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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Musings, meanderings,...

Went riding with Matt yesterday morning and realized my aerobar was broken in two on my new bike. It must have happened at last week's triathlon (sorry JT, no video for that race). Didn't realize it until we'd make it out to Shaker Road, so I had to hold it in place for the return trip to Progressive. Needless to say, I was dismayed. My new bike was broken! Arrrggh! Matt pointed out that the more expensive the bike, the more likely the problem. Seems he is correct. Note that it is fixed now.

So, I had to ride my old tri bike this morning for my 50-mile ride with Hallie. Getting onto her was like the awkard beginning conversation of two friends who haven't seen each other in awhile.

Me: "Hi, long time no see."

Her: "Humph, could have told you that the red flashy woman would love you and leave you! And, now you come running back to me. I see how it is!"

Me: "Well, technically, she won't be going away permanently."

Her: "What??!!! grumble, grumble"

Me: "Yah, she just needs to be fixed. But, you know I still love you."

Her: "Couldn't tell it by me. You haven't ridden me in a month!"

Me: "I know. I know. I plan to bring you inside to be my all-time inside bike. In the winter, you can laugh at her while she freezes in the garage. On rainy days, you'll stay dry and clean."

Her: "Well, I guess that sounds okay. As long as you still need me."

: ) Seriously though, it felt weird to be back on my old tri bike at first. The seat was lower and the wheels were smaller, but quickly we found our groove again. Hallie and I rode out to just before the monster hill in Bedford and then back to Strawberry picnic area. It took me just over 3 hours to go the 50 miles. It was her longest distance by far. And, I swear she got stronger instead of slower in the last hour.

After the ride, we grabbed some breakfast at Yours Truly and then headed to Bike Authority to man (woman?) the CTC tent for a few hours with Tracie. Hallie wanted to look at bikes - she can't borrow my road bike forever. : )

Looks like she may purchase a carbon tri bike. I have to admit that there was part of me that thought she hadn't earned the right to get such a fancy ride after only doing two sprint triathlons. However, as I analyzed my reaction, I realized that Matt is right about triathletes' reactions to stuff like this.

When a newbie wants to get into the sport and rides his/her mountain bike, we are all about the encouragement. If same newbie buys a top of the line triathlon bike, we call them a poser and go on about "it is the engine and not the bike". The bottom line though is if you have the money, you can purchase whatever the heck you want. It is America after all.

So, Hallie, if you are reading this, I'm sorry if I came off as anything other than supportive today. You can spend your money however you want. And, you actually do have the engine to go with that Ferrari of a bike.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I know, I know. I haven't posted in forever and a day. It has been a combo of too much work and a fast, furious obsession with a vampire/werewolf book (really written for teenagers - hey, I never grew up!). Work is still busy, but I'll throw a quick post up.

I raced my last triathlon of the season last weekend. I did the Lorain sprint triathlon. As an aside, I think it is weird that I went from Ironman last year to doing two sprints and one Olympic (unintentional duathlon on that one to boot). I certainly am trained to go further, but it was kind of nice trying to be a speedster for a change. So, back to my quick report.

I showed up so early that there was only one other bike on the racks. We could rack anywhere (no sectioning for sprint or olympic), so I racked right near the bike exit/entrance. I'm no fool. : ) My stomach was off, but I just prayed I could hold it together for 1.25-1.5 hours. Ran into many of my friends including TriSara, Jodi and my gal Hallie who talked me into this race (said I'd never do it again after 3 years ago's swim - at least I didn't do the poorly marked Olympic distance this time).

After much waiting around, we finally got to start the race. It was calm in front of the breakwall, but unfortunately we had to swim outside the breakwall. I actually did very well. No panicking when the choppy waves or other participants socked me in the face. No wetsuit. I even went faster than the people who were panicking for a change. I made it through the 400 meters in about 10:40 (not stellar, but not bad given the waves). The run up the beach feels long, but before I knew it, I was in transition. Hallie came in like 10 seconds behind me (she was racked next to me).

