Thursday, September 26, 2013


I know I’m still missing a couple event reports. The Tango adventure race and the Gran Fondo. I’ll get there eventually, if for nothing else other than keeping track. It’s just been very very busy.

Following the 18 miler the other weekend, I definitely could feel a difference in my legs. They felt strong for a few days. That is until I’d go out for my run. Typically when I go out for a run, the first mile always feels awful. Well following the 18 miler the first 3 miles of each of the 5 mile runs felt like that. I suppose the good news is that it felt right before the end of the run.
The following weekend I went out for my long run on Saturday but only ran 10 miles. I’m fairly certain that capped my longest run week ever, 43 miles in 7 days. I did next to nothing the rest of Saturday and Sunday which was something I haven’t done in a long time. Part of me was stir crazy, part of me was loving it.

The weather has been incredible. I think that is playing a part in how well my training is going. Or maybe it’s the camelbak keeping my better hydrated. Either way I’m loving it. I’m sure it plays a part in keeping my HR low. Last night was my 3rd run of the week. 6/9/6. I actually picked up a Coke on my way home from work to wake me up a bit (I rarely drink soda). I figured without it I was going to have trouble getting myself out the door for this run. When I finished I looked at my garmin. 8:38 min/mile (not a big deal). Avg HR 156 (I think that might be the bigger deal). I seem to remember trying to run slowly enough to stay under ??? during the Mark Allen Training. I can’t believe I don’t even remember my HR zones, nor can I find any reasonable comparisons here on the blog. Anyhow, 156HR avg at 8:38 avg pace dragging my 190+ self around right now sounds pretty solid. When I stop and think about it, I really haven’t done much this year that required me to be in higher zones. If I’m smart I’ll do something with this base once the marathon is over.

This weekend will hopefully be a 20 mile training run. (may be less, may be more). I’m going to try and simulate race day a bit. I’m going to plan/track my Friday eating and pre run nutrition. I also plan to use all the gear I’ll use on race day. So Genine’s number belt because it can hold something like 9 GUs. I’m going to take my palm bottle because I’ll need to either simulate Gatorade stations, or decide that I don’t mind carrying it and I’ll add that to my race day gear. I’m really trying to up my hydration. Hopefully if I remember, I’ll weigh myself before and after my run this weekend and keep track of how much fluid I go through.

Mentally I’m feeling good about the run this weekend. I really want it to go at least as well as the 18 miler and I’d be thrilled if it goes better than that. I still don’t have any visions of running a surprisingly fast marathon. I’m just starting to feel excited that I may have finally trained myself well enough to complete the marathon. But now I’m getting ahead of myself There are still many miles to be run before that happens.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

NYRR 18 Mile Marathon Tune Up 2013

Wow, time flies when you’ve got a 70.3 Triathlon, a 107 mile very hilly bike and an 18 mile run all in a 22 day span. The first two events didn’t concern me so much as the 3rd
A couple days after the 107 mile bike, I went out for a 5 mile run. I knew going into it that my right foot was feeling odd. I figured I’d stop if anything was painful. The run went well. The next morning, I couldn’t step on my right foot without it hurting…. That is not good. The 18 mile run was starting to look questionable and of course I couldn’t help but become concerned about my marathon. This is the window of time where you really get into the big runs that give you the endurance and confidence to run 26.2. What to do??
After work on Wednesday, I iced my foot for 10 minutes. Let it warm up (20 min maybe). Then iced it again for 10 minutes. I think I did this about 6 times. And I slept with the “boot” on. (holds your foot in a stretch all night). The next day it was better. I wasn’t limping as much. I got a massage. He only worked on that calf and foot for 60 minutes. Then I iced it when I got home. Friday it was even better but I really didn’t want to risk running on it. Same deal on Saturday, so Saturday we got our road bikes out. I was riding around the parking lot when I realized the saddle was about an inch and a half too low. It must have slipped at some point during the 107 mile ride! I even commented to someone about how my knees were really moving oddly towards the end of the ride. I think this is the source of my foot problem. I have no idea how long it was like this, but the result would be that I was pushing down on the pedals at a pretty strange angle. Seeing how my garmin read over 27,000 pedal strokes for the ride, I think an over use injury from this makes sense. Not to say that running couldn’t contribute. It’s just that I haven’t run that much. (Relatively speaking).

