the fan-base. Why yes sir, I do enjoy travelling with my entourage! Ha! 🙂

Top of Papa Bear (Photo Credit: Jodi Turner)

Top of Papa Bear (crooked helmet and all) (Photo Credit: Jodi Turner)

I made my way through town and stopped quickly at special needs to grab new bottles and nutrition. I forgot to put on chamois butter, which I paid for at about mile 100. The energy in town was unreal. People were screaming and cheering like we were all rock stars. I couldn’t help but smile! Just like that I was out-of-town and climbing out of Placid again. I could begin to feel the fatigue build in my legs knowing I had another 56 miles to go. Half way at least. The wind had picked up a bit. To stay focused and keep both my power and heart rate from spiking I began counting to 10 over and over again on the climbs. It helped. My power and heart rate stayed low and I felt good and strong. I began the crazy descend into Keene again this time more confident. The roads were dry and less crowded. I definitely let Azul fly more this time topping out in the low 40s before riding my brakes. The flat sections of Jay were uneventful. The second time around on the out-and-back to Ausable Forks was boring. At least it has pretty views again. I ate and drank a lot. Pissed again at an aid station.

I was playing cat and mouse with quite a few men at this point and occasionally we would chat. At one point a guy told me to go and he wasn’t afraid to be “chicked.” I noticed a lot of people on the side of the roads with flats. One guy had a broken derauiller. That sucks! Finally I hit mile 100. My crotch was killing me at this point. I couldn’t wait to get off my bike! I ran into another TriMoxie athlete Leigh around this time and we chatted a bit. She actually lives next door to my cousin. I passed and was soon climbing the bears again. Fewer people this time cheering and Papa Bear seemed to have gotten a bit bigger this time around.

Finally I rode through town again and made my way to the transition area. YES! I could get off my bike. I gave Azul to a volunteer and began running to the changing tent. A volunteer asked me if I wanted to take me shoes off. No. I’ll run with them on. A woman yelled at me to take my helmet off. Okay, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to run a marathon with my space helmet on!

Bike: 7:11:48 (15.56 mph)

The Run

I surprisingly felt awesome coming off the bike. I was really worried prior to the race how I would feel off the bike. I knew my major limiter for the race was going to be my knee. It wasn’t going to be a question of “if“, but “when” my knee was going to give out. My knee was a bit sore during the bike portion of the race and would sometimes shoot a sharp pain up to my hip, but I generally ignored it on the bike. I changed in the women’s changing tent and made sure to grab my salt sticks this time. I forgot them on the bike and felt a bit foggy at the end. Perhaps it was from being in the same or similar position for 7+ hours!

I put my shoes on and headed out for a short 26.2 miles! My legs felt great! I kept the pace easy because I knew it was going to be a long day. I chewed on a salt stick for a bit. I don’t advise that to anyone, but I felt I needed one that badly. I ran through the mile one aid station and saw my coach and her daughter! She said I looked good. I felt good! I ran through the second water station at the horse show grounds and soon began my descend and turn onto Riverside Road. I hit the 3 mile mark quite fast. My pace was good. I kept focusing on moving forward. Mentally I was in great shape. I just kept counting the miles. 4 miles down. 5 miles down. Holy cow, this thing is going by quicker than I thought! I would run to each aid station and then walked through each one getting hydration and nutrition in at each one. I would stop and piss at a couple of the aid stations.

Around mile 5 or 6 my glutes were on fire! I guess I used them to during the bike leg to climb! My pace was slowing a bit, but I still was moving way faster than I had predicted. I walked the giant hill back up towards the horse show grounds and headed back into town. The crowds were picking up and the energy was insane. I could hit Mark Reilly announcing people as they crossed the finish line. I walked the big steep hill into town. There was a guy holding a sign saying “how does your taint feel?” I looked at him and said not good. We both laughed. I jogged through town to the out-and-back by Mirror Lake. I crossed the half-way mark and began my second loop. I still felt good.

Around mile 14 my knee started hurting. It also marked the furthest that I have EVER run in my life. This was all new territory for me. I began a run/walk method. I was hoping to run the flats and downhills and then walk the uphills. Unfortunately, I couldn’t run the big downhill over the bridge to Riverside Road. My quad was on fire and my knee did not like it. So I walked and then began jogging at the bottom. The walk/jog method worked until mile 18. At mile 18 my knee was done. I have a high pain tolerance and generally can and have run through the pain. However, at mile 18 it was a different pain. It was sharp and almost a weakness feeling, like my knee was going to give-out feeling and I was going to crumble to the floor. I began walking. I was content with this. I knew it was going to happen, but I didn’t know when. I was impressed that my knee lasted until mile 18. I was hoping for mile 20, but I’ll take 18! I could have probably have pushed through it if I really, really wanted to, but I wanted to be smart. I wasn’t going for a specific time for this race. I know that I want to be in this sport for the long-haul and I didn’t want to do permanent damage to my body.

