Tuesday, June 26, 2012

BSLT 70.3 2012!

Buffalo Springs looked like it was not going to make it on my schedule this year. I'm focusing mainly on Rev3 events with Portland coming up after Quassy. However, I have a family reunion the week of Portland in Knoxville and logistically getting to the race and back home to Tulsa looked to be a little tougher than I first anticipated. Plus, I would have to cut my family time short and it's not very often I get to see my siblings(been 2 years since I've seen 2 of my bros) and while I love racing, I stand firm with...family first! So a week after Quassy I got to do my first century ride of the year with Tulsa Tough. I talked it over with Kevin and threw out the idea of taking a short trip to Buffalo Springs instead a few weeks later. It would be perfect because it's logistically an easy trip, plus we had a few Tulsans making the trip. I decided to throw my hat in the ring, and suddenly our Tulsa roster grew and before we knew it we were loading up the bikes on Friday to make the nearly 8 hour drive to Lubbock. This trip was also in conjunction with "girl’s weekend" with Gywnnie. This would the first time she had ever spent any extended time apart from her twin brother. To say she loved all the attention is a bit of an understatement. I have to throw a huge "THANK YOU" to my friends. I know you guys aren't completely used to 5 year old antics, so thanks for your patience the whole weekend! This race had a completely different objective for me. Yes, I always want to show up to the start line and give my very best effort. But sometimes as Professionals we can forget to enjoy the experience around us. This race I wanted to savor the experience; savor having fun with my family and friends and take a step back and remember why we get into the crazy sport to begin with. Buffalo Springs is the perfect place to do that. It just has the low key feel to it and Mike and Marti put on an outstanding race that presents little fuss going into it. Saturday rolled around and our crew made its way to the race site to check it out. We did the usually swim/bike/run and we were joined by my Mom, who drove in from Houston on Friday. We also brought the trailer bike so Gwynnie was able to go out on our pre-race spin and run with the whole gang. Huge thank you to Ray. Obviously for taking care of all of us the entire weekend, but for hauling Gwyn up and down those hills. She had a blast and looking over at her on our spin, I felt like I had to pinch myself on how lucky I am. She makes you look at the whole experience differently. When I was standing up going up a hill on the bike, she looks over at me and says, "How do you do that Mommy?" The next day during the race she hopped on the bike and started shaking the bars left and right, explaining, "This is how my Mom does it!" It's the little things that make up the good stuff in life! Joanna (a new pro in OK) and I hit up the pro meeting that afternoon. It was short and sweet, but best of all entertaining. Immediately following the meeting Gwynnie and Kasey Jacobs (Jessica's daughter) got a quick hair-do from Amanda Lovato. I joke that you can't be around Amanda without something coming out pink. The girls loved the pampering!! That evening Joanna cooked up a storm in our hotel. We were joined by Jess Jacobs and her family, along with my Dad's high school football coach, Coach Ragus and his wife Maragret. I'm sure most people know what a big deal football is in Texas. My Dad's high school team was a two time State Champion under Coach Ragus. My Dad went on to play and start for the University of Houston and was also the Captain of the team. To hear stories about my Dad's work ethic made me really proud. Also, talking with Coach Ragus and Margaret made me realize why they played such a pivotal role in my Dad's life. To say he was progressive during my Dad's high school years would be an understatement. It's amazing how in tune he is with all of athletics. In fact, they even named a Natatorium after him in Lubbock! Finally race morning came bright and early. Before I knew it we were lining up to race. The water was deemed wet suit legal and unfortunately I only have a full sleeve Blue Seventy. The wetsuit is very comfortable, but once we started swimming I realized I was just too warm. On the flip side, I finally had a great swim, catching a ride from new pro Christine Anderson who I know is a great swimmer. Unfortunately we went off course for a bit. I realized what we were doing so I yelled out to her, but she couldn't hear me. I got back on course and the paddle boarder rounded her up. By the final turn buoy she had caught back up to me and we made our way back. When we ran out of the water I realized my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest and I was completely out of breath. Yes, I had swum a bit harder than usual, but I realize now this was the first sign of me getting dehydrated despite massive amounts of fluid intake prior to the race. I was out on the bike after a quick transition. I chose a different wheel set up, opting for front and rear Zipp Firecrest 808 outfitted in Challenge Tires. Last year I used a disc, but lately I've been having a real problem with the disc rubbing my frame when I stand to climb. We are still trying to get the disc right in the "sweet spot." With all the climbs here I just wanted to put my mind at ease. I will say that the 808s felt a lot more agile cornering and climbing. However, on the flat, windy sections I was kind of wishing for my disc! Ahhh, the grass is always greener, right? I got water at every station. I diligently took my nutrition and salt. I rode in no man's land nearly the entire ride, except for the few age group men that passed me. The winds kicked up and I was ready to get off my bike in 2nd and ready to crack out a good run. I ran out of T2 and knew immediately I was in trouble. I have never felt like this. I went between wanting to throw up to pass out. I felt short of breath and had no sweat coming off my body. I focused on getting to each aid station and wanted to stop the entire run. Gwynnie was out on the course on the trailer bike cheering me out and I'd flash a smile to her each time I'd see her. Jess passed me pretty early on. I also knew there was no way I'd be running down anyone. This race became one goal...survival!! At the turn around I saw I had a nice cushion on the rest of the field, so I just tried to put one foot in front of the other. By the final 2.5 miles I thought, "I don't think there is any way I can finish this." I will say the power of the mind is incredible because I made it, and immediately went to get my first ever IV bag in a race. But let me tell you, that IV is worth its weight in gold! I felt like a million bucks shortly after! Gwyn was a little freaked out by the whole thing, but I assured her in didn't hurt. Pretty soon she was all over my while I was getting the fluids in, so she obviously got over it! We collected Duncan, Suzie, and Joanna after a brutal day. We went back to the hotel and had a birthday celebration for Suzie. We loaded up and checked out of the hotel, but had 4 hours to kill before awards. We hit up Target to shop where Gwyn exclaimed, "Where's Duncan? We lost the old man!!" Luckily we found him and headed to Starbucks where we ran into the champ, fellow Oklahoman Amanda Stevens and her awesome hubby Randy. Gwyn got a new tattoo hit and tried her hand. Thank you Amanda for letting my daughter practice on you. This is what you get for beating me!!! hahaha!! We hit up awards and then hit the road for our drive home that night. Gwyn was out within the first half hour. I was jealous!! We finally got home around 3am. A huge "thank you" again to Ray for driving the grumpy triathletes home after a really long day! This trip was one of the best I've ever had. As for the race, I'm taking home some real positives. Things are going in the right direction. I had a great swim and bike, both faster than the year before. I finally took a look at my run time and will admit that I shuddered a bit at first, but I have to be proud that I stuck it out because God knows I didn't want to! Thank you to my incredible sponsors: Rev3, Powerbar, Kestrel, Pear Izumi, Recovery Pump, Rudy Project, BlueSeventy, Challenge Tires, John R. Jones, PC and Team Red White and Blue. To Kathy at Runner's World for being one the most generous, kind hearted people I've ever met! To Coach Kevin for sticking with me, to my amazing friends for taking this trip, and to my Mom for always being such a support! Love you all! Until next time!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quassy 2012 Race Report

