Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chad’s Extended Lungstrong15k/GPx Finale Recap


After an incredible series to this point, I came into this race in third place in the RFYL Grand Prix Series.  I was in second until Richard Harris blew me away with a 16:20 to win the Greekfest 5k.  Incredibly, at that point although we had accumulated around 6000 points he lead me for second by a single point with 2 races remaining.  After just edging me out in gutsy effort at the Brixx 10k his lead ballooned to 3 points.  By my math, I needed to beat him in the 15k GPx finale by about 15 seconds, a tall order since he had beaten me in the last 3 races. 

I redoubled my efforts and had a couple weeks of very good training including an amazing 3 x 3 mile workout leading up to Lungstrong.  Based on my condition and workouts I figured a 15k reach goal of 53:00, 5:41 pace, was about right.  It would be the equivalent of the best race of the season (and my life).  I knew the course was rolling with lots of turns and my 10k(pr) McMillan converted to a 54:00 15k so I thought a 53:00 reach goal was plenty aggressive enough.  I can only control what I can run and I know how fast and talented Richard is, so if I ran my best and it wasn’t enough, that would be ok, but I thought this would give me a chance. 


About 20 seconds into the race.
John is already gone.
I came into this race feeling good I had managed to taper quite a bit, dropped a little weight, and felt quick and strong.  The plan was to go out hard and hope to settle in around 5:40-5:42.  With Paul just completing the race due to injury and John Compton racing, it would be interesting to see who would be around me.  At the gun John was gone and I led the secondary pack with Vincent and a guy I did not recognize but who looked to be a seasoned runner (I would later learn this was Jay Barringer).  I knew Billy and Richard were close behind but I wanted to try and set a difficult pace and make it hard for anyone to sit on my shoulder.  When we turned into Jetton Park, John Compton was already out of sight.  Thankfully there was a secondary bike lead.  Unfortunately, he tried to take us the wrong way into the park, runners behind called to us and we got back on the right track only losing a few seconds.  More frustrating than losing the seconds was the biker calling out “it is not my responsibility”, um yeah dude if you are going to ride a lead bike in a race it really is your responsibility, otherwise just get off the course, which he then did.  Without him confusing things the remaining turns were well marked although not being able to see John or the upcoming turns made running good tangents difficult. 

My garmin got farther and farther off as the race went on, but those are the only splits I have, the early splits are, mile 1: 5:40, mile 2: 5:37, mile 3: 5:43.  I figure Jay and I came through 5k in about 17:40 or so, about this time Vincent disappeared and I refused to look back to see where anyone else was.  I just kept trying to focus on running my pace, settling in, staying strong, focused and worry about the rest later.  Somewhere in the first 5k, it became clear that Jay and I would be together for a while.  He was running strong, controlled and looked pretty confident at our pace.  While we never said it, at some point we just seemed to settle into working together.  There were many points where the pace started to get to me but rather then having to hold the pace alone, I ran with him and it was a HUGE help.  I tried to do my part of holding the pace, but certainly Jay did his part.  Middle 5k splits, mile 4: 5:40, mile 5: 5:32, mile 6: 5:35; I would estimate the 10k split at 35:10 or so. 

At some point around the 5-mile mark I heard the pack behind us coming up and for a moment was slightly demoralized as I was hoping I was running away from Richard and Billy.  I tried not to look behind but on a turn I saw David Willis out of the corner of my eye.  All at once I was impressed by the run he was having, happy that at least it wasn’t Richard, and scared because I could hear others right on my tail and was afraid they were all feeling good too.  At some point Billy passed me but Jay was not going to let him get away and I would not let Jay away.  Eventually Jay and I worked back past Billy who seemed really strong.  I was trying to stay strong and hold pace through the middle 5k and then lay it all on the line for the last 5k of the GPx season and let the chips fall where they may. 

Somewhere around 6, Richard caught and passed me.  It was the moment I feared since setting a hard pace.  Again, there was a tinge of being demoralized, but deep down I knew Richard would be coming on hard, and thought to myself, he may beat me, but he will have to beat my best.  I soon noticed that Richard was not building a gap.  Then Jay and I were bringing him back.  I could hear him breath a bit heavy and that is like blood in the water.  

Mile 7: 5:33, mile 8: 5:32.  At this point I was running with all I had and running scared at the same time.  I know the way Richard finishes races so I certainly wasn’t going to wait until the last mile.  I tried to surge/push for 100m at a time, Jay was always with me and I wasn’t surging on him, rather I was trying to break Billy and Richard off Jay and I.  After a push I would recover and stay with Jay, trying not to give anything back.  We ended up running near stride for stride for about 90% of the race.  I could feel the pace dropping and thought back to a line from Paul’s epic BRR recap:  “Still we were alongside each other, no quarter given or asked.” That pretty much sums it up. 

As the pace quickened tiny milestones brought us closer to the finish, 5k to go, we turned left with Jetton Road to begin the long rolling straight home, 7 mile marker, then 2 miles to go; all the time running stride for stride with Jay.  I could hear no one behind but continuously increased the effort and pace to just what I hoped could be sustainable to the finish.  We hit the 8-mile mark and seemed to just keep dialing up the pace.  A major flaw with this race is that the last mile of the 15k comes together with people completing the 5k.  It is hard not to be frustrated when you have spent 8 miles trying to run tangents at 5:40 pace only to have to dodge 5k walkers with strollers, children and dogs walking six wide, 2 miles and 40 minutes into a 5k.  To their credit, the bewildered walkers did their best to leave room for Jay and me and I tried my best to let them know we were coming.  At this point I had no idea whatsoever where anyone other than Jay was, but I knew that Richard always finishes strong and every second matters, so I just kept turning up the pace and surprisingly every time I asked for more my legs responded. ­

And I'm spent.
As we made the turn onto Cove Road and garmin beeped for mile 9, 5:25.  I thought to myself that there was left than a half mile left, less than 3 more minutes of pain and cranked up a bit of a kick.  All along I had figured that Jay would eventually pull away from me, it seemed I was holding on to him more than vice versa.  But as I began a long final push I found myself pulling away from him.  I realized for the first time that I had a chance to be second and kicked until I thought I was going to puke.  I opened a small gap on Jay, made the final turn, and really tried to enjoy the last few seconds of race.  My chip picked up late as usual and Jay kicked it in so we had the same chip time but I had him by 2 second on the gun time.  I closed the last .42 on my gamin in 2:10, 5:13 pace.  I would love to know what Jay and I covered the final 5k in, it was moving, I am guessing we covered 3.2 miles in about 17:30.  Finishing time, 52:25, I was blown away. 

