Monday, July 22, 2013

sorry to be a downer, but, summer is already 1/2 over.

and, what a summer it has been.  I cannot believe how quickly it is zooming by, and part of that is probably because I have been working a full time job, as well as trying to enjoy the dog days of summer.  Other than working, our trip to alaska, and eating ice cream sandwiches, i have been busy training and racing.  Of course, I have a big race coming up in exactly one month August, which is Challenge Penticton. 

I am really excited for this race, because it is my first full-length/iron-length/"ironman" race.  It is held on the same course as it has been for the past 30 years, but put on by a different company.  I like getting new flavour in the triathlon world, and I think Challenge is going to be able to deliver great things.  Meanwhile, I have had a few other races on the docket, and this past weekend was one that I felt excited about.

The first time I ever was exposed to Long distance triathlon was way back in 2008, when I did a relay race at a 70.3, with my old rowing teammates.  At that point, I watched my good friend Donna do the whole race, and I thought "damn, if she can do this... I can do this..."  Shortly thereafter, I signed up for New Orleans 70.3 Inaugural race.  I was hooked.  That relay was Lake Stevens.   (i wish I knew how fast I swam, but apparently, they don't post relay times...)

The other thing that I want to make note of, prior to this race, is that I have been gunning for a Ironman 70.3 World championship Qualifying slot for many years.  I have never been an automatic qualifier (maybe one day...), but, I have been within 1-2 spots of receiving a roll down slot for at least 3 races. and, it has ticked me off.  I entered Lake Steven's this year, knowing that the new age group I am in is Super fast and inspirational, but with a slim hope that I could qualify.  This season, I have been racing fast.  I know St George kinda sucked big time, but, Subaru Victoria was my first AG victory, and my running/cycling is noticably stronger.

I went to sleep, not feeling nervous, but rather... excited.  I knew it was going to be a good day.  I had a crappy sleep, and woke up feeling quite tired. but ready.

30:20 split, 1:34/100m, 3 AG, 115 OA, 28 Female.

swim at Lake stevens is great.  A simple out and back, with a floating dock & almost to warm for a wet suit temperatures.  The other bonus is that there is a sweet yellow string that attaches the buoys, about 4 feet down in the water.  And you can follow it the whole way along.

Its as close as you can get to swimming in a pool, without swimming in a pool.

I felt steady, and arms felt strong.  The only disadvantage to that line in the water, is that *everyone* swims on top of it.  SO, passing swimmers from the waves in front of me was annoying.  I got one kick in the face, which removed one of the eyes of my goggles, but other than that, I stuck a bit to the right, and it was smooth sailing.  The water is clear, so i could see the feet of people i needed to pass, and could make a clean sweep.  NExt race: I'm breaking 30mins, i promise.

nothing big to report.  Just that I felt like I did it well.

2:45:44 split, 3:18:05 race time, 20.27 mi/h (32.6km/hr) 4 AG, 162 OA, 23 Female

we had driven the course the day before, and I was so glad that I did.  Because I knew that it was going to be a ride that would favour patience from early on.  There was a good amount of climbing (2160 Ft/660m), and many descents.  it was a technical ride, and there were a lot of crappy riders out there (aka, folks who would just grind the legs on the climbs).  There was also a dead deer at the most "major" turn, which goes from a decent downhill, to a *steep* uphill.  i hope a cyclist didn't hit it. Finally, the course is mostly in tree shade, and a whole lot of fun.

with my sweet new reynolds wheels that hubby got me for my birthday, I went out and rode as fast as I could.  I was gunning for a 2:40, but the climbing didn't allow for that.  I have surprised myself by equally splitting the ride, within a minute from 1st to 2nd halves.  I really enjoyed riding "with the boys."  I was a little discouraged that in the first 1/2 of the ride, I had 3 girls (apparently, the only 3 in my AG faster than me) pass me early.

and, apparently, I didn't hit my nutrition goals, either... which came to hit me in the run.

1:52:09 Split, 5:11:34 race time, 8:33/mi (5:18/km) 7 AG, 255 OA, 51 Female
well.  let's just say that I think this was the part the I screwed up on.  and, like I said, it came from early on in the ride, where I clearly did not take enough fluid/nutrition in... I started off feeling strong, hitting pretty consistant 5:05 km's (give or take about 10 secs) and then whamo... km 11... couldn't go more than 5:30s.  