I told her to catch me and she said she planned to do it on the run. That lit a fire under me. As the last race, my new bike was ready to hunt. The majority of the race was flat, except for one small hill that took the wind out of most people's sails. Again, the less experienced triathletes were riding side by side, riding on the left side of the road, etc. I yelled "passing on your left" and most didn't even budge. I still whipped past them.

Around mile 5, I see TriSara on the side of the road. I yell "are you okay?". She replies, "yah, stupid wheel problems!" Without her wheel problems, I doubt I ever would have seen her let alone get ahead of her.

I had a blast passing people. With the help of a nice tailwind, I even got up to 27 mph on the flat. Fun! After 14 miles of riding, headed into transition feeling like I could be towards the front of the female pack. Not a place I normally find myself in for sure. Turns out I averaged over 21 mph! Sweet! Love my new bike!

Then, it was onto the run. 4 weeks earlier at the Fairport Harbor sprint, I died on the run, but I did well 2 weeks earlier at the CTC duathlon. Was interested to see how it would go plus I didn't want to lose. It was hot and lacked shade, but I pushed it to the redline. Finally, I saw another woman (and then 4 more) on their way back to the finish. Darn! Not in front. Oh well, takes the pressure off. I only got passed by 2 more women during the run and none of them were in my age group. Overall run time was 27:06 (8:44 pace), an official personal best in a 5k although I have run faster per mile splits in 10k races.

Luckily, the only woman in my age group ahead of me took 2nd overall, which left me first in my age group (out of 7 - 8th female out of 47)! When I showed my medal to Matt several hours later, he said we should celebrate my first age group win. I said "I've won my age group before". He said "not when others were in it". He was right. I won my age group in the Lorain Olympic three years ago. I came in almost dead last, but there was no one else to claim the prize in my age group. I guess it takes me racing in a local sprint race where the fast people (like Jodi who not only won, but also chicked so many men in the Olympic) either do other races or do the Olympic.

Hallie finished a few minutes after I did. She averaged 19 mph on the bike (on my road bike with toe cages) and ran the 5k in under 26 minutes. She's definitely going to be good at this!

After the race, I hung out with TriSara and we had fun catching up while eating the strange post-race fuel (included Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes).

Definitely good to end the season on a high note. I hadn't planned to race at all this year, but I'm glad I did!

Next up is Dances with Dirt! We've got our outfits and decorations, so time to bring on the fun!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's been awhile

You may have noticed my absence lately, or maybe you haven't. Regardless, I've been busy with work, which hasn't left much time for blogging. However, I have still been doing some fun workouts and races.

"Race", you say? Yep. I set out to do the Greater Cleveland Olympic distance triathlon on August 10, but mother nature made the swim too choppy. I have to admit that I wasn't all that disappointed. Swimming ain't my thang, although I really try to make it my thang. So, we did a 1.2 mile run, 24 mile bike and I think a 6.55 mile run (it was the same course as the half-Ironman - they just did 2 loops).

My friend, Suzi, and my husband discussed amongst themselves and decided I could do the first run in 9 minutes. I'm like, "ok, whatever you say". I thought they were on crack and 10 minutes would be still overly optimistic. But, I did it in 9:24 - not too shabby for me.

Then, I got on the bike. I had a new bike that wanted to play in a bad way. In an uncharacteristic move, I totally let the throttle out and figured if I died on the run, so be it. I caught up to people I usually couldn't hang with to save my life. Definitely fueled me on. I went up the one majorly steep incline and barely noticed it (got to love the compact crank!). We got stopped by a train towards the end of the bike. This was good, because I could take a heart rate break and they would subtract my time, but bad because we were all bunched up then. To make matters worse, after the train stop, we merged with the sprint race. It made it hard to pass and even harder not to draft. Don't dig on the draft thing, so went a little slower than would have towards the end. Did get bunched up again in the park, but you can't pass and drafting at 15 mph isn't all that helpful. Overall, I did the 24 miles in 1:13.52 (about 19.5 mph). I was worried about blowing up on the second run, but figured it was worth it.