Post Race

With Michelle and Dee post race.
Upon crossing the line I was absolutely spent.  All I wanted to do was thank and introduce myself to Jay and collapse.  But I quickly remembered that I needed a gap to take 2nd in the GPx   John Compton was with me when I decided that a sufficient amount of time had passed; my apologies to any children who heard my inappropriate celebratory language.  After congratulating Billy and Richard on a great year and a hard fought season, I was off to find Danielle and cheer her in.  I enjoyed cheering in all the familiar faces.  So many people ran most, if not all of the GPx races again this year.  I got to see Carolyn looking strong on her to winning the 15k.  Behind her I saw Danielle and Michelle.  I cheer them on then ran part of the way in with Danielle who had an excellent race.  She finished strong, second place in the 15k, 1:00:21 and won the GPx series for the third year in a row.  After the race a good group of CRC’ers enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at Toast.  It was an incredible way to end the GPx series for us. We have decided that it is just too many races and there are other races and triathlons we would like to concentrate on for next year, so this is our last year of the GPx series, but it couldn’t have ended any better.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tri-ing for another good race


Since we wisely decided to bag Augusta 70.3, I was on the look out for a sprint or Olympic distance tri that we could sneak in before the weather got too cold.  An email from Set-Up Events alerted me to a new tri in Rock Hill, South Carolina, a mere 30 minutes away.   The Tri for Abbey had a short swim (500m), a really short bike (13.5 miles), and a hilly 5k run- PERFECT.  We checked the participant list and saw our friends Kristin and William from Greenville had registered as well.  Even better!  After checking out the other female entrants and some prodding from Chad, I decided to register as an Open female. 

Race day dawned cool and clear.  We arrived early, set-up our transition, and went on an easy bike and run warm-up.  During the run warm-up we noticed it was beginning to rain lightly, but weren’t too concerned since the rain stopped quickly and the weather channel had promised me no rain.  Apparently they lied.

Before the swim start the announcer let us know that the water was very shallow and to be careful and stay to the right coming through the final two buoys.  The gun went off and since I was racing in the Open category, I took off following the one Open male.  There were two other women who registered as Open, but neither started the swim with me.  The nice part about racing Open was that the water was clear and I wasn’t being kicked in the head.  Being a poor swimmer in the first place, those things really stress me out and cause a bit of panic, which is dangerous in the water!  The water was cold and most people were in wetsuits, but since we don’t have wetsuits, we were just wearing our tri kits.  Luckily, the pool we train in was recently cleaned and refilled and they have been unable to get the water temperature up, so all of our training swims for the past 2 weeks have been un sub 78 degree water, so the 76 water temperature did not feel all that bad.  I’ve been working really hard on my swim and it has been improving nicely, so my plan was to go out and swim a straight line and a good time.  Things were going well until about 75 meters from the finish.  Suddenly I could touch the bottom of the water with my hands; in fact I was pushing off with my hands.  Panicking, I jumped up and tried to run, but that was clearly slower.  I tried swimming again then tried running again.  Nothing seemed to be working.  Then to my right someone went flying by.  It was the first guy in the wave that started behind me.  Once I saw him, I remembered we were supposed to stay to the right coming through the two final buoys and I was more towards the center, so I moved more to the right and the water was deeper.  Thank goodness!  I was able to get swimming again and finish up the swim without incident. 

I zipped through transition ok and ran down to the mount line.  Again, I had problems clipping in, but soon enough I was off on the bike.  About a mile into the bike I noticed that the lever keeping my front tire attached was not locking in.  Instead of panicking immediately, I decided to watch the lever and see if it came more undone or just stayed as is.  A few more miles down the road I decide it is definitely coming undone more.  I unclip and try to kick the lever down with my foot.  Alas, my 31” legs can’t reach and all I manage to do is flail around like an idiot.  I finally stop the bike, reach over and push the lever down to lock it in place.  Right as I’m doing this, Chad passes me.  He asks if I’m alright then continues on his way scratching his head once he hears that I’m ok.  I’m sure he was wondering why on earth I decided to stop mid-race.  So now that the front wheel isn’t going to come off, I’m back in business and looking to make up some time.  That is until the rain started.  Not 2 minutes after I stopped the skies opened up and it started pouring.  Not being the best bike handler in the world I wisely slowed down pretty dramatically at each turn.  It just didn’t seem worth the risk to wipe out.  Plus I was frustrated with having to stop so I was getting cranky and ready to just throw in the towel.  But, as the bike was only 13.5 miles, I knew I couldn’t be that far from transition and the fastest way for me to get off the bike and end my misery would be to actually bike, so I pushed on and consoled myself with the fact that everyone was biking in the rain and probably just as miserable as I was.  The rain stopped about 1 mile from the finish, and I took a wrong turn during the final half mile just to ensure there was no way I posted a respectable bike split.  Finally I was off the bike.

T2 was slow.  I was being slow and pouty and it showed in my time.  I need to learn to take my shoes off on the bike so I can run barefoot instead of in my bike shoes.  I cheered for Chad twice as he was leaving transition, but he did not hear me and instead spent a large part of the run wondering what happened to me.  Thankfully nothing!

The run was great.  It was a simple out and back rolling course.  There were 2 sizeable hills, so we had to deal with them a total of 4 times, 2 smaller hills, but a downhill finish to help improve your spirits at the end.   I immediately started making on ground on the one guy in front of me that I could see.  Since I don’t race with a watch, I don’t know how fast I’m going and instead just try to run as fast as I can and not worry about the pace.  I passed the first guy about a half a mile in, then another guy just before the turn around at 1.55.  Chad passed me on his way in around 1.25 and was relieved to see me running.  I told him he was closing on the two guys in front of him.  He did not believe me, but I was right, he passed them both.    I was able to track down two more guys, one at mile 2 and the final one with just under half a mile to go.  I zipped into the finish with a 19:50. 

I ended up first overall female and Chad ended up first in his age group and 3rd overall.   We both posted the fastest run splits of the day.  I was really excited to win my first Tri.  Although it was a smaller race, I’m still proud of my win and really enjoyed racing Open.  We will see if I decide to race Open next year or stick to Age Group for another season.  No matter what, it should be a blast and I’m looking forward to picking out the race schedule for 2012!  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hit the Brixx 10k


After a dreadful Greekfest the pressure was really on to run well at Hit the Brixx.  I had two really outstanding workouts under my belt, so I was feeling strong and ready to attack.  This was also the first 10k I was running since last years Hit the Brixx race; so I was looking to beat my time from last year and set a new PR. 

Race day dawned cool and crisp- a welcome change from oppressive heat and humidity of the past three months.  I felt good on the warm-up and confident in my plan.  The first mile is downhill, the next four miles are rolling, and the final mile is uphill.  In spite of this, I decided to stick with my normal strategy of running even splits the whole race.  This requires me to not only hold back and be patient, but to also have a very good idea of my fitness level and the times I can run.  I settled on 5:35 pace, knowing if I could maintain that pace I would come in just under 35 minutes, even with doing a mediocre job running the tangents; a distinct possibility on a course with a lot of turns. 

At the gun Paul took off and I settle in to a large secondary pack on the shoulder of Billy and Richard.   A little before 2 miles Richard picked up the pace and Billy Spada and McKeon went with him; I decided to stick to my plan even though it meant losing the shoulder to run off. I ended up hanging back and running my pace with Lamperski. I felt like if I ran smart there was a good chance some/all of them would come back within striking distance. Eventually that pack began to break up and I dropped Chris and picked off Spada, Billy and McKeon. Through the 5k 17:20-17:25 depending on the accuracy of my garmin.

