Monday, December 3, 2012

Hello, Winter

Cyclocross season is (probably) over for 2012. There is one more race, but it's late in December and crashing on icy ground does not sound fun to me, so I'm not sure if I am going to do it. It has been a REALLY fun new activity and I can't wait to tackle it next year with some actual training and preparedness that I did not have this year. Plus, my skills have really improved over just the 2 months I've been racing! Even riding in the cold isn't bad. I rode over Thanksgiving with a friend from home, and we hit a bunch of Strava segments where I am the newly crowned (6x) Queen of the Mountain. I rode Saturday with Ari, Ryan, and Chris, and even though it was only 30 degrees out, I stayed very comfortable. I then raced Sunday at Beaver Island State Park in what was probably my most disappointing race of the season. There was a long beach run and LOTS of slippery mud - not exactly my forte. And adding to those lovely conditions were rain and wind. The constant mud on my bike for the past 3 months (and subsequently, all over my apartment) FINALLY prompted me to buy a hose and figure out how to work the spigot that is outside of my apartment. God, how boring is my life if I am blogging about a hose....

Ari, me, and Ryan after our ride
Other than riding on weekends, I have been staying busy. I have been slightly more motivated to work out, so I am running semi-regularly and even got in the pool on Wednesday! Come Monday, I am full steam ahead (I think..). My job has been keeping me busy too, and I registered for Calculus II at MCC which starts in January. I have been trying to review all the math that I took 10 years ago by watching videos online, so hopefully I can do ok in this course, and then I am starting my Masters in Applied Statistics in the summer! I am also trying to be more social? :)

Mary, me, and Solveig out for Solveig's 34th bday

I went to the PSU vs. Wisconsin game over Thanksgiving weekend with my dad. It was FREEZING cold out, but Penn State WON in overtime, and although I have never been into football, the game was really exciting and I had a great time!

it was really, REALLY cold. does not make for a sexy photo.

it was senior night and this was a rough year for Penn State
Also, worth noting that on Saturday, I held a baby. So yes, I am 28 years old and that was the first baby I have ever held. Progress.. slow but sure.

seriously - here is proof. it happened.
and just for kicks, this is a hilarious photo of my cat, Fiona

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cyclocross Through Photos

My life has been ALL about cyclocross these days! I have raced almost every single weekend since I started and have been getting in trail rides multiple times every week with friends. It is the most fun training I have ever done. It's actually the most fun racing I've ever done as well! I have no desire to do a blow by blow for all of the races I have done since Harris Hill (which would be Cobbs Hill CX, Colden CX, and Parma CX) but they were all different and were all fun in their own ways. Cobbs Hill was probably the worst race I've had, Colden was the muddiest conditions I have EVER ridden in, and Parma totally played to my strengths because it was flat, however I had a huge crash on gravel on the 2nd loop which was (and still is) painful. So I am just going to post some photos because 1) they make me look cool and hardcore, 2) it is so beautiful outside, and 3) it's just easier! :)

Cobbs Hill CX

Cobbs Hill CX Women's CAT4 Podium (2 - Ari, 3 - me)

muddy as SHIT at Colden CX (south of Buffalo)

covered in mud after Colden CX
Ryan officiating the race (Ari and I ride with him all the time but this is the only photo I have)

SOLVEIG did her first race at Parma!!!

my battle wounds after crashing in the gravel

Monday, October 1, 2012

Harris Hill Cyclocross

Sunday, I raced cyclocross at Harris Hill in Big Flats, NY. This was my 3rd CX race in the books. Well.. 3.5 cross races if you want to get technical about it.

Last weekend, Ari and I had the brilliant idiotic idea of racing both the CAT4 Women's race (45 minutes) because we are both CAT4, and then the Open Women's race (60 minutes) for the experience. 45 minutes later. You could do an extra race for only $5 more dollars (and the entry fee for one race was only $20 anyways) so we figured it was a steal, especially since we were driving 2 hours to get to this race.

pit stop @ the Dandy Mini-Mart (classic Southern Tier)

We left from her house with our bikes on the roof of her car at about 6:30 am, and it was raining. As we drove south, the rain lifted but the fog remained. It was still really chilly out. Since this race was so close to my parents' house, they were driving up to come watch, and the Wineglass Marathon was also going on (route was from Bath, NY to Corning, NY) - so it was a busy day in the Southern Tier!

trying to stay warm between races!
Once we got to the race we got our numbers, put some layers on (including new knee warmers that I got on Tuesday using the gift card I won at Victor Apple Farm CX), and hit the course for a warmup lap. It wasn't bad at all.. it was an uphill start on a gravel road, went through a short, flat section of rooty woods, then around a corner and over 2 barriers, and then it twisted through some zigzags with one uphill barrier (ew) that you had to shoulder your bike for. Then  the course straightened out for a big, and then you hit a sandpit (which we decided to run through due to me falling over in the sandpit during my warmup lap), and then went through some woods, through some more zigzags, and then wove back to the start! It ended up being a little bit under 9 minutes for a loop for me.


beautiful fall foliage!
Our first race started right after the Master's men's race, and I believe there were 7 of us. I met 2 people that actually knew my brother because they had worked at Ride Brooklyn (I race in the RB jersey). I had never done a 45 minute race before so I was expecting it to be interesting! The first 2 women got pretty far ahead early on, but myself, Ari, and a 3rd women (Helene, who knows my brother) were all near each other. I ended up between Helene and Ari, and switched back and forth with Helene a few times before settling pretty comfortably into 4th place. Things were going well, I was doing well on the barriers, was (mostly) controlled through the corners (albeit, slow) and was able to pick up the pace out of the corners and on the straightaways. However, I continued to run through the sandpit because I didn't know any better and I didn't want to fall over again. And that was a HUGE waste of time because you had to run through the pit and then up a hill, and then somehow find the energy to re-mount. It was the worst part of the course for me. Turns out, everyone else was just riding through the pit because a packed-down line had formed - whoops. Anyways, I think on loop 5 (out of 6), I ran through the pit, tried to jump on my bike, and dropped my chain. By the time I got the chain back on and got going, Ari had passed me. I followed her through the woods and then once we hit a gravelly uphill section, I started sprinting up alongside her. Since we are both competitive, she sprinted right back and we were neck and neck, and then we had to go around this corner where she tried to squeeze me out of the way (which is totally a legit move in 'cross and NOT shady at all, and I think it's awesome that she did it), but (and I actually can't believe this) I was able to hold my line despite her being RIGHT next to me and me being right against the tape, and slipped around the corner first. Then I had to drop the hammer the best I could for the last lap to make sure she didn't pass me back!