The walk wasn’t bad. A lot of people at this point were walking. What did suck for me, was that every fiber of my body, except my knee of course, wanted to run. I probably averaged between a 14-15 minute mile moving pace. I eventually made it into town where the crowds were even larger. It was starting to get dark and I vowed that I would not finish with a glow stick in hand. I tried running a bit through town but every time I tried I would wince in pain from my knee. Finally I made it to the last turn-around and headed for my last mile through town. People were screaming my name and encouraging me to run. With about three-quarters of a mile left, I decided to suck it up and run. The pain in my knee made me wince and cry at times, but I sucked it up and ran.

The Finish

Honestly, it’s challenging to come up with words to describe my emotions as I approached the finish line. Let me start by setting up the scene for you. Lake Placid has one of the best finish lines out of all the Ironman races. You finish on the Olympic oval where they did the speed skating races during the winter olympics. The crowds of spectators and volunteers are amazing. They are lined up several people deep, all screaming your name and cheering you on. The music is blaring and you can hear Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman, yelling “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN” as people cross the finish line. Mary and another TriMoxie athlete and soon-to-be husband of another TriMoxie athlete both told me to step back and remember the finish of your first Ironman. It’s tough to do.

IMLPfinishline

 As soon as I made the turn onto the Olympic oval I knew I was almost there. A volunteer told me I was there. I was an Ironman. It hit me like a ton of bricks. People were yelling my name and cheering me on. They told me I was an Ironman. I started to choke up. I smiled. I told myself not to cry. I was in excruciating pain from my knee but I kept moving forward. I rounded the last bend and could see people crossing the line. One man in front of me did the Blazeman roll and the crowd went wild. I looked behind me to see if anyone was coming. I wanted to cross that line alone. I wanted that moment to myself. Ten feet from the line I threw my arms in the arm. I was crying. I was smiling. I honestly didn’t know what was happening. I was in a daze. I couldn’t believe that I just swam, biked, and ran 140.6 miles through the breathtaking Adirondack Mountains. Mike Reilly said those magic little words that I have been waiting to hear for the past 7 months… YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

Two volunteers quickly grabbed me. They offered to take my timing chip, asked me how I was and what I wanted. They gave me my medal. I wanted food. I was hungry. They sat me down and got me pizza and fruit. They asked me if I wanted chocolate milk. I said “no” and secretly giggled thinking about what Vinnie Tortorich would have said about that. I sat around for a bit and then got my finisher picture taken and the wandered around a bit to find Mary and Jordan. Everyone around me kept saying “congratulations.” It.was.awesome.

finisherpicIMLP

Run: 5:31:54 (12:40/mile)

Total: 14:13:33 (43/68 AG; 1674/2536 OA)

 ~ Happy Training!

90 Mile Solo Ride

 

This past week was week one of my Ironman build to Lake Placid. Holy crap this little thing called an Ironman is happening in almost a month! This past weekend was my first BIG ride of the year. My coach gave me the workout as 6:15 or 110 miles, which ever comes first. I laughed when I first read this in TrainingPeaks because I knew 6:15 would hit on my Garmin before I hit 110 miles. The only way I would hit 110 miles with my current bike fitness is if I rode a pancake flat course with little to no headwind. Since Lake Placid is a pretty hilly course I knew I wanted to mimic the course the best I could and thus ride the North Raymond hills…

Ride Nutrition

Ride Nutrition

Originally my ride was scheduled for Sunday, but I had to work in the lab on Sunday for a few hours and I moved it to Saturday. Thank goodness I did because we got some pretty bad thunderstorms on Sunday afternoon! I wanted to time my ride on Saturday to start around a similar time I would start riding during IMLP. I started around 8:30ish, which give or take 10 minutes or so should be my tentative ETA on the bike at LP.

I headed up towards Raymond and hit Route 85. All I have to say about that road is the road conditions suck! The town did some road repair, which probably made the road worst than it was. The shoulder was full of pot holes and sand. I had about 4 inches on the white line to ride on and even there was pretty bad. Needless to say, I took my time on this road not wanting to get hit by speeding cars and/or get lost in a giant pothole.

