Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tri for a Cure Race Report

A few months ago a friend was looking for a person to do the bike portion of a tri relay that she was signed up for.  The biker they had couldn't participate this year and so she needed a fill in.  The race was the Tri for a Cure, which is a hugely popular race here in Maine.  It fills within minutes and many use a lottery system to get a spot.  Oh, and it's all women!  Fun!  Not to mention it raises money for cancer research and treatment for people right here in Maine.  A good cause indeed.

I had toyed with the idea of doing this race for a few years, but had never tried to get in.  So when I saw Kristal looking for a biker, I offered right away!  I think I got the best part of the tri for sure!

Like any other fundraising race, this one had a $350 fundraising minimum for all participants.  I got a late start since I was a fill-in, but did manage to meet and exceed the fundraising requirement.  Thank you, thank you to all that donated.  I really appreciate your generosity.

The weekend of this race was a particularly crazy one for my family--I had one kid at lacrosse camp and another at field hockey camp and neither were near each other.  I was driving all over the state to get everyone everywhere.

Saturday was packet pick up and bike racking day.  I was fine with that because even though it was 90 minutes away from my house, it was close to where one of my kids needed to be that morning.  I went right at 10:00 when it opened thinking I would be in and out.

um, nope.  you don't even see the half of the line going to the left.....

I guess everyone had the same idea.  After about an hour's wait, I got my shirt and stickers for my bike.  Then I had to walk to a different location to rack my bike.  ugh.

 bike is ready to go

The next morning was a pretty darn early start for me.  Again, I live about 90 minutes from where the race was being held and it was starting early due to the tides, so I was up and out at 4:30.  That's AM folks.  4:30 a.m.  I never see this time of day unless it's to pee.

Through the magic of cell phones and texting our team was able to find each other in record time.  Thank god.  One stress over with.  I finally got to meet Candace, the lovely and brave girl doing the swim portion. I was so, so thankful that it was not me swimming.  Swimming in the ocean is my least favorite part of the tri and that morning it was cool, foggy and the water was COLD.  I hate being cold.  Especially cold and wet.

cool, damp morning

There was a fair amount of standing around and waiting as per usual at tris.  Once we got kicked out of transition, we went down to the water to wait for the opening ceremonies.  They do a little bit more than just the National Anthem (which was sung very well--good job Emily Kane) at this tri.  They take some time to honor the cancer survivors that are participating in the tri, which is kinda cool and very emotional for some, and to also remember those that have been lost to cancer.

The survivors are the ones who get to start the race.  The first wave is survivors, second wave survivors that are part of a relay team, then they go by age groups with relay then novices at the end.  It was very emotional to see all those survivors run into the water to start their swim.

swim start--so foggy

Candace was in the second to last group to go because we were a relay team.  Poor girl.  She went for her "warm-up" swim and came back frozen.  The water was 53* that day and even with a full wet suit, she said the water was "ice cream headache inducing cold".  I was, again, so thankful I wasn't swimming.

before her "warm up swim", she's still a normal body temperature here

I left shortly after the survivors got in the water.  I was not doing the running from swim to transition because I use bike shoes so I needed to wait by my bike to swap off the timing chip.  Kristal sent me a text when Candace got in the water and I knew it was going to be about 9-10 minutes from then so I got myself ready to go.

It wasn't too long and I saw Kristal racing up from the swim area, we were one of the first relay teams to head out on the bike!  A quick switch of the timing chip and I was off.  I had some issues getting one of my bike shoes to clip in, but once I did, I took off!

I had told the girls that I thought I could average 18 mph and I wasn't going to let my fast swimmer and fast runner down.  I biked my ass off.  I didn't need to save any energy for the run, so why not hammer the bike?  This tri is a group of all abilities and sizes.  I passed so many people to start, many were on just regular bikes.  I played cat and mouse with a few women who appeared to be serious tri-folks.  You know, tri bikes with aero bars.  I'd pass them on the hills, they would pass me on the flats.  Eventually, that group of 3 women just were too far ahead and I couldn't catch them.  There was one woman riding a fat tire mountain bike that I seriously, biked my ass off to catch up to her.  I eventually passed her and told her she was killing it on the mountain bike--I can't imagine her speed with a road bike and some skinny tires!  I biked as hard as I could and I really don't think I could have biked that route faster than I did.

