Monday, July 27, 2009

Milton Man Olympic

I had just completed my second olympic triathlon ever only 2 weeks earlier, with a new PR on a harder course, but I knew my PR could be and should be faster.

Daisy and I had been swimming on and off for the last couple weeks together and she suggested I do the Milton Man oly. It was rumored to be very fast. It was not part of my race schedule and I was very apprehensive to do it as last minute races just are not my thing. Of course, this course was so much easier I could have done nothing for the 2 weeks prior to the race and PR'd. Finally after some playful teasing from Daisy and my mom I signed up on the Thursday before the race.

We arrived with plenty of time to set-up and get organized as usual. I did not like the transition set-up for this race at all from the get go. Fences were attached to trees, in's and out's were the same and it showed in my transitions.

I only managed less than a 10 minute warm-up of running before donning my wetsuit and heading to the lake. The swim was 2 loops parallel to the shore. The swim started by swimming between 2 green triangles and then down a few pink/orange colored buoys on your left. You then turn around a final buoy and swim back keeping the pink/orange buoys on your left, passed the green triangles and to a final green buoy where you turn and start your second lap before exiting.

Swim - I was treading water, feeling really calm when the horn went off and all of a sudden my body tightened up and it hit me: You have a race today...wake-up!!! I started swimming for the triangles and headed out for my first loop. It wasn't long before I felt utterly and completely alone!! There were only 17 girls in the race and we spread out pretty fast. I had no idea how many were way in front and how many were right behind me. I had a hard time seeing the buoys, so I swam straight at them and tried to take the tightest line. I made the turn to come back on my first loop and thought I could see some caps way in the distance. As I made my way back to the green triangles I realized I was unsure if I was to swim between them or around them to my far right, so just to be certain I took the long way and went around them and headed for the green buoy that marked the start line where I had thought I had seen other swimmers headed. I wasn't sure if they were in my wave or if they were people in other ways warming-up, but better safe than sorry I swam back and went around that buoy and headed back to the 2 green triangles for my second lap. I was still swimming as tight to the buoys and as I passed the first pink/orange buoy, keeping it on my left I somehow ended up to the right of the next buoy and in on-coming traffic!! The men's wave had gone off and I saw a 15+ yellow caps coming straight at me! "Oh, God!! Oh NO!!" I tried to swim back to the right as quickly as I could but, too late. Men were swimming straight into me. I was brushed and smacked by flailing arms. One guy even managed to punch me in the boob... OUCH!!! I struggled to get out of the way and back into the man-free water. Safely, back on my side I tried to settle back into a rhythm. I made the final turn and looked up to see if there was anybody at all ahead of me. I didn't see anybody, anywhere coming or going! What the heck had I done? I looked at my watch and it showed 22:xx. I was so angry. Had I swam too far to the green buoys and messed up my swim? Was every girl out of the water and on the bike already? I was so frustrated I let out a roar underwater so nobody would hear full of anger and disappointed with myself. I had wanted to swim under 30:00, just once time and I knew I couldn't make it back in less than 8 minutes...FUCK!!! I proceeded to go around the outside of the green triangles and the far green one again as my sense of honesty is greater than my urgency to PR. Then I wondered if I should not have swam passed that last green buoy before cutting in because when I stood up people were screaming at me from the shore to come back and go through this tiny-ass chute. I struggled to run through the water back down the beach and even managed to find a hole and fell in the water face-first. Between swimming extra and the embarassing fall I had, by the time I got up to T1 I had forgottent to unzip my wetsuit and pull off my cap and goggles. Lo' and behold my swim time was 28:45. Humppphhhh! I had still hit my goal even with all my antics.

T1 - I had my chip on the outside of my suit and ony body glided my legs, usually I use Pam, so I struggled to get it off for the first time in a long time. Grabbed my arm warmers, just in case it was cold and headed out on the bike. Time: 2:19.