A view from the top of Valley Road

A view from the top of Valley Road

Finally I climbed my way up Route 85 to Valley Road. This is where the real fun happens. I took Valley Road to Spiller Hill Road to Mountain Road to Route 11. I hit up at least 4-5 cat 5 climbs. My quads were quite trashed going into this ride and those hills did not help one bit. I took my time and spun up each hill, but I still spiked my power quite high. Not good. Around mile 21 I came close to a mental breakdown. My quads hurt. My bike fitness sucks. I can barely run. How the hell am I suppose to do an Ironman in 5 weeks? Not to mention a tough and hilly bike course Ironman?! Why didn’t I sign up for Ironman Florida? All these thoughts went through my head as I climbed, climbed, climbed. Once I got to Mountain Road I stopped for a few minutes to check where I was and also to calm down a bit. I can do this. 

I rode LP last year and thought the course wasn’t that bad. Yes, I believe my bike fitness was a lot better last year, but I know I can handle LP. Once I figured out where I was, I was back on course. Well, actually by this point I nixed my original planned route. I initially was going to ride around Sebago Lake and then head up and over Douglass Mountain. Yeah, I was being a bit ambitious…

Instead, I decided to head up Route 302 to Bridgeton and then go from there. The sun was out and the route had very little shade. I was starting to get hot, but I was being good with my nutrition. Around the 3 hour mark I turned into the Dunkin’ Donuts in Bridgeton to refill my now gone water bottles. I was feeling a little dizzy at this point even though I was taking salt pills and my gels. I sat down for a bit and had a couple of bits of my Bonk Breaker. I’ve been testing out solids on the bike because around the 11:30-1pm mark I get hungry and my body wants food. I could only get two bites because I wanted to puke it up. Hmmm… back to the drawing board?

Finally I hopped back onto my bike and headed towards Shawnee Peak, where I worked as a ski instructor and ski patroller during my high school and college days. Oh the memories… I forgot how long it takes from downtown Bridgeton to the mountain it takes. At this point the clouds where rolling in and I thought I was going to get poured on. I was a bit nervous at this point. The roads were mostly flat at this point, but the wind picked up and mentally I was fading a bit. Are we there yet?

A view of Shawnee Peak (and some lovely clouds) from the Causeway

A view of Shawnee Peak (and some lovely clouds) from the Causeway

Last year my first ever triple digit ride was done at LP where some of my fellow triathletes. Long rides are definitely way more fun with other people. However, doing these long rides solo is probably good for me mentally. If I can handle the distance all by my lonesome then I’ll be fine on race day!

Finally I hit Shawnee Peak around the half-way point. I headed home the back way through Denmark, Sebago, and Standish. I started to rally around this point knowing I was heading home. Most of the way home was all rollers that weaved through some of the lakes in the area. It’s pretty and the roads are quiet and in good condition. At one point I came across a black lab in the road. He scared the crap out of me at first because I thought he was a black panther! Obviously, we have black panthers in Maine! Duh! Then his friend cross the street and for a split second I thought about stopping and playing with the doggies. Way more fun then a long ride.

Where I spent a lot of my time during high school and college winters..

Where I spent a lot of my time during high school and college winters..

The rest of the ride was rather uneventful. My neck was getting sore from being in aero. I got off to pee and stretch out at one point. I ate the rest of my bonk breaker at this point. It actually tasted good. Hmmm… Back on the bike and almost home. I knew I was going to run out of time, but I really wanted to hit at least 90 miles so I had to get a bit creative in my route. I did an out and back lap on Route 114 and then rode a couple of side roads around my house through a housing development to finally hit that magic even number of 90!

Off the bike and a quick 30 t-run! And then an ICE BATH!

Ice Bath!

Ice Bath!

And for comparison…

My 90 Mile Route on Saturday!

My 90 Mile Route on Saturday!

Lake Placid Bike Course! Yikes!

Lake Placid Bike Course! Yikes!

~ Happy Training!

 

Race Report: Patriot Half-Ironman Aquabike

 

photo

Patriot Half!

I signed up for this race back in December hoping that I would have a good solid race before my final build to Lake Placid. However, sometimes life throws you curveballs and you just need to change your plan. I decided a month ago after my knee/hip issues started that I would drop down to the aquabike. I didn’t really want to, but I decided to be smart and not do anything stupid… like run a half-marathon with an injured leg. 

The week before the race I managed to come down with a nasty cold (again). I succeeded to do absolutely nothing last weekend in order to get rid of the cold. It helped, but my nose was still pretty runny and I pretty much lost my voice. I hadn’t been in open water yet either. Luckily, one of my co-workers offered (okay, maybe I bribed him) to kayak for me Thursday night so I could try on my wetsuit and get in the water for a bit of swimming. This week was pretty crappy weather-wise. Lots of rain so the lake was freezing. It was also windy and choppy. I lasted a whole 7 minutes in the water. Yikes! Hopefully race day will be much better!