The second half I felt good and managed to close the gap on Harris, but he seemed to feel me coming without looking and surge just enough to force me to pull back without getting on his shoulder. I had hoped to catch him before his furious last mile, but I couldn’t despite working really hard. I gave it my all in the last mile and hoped the hill on 7th would help me, but while I made some gains I just didn’t have enough.  Harris had a small kick and I had nothing; that was enough and he held me off for second overall with a 4 second margin.

I finished in 34:50.   Very happy with the time, PR and very even splits maybe a slight negative split. No shame in running well and someone else running faster.  Richard now holds a 3 point lead in the GPx series going into the final race, the Lungstrong 15k on October 8th.  The training will stay in high gear the next two weeks, with the focus being on running instead of biking and swimming. 


In terms of running 2011 has been a complete and total bust.  I haven’t been remotely close to any of my goal times and my workouts have been s-l-o-w.  I just have not been able to tap into my speed.  Really, my poor races times haven’t been a surprise, because my workouts have been really slow.  Not for lack of effort, I just have not been able to go any faster.  Going into Brixx, I decided to make a very reasonable goal and one that was in line with my current fitness.  Although I was sad to make such a slow time my goal time, I knew that mentally it would be good for me to focus on an attainable goal.  So sub 40 was the goal. 

The race went surprisingly well.  I was able to negative split and pick off three girls along the way to a third place overall finish and a time of 39:37.  A long way from my pre-season goal of 37:59, but still faster than my projected time based on my recent 5ks.  Sometimes, you have to appreciate small victories and keep moving forward.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Total Bust


After months of working hard and preparing to break my 5k PR at Greekfest, the injury bug struck.  I spent three weeks not running.  When the pain finally subsided and I was able to run again, there was only one week left before Greekfest.  Suffice it to say that the down time didn’t do anything for my fitness.  Instead of running a PR, I ran another 16:50.  While I am always happy to break 17, I was disappointed in my performance and my inability to find that next gear. 

The hardest part was that Richard Harris had a break through race, smashed his PR, and won the race in 16:20.  While I was happy that all of Richard’s hard work paid off, it was tough to see my small GPx points lead turn into a deficit.  I am now 1 point behind Richard heading into the last two GPx races.  I’m going to really amp up the training to do my best to take second place back from Richard.  Regardless of what happens, I’m going to give it my best shot and leave it all out there.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bad Race x 2, an Injury, and still in good spirits!


Well the 9th race in the Grand Prix Series was the Blue Points 5k on August 6th.  It was pretty much a bust.  I had a great first two miles then died a horrible and painful death.  Did I forget that a 5k is 3.1 miles?  Apparently so.  Chad's race was meh, with the bigger problem being that after the race a nagging injury became one that has sidelined him since then. 

The diagnosis is retrocalcaneal bursitis (inflammation of the bursa just under the achilles tendon) and he has not run one step since he finished the Blue Points 5k.  Not even a cool down.  Yikes.  Not one to let a pesky injury keep him down, Chad had a monster week last week, swimming 20,000 meters and biking 206 miles. 

Part of the biking was a 100k group ride with the Cannonballs Cycling Club.  They had a supported ride for the Trips for Kids Charity, so we decided to join them.  I am so glad we did!  We had a great time, got to bike in a totally new area, and really pushed ourselves for most of the ride.  We had a great group of 3 going for the whole ride and picked up a 4th the last 15 miles.  It certainly helps to have people to share the work with!  I felt really strong throughout the ride, but my legs were SPENT when we were done. 

Max and Junior

Despite the working out setbacks of late, our social life has been wonderful.  Chad was a groomsman in our friend Kevin's wedding and we were able to spend time with a bunch of law school friends, including two we hadn't seen in 3 years!  Chad's sister came to visit with her boyfriend and their new Boston Terrier puppy, Junior!  Junior is only 3 months old, but he held his own against Max.  The boys had a fabulous time playing together and were just too cute.  We celebrated Michelle finishing the bar exam and her upcoming three week trip to Europe with way too many mimosas.  This coming weekend, I am off to New Jersey to see my parents and sister briefly before heading down the Shore for my friend Alison's Bachelorette party.  It should be a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Cure for a Case of the Mondays?


On Monday morning I woke up to this email:

Congratulations CHAD, you have qualified for the 2011 USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals after your finish in the Tri the Midlands Triathlon ranked among the top 10 percent.

I had heard of the USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals, but had no idea how qualifying worked, so I was understandably surprised to receive this message. Danielle also received an email letting her know that she too had qualifed at Tri the Midlands. Sure, it was a small race in South Carolina, but we went down just to get some practice in, ended up having good races and earned spots at the USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals. Not too shabby for our first year in the sport.

While we are not going to attend this year and we wouldn't place highly if we did, earning spots has validated our ever increasing dedication to training for triathlons and interest in the sport. If nothing else, this information made my Monday a little better. I am excited to see how far we can go.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fastest Swim Ever


In case you've missed it, I'm not the best swimmer.  I started swimming last May while we were honeymooning in Jamaica.  It was hot and they had a sweet lap pool and frankly that seemed like a better plan than running in the heat, so I gave it a go.  I was awful.  When we got home, I went back to just running until July when I decided to try adding swimming to my training.  My first goal was to swim 1600m in an hour (3:45/100m pace).  It took awhile.   Here is a note from one of my first swims: "Kept my face in the water the whole time, which was hard because I'm pretty sure I'm going to drown at any moment but amazingly I managed to survive."   I've come a long way since then.

Last night I hit up the MAC after work for my weekly "long" swim.  With Augusta rapidly approaching, I decided each week I needed to do one swim of 2000m or more.  Last week was my first "long" swim and Chad had me time myself so I could see my progress.  I decided to time myself again and hoped for a good swim. 

I hit the first 500m so fast, I thought I miscounted.  I timed the next lap and realized that I had not miscounted, I was just swimming faster than I thought.  I slowed it down a bit on the second 500 fearing that I would die sometime towards the end if I kept up that pace (more irrational fear of dying in the pool).  Instead my pace stayed pretty much the same for the whole swim.  I wasn't taking it easy, but I also wasn't killing myself or taking breaks. 

The end result was a 44:20 2000m swim, with splits of 10:55, 11:10, 11:08, 11:07.  That's 2:13/100m pace.  I had gotten myself into the 2:20-2:30 range consistently, but hadn't managed to take the next step.  Until yesterday.  Obviously, I still have a long way to go.  Most people consider 2:13 pace quite slow, but for me, it's a breakthrough.  Note that I'm still much slower than the "World's Worst Olympic Swimmer" in the video.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Two Races in Two Days


For some unknown reason about two weeks ago, I decided it would be a great idea to do two races in two days.  Namely Grand Prix race #7, the Run For Your Cause 4 Miler, and the Stumpy Creek Sprint Triathlon.  The 4 miler was Saturday morning.  Stumpy Creek hosts an international distance triathlon on Saturday and a sprint distance on Sunday morning.  Initially, this seemed like a great way to sneak in another triathlon, gain more experience, and possibly sneak in an age group award.  The International tri on Saturday is a double points race in a statewide triathlon series, so all the big guns were going to be participating in that event.  I figured most wouldn't double and the ones that did would be tired.  Naturally, this ignored the fact that I had a race the day before and would be tired as well.  Danielle wisely offered to cheer and take pictures instead of doubling. 

