Monday, July 2, 2012

TRI and you will succeed!

While 2011 was a year of many firsts for me (meaning my 1st time racing a duathlon, openwater triathlon, 15krun, half marathon) I had SO much fun at these new events that I decided to do them all again this year and so far I've improved my times on the Du, the Forks 15, the Bridge Run and my goal was to try to better my time in the swim for the triathon this year.

I talked my husband into also registering for the triathlon a month in advance, which was a big help, so now we both had each other to motivate into training.  We signed up for the weekly open water swims (OWS) with the triathlon club.  (Already a step in the right direction since last year, I only got into the water twice before I did the triathlon!)  The OWS practices were a huge help as it gave us a feel for what it would be like on race day swimming with other people running into each other and dealing with waves and sighting the boueys. 
As co-VP of the TVC time trials, I also scheduled a few time trials on the bike course so we had some practice on the course already and knew what gears to be in and where I could make up time pedaling high cadense in the hardest gear on the downhills & flats where many triathletes are coasting.

I was very excited to have my teammates- Dana Cooreman, Kelley Hamlin, Heather Ludwig, and Tiffany Grygus racing along with me and also to have our injured mates- Ariana Rife and Sue Foster there cheering us on.
We arrived over an hour early to find most everyone already there and quickly fililng up the transition area, we hurried and found spots in the bike racks and started pulling out the necessary items, wetsuit, goggles, helmets, sneakers...then Pat tells me my cycling shoes are missing.  How could that be!?  I always keep 2 pair of shoes in the van and have NEVER forgotten shoes!  He tells me I have an hour, plenty of time to go back home for them.  I speed home, grab my 3rd pair that are always ready and waiting in the garage and made it back with 10 minutes to spare!  I still had to get my wetsuit on and cap and goggles!  By now,  I am a total mess, trying to pin my number on because I couldn't find my race belt in the messy van from throwing things around looking for the shoes.  I see my wonderful teammates who give me much needed hugs and support and encouragement and some words of advice from Shirley Elliott, what a super woman she is, so calming and friendly and understanding.

I get all ready, head to beach and find out they are starting the women 3 minutes after the men take off YAY!  Less bodies to navigate through!  Ready Set Go, we all enter the water, , I'm NOT a swimmer, I went to high school with no pool, I grew on a farm, we didn't take vacations, no pool, no beach.  Last year I ended up doing a variety of swim strokes and spent half the time on my back in the water recovering and breathing.  This year, I stuck to what I did best, side stroke, that way I could breathe anytime and not panic.  I felt so relaxed, I finished the swim 3 minutes faster than last year!

Had a slower transition this year, I think next year, I will skip the socks and gloves!  My bike time is always fun, since I'm so slow swimming, I start behind many, many people on the bike and since the bike is my strength, I get to pass many, many people :)  This makes it a little challenging though as there is no drafting and the course is open to traffic and there is a tricky turnaround on a fast downhill, so I had to slow down to avoid drafting some riders nearing the turnaround and wait for traffic to go by before passing.  Overall , I was pleased with my bike time since it was the 2nd fastest women's bike time, and very pleased that the fastest time was by my teammate, Dana!  Awesome ride Dana!

The run portion of the triathlon is the hardest, the sun was blazing, we have to climb a very steep grassy dam at the end of the reservoir and run the distance of the dam in no shade, it was hard!
The best part is being able to see and cheer on the runners in front and behind you as is it an out and back course and hear the great music and announcer at the finish.  Overall, I was 2 minutes faster than last year!  What a great day :)  Oh, I forgot to mention that my 2 pair of shoes were in the van after all, lesson learned, never let someone else freak you out, take your time and get your own things in order :)

Congratulations to everyone, there were 173 finishers!  and super congrats to my teammates!


Kelley Hamlin- 1st masters woman- 4th female
Dana Cooreman- 1st in her age group- 6th woman (fastest bike)
Marsha Kapinus- 1st in age group- 20th woman (2nd fastest bike)
Heather Ludwig- 3rd in age group- 22nd woman
Tiffany Grygus- 7th in age group- 37th woman out of 54

Congrats also to the guys in our group!

