Thursday, November 12, 2015

2015 Triathlon season and other stuff that happened in my life

I raced a lot this year! Some were awful, some were OK, and some were awesome. The important thing is that I was racing and training again. And having fun doing it! I sat down to write race reports a number of times, but just was not feeling the writing bug this year. But I am gearing up for another full distance triathlon so there will be lots going on in my head. I found the last few times that I was on the Ironman roller coaster writing about it helped me to get excited to race and also deal with the plethora of emotions that comes from training for and racing a long distance race!

2015 Races:

Groton Road Race 10k
White Mountains 70.3
Westboro Off Road Sprint Triathlon
Cranberry Oly
Title IX Sprint
Pilgrimman Oly relay with Carole and Edith
Groton Trail Race 9.5

Season Recap:
I was humbled by the White Mountains 70.3. The conditions were cold and windy which did not help matters. I finished but it took every bit of will, determination, and bull headedness not to drop out ! I underestimated how much endurance builds up season to season. I am accustomed to finishing in the middle to top of the pack, but I was close to last that day. Finishing it proved to myself that I could do a long distance race again. I had a bit of foot pain, if I recall, but I was out there for a very long time and did a lot of walking. It did not last and I was able to start training again soon after!

Summer came and I started playing on the trails more and swimming a lot in Walden. I enjoyed my summer doing short training sessions. I even did non triathlon outside stuff; like a ropes course and played on SUP board! I found my love for triathlon again this summer. The later part of racing was fun! Really really fun! At times they were hard, but hard in way that I love. I found a tiny bit of speed and built up my endurance! I even did a few short triathlons. It was lovely to be done a race and home by noon! They helped me build some speed over a shorter distance without worrying about bonking later in an event. But I do love long distance racing the most! I love how spent I get after I've given my all. I love how I can't walk the next day. And how I say things like "o it's only a 40 mile ride or 13 mile run".

Last year I did the Groton Trail race 3 miler. I recall having some foot pain during and after (as well as it kicking my ass!). This year I did the 9.5. It was a tough race and I was very challenged by steep trail ups n downs. The front and back part of the course were heavy with the hills, but the middle piece was nice and flat. I moved pretty slow over the first 3 miles but then found some speed and actually felt really good for most of the race. I was very pleased with the race.

It is now mid November. I have been focusing on swimming, running, and strength with some short outdoor and indoor rides thrown in there. I am having fun training and feeling really really good! If I feel like this in March next year going into 140.6 training I will be very pleased. Speaking of 2016: tentative race plan: Quassy 70.3, Westboro Off Road, and Cedar Point 140. I am turning 40 next year and I plan to take it by storm! Fitter at 40 than 20! I am changing things for 2016 but I will get into that later! A big change is going to be my nutrition!

I have found a rythm and awesomeness with living with Amy and the kids. I am still not super awesome at dealing with kid drama, but I am getting there. I'm better able to juggle family stuff with training/racing, friends, and work. I have never been more happy with that part of my life than I am now.

Work is a different story. And I thank Amy, my friends, and triathlon for my ability to get through all of the drama the last three months. I left PT&SR in August for an outpatient job in Lowell. It was more money and much closer to home. It looked good on paper but proved to be a nightmare. I won't go into details here, but I am leaving this job on December 7 for a new adventure. I will be working at Seven Hills Pediatric Center in Groton. My hours will be something like 7-3 four days a week. One day a week I hope to be at an out patient facility (this in the works). One of the best things about the new job is that it is 3 miles away! I went from an hour commute to less that 10 minutes! I will be able to run or ride there a lot. I hope to ride most of the winter; pending winter conditions. I gave my notice yesterday and felt a ginormous weight lift from my shoulders. I have been a grumpy stress ball for several months. Everything is coming together for a great upcoming year of living, training, and racing.

I feel so fortunate to have a gaggle of people in my life. You are all amazing and I could not be who and where I am without all of you. Thank you!