Run For Your Cause 4 Miler

Saturday morning dawned a cool 65 degrees with 80% humidity.  This was downright pleasant considering the 75/90% combo we've been dealing with for a solid month now.  I hoped my legs were ready to run fast, because the weather was about as good as possible and I wanted to take advantage.  

The course has a lot of turns and is considered pretty difficult.  The first mile is primarily uphill.  The second is primarily downhill.  The third mile is rolling, and the final mile features one steep uphill before a long downhill to the finish.  The goal going into the race was to break 22:00 or at least PR by breaking 22:20.  I hit the mile marker in an abysmal 5:40.  If Billy and Richard hadn't been right behind me I would have gone into a full blown panic.  As it was, I was very concerned about the time, but tried to stay calm, knowing that my usual racing partners were with me, so perhaps we were executing some great strategy. 

During the second mile I started to find my groove heading down East Blvd and began passing some people.  To no great surprise, Billy and Richard were right with me.  I hit the second mile in 5:23, putting me close to my goal race pace of 5:30.  The race was on.

By this point I was in about 6th place and getting some confidence. But the 4 mile race is a tough distance and I think I was preserving just a bit for Richard's kick after getting dominated in a the last mile of Summer Breeze. Third mile in 5:29 and nearly on goal pace. 
Modeling the visor I got
for my 5th place finish
After the third mile marker, Richard attacked, as expected.  I tried to make him work to pass me which he finally did just before the last hill on Lyndhurst.  But after making him work to get by me the hill came at a good place and I made a move there and re-took the lead.  From the top of the hill, I was running scared/downhill the whole way to the finish.  I was able to pick off one guy in front of me for 5th overall.  I closed in 5:05 and a HUGE(:38 sec) 4 mile PR in 21:42.

I was extremely happy with my time, but noticed on the cool down that my legs were not very happy with me.  For some reason, they didn't appreciate running a 5:05 mile down a long hill.  My quads were feeling awfully trashed.  We got a bit lost of the cool down and ended up running 11.5 miles on the day.  

After some errands, Dee & I hit booty loop for a quick and easy spin and then to the pool to loosen up our legs.  We went out to one of favorite casual restaurants for dinner and ate way too much food and way too rich of a dessert.  By the time I went to bed just before midnight, I was tired and still nursing some sore legs.  But I had paid for the race, so race I would.  

Stumpy Creek Sprint Triathlon

The alarm rang at 4:01 am.  After one round of snoozing, Dee hopped out of bed and started the coffee and getting ready process.  In a sign that we truly ate too much last night, neither of us were hungry and decided to forego eating before the race.  This turned out to be a very poor decision for me. 

We previewed the first and third mile of the run course during the warm-up and all I saw was hill.  My legs were sore, tired, and not interested in going very fast.  I decided to just try and relax and have fun.  The swim went very well.  I was third out of the water in my wave of Men under 40.  Although my time doesn't look that impressive, the course was long yesterday and people seemed to think it was a bit long again today.  Regardless, third out of the water in my wave means I did a good job.

I headed off on the bike ready to bike strong and keep myself in position for an age group award.  By about mile 2, I knew I was in serious trouble.  My quads were screaming.  I was feeling terrible.  The decision not to eat came back to haunt me, as I had no energy.  I grabbed my water bottle for some calories, but dropped it.  Not being 100% sure of the rule regarding dropping things on the bike, I immediately turned around, stopped, got off my bike and picked up the water bottle.  I thought there was a 2 minute penalty for leaving things on the course and figured my turn around cost me a minute, which was better than two. 

During this break, several guys passed me on the bike.  The rest of the bike was miserable.  I felt like I was bonking, but didn't want to get any more water for fear of dropping the bottle again.  There was one last big hill at mile 14 and it felt as though I was never going to reach the top.  I was spinning, but going no where. 

Finally, I made it to my sneakers and was off on the run.  Too bad I had nothing left.   I felt slow and sore and I passed all of two people.  Granted, there were not many people in front of me at this point, but still, I'm used to passing lots of people on the run, so this was demoralizing.

One of the faster parts of
my Stumpy Creek Sprint Tri
I ended up 4th in my age group by just under a minute.  The same minute I lost while stopping to pick up my water bottle.  I broke my streak of having the fastest run time of the day by a couple of seconds.  So all in all, it would seem like I had a terrible race, but that's not entirely true.  My swim was very strong.  My transitions were much better than the last two races, even accounting for the smaller size.  I learned the importance of eating something for breakfast, even if you're not hungry and the race isn't that long.   Our friends Kristen and William were up from Lexington, SC to celebrate their anniversary with some triathloning, so we spent time with them after the race talking and eating. 
Dee and I went home, ate lunch, then enjoyed a 2 hour nap with Max.  Max really likes that part of triathlons.  Plus, we had to rest and recover to prepare for the 36 mile bike/4 mile run brick that awaited us in the afternoon!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Early Birthday Present

Since Chad picked this out, I'm not spoiling the surprise:

Happy Birthday (about 6 weeks early) to my wonderful husband!  I expect some blazing fast times out of this beauty.

I hope you love this present as much as you love last years birthday present:

I do not think this theme will continue for the 2012 birthday season, if only because we're running out of room to store all these bikes. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Broken Link = Race Cancelled


Last year, after about 3.5 months of swimming, Chad decided to tackle his first multi-sport race, the Harris YMCA Splash & Dash.  It consisted of a 400m pool swim followed by a 5k run.  Chad ended up second to Billy by one measly second.  We discussed during the cool down that perhaps sitting during the transition was not the best approach.  But it was his first time dealing with a transition and you really need a few good stories like that so you can laugh at yourself sometimes. 

This year, Chad was out for revenge.  With 3 triathlons under his belt and the transition strategy ironed out, Chad was ready to put up an even better time than last year and go for the overall win.  Unfortunately, the race was cancelled!  Registration open on June 1st, but the registration link was broken.  At first we thought that registration was not open yet and would open later than anticipated, but as the weeks passed the link remained broken.  When I finally emailed the race director on Tuesday, she informed me that the race was cancelled because no one registered. 

In retrospect, we should have emailed almost immediately when noticing the link was broken instead of waiting and thinking it would be fixed.  Last year several hundred people participated in this event, so obviously it was rather popular and would have had a similar turnout this year.  Chad ended up with a week off of racing, which was nice, but hopefully they remedy the problem next year and he can participate in the Splash & Dash, because it really is a great event. 