Excited to swim in Sebago Lake

Excited to swim in Sebago Lake

I headed down to Massachusetts on Friday night and stayed at my coaches house. I got to see her herd of puppies. They are completely crazy and lovable at the same time! I had a pretty good night of sleep. Going into this race I wasn’t really nervous. At this point, mentally I was considering this more of a training day than a pure race. The ultimate goal is Lake Placid so I treated this as a day to a) complete my first real open water swim of the year, b) get nutrition timing down, and c) work on pacing throughout the bike course.

Pre-race:

I got up at 4:15 and had a quick breakfast of a bagel with cream cheese and applesauce. No issues with breakfast going down. Guess I really wasn’t that nervous. Got in the car and turned the GPS on. Had issues with the GPS losing satellite the entire drive to Freetown. Awesome. I made it with plenty of time. Got my race packet. Racked bike. Set up transition. Felt like I was missing everything since I didn’t need my running shoes. Took Azul (my bike) for a quick spin. Used the porta-potty. Put on the wetsuit. Quick warm-up in the lake. Water temperature was about 60 degrees. Waited about 40 minutes until my swim wave went off.

The Swim:

I was in the last wave with both men and women aquabikers and the relay peeps. I seeded myself in the semi-middle third row back. The gun went off and so did we. I found open water pretty quickly. I didn’t have any major issues of anyone swimming over me or kicking me. I kind of wish that they did in a way so I could “practice” for Lake Placid! The first third of my swim was rough. I couldn’t settle in. My stroke was horrible. I’m sure I looked like a dying fish out of water. Finally, I was able to settle into my swim stroke and was making my way towards to first turn buoy. It felt like it took forever to get there! As you got further out into the lake it got a bit choppy. I made the first turn and headed for the second one. I could see that I was passing a few people in the previous waves so I was feeling okay about my swim, but I knew that I was slow. Before I started the race I set my watch to beep every 10 minutes during the swim so I had an idea of the time. The second beep went off shortly after I rounded the first buoy. I made it around the second turn buoy and started to pick up the pace towards “home.” The third beep went off and I knew I was looking at a 40+ minute swim. Definitely very slow for me, which I was slightly bummed about. However, I guess that’s what you get when you haven’t swam open water since last August. Finally I made it shore!

Swim: 42:02 (2:00/100 yards) 5/12 AG; 20/49 OA

T1

Did my hair. Did my make-up. Just Kidding. I had a hell of a time getting my wetsuit off. It took forever. Best part of it was the fact that I managed to strain my left calf muscle while taking my suit off. Awesome. An hour later…

T1: 3:53 min

The Bike

The course is a two loop 28-mile course that is relatively flat with some rollers. It was a pretty course with views of lakes and nice houses. It reminded me a lot of Pumpkinman and a little bit of the Maine Rev3 course. It took me a bit to settle into the bike. My head was still a bit cloudy from the swim. The first couple of miles had a bunch of turns so it wasn’t very fast, but I did managed to pass a few people right off the bat. I concentrated on staying in my power zones and riding the course smart and consistently. My goal was to do the first loop a bit easier and then pick it up for the second loop. About 10 miles into the course I passed a woman and she asked if I was on my second loop. I laughed and told her I was only on my first loop. She said “oh, you have a pointy helmet so I thought you were on your second.” Thanks for thinking I’m super fast lady! I just might have to wear my aero helmet from now on. Ha! Shortly after that I came upon two tom turkeys trying to cross the road. Both were running around in the middle of the road like deer in headlights. Great! Luckily, they moved quickly to the side of the road and I was able to pass them without coming to a complete stop. At this point I started to play cat and mouse with an older woman named Shirley. This would go on throughout the entire ride. I would pass her and then she’d get a second wind and pass me only to have me pass her later on down the road. Great fun and a great motivator! Around mile 15 or so we came up to a road between two lakes. Just as a came around the bend a flock of Canadian geese and baby geese were trying to cross the road. Seriously! Turkeys and now geese! I kind of made a “no no” sound to get them to stay on the side of the road so I could pass and one of them hissed at me! I didn’t think Geese could hiss! Yikes!

I kept moving and soon Melissa passed me like a rocket! I skipped the bottle exchange at mile 18 and kept plugging along. Soon I passed by transition and headed out for my second loop. I picked up the speed and started focusing on passing anyone I could. At this point the headwind picked up again. It was there on the first loop, but definitely picked up a bit more on the second. This time I passed both mile 10 and 15 without any birds trying the cross the road. I did see a turtle at one point. Around mile 45 or so Shirley and I started playing cat and mouse with a man named Craig. Right around this point the bike traffic started to pick up a bit and becoming a bit of a cluster-f***. The roads were a bit narrow and there were cars trying to pass. Things got a bit slow. At this point I was getting frustrated and finally when I had a chance I just put my head low and hauled ass by about 10+ cyclists. Shirley and Craig were long gone at this point. I passed the bottle exchange again and knew I had roughly 10 miles left. At this point I picked it up again. I passed a bunch of people knowing that I didn’t have the run. In the final miles I saw the elite men heading to the finish of the run looking strong. Then I saw transition and was done. It was a nice feeling knowing I didn’t have the run now. But, I sort of missed not being able to run….