I ended up in 4th place (just out of the money.. boo) but it was great! I would rather get 4th in a more competitive field than just be riding off the front by myself with no one else to play with! We also saw my parents out on the course and my dad was taking photos and videos. After the race, I got to explain to my mom what "DFL" was "code" for (seen on my brother's facebook page about his last cyclocross race). Thanks Grant.
CAT4 Women's start!

the double barriers
Helene with me right on her tail!
my terrible shouldering technique at the uphill barrier
GREAT photo of Ari! she is so photogenic!
 After we finished the first race, we had about 45 minutes to change our race numbers and try to stay warm before our next start (which was at 11:30), right behind the Open Men. Luckily, I have some body fat, so I was chilly but not too bad, however Ari was shivering. Sometimes, it's a good thing to have a big butt! :) We chatted with my parents and then we lined up in a field of 6 (including us). The minute the race started and we had to ride up the long gravel hill, the other 4 women were SMOKING us. We weren't even through the 1st lap when we started getting lapped by the men. It was embarrassing and I felt terrible for being in the way. Even though the majority of my races are longer than both of these 'cross races combined together, riding at threshold effort and having to jump on and off the bike and concentrate on going around tricky corners really wears you out! It became very clear that the next 60 minutes were going to be awful. Ari and I were riding along at a "leisurely" pace (i.e. as fast as we could go after already racing) together, chatting. On the 2nd lap.. I told her that I was thinking of dropping out (mostly due to being in the way of the men who were really racing, but I was also really tired). She agreed, so once we got to the finish, we stopped. Then, for the next 10 minutes we were heckled by the people doing the scoring, and they actually got Ari to go back out there and finish the race! Me - not so much. I was A-OK taking that DNF and I went back to the car and changed into dry clothes. But I give her a lot of credit for going back out there because that shit was hard after 2 loops! This was my first DNF ever.. so that is a little embarrassing but it just wasn't worth it - what if I went down due to being tired and caused a crash with the men that were actually racing? Or what if I made my knee even worse (which has flared up again since taking a spinning class 2 weeks ago)? Not worth it to me at all.

Lesson learned - I will never do 2 races in one day again! Worst $5 ever spent (I totally could have used that to buy a piece of pizza as my last meal, and then put some bullets in a gun and shoot myself because that would have been less painful probably)! I also was being RIDICULOUSLY F-ING DELUSIONAL about wanting to move up to CAT3 ASAP (10 points or 10 starts). I think I need to ride in CAT4 for a looooooooong while.

Ari and I leisurely riding and chatting during the open race

After the races were over, we went to lunch with my parents at an Indian restaurant in Corning, which just happened to be right behind the finish line of the Wineglass Marathon! Too bad I didn't see anybody that I knew.

I haven't really talked to my parents since they got back from their cruise to Alaska, so it was awesome that they came to cheer for us (and took us out to lunch!). My mom also brought me back a souvenir from Alaska! The charm on the right is a Forget-Me-Not which is the state flower of Alaska! Thanks Mom and Dad! (Also, thanks to my dad for many of these photos, and the other ones I found on the Corning NoTubes at Harris Hill facebook page after scrolling for over 400 photos looking for ones of Ari and I - yes I am a cyber stalker).


And because no race report would be complete without something weird/insane/ridiculous happening.. I have a story. A penis story. As we were racing our first race, I was pretty focused. I was looking ahead at where I was going, scanning the ground for rocks, roots, ruts, mud, trying to ride good lines, etc. At one point, somewhere on the course (I can't even remember where), I happened to look down and saw a curved stick and 2 pine cones positioned to look like.. male genitalia. In the MIDDLE of the trail. I kid you not. I saw it, laughed to myself, cursed myself out for thinking of such trivial things during a RACE, and then never saw it again. I actually wondered if I had somehow imagined it, because how could it have not been run over by the 30+ men that were all ahead of me on the course? After the race, I was telling Ari about it at the car, (loudly, obviously, because that is my only volume) and several of the people around us that had also done the same race overheard me and said that they saw it too and also thought it was hysterical! I am glad I am not the only perv. out there. :) Good times.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Victor Apple Farm Cyclocross

After my first cyclocross race in Ellison Park, I was hooked. So even though my cx buddy, Ari, was out of town last weekend, I decided to do the Victor Apple Farm 'cross race all by my lonesome. It was awesome because the race started at NOON and it was only 20 mins from my house. So I got to sleep in and chill out the morning of a race, which is UNHEARD of in triathlon! I also had to pack like a negative amount of gear - basically my helmet, sunglasses, gloves, shoes, bike, and then various layers of clothing (because I wasn't sure what the weather was going to be like at noon).

It turned out to be gorgeous and I even got sunburned!

I got to the race site at around 10, picked up my number, and then pre-rode the course. It was all grass, rolling hills, with a lot of serpentine turns, one steep run-up, one twisty downhill, and one barrier. Fairly non-technical and fast. I was racing the Cat4 race (men and women all started together) which was a 30 minute race, and I believe there were 7 women. I started way in the back to avoid all the men (and I am uncomfortable in a "group" riding situation) so it was a slow start. I passed a few women right in the beginning and soon found myself riding in 3rd. I passed #3 in the first loop and was sitting in 2nd for a while. I kept seeing the girl who I thought was in 1st not too far ahead of me (the course looped back on itself a lot) so I kept working the uphills as best as I could and I eventually passed her in what I think was the beginning of the 2nd loop. I then held that lead for the final 2 loops and ended up winning the race! I won a $25 gift card to a local bike shop, some Once Again Nut Butter, a jersey, and some other things!

I made Solveig take this!

Some interesting things: the run up was HARD.. it was so steep that it was hard to walk up! I found myself getting more comfortable with the course and the turning every loop I made - so that was good. And I did well on the barrier, which I thought was the hardest part, since you immediately had to go uphill after jumping the barrier, you had about 5 seconds to get on the bike and get going, otherwise you ended up running the bike up the long uphill section immediately after it. I managed to get on the bike and get up the hill 3 out of 4 times! Also, only 2 out of the 7 women (me and 2nd place) made it through 4 loops, everyone else was stopped after 3. The top guy did 5 loops! Craziness!

Dan laid down in the middle of the course
to try to force Josh to bunny-hop him!


A bunch of people came and watched - Dan and Solveig rode their bikes there, and Josh G. raced two races. I made some new friends, talked to some people that I met at the cross clinic and at Ellison Park. I ate lots of yummy "fair food" and just had a fantastic day overall!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cyclocross!

So, a lot can happen in a week.

Last Saturday (Labor Day weekend), I went with Solveig to test ride a cyclocross bike at Geneva Bicycle Center. I had no expectations of buying this bike.. I just wanted to ride it, get a feel for that type of bike, and come away knowing what I was looking for in terms of size. Fast forward 3 hours later and I was driving home with an XS Women's Giant TCX in the back of my car. Part of that decision was the fact that I just really need a break from triathlon and I need something new to try. Part was also my dear friend Solveig (when forced with the decision of which one of us should buy it, because it fit us both and we both wanted it) telling me to take it, because I needed it more. And lastly, the owner of the shop, Jim Hogan, spent 3 hours with us making sure we were satisfied with test riding, making sure I liked the setup of the bike, got me a better saddle than the stock saddle, and sent me on my way with the best bike buying experience ever! All of those factors contributed to my spontaneous purchase of the bike. Mostly though.. I just need a change. All of the things that I have tried to change recently have not worked out so well. But the timing worked out with this bike so I bought it.

Sometimes money can buy happiness I think.

Meet: Dobby!