Race Day:
Sunday morning was another 4AM wakeup to get us into the city just after 6AM to pickup our numbers. Todd was looking to run fast, so he wanted to do a warm up run. I didn’t dare to. 18 miles was going to be long enough. My longest run all summer has been 14 miles at the beginning of August. This was going to be a challenge.
I started out feeling rather poorly. The course has you running the hills of Central Park right away. I wasn’t in a hurry. I just hoped things would settle in once I’ve got a few miles behind me. My garmin instant pace is useless, I had to wait for the mile splits to find out what my pace was. My HR had me thinking that I was pushing way too hard, but it was just the hills and not having done a warm up. I was rolling along somewhere near a 9:15 pace. I figured it was probably a touch too fast but I just kept rolling with it.
By the 6 mile mark, you kind of get settled into a pack. Everyone is close to the same pace with some random fast people that may have started late rolling through. You then start to notice the people that haven’t run hills in their training. (I’m kind of middle of the pack there myself). Around mile 9, the leader of the race goes rolling through having completed 15 miles to your 9. That’s always impressive to me. I wish it inspired me in some way that gave me more energy but that’s not the case.
Mile 12 heading back into the hills for a 3rd time, as I’ve said you are kind of in your group but I may have overstated being a middle of the pack hill runner. It turns out that I pushed pretty hard through those hills and held my pace even with the previous laps. Unfortunately, it may have been a bit too much. When I reached mile 15 I felt everything start to get tight/short. Fortunately it did not feel like I was going to cramp up. I just lost my ability to extend. So my pace went from 9:15ish to 9:45-10 from that point onward. This is not terribly surprising. I haven’t trained for this distance. This IS the training run. So finishing in 2:48:46 at a 9:23 average pace is a great starting point for my Marathon training.
I’ve still got some things to figure out before race day. I’m wondering if I need to hydrate more and if I do will my legs cooperate with me for another few miles? Every mile is going to matter. Tight legs at 15, means 11 miles on tight legs at the marathon. I know I’m going to suffer a bit out there, but I’d prefer not to suffer for a full 2 hours!!
I’m also uncertain about my nutrition. In the past, I felt that my stomach handled anything without much of an issue. Now I’m finding myself with a bad stomach during some of the longer runs. Fortunately I have time to work on this but the Marathon will be here before I know it!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Rev 3 Maine Matt's Race Report

When we were going to arrive for this race wasn’t determined until a couple days before we actually left. Both of us had things we needed to take care of at work before leaving, because we are going to go for longer than just the weekend.
On the way up Friday, we stopped at my brother’s house. We had a nice visit, stayed the night, then we got out the door early with plans of a practice swim at OOB.

Genine hadn’t been feeling well so when we got there and saw that the ocean was very, very calm, we decided the practice swim wasn’t going to be necessary. We familiarized ourselves with the layout of race. Picked up our race numbers. I worked on the rear brake of my bike for awhile. (it’s been sticking). Then checked our bikes in and headed for our hotel, which was up in Portland. (about 20 min away).

Next we headed into town, Old Port part of Portland. It was very nice. We found a pub for lunch then walked around a good bit. Genine didn’t get enough time here. She really likes Portland.

Not really knowing how parking and such was going to go. We defaulted to our normal, get up way too early (3AM) drive down to the race site park and sleep in the car until transition opens. (Genine can never fall back asleep, so it’s not a great plan). Parking certainly didn’t become an issue either. If we do the race again, we won’t be in a hurry to get there.

This is only my 2nd triathlon of the season and it would seem that I didn’t have my race morning very well prepared. After I set up my transition, we went back to the car. We figured we’d finish preparing there and walk to the start, carrying our wetsuits. Then I realized I still had my car key, so I had to set the car to lock, then go back to transition and leave the key there. Now suddenly I’m feeling a bit more rushed. I didn’t eat much of a breakfast because we didn’t have a kitchen and nothing else really sounded that good. Not a great start for a half iron.

Swim: Ate a pack of Shot Blocks 15 or so minutes before my start. Going into the swim hoping that I’ll be able to find some feet again and get pulled around the course. That happened for maybe 20% of the swim. The water is cold about 60 degrees. I definitely got the face freeze/ ice cream headache at the beginning. I felt that I swam a really good line the entire time. Which was good, this was a smaller race so it wasn’t a matter of just staying within the pod. There was plenty of open water for you to swim in. It did require me to sight more frequently.
I reached the timing mat in 41:33 which is a time that would have upset me a couple of years ago. I just haven’t been swimming much so I can’t be upset with it. My Garmin measured the swim as 1.4 miles. I have no idea how accurate that is as I’ve not done enough measured open water swims to know.

T1: This is a long jog to transition but really not much longer than Mont Tremblant. I’ve got .46 miles but I made a pit stop that most people didn’t do. During T1 I went from 42nd in my division to 52nd.  Overall 60 people passed me in T1… Ah well. Obviously if I was feeling competitive I wouldn’t have made the stop.

Bike: I’ve done a bunch of riding this summer, I’m going into this hopeful that I might break 20mph over the 56 miles. Of course this is because I went into this thinking that there was only 800ft of elevation gain. (my garmin shows 1800-1900). I did know most of the climbing would be in the first half of the ride and nothing was going to be terribly steep.
This is my 2nd race with a power meter. To be honest, I haven’t done any true testing to know exactly where I should be in terms of power. I’ve just been looking at all numbers after my rides and evaluating how they felt.  
For the first half of the ride, I found myself in familiar spot. I would only be passing people on flats and down hills. They would pass me on the climbs. I went back and forth with 2 people enough times that it was somewhat comical.
Around mile 30 I see a biker laying in the road up ahead not moving. There were a couple people already taking the bike off the road and motorists pulled over on the opposite side of the road. The person was not moving. It really creeped me out and put a pit into my stomach. I have no idea what happened but it took some time to shake that off. We do this for fun. That looked like the opposite of fun.

Then I realized we reached the point in the course where gravity was going to be in my favor and I was feeling strong, so I started pushing.