#Newtons #TYR #TeamEnVision #trek #herballife

Sunday, April 5, 2015

spring has SPRUNG

For a long time I didn't want to look at my Garmin during a run, or swim for that matter. I recorded data, logged it, but rarely looked at HR or pace after. I didn't care and I knew that I was not fast. I didn't want my workouts to remind me of how out of shape I was or how I was not making gains. It would just make working out less fun that it seemed to be.

But I kept at it. Logged the laps. Logged the trainer minutes. Logged those short runs outside in the grueling single digit temps. Logged the treadmill miles. Diligently did my strength workouts twice a week and stretched at least four times a week with nightly foam rolling. I ate healthy, started to cut out alcohol and sweets. And then something happened. I started getting faster. Started to have fun on my workouts and look forward to them again! I started feeling good on them even when I felt a little icky going in. I even have started feeling good at the end of a long workout. Could I....maybe....perhaps...could it be that ....endurance...ATHLETE again?!!? More on that in a minute.

SPRING HAS SPRUNG people! New Englanders have endured a winter of enormous proportion. We complained about it adn got a little crazy. But we got thru. That is what we do in NE. I was visiting family in Littleton, NH this weekend and was below freezing and snowing when I left. But I returned to 45 degree sunshine in MA! Things had melted when I was gone and we actually have a lawn again. Flowers are beginning to pop up! The sun is feeling warmer and days are getting longer.

Today I had to talk myself into going for a run. I was away all weekend and did not sleep well. But I knew that I needed to go for my run and that this maybe the best weather in the next couple of days. I got out there and had a really good 8.2 miles. Though it was not fast in my prior running standards it is the fastest 8 miler to date this season and one on a fatigued body. The point is that I am finally feeling good. I am definetly not were I was in two years ago, but think that if I continue to be smart this year I will make some solid gains.

More important than being fast is that I am having fun again. I am running with a group of folks in Harvard weekly. We mostly do 5 miles today. I have also started swimming with a Masters team at the Groton school 1-2 times per week. It is a much smaller group than Cambridge Masters or Boston City Swimmers, but is a group to swim with and be motivated by. Right now I am in my own lane, but think that soon I can jump up to the faster lane and get pushed a bit. TE group rides will start this weekend. I did my best and improved the most when I was training with others who are slightly faster than me. I also very much enjoy and thrive by the camaraderie of training and racing together. I need that crazy community of athletes.

I have signed up for the Whitemountains Triathlon at Echo Lake in Franconia, NH June 6. It is in my old stopping ground and super hilly!! I look forward to the challenge.

I have turned a few corners over the winter and seem to be making good gains right now. We shall see how that translates to outdoor riding and bricks.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Snowmagddon 2015 and other ramblings

It is March 8rd and New England is still largely buried in snow. Boston has gotten over 100 inches and we got closer to 112. The last few weeks there has been some melting and snow bank clearing. Finally we have a small shoulder on the roads. It is safer to drive, walk and run. In the last week we've actually had temps over 32 degrees. I recall hearing that we did not go above freezing for three weeks. It is the craziest winter in recent memory in MA. Commutes have been hell and people have a little bit lost their minds.

Many of my runs have been inside and most outdoor runs have been in frigid conditions and quite frankly have risked my life running on the roads. I have been extra careful running; avoiding dark runs, wearing super bright clothes, always running on the opposite side of the street, and trying to avoid main roads. I live in the boonies now and folks are just not as nice to runners and bikers. Bostonians thou not always nice are tolerant and mostly considerate. If you include honking as considerate. A few weeks ago someone posted on Nextdoor about her irritation with runners, bikers and walkers on the streets. The posts that followed mad me sad and a little angry. It was a lot of the "roads are made for cars. and how dare anyone be out on the roads other than cars". How dare anyone risk their lives or the lives of drivers for the sake of cardio. Someone actually said that. I understood the anti -runner/biker/walker sentiment to an extent. The roads have been terrible for a greater part of 6 weeks. They have barely been passable to cars let alone pedestrians and cyclist. BUT if done safely roads can be shared.