I'm on my trip back home to Tulsa. My adventures began on Thursday afternoon. I was due to arrive in Hartford, CT at 11pm, where I was to meet up with some more Rev3 folks for the drive to Southbury an hour and a half away. However, my connection in Dallas was delayed for 3.5 hrs because the flight had no crew. I let my travels buddies know to go ahead without me since I would be getting in so late. I called a cab service while waiting in Dallas since I figured I didn't want to be sorting that out at 2:30 am. Once I finally got in, my driver met me but he was standing with another guy. This kid was going to visit his girlfriend in Hartford, couldn't get a cab and was hoping to share my vehicle. By this point I was tired and stressed about how late I would be arriving to the hotel--the last thing I wanted to do was extend the trip another half hour. But then I felt bad (darn conscious!) and agreed while gritting my teeth wondering why the kid couldn't a. Have the sense to line up his own travel while we waited over 3 hrs in Dallas or b. Get his girlfriend's butt out of bed to come get him. What can I say, I'm a little less tolerant when tired! I finally arrive to the lovely Heritage Hotel. I get to my room and fall into bed, glancing at the clock and wincing at the sight of 4:02. Ugh. I try to sleep in and make it to around 10. I remind myself that this is more hours of consecutive sleep than I got for the entire first year of my twins' lives. I ended up doing absolutely nothing Friday besides building my bike and dinner with friends. Saturday was the usual pre race swim, bike, run and pro meeting but with the challenge of pouring rain. That evening my best friend from college drove in from NYC to watch the race. Of course we chatted a bit, then lights out at 930 in preparation for an early wake up race morning. Unfortunately the drunken wedding guests below my room decided to replace my alarm and woke me up at midnight. Looking back I should have objected right then, but kept thinking "they will leave soon." Finally a little after 2 I called the front desk, where they profusely apologized and told me that security was on their way. Apparently I wasn't the only one complaining! After getting back to sleep my alarm went off 1 hr later and I woke without my usual excitement. After reflecting on the whole weekend I realized I was just plain tired and grumpy. These feelings were temporarily masked with pre -race excitement. I knew I was coming into this race a lot fitter than a year ago, which made me really excited to see my progression. I had a great swim & bike last year & exited t2 in 5th, where I basically ran gingerly due to my soleus tear 6 weeks early. This year I was ready to run fast, and to mix up with a world championship field. It's funny how things can work out. You can have sub-par preparation (like last year) and really surprise yourself. On the flip side you can have great preparation and really surprise yourself--in not such a good way!! I started the swim and just lacked any opening speed. I felt very strong through the whole swim but missed my pack and swam a pretty lonely race. I started the bike and heard time checks throughout and was not giving any time back and closed to within 30sec of the girls I had hoped to come out of the water with. But somehow from mile 40-56 I gave up 2.5 minutes to everyone. I didn't feel bad. I actually felt quite strong. This particular part of the course is quite technical with a lot of turns making it difficult to see anyone, even if they are only 30 sec in front. I realize now how vital these visual ques are because really I was just in la-la land. Yet again why racing as a pro makes your swim position imperative! I started the run feeling strong and knew I had the run fitness to be competitive. Each mile I got closer and closer but ran out of real estate to change my position, landing in 10th. Of course I'm disappointed--not with my place but that I know I didn't have the race I'm capable of. But what I can take away from this is that I'm very strong, I just lacked that upper intensity needed to be competitive in this field. And also to be smarter with my traveling. Expect delays--don't plan on coming in late because that can quickly become tooooo late! With these women you can't give up 1%!! They truly are something else! Again, a huge thanks to my sponsors and supporters! Rev3, Powerbar, Kestrel, Pearl Izumi, Recovery Pump, Rudy Project, Challenge Tires, BlueSeventy, Team RWB, HammerHead (formerly 918xc) Bike Shop. To my coach Kevin P for helping me see the big picture. And to Jenn Delaney for making the trip and not letting me wallow. We've literally been through the best of times and worst of times--from WestPoint to Officer Basic to Fort Hood to Iraq and back. What a reminder of how lucky I am to have people like her in my life!