Sunday, September 27, 2009

Race Report: CELT Sprint- Family Relay

Thankfully, no other bummers yesterday. I had enough yesterday morning to last a few weeks. Today started with my rustling the kids out of bed at 6:30 in an (unsuccessful) attempt to get everyone out the door by 7. As it turned out, the timing worked great, especially considering I didn't have a transition area to set up. It was great to see the group again, possibly for the last time until the Polarbear in May.

Because I was only swimming, I put in a longer warmup than usual, about 12-1400 yds. I was seeded in the first heat which was made up entirely of relay swimmers. For some strange reason, I had more butterflies than any other race this season. Maybe it was the fact that it was just a swim, so there was no excuse to hold back. Maybe it was all of the people inside watching- they can't watch that easily in the open water. Maybe it was swimming next to a guy who beats me in practice....or the chance that some high school swimmer is there I don't know other words...ego. Yeah, that's it.

Now let's see how interesting I can make a 425 yd swim sound- The first 100 felt great, 2nd not so much, work hard on the 3rd, and hang on for the 4th. That's about it.

I was the first out of the water, ran out to Nick, tagged him, and watch him ride off in first place.I later learned that he actually stopped twice- once due to a puddle-covered pothole that rattled him, and another because there was no one around and he was afraid he was off course. He even started taking his cell phone out of his baggie, until someone came by. What he didn't know is that his dumb parents didn't have their phones with them so we couldn't have answered anyway. Without looking at the results, I'd guess he came in with a split of about 49 minutes for 14 miles, which comes to about 17 mph, including stops. Given that it's his first ride ever over 8 miles, first race, it was raining, he's 13, stopped twice, and had the big black pedals with sneakers, he did a fantastic job.

Leah took the handoff and charged into the 3 mile trail run. Chirstine went with her to help her confidence. I heard she stopped to walk about six times, for only 20 seconds each. When she emerged from the woods, headed for the finish, she looked great. Strong the whole way. Check out her form:

All done!

It was really fun to involve the whole family. After they warmed up and had a bit to eat, they were actually enthusiastic about the experience, and have asked to do it next year.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Helluva A Day

I've had a lot of fun with my training lately. Nothing has been planned, I haven't done any doubles, and the quality is fine. I tend to ease into my runs, keep building, and end up somewhere around a 7-7:15 pace. I'm also getting back into the swimming groove. Wednesday was the third week of big Wednesdays, which will finish the day before Thanksgiving. The first two weeks were 30x100 at various intervals, then 1x1000, 2x500 and 8x125. Every two weeks we increase the yardage by 1000, and keep the same basic structure. So this week was 40x100. It's been several months since I've gone that far, so that feels good.

Back to today. I unintentionally woke up really early, couldn't go back to sleep, so got up a bit before 5. I started with my first trainer ride of the season, which strangely felt good and ominous at the same time. there are many, many hours to come on that trainer. That went for 1:05, then I headed out for a good long run. I headed out past the West Falmouth Hannaford, crossed the river, and found the start of the Portland Trails Trail. It was fantastic running alongside the river, through the woods, up, down, left right, constantly changing. I came out on Allen Ave. extension and headed home at a 7-7:15 pace. The whole run was about 9 miles in 1:15 (obviously slow on the trails). It was a great START to the day. Then the rest of the day happened.....

- Before the bike, I felt some tightness in my hamstring. It didn't bother me much on the bike, and I didn't notice it on the run. But it's killing me now. I obviously pulled something back there.

- So then we had someone take a look at our roof due to the leaks last winter. The whole damn thing needs to be replaced. Very, very expensive.

- Upon calling Toyota, where yesterday they replaced the brakes (expensive), they said they also need to replace the parking brake cable and it won't be ready until Monday.

- Then we went to replace our mattress (the two yr old one was under warranty), causing us to throw in another $400. I hate shopping for mattresses. How can you honestly tell how something is going to feel after a full night's sleep, much less 10 years? I also hate going to the Mall.

- Returning to the house, I was reminded that we just replaced the axle on the boat trailer, and the riding mower is at the shop getting new belts.

And it's only 12:30. I know we are more fortunate than many, and I am thankful for what we have. But I've had better mornings.