Anyways, a new bike brings new possibilities. I rode the bike on the Lehigh Valley Trail. I rode it at Dryer Road Park (mountain bike trails) with a few friends. I took it to a cyclocross clinic put on by a professional cyclocross racer where I learned flying mounts and dismounts and how to jump barriers. Then, I deemed myself ready to try to race.. 1 week after purchasing the bike.

My friend Ari (who has had her 'cross bike for a while but has never raced 'cross either) and I decided to register for the Ellison Park Cyclocross Race that was on Saturday. We showed up at 8 am Saturday morning (the Cat 4 Women's race was at 10:01) in order to register and pre-ride the course. We were both nervous for sure. (However, I was channeling my inner-Jennie Hansen and wearing my sparkly black eyeliner for intimidation purposes - I am not one to wear makeup while racing but I thought it was appropriate for this type of racing!). Riding the course calmed the nerves and pointed out the parts of the course that were going to be difficult (one section that you had to carry the bike up because it was too steep to ride) and then most of the 2nd half of the course was in the grass, uphill, and had switchback turns. There were also 3 barriers in total that I would have to get off my bike and jump over while carrying my bike. This is totally a new type of riding for me so I was scared and nervous, but excited to be getting out of my comfort zone (which is riding in an endurance heart rate zone in my aerobars in a straight line for like 3 hours). It was also a bit rainy, so we got wet during our warmup and the course was a little slick, but luckily it didn't rain hard until after our race was over.

I had a few friends there cheering which was nice (thanks to John for taking photos!), and I was racing with Ari so it was good to have a familiar face out there on the course with me! There's not much to say about the race - it was a hard, 38 minute effort, I crashed twice (both of them were minor) and I sprained my ankle when I tried to get back on my bike and fell off into a bush. I found that I can climb better than I thought, I actually made it through the uphill switchbacks all 3 times (except the very last one on the 3rd loop), nailed the barriers, and I ended up getting 4th out of 8 women in the race which I was totally happy with! I was even able to actually race a bit and make some passes (both men and women). Ari ended up coming in 5th (the announcer just LOVED it when I passed her because he must have seen that we were friends) but then she went back the next day and raced again and WON! It's hard, but it's REALLY fun, and I think I will see major improvement in my cycling just from switching things up a bit!

Ari! (I am also in the background here!)

me in my Ride Brooklyn jersey and unicorn socks
Ari and I after the race in the beer tent!
(she will hate me for posting this photo)
Amy, her baby, and me!

I actually raced the Finger Lakes Tri the next day (sprint distance), winning my age group and coming in 5th OA women. So not too shabby considering I hadn't swam in 3 weeks, my legs were toasted from the cyclocross race, and I just didn't care. I need to stop taking my athletic abilities for granted for sure, especially when going in with such a blase attitude and getting such a good result regardless of that. I think that may be part of the trouble I'm having with triathlon - I have plateaued and while I am still relatively competitive, I haven't figured out how to challenge myself and take that step up to play with the big girls. Yet I am not content running a few minutes behind them either. However, that is a problem to deal with next year. It was fun to see everyone at this race (which is a season-ender for many) and get cheered on by Mary and Rich who were both on microphones! Rich made sure to announce to the crowd that I have a habit of naming all of my bicycles (I now have Hedwig and Dobby, both in tribute of deceased Harry Potter characters) and Mary announced that I just raced my first cyclocross race the day before and that I was a 3x Ironman finisher! (It pays to know the race putter-onners)!!!

Anyways, I am glad that tri season is over and that cross season has begun. I have already registered for race #2 (this Sunday) and have plans to do several more in the area, and maybe even roadtrip to Staten Island to race with my brother! (I know he's excited that I am now racing cross because he does it too!).

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fall awaits me!

So here I am.. after another unaccounted for absence. Tri season is essentially over for me. I have a Timberman race report that I need to write, and I have a sprint distance tri next weekend (which I dropped down to from the olympic distance because I just wasn't feeling it), and that is it for me!

So what is on the horizon for me?

It's taking some time away from structured triathlon training this fall. As it goes with most other Type-A neurotic athletes, I struggle with taking time OFF - I made it a week after Timberman before I started to feel like a disgusting blob. So, not working out will not work for me whatsoever. BUT I am feeling the major effects of burnout. I need to do something about it so I that I can eventually return to triathlon with an excited attitude and kill my PRs like I was supposed to do this season (and that I KNOW I can do)! I was stuck for a while on what to do.. but after that week of doing nothing and a few days of just "meh" workouts, I think I have figured it out.

I am planning on doing a run focus in the fall (have already started actually) where I run 6 days a week, (with Monday as an off day with just a swim), ride long-ish on Saturdays, and then add other swim and bike workouts in during the week as I please. Long runs on Sundays. Running is what I really enjoy doing. I don't love weekly trainer rides, and I only really like to swim in moderation (i.e. when I feel like it). But I do love to run and I REALLY miss running for the sake of running itself and not for the sake of training and filling that workout in on my schedule. I also love fall races - especially trail races!

Another big thing is that I am shopping for a cyclocross bike. This is something that I have wanted to buy for several years, and I finally got my shit together and started saving money (turns out, you can't save money AND do Ironman if you're on the Alexa budget of can't save money worth shit anyways). I think it will add a lot of fun to my cycling routine, as I will be able to (attempt) to race cyclocross, go on shorter day tours on an actually comfortable bike, ride wherever I please (gravel trails, dirt roads, etc.) and ride slowly with other people to a fun destination with perhaps food and/or drinks (instead of just hammering away alone in my aerobars).

Test riding is going to happen this weekend with Solveig, on the one small cyclocross bike we were able to find in the greater Rochester area, and then I will go from there. Because I got so confused trying to compare bikes across multiple bike brands on different websites, I used my nerd skillz to create a crazy tiny cyclocross bike spreadsheet of all the bikes I could find in my budget and their tiny sizes. I was then able to eliminate some that wouldn't work (either too large, or didn't have the basics of what I was looking for) and narrowed the search down to 4 bikes that are all similar in size. I am hoping that by riding one of them (the one we found at  Geneva Bicycle Center) I can then make sure that this size bike WILL fit me, and I can look more in-depth at what each bike offers - spec-wise before I make the big decision and order the bike from a shop!

So this is my plan for fall - run a lot, get muddy, spend hard-earned money on a 'cross bike, get muddy on that, try not to fall on face in a 'cross race, and have fun! :)

And I am ALWAYS looking for fun people to get muddy with!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

I am done.

So, what has been going on with me lately? Oh, let me tell you. I have had it with structured training. HAD IT. Timberman is in 6 days, which I am "racing," and then I am done. I am so tired of forcing workouts that I don't want to do. The only thing I like doing these days is riding my bike, so I guess I should just do more of that and less of the swimming and running. Or maybe I will move my running to the trails.. that sounds way more fun! Or maybe some hiking/picture taking. I am already registered for Finger Lakes Tri which is sometime in September, but I don't even care. I'm not sure if I'm going to do it or not.. normally I would just race it anyways, but my 10 year high school reunion is the day before, so that pretty much screws with the race because I haven't figured out how it will be possible to do them both.