My HR was well above my typical training rate, so that gave me reason to be a little concerned. My legs felt great tho’, so I figured I’ve got to keep at it. It was really enjoyable. Not that I was passing many people, it was just really fun to dig in and actually ride fast for a good long while.
I finished the course in 2:45:49. Which you would think means I hit my first goal of the day as that would be 20.26mph average. Unfortunately, my garmins measured the course at 54.25 miles. Which drops me in to the 19.7mph range. I’ve posted on some forums to see if my measurement was correct. That’s still a good rate tho and certainly a PR for that distance. What’s funny is I don’t have total ride time showing on my garmin screen, so I had no idea what my time was until after the race.
Other metrics to note.
AVG HR 150. Mont Tremblant was 148
AVG Power was 46W higher than Mont Tremblant.
Ride started at 52 degrees and finished at 72 degrees.  (garmin temp) Mont Tremblant was 62 the entire ride.
I moved up 4 spots in my division, 39 places overall.

T2: 2:50 Lost 1 spot in my division.

Run: Heading out of transition, I was certainly glad for the very flat start. I knew there would be a short climb ahead but was hopeful that the legs would be in run mode by the time I got there. I also started to think about the 2 hour run goal. I have no idea why I thought that was possible. I ran a 2:09:00 at Timberman back in 2009 and I was about 25 pounds lighter for that race. I guess I was thinking, I’m running and biking much more than I did then. This should be possible.
Thank goodness I don’t get sympathy cramps. Once we hit the incline, there were a number of people that went cruising by me, only to pull up quickly because of leg cramps. I was thankful that at the moment, I was feeling good.
Once I reached the Eastern Trail I just settled into a groove. I watched several of the bikers that I had been trading places with me early on the ride pass me by. I wasn’t surprised. I was glad to have held them off as long as I did.
I had my EFS gel and was taking water at the water stops. I stopped to walk the aid stations to make sure I got all the water down and one over my head to keep cool. I was feeling pretty good.
At the turnaround, I had someone ahead of me that would start running away from me just as I caught up to them. Then they would walk and just as I would catch up, they would start running again. After doing this about 3  times, he decided that he would just run along with me at my pace. Which was fantastic because we just chatted our way along through what would have been the toughest part of the run. It took my mind off of the task at hand and before I knew it we were back on the pavement heading back to transition. There was one little hill where I tried to change my stride up and my legs sent a strong message that I shouldn’t do that, unless I wanted to start cramping/walking. Which was disappointing because I knew that the 2 hour run probably wasn’t going to happen. I guess I shouldn’t have walked the aid stations either.
I got to the finish in 2:02:15.  About a 9:20 pace. A 2:09:xx had been my previous 70.3 best. So I’ll take it.
Moved up 2 spots in my division.
Oddly enough Overall I dropped 11 spots in the first 3 miles but then by the finish had reclaimed the 11 spots and improved by 2.
 Curious about my HR chart here. My pace didn't pick up. I always wonder if this is a hydration issue. I was very tempted to use my camelback at this race. I seem to require a ton of fluid. Maybe I should have used it.

Total Time 5:41:17  Previous best 5:55:45.  I’ll take that too. (although I’m curious about the 1.75 mile bike deficit, that could be an extra 5 minutes added on)

This was a great race to finish my triathlon season. It left me feeling good about my current strength and fitness, even tho I’m at my heaviest weight since 2007. Obviously, I need to get my eating back under control. I’d like to get into next season with this level of fitness without the extra weight to carry around. I can’t help but think about getting back into swim shape as well. I’m giving up 7-10 minutes during the swim, which used to be my strongest event and the one I looked forward to doing the most. Recently, I’ve just been getting through the swim, which is boring.

Next up is the NJ Gran Fondo. 107 miles and 8000+ feet of climbing. Hopefully the legs recover in time.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Humid Hot HR

Rainy, warm and very humid to Very Very hot and the humidity just makes things worse.

I mention the weather because since I’ve been wearing my HR monitor/ GPS I got a very good look at just how crazy my HR gets when it’s hot and/or humid. Tuesday I decide I’m going to run 4 miles and push the pace. I feel like I’ve been running slow forever and that isn’t ever going to make me faster. So I went out with quick in mind.  Which went fairly well until about mile 3. At that point I decided I’d better slow it down and not do too much too fast. Looking at my HR it was hanging out in the 170s even as I dropped the pace to the 8:30s. When I got back to the house, it looked like it was going to rain big. So I took out the ladder real quick to clear out the gutters on the house. 10 minutes later, my HR is still over 100. Alright, I get it. I need to get into the air conditioning and get some cold water in me. Once I was inside, my HR dropped fairly quickly.

We biked on the 4th for about 27 miles or so. Fun ride. Nice to get out in the morning and have it done and over so we could spend the rest of the day visiting friends.

Saturday early wake up call to try and beat the heat. Didn’t really work. It was hot but it got much hotter so I suppose it worked but it still wasn’t pleasant. Ran 12.5 miles with Todd from his house. Again towards the end, the HR was up in the 170s and wasn’t going to go down easily if I was “running” at all. Fortunately, at the end of the run there was a nice cold swimming pool. It still took several minutes to get below 100. Crazy.
I suppose this could be hydration as well as cooling. I’ve got a lot of running planned this summer. So I’ll have time to work on this. My first attempt is buying a Camelbak Marathoner vest. Todd has been using a pack and one key thing is that even 90 minutes in his water is still cold. That is not the case with my palm bottle or belt. Not to mention it carries a lot more water. I figure it’s worth a shot.

