Friday, September 28, 2012

Wedding (Cow) Bells

What does one do with a wedding at the end of the summer and a trip to age group nationals just 3 weeks before that?  One combines the bachelorette weekend with a triathlon.  

The weekend after nationals was the Cranberry Tri Fest.  A and I were registered as swimmers in Sunday's olympic distance on team with some friends from my work.  While R and L (and R's boyfriend D) were all registered in Saturday's sprint distance.  Both R and D's first triathlons.

When I suggested combining the two events, A was thrilled or at least feigned it well.  She found a little bed and breakfast in Plymouth about 30 minutes from the course that we basically took over for the weekend.  We headed down Friday night for a quiet, but lovely dinner, then got up early Saturday morning for racing and cheering.  I had signs and cowbells that I had bought especially for the race, really nice cowbells, and yes, the quality does matter.  I've gotten blisters from poorly designed cowbells in the past.

R was a little nervous about hitting the water, but D had take no prisoners attitude.

Every one made it through with smiles, at least by about 20 minutes after the race, if not the finish line.  Then there was brunch, naps, a little running, then it was time for the bachelorette festivities.  After a few party games and gifts, much delicious cheese (my friends know me so well) and some champagne, we headed out for dinner on the water, followed by partying in Plymouth.

I'd never been to Plymouth.  But it's got a cute downtown waterfront area, and a few bars I'd scouted on my run earlier.  But none seemed to be happening.  As we walked down the street, we heard, what I thought was karaoke, but turned out to just be a local cover band (!)  We head in, and we are easily some of the youngest crowd there.  Many, many 65+ year old ladies came over to congratulate me and a few to warn me away.  We danced and belted out the lyrics, and I got exactly one free drink, from one of the aforementioned ladies.  I think Paul was a little worried that there might be many dudes, but nope, there was nothing to stress him.  I think we headed back to the b&b around 11:30pm.  Really, it was a perfect evening:  great friends, good food, lots of songs every one knows, and still in bed at a reasonable hour for our races the next day.  My kind of party.

The swims went well.  Andrea's team beat my team, but I had a super fast swim (faster than nationals) that I was very pleased with.  Maybe not the average bachelorette party, but it was absolutely perfect for me.  And I was so grateful to have such wonderful friends to celebrate with.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Season closer

Fall arrived last weekend, and it's feeling cooler and crisper, but triathlon season is not over, quite yet.

Duxbury beach sprint triathlon is this weekend.  I did it two years ago.  In fact, I won my age group two years ago, so I'm looking forward to tackling the course again.  This year, with the tides, the swim isn't the spectator-friendly, along-the-bridge swim.  Instead, it's a simple triangle.  Otherwise, the course is the same.

As a fast, flat, short course, I'm looking to go out hard and leave nothing in the tank.  Not much else to the strategy, just get faster with every step of the race, and hopefully, regain my title.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Marriage takes at least 15 seconds off

6am - somewhere between Boston and Freeport

"So, what time is your wave?" - J
"Uh, no clue." - me
Yeah, so this was easily the least prepared for a race that I've been all season.

But somehow despite that, I posted the best time of the season, and I did break the 2:35 barrier.  In fact, I ran a 2:33:53.  Over a minute better than Nationals and almost 7 minutes faster than last year.  But this year, the fast ladies were out:  I placed 4th versus 2nd last year.

Check out the results (I'm in red). Each marker is time check (when the athlete went over a timing mat, i.e., swim, start of bike, end of bike, start of run, finish)

My swim was 25 minutes (2 minutes better than last year), but only good enough for 7th in the swim.  Fast ladies.  But I had the #1 fastest T1, so I passed some one in transition.  

I had the 6th fastest bike (over a minute faster than last year), and passed 2 ladies, putting me in 4th place going into the run.  

I felt great heading out on the run, going up and over that first brutal hill.  Around mile 4, I got passed by the woman who finished 3rd.  She was motoring.  She had the fastest run of the age group.  But shortly thereafter, I passed the 5th place woman, returning me to 4th place.  I ran a 47 minute 10K, 2 minutes faster than last year.

Once again in this race, I didn't check my total time until I hit the finish line.  As I was running through, the clock said 2:53.  I was pretty sure I started 20 minutes after the first wave, but it wasn't til I made it through that J confirmed that I had finished in 2:33.  There were many hugs and high-fives all around.  Then beers and burgers.

This is such an excellent race.   And great to do it back to back years for comparison.  2:33 is serious, and it makes me think that something in the 2:2X might be possible next summer.  One more tri to go this season:  the sprint in Duxbury in two weeks.  Then it's time to focus on running, cause I've convinced myself that it's time to take on 26.2.  Watch out DC Rock n' Roll Marathon.  I've got your number.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Motivation deflation

Lobsterman is tomorrow.  I am completely unprepared.  And I don't care.

I have a few posts that I owe you:  a bachelorette party post and a wedding post.  But right now, I'm exhausted.  My motivation to do just about anything, save looking at wedding photos, is zero.

The wedding was amazing and joyous.  It was so much more than I ever could have hoped for.  But it was also just incredibly draining.  Planning the wedding felt like death by a thousand cuts.  My brain seems to be protesting organizing anything at this point.  We took a few days off after the wedding, but I feel like I could have used a few more.  Motivating myself feels like pushing on a deflated balloon:  I just bulge out to the sides, but very little movement actually occurs.

Which brings us to Lobsterman.  It's my last olympic distance race of the season.  I signed up for it thinking that there was a good chance I wouldn't want to race the weekend after my wedding.  But as I was riding high on the post-wedding, good feelings, I decided I should go for it.  I had originally thought that I might be able to post a new PR tomorrow.  Lobsterman was the site of my PR from last year.  And damn it, if I still don't want to shave those 10 seconds off my time to get down to sub-2:35.  But I fear that, at present, I lack the ferocity necessary to go out hard and red line the run.  Hell, I don't even have stretchy laces in my running shoes at the moment.

Thus, the plan for tomorrow is to just go out and have fun.  I love racing.  There's no pressure on this one.

I leave you with one of my favorite picts from the wedding.  I have no idea what Paul said that was so funny, but I just love how happy we are.  That's how it felt the whole day.

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