I have been saving money all year for a large purchase in the fall. At first it was going to be a nice road bike, then that changed to a cyclocross bike, then to a Quarq powermeter, which is what I had settled on for several months. After this shitty, shitty season continued on without improvements, I feel negatively about spending $2000 of my hard-earned money on something that should, in theory, help me race faster, but that I do not feel like I deserve. If I can't even focus on my workouts, WHY in the hell should I spend my money on a powermeter? To just highlight the fact that I suck even more?? So I am now back on the cx bike. I think it would allow me to have more "fun" cycling time (because it's not always my idea of fun to be hammering away in aero for multiple hours). I would be able to do some light touring, ride some trails, go on group rides, and even TRY CYCLOCROSS!

There are a few problems with buying a cyclocross bike. The main one is that I am short, very short, and most 'cross bikes are made for men. So first, I have to find a brand that makes a tiny 'cross bike, and THEN I have to find a shop that has one in stock so I can try it. So far, I have had zero luck finding the 44 cm Cannondale CAADX bike in which I am interested. The shop employee went as far as to say that I will never find that small of a bike stocked in ANY shop except maybe the factory shop. Wonderful. I have plans in a few weeks to go test ride a variety of bikes at Geneva Bicycle Center with Solveig - she has discussed this with them and they are going to assemble a list of tiny bikes for us to consider (she is rather small as well).

The second problem with buying bike #2 is that I have nowhere to put it in my apartment. I would be happy to hang it on a wall but I don't have any unused wall space. So this will be interesting to figure out as well.

On a TOTALLY unrelated note (and don't ask me how I even started thinking about this).. does anyone here remember playing with POGS in the 90s? I totally remember going to craft shops like A.C. Moore or trading card shops and digging through GIANT bins filled with cardboard POGS.. looking for super cool ones to add to my collection. Also, I had the sweetest slammer EVER. Aw and now I am getting all nostalgic for the 90s!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ironman Fever

Today is my 2 year anniversary of my first Ironman - IMLP 2010!


That was also hands-down my favorite Ironman - best finishing time (12:18), best course scenery, most fun overall experience, racing with over 10 other teammates/friends, having Mary and my parents there as well as some friends. I got some of those things with my other 2 Ironmans, but not all of them. That's what happens when it's the "local" Ironman.. probably from now on I will know at LEAST one person racing IMLP!

I am starting to get a little of my Ironman fever back. I keep toying with the idea of registering for Ironman Mont Tremblant next month, but I am 99% sure I am going to wait until 2014. First of all, I think I need another year off from it. Going from a bad race season into an Ironman season is not exactly the mental preparation that I need. I would rather have a GOOD race season next year (*fingers crossed*) and then tackle Ironman again the following year. Second of all, I am starting graduate school next year and I'm not sure I want to juggle a new grad. school program AND Ironman training AND working shifts all at the same time. Maybe after I am settled into a routine with school, work, and regular training I would be able to handle it. And last of all, I just don't have the money for it right now. Or at least, I don't want to put the money into it (registration fees, travel expenses, passport renewal, etc.). Instead, I am close to having enough money to buy a Quarq Powermeter! So that is something that I am really excited about!

So I doubt I will even need someone to hide my credit card on August 20th! I have pretty much talked myself out of it. :)

Seriously.. why the f*&% do I even want to do more Ironmans? They are time consuming, they hurt like hell, they are expensive, yet..

 I still don't feel like I am done with the distance..

Or maybe I am just that much of an idiot.

(No commenting on that please!).



Carry on, my friends. :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

best laid plans..

OK first of all I want to say:

CONGRATS TO ALL YOU IRONMAN LAKE PLACID-ERS!! Special congratulations to Jennie Hansen on her 2nd OA pro finish in her debut Ironman, her husband Dave getting 4th in the M25-29 age group (also his debut Ironman), my Bradford County, PA friends Rachel and Mike Murphy (they crossed the line together!), Rochester QT2 athlete Tim Karch, and famous Rochester neurosurgeon K-Dub! Also many more that I am forgetting I'm sure. I wish I could have been there cheering like last year, but with our short-handed staff at work and me taking last Sunday night off, I just didn't want to do it. Plus, that's a really long drive to be making alone. But I was thinking about you all (and stalking tracking you too) all day!

Anyways.

I had a really strange week(end) of training.

I had a hard time bouncing back from Musselman last week. I think mostly it was due to being unable to sleep for a few days after the race (and working nights) and also, just running that far on very minimal run training. My legs were killing me through Thursday and mentally I just couldn't get going. I skipped workouts Monday and Tuesday in favor of dying on my couch and/or in my bed, and finally dragged myself out the door on Wednesday to swim (which felt awesome, btw). After that, things went as per usual. Note to self: active recovery is a very real, beneficial thing! All those people that told me to get my ass moving - you were all right! And next time I'll even listen! (Maybe.. I am nothing if not stubborn as hell).

Saturday I was scheduled for a 3 hour ride (no rest for the weary) so I mapped out a loop and rode from Mendon Ponds Park. I didn't get started until 11 am or so because I didn't sleep well that night either (probably because I spent Friday night with my friend Sam having a few drinks and then watching JAWS). I may never get into open water again. My ride really went well, especially since I was expecting it to be horrible. It was beautiful out, it was a new loop, and even when I ran into major construction on the road I was supposed to be riding on (giant rocks on the road instead of pavement for miles), I just looked at google maps on my trusty iPhone and found a way around. My 30 minute transition run did NOT go well. I ran ok for 10 minutes, then just kept getting hot, dizzy, and eventually walked the last 10 minutes in.. couldn't figure out why this happened (nutrition on the bike was good) but as I was reflecting on the day before (Friday), I had worked until 5 am, then went home and slept til 11:30 am, then I had to get up and go to a retirement party for a newly retired coworker. That is where I ate my ONLY meal of the day and it was not-good eggplant parm so I ate like 1/10 of what I actually got. Oh, and then I went to the pool and swam, showered again, and went back out where I had 2 drinks and stayed up until midnight-ish.

Really.. not the best planning in the world. It was a stupid thing to do but I honestly didn't even realize that I had barely eaten all day until I really was troubleshooting the problem as I walked back to my car after the failed T-run. My appetite and eating schedule are so f-ed up when I work nights.. I know I don't eat enough because I am never hungry (or I am hungry at really weird times, such as right before I go to sleep at 8 am) or I am nauseous from not sleeping.. it's definitely not good for me. I KNOW that affects my workout motivation on those weeks of nights! Something to work on for sure. I am still having difficulty balancing my training with my social life but I refuse to go back to hermit-land where I lived for the past 2 years!

Sunday I ran 1:13 at 7:30 am (which is definitely early for me). It was in the upper 60s so I started out actually wearing a shirt - SHOCKING, I know - but that stayed on for 4 minutes before I was too hot, and I left it sitting on top of one of those power box things at a red light - picked it up on my way back. The run went well for about 45 minutes and then my pace kept getting slower and slower. My running is so frustrating this year and I don't know what else to do about it.. Happily, getting up at 7 caused me to be done with my workouts by 10:30!