Despite being sad the race was cancelled, Chad rallied and we enjoyed a great weekend visit from my sister.  Chad cooked us two fantastic dinners, before taking us out to The Cowfish on Sunday.   Way too much delicious food was consumed.  The sister had a great visit and enjoyed meeting Max.  Max, of course, loved meeting his Aunt and gave out copious amounts of kisses.  All in all, a solid weekend.  The next GPx race is July 16th, so this week is quality over quantity and good rest!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Firecracker 5k


Another week, another race, but for the first time this year, a win. Special thanks to John, Aaron, and Paul for not racing despite being on site and working the water stop. This was an odd week, as I ended up in Raleigh for two days for work. I had planned on running the Summer Track Series Championship 5k on the track Tuesday night, but with a 6pm start time and my meeting ending at 4pm it was impossible to get back in time. Danielle had requested a week off of racing and that I did not wake her at 6am getting ready for a race, as she can’t fall back asleep very well.  She thought that meant I would take a week off of racing, I took that to mean that racing was allowed if it was a night race. Luckily for us, there was a night race. How perfect. So with my workouts all messed up by the trip to Raleigh and too many bike miles on my legs at the end of the week, I decided to jump in the Firecracker 5k on Sunday night and Danielle decided to volunteer at the CRC water stop.

At the start I saw Alejandro, who is a very good runner, but injuries have sidelined him from any speed work, so he was just hoping to break 18, (which he did). I’m hoping he continues to get better and can make it out to more races. I also got to meet Frank Fawcett who is a beast of triathlete, heading to Kona this fall. I tried to get him to tell me what he was looking to run but he said he doesn't run 5k's, had a bunch of long running and biking on his legs from the weekend and was just having fun. He ran sub 19.

At the 2 mile marker
30 seconds into the race I was in about 15th place as a large group sprinted down the hill at sub 5 pace. A minute into the race the course turned uphill and suddenly I was alone in first running about 5:20 pace. It was a rolling course and I couldn't really tell if one mile was worse than any of the others. It seemed like we either went up or down, but never flat. The first two miles felt very good and I got a huge pick-me-up going by the CRC water stop twice. Aaron was nice enough to throw some water on me and Danielle tried to take some pictures. She is a better runner than a photographer. I struggled a little coming home on the last mile as the volume on my legs caught up to me a bit. Perhaps the 22 mile bike ride with Danielle at noon was a bad idea. I was very happy to see my time (16:44), as I would have been very happy with anything under 17. Back-to-back races with the same finishing time. I’m feeling good and hoping to continue to shave seconds off my time in the upcoming weeks.

Max modeling the super
soft race t-shirt

Next weekend is the Splash & Dash (300 yard pool swim and a 5k run) and a visit from Danielle’s sister. Last year, I was 2nd to Billy at the Splash and Dash by one second. In retrospect, sitting down during the transition was a bad idea, but it was my first multi-sport race so everything was still new to me. I’m hoping my swim and my much improved transition skills can translate into a win.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tri the Midlands


After way too many races in a row, Chad and I were very excited for an off week from racing. That is until we say there was a small triathlon with an open water swim 90 minutes away on Saturday. We had been looking for another sprint triathlon to do, but they all seemed to fall on weekends when we had another race or a wedding. There was one other option that involved a 4 mile road race Saturday and a sprint tri on Sunday, but I wasn’t really digging that plan. Enter Tri the Midlands. 500m lake swim, 15 mile bike, 5k run. Only 90 minutes away and with a late 8am start time. This meant we’d only have to get up at 4am to get ready and head down to the race site. That somehow seemed reasonable, so we signed up. After we signed up we learned that one of Chad’s old friends from high school, who now lives in SC, was also going to be there with her husband. So our race was going to be a fun mini-reunion as well. Score.

Chad's transition all set-up
Race morning dawned pitch black, as it normally is at 4am when people are supposed to be sleeping. We grabbed coffee and our lunch box of food and headed out the door. Max barely lifted his little head up to give us a goodbye kiss. The drive down was uneventful and we arrived at the race site with 90 minutes to spare. The smaller size of the race made it very easy to get our race numbers and get body marked quickly. We ended up with transition spots next to each other in a very good spot close to the Open athletes. A nice two mile warm-up revealed that both of our legs were feeling pretty springy. That doesn’t always mean anything, but it was a nice feeling.

The race started and I waited patiently for my wave to go. I cheered Chad on as he started 8 minutes before me. Once Chad goes the time really drags for me because I’m alone and nervous.

Before long I was in the water and the air horn sounded the start of my wave. The wave was more crowded than at Latta, so there was a good deal of kicking and shoving going on in the water. That combined with the water being very murky did lead me to panic just a tiny bit. I kept waiting to get some space to swim, but that never materialized. This is what big races will be like, so it is good to start getting used to it now. I was able to have a fine swim and exited the water a little ahead of my goal time. There was a 300 yard run to the timing mat which was added to my swim time, but I count that towards my transition time, so I have a better idea of how fast/slow I really swam. Seconds count when you’re a slow swimmer! Swim Rank: 37/96

I had a decent T1 and zipped out onto the bike course, where I proceeded to get passed only once. Too bad it was by a 53 year old lady! She was flying though and I got her back on the run. The bike started and ended pretty hilly, with the middle being small rollers. I averaged 19.8 mph which is 0.5 mph slower than Latta. I was disappointed at first, but Chad was also slower, so perhaps the course was harder or the preview of Latta helped even more than I know. Regardless, I was passing people left and right, so I obviously wasn’t going too slow comparatively. I hoped off the bike and did my sad run in bike shoes back into transition. Bike Rank: 5/96

I had a slow T2 even though I swear I was moving really fast. I was about 30 seconds slower then I needed to be. But, I know I can figure out how to cut that time. Then it was off on the run. The run started uphill, which was actually helpful because I may dislike hills but triathletes really hate hills. People were already walking, so I was able to blow by people despite a not super speedy pace, and feel good. It is a really great mental pick-me-up. I saw Chad on his way back in just before the 0.75 marker. We exchanged high fives and I told him he looked good and fast, which he did. Since the course was an out and back I kept watching the back for other females, but only saw two. I was fairly confident I heard an Open female finishing as I passed the finish line on my way out, so that put me in 4th overall. There was one huge hill right before the turn around and I frankly wondered if walking would be faster. Then I passed a walker and realized walking would not be faster, just less painful.

Luckily the course went into a nice rolling up and down after the hill and I was able to run strongly to the 2 mile marker, where Chad was waiting with some much needed info. He let me know that I was rapidly gaining on the two ladies ahead of me and that I should be able to catch them. He then took off to cut through some yards and get back to the finish line. I did my best to pick up my pace to try and catch the women up ahead. They both came into view on the next uphill and I made a charge and caught them both on the way down the last hill. From there it was flat to slightly downhill to the finish so I was able to open up a tiny lead. I was very happy to cross the finish line and hear I was the 2nd female. That meant I had won my age group! Run Rank 1/95.

After the race we enjoyed bagels and sandwiches with Kristin and William and hung around to cheer everyone on at the awards. Chad ended up 2nd in his age group with a 1:11:23 and, wait for it, the fastest run split of the day. Chad has now done four multi-sport events and recorded the fastest overall run split in each one. He is good at running off the bike. Kristin was 3rd in our age group and her husband William just missed a medal with 4th place in his age group, but with a 6 minute PR from last year, he was pretty happy.