Soon enough, I could tell I was just about done.  People were lining the road and cheering.  Kristal was waiting for me right at the bike rack and before I knew it, she had the timing chip and was taking off!  I looked around and I was one of the few bikers that was back in the relay group.  Jenn snapped this pic of me while she was waiting for her runner.

hot and tired. and poor posture

I got a drink, changed into sneakers and then made my way down to the finish line.  There was a place where relay racers could meet up and run through the chute with the runner and I totally wanted to do that.  I found Candace and we went down to the chute to wait.

Kristal was looking for a PR on this 5K course so I knew she should be coming right along.  We waited about 10 minutes and there she was!  Candace and I ran in with her and we all held hands.

For about 3 seconds.  Kristal was running about 7:00 miles and she was not slowing down or stopping for anyone.  Including us.

We kept up with her for about 20 yards then another woman was in our way and I had to let go of her hand.  This is the finishers photo:

fucking priceless.  

Kristal winning it all on the left and Candace and I barely keeping up on the right.  Random woman next to me.  I have seriously, never laughed so hard as I did when I saw this picture.  Notice the other relay team coming in behind us all holding hands and running together.  I'm guessing they weren't going for a PR......

I'm still laughing.

We got medals and water bottles and then promptly went to the scoreboard to see where we finished.  Sixth!!   We finished 6th out of 200+ relay teams.  Not good enough for a prize, but close!

Dream Team Redux--that's us!  NUMBER 6!!

We did end up getting a proper finish photo, thanks to Candace's significant other.

Thanks for letting us be in this one, Kristal!  haha j/k  

What a fun morning!  Thank you so much to my teammates for letting me in on this team!  I had a really great time.  The race is very inspiring and has such a good feeling about it.  Women of all sizes and abilities coming together for a common cause.  Everyone so supportive of each other--it was a good day.  I hope they'll let me join them again next year.

Oh, one last photo to share.  When the official photos came out I could not stop laughing at the finisher's photo of our team.  But there was more.  Maybe we could have finished 4th if Kristal was concentrating on running fast rather than hamming it up for the cameras.....

I'm sorry, but is that not the freakin' funniest thing?

I'm still laughing.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bradbury Mountain Scuffle 6 Mile Race Review

The Bradbury Mountain Scuffle is a 6 miler, the first in a series of trail races at Bradbury Mountain in Pownal, ME.  This is near Freeport--a.k.a. LL Bean headquarters, for those of you not from Maine.  So if you want to come up for the next one, you could get your shopping on at all the outlets after you finish racing!  The Bradbury Breaker is 9 miles and the Bruiser is 12.  If you do all three races, you are officially known as a Bad Ass and get a special hoodie to tell the world all about your bad assy-ness.

Anyway, I was very excited to do this series with my friend Danielle (even though she is SO much faster than me).  I had never done a trail race before and this one isn't too far from where I live.  The price is fantastic--just $20 a race AND you get a t-shirt!  I wasn't expecting a shirt for that price, but was glad to have one.

The weather was nearly perfect, a bit more humid than I care for, but it wasn't raining and it wasn't snowing.  I arrived early, per usual, since I'm always worried about getting lost, not finding parking, or missing the start, and headed to get my bib and shirt.

the plane is in honor of some guy who passed away

Danielle showed up and we managed to get a selfie out of the way before the race started.  I wasn't carrying anything this race so I needed to leave my phone in the car.

she always looks way cuter than me in selfies.  she's a selfie pro.

Anyhoo, more friends arrived and more selfies needed to be taken. Really, that's the whole point of a race, isn't it?

Oscar style selfie

And of course, regular type pics too.

And then it was time to start.  We all gathered at the start for a bit of pre-race instructions, race dedication, thank-yous and all that.  Then it was time to go!  And off we went.
waiting to start!