Later I went to see "The Dark Knight Rises" since I had some time to kill Sunday afternoon and I didn't really know anyone else that wanted to go see it. I haven't decided how I feel about it (and I don't want to spoil anything) other than a) it was really long and b) I froze my ass off for 2 hours and 45 minutes in the theater. I've had this weird things with motorcycles lately and if I could ride the crazy Bat-cycle thing (without accidentally killing myself) I might die happy. Oh, and Joseph Gordon Levitt is H-O-T with a capital H. I just want to hug him! (Naked hugging....?). I do love hugs.............. and I'm rambling.

And because everyone loves a post with photos.. here are some from Musselman!

typical mid-race "Alexa refuses to smile at photographer" aero photo
VERY typical "Alexa stares at Garmin with confused look on face" photo!
I actually left out the typical "Alexa's ass looks gigantic" photo that Brightroom got of me running from the swim exit to transition.. a sopping wet race kit hanging off of me = not flattering. And I thought my wetsuit made me look big. I'm sorry to whoever had to follow me and look at that! The tri kit in general is just not a flattering outfit on me! Haha.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

triathlete dating fail

Trying to date while being an active triathlete is hard.

If you manage to land a date with a "regular" (AKA - non-athlete) person (why would you want to do this anyways?!), prepared to be blown off due to having an "extreme" lifestyle. Your personality might be great, but you are crazy for riding your bike for 3 hours, because who would ever want to do that?! Isn't it cooler to eat nachos while sitting on the couch?

If you try to date someone who is a single sport person (runner, or swimmer, or cyclist) it will work out for a while, but then you will convince them to try a triathlon because you are super awesome, and then you will beat them (since you are seasoned), and if you are a woman.. well they won't like that!

If you actually manage to meet another triathlete (bonus if they are rich) - great! But if you're both Ironman triathletes.. prepare to never see each other because you are both on your respective 6 hour rides that are probably conflicting since you can't ride together due to gender/speed discrepancies.

This is why I have a cat. :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Musselman 2012 and the Golden Shower

Sunday I raced the Musselman half-IM. It was my first half since Syracuse 70.3 in 2010. I am exciting to get back into the "middle distance" of triathlon racing because I feel like I can (hopefully) be pretty successful in this distance. Hopefully, someday. Although I am starting to think that my race career peaked at age 26. That is really depressing and I try not to think about it.

MusselBaby that came in the packet!!

Yesterday did not reflect on my "maybe I could be good at 70.3s" idea AT ALL.

Fair warning: this was not a good race for me. My race report will reflect that. Sorry that I can't spin it positively. Sometimes shit just sucks.

Pre-Race
I woke up at 4 am to get showered, dressed, eat, and hit the road at 4:45 am. I was wearing my new Johnson & Johnson tri kit! I got to transition about an hour later and saw Jill, Solveig, Jeremy, and John on my way in. I don't know how I can be so loud and excitable before 6 am.. it's just something about the race atmosphere that gets me going! I was setting up in transition and my blog friend Anne-Marie was at the rack next to mine, so we chatted about the race, the weather, etc. Soon after, it was announced that the water temperature was 78.8 so the race would be non-wetsuit legal. I decided to follow their call and swim without my wetsuit for 2 reasons: a) I didn't want to risk overheating in my full length wetsuit and b) if something crazy were to happen and I had a really good race, I didn't want to disqualify myself from any sort of award. That is just not a chance I am willing to take no matter what kind of shape I am in. Plus, it's good practice for races in the future where I really might be in contention for an award - at least now I will have one non-wetsuit swim under my belt! I was going off in the 6th wave, so I had like 45 mins to kill after they closed transition but before my wave was going off, so I stood around, talked to some people, didn't really get hit by any nerves. The weather was in the 70s already so it was promising to be hot and muggy, but at least there was cloud cover. There were also thunderstorms in the forecast.

Swim
Since I had opted to not wear my wetsuit, I was standing around in my tri kit, holding my cap and goggles, for 25 minutes because I was in wave #6 out of 7 total waves. I saw a few people at this point as well as was discovered by another Johnson & Johnson employee from New Jersey, and she was actually the woman that mailed my race kit to me! Such a small world! Anyways, they finally called for the light blue wave and I went into the coral, and then waded out into the lake - it felt cooler than I expected. Jeff yelled "GO" and we were off! Because I wasn't wearing my wetsuit and about half of the wave was, I started off to the right so I wouldn't get trampled. There were pretty decent waves coming towards the shore that were a little challenging to swim through out to the first two buoys and then parallel to the shore, but not too horrible. There was also LOTS of seaweed and I'm pretty sure I swam into a dead fish at one point (I could smell something rotting and something cold and nasty smacked into my face). Those two things would ordinarily cause me to completely freak out in open water, but during a race I can somehow tuck my fear of all things slimy in the back of my head and proceed to swim even with seaweed draped across my face. The water temperature was perfect for a no-wetsuit swim, and I would have been dying in my full-sleeved wetsuit, so I'm glad I went without. Once we turned towards the shore, we had the waves pushing us in, and then we had the current in the canal and the river. My swim time was only 2 minutes slower than my best half-IM swim time which I earned while wearing a wetsuit, so I was definitely happy with it.
36:15

T1
Awesome because I didn't have to struggle with my wetsuit!
1:31

Bike
I hopped on my bike and started out feeling good through the park. I was happy with my swim time and was thinking to myself that I might have a decent race after all! I was pushing pretty hard and passing a bunch of people as I was heading out of Geneva, and then realized that I wasn't racing a sprint tri and I should probably slow down. At this point, I realized I had no idea how to pace this thing because I hadn't raced anything but a sprint tri or an Ironman in 2 years! I was supposed to race by heart rate but it was totally spiking and I couldn't get it to come down. I'm not sure if it was the heat, the adrenaline, the fact that it was sliding down my stomach, or my stupidity that was making it so high.

Five minutes into the ride I knew it wasn't going to be a fun trip. I felt like I have absolutely no gas in the tank whatsoever. I could either cruise along at 16 mph and try to ride via HR, or I could try to push it a little and see if I could get my legs moving. I decided to go with the second option. It didn't help that the first 1/3 of the course is slightly uphill, and there was a headwind for the first long section. Even though I knew these elements were factoring into my slow speed, it was still discouraging. I was riding with Karin K. right in the beginning of the course (although it took me 30 mins to figure out who it was that kept talking to me as we played leapfrog!). She was riding better than I was so I decided to try to stick with her and at least that would give me something on which to focus. This worked for a while, and then we hit 414N which had JUST been paved and we had a tailwind, and I saw my speed hold steady in the 23-24 mph zone, and I started to feel better and that all hope was not lost. And then, the thunderstorms that were forecasted, hit. Hard. It started out with thunder, and then lightning, and then the rain started pouring down - I was drenched within 10 seconds. It was pelting me in the eyeballs underneath my sunglasses (thank god I changed the lenses to the less tinted ones), they were fogging up, and I could barely see. There was an inch of standing water on the road that was really freaky to ride through. Basically I just kept a death grip on my handlebars and tried to stay as far right as possible so that a car or other cyclist wouldn't hydroplane into me! It was at this point in the race where I just mentally gave up. I kept hoping that one of the giant lightning bolts would strike me down. Or that they would call off the race due to the thunderstorm. Or that I would flat and someone could drive me back to transition. Horrible, negative things. I just didn't want to be out there. I am not proud of this, but I guess it happens. But there I was, out in the middle of nowhere, in the rain, in the middle of a race, refusing to stop no matter how much it sucked. (Although I did consider stopping at one of the many wineries I was riding by to drown my sorrows).