Bike: 3:11:56 (17.5mph) 6 AG; 29 OA

Overall, I felt good during the race. I was a bit disappointed with my time overall. I was slow, but I haven’t been training much in my half-ironman zones. That coupled with my cold, I did the best I could on that day. I was just glad that I didn’t have any major coughing spells during the swim or bike. Looking at the results afterwards there were a lot of slow bike times. I was really hoping to go sub-3 on the course and it is definitely within my capability. I think the headwind played a role in the slower times. I compared how I did in the aquabike to my age group for the Half and I would have placed well there if I didn’t have my knee injury. But you never really know. I did accomplish my goal of the day – to have a good solid ride. My VI for the ride was 1.09, which is really really good for me! I was happy about that. My legs felt good at the end, minus the calf strain. Now, onwards to my final build to Ironman Lake Placid!

Overall: 3:57:48.6 6/12 AG (Women under 44); 10/28 Females; 26/49 Overall

My awesome Garmin watch tan lines!

My awesome Garmin watch tan lines!

Rev3 Maine Olympic Bike Course

Last evening I had a 90 minute endurance zone ride on my training schedule so I figured I would ride from work and check out the Rev3 Maine Olympic Bike Course. I’m very impressed and excited about the HIM bike course so I had a feeling this course would be equally enjoyable. I was a bit surprised to find that the Olympic course is more challenging than the HIM course, at least in my opinion.

Source – From Rev3 Site

I didn’t ride the first 3 miles of the course since I rode from Rt 1 in Scarborough (which is quite the adventure to ride in rush hour traffic). However, I have ridden those miles a couple of times before and they are relatively flat or a false flats with a wide shoulder. The rode is a little beat up in areas so you have to be aware of that when riding, but no gaping craters like some roads in Maine. Once you cross over Route One to Flag Pond Road, things get nice. There is not a wide shoulder or really any shoulder on the road, but conditions are nice (minus the trash I saw on the side of the road for the first time! Grr… I hate when people throw their trash out their window!). Both the HIM and Olympic follow this route. You must climb the bridge over the Turnpike, which is a quick but annoying little bugger! Once over the bridge and back down the HIM people will make a left turn onto Jenkins Rd, but the Olympic people will continue a little further up to take a right hand turn onto Hearn Rd. The very beginning of Hearn Rd is a slight uphill so you might consider gearing into a slightly easier gear to get up over the slight increase before settling in for the long haul.

The Olympic course is an out and back route that also follows some of the same roads that the HIM people will ride at the end. I’ve ridden Ash Swamp Rd (which I now affectionately refer to as Swamp Ass Rd because of my very wet ride of the HIM course last weekend) and Hearn Rd, but only from the HIM direction. The Olympic course rides those roads in the opposite direction heading out into Scarborough/Hollis and then you return on the same roads. Having ridden Ash Swamp Rd and Hearn Rd before I assumed they were flat and fast. Well, in the opposite direction, it is actually a false flat. I was cruising along in my endurance zone when I looked down and realized that my speed had slowed and I was pushing way too many watts. Definitely a false flat! The roads are in good condition, but surprising a lot of false flats. Don’t get discourage here. The out portion of the course will probably be slower than the back portion when your going in the opposite direction.

Once you reach the 4-way stop sign at the end of Ash Swamp Rd you go straight across to Waston Mill Rd. This road is the hardest road of the course in my opinion. It has a decent hill. You will descend down a small hill, cross over a bridge with a slight turn, and then ascend a rather short, but fairly steep hill. It’s enough of a grade that you might even want to consider hopping out of the saddle to climb. As you approach the crest of the hill you will see an orange sign for ice cold lemonade! Not sure if Rev3 will be serving any of race day, but you could try!

After the hill you will hit a nice little stretch of new pavement with pretty views of farmland and flowers in hay fields. Even a tractor for sale if your so incline to buy one. Not sure if it works though. There was a significant headwind on this stretch and actually for most of the course. Perhaps it was just last night that I was riding, but it’s possible that on race day to have a good headwind in this area and other parts of the course.

Pretty flowers and flat section

At the end of Watson Mill Rd you take a right onto Burnham Rd for a mile or so. This road was not in the best riding condition and actually parts of Watson Mill Rd were pretty bad too. Burnham Rd has some false flats too, but overall pretty fast.

