Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer... Vacation?

I know, I know... I have a huge backlog of race reports, life updates and whatnot that have gone woefully to the wayside. However, I have a semi-legitimate excuse for this lack of post-age...

It's called Ironman training. And it's really getting to me! Honestly, I've started counting the days until IMKY (29) and while I feel like I should be nervous, I feel... ready. Like I just want to get out there and get it done. I've been training for it seriously since January, and as the hours per week get higher and higher, the more I want to just be done with it. I'm ready for it to be Fall. I have to say, I love training. I love racing more than anything. But I don't love that my whole summer has seemingly dissolved into training and worrying about apartment stuff. One or the other would be fine, but this two-headaches-for-the-price-of-one business is a bit absurd.

The training wouldn't be bad but my two high volume weeks happen to be corresponding to the weeks that Monday-Wednesday I've been/will be living in White Plains nannying. Add to that the full day I work on Friday, and it's a little tough to meet the 28+ hour/week training schedule. In fact, nearly impossible, especially since on Thursday I had to lend my earlobes to a friend who's made his own line of amazing Lego earrings ( sooo cute!) Sure, I didn't get paid for that modeling "gig", but I got a great pair of earrings out of it! Beyond training, I've seen Robbie once this whole week- quite a drop from the every day I was seeing him when we lived together. We have another month before we move into our new place, and the appalling lack of furniture that we have at the moment is making me a wee bit insane. Move in is 2 days after IM, and the same day that classes start. September is going to be a busy month!

I am making fun post-IM plans though. Pre-CX season, I have every intention of "treating myself" to a septum piercing (maybe. not 100% sure.) and letting my cosmetology-obsessed sister potentially bleach out part of my hair. Also, plans for finishing the tattoo on my back are in the works for this winter, thanks to Robbie's friend Tiffany. Add to that the excitement of getting to go to school full-time for a semester, potentially audit a class in exercise science, and get some real work done on my writing, I'm pretty stoked. I'm also insanely psyched about CX season, of course. And lastly, I'm attempting to find a place to do some volunteering a couple hours a week, and I think I may have found a place. So, fingers crossed!

But before all of that, I have to get through Ironman, and Robbie and I need to get through August and moving in September. It's do-able, I know. But it seems weird to be excited more for school starting than for Summer vacation to be happening. I'm not very good with waiting... Even my family vacation to Virginia Beach will be a little less fun, since Robbie won't be going because of work and my IM plans and travel arrangements, and I'll only have 5 days of vacation before we head to Kentucky to race. So it'll be a nervous few days on the beach, but as Dad and his hero, Jimmy Buffet, would agree, a bad day on vacation beats the best day at work.

In other news, I know I promised race reports. So without further ado, the Cliff Notes versions:

Sprintin' Clinton 5k:
Time: 19:37 (PR by 30 sec)
This is a 5k race that's super well known throughout NJ. It has between 300 and 400 participants every year, and it's really a serious race for high school/collegiate runners. It's got a couple of longish not too steep hills, and it's a challenging course, made more challenging by the fact that it happens at 6PM, so you've had all day to eat and worry. The worrying for me is brought on by a day's worth of eating, of course.
I got there pretty nervous about my stomach, since I couldn't exactly have raced on just one bagel all day, considering I had already done a 2 hour ride and an hour long run. I had no idea what to expect, but last year I was 4th female, and this year I really really wanted to be in the top 3.
My cousin was racing too, though more casually. She's a fitness runner, not a crazy person like me. And that's according to her!
We were at the starting line together but I was shifting towards the front line and she was trying to slip more into the back. The gun went off, and I knew that if I was going to top3, I had to go out hard and maintain, not start out and overtake. I'm not so good with doing that. So, I went hard, and for the first half mile or so, I was the first female. There was a woman behind me who had kicked my a$$ in a 5k in Princeton the month before and she got in front of me, then I passed her, et cetera. Sometime right before mile 1, 2 girls blasted past us, looking super casual about it. I was already pushing hard and I wasn't about to kill myself by mile 1.5. We hit mile 1 in 6:01, and I was feeling good. I kept the two girls in sight, but I knew they were actual runners, so I wasn't expecting to beat them. By the last half mile or so, I finally dropped the woman who I had been duking it out with, and was really starting to push for the finish. I knew I was going to be super close to 20 min and if I wanted sub-20 I had to work hard. Came into the finishing straight, heard dad screaming his head off and saw the clock at 19:05, and just pounded the pavement as fast as I could. I crossed in 19:37, my best time by almost 30 seconds on a much hillier course than my previous PR. I ended up 3rd, but it turns out that the 2 winners are 2 of the top collegiate runners in the state, so I don't feel too bad, coming 30 seconds behind them.
Finally got to check off my goal of running a sub20 5k, which felt awesome. For about two seconds. Stupid Type A personality (and a little needling from my dad), now I'm thinking about how soon I can break 19. Maybe next summer. Or this CX season...
The trophy, by the way, is enormous. Seriously, it's ridiculous. And I love it.