Sunday: up early again to try to knock out a 50 mile bike with just over 4000ft of climbing. I was going to take my road bike out but it was so hot yesterday, I never got around to moving the power cranks to my road bike. I’m interested to see the numbers from this, so I took the tri bike instead. (I was also concerned about not having aero position to “rest” on, I know, weak).
Well for whatever reason, on one of our stops. I stopped the timer… and then didn’t turn it back on for awhile. So that kind of defeated the purpose of riding the tri bike with power today. Ah well. The good news is that even on a really hot day. (where we stopped and asked a woman watering her flowers if she would fill our bike bottles from the hose). We got nearly 50 miles in. Hopefully we can continue to find time to ride long and keep challenging ourselves. Hopefully results will follow!

Still haven’t been to the pool. Genine went and did a mile Ocean Swim with Ed on Saturday morning. And while waiting to start turned around to find that Bob was there as well! (of course). Genine found it challenging to deal with the waves at first but got it figured out and got it done. I should have gone as well but decided that having someone to run with for 12+ miles was the better plan for me.

Now to register for the Tango before the prices go up!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Back to work.

Following the Mont Tremblant 70.3 last weekend. My calves were my biggest problem. I was being very careful to make sure not to do a workout that could possibly injure them. My range of motion was awful. By Tuesday, I was really wanting to do some sort of workout, so I decided doing some core work should be alright. Dropped Ab Ripper into the DVD player and did that to the best of my ability. (wasn’t great, wasn’t awful). Then I did some planks after that. Good enough for now, leave it at that.

The next day my hip flexors were feeling the Ab Ripper. Makes sense, I haven’t been doing that on a regular basis. My calves were getting better but were still sore. I got on the bike trainer and did about 30 minutes of very easy spinning. Got the legs moving and the blood pumping through them to get the junk out. After that some stretching of the legs and core.

Thursday oddly enough my core felt even worse than the day before. Again, mostly hip flexors. The calves were feeling alright tho’ so taking some of my numbers from my power meter, I decided to hop on the trainer. I decided to try a spinervals workout with intervals where I was trying to hold a certain power value no matter what the gearing and interval. I think I may have picked something a bit too high but I managed to get through about 50 minutes. Not bad for a first attempt, I have a long way to go in learning how to properly train with power.

Friday: I keep thinking I’ll actually wake up early and swim and I continue to fail at this. I haven’t been able to figure out what’s going to motivate me to get to the pool on a regular basis. It doesn’t help that I feel that the pool is the cause of many of my illnesses, sinus or otherwise. Whether or not that is true, I can’t say. I can say I wish the water in the pool was more inspiring and didn’t make me feel this way.

Saturday: It’s bike day. It’s humid. And it’s time to climb. We took our Tri Bikes out today. 40 miles, 2,375 ft of climbing over 40 miles and we hit one of the Fondo Hills “The Doggone Hard Hill Climb”
Part of me feels that I should be doing this climb at least once every weekend until September just to get ready. We will see if that really happens.

Sunday: Up at 5AM to meet up with Todd, drive into the city. Run 6-7 miles pre race. Then “run” the 5 mile NYRR Achilles race. We decided to run the extra miles before the race to avoid the heat. Well avoiding the heat was only a small part of the problem. The humidity must have been 100%. We did one loop, 6 miles and then took a break as we lined up for the race. I probably should have found more fluid, COLD fluid. I was very warm and my HR just standing in the corral at the start was 100-105. I just made a point of stopping at the first aid station and taking a couple cups of water at that point.
The most “exciting” part of the race was on a down hill when one of the hand cyclists started to get some serious momentum going and there were people in front of him with headphones on that couldn’t hear the people yelling for them to get out of the way. I started to clap and wave wildly in their line of view to get their attention. The one person managed to step just out of the way. The 2nd person I think was grazed as they went by, I couldn’t tell and since they had headphones on, I wasn’t able to ask. I’ll admit that I’m in the “no headphones” camp for any race, but obviously this is one where it REALLY should be a rule. That could have ended badly.
After the race, back to NJ. It seems to rain daily now days, so mowing the lawn has been impossible. I was hoping to bike before the rains came but decided I had better use that window on getting caught up with the lawn. After which we loaded the road bikes onto the car and went over to one of Genine’s friend’s house to wait out the rain. It looked like it might not be dangerous within the hour. Sure enough, it was.
Genine doesn’t think she’s been on her road bike since getting her tri bike a couple years ago. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve been on mine. Both bikes had clip on aero bars on them for sure when we last used them. Those are removed now. I threw on a profile design saddle we had laying around to see how that would feel. Genine is still on the stock saddle. I’m sure that is going to have to change very soon. We weren’t more than a few miles down the road before both of us realized just how smooth these bikes feel compared to our tri bikes. The tri bikes only have a carbon fork. Our road bikes have carbon fork, seat stays and seat post. The difference was amazing.
Of course our pedal stroke felt completely different as well. Genine said she felt much more powerful on the road bike compared to the tri bike. I being pretty beat from the morning run felt slow, I didn’t have a cadence meter on the bike but I’m fairly certain 90 rpm wasn’t happening. Even in an easy gear I just didn’t have the energy. So I think I was mashing a bit and I just got slower and slower over the 30 miles. (I also think I ran out of calories).
We were both very glad to have put the time in on the road bikes tho’. We both realized that we have to build up our hand and arm strength to deal with riding on them again. I was changing positions like crazy at the end because I was so tired/uncomfortable.
Fortunately immediately after, Genine’s friend made me a recovery shake and we all got to hop into her pool for a bit. That was great. It definitely brought my core temperature down and then I was able to sit around and feel comfortable the rest of the evening.
I grilled up some dinner when we got home. Then I promptly fell asleep on the couch just after 9. Genine was on the phone. She woke me up at 3AM. It seems she fell asleep in the chair right after she was done talking. Ugh! Unglued my contacts from my eyes then went back to sleep for a few hours in bed.