Bike - starts by leaving the park and going to the right for .75 mile and then a U-turn and back passed the start. The road seems to climb only slightly for about 3 miles before making a left and starting the first loop. I looked down to check my speed and it was 0! I looked at my time. I had cycled for 0:00:00. My magnet on my back wheel had come loose and flipped. My computer was not picking up anything. What had I done to anger the triathlon Gods today???? I just shook my head and kept riding. Completed the first loop and only the course was fairly flat with only 2 climbs that were barely even worth mentioning, before starting my 2nd loop. Got about 1 or miles into the 2nd loop when AH went flying by. He was moving so fast, I thought it felt like I was standing still. I was worried I wasn't pushing hard enough on the bike because of how fast he went by, but was relieved to find out later he had killed himself on the bike, so I that meant I was somewhere in the ballpark for my riding. My effort felt like I was right about where it should be. My cadence was higher than normal at 105-110 since it was the only thing working. Normally, I race between 95-105, but without my computer I was worried I would kill my quads, so I opted for the easier gear with the higher cadence. On the back side of the loop the wind caught the front of the Rev-x and pushed me onto some gravel and the bike did a nice little shimmy that added a few extra beats to my heartrate. Pulled it back out of the gravel with no wrecking..whooo!!! I know if I ever wreck on my bicycle I will lose a few teeth...i just know it. Today, however, was not that day. Completed my 2nd loop and headed back down to the park. Took my last endurolytes, and drank some Heed, which I hate!! I usually use diluted Powerade, but we only had Heed with us today...YUCK!! Pulled off my gloves and stuffed them in the back of my jersey with my arm warmers making a mental note to remember to pull all that stuff out in T2. Entered the park and saw arrow pointing in the opposite direction I was going, so I asked which way to be certain and I was indeed directed to go against the arrow, but not before I heard a spectator yell "follow the arrow." I replied with "the arrow points the other way jackass!!" I saw a lady motioning and yelling "come to me, ride to me." I rode up to her and dismounted. She then yelled "No, no, no...keep going to that lady up ahead." Dammit!! What was it gonna take today. I hopped back on my bike and rolled down a bit farther before re-dismounting. I have no bike split because my computer wasn't working and Champs chip-timing was all fucked up after the swim. The bike course was also clocked at about 25.5 instead of the advertised 24.7.

T2 - I threw off my helmet and racked my bike donned my running attire and took a gel with me just in case. I exited T2 for the run and immediately dropped my gel. Stopped to grab it and continue on my way. There was no one in front of me to follow so after I exited transition I turned right to run up to the road. As I was turning right someone shouted "No wait, come this way!" I turned around and ran back to the path that went through the wood. Wow! I really pissed somebody off at swim, bike, run central today....haha :)

Run - Made it out of the woods and did the switchback incline up to the road for the first loop. That's when I realized I had forgotten to take my arm warmers and my gloves out of the back of my jersey. I felt the little hump bouncing around on my back and though "nice dumbass, now you get to carry that for 6 miles." I then saw Daisy for the first time since the start blazing out of the woods only a bit behind me and she was hauling ass. In the few seconds that I saw her I watched her easily pass 5+ people. I tried to pick it up a little, but for the first time all year I felt the nagging sensation of cramps in my cavs. I was confused. The course was completely flat and I had taken my endurolytes. Hmmm, the only think I could think of was the Heed. It did not carry as many electrolytes as the Powerade and I know I sweat a lot during these events, so maybe that was it. Well, I was just going to continue doing my best at the pace my body allowed. I saw AH a little after the first mile marker on his way back thinking it was his second loop, but it was only his first. Managed to get to the water stop and grab some to cool myself off as I had started to really heat up. The course was shaded on and off and everytime I hit the shade I was able to pick it up for a few seconds. Just as I hit the 3 mile mark Daisy came flying by, looking really strong and holding her form well. I knew I was running faster than I have ever ran in a triathlon, but I am just not as fast as her, so she passed by and continued on her way. As I approached the end of the first loop I saw Daisy's hubby sitting on a picnic bench yelling some words of encouragement "C'mon you can run faster than that!!!" I knew he was totally joking and teasing me, but a small part of me was thinking he was crazy and I was half tempted to tackle him and tell him that!!! Started my 2nd loop and could tell I was getting tired after completing the section through the woods and the incline to the road. I maintained my effort through mile 4 and then I started pushing. It felt like the intensity had jumped exponentially, but I knew I was only moving a few seconds a mile faster, if anything at all. With a little over a mile to go AH saw me and began running with me. He urged me to pick it up some more, but my body was pooped. My breathing was labored and had a bit of a wheeze to it. I could do nothing, but maintain and hope the finish was coming soon. I was tired physically and mentally. I didn't have a big kick, no wait I had no kick. I just finsihed the race.

Total time was 2:36:12 and I have no time after T1 because the chips were not working appropriately, my bike computer was haywire and the run course was short at only 6.08 miles. I had a monster PR by over 14 minutes, but the taste in my mouth was a little sour. My motivation and excitement I used to get from racing is MIA.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Hmmmmm, this weekend is presenting a bit of a dilemma for me. I am thinking of putting my choices in a hat and just choosing that way.

Last week I went to the doctor for some, immunizations and had blood tests done. I lost 4 vials of blood and had a really nasty reaction to one of the immunizatioins. I had a fever and achy joints with what felt like the worst hangover of my life. I even managed to pass out on the bathroom floor for a few minutes. I missed an entire week of swimming, biking and running.