And just one week later, it was time for the
Nautica NYC Triathlon:
Time: 2:24 (PR by 5 min)
Let me again state for the record that this race was insanely exciting for me for a few reasons. First of all, it's my first NYC triathlon. Second, it's the only Olympic distance I got to do this year. Third, it was my first race ever as an elite (amateur). That part was cool and all, until I realized that it involved a dive start. Not bad if I had known earlier, but I hadn't had time to practice diving with my goggles. I can dive, for the record, but I also have weird shaped eye sockets or something, because I've never found a pair of goggles that fits just right. And I doubt they would have stayed on if I had done a good dive.
But beyond that...
It was a tough race because of the insanely early start, but of course, I knew I could be done by 8:30 am if I played my cards right. Then again, waking up at 2 am to get there on time was no picnic. Still, Dad and I made it to the city with plenty of time to check on transition, walk the 1.5 miles to the water and get into my wetsuit (just me, not Dad. Dad in my size small women's suit is a scary thought.) Even not being rushed, it came time to get into my corral way too soon, and before I knew it we were walking to the pier for our dive start. I wasn't too nervous, like I would have been a year ago, but still!!
The dive start was... well, if you combine a dive and a bellyflop, you pretty much have what I did. But it worked, since my goggles stayed on! Not that it mattered, since the Hudson is so gross you can't see anything anyway. Because of my crap dive, it was tough to stay with the lead pack. Also, I sight on the right, the shore was on the left, and the buoys were impossible to see. So, I had to stay on pace with a woman who sighted to her left who was swimming at roughly my pace. I think had I been able to make the dive/sight easier, I would have passed her and gone faster but as it was, it was easier to stay with her. The current was awesome, but the water was briny and honestly, pretty vile. I was happy to get out of it, but less happy about how the volunteers yanked us out and onto the pier. I would have liked some warning that there weren't steps we could walk up ourselves, coming out of the water to people yelling is a bit disorienting. Then, a HALF MILE barefoot run to transition. Holy crap.
I got on the bike super fast and was drinking away trying to wash Hudson out of my mouth. I've never used strawberry Heed, but that's what I had at home, and HOLY CRAP I will never use it again. Sooooo bad and fake sweetened. Ugh. But I choked it down.
There was a big hill out of the transition area, but compared to some of the bike races I've done, it was nothing. I could see people having trouble though, since at the top it was pretty rough pavement. Thank you cyclocross!! After that, the biking went well. I got passed by one elite woman and passed a couple myself. There was a 40 year old dude on a Giant and he and I kept passing each other, which was sort of nice. Less nice was the literal PELETON of 40-44 men who blew past us. Seriously?! They were even shouting to each other about taking pulls. W.T.F. Hi, this is a triathlon? As in, no drafting? I can only imagine how infuriated dudes in their age group were when those idiots passed them. I hope a ref saw them, but at that point, there were pros on course and I'm pretty sure the refs were paying more attention to them than the age groupers. Annoying.
The bike went well, I think I might have been able to push it more, I was feeling fine afterward, but without training for this distance, I had no idea how I would be feeling and didn't want to waste my legs pre-run. Looking back, kinda wish that I had. I had a good bike time compared to most of the women though, so I was happy about that.