As a side note, I saw some results for Syracuse 70.3 on Monday morning. Ed’s brother in law took 2nd in the 45-49 Age group with a time of 4:47:56 which is amazing to me. Then I look to see who beat him and it’s Doug Clark also from NJ. Doug finished in 4:28:21!!! Absolutely incredible. Sometimes I see this and it’s truly inspiring. Other times it feels absolutely demoralizing.
Yes I see that the pro finished 1st in 4:02:58  and the first female pro came in at 04:24:37. Even more amazing of course but the other guys are in their mid 40s and have a full time job!
Anyhow, there you have it.  Have a great 4th everyone.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Matt's 2013 Mont Tremblant 70.3 Race Report

Typically I’d have done 2 Olympic distance triathlons before this race. I passed on racing Columbia this year because I just wasn’t ready. Then of course the Newfound Lake Tri/ Mooseman had been canceled. I’d love to say I made the most of those weekends that we didn’t travel but I had a flu of some sort the week of Mooseman. Columbia weekend went better tho'. Genine raced an Olympic on the Jersey Shore and I ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon.

I guess if I had to summarize my training lately it would be “Weekend Warrior”. Meaning I barely get any training in during the week, then have a pretty solid weekend of workouts. Because of this, I was very careful not to try and “cram for the test” and do too much training in the final week or so before Mont Tremblant. Better to be Undertrained than Over, I guess.

Even tho I knew I wasn’t going to be having an amazing race, that didn’t mean that I didn’t want to manage the day the best I could for the best possible result.

Side note. This is the first time I’m wearing my CEP calf sleeves under the wetsuit. I’m a believer in compression so they will be on all day long.
Ate an entire pack of clif blocks about 15-20 minutes before my start.

Swim: I’d be lucky if my weekly average swim total has been 4000m. I do hope that I’m swimming a better line because of the changes I have made. I’m not planning on swimming my own line tho’, I plan on finding feet and staying there until the 2nd turn, which is the swim back to shore. Then I hope to turn it up.
I was in the biggest wave of the day, so it was quite an action packed swim start. I focused on staying very smooth and steady. I didn’t get a warm-up swim. Any attempt at being fast early would just end badly for me. I’m guessing 300 or 400m into it I had found some space and was no longer hitting people on either side of me with every recovery stroke. It was then that I started to look for feet. The water had good clarity so I spotted someone ahead by a bit and went after them. Once I got into the draft, the effort felt too easy and I decided to make a pass and look for faster feet. Only, as soon as I left the draft, I really wasn’t able to pass them convincingly. So I decided to fall back into the draft and go back to the original plan.
At the first turn buoy. I checked our line and I felt that my feet were going a bit too far off line. So I looked to the inside and again because of the good clarity, was able to spot some others that looked like they would be good to follow. Keep in mind we were now encountering the weakest swimmers from the previous waves (blockers). When I found the new draft, I was well aware that I now had someone drafting me as well. Not a big deal. He would bump my feet from time to time but wasn’t ever pushing them down or causing any trouble.
By the way, my opinion of a good draft for a mid pack swimmer is: Someone that doesn’t switch to breast stroke to sight. Someone that doesn’t lose much speed when they sight. If they have a tight kick, I find that’s a decent indicator they may just be a better swimmer than I am. And of course, swimming a good line.
As we reached the final turn buoy, the water temperature got noticeably colder. Which for me was refreshing but for people without a wetsuit or perhaps a sleeveless, I wonder if it was cold enough to matter. 
So now that I’ve been pulled around the course to this point, I was planning on leaving my draft and make my way ahead. I did leave my draft and start looking ahead to find the next set of feet to pass and intended to do this the rest of the way in. Only I really don’t have the strength to do this AND the waters are getting congested with slower swimmers from the earlier waves. I ended up finding another pack of swimmers from my wave and swam in with them, along with the person that had been drafting me since shortly after the first turn. When I stood up at the end of the swim, I turned around and asked the guy how we did. He asked for the time from my watch. I said 37ish. He said “I found good feet!” Which made me smile. It wasn’t a great swim time for me but certainly about the time that I was expecting. I made my way to the wetsuit strippers. My right hamstring wanted to cramp up on me for some reason. I’ll never understand this, I don’t kick when I’m swimming in a wetsuit! When I got over to the volunteers, I broke my rules of choosing who is going to pull the wetsuit off. Typically I try to find a large adult male, this backfired on me here last year so I went to 2 girls, hopeful that they were working together. Sure enough they were a team and within moments I was jogging to transition. My legs were still threatening to cramp on me.
Swim Time 38:07 (last year 37:44)
(I know I left some time on the swim. My arms and shoulders should be feeling a 1.2 mile raced swim the next day. They didn’t feel sore at all.)