Sunday, I managed an easy run of 5 miles and have been able to run everyday since, but due to the weather I have now gone 12 days with absolutely no swimming or biking. I can definitely tell the blood draw put a hurting on me as running is tiring, so the question(s) are do I race and if so what do I race?

Saturday morning there is the JCM 5k
Saturday night there is the Winking Lizard 2M and 4M (don't want to do the 4 if I am goig to race the sprint on Sunday)

Sunday morning is the Fairport Triathlon Sprint (last year I was 9th OA and have beaten the girl that won the event last year once already this year)
The Sweet Corn Ride (I would try the 100 as I have NEVER done a century)

or as I have a final exam on Wednesday do I say screw the entire weekend and not race, save the few pennies I have and study?

I have no chance of PRing as I am undertrained and a bit rundown. I don't know if 2 weeks off from swimming and biking would not only be a disaster in a triathlon, but down right embarassing.

I think I am going to go with the "hat selection method." Ahhh, decisions.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Dam Tri

This was by far the hardest triathlon course I have ever raced. Nothing in northeast ohio even comes close, nor does the Mountaineer course in West Virginia.

We drove out to Meadville, Pa on Saturday and picked up our packets and packets for EG and his wife AM. We then spent a little over an hour driving the bicycle course and laughing at all the hills and then about a half hour trying to figure out where the observatory on Allegheny campus was so we could get our keys to the dorms we had rented for $15/night. We were less than 10 miles from the start of the race and only a mile or two from part of the bike course. I highly recommend doing this for $15 if anyone does this race in the future.

The dorms had 4 rooms so we knew we might be sharing with 2 other people and it just so happened it was EG and AM. We were all stoked to be put together.

We unpacked and rode about 10 miles of the course. I was dying to say the least. I hadn't been on my bike since Tuesday due to my exploding tire and f&cked up deraileur. It had been in the shop. My legs hadn't felt too hot before the NEO tri either, so I wasn't too concerned. Maybe, I just have dead legs day before a race.
This would not be the case.

The race started at 9:00am and we were there at 6:30am...uuuugggghh!!! We had a prime parking spot, but it was raining and I didn't want my gear to get wet, so after getting body marked and racking my bike I laid in the van waiting until the last possible minute to put out my gear in transision.

The weather finally broke about 30 minutes before the race start and I set-up and hit a 2 mile run for my warm-up.

My wave started around 9:15-9:20am, so I was able to watch the wave of elites and men's oly age groupers go off. AM and I started next with about 30 other women. We were to swim one big rectangle. It seemed a lot longer than what I thought 1500 meters was. The swim was also counter-clockwise and I breathe on my right (DRAT!)which means the shore and the buoys would not be within sight and as luck would NOT have it I had been pulling to the right a lot lately. Grrrrr!!!

Swim - decided to start on the outside and take a line straight at the far back buoy to avoid swimmers in the first hundred meters. It was not a good idea. The front of the pack broke away immediately (does this sound familiar?), but this time so did I!! They however broke forward and I broke to the right. I corrected myself and swam back to the left and tried to get in with a few girls nearby, but I passed them and again I was alone. I tried to get into a rythm, but when I sighted I was over to the right again. Uuggghhh!!! Got back over the the left and just as I was approaching that back buoy I got tangled in some weeds. I didn't want to mess with them, so I just left them hanging over my right shoulder. I have a sleeveless wetsuit, so I could feel them hanging over my shoulder with every stroke. It was gross. I made the turn to swim the backside, but I couldn't see the buoys ahead. I could only see a few colored caps. I swam toward them hoping they had chosen a good line. I saw one guy swimming even farther to the right than me!! I chose not to follow him. I continued to battle my pulling to the right by over correcting every few minutes and knew my swim time was getting L-O-N-G-G-G-G-G. When I look back on the swim I had also not kept my hips down and my body planed out, so my legs were dragging in the water that day. I also had to pee twice while swimming. I can't relax enough to pee while kicking, so I had to switch to just pulling, but it worked. Yeah I pee in the water!! Everybody does!!! I had made the turn back to shore and got caught up with some swimmers from the sprint wave. I tried to get on this one girl's feet, but she was way too fast for me and I got dusted after about 4 strokes. Swimming alone though, I still managed to smack face first into one of the buoys. It was more embarassing than anything, but at least I was swimmng straight. The swim seemed to take forever and it did as I define forever as 31:43.