We then zipped back to Charlotte and enjoyed a lazy afternoon napping with Max. Good times :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Not So Breeze-y


With Paul at the starting line.

Saturday June 18th was the 6th race in the RFYL Grand Prix Series, the Summer Breeze 5k.  It's not particularly well named since there was no breeze to speak of.  Summer Oppressive Humidity 5k would be more appropriate. The course is pretty tough.  It starts with two hills before settling into a long downhill to the first mile marker.  The second mile is almost entirely uphill, heading up Queens Road.  After a quick turn, the third mile is mostly downhill to Freedom Park then flat around the park before the slight uphill at the finish.  While there are some nice downhill sections, the second mile makes it difficult to run a really fast time.  Well, that and the weather. 

I settled into 6th/7th in the first mile as we went over the hills to East OBlvd and downhill on East to the mile marker. Took the first mile at 5:23 with Billy on my shoulder and a solid group, including the ever present Richard Harris, tucked in behind.

In the second mile, I managed to hunt down Jim McKeon and another guy, then took down Vincent.  Billy was still right on my shoulder, with Harris running too comfortably right behind us.   During the second half of the hill Billy actually took a slight shoulder lead on me and I was pressing slightly to stay with him.   Harris continued to stay tucked in behind us.  Needless to say, I was relieved to get to the top of the hill and take the right to the 2 mile maker.  The second mile was 5:26, very good considering the hill.  Talking with others after the race, I learned that most people posted a second mile time that was 20-30 seconds slower than their first mile time, so Harris, Billy, and I did a great job of really pushing up the hill. 

Kicking to the finish line
I was concerned about Harris with the long downhill to finish.  The one GPx race he has beaten me in this year featured a long downhill finish, in which he seemed to just float away despite my dropping a fast last mile.  After the 2 mile mark Billy began to fade a bit and Harris surged.  I thought I fought well and stayed on his shoulder as long as I could. I threw a surge in myself but he was unfazed and ended up gapping me around the turn onto Princeton, heading towards Freedom Park.  I was moving, but he just had another gear.  I felt (slightly) better when I saw my 3rd mile split: 5:17.  It was all I had.  Harris must have been about 5:08 and I just couldn't match that. 

All and all I am VERY happy with my time. 10 secs off my PR on a hilly course on a warm and humid morning.  It was also my fastest 5k time of the year, soI feel like I made progress today.  It was also my highest GPx points ever (962).  I need to taper a little bit next time as my legs still seem to be missing some pop.   I've thankful for a GPx break until July 16th.   This race makes me more confident that I can take down my 5k PR on the track in 2 weeks and hopefully again at Greekfest. 


Just tacking on a bit!  One of the cool parts about Summer Breeze is the separate mens and womens starts.  The women went off at 7:30am and the men went off at 8:00am.  That allowed the ladies to finally see the men finish and it gave us ladies the full attention of the cheering fans, which was pretty fun.  Michelle took off from the gun, leaving me, Boriana, and Alyson to race for second.  We hit the mile in 5:53, which is what I was hoping for, and Michelle was more like 5:45, so it was hard to be too upset with not being in the race.  I pushed up the hill and tried to get some separation, which worked, but not as well as I would have liked.  Alyson stayed within 10 seconds of me the rest of the race, but never really made a push to catch me.  I wasn't happy with my time (19:14), but that seems to be the theme for this year.  I am happy that I took the first mile out hard for once and made a move to secure second.  It was like I was really racing.  Almost.  Minus the painfully slow time. 

Boriana & I with our awards

On a sad note, this was the last Charlotte race with Jay and Boriana before they move.  Not together, that might make their significant others mad!  Jay left right after the race to head up to his fancy new producing job in NYC and Boriana left 2 weeks later for her new job in Washington D.C.  While we will certainly see them both again, it's always sad when your training partners and friends move.  Good luck and we'll miss you guys!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tri Latta is in the books

Danielle's Recap

Saturday June 11th has been circled on the calendar for some time now. Back in January when we were asked to join the One2Tri Racing team, Michael and Nicole mentioned that Tri Latta was going to be the big team race. I looked up the race information and immediately panicked. The swim was 750m in Mountain Island Lake. Open water? No wall to push off? No handy dandy lane line to grab in case of an emergency? This sounded like a terrible idea, but with 6 months to train I thought that surely my swim could improve sufficiently so I would be comfortable in the water and not drown. The latter being the most important.

The six months flew by and there it was June 11th at 5:15am. We're standing in some make-shift parking lot at Latta Plantation and I'm wondering how the swim is going to go. I snuck in one open water practice session, which was a success, and a 750m time trial on the long course, but I was still really nervous about the swim. Despite arriving 75 minutes before the start of the race, it took me the better part of that time to get marked, get my chip, and get my transition set-up. Sarah's bike was right by mine and she was nice enough to double check my transition set-up and give me a heads up on the location of the various finish and start lines. After a super quick warm-up it was down to the swim start to watch the Open participants take off.

The race started at 6:30am with the Open wave and then every 4 minutes another wave took off. Chad was in the 3rd wave and I was in the 5th wave. It was great fun watching him fly to the front when his race started and then watching the Open swim finish up. I positioned myself to the inside and tried to be in the back, but people just kept filling in behind me. Once the gun went off I took a deep breath and started the long slog out to the triangle buoy. It was hectic with lots of people pushing and kicking and grabbing, but since I had been warned about that I just did my best to ignore it and stay calm. About 200m in the crowd thinned out a bit and I could swim without being beaten around. I got off course slightly, but not too badly. I was cruising along trying to just stay long and lean when I saw what I thought was a triangle buoy. Since the triangle marked the turn around point, this was a welcome sight! It got very crowded at the turn around, but then spread out again on the way back in. I just kept looking up and willing the shore to be closer. That didn't work, but eventually I reached land and was out of the lake. Since the swim is by far my weakest leg, I knew things could only get better from here on out.

The run to transition was long, rocky but I made it to my bike, put on my shoes and helmet and I was off to ride. Once I was on the bike I made the executive decision to really push the bike. Scott Woodbury had mentioned that the run course was re-graveled during the week, making it even slower than it already was. Since I wasn't going to be able to throw down a monster run time, I might as well try and gain time on the bike. I pushed for pretty much the entire bike and ended up averaging 20.3 mph, which is 1 mph faster than I've every averaged on a ride. My computer had it at 20.5 when I hoped off before the transition, but the run to the mat added a bit of time. Still so much faster than I've biked before, so that was awesome. The long bike taper seemed to have done wonders for my legs.

I took off on the run and passed Chad on his way to the finish about 1/3 mile into the run. We exchanged a high five. He looked like he was flying, which he was. Chad ended up with a 17:55 and the fastest run split of the day. I have no idea how he ran so fast out on the trails. About 3/4 of a mile in someone goes flying by me. Now, I expected to have one or two guys pass me. After all, the masters started after me and some of those guys are fast as all heck. But to my total surprise it was another girl. I was miffed and picked up the pace to try and catch this mystery lady. It didn't work. She was going faster than my legs were able to go. I noticed a 29 on her calf and comforted myself with the thought that she wasn't in my age group, but I was still pissed that I couldn't seem to go any faster. She was the only person who passed me. I passed a ton of people, which was both fun and annoying on the narrow path. Two 180 degree turns and two nasty hills took their toll on my time, 21:05. I later learned that my passer was Dalena Custer. While I have never met her, she is a super speedy runner who trains with Aaron. She ended up with the fastest run time of the day at 20:17. I felt less bad when I realized she was also a runner. No runner wants to be outrun by a triathlete.