I resisted the urge to respond to the post as many others had responded the way in which I would. Instead I have been extra cautious and courteous to drivers while running and walking. I have waved to all drivers even if they're jerky to me. I am hoping if I wave I make myself human and perhaps less likely to be hit? I keep wondering how we can change the attitude that cars own the road. Clearly this is not just an issue in the winter, but can be more dangerous this time of the year. I wonder if a mass mailing to all drivers re the rules of the road might help. Or a segment and push in the media about the rights of pedestrians and cyclist. I believe that many drivers truly do not know that cyclist have the right to be on the road. Would education help to improve behavior? For now I am focusing on positive re-enforcement and good behavior on my part.

The good thing about treadmill runs is that it forced me to work on technique and speed. Slowly I gained speed in the last two months. I have been diligent with my strength training, stretching, swimming, biking, and running. I am now able to run a 5k avg 9-9:15/ mile, up from about 9:45. On my longer runs I avg closer to a 9:30 but sometimes faster. The best part is that I finally feel that I have a little extra to give during all my workouts. My persistence, determination, and diligence has finally paid off. I am feeling good at this point in the season. I can pretty comfortably run 7.5 miles without any foot pain!! o! I have discovered and fallen in love with Rock My Run. It is an online streaming and download site with playlists for running or working out. They have a paid and free service. Currently I use the free service which gives me one download per month. Check them out:

I joined a Masters swim program in Groton last Monday. For now I can only swim once per week with them. But I think this will be a good way to ramp up my training and meet some swimmer people. I have been riding inside on my trainer mostly using Paincave. I think it is helping me with my cadence and equal leg power. I am itching to get out on the road. We have a warm week coming up so I am hopeful that this may happen in the next two weeks. My body is responding to my training in a way that it has not in over a year. Perhaps I really did need a full year of low key low intensity training to heal and recover from previous intense training and racing.

The trial of accused Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev started a week ago Monday. I have been trying to avoid watching any footage. Simply hearing the words (paraphrased) "that bombs disrupted a normal joyful and celebratory day two years ago" sent me into tears. I don't want to hear play by play accounts of the day. I certainly don't want to hear what Tsarnaev has to say. I understand that for some this maybe cathartic but it is too painful and still to raw for me. The Boston Marathon was the first Marathon that I did and was done Bandit style. I did not know what I was doing but still managed to cross that line in one piece. The Marathon will always hold a special place in my heart and life. When I moved to the city and went to the marathon for the first time as a spectator I really discovered what the day meant to all of the city and state. Whether you're a runner or not for that one day you become a fan. For many it is an excuse to party . But that comes with cheering on runners! Where else do we get thousands of spectators along the whole route cheering on runners?!!? As a runner you feel like a rock star for most of the course. As a spectator you're proud of the runners and of the city. It is a day that is difficult to articulate and needs to be experienced at least once. Runners, college students, business professionals, families, non-runners, Red Sox fans, and people from all over the world come together.

Someone tried to destroy that day, but they messed with the wrong city and the wrong crowd. Boston and runners are two of the most resilient groups I know. I won't let them destroy what it means to me and I will be there every year. I think this is why I can't watch the trials. I don't want the terror and sadness to move to the forefront of my brain. I want to remember those who died and lost limbs, but not the terror. I want to remember how the city and world came together after. How we took back the Marathon in 2014. How so many folks who lost limbs came back and plan to run. How so many people came together and helped strangers in a time of crisis. We cannot be broken. This week I have been taking a moment to be thankful for all that I have each time I do a workout and feel the warm sun on my face or feel the cold air in my lungs. I am lucky to have everything I do. Lucky to able to swim, bike, and run.