Then, the run. I had NO CLUE how this would go, since I never run this distance, except as a short "easy" run. I wanted to run 7:00 miles, and on a flat course I might have, but on this course- whoa. Who knew Central Park had so many hills? Getting out of transition, I could hear dad yelling, and running towards the Park was awesome- the streets were lined with people and in my sick KILLA bikini, I was getting a lot of "you go girl" yells. I was also one of the first women they had seen all day and one of the first 150 people overall, so they were still fresh and psyched to cheer for everyone. It made me feel so good!
In the park, runners who were just out on a daily run were cheering for us, and I passed a few of the 40-44 men. I felt good, and I spotted the one woman who creamed me on the bike ahead of me. So, I dug in and chased her down. After I passed her, I heard "I knew I'd see you again." It was the dude with the Giant bike, and he was British! Haha it made running so much easier, trying to keep up with his crazy long strides. We were really egging each other on, taking turns out in front and stuff. I drank at every station, and felt good. We were almost done... I thought.
I HATE this during races- when people tell you the finish is just up ahead, and you believe them. NEVER believe them. I made a turn thinking it was maybe 200 yards to the finish... try maybe 600. Bad time to start sprinting. I was totally beat by the time I hit the finish line but I just kept pushing and pushing, trying to keep sprinting. There were tons of people cheering, and it was just nuts.
I hit the finish line, felt like my stomach was going to explode right after my lungs, and frantically was looking for Dad, who I had heard when I crossed the line but couldn't see anywhere. here's my beef with Nautica. I appreciate their security, but when I walked out of the fenced in athlete area, I was stumbling and completely incoherent, and no one told me you couldn't get back in. Furthermore, I had no idea that there was a spectator meeting area- maybe that should have been in the race packet. Either way, I walked out of there because I saw dad but he couldn't hear me. When I tried to get back in to get a bottle of water and a bagel, I couldn't get back in. It sucks to pay that much to race and get no water or food post-race. I know it's for security reasons, but even if I couldn't get back in, please hand me a bagel and water? Come on now.
My other issue is that while I was done at 8:30, transition wasn't open until 11. I was supposed to be at the track at noon for a track omnium I was racing in, and that meant we would have to book it.
I must have looked like such a jackass waiting for transition to open- when it did, I swear I made a run for it like I was starting a 100meter sprint or something. I have never packed my crap up that fast. I was the first one out of transition (hah!) and we got to the track with 1 minute to spare.
Unfortunately, sitting in 110 heat after eating a powerbar and half a pretzel, drinking 2 water bottles, and racing a triathlon, is not a good idea. I was not feeling great. In fact, I felt like total crap. It didn't help that my new track bike had a)never been ridden and b)had a 15 cog on the back instead of a 14, making it a spin-crazy kind of bike. I don't spin. Ask anyone. I will grind away in the big ring until the cows come home, but I don't like to spin.
So, after one of 5 races (I was asleep/passed out for the second), dad and I decided to just go home. He wasn't doing much better than I was, and I was starting to see spots. I figured being the 28th female overall in the triathlon (in a field of 2000+) was good enough for one day.

So there you have it- race reports in a nutshell. I need to buy pictures from Nautica from Brightroom, since there are a couple of great ones.

Side note, I am soooo proud of my teammate and friend David for finishing his first triathlon last weekend, the NJ State Olympic tri. I wish I had signed up for it so I could have raced with him, but I think we'll do Skylands together in September. I'm so glad I'm not the only triathlete on the team anymore!!

One last note- you may notice on the righthand side of the page, I added a new Widget linking to my page- I'm a bookworm at heart, and I'm loving a site that lets me list and talk about books. So if you have one, friend me!

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