I ended up 5th in my age group (32nd overall), missing 4th by 16 seconds. The woman who was 4th beat me on the swim and bike, so I never saw her. Apparently I just spent the whole run gaining on her. If only I had run a bit faster! Sarah finished 3rd in our age group, nearly 2 minutes ahead of me. I was super excited for her and then I learned her husband also got 3rd in his age group- talk about cleaning up! Chad decided to post his fastest bike mph average ever (20.8) and follow that up with the fastest overall run time for 7th in his age group. I was really proud of him. He had a solid swim, which wasn't surprising, but had a big breakthrough on the bike. Sure, we both have a good ways to go on the bike, but we're finally starting to make some big jumps. Another solid year of bike training and we'll be mixing it up for podium spots. My ranks were 122 on the swim, 38 on the bike, and 4 on the run. No one ahead of me swam slower and you have to go all the way down to 60th place to find a woman who swam slower than I did. If I can get my swim down to a respectable time- watch out!

Everyone to the right of me snagged a
podium spot.  We have fast friends.

It was also a fabulous day for my One2Tri teammates. Nicole was 2nd overall female, Kim demolished our age group, winning by 5 minutes and beating me by 8 minutes! Her bike split was just incredible. Greg won 20-24. Michael and Joey went 1-2 in 30-34, and Jim snuck in a 3rd in 35-39 despite having his P4 blow up in the middle of the bike. It's pretty impressive and a bit intimidating having such fast teammates, but I know that training with them will just help me to get faster.

After the whole triathlon business was over, Chad and I zipped home to set-up for a fun cook-out with friends. We ended up spending the afternoon sitting by the pool, eating way too much (semi-healthy) food, and enjoying a mimosa or two. It was the perfect way to celebrate my surviving the swim. Oh and Chris, Joey, and Sarah's hardware :)

Chad’s Recap: One of These Things is Not Like the Others...

Our Tri-latta ranks: 172, 43, 1 (Chad) and 122, 38, 4 (Dee). I guess you could look at it as one rank for each of us is really good, or that one rank for each of is really bad. Given the running background we are focusing on where we need to improve. I thought I had a great bike for me, 20.8 mph, and I really like the new position the clip on aero bars and fast forward seat post create. Big thanks to Chris for helping me with that. But despite a big improvement on the bike from my first tri, I still got smoked by 171 people on the bike. That is absolutely ridiculous and completely unacceptable. It is time to learn to love the bike and commit the time to getting better on it.

I knew I would get my butt kicked and Latta did not disappoint. I knew the course was not set up well for me with a 17 mile bike and a gravel trail run. My running is in a really good place right now so a 41st place finish is a good thing to keep my perspective and motivation right. I think I have potential in triathlon, but I won't know without really working at it, and even then it will take time.

Until I get respectable on the bike I am just gonna keep getting beat up. Maybe it is my bias but it seems like many tris are too much set up for bikers, I thought that the sprint distance tri was 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run. The extra 4.6 miles of the 17 mile Latta bike didn't help me. Oh well, I was really looking forward to Lake Wylie/Camp Thunderbird tri (750m swim, 10 mile bike, 5k hard road run) as a chance to measure myself on a runner friendly course, until it was cancelled. So now I am trying to find a replacement tri that fits my schedule. Looks like Danielle and I are jumping in the Tri the Midlands sprint tri in Northeast Columbia ,SC next weekend. I was looking forward to a weekend off of racing as that will make seven consecutive weekends of racing with Summer Breeze this weekend and the tri next weekend. Oh well, doing too much is my MO. Right now just focusing on the Summer Breeze.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting


Saturday, June 4th, was the King Tiger 5k; the 5th race in the Grand Prix series.  The course features two relatively easy miles, followed by one hellacious mile.  Couple that with the fact that the course is completely devoid of trees or shade of any kind and the race can be rather slow.  However, Rita's is one of the sponsors, so the promise of free Rita's froze custard after the race more than makes up for the tough course and normally hot conditions.  I had the pina colada.  It was delicious. 

Word leaked during the middle of the week that John Compton was not racing.  This didn't mean much for me, but it did open things up on the mens side.  Baring a random fast guy showing up (quite possible), we knew this race was Paul's for the taking.  This left Jay, Chad, Billy, Vincent, Richard, Stephen, and Jim battling it out for the rest of the podium spots.  Stephen ran a phenomenal time on this course last year, so Chad and I figured he would be mixing it up at the front again this year.  On the women's side, I knew Michelle was racing, but that was it. 

Once again, Chad had a great race.  Paul and Jay took off from the start, with Vincent following behind.  Chad settled into a pack with Billy, Stephen, Jim, and Mike.  Richard was trailing close behind, which is dangerous in light of his incredible third mile speed.  By mile two the pack starting breaking up.  Chad, Billy, and Stephen caught Vincent at about 2.5, and Chad was able to find another gear and pull away from everyone up the final hill, to take 3rd overall in 16:55.  Billy was close behind in 16:57, and Stephen ran a 17:01.  Chad is always pleased when he is able to run under 17 minutes, but to run under 17 on a harder course is even better.  He is running very consistently right now, which I think is a good sign.  Another month of 5k specific training and he'll be ready to rip off a new PR!

My race did not go so well.  I've been up and down all year.  Generally with a down following an up.  So I guess I shouldn't be shocked that after a decent Great Harvest performance I stunk at King Tiger.  Michelle ran a solid race to get the win.  Some college girl showed up and finished second (and I can call her a girl because she's still 19 and therefore a child in my world), and I got outkicked by Allyson.  I had been trailing Allyson the whole race and passed her with about a half mile to go.  I didn't realize she was catching up and she just blew by me.  She ran a monster PR and was understandably very excited.  I'm happy she had a great race, but frustrated because I should be 30+ seconds ahead of her without an issue.  I just don't seem to be improving, even though I'm feeling better in workouts and going faster.  My times have been all over the place this year.  I think for Summer Breeze I'm just going to hammer the first mile and see what happens.  I need to stop running so terribly slow, so perhaps forcing my body to run a fast first mile will help.  Maybe not, but at least I'll be able to say I ran one of the miles fast :)

Sunday we headed to Latta Plantation for an open water swim and bike with some friends.  It was my first time in open water, so that was a bit scary at first.  I definitely was breathing hard and panicking a bit, but I felt much more comfortable when we were done.  Next, we were supposed to bike the Latta course twice to get in 30 miles, but I got a flat about 3 miles into the ride.  Sarah was awesome and changed the flat, but her CO2 head was broken, so we had to wait for Chris and Adam to finish their loop (since they were ahead of us when I got the flat) to help us out.  Note to self: Chad and I need flat tire kits.  It's embarrassing to sit roadside with no way to help yourself.  Once the tire was inflated, Sarah took off with Chris and Adam to do some intervals, while Chad and I hung back and checked out the course.  We only had time for one loop at that point, but it was still a very productive morning in that we got to see the bike course and I got to swim a bit.  Chad now has clip on aero bars, which I'm sure he will gush about in another post, but suffice it to say that I hate them.  He now rides faster with no additional effort, so I'm behind him hammering in a vain attempt to keep up.  I need to get myself some aero bars.  I had secretly hoped to average the same miles per hour on the bike at Latta, but with these new fancy aero bars I fear my goal is impossible.  I'll still give it a go though, so hopefully after the race I can razz him about that over mimosas.