Next is a left onto Tapley Rd, which again is fairly flat and fast road. It’s really shaded in this area, which will be nice if it is a hot and sunny race day. I was riding it around 6:30pm so it was rather dark in areas. The road conditions again weren’t that great. Very little shoulder and some pavement cracks.

Watch out for stuff like this!

At the end of Tapley you take a left onto Deer Run Drive and ride through the little neighborhood. This was completely flat and fast and kind of a nice little break from the course. The right hand turn back onto to Tapley is a little sharp so beware of that. Once you make the turn back onto Tapley you have reached the half way point!

The rest of the course just follows the same route back. You’ll hit the hill again on Watson Mill Rd. To ride this hill (which I actually did three times for kicks and giggles!), I would suggest to gear down to your hardest gear and push yourself down the hill (go as fast as you feel comfortable or until you gear out and coast) until you reach the bottom of the hill to begin climbing. Ride as much as that speed as possible up the hill where you either want to jump out of the saddle to finish the climb or gear up to an easier gear and spin up the remaining back of the hill. Personally, since it’s an Olympic distance race and the hill has a decent pitch, I would choose climbing out of the saddle.

The orange “ice cold lemonade” sign that begins the returning descend of the hill

Riding back on Ash Swamp Rd and Hearn Rd is a little easier because you have the slight grade down. However, in parts there is still a slight false flat. Once again you’ll have to ride over the Turnpike overpass back to Route One. The ride down Cascade Rd will be a bit better this time because it has a slight down grade to the finish.

Overall, I think the Olympic course is slightly more challenging than the HIM. It has more false flats and a decent little technical climb on Watson Mill Rd. The road conditions in areas were pretty bad and a majority of the roads had little to no shoulder. However, almost all the roads are rural side roads so traffic shouldn’t be an issue. The headwind was quite bad when I rode the course last night. I’m not sure if it is the norm or I was just riding on a windy evening. Just be aware that there is a potential headwind that will slow you down slightly. The course will be fast. Just don’t get discouraged by the false flats and ride smart. The out portion will probably be slower than the return portion. I’ll be interested to see what people’s opinion of the Olympic course will be.

The Rev3 website does not give elevation charts for the bike courses so I mapped them out on mapymyride.com to get an idea of what the elevation actually looks like. I can also look at my Garmin data too (remember to use elevation correction when uploading data because if you don’t Garmin will lie to you…)

Olympic Course Elevation
HIM Course Elevation

As you can see from the above charts, there really is no climbing compared to courses such as Mooseman, Quassy, or Lake Placid. The hills on the HIM course are slightly longer and more gradual. But there are only a few. Most of the course is flat and fast with wide shoulders. The Olympic course is mostly flat with several stretches of false flats, one decent hill you’ll hit from both sides and all on rural side roads. Either way, it’s a good course. Here’s to good weather on race day!

~ Happy Training!

Weekend Rap-Up

Last weekend was pretty epic, but it lacked in training. However, I did have a kick ass long ride the Friday night before I left for Lake Placid. I rode the Rev3 HIM course from work. Unfortunately I left a little later than intended due to some work stuff, but I managed to squeeze in a 3 hour ride before it got too dark. My workout was suppose to be a warm-up, followed by 3 x 20 minutes at race pace wattage with 10 mins easy spin between, and then a cool down. Being the uber brilliant person I am, forgot my workout as soon as I left the parking lot and proceeded to do 3 x 30 minute intervals. Now, of course, I could have stopped and checked TrainingPeaks on my phone, but I try not to stop during my long rides (or really any workouts). You don’t stop during a race so why stop and take a bathroom or snack break during a training ride? You eat, drink, and piss on your bike like a real triathlete! Speaking of peeing, I’ve been having a hard time doing that on my bike….

Yup, we pee on our bikes…

Anyway, I was kicking my workouts ass when I was in the middle of a race pace interval on Route 202 in Waterboro going about 23 mph when a dumbass in a jeep passes me and then puts on his blinker and decides to take a very slow right hand turn about 5 feet in front of me! I slammed hardcore on my brakes, fishtailed, prayed that myself and my $6000+ bike stayed up right and managed not to slam into the side of the jeep! I yelled at the driver and of course, the only thing he could response with was “I had my blinker on!” Seriously?! I was not a happy camper. For a split second I thought about whipping around, grabbing the driver by the scuff of his neck and hucking his 40 oz iced coffee in his face… but I was good and just kept on pedaling. My heart rate was sky rocketed at this point since I just had a near death experience, but shit happens just like bad drivers…. what are ya going to do?

