Bear Brook Classic, Training Update

Commitment:
When you find a way over every hurdle in your path and nothing but success is an option.

On Saturday I raced my first Mountain Bike Race. I signed up for it in July, the first week race registration opened. At that point, I knew that I wanted to work towards the Leadwoman race and the only way to do that was 1) actually race on a mountain bike and 2) figure out a way to finish the 100 mile run race. But first things first. 

I signed up for the Bear Brook Classic and then from July to October I changed my mind a million times about 1) what my goals were (100 mile run, 100 mile run not in Leadville, biking only, etc) 2) thinking about Ironman Lake Placid in 2022 3) not signing up for anything and just training for Ironman Florida and 4) just spending hours on race websites and calendars. 

Three weeks ago I made my decision – 2022 is all about Leadville and if all goes well 2023 will be about Leadwoman. I hired a coach and I’m feeling the pressure to do all my training days. It’s stressing me out a bit but it’s what I need. I think. Maybe. I’m pretty sure of it. Bring on the hemming and hawing. 

Which brings me to the Bear Brook Classic. In July I signed up for the Cat 2 (Sport) Women – 40+. At the time there were two distances: 10 & 20. I’ve been riding Bear Brook for about two years now and by July I had only biked about 10 miles at the most on a mountain bike. When I sign up for races I always think:  I want to sign up for a big race and train for it. Ten miles seemed so short so I signed up for the 20. I ended up biking 12 miles a few weeks later at Bear Brook, which was hard but doable. I knew I could do 20 miles. 

August and September were more triathlon training months. I mountain biked on average once a week. On the morning of October 2, race morning, I wasn’t even sure I was going to race. It was a rest day for Ironman Training and I didn’t train at all to race on a mountain bike – just trail riding. However, after I got my butt in gear, I decided the race would be interval and speed work. 

I’m glad I went because it was a great experience. The long course was 18 miles. 

The Finish Line at Bear Brook

The good: knowing that I couldn’t go out too fast, not trying to kill it on the first mile, getting settled in and just riding and having fun. I knew the course, there were only a few turns onto trails I didn’t know. Knowing the course helped a lot especially on a few downhill sections that I knew would have a quick uphill and I’d have to change gears to get up fast. 

The bad: not lubing my chain before the race, not carrying more food/gels. One more gel would’ve helped my energy level towards the end. 

I didn’t know what to expect going into the race and it just takes one experience to help confidence and know how I need to train: biking fast. 

One thing I’ve been struggling with is changing negative thinking (just do one lap, this is hard) to positive thinking (I can do this!) while racing. It’s so easy to just stop and be done. I particularly struggle with loops – it’s so easy to only do one. My brain wanted me to stop, do one loop and go home. I knew that I just had to go out on the second loop and I would be fine. And I was.  I have to remember that  for Florida.

I still don’t know my finishing place in my division but at the end of the day – who really cares. Okay, I care a little. I’m guessing second from last – those women were fast! 

I do love mountain biking but I also love running, hiking, and swimming. I love trying to do it all even if I suck at it all. I’m in it for the Adventure! 

I’ll be signing up for next year. Now it’s just 4 weeks to Ironman Florida and I’m in total-focus mode. I will remember the quote above: Find a way over every hurdle in my path so only Success is an option. This weekend was a success and I can’t wait to finish Florida. For the next 4 weeks: No missed training days. No excuses. Just do it.

Wallis Sands Sprint Triathlon Race Report

This weekend was back to back races. Aqua Bike Saturday and Wallis Sands Sprint Triathlon on Sunday. 

Race morning started early. My mom was my support team and we got to the Wallis Sands at 6am just in time for packet pick up. The shirts are awesome this year; soft cotton. I raced this event two or three years ago and it seemed like there were more people this year.

The sun was rising as I headed to the water to test the temperature, it was going to be a great day. 

Photo by My Mom.

Then, I ran into JD again. He’s announcing this race too! 