The start was a bit congested at first, but honestly, it wasn't that bad.  People were really nice about letting you get around them and I certainly let many pass me.  The first mile wasn't so bad.  I kept up for about .75 of it with Danielle and then had to let her go ahead.
I am truly the ONLY one who smiled and waved at the camera.  #noshame

Mile 1:  9:35
Mile 2:  11:33
Mile 3:  12:58

The middle miles were slow and slogging.  I really felt like I was moving fast, but I guess I wasn't.  Each time my watch would beep I'd look down and be shocked at the time.  The first water stop was around Mile 2.5 and I was so thankful to grab a cup of water.  It was humid and I wished I had brought my hydration belt.  Next time for sure!!  As I stepped off the trail to drink my water, a stupid bug flew into my eye!  Ugh.  As if all the sweat dripping into my eyes wasn't enough, now there was bug there.  Thankfully, the volunteer at the table dumped water in my eye for me and the bug swam off.  Not to mention the cold water felt great!  Thank you, kind volunteer!!

12:58 was a little depressing, but some of that time was the water station and bug removal so maybe I wasn't quite as slow as my time shows, but that section from Mile 2 through Mile 4 was pretty hard.  It was technical and in places, steep.  I ended up walking at least 3 of the steeper hills just to try to lower my heart rate a little.  Believe it or not, walking was not really all that slower than my "running".

the two water stops were just above where the E is in Misery.  Pretty smart planning for them as they had them back to back and the volunteers could run between the two tables.  

There was another water stop at about Mile 4.5 ish which I didn't stop at and looking at the time for that mile, I guess I'm glad I didn't since it would have been even slower.
Mile 4:  12:28

Mile 5 was a fabulously flat stretch of what was almost a road.  I was thinking I was about done and maybe it was going to be just like this for the rest of the way.  I was able to speed up and pass about 5 people!  I felt spectacular!  I felt like I looked like Meb with my strides being a bit longer now that there weren't any roots to watch out for and my turnover increased.  I was on FIRE!  Go ME!  Pass everyone!  Win the race!

courtesy of Leslie Witham--picture taker extraordinaire

Then it was there.

Another fucking hill.  And more roots.

Balloon deflated.  Parade rained on.  Cheerios pissed on.

4 of 5 people I just passed, passed me again.  I had used up all my gas on what I thought was the final stretch.  I could have gone another mile like that with flat and smooth, but roots and hills?  Nope.

Mile 5:  9:56

Still pretty respectable time for that mile.

You could tell the finish was near, there were people milling around and cheering.  Runners that were already finished were walking back up to cheer on those who were finishing.  Behind me I could hear the final person who I passed that didn't pass me back.  He was right behind me and I just knew he was going to go by me.

You know what though?  He didn't.  He came up next to me and said, "Let's finish this strong.  Pick it up, you are almost done".  I didn't think I could, but I didn't want to let him down.  That sounds so stupid, I didn't even know this guy, but I really just didn't want to let him down by not trying.  So I did.  I went a little faster.  And then I could see the finish up ahead and I began to sprint.  (I use that term very loosely.  I felt like it was sprinting.....)  He kept with me and never passed me but instead continued to push me on--"Great job, nice finish!".

Thank you, nice man.  

Courtesy of Tamerella photographs--in the process of dying.  Nice, cheering guy behind me.  Thank you guy!

Mile 6:  9:05  Which seems really fast, but my Garmin showed the course to be short--5.72.  So, 9:05 isn't really all that fast.  But whatever, it probably lost satellites in all those trees and the climbing part is worth a least a mile, so really it was a 7 miler.  Right?

The snacks at the finish were watermelon and water which was perfectly fine with me.  I grabbed some of both.  Both were just about gone though when I was there and I was pretty much in the middle.   I hope they had more refreshments coming for those that finished after I did.  I don't expect much with a $20 fee but I do hope there was something at the finish for the back-of-the-packers.

I wasn't able to hang around after for the awards and drawings (if they had any), and I didn't see any official results until coolrunning posted later in the day.

Official time 1:06:01

They didn't divide it up into age groups and men vs. women but I did my own figuring of the 40-49 women and I was 10/27.