The run then went amazingly well. I felt strong and was clicking off fairly consistent miles. Joe (from Ironman Lake Placid video) caught up to me around mile 2. Somehow, I fended him off and finished a minute ahead of him. Total run time was 59:06. If the course was 6.55 miles, then that is a 9-minute mile. Definitely a good run for me.

My total time after train adjustment was 2:25:12 (a time I'd never see in a regulation Olympic distance with a swim), which was good for 4th in my age group out of 6 women. I was a minute out of 3rd place. My age group was very competitive. I would have placed in the top 3 in any other age group. Oh well. What would I do with a plaque anyway? I did place 9th out of 28 females. Overall, a very solid day.

I also got to hang with many of my old and new friends, such as Suzi, PK, Dave, Ben, TriguyJT, Daisy, Tracie, IronG, SnickersGirl, TriEric, Aimee, Solar, Charlie, Stacy,Allanjel, etc. I also heard e-Speed, but I never got to talk with her. I love this race, because the race director is the nicest guy ever and I know everyone! Other than the windy conditions, it was a lovely day to race! Great job everyone!

I leave you with yet another Matt video from the day. My hubby is definitely talented!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Corporate Challenge Obstacle Course

My company participates in Corporate Challenge every year. I've been part of the running, cycling and swimming (duh) teams in the past. This year, they didn't have cycling or swimming.

They did have a new category - Obstacle Course! Well, you know how I want to be a Gladiator one day. I thought this sounded like a blast, so immediately signed up. That morning I ran on the 10k relay team (posted personal best mile of 7:07) and assisted with the Tug O' War (we were terrible at that).

Then, in the afternoon, it was time for the Obstacle Course. It was fun, but a lot tougher than I expected. We didn't do very well, but at least we showed up (many teams forfeited and you only had to have 4 people). Matt accompanied me for this last event and continued to be the supreme videographer he has become.

Enjoy his latest video! Note that the first three contestants are actuaries. The last is the husband of an actuary who works in construction. He certainly looks more comfortable with this physical feat than we do.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Racing Tomorrow

Well, I'm racing tomorrow. Olympic distance at the Greater Cleveland Triathlon.

I don't have a real plan other than to hit it as hard as I can without totally flaming out.

The swim is a little shorter than a standard Olympic distance at .75 miles. I'm not complaining. I've only been out in the open water three times this year, but I'm sure I'll be fine. I did tell Matt that I'd never race in Lake Erie again, because it is too variable with the waves. However, it is only .75 miles and I've certainly swum in rough water before.

My new bike is seeing its first race tomorrow. I've been out on her twice and she is light and fast. I do have a small shifting problem (a few times I've dropped the chain going from the small chain ring to the big one). Luckily, Bike Authority is at the expo today and they said they can adjust it. The bike is where I hope to make up some time. I know the course extremely well.

Then, the run will be what it will be. I make no claim to having any kind of speed, but I am usually able to hold a consistent pace.

So, what's the goal? Well, I did this race as my first Olympic 4 years ago. I think I finished it in 3:05, so I have to do better than that to feel good about myself. My PR for Olympic distance is 2:49, but the bike was a little short on that one. With a short swim, maybe I can go sub 2:49. Does it count though? I don't know. Wish all races had consistent distances. Wish me luck!

I'm kind of looking forward to it being over, so I can go back to riding and running long. I've got Dances with Dirt the weekend after Labor Day and want to make sure I've got plenty of mileage base. Time to ramp it up again!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Cervelo P2C - It's here!

I picked up my new bike yesterday. Check out this fabulous 3 minute video my hubby put together to commemorate my inaugural ride on it! I like! I like!