The waves were big due to the hurricane out at sea. It is a short swim so I was ready for anything. As I headed into the water I tried to figure out how to swim while not being able to catch my breath every time I tried to put my head in the water. The waves were so big I felt like the best course of action was backstroke until I got my bearings. As I approached the first turn I was able to start swimming and rounded the buoy to calmer water. After the next turn buoy, swimming was easier and was pushed to land by the waves.  

The bike course was awesome! Flat and Fast. I just pushed it the entire time. My dad was waiting on Wallis Road and cheered me on. I loved riding through Rye and going past houses of friends from my youth. There was a bit of a headwind as I turned north on 1A. The parking lot at North Hampton State Park was packed with cars. It’s going to be a good day for surfers.

Back in transition I realized that I forgot to pack a hat but the run is so quick it didn’t matter. Running along the ocean in Rye is so beautiful. I haven’t been to the ocean since the spring, and on this beautiful day it was just amazing to be there. Crossing the finish line, JD called me out saying this was my second tri this weekend and said some nice things about me…. Ahhh. He mentioned that he knew me from our Sunday River days….. He’s the best! 

Results: I’ll take second in my division. Woot.

It was a great race course and I was so happy to be there. I feel so lucky to be healthy, racing and going to amazing places to swim, bike and run, with family and friends.

Capital Well Sunapee Aqua Bike Race Report

On Saturday I swam/biked the Capital Well Sunapee Aqua Bike. Last year it was my one triathlon and I reconnected with my high school friend, Kristin. This year my friend Sonja wanted to train and race an Aqua Bike race. We searched for one and this event worked for both our schedules. 

We have been training on Long Pond and biking from her house. I think that worked well. We rented a house in Goshen on Friday night and had dinner at Salt Hill Pub. Then on Saturday morning it was just a short drive to Sunapee State Park. Logistics and parking were easy. The water was calm and relatively  warm. I opted for a wetsuit because I really need to get used to it for IM Florida in 6 weeks. 

As I was heading into the start area I ran into JD who was announcing the race. He’s so awesome at it and made the event really fun when we were all a bit nervous. 

The bike was the same course and my time was a bit faster from last year. However, I felt like I was in better shape and didn’t die so quickly from the hills. 

It’s all about the bike. Photo by Jay

It was great racing this event with friends and it’s such a great venue. I loved the post-race beers and how they showed results throughout the day. 

I’m pretty sure this will be an annual triathlon whether as an individual or a relay. Sonja and Jay are talking relay next year with Sonja swimming, Jay biking and me running.

Millennium Running does a great job at running and triathlon events. My one criticism of the Aqua Bike is that you end the race in transition, no finish line. For me, I don’t really care, but for first timers or people who really just love the swim / bike portion it’s not really fair. I hope they  figure out how Aqua Bike participants can go through a finish line.

Our Fans:

Photo by Jay

Capital Well Sunapee Triathlon Race Report 2020

I finally get to write a race report. Yeah!

The Sunapee Triathlon was a great day. I loved seeing all the tribikes on bike racks as I drove north to Newbury. It felt like race season was back on!

I arrived at Sunapee State Park way too early. I was worried about missing a shuttle but it ended up being walkable from the parking area to the transition. I didn’t have to use a shuttle at all since I was so early. I walked around the beach and decided to stretch and get ready early in transition. And I’m glad I did because as I was sitting next to my bike a high school friend, Kristin said hi. I couldn’t believe it. It seriously has been 30 years since we saw each other. Even with a mask I recognized her immediately. I loved hearing about what she has been doing since high school. She has done a bunch of ½ Ironman distance triathlons and was as excited as me to race. 

Our conversation was cut short as the time to leave transition arrived. I walked down to the beach and put on my wetsuit and waited for the swim lineup. 

There was time for a practice swim and that water was cold. It felt better after sitting in it and then time to go.

Athletes entered the water every five seconds.