T1: 6:55  (Last Year 6:37)
Onto the bike: Compact Crank with a 11-28 cassette. I didn’t make time to tech my bike to be ready to ride the Hed3 Tubulars. So I’m riding the Shimano Clinchers, probably my heaviest wheelset.
Last year I pushed myself hard and my legs were cramping badly in the last 6 miles of this ride. I’ve got to be smart this year. I’ve recently had a Quarq Power meter installed on the bike. (less than 2 weeks ago) I haven’t had it long enough to have any serious metrics. This ride will be the first big step in getting the required data.
If it wasn’t for the swamp like humidity. It would have been perfect racing conditions. Low 60s and cloudy skies. The bike starts out with a relatively easy but long climb out of town. I got myself into humble mode early and watched a lot of people ride by me. I forget how many waves/minutes behind me the women were but they were already passing me in the first couple miles.
Within the first 20 miles I got very familiar with how the ride was going to go. Flats, holding position reasonably well. Climbs, the entire field would slowly roll past me. Significant descents I would quickly pass many of those that slowly passed me on the climb. I think this must be “Life in the Fat Lane” as a cyclist. The good news, unlike last year, I wasn’t being blocked on most of my descents, so I was really getting to make the most of my weight with a gravity assist.
My one problem was that I needed to find the aid station with a bathroom. I had figured there would be one at the first turn around. There wasn’t. I saw one person run up the embankment and I almost stopped there. I figured there had to be one somewhere soon, so I kept rolling. Not long after that, ahead of me I see a guy pull over and walk down an embankment where there was reasonable cover from car traffic and bike traffic. I was at a point where I definitely felt that the situation was truly slowing me down. So I stopped. Next thing I know a motorcycle is pulling over. Ummm. Is there going to be a time penalty for this? Then I noticed he was the bike support with the extra wheels. He hopped the barrier for some relief as well. Ha!
Back to racing, with it now being much easier to keep up with my fluid intake.
I knew the next challenge was going to be the long climb ahead on the highway. Last year I definitely pushed way too hard trying to keep up. Not this time. Looking at my HR I already knew I was pushing harder than I typically do when I’m training. The good news is that everything was still feeling good. Upper body was comfortable in Aero, Lower Back is good because I’m not hammering, Legs are happy because I’ve got the 28 cheater cog for the climbs.
As we rolled through town I was surprised to find that they removed a small loop with a quick steep climb at the turn around. It had changed to a simple U-Turn on the main street of town. Next thing you know, you are heading out of town and heading back towards transition. I hit a bit of congestion early here which was unfortunate because it was a descent. I just sat back and waited for it to open up. Which may have been a good call because the official came riding through right about that time.
As I rolled past transition, Ed’s wife Margie spotted me and gave a cheer. Always good to hear a cheer out on the course! Ahead of me is the big test, the 3+ miles of climbing. I felt like I was in a much better place than last year in terms of leg fatigue. Also knowing the course helped keep me from thinking I should put everything I’ve got into it seeing how we’ve only got about 6 miles left. This year I only saw one person fall over from lack of momentum. It was someone I had been seeing on/off for the last 20 miles. They were very unhappy about it and was quite vocal about it. (I’m not sure what she was saying, I don’t speak French). I kept looking over at the people flying by on the down hill headed back to transition. The fun part wasn’t far off now.
I had no problem reaching the top this year. I had paced myself well. Now to reel in as many people as I can in about 3 miles by descending like a mad man. For me this is one of the great things about this race, a closed bike course with really nice pavement and good sight lines ahead. I was surprised to find that I had caught up and passed the first woman cyclist to have passed me at the very beginning of the course. I had figured she was long gone. I also ended up passing 2 people that were riding the same bike frame as me in the last half mile. Kind of funny how close we were to all finishing together. We would have looked like the Yellow Cervelo Gang. Only once on the way down did I have to use my brakes. Someone with nobody around them had set up shop in the middle of the road. Which eventually lead to someone passing on the right. Which pushed him further left… But he finally got the fact that he shouldn’t be where he was and moved over. An opportunity lost for me tho’.  My top speed according to my garmin was 48.5 mph.
Bike: 3:08:46  This was well within my expectations. I was just pleased with how my legs were feeling. Last year was so painful. This year I felt ready to run. (Last year 03:02:16)

Note: My entire speedfill of gatorade endurance + one bottle of perform and 4 GUs taken in during the bike. (So about 3 bike bottles of fluid)

T2: 3:00 (Last Year 2:02)

Carrying a hand bottle of Gatorade with me so I can always have fluid with me.