 The rain continued until I reached Cayuga Lake (so I crawled down the steep downhill as slowly as possible) and then it started easing up. I was able to pee once on that downhill.. the rain just made it that much easier! By this point, I had lost Karin and I felt even crappier. I felt crappy for a long time. I tried to stay on top of my nutrition, although the deathgrip for the 30 minute deluge might have hindered that a little bit.

 I started to feel good at mile 50. Seriously? Six miles left and that's when my body decides that it is ok with racing. Of course, this had NOTHING to do with the tailwind that we were getting as we were heading north back to Geneva! By now, the rain had been gone for a while and the roads were actually starting to dry. As I was riding, I felt a few drops hit my face, so I wondered if it started raining again and looked up. Turns out, it was not rain, it was the guy that had just passed me peeing.. and it was blowing onto my face. I GOT PEED ON. Yes folks, it was my first (and please god hopefully my last) golden shower. As grossed out as I was, I do this as well (although I try to check behind me first) so I couldn't really be mad. Only in triathlon.....
3:06:57, 18.1 mph

T2
Not much to be said here. My shoes and socks were already soaked despite my having covered them up with a Wegmans bag.
 1:42

Run
photo by Solveig who did the AquaBike
I saw Matt K. immediately after leaving transition, and he took a photo of me waving at him (which I am still waiting to see!). I felt really good running through the park. I cheered for the top guys who were coming in (and also was very jealous that they were almost done!). I also saw my friends Erin and Steve (they raced the day before) at the Ramada and they cheered for me both times I ran by which was super awesome of them! I actually felt good running for the first 5 miles or so. And then I started to get hot and my legs hurt. My longest run this year has been one hour and six minutes long due to my knee injury, so I was worried about how long I would be able to run strong. I was also worried that my knee pain would flare back up. It didn't feel 100% while I was running, but it didn't do anything alarming enough to cause me to stop. I was running right with Jill for a while but she was running better than me and eventually passed me for good. I also sprained my ankle (for real) running up Barracks Rd., which is a steep, rocky, dirt road right around mile 7. I ran halfway up then rolled my ankle, then walked the rest of the way. I am no stranger to a sprained ankle, so once I got to the top, I just ran on it. So that was fun. By this point I knew I wasn't going to beat my 2009 Musselman time (my first 70.3 ever and slowest 70.3 time) and was looking at a PW. I just was hoping to stay under 6 hours. Which I managed to do.. barely. The downhill sections were ok, but I am not a great downhill runner and I had 2 sore quads, a bad knee, and a bad ankle to contend with! Running back through the park is always 1000x worse than when you're first starting, as well. It's flat but it's soooo boring. I guess I just don't have many positive things to say about this run other than I didn't screw my knee up which was my main concern.
2:06:42, 9:32 min/mi


Finish: 5:53:07, 13 AG, personal worst time by 13 f-ing minutes!!!


The good things about the race.. well the race itself is fantastic. The packets always have awesome stuff in them - this year I got all natural peanut butter, a tech shirt, shampoo/conditioner, and an adorable stuffed "MusselBaby." It's always well-organized and runs smoothly. And I love seeing all of my triathlon friends that I really only see either at Kershaw Park or at races. I got to meet some new people too!

Also, it was a COMPLETE reality check about where I am this season. I am NOWHERE near where I was supposed to be due to circumstances that were not my fault. However, maybe I can stop screwing around and actually get some quality training in.. and maybe Timberman in August won't be quite as bad? I have to stop comparing races. I raced a 5:16 at Tinman 4 weeks out from IMLP but that was at Ironman-level fitness. And I had a perfect race. This was not a perfect race, and I am not even in half-IM condition, let alone Ironman shape! I have to learn to look at a race for what it is relative to my training and not relative to every single race I have ever done in my entire life.

And luckily, I found some fun post-race things to do too. So that made my day better and I didn't sit around dwelling on a bad race! :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Letter of the Week is "M"

M is for Musselman on Sunday. (http://www.musselmantri.com/). My first big race of the year! Although I am not as well prepared as I would like to be, I have gotten further in my training over the past month and a half than I thought I would. Running is starting to feel normal again, although every step I take I worry that I am going to hurt my knee again. Should be a fun day - lots of my friends will be out there! Will also be hot, as usual!

M is for Magic Mike which I am going to see tonight with some other ladies who "appreciate" the male form. I think that is all I have to say about that.. :)



M is for Green Mountain Coffee.. which is what has been fueling me this week (is this the longest week ever or what?).

M is for Mornings which I DO NOT LIKE!

M is for Michael Jackson dance parties on the weekends, and then walking 1.6 miles each way to a bar that has a cover, and then realizing that you are too drunk to be drinking any more and need to drink water. (That is not something I did last weekend or anything..).

M is for My life is pretty awesome. :)


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The right one will come along

The right one will come along.

How many times a week do I hear that sentence? The right job. The right relationship. The right race. So many applications for that one phrase!

Yet, I don't believe in fate. I don't believe that my life will culminate with some pre-determined "moment" in which I have no say. I don't believe in destiny. Or some god's master plan.

The perfect job isn't going to fall into my lap. In order to find a different job, I have to network, practice my interviewing skills, keep my resume up-to-date, and actually seek out and apply for positions. I have to do extra work at my job so that I am more qualified. I have to do my best in order to do better in a new position. I can't just sit around moaning my existence and assume that things will get better on their own.

And if I want to meet someone to be in a relationship with.. forget it. I hear so many conflicting theories. I have to online date. I have to be proactive. I have to do nothing and wait for someone to pursue me. I have to meet someone "organically." What I DO know is that what I am currently doing (which is nothing) does not work. I am not the kind of person that is going to meet someone in line at a coffee shop and get married to them a year later. Things like that just don't happen to me. I take a very proactive stance on life and that is in direct opposition to how dating is supposed to work. I am the woman so I am supposed to be "chased." I'm sorry, but I can't sit still for that and I don't have the patience for it either.

If I want the "perfect" race (which does not actually exist), I have to put in the time to train. I have to sacrifice other areas of my life in order to get in all of my training hours. I have to learn how to execute my nutrition flawlessly. I have to pick races that play to my strengths and then overcome my mental demons once I am racing. I have to believe in myself as an athlete and know how to race right to the edge of my ability. A great race doesn't just happen. It's something you do. Something you work towards and achieve.

So I cannot live by that motto - that the right one will come along. I just cannot sit there and be a passenger in my own life. And if I never get a better job, or meet a great guy, or have the best race of my life, at least I will know that I tried and didn't just sit around waiting for things to get better.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cycling as a natural anti-depressant

It is amazing how a good workout can fix a bad today.

And today was a bad day. It wasn't bad for any particular reason, more the culmination of a bunch of smaller things over which I have no control.