The first 500 yards I felt so slow. I sighted okay and seemed to warm up after about 15 minutes. After the first turn buoy the water was choppy and I was extra cautious about breathing in with my mouth wide open – I’ve done that before and inhaled water – bad!

Finally I could see the exit and still felt slow. I need to work on my open water swimming technique for next year.

On to the bike! 

I feel like I pushed it the entire time. The uphills were tough and the downhill were scary fast. It was the first race for my Cervelo and it didn’t let me down.

It was cold, in the 40s for sure, but I wore my NorthFace windbreaker that has saved me on hikes in the 4,000 footers and one cold trail race at Jay Peak. 

I initially thought I’d have to wear tights over my tri shorts for the bike, but I opted out, and no extra hat under my helmet; and these were good choices because I felt pretty good. With the temperature in the 40s on the bike, the one casualty ended up being my feet. Once I was off the bike I realized that my feet were frozen. When I put my shoes on in transition I knew something didn’t feel quite right. 

I started running and it felt like there were rocks in my shoes. 

I knew that feeling too well from other triathlons so it just took time for my feet to warm up and then they were fine.

I felt good on the run. I had a good stride then I looked at my watch and I was running 10 minute miles -booo! 

But then at times I looked down and I was running 8:45 minute miles. It was a mix of hills and feeling good. I just looked my times on Strava and the last mile was 8:35 – hells ya! 

I miss racing so much despite hating the day before a race when I am nervous and race morning that seems to last longer than the race itself. Looking ahead I think 2021 is going to make up for the bust 2020 was for racing.

I haven’t raced an Olympic Distance Triathlon in years and this distance is so fun!
1.5km swim, 36km bike, 5.1 mile run. Just under three hours. Yes! 

Fun!

While I love going long, short is a great challenge to push it the entire time. Well, I didn’t push it on the swim but it was a good lesson that I really need work on swim speed. When you go long, swim training is more about being efficient since it’s a long day. On shorter distances you really need speed on all three. 

Now it’s time to focus on finishing 21 peaks in 7 weeks. I’ve mapped it all out and made plans for every weekend. The Finish the 4,000 footers in my 49th year plan will be the next post. 

Thanks Millennium Racing for a great race. I will see you next year!

Houston Marathon 2020 Race Report

I got to escape the arctic tundra for four days this past weekend while racing (and I use that word loosely) the Houston Marathon.

Over the long weekend I talked to so many amazing endurance athletes. I was inspired and in awe of these people:

Shelly who finished her first 100 (Brazos) under her time goal.

Mark who ran his 25th Houston Marathon

Brian who ran his 21st Houston Marathon. 

Paul who ran his first marathon at 60. 

Brandon who is running marathons in every state.

The guy at the finish line who told me about his 100s and what was next.

The woman who said she usually does ultras but just loves the Houston Marathon. 

The marathon was so fun because Mark, Brian and I ran the first 20 miles together. We talked and laughed as the miles just flew by. The start was cold, colder than I dressed for but I rather be cold that hot. The course was as flat as a pancake and it was great to just run without any hills. We walked very little. 

Race morning

We saw our support team with the pink hair (Thanks Amy) and Shelly was there although I didn’t get to see her. 

We talked to a few people while running. I love being asked where I’m from. New Hampshire. HA. Some people look at me funny, I’m guessing they don’t really know where it is. (LOL)

Around mile 22 Brian started cramping and Mark walked/ran with him; I kept running. It hurt too much to walk and I felt pretty good so I kept running. I had it in my mind to finish at 4:30 but ended up at 4:43. 

Considering that most of November and December I couldn’t run three miles without hurting, I think it was an okay day. I still have some adductor pain but it’s so much less. 

There 74 days until my 100 mile race and I know exactly what I have to do to be successful. Today, Tuesday as I think back on the last few days I feel so lucky for the people in my life. The ones who inspire and listen to my rants; the ones who offer advice (that I may take, ha) and the ones who love me despite my craziness. 2020 is going to be a great year. First race of the year – done!