The Run: I left T2 feeling pretty good about everything. To make things even better you get to run out of transition through tons of spectators cheering. You are high fiving kids and people are calling out your name (it’s on the bib), you can’t not smile. Unfortunately there are still some hills ahead that you’ve got to run over and I’ve still got to take it easy to avoid cramping up.
I think I was about a mile and a half into the run when I caught up to Ed. I really didn’t expect this. In fact I figured he’d out swim and out bike me and I’d be down 20+ minutes starting the run. But an early crash and a flat on the bike changed his day. He gets the big extra points for keeping going and finishing the race. I always question whether I would do the same. After a quick chat I got back to running my 9:30 pace. Only they ended up being more like 9:45’s or worse. Which I suppose is alright, because I was still feeling good enough to bust out some dance moves at the 6 mile mark where they were playing Rock Lobster. Which then got the volunteers dancing as well. Good times!
Then I got to see both Ed and Genine on my way back towards the finish. I was slowing down into the 10-10:30 range but I didn’t start cramping up until mile 11. As soon as I had to start dealing with any type of hill I was in trouble. I doubt this is nutrition related simply a lack of training. So once again, I got humble and just walked the inclines to save myself from the days of pain that I had last year after the race. 
The funny part is once I got into the crowds in the village, everyone is cheering and shouting for you. But you are running down a pretty steep downhill. So there’s plenty of impact. So naturally as I’m running through, the cheers suddenly stop short as my hamstring cramped up on me and I had to stop for a moment with a look of pain on my face. Ha! Immediately they start yelling you’ve only got 200m to go!! I was laughing at the sudden change in the crowd. Grimacing, but it was funny. Mont Tremblant definitely has one of the best finish lines.
Run: 2:12:31 (Last year 02:22:14)

Total: 06:09:19 (Last Year 06:10:53)

The next few days, the inside of my calves were quite painful. It was very tough to push them into their regular extension while stretching. I definitely should have had a massage scheduled to help with this but didn’t. Need to plan better next time.

I definitely owe Ed and Todd a thank you. Ed for getting us to sign up for the NJ Fondo in the fall and taking us out on some challenging training rides the last few weeks. Todd, for keeping our weekend runs at 10 or more miles the last month or so. Both of them could go faster if they were out there on their own. I appreciate that they drag me along.

The best thing that has come out of this race is this. It’s completely changed my state of mind.  For the life of me, I have not been able to get my diet/calorie count under control the last couple years. Jan to June this year has been the worst. Partially due to several colds and my back going out on me several times. So I just couldn’t string together more than a couple weeks of good training before it would fall apart. Unfortunately, my eating follows my training. If my training is on, I eat really well. But if I’m not training well, I don’t eat well. I know, it makes no sense but that is the reality of it.
But as I’ve said, this race has put me back on track. The fact that I can finish a 70.3 with a really weak training plan helped remind me that I’ve come a long way in terms of my overall fitness. Now I feel like I OWE it to myself to get my weight back down and put a schedule together to prepare for the Fall events. Rev3 Maine Half , Grand Fondo NJ, NYC Marathon. That is a heavy-duty lineup in my opinion. The only way to make it more fun or easier is to get the training in and keep my eating under control. I’m really looking forward to all of it. I feel like I’ve been sandbagging the last couple years and it’s time to start putting up some good numbers again. Wish me luck!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013



After falling in love with this race and the venue last year, Matt & I decided to sign up for IMMT70.3 2013 when the online registration opened last September.  I was determined to come back to this course racing better than ever.  Fast forward 8 months.  My yo-yo approach to diet and workouts has been running rampant.  This entire past spring season has been 2 -3 weeks good eating & workout schedule followed by weeks of being off the deep end.  Emotional, stress eating, etc.  I can blame it on a busy work schedule, or other commitments, but at the end of the day I made the decision to have other things take priority over what I wanted most.  Rather than beating myself up over my current physical condition (which is my normal MO), I decided to approach this race being thankful for the best I have to give at this moment.  Since, after all, I can’t change the past.  What’s done is done.  I can’t be upset over results I didn’t get because of the training I didn’t put in.

We arrived in Mt. Tremblant Friday evening after a looong 10 hour drive from NJ- mostly due to rush hour traffic in Montreal paired with construction.  Ugh…  But once we were there, all was forgotten as we settled in.  We met up with Ed & Margie for dinner later that night & then got a good night’s sleep.  We slept in a bit on Saturday morning, had breakfast, then met Ed for packet pick up at 10:15.  After that we took a quick walk around transition & the expo. Then it was time for a quick swim in the lake.  Water was a beautiful 65 degrees and clear. It had been steadily raining all day.  By 3:00pm we decided to rack our bikes as it didn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon.  We went back to the room, showered and got all of our race gear prepped for the next morning.  We met Ed & Margie for dinner at 6:00 and we were back in our room by 7:30. It was a leisurely day.  Exactly what I was hoping for and desperately needed.  You see, as an early surprise (sorry guys… it’s about to get real for a minute here.)  for the month, my “friend” arrived earlier that morning.  Women – you know the 2 days out of the month where you just want to curl up in a ball and cry because the cramps are so bad and ALL of the energy is sucked out of your body?  Yep, this was to be my Saturday & Sunday… race day.  ::sigh::  My mind quickly switched from “just taking it easy because of my lack of training” to “Oh my gosh… I’m really questioning  whether I can finish this race.”  I began pumping large doses of ibuprofen into myself, had a brief pity party and then decided I would do the best I can.  That’s all I can do.  My strategy would not change.  It just involved a few more drugs!
Walking to transition on race day
Mt Tremblant village at 6:00am race day