The rest of the ride went exactly as planned. I nailed my zones and had a very strong and confident ride. I’ve talked with my coach and we both agree that my FTP has improved since the beginning of training and my zones are a little higher now! Based on this ride I know where to aim as far as wattage and time. I’m very excited for the bike leg!

Now, for this weekend. Saturday I did my long run. I was hoping to do it Friday night, but I needed to go home to pick up our CSA distribution from the farm because apparently my father is too busy to take 15 minutes out of his day to do so…. grr… Anyway, I decided to check out the Rev3 run course. I thought I knew what it was, but apparently I didn’t. Opps! I started on the Eastern Trail by the Scarborough Marsh and ran towards OOB. Instead of getting onto Old Portland Road I kept going to Old Cascade Road (which is what the bike course takes) and then ran down Old Cascade Road down to the pier and back up and back to the ET.

I got some pretty weird looks from people down near the pier. I guess none of them are use to seeing runners. I think one in two people down in OOB that day were either smoking, overweight, or obese. Half of them were shoving their mouths full of crap. It made me sad to see all of this. The health of our country really is on a downward spiral. I really hope some of these people will stop and watch part of the REV3 race on August 26th and perhaps be inspired to begin to eat healthier and exercise! Oh, my little public health mind would love that!

Once I hit the 7-8 mile mark I had an “Oh Shit” moment and I mean that literally! I had to go and go soon! I managed to make it into the woods and do my business. Thank God for porta-potties on race day, but I really hope I don’t have to use any during the race! Thank God also for aid stations! I ran with my fuel belt and I really hate running with it. I always get a side cramp on my left side and it’s too big and uncomfortable for me. But I ran through it. Once I hit the 10 mile mark all I could think of was in exactly one year from today I will have to run another 16 MILES for IMLP!! Holy Shit! Not to mention the 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike that precedes the run! According to my coach, the marathon at IMLP is really 1 mile x 26! 🙂

Okay, maybe this wasn’t what my “Oh Shit” moment looked like, but I really liked the picture!

Last time I checked the weather Sunday was suppose to be partly sunny and a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. I guess I should never believe the weatherman! I was hoping and planning to watch the women at the Maine Tri for a Cure in the morning, but I had a mandatory work meeting right smack in the middle of the race. For what I’ve heard it was a great day for many women and they were able to raise over $1.2 for the Maine Cancer Foundation. Congratulations to everyone who finished the race.

After my work meeting I scooted over to my full-time job site and parked my car to get ready for a rainy ride on the Rev3 course! I was suppose to do 4 x 20 minutes at race pace wattage today and I was pretty close to nailing those intervals, but I rode blind most of the time because I couldn’t read my Garmin very well in the rain. I didn’t push it really hard on the course either due to the wet roads and constant rain. I saw one other crazy lady out there training on the course with me. It actually wasn’t a bad day to ride either. I realized that this may be what I have to deal with next year during Ironman training. Workouts have to get done whether it’s in rain, snow or sleet! But I’m hoping for sun! 🙂

In the end I rode 65 miles and then followed up with a 3 mile run. I really thought today was going to be the day I peed on Azul, but I just couldn’t do it! I tried my darnest and at times thought it was really going to happen, but no bueno 🙁 I know I didn’t drink enough on my ride due to the fact it wasn’t very hot. If it was hot and I drank like I’m suppose to during a race then I think it would happen. I know, some of you are probably disgusted by this. But I’m not a real triathlete until I pee on my bike!

~ Happy Training!   

65 Mile Recovery Ride

I raced a sprint tri on Saturday (race report coming later this week) and I was suppose to have a rest day/light OWS if I wanted too. Well, Bike Shop Boy and I decided that it was a beautiful (and hot day) for a nice recovery ride. I mentioned in an email to my coach Saturday night that I would be doing a recovery ride on Sunday, but I didn’t really tell her how long. I told Bike Shop Boy as we were riding that my coach was probably going to kill me. She didn’t kill me, but I got a small reprimand because apparently, even though I was very good and rode slow in my recovery wattage zone, 65 miles isn’t a recovery ride! Opps…

I have a few big HIM target training rides coming up in the next few weeks so I wanted to check out the Rev3 HIM course so on target training days I didn’t have to deal with stopping to check my directions. Plus, I was excited to ride the course after reading Jen from Miles, Muscles & Mommyhood‘s review of the course earlier last week. I uploaded the course onto my Garmin Edge 800. I was hoping that it would give me turn-by-turn directions, but I guess you had to pay extra for that. We did pretty good following the directions. We only took a wrong turn twice. Once up a big fing hill that I’m glad is not on the course!