I cannot wait to conquer the next two races.  9 and 12 miles are going to be brutal, but at least I have some idea of what to expect now.  There are still some spots available for both races, so if you care to join Danielle and I for the next ones, you'd better hurry up and register.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Better Late than Never--June Review

Hey look!  It's already July 9 so it's probably about time that I post up a review of June, yes?  The kids are all out of school now so that has been both relaxing and busy.  We had a couple of weeks where there wasn't much going on and that was super nice (and weird) to not have to be driving all over the state of Maine for this and that.  But then basketball camp for the boy happened and summer high school basketball for the eldest and BAM!  there we are, back to driving #allthemiles.  It is a bit easier to do when you don't have to worry about getting them up in the morning for school.  Big Sissy is also playing on a club field hockey team that has a tournament in Cape Cod early August.  Practices were looking to be far away for that but they keep switching them around (which is a little annoying) and now they are going to be only an hour away and not two hours.  (so that's less annoying...)

The next two weekends will prove to be challenging as far as getting everyone everywhere since they are the only two weekends that I have races planned in July and of course, the race day falls on the ending of lacrosse camp for the boy and field hockey camp for the girl.  All three things are in three different towns.  Of course.

Anyway, on with the review.

Run--53.07 miles.  Not too shabby for me!  This included a 10 mile road race which is what bumped me over the 50 mile mark.

Spin/bike--230 minutes This number is probably split up half and half with spin bike and road bike.  The spin bike is a perfect replacement for running in the noon time scorching heat.  I did that once last year and just about killed myself for the afternoon.  It's hard to check eyes when you are recovering from heat stroke.

Tennis--5 hours

Swim--a pathetic 2000 yds last month.  Swimming seems less of a priority since I don't have a tri on schedule this summer and if I don't make a plan to get to the pool every Friday after work (or if something interferes with that), I just never seem to make it up.  It's much easier just to throw on sneakers and head out for a run.

Weights--25 minutes  Lame.

Races--only one.  Just the New England Running Company 10 Mile Classic.  I won an entry into the race via Facebook so it was worth it for that reason.  Review of that race HERE.

Things I'm Loving
~loving summer and all that goes with it!  Long, sunny days and cool, starry nights.  Runs at 8 p.m. and make it home just before dark.  Bike rides in the early morning sun and home before the kids are even fully awake.
~a new running and biking buddy (selfies to be forthcoming)
~sunburns that turn into tans
~that I have my first trail race this Sunday! #nervous #excited #nervous
~kids that sleep in and then spend all day at the beach with my adopted daughter/sitter/nanny
~all of this:

 sunset perfection

squid fisher extraordinaire

Things I'm Not Loving
~no-shows that cause me to sit around all day doing nothing, but yet staff complaining because I need to move a Friday and there's nowhere to put those patients.  Not their fault, but still annoying.  I had enough time from no-shows today to see ALL of Friday's patients.  And to write this blog.....
~this getting-older-thing that causes my core to collapse no matter how many sit-ups I do.  When I tighten my abs, they are hard and flat, otherwise, they pooch out like I'm 5 months along.  I'll assume it's to do with age, although if you all have any thoughts on ways to spanx my stomach without actual spanx, that would be great.
taken today, see the stomach pooching out?  I'm not tightening my abs here and this is what happens.

Is it because of the 3 babies I carried?  I stretched that shit out to the max?  Kinda like needing a bladder sling but only for my abs.

I am serious here though.  There is some fat overlying but mostly I feel like it's the ab wall that is distended.  Anyway, I hate it.  It makes me look fatter and frumpier than I am.

Nothing new.  Everything on iTunes seems to be overplayed already or it just plain sucks.  I'm in a music funk.  Top 40 is overplayed and annoying and I don't like anything.  I swear, if I hear that damn Fancy song one more time, I might just implode from the stupidness of it.

This Side of Brightness Colum McCann  I'm not too far into this book but I'm liking it so far.  I really enjoyed one of his other books, Let the Great World Spin, which I read a year or so ago so I know I like his writing style.

There's still some time to get in on the things I'm giving away as I try to raise money for the Tri for a Cure race on July 20.  Click HERE to read the blog and donate or visit my facebook page to bid on items that I am auctioning off.  Any little bit helps.  Or if you would like to just donate, here's the link to my page.

That's it for June!  I have the Bradbury Mountain 6 Mile Trail race this weekend and next weekend I'm doing the bike leg in the Tri for a Cure relay.  Thanks for reading!