My quads were crampy, i was feeling like I couldn't take much in & feeling shaky/cold.  That wasn't fatigue, that was lack of nutrition.   So, i started just taking in whatever i could stomach at aid stations.  It wasn't until the last 3 km where I was able to squeek it out again.  But, i knew that if i managed under 2hrs, i would still be PR'ing.  I wanted to break 5:10, but, it wasn't in the books.

I finished off the race with a 5:11:34, 7th W 30-34, and 255 OA.

My prior PR was 5:19:57, in Syracuse 2011.  SO, that is a 8.5 min PR.  I am really happy about the whole thing, and couldn't ask for a better weekend with Leading edge teammates, and the ultimate race supporter, Sean.

and, guess what?

I got a roll down slot for Las Vegas 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championships. It may be 2 weeks after challenge, but, how could I not take the chance.  I am so. fricken. excited.

I also need a race-support crew.  Anyone want to go to Vegas with me?  Here are the details. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013


It was holiday time in early July!  And, for the... THIRD... time in my life, i went up to Alaska to enjoy the wilderness, spend time with my good friends Sam and Gretchen, spend 24hrs a day in the light, and get eaten alive by bugs.  Oh how much I love alaska, and oh how much it reminds me that i probably wouldn't mind doing some nursing up in the Northern Latitudes.  Sean and I had a few "discussions" prior to our trip, about what we planned on doing, as we tend to have opposite views as to what a holiday should look like.  I would love to just take off and spend a week in the backcountry.  Sean likes cultural activities. We tried to meet half way, and I think we did.

Lets go through some of the highlights:

My 30th birthday! 
 That's right, I'm now approaching the crest of the hill.  4th decade of life,   We spent a few days in McCarthy, which is a wee small down at the end of a gravel road, surrounded by a national park.  I slept on the ground on my birthday, and I loved it.  Gretchen also brought a cute cake.

And, that being said: being 30 is a big year.  Since I am always thinking about Malawi, and I also want to support work there, I want to ask you/challenge you to contribute 30$ for my 30th Birthday.  The link is here.  They take a little bit of cash, so 33$ would get me 30$ directly to send to Malawi.  Take the time to click and donate.  I apologize for not being able to give you a tax receipt.

We spent time on the coast!
Sean and I got to AK, and drove to Seward for a Day Kayaking trip. It rained.  Hard.  So, they gave us 1/2 day kayak, and 1/2 day boat siteseeing trip.  We went kayaking with "Sunny Cove."  Kinda ironic. But, at least it was fun, and beautiful.  Even though it was raining, Sea Kayaking was way better than the place we stayed the night before.  And, it was better than where we stayed the next night.  I want to do more sea kayaking.  And, good thing i live on the west coast.  'Cause it is kinda easy to do here.


We took the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks.  
It was great to have a day where the routine was: look out the window at beautiful scenery.  Read a book/magazine article.  Nap in big chair.  Eat snack.  Repeat.

We travelled to Wrangall-St Elias National Park
This is where I spent my birthday.  Unfortunately, we were once again, foiled by rain, and turned around early.  The scenery, walking on the glacier, learning history surrounding kenecott copper mine, and conversations around the fire, were all worth the long road trip. It was a bit too much driving for a short time, but, sometimes that happens.  I really appreciate that Sam was willing to do this!

We visited Museums and drank micro-brews
the nice thing about Alaska cities normally are away from the boundaries.  But, there are a few city things worth while.  Both Museums (Museum of the North in Fairbanks, and Anchorage Museum) were well worth it.  Enough to see, but not so much that it is overwhelming. We drank beer at Moose's tooth (Good~  but busy!  wish we could have tried midnight sun...), Hoodoo Brew (only beer, and yum!), and Silvergulch (Great food!).   

and, weird things happened too:
- we stayed at a hostel, where our beds were on a "loft" which really was the landing space for the stairs. Therefore, whenever people when up or down, they walked through our "room."
- we almost stayed at a B&B with very eccentric individuals.  lots of trinkets and stuffed animals.
- we ate at the "Sea galley" in Anchorage.  There was a group of people who sang happy birthday 8 times, minimum.
- we were foiled at our attempt to go to hotsprings by a gigantic forest fire, started by an army training mission.
- the people on the train.  they were quite unique.

and, that's good for now.  For more pics, go to sean's flickr page.