From Rev3 Website

We decided to park at my place of employment so we didn’t have to pay $20 for parking in OOB. We rode from Route 1 in Scarborough, down to Pine Point Beach and then down to OOB. We started riding around 11am so at this point it was quite hot and humid out. We actually did this on purpose to train for the heat. We passed a few people coming in from doing the course as we were heading out. We took our time and enjoyed the scenery. It was a recovery ride and thus I made sure to keep my wattage belong 120 watts, which is my recovery zone. The first 15-18 miles are pretty flat with a few rollers. The roads are in good shape. This will be a fast section for sure. However, once you get onto South Waterboro Rd through Lyman it gets a bit hilly. There are a couple decent little climbs. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to blow up here or shortly after because of poor pacing at the beginning section of the course. Even though it’s going to be a fast course, you need to ride it smart or else your going to hit the last 15 miles and just die.

After South Waterboro Rd you take a right on to Route 202, which has a nice wide shoulder. It’s mostly flat with a slight up grade. Definitely a headwind around here too. We stopped at Hannaford to get lunch and some lovely people watching. I never got so many weird looks from people in the grocery store because I was walking around in my cycling kit and shoes!

Re-fueling

After our mini re-fueling break, we hit Route 202 to Route 5. There was a horse show going on at the Hollis Riders Club so obviously I had to stop and see what was going on because I use to compete there sometimes. I got yelled at by someone because apparently horses are afraid of bicycles. First of all I would like to say, a) I am not a biker. I am a cyclist. A biker rides a motorcycle and cyclist rides a bicycle, and b) if your horse is a afraid of a bicycle then your either a poor rider who can’t control her horse when it spooks and/or you haven’t done the proper groundwork with your horse to familiarize them with outside environmental noises/objects. What happens if an ambulance or a Harley went screaming by? Sorry, that just annoyed because I was just sitting quietly on my bicycle watching the riders warm up. I informed the rider who yelled at me that I grew up with horses and I wasn’t stupid and not going to make any sudden noises. It was a dressage show. No offense to MiddleAgeRunner, but most Dressage riders have a whip up their ass. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t compete in Dressage growing up.

Anyway, after our brief break we continued our way through the course. Bike Shop Boy really enjoyed the course and for a brief second considered registering for the race. And then quickly decided he’d probably drown in the ocean. He did make a comment that it would be funny if there was a good stinking climb somewhere at the end of the course. Well, his dream did come true. After Route 5, you take a left onto Clarks Mills Road, which I believe was uneventful back to Route 202. We did see a hot dog stand on the side of the road that wasn’t open. Bike Shop Boy was rather sad because he wanted a hot dog. The Route 202 is fast, but with some false flats and a headwind too. You cross over the Saco River and take an immediate right onto Route 117 that is a small climb. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be hurting on this climb and/or blow up.

Bike Shop Boy taking the lead

At the top of the hill you take a right onto Simpson Road. Simpson Road just plain sucks. It sucks because the road conditions suck! There are cracks and small potholes everywhere. Beware of lots of flat tires here. The road also has a false flat too so it’s not a fast section. The road goes on a ways and then a small downhill over a one lane bridge and up a steep little hill. This hill is going to hurt! It’s one of those that is going to separate the smart riders from the dumb ones. If you rode the course smart then you’ll be fine. Just put your bike in the granny gear and spin up the hill. But, I have a feeling there will be several cocky people who are going to try and haul ass up the hill and then blow up during the run. The nice part about crossing the bridge and riding the hill is that you enter a new town and then pavement gets much, much better!

The course then winds through some local, rural side roads that are all in excellent condition and fairly flat. The course then connects back to Route One where you’ll ride back the same way you came out. At this point, Bike Shop Boy and I headed up Route One to hit up the Dairy Bar for some frozen yogurt and then back to our cars. Overall, we did over 65 miles. If we have gone back through OOB and Pine Point we would have hit over 75 miles. Seventy five miles is a long way for a recovery ride, but 65 is okay… 🙂

Overall, I’m pleased with the course that Rev3 chose for the HIM. I really like how it’s an out-and-back, one-loop course. I hate two-loop courses! The road conditions for the most part are excellent with either low traffic local roads or wide shoulders. However, Simpson Road just plain sucks! I have a feeling that there will be lots of flats on that section of the course! I just hope I’m not one of them! We averaged a moving speed of 16.0 mph for 65 miles with my average wattage of 99 watts. A perfect recovery speed and wattage! I’m excited to ride the course in a couple of weeks where I have 4 x 20 min at race pace wattage. That should be a fun ride! Hopefully, it won’t be 90 degrees and humid as hell, but you never know what race day will bring!

I’m also very excited that Bike Shop Boy is going to let me borrow his Zipp 404s from his road bike to use for the race! Azul is going to smokin’ hott on race day! 🙂

Zipp 404s!

~ Happy Training!