Tomorrow I head to a local sprint tri. The swim (425 yds) is in the pool where I grew up. It's always fun to go back there. Even better, I'm only doing the swim. Given the condition of my leg, that's a good thing. Nick will bike (14 mi) and Leah will run (3). It will be fun doing this as a team.

Friday, September 11, 2009

T - 365

Let the countdown begin. Three hundred and sixty five days until the ITU Age Group World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

I'm not quite sure what to make of it at this point. Don't get me wrong- I know it will be a great trip and a rush to race with some of the best in the world. But to be honest, I feel a bit like a dog that just caught what it was chasing after. The chase was to what?

I guess this is all a good sign. A sign that my priorities are where they should be, especially at this point. I have purposely tried to detach myself from the intensities of the sport for a while. I need to direct energies to family and work. And after Nationals, I was mentally exhausted from the pursuit. I also had no desire to turn myself inside out again.

Back in the fall of 1990, I was sailing for Tufts. I wasn't nearly good enough to compete with the multiple All Americans on the team in dinghys, for various reasons, but I did find a spot on the "Sloop" team. For you sailors out there, we were in J-22s and 24s. My size helped instead of hurt, and my experience was also a plus. We qualified for the National Champioships on the equivalent of a three-point basketball heave as the clock expired. No exaggeration. And it was my call in the last race that made the difference. To qualify for the National Collegiate Championship was a big deal. As it turned out, the trip to Navy for Nationals was a huge disappointment, something that still eats away at me. Largely because of, shall we say, extracurricular activities by a few on the team, we ended up 9th out of 10.

This time around, I am the one in control. I won't let the the same thing happen. I'll go to Budapest, wear the uniform with pride and perform well. Obviously, I won't be in the running for a podium spot. I'm not quite sure how I will judge my performance, but there is plenty of time for that.

It wasn't until a couple of days ago when I started to draw some broad outlines for next year. I can feel some of the excitement for the sport and Worlds beginning to creep back into my bones. This is an opportunity of a lifetime- the race, event, and travel with the family.

At some point I'll take a retrospective look back at 2009 and figure out what lessons should be learned, thereby shaping a plan for 2010.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Summer, We Hardly Knew You

I went out on my first ride since Nationals this morning. A quick check of the thermometer on the way out stopped me in my tracks- 43 degrees. Sixteen days ago, I was racing in 80+ degree weather, worried about dehydration. Now I'm worried about frozen toes and hands. I opted for the full gloves and long sleeve Nor'Easter jacket, but stubbornly did not cover up my peach-fuzz legs. I had a good ride, about 30 miles, without pushing too much other than a few short hills. Upon returning home, my feet went through that painful cold weather thaw. But it's early feet shouldn't be this cold....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Motivation From Money

No, I'm not that materialistic. But when I send in an entry fee (boy, that dates me...I mean when I put my credit card into Active), I'm committed. Come hell or high water, I'm going to do the race.

I just signed up for the CELT Challenge, a local sprint on Sept 27. But I didn't just sign up myself. I'll do the 425 yd pool swim, Nick will bike 14 on my old Javelin TT bike, and Leah will do the 3 mile trail run. This should be tons of fun. I hope there are some other families that sign up....anyone?....anyone?.....Bueller?....

Speaking of Nick, he hit a milestone last week. He's 13, in 8th grade, and a smidge away from 6 feet tall. We went to Olympia Sports for some soccer cleats. They didn't have any large enough. Size 12 wasn't even close. And he's not even close to done growing. I'm going online to see how we can put some webbing between those toes of his.

There's a chance we might take him to Sugarloaf for the weekend CVA snowboarding program. Which means all sorts of things, including renting a condo and tons of driving for four months. If anyone knows of someone who wants to share condo space or has one available, let me know. This could also mean I get into XC skate skiing, which could be great. I've always thought XC skiers are the best athletes in the world.

Finally, a big congrats to those who did IMCDA, IMLOU and the local races. While you put in all of that hard work on Sunday, I ate TWO big sausages at Fenway Park. Onions, peppers, the works. Then an ice cream bar. I could get used to this off season routine.....