I have not gotten any of the jobs I have interviewed for, so now that there are no open positions left for me to apply, I am back to my old standby of networking and redoing my resume. We are losing a person in the lab tomorrow, so I will have to work more overnight shifts to accommodate that change.. which I am worried will trigger more insomnia nights. I am also in the longest stretch of being single that I can remember. Even for me, who certainly enjoys a lot of alone time, it's getting frustrating. My friends (who are ALL in relationships by the way) listen and try to help (and have gone so far as to actually introduce me to guys that I will like - and have liked) but it seems to be a perpetual case of wrong place, wrong time for me.

So with all of that weighing on my mind, I didn't have the most fun day of my life. And I knew I had to ride my bike for 2.5 hours after work (because I don't have time this Saturday to do it, which is when it's scheduled for). So if the ride went badly, I think it would have sent me over the edge.

I think I subconsciously knew that I NEEDED it to go well. It wasn't a super scenic route (although it was a loop instead of my typical out and back) and it was hot, and I didn't ride particularly fast, and there was a bit of traffic, but it was good. It just felt really good. And it made me happy to be riding. Spinning up hills, flying down hills, sweating, drinking when my timer went off.. all felt like second nature. Every time I ride, I can look down and see my Ironman stickers on my top tube, and it reminds me that I can do things that not everyone can do. And that even though parts of my life are not going as well as I'd like them, that other parts are going great. And that took away the bad feelings that were resonating throughout me.

And now I feel better.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Previewing the Musselman Bike Course

I have ridden the Musselman half-IM bike course the past 2 weekends. It has been pretty hot both times as well as windy. Since I haven't raced Musselman in 2009 and I am disadvantaged due to my issues this year, I wanted to do some recon so that I am as prepared as I can be.

My first ride of the course was good, albeit slow. It was very hot and I was testing out a new drink - Skratch Lab Secret Drink Mix - recommended by a whole bunch of people. (But that is for another post). I didn't get my ride started until noon because I wanted to sleep. Did I mention it was hot out? Yeah. I got fried in the sun for over 3 hours. But it was good to scope out the course because it's deceptively hard. It is also really, really boring to ride alone.

I went back this past Saturday to ride it again. This time, I had plans to go early and ride with company (I was meeting a friend at 8:15 to be riding by 8:30). I met her there and we were off.. and then 20 minutes into the ride, I got a flat tire. Ugh. We changed it, but since Jill was on a tight schedule, we decided to skip riding through Sampson State Park and to just ride back on 96A - no big deal. Until my tire went flat AGAIN about one minute later. I ended up walking down 96A for a good 30 minutes or more while Jill rode back to Geneva, put her bike in my car, got her car, came and got me, and we took my bike to Geneva Bike Center so that THEY could change flat #2. By the time they were done, it was after 10 am. Jill was no longer going to be able to ride the course, but we somehow picked up Solveig at the shop, and they rode the first 45 minutes of the course with me (past the flat tire stop) and then turned around while I continued on.

I really tried to take note the second time around of places where I could push, places where I needed to sit back and spin, and spots where I would need to be prepared for steep hills or sharp turns. I also got chased by 2 very scary dogs. The first one ran RIGHT in front of me, requiring me to slam on my brakes and skid past it. Solveig crashed her bike due to a loose dog on this very same course two years ago, so you can understand my fear. I BARELY missed that dog. Over an hour later, a different dog started chasing me, although this dog wouldn't let up and chased me for at least 45 seconds. I just couldn't drop the dog and I thought it was going to bite me! I kept trying to figure out if I could unclip and kick it in the face. I love dogs and don't condone that type of behavior, but I was scared to death!

Anyways, moral of the story - don't ride by yourself or you might be eaten by a dog.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Growing Up is Part of the Game

I'm not quite sure what is happening to me.

Not only is my apartment clean (like, clean and picked up enough for company) at all times, I find myself vacuuming multiple times a week. Part of that is due to my cat shedding like CRAZY but also, I just am nuts about my carpet being clean. I feel the urge to immediately put things away once I use them. At one point in my life, I would throw clothes on the floor, leave items on the counter, have piles of paperwork sitting around. Now, I unpack my gym back immediately after getting home. I put groceries right away. I file my paid bills weekly. If I watch a DVD, I put it away right after I finish it, rather than leaving the DVD in the player and the case sitting on the floor. The only thing on the floor right now (other than my furniture, obviously) are my slippers.

Where is this neat-freak attitude coming from? God knows it wasn't there for the first 27 years of my life! What happened at age 28?!

I have also bought (and worn) a bunch of dresses this spring. Basically, whenever I go out with my friends now, I try to look nice and dresses are becoming more normal for me to wear. I even have a pair of heels! (There is a first for everything I guess).

Maybe I am growing up finally? I am proud of what I have accomplished, even though it may not be a lot compared to more successful people. But I have a job, an apartment, a car, good friends, I can support myself as well as my 2 pets (one which is expensive as s&%*), I can afford to do triathlons, at which I seem to do pretty well. It is time to be proud of the things that I have done rather than be hung up on the things that I want to do but haven't been successful at just yet.

I am just in an odd mood tonight. I have been streaming "Friday Night Lights" through Netflix. If you don't know, it's a TV show that ran a few years ago about a high school football team in Texas. I don't really care for football, but the show is good. And tonight, I cried during an episode. Not even cried.. SOBBED. For no reason other than it was a little sad.

WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Keuka Lake Tri Race Report

Pre-race

I got up at 4, showered, dressed, ate, and left at 5. I was wearing my new QT2 kit that I had just gotten in the mail and had yet to wear (classic mistake but it was a nice quality kit so I wasn't worried about trying it out first!). The drive to Penn Yan was uneventful, I just rocked out to my "running" playlist on the way down! While I was picking up my packet in the gym, I got a phone call from my dad (and of course my "You Can Call Me Al" ringtone was echoing all throughout the gym before I could dig it out of my bag to answer it!) saying that my mom didn't feel well and that they weren't going to come. I was disappointed because I haven't seen them in a while, AND they were going to bring the race T-shirt quilt that my cousin made me, and they usually bring the dog too, but it was a crappy day so I'm sure they had more fun at home and not standing in the rain in Penn Yan watching me do yet another race!

Solveig and I pre-race under the red tent
I set up my transition and then brought my bag to set it under Matt K's tent. It was pretty cold so Solveig and I wandered around with our wetsuits half on and coats on top. We watched the intermediate waves go off and then went back to put our stuff away. We were in the same wave which started at 8:30 - an hour after the first swim wave went off for the intermediate race. That's what sucks about the sprint.. standing around in your wetsuit while freezing your ass off for an hour!

I love seeing friends in transition before a race, or milling around the swim start. I am really in my element at a race and I am much more personable and outgoing than in other situations. I just think it's a lot of fun to see everyone!

Swim

The water was a lot warmer than it usually is at Keuka. I would say normally it is high 50s, maybe low 60s, but today it was 67 degrees. So basically, a bath. Our wave got in and only then did I realize how choppy the water was! I positioned myself in the front towards the outside (to avoid the crowd - ever since IMCDA I have been a little freaked out in the pack) and we were off! Once I started swimming, the chop wasn't too bad. I was swimming mid-pack for a while and then started passing girls once we rounded the first buoy. By the time I reached the 2nd buoy, I was catching swimmers from the previous wave and had pretty much settled in by myself - behind the fast ladies but ahead of the pack. That is usually how it goes for me.. I need to figure out how to jump to that next level! I was happy to finish the swim, like always!