Mike Grygus- 1st overall ! Way to go!
Jon Murray- 2nd in age group, 5th male
Tim Leonard- 1st in age group, 13th male
Pat Kapinus- 4th in age group, 31st male out of 94
Mike Guenther- 3rd in age group- 46th male
Dick Litzel- 1st in age group

Sunday, July 1, 2012

C'est la vie!

As they say: ya win some, ya lose some. This Saturday at The Empire Classic in windy Boston, NY, I was reminded of this.  The 7 mile circuit course had a short, steep wall about 3 miles in and wow - I wasn't prepared for the climb!  We did drive the course beforehand, but I didn't have to time to ride it in my warm up and just couldn't hold on.

But let's back up!  Chris and I drove to Buffalo this weekend to see his sister, some music, and do this road race.  Chris is ever hopeful for upgrade points and I just figured it'd be a fun race to do - because aren't circuit races fun?! We arrived at our hotel the night before the race and jetted up to the Erie Canal Harbor for the Grace Potter and the Nocturnals show. Now, don't be scolding me for going out on a race night. I've already scolded myself!  No, but truly we were home before 11 and in bed soon after. It could've been worse. Ehh... wait, dinner was probably not the best but we didn't have great options.  Next time we'll plan better!
Pulled pork at the show...
Anyway, race morning we only had to drive about 25 minutes to the course and we had a chance to drive the circuit before we rode it. My race was first at 9:05. It was an open women's race with only 5 women and at first glance I knew it'd be a tough ride. I suspect the women who took the top 3 were not Cat 4. The race promoter asked if we'd mind riding with the Cat 5 men and we all shrugged "yes".  Well, I sat happily on the back of the peloton for the first 3 miles and then the wall came.  Grrr - I was in the wrong gear.  Still I tried to muscle up the hill with the other women but then the grade over took me and my legs screamed and well, they crested the hill and were gone.  There was a decline after the hill and then a backstretch with a tailwind and as soon as made it to the top of the hill they were far ahead. Too far.  I was alone.  (Oh, and did I mention that the women agreed to do 35 miles (and the Cat 5 men were doing 28)?)  

And we have about 32 miles to go. SWEET.  In terms of my athletic endeavors, I think my greatest success recently is that mentally I have grown. In high school and even in college I may have crumbled in this situation. I mean, in what world is it fun to "race" for 32 mostly windy miles alone? Not many worlds.  So what I told myself from this point on is that I would TT and concentrate on getting the time and miles in.  Make the best of it, I told myself.  Grin and bear it.  Take comfort in the fact that there aren't that many people here to watch the race and they probably won't know what position I'm in because it's a circuit race.  And even if they can tell that I'm in last - who cares? I'm riding, they are not. Therefore, I am winning!
It's easy to think "I could've stayed home on the couch!", but I'm glad I didn't.
One lap finished, then two.  I see a rider ahead at the start of lap three.  I decide maybe it'll be possible to reach him and have a riding buddy.  By a stroke of luck I was able to catch him by the wall and shouted, "Hey, this would be a lot more fun if we rode together!" He turned around and happily agreed to slow for a second to allow me to jump on.  Together we took turns pulling around the course and it was indeed more fun with a partner.  So, thanks to my racing friend for the ride!  He finished at four laps and I kept on trucking for our fifth lap.  By then it didn't hurt so badly, maybe. Okay, the hill still hurt pretty badly, but at least I knew what gear to be in and how long I could stand and grind and so on. 

I finished the race and got in a bit more cool down before calling it a day.  In the end I succeeded in completing a good training ride and finishing the race.  I like to think I lost elegantly! Recently I read the quote below and was inspired.  As a good friend told me, life is about the ride, not just the finish line!  The credit belongs to the man (or woman) in the arena.

Congrats to the other women!  Congrats to Chris Jones of Team RUUD on his 6th place finish in the Cat 4 men's field. Read about his race on the RUUD website.  Congrats to Andrew Williams on gutting it out in the P123 race - 70 miles of fun! - and on his podium finish in the TT on Sunday. 

To all my other Mission in Motion ladies: maybe next year I'll stay home for the BC triathlon! Looks like you ladies had a blast. I'm psyched to read race reports and see photos!