We went to Zada Jane's with Chris & Sarah after the swim, bike, run, swim for brunch.  We had never been and now I'm sorry we waited so long to try it!  Both of us had a fabulous meal.  We will definitely be back to Zada Jane's again soon.  I think Chad is hooked on their soy chai latte's and apple butter.  He is threatening to bring his own toast as an appetizer.  I'm not sure how well that will go over, but it would be fun to try. 

Up next is the Latta Triathlon.  It's a huge race with 800 competitors.  Although Chad and I will get smoked, it should be a great time.  Plus we're having some friends over after the race for food and beverages by the pool.  You can't beat that. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Week in Review 5/23 - 5/29

Run: 56 miles
Bike: 126 miles
Swim: 10,100 meters

I snuck in a race on Saturday, the Run for Peace at Home. Probably a bad idea, but a great cause and I was trying to steal my first win on 2011. About 15 minutes before the start I saw Paul. If Paul is a bridesmaid to John Compton, I guess that makes me Paul’s flower girl. I took second to Paul in a pedestrian 17:29. Despite the time I enjoyed some Great Harvest Bread, tons of fruit from Dilworth Grill (wish this was at more races) and won $70 of gift certificates from Omega Sports, productive morning.

This week was a monster training week, but I think I have been overdoing it. I've raced the past three weekends and I'll be racing the next three as well, so I think a down week with a taper for King Tiger is in order. 

In other news while I am still primarily a runner, Danielle and I have also been biking and swimming a lot to get ready for triathlons. We both know that we won’t really be competitive in triathlons this year (because of my biking, her swimming) but we are working hard. I have been getting my bike mileage up and this week we took our first swim lesson with Nicole. I am really enjoying the different training even if I am really maybe a year away from threatening for an age group award in decent sized triathlon.

After looking at how fast the Latta results have been (and the disproportionately long bike) I am going to stop worrying about Latta and start focusing on the Grand Prix series and the Camp Thunderbird Lake Wylie tri.  That tri has a nice 10 mile bike and a hard 5k run; so I should definitely be more competitive in that race than I will be at Latta.  If nothing else, I'm looking forward to sneaking in another sprint tri this season. 

Looking forward to a down week with a taper before King Tiger.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Winning some bread


Saturday was the fourth Grand Prix race and gave us the opportunity to win some bread.  Literally.  Great Harvest Bread Co. is the title sponsor and gratiously gives out bread and cookies to the Top 5 Men & Women.  Obviously, both Chad and I were hoping to be lucky enough to snag some delicious bread and cookies.  While warming-up, we ran into Meagan Nedlo who confirmed that the lure of Great Harvest Bread was too much for her and she would be toeing the line.  Although Meagan is awesome and I enjoy seeing her on training runs, seeing her on the starting line isn't enjoyable, because it simply pushes everyone back a spot.  Nonetheless, the top 5 would be getting bread, so I was still well in the mix!

Fast men can't pose.  I think Chad is the
only one looking at the camera.
From the gun Chad realized he was in the mix for a top 5 spot.  John and Paul had shot to the front immediately, with Vincent and Jim trailing, leaving Chad with Billy, Michael, Richard, and Mike.  By halfway through, it was a nice pack of Chad, Billy, and Richard (sound familiar?) chasing Jim and Vincent, who were slowly coming back.  They tracked down Jim at the 2 mile marker and Richard put in a big surge to try and drop the pack.  Chad was still feeling pretty good, so he matched Richard's surge and put one of his own in coming up the last big hill, and finally passed Vincent with about 600m to go.  Crossing the line in 17:05, Chad grabbed third place overall, for his first Grand Prix podium spot!  Very exciting. 

Although the times weren't blazing fast, this course is hilly and has lots of turns, so it's not exactly fast times material.  Chad ran a really smart race, racing the people instead of the clock. Fifteen seconds separated third from eighth. It would be great to see that group finishing! 

Chad finishing with Richard,
Vincent, and Billy in hot pursuit.
I had the pleasure of working with Michelle  pretty much the entire race.  We started next to each other and ran together until the last big uphill.  The same spot where Chad put in a surge and finally gapped Richard, Billy, and Jim is where Michelle put in a surge and gapped me.  I just couldn't match it, even though there was a long downhill to try and gain ground on.  I finished 4th overall in 19:09.  I felt so much better than I did at Twilight and ran a bit faster on a harder course.  It's hard to be too disappointed with that. 

This was the first race where Chad placed better than I did, which I have to admit was a bit odd.  But I'm really proud of how well he ran.  He continues to get faster and I'm excited to see what he can do at the end of the summer when we finally get onto some fast courses. 

After collecting our loot, we zipped home to take care of Max, grab some groceries, and get ready for the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Copper Classic 1000 yard dash.   Joey had run this "race" last year and told tales of free beer for the winner, so Chad and Thomas decided to throw their hats into the ring and try to win some free beer.  We decided to bring Max, so only Chad was going to race.  I put a lot of pressure on him to win us some free beer.  Sure, he had already won bread and cookies, but beer is also awesome and I wanted to have it all.  The race was a great time, Thomas took the overall, with Chad and Joey trailing not too far behind.  All was not lost though, because the top 3 got free beer.  Hooray beer!  Michelle took the women's title and Emily Barrett took third.  Chad, Michelle, and Emily had all raced Great Harvest Bread earlier in the day, making for a rather impressive double.  Billy Shue was kind enough to provide photography services, but I decided to drop the camera on the sidewalk and it appears to be broken.  Looks like a trip to Best Buy is in order.

Chad with his 2nd place prize-
a growler of beer!

On Sunday we woke up bright and early to do a "long run" with Thomas, Michelle, Matt, and AJ.  Ardyn joined us in the babyjogger.  It was great fun watching Chad push the babyjogger the last 2+ miles.   It certainly didn't look easy, which is why I didn't volunteer to help.  Later Chad's Father, Ed, and Diane stopped in for a short visit.  They were on the way home from Myrtle Beach and joined us for lunch at Big Daddy's.  It was amazing.  Oh and the visit was nice too :)  It's always great to spend time with family and Ed & Diane enjoyed meeting Max. 

We now have a week off of Grand Prix races and a long weekend coming up.  I'll be taking a week off of racing.  Chad is, as always, a game time decision.  So many races, so few open weekends!