15:32 - 11th OA, 2nd AG

T1

I ripped off my cap and goggles, ran up the stairs, got the top half of my wetsuit off, gave a wave to Mary who was announcing, and ran to my spot transition. I had a pretty shitty transition. First race of the year is always rough and I had to put my Garmin on my wrist, and my new Garmin (Gary the vibrating Garmin to be specific) has a wristband that has holes in it - not velcro like my old one, so it took me a few tries to get it on. Everything else was smooth enough I guess.

1:28 - 7th OA, 2nd AG

Bike

I saw Jeremy as I was running through bike out and got mounted and headed out onto the course. Since it was such a short race I started hammering immediately. It was raining by this point but I don't mind riding in the rain, and even though it was chilly, I felt fine in just my tri kit. I am almost never cold in races so I didn't bother with arm warmers or anything - most of the other people I saw out there had the same idea as me. As in all sprint races, it was mostly a man-passing-fest. I like passing men so I had a lot of fun with it. More than halfway down the "out" part of the course, I passed a woman wearing an Erie Triathlon Club outfit that was in my swim wave. I made a hard pass and didn't see here again during the bike leg. I had originally gone into this race to "have fun" but of course that went out the window when I started racing. Especially since I won the stupid race last year, I had it in my head that I could get on the podium again (maybe not in first but at least top 3). So once I passed that chick, I laid down the hammer going down the long descent on 54A. For a while it was fun - I am pretty bold on downhills, but then I started reflecting back on my crash that happened just 2 weeks prior and remembered how unpleasant it was. That combined with the wet course, the debris on the road, the other riders (many who were probably beginners), and the upcoming 180 turnaround at the bottom of the hill, I decided that I was being an idiot so I sat up and slowed down a bit. I made the turn and started back up the hill. Since I am small, I always make a lot of passes going up hills. One guy even commented on how strong I was climbing the hill and I yelled back at him that it was because I only weigh 115 lbs. Sometimes, I don't know why I say the things I say, but it's true anyways.

looking happy in the new QT2 kit!
41:34 - 20.2 mph, 4th OA, 1st AG

T2

I made it back into transition thoroughly soaked and sad that the bike was over. I had a little trouble finding my spot in transition, but got my stuff off easily enough, and grabbed my hat and race number. This transition should be under 1 minute and I just could not get my running sneakers on (they were soaked and  I could NOT figure out how to change my Garmin to "run" using the auto-multisport mode (this is one of those things that I need to learn BEFORE race day) so I had to reset it and just set it to run the regular way. As I was exiting transition and fiddling with my Garmin, Mary yelled to me, and then someone in front of me yelled "ALEXA" and turned to give me a high five. I had no idea who it was - turns out it was my friend Marty haha.

1:17 -  39th OA, 4th AG

Run

My goal for the run was just to run. I have barely run this entire year, I have had runner's knee and now a really sore right leg from the crash. I knew I COULD run 3 miles, just slowly. At least it was raining and not hot. I just tried to keep my head down and my pace as fast as possible. The Erie chick passed me back a little before the mile mark and she was going too fast for me to keep up with. Otherwise, I saw a bunch of Train-This and QT2 teammates out on the course so that was good. Dan Jareke and Rich Clark were watching/cheering and yelled for me too!

it's so pretty!


25:06 - 8:06 min/mile, 20th OA, 4th AG

Finish Time: 1:24:57 - 4th OA, 1st AG

F25-29 Sprint Podium


Matt Kellman in his mullet wig. sexy.
My performance at this race ended up being about 5 minutes slower than last year, where I finished in 1:19:53 and won the race. I will contribute part of it to the race conditions (choppier water and rain/wind on the bike) and part of it to my lack of in-shape-ness (last year I was in peak Ironman condition for the upcoming IMCDA). I still managed to do pretty well in the race - I did not make the podium but I was 4th OA female and won my age group. Prizes were pretty good too - instead of a plaque or a medal that would just get stuck in a drawer, I got a bottle of wine (YES MORE WINE) and a jar of almond butter. Yum! Greg also got on the podium with a win in his age group for the intermediate distance, which qualified him for Age Group Nationals, so congrats to GREG! Score-This always puts on a great race at Keuka!



Afterwards, I went to this ice cream place with Greg, his wife Amanda, his parents, and 2 of his friends that I met that day. Who turns down homemade ice cream? Not this girl!

On my drive home from Penn Yan, my windshield wipers broke and are now stuck halfway up my windshield. So that looks awesome when I am driving around. I have to take my car to the Hyundai dealer tomorrow to have it looked at. Thank god for warranties!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Ins and Outs

So my Keuka Lake Tri race report is written, but I am waiting on photos before I publish it! In the meantime, I have done a bunch of fun things recently that don't involve triathlon.

me and Jessie in Jim Thorpe
A few weeks ago, I took a weekend trip to the Poconos area to visit one of my best friends in the entire world. Jessie and I were college roommates at Slippery Rock and fellow pre-physical therapy majors, although I am a year older than her. She went on to get her DPT whereas I changed my course of study junior year to straight biology. Even though I hadn't seen her since 2009 when I ran the Philadelphia Marathon (she lives in Philly and came to see me after the race), it really made no difference. We ate some food, hit up some wineries, did some drinking, got pedicures, and in general just had a fun, relaxing weekend. We have vowed to get together at LEAST once a year from now on!

Ari and I got a bottle of wine at Aladdin's
Memorial Day weekend was fun - I had 4 days off. I took Friday off specifically because Chrissie Wellington's book tour was coming to Toronto and I was going to drive up to see her. Yes, I am that obsessed that I will drive over 300 miles and into a different country just to hug Chrissie. I was about 10 minutes outside of Buffalo when I got a bunch of messages saying that Chrissie had canceled her event at GEARS bike shop because she had lost her passport and couldn't fly to Canada. I was not happy. At all. I *may* have cried. Thank god I was told before I crossed into Canada and turned off my cell phone! I turned a sad day into a happier one by going shopping at the Galleria and buying a cute dress at least. I then spent the rest of the weekend drinking. I think.. at least Thursday night, Friday night and Sunday night. And then I got yelled at by Mary so no more wine for me.. for a while. :)
Ari was also drinking water as to stay properly hydrated

This past Friday, I went to see Michael Franti and Spearhead with Steve Winwood at CMAC with Solveig. I like Michael Franti and I am pretty much open to most musical experiences. The problem - we had lawn tickets and it was a 100% chance of rain. We said "screw it" and went anyways, managed to get seats under the cover of the amphitheatre, and had lots of fun! We left early (after Franti but about halfway through Steve Winwood). He was just too mellow with too many saxophone solos and we were both freezing and tired by 10:30 pm. Basically, we are grandmas. It was a good time though. I would love to go to a show and actually be able to lie on the lawn on a blanket and not freeze my ass off!
we were freezing our butts off under a giant umbrella

I am obviously doing well with the "be more social" New Years Resolution that I made! :)