Ed, Matt and me before the race start
The alarm went off at 4:30am Sunday and the rain had stopped. Hooray!  I got up and ate my breakfast of oatmeal with agave/craisins, slice of toast with pb&j, a banana and a cup of tea. Oh! And a fistful of pills!  Matt & I walked down to transition, dropped of our gear & then walked back up to our room to leave our gear bags, get our wetsuits & walk down to swim start.  (Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this race venue because of these simple logistics?  So EASY!)  We met Ed & Margie down by the beach, chatted for a minute & then it was time for Ed’s wave to start.  Matt’s was next at 7:25am, which left me alone until my start at 7:40am.  I got in the water for a brief warm-up swim.  I was relieved to not have my wetsuit feel like a boa constrictor around my chest as it had the day before. For the first time in a long time, I was afraid to start the swim.  Not my normal jitters. I was SCARED.  I had no idea how my body was going to react.  Because of this, I lined up in the back.  I was the very last woman in my wave to enter the water. 

Buoys were to the right and kayaks to the left.  I quickly realized it was a mistake to be in the VERY back.  I swam past a few people & then stayed far left (couldn’t mentally deal with people this day), swimming easily with slow, smooth strokes.  I made my way around the course by way of zigzagging between the safety kayaks.  Luckily each of them was kind enough to keep me pointed in the right direction.  I mean literally pointing me with their paddle in the proper direction! Ah well… I kept catching a glimpse of my silver ring in the water.  It says WARRIOR on it.  So it kept my mind focused.  My swim was terribly slow but I made it out of the water without incident.  Part One of my day complete.

My Warrior ring
After the long path back to T1, I popped some more drugs and started out on the bike.  The start of my ride was one of the worst feeling parts of my day.  I felt as if I had ZERO energy.  I shifted into my easiest gears and told myself to give it time.  It’s a long ride.  See how it goes.  Just keep pedaling.  All while the entire field of racers went zooming past me.  It was difficult to see everyone go by.  For me, the bike is the only time in a race that I feel I stand a chance to be even a little competitive.  But I stayed focused on myself and kept on going.  Slow and Steady.  Once I got out of the village and onto Rt117, it was fun to see all of the pros on their way back in from that first section.  I caught myself with a big grin on my face.  Man, I love to see them out there! I am always amazed at what spectacular athletes these people are!  As I got some nutrition in me, I found a little more energy and in the final miles of the course, I was finally able to catch and pass a few of the people I recognized who had passed me at the start of the ride.  I felt a little vindicated.    But by the end of the ride, my cramps were kicking back in and despite eating 4 Gu’s & a bar on the bike, my stomach was growling.  Part 2 of my day was complete. 

In T2 I changed my top to my Dana Farber running shirt.  I haven’t worn it to race since my first Mooseman in 2008.  It was just the emotional boost I needed.  More drugs, hat, shoes and it was time to “run.”

Even on my best day, I use the term run loosely with myself. I am not fast and I am okay with that.  I knew this day may be more walking than running, so I was already mentally prepared.  As I made my way around the course, I began to mentally make a list of thing I was grateful for.

1.    The rain stopped for the race, but there was still a nice cloud cover to keep the sun away making for great race conditions.
2.    Matt is the best support a girl could ask for.  Seeing him out on the race course lifted my spirits immensely.
3.    The spectators and volunteers at this event are THE BEST!! Cheering and supporting every athlete like they were the winner. It was truly amazing! Like none I have ever seen. Cheering, bell ringing, horn blowing from driveways, windows, front porches and house boats!!
4.    Much of the run course is on a “rails to trails” type path along the water that runs into the lake, so I listened to bull frogs, water birds, chickadees and water running in a stream.
5.    Dragonflies danced around the path in front of me.
6.    I got to see Ed on the run & give him a high-five.  He had a crash AND flat on the bike, but despite some nasty road rash, he was giving it his all! So proud of him!
7.    My heart swelled as I felt the love and support from my family & friends.  It was coming all the way from Western PA/NY and NJ, but I felt every bit of it!  And boy did I need it! Thank you!
8.    Anytime my mind wandered, I found myself thinking of cousin Katie and how hard she has fought to WIN her battle with leukemia! YES!!! And how Judy, Nathan and Dan fought for one day more.  My pain in THIS moment was temporary.  And I drew strength from them.
9.    The determination of the “back of the pack” racers is inspiring.  No matter the age, the physical limitations or even just leg cramps, nothing was stopping them.
And finally my FAVORITE sign of the day, “Your body lies.  You can do this.”  Awesome.  And absolutely true.

As I ran down the chute through the village to the finish among all of the spectators cheering, with Matt waiting & cheering for me at the end, I had to smile!  I did it!!  It was not pretty, but I finished.  It was all I had wanted from this day. 
Crossing the finish line in 7:13:46

It has helped me to re-focus on the rest of my summer.  Getting back on a consistent path of healthy eating and training that I know I can do… one that I can be proud of.  I am looking forward to July as it brings almost 2 weeks in NH.  Our favorite place on earth! And August brings a week in Warren (our PA hometown) with the Tango adventure race kicking that week off.  Then it’s up to Maine for REV3 Old Orchard Beach Half-Iron.  It will be my first ocean swim…. YIKES!!  Can’t wait!!