T1 - was a long run up the beach, through the grass and gates of the park and down the parking lot. It was an event in itself. I ran for so long I forgot to hit the rinse bucket Adam had set up in transition for my feet. I was putting my bike gear on when I noticed I had forgotten to untie one of my running shoes. Dam!! I stopped what I was doing to undo it. I figured better now then in T2 when my legs would feel heavy. Grabbed my arm warmers just in case it was cold on the bike and off I went. Time was 3:13.

Bike - exiting transition I looped around the parking lot and made a little climb up the road that exits the park. It is not very steep that you have to stand, but it wasn't flat either. Exiting the park I turned right to start my first loop. I can some up the course like this....if your not climbing up a hill, you are riding on a false flat. The first few miles have one nice climb where I had to get out of the saddle and mash away. My legs felt just as heavy as the day before and I could not get into a rhythm. I was definitely not feeling it. There is one section in the middle where I was able to pick up some speed, but it seemed more like people needed it to recover than race as I passed a few through this seciton, but I felt tight and uncomfortable. There are a few quick rollers after that and then I hit the one nice downhill on the course. I easily stayed over 30+ mph for the entire descent, but I knew what was to come. I made the right at the ice cream shop wishing I could stop and have a sundae and hit the long climb on the course that was 2-3 miles. As I was climbing up the hill, I got passed by JL, who was in the elite wave and was a man on fire that day. He yelled "Go CTC!!" as he passed me and I yelled "Go Jim!!!!" His passing me inspired me a little and I pumped away up the hill to the final turn to head back to the park to start my second loop. There was a little downhill here, but it was really windy and my bike was getting blown left and right and then there was another dam climb!!! I dropped down to my little ring and worked way harder than I wanted to get up and over it. This course was killing me and I had another loop to go. Loop 1 down in about 42 minutes. That was an ouchie to my ego. The second loop had an extra section added in which you make a figure 8 and then turn right and climb up the steep section in the beginning, so this time you can't gain any speed as you hit the hill. You just turn right and start the climb. Well right before that the one and only girl who passed me on the bike that day came by on her fancy fucking Cervelo tri bike with this other guy who was pacing her. I was still in a funk and suffering on the bike couse when this happened. I was so mad at myself, at the race, at the girl that I refused to let them get away. I started pedaling harder and as we turned right to make the turn to climb the hill I quickly dropped down a gear before, but my chain fell off! I stopped hopped off my bike and fixed it in less than a minute, but the girl had pulled out of sight. I was really not happy about having to start this steep climb from a dead stop. What if I didn't make it and tipped over? I pushed that thought out of my head and hopped on my bike, "C'mon Heier, get back in this! It's not over yet!" I climbed up the hill a lot easier than what I thought I would and something snapped in me. My legs "woke up." I began cranking away and passed more people in the last 10 miles than in the first 15!! I even passed a few guys on tri-bikes with aero helmets. I don't know what had gotten into me. Made it back to transition in 1:24:27.

T2 - it was a grab and go. I was in and out, but just as I was about to cross the mat I felt a rock in my shoe. I stopped and bent down to pull it out. It took me a few seconds to find it and then re-tie my shoe. 10k with a rock in the shoe is a no-no, so I picked up a few unwanted seconds. Time 1:18.

Run - This is probably the best I have ever coming off the bike on the run in a triathlon and I started pushing from the get-go. I realized this and forced myself to run at a pace I thought was a bit too slow, which would actually be right on as I know the first mile or so is usually not a problem, but then the second mile hits and "whoops" should have gone out slower. I had six today, not three, so slowed down a bit. Had to play it safe. The terrain was rolling and it was on pavement, a soft path and on loose gravel. We headed out across the damn to the turnaround where I could see other girls coming back. The sprint racers did not run the dam so I could see who was in front of me. Assuming no one was off the dam and in the woods yet I was about 8-10th female in the age groupers. I figured I could get about 3 or 4 on the run, as they were not moving as fast. I passed one before mile 3 and I got another one before mile 5 and one more with about a half mile to go. The other girl was just too far ahead and as I was running through the woods with about .2 to go I hear the music from the finish and pushed. I popped out as the kid's triathlon was going on and this little boy about 6 with his bike helmet came sprinting up next to me. We were both going fot the finish. I shouted "Come on! You can do this!!" to the little boy and I picked up the pace as I had just passed 3 guys in the last .2 and did not want to get rundown and crossed the finish mat with a run time of 51:08.

Total time was 2:51:47. It was a PR from my one and only other olympic by about 3 minutes, but it was ugly. This bike course was significantly harder and so was the run. I ended up 2nd in my age group and 6th overall out of the age groupers. The girl that just happened to get 1st in our age group was the one who passed me on the bike :(

AH managed 2nd in his AG
EG won his AG
AM took 3rd in her AG

so our dorm room brought home lots of hardware :)