Today was my first off road triathlon since Xterra Indian Peaks in 2009. I used no technology during the entire race except the photo at the beginning. I forgot my watch at home.
Bike: Unlike most off-road tris the Top Notch triathlon started with a bike. The bike was 6.5 miles and the first half was on a road and uphill! Then we turned onto some single track for about 3 miles. It was hard. My heart was beating through my chest but felt great on the short downhill.
Swim: The swim in Echo Lake was glorious. The water was so clear and I could see a crawfish-like critter scatter around the bottom. I have only swam once in the last four months so I wasn’t really prepared to swim ½ mile but it was a great cool down after the bike.
Run: As soon as I exited the cool waters, I began the hike up Cannon Mountain. I thought it would be more runnable but it was not. I felt like it was good Hope-Pass-training; endless steep uphill.
At the top there were beautiful views of Franconia Notch where I hiked last weekend. Since I was in the self-supported Iron category (I completed all legs, instead of a relay), I had to figure out how to get back to my bike, then bike back to my car in the town of Franconia. So I took the Tram down, ran the trail by the lake to get to my bike and asked a few people along the way if I was heading the right way (I didn’t have my phone). Even with no phone I got back successfully. See we can make it through a race with out a phone. Seriously, a guy behind me was Facetiming someone. Luckily, the miles back to the car were downhill.
2nd in my age group, baby!
Such a fun, hard day. Tonight I’m hiking Kearsarge, hoping to get some nighttime hiking in and then a run tomorrow – then it’s taper time! 11 days until I leave for Colorado. 14 days to race day!
I didn’t write a weekly recap last week, Week 13 since I did a race report for Pineland. So here is the update on training for Leadville that is in – OMG – 12 weeks!
This week I’ve been thinking about my first 50 mile finish and what was going through my brain as I sat on the picnic table at the finish line. I thought for the first time that maybe, just maybe, I will finish the 100 mile race. I felt like my body adapted well to 11 hours of hilly running despite nagging knee pain during most of the race. I liked having a pacer, which I’ve never had before. I really think that as I build up mileage in this next weeks, I might just do this.
I took it easy this week and had no expectations of mileage despite knowing I should try to run 47 miles according to the training plan. I really wanted to give my knee a break so I limited running and added more biking and hiking. The plan worked because today, Sunday, I have no more knee pain.
One of the things I needed to start doing to really prep for Leadville was running with poles. I ran on June 1 with poles for the first time when run/hiking Whiteface. The poles got in the way a lot but they helped take some pressure off my knees. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Another thing is I need to start running at night and I’m not looking forward to that.
Next week I’m going for a 40 miles week versus a 60 mile week since I want to taper a little bit for the Leadville Marathon on June 15, then it’s 3 weeks of 70 mile weeks. I seriously can’t wait for these high mileage weeks:
I’m also mountain biking more to work my core and to make the legs stronger. It’s also great for cross training. And, oops, I got a bit sign up happy and registered for the Top Notch Triathlon in August in Franconia Notch. (see the picture of swimming in Echo Lake in the top photo) I wanted to do the triathlon for so long. I didn’t have a mountain bike so I couldn’t sign up for the last two years. Now, I can do it.
I heard about this race from a novel, Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian. I read his book in 2006 when I lived in Colorado. The story is set in northern New Hampshire about a family that spends their summers near Franconia Notch. The book is about complicated families and the ramifications of bad decisions and accidents. But what has stuck in my head is the ending that takes place on the slopes of Cannon Mountain as the family members compete in the Top Notch relay triathlon. I have never forgotten that story and how Bohjalian chooses to end the story on top of a New Hampshire mountain. It’s a story about forgiveness and acceptance – something I still need to figure out with my complicated family.