Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 Review Part 2A- The travel blog

Tripping over Training

Although I had grand plans and goals for the season, sometimes things just happen a little differently then planned. I planned when I was in New Hampshire to focus on running and swimming.  I did get a lot of open water swims in.  That was easy, especially having a lake like this to swim in everyday.

I had planned to run two to three times, but it ended out being just once.  I ended out being a little busier than I thought.  Also who wants to run when it's 90 degrees at 5:00 pm in New Hampshire?  What happened to cool New England summers?

I got back from New Hampshire on July 10th. Ideally it would have been nice to have the rest of July and beginning of August to fine tune my training and preparations for Age Group National Championships.  However there was the small matter of vacation with my non-triathlete husband.  We did a Backroads bike trip to Alaska for my 60th birthday.  For his 60th we were biking in Ireland.  The biking was fabulous, and at times challenging.

I had the pleasure of climbing up this lovely road on the hottest day ever in Ireland. I never thought I would need an electrolyte drink on this trip.  I had visions of cool days and possibly some rain.  

Here I am on the Ring of Kerry in classic Irish weather.  I did not find a leprechaun or a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow behind me.  That was the one day where it really did rain, and we got really wet.

Our ride got cut short that day, but it gave me a chance for an unexpected training treat later that day.  We went back to our hotel which was located on a lovely little lake.  So what's a triathlete to do? Open water swim!!! Although it had stopped raining, it was windy and the water was rather choppy.  However I was quite happy to get 700 yards of unplanned open water swimming in.

I also managed to get a couple of good pool swims, and a couple of runs.  However none of this I qualify as highly useful training.  It was basically maintaining fitness, but not improving on speed or technique.  However it beat the alternative of eating and drinking my way through Ireland and gaining 10 pounds.  Trust me, there was a lot of good food and drink as the pictures below will show.

Turkey?  Yes they have turkey in Ireland.

Shepherds Pie

Beer! What would Ireland be without beer?

Lamb chops

Hopefully those lamb chops didn't come from these guys.  Yes, Ireland has lots of sheep. Which sometimes would be standing in the middle of the road.  However it wasn't as bad as the day we almost had a head on collision with a herd of cows.

Guess who had to wait for who?  One does nor argue with a herd of cows.  They had the right of way on this single lane country road.

So after 2 weeks of travel it was back to New York and 11 days before jumping on an airplane and heading out to Omaha for Nationals.  Was a it worth it?  Looking back at it now, I can say yes.  Though in Omaha it did question myself.  But that's the next story.

Friday, January 06, 2017

2016 Year in Review - Part 1

I thought I had posted more last than I actually had.  But it turns out I had an incomplete race report from St. Anthony's in draft mode, a couple of partial race reports in various Word documents on various computers, and one hand written race report in my journal.  I also had a lot of ideas in my head that never quite made it to paper or computer.  Such is the life of a chronic procrastinator.  In fact I had meant to post this on January 1st, but it did not happen.  Better late then never.

Last March I had listed some goals for myself along with a tentative race calendar.  As it turns out, the race calendar was about the only part I got right.  I did all five races listed, and threw in one more after having a meltdown in Omaha.  More on that later.  The running and swimming goals didn't quite go as planned, especially after "Sleepless in Seattle".  Also I made some personal choices that definitely impacted my training leading up to Age Group Nationals. Non-triathlon related travel does mess with one's training. I knew this was going to be an issue, but sometimes one's priorities change along the way.  Would I have wanted to trade a lovely vacation in Ireland with my non-triathlete husband for a couple of more weeks of focused training? Nope.  What about the week in New Hampshire doing a volunteer photography job at a wonderful girls' camp on a beautiful lake? Nope.  The New Hampshire trip actually did have a lot of opportunities for open water swims, which I took full advantage of.  The running didn't quite work out as planned.  Forget biking. I didn't even bother to take the bike with me.  I knew there would be plenty of biking in Ireland since the first part of the trip was a bike tour.

No lengthy race reports here, but quick summaries of my first two races of 2016.

 4/24: St. Anthony's Olympic distance. St. Petersburg, FL

 Initially I had set a goal of breaking 3 hours, and placing top 5 in my age group.  The super secret goal was 2:50 and coming in 2nd. 1st was totally out of the question knowing the competition.  I knew I had to change my goals and expectations based how I was feeling after getting attacked.  My focus would be on doing whatever my body would allow, and having fun.  This was not my A race, so worrying about results could wait.  I actually surprised myself with how it went.  I had a decent swim, a good bike, and an okay run.  I actually passed someone in my age group on the run.  When was the last time that happened?

I didn't break 3 hours and I was fine with that.  I did come in 3rd in my age group.  Even if I had hit my super secret goal time of 2:50, I still would have come in 3rd. 

6/26: Sleepy Hollow Sprint Triathlon, Sleepy Hollow, NY

 This was my Team in Training race.  This was the race that got me back into triathlons after an extended break that lasted until 2014.  I had modest goals back then.  The night before that race I posted on Facebook the following:

Hard to believe my triathlon comeback is almost upon me. Yeh, my heart rate went up a little as I packed my transition bag tonight. Everything is packed away. Checking my list, once, twice. Everything is nice.

The old tri-geek in me wonders if she can relive the glory days of age group wins. The comeback kid here tries to tell the old tri-geek to shut up and enjoy the moment when she crosses the finish line, and then enjoy the moments of my totally awesome TNT teammates crossing their first finish line. Tomorrow is going to be amazing no matter what happens.

It's been 9 years since that last age group win. Yeh, true I'm the "youngster" in F60-64, but who knows how this recent graduate of C25K will do on the run. Can I hold off some speedy 60 year old that still run 8 minute miles?
Now my goals weren't so modest.  I wanted to beat the time I did in 2014, especially the swim time, and win my age group again.  One out of three isn't so bad.  Sometimes things don't quite go as planned.  Nothing one can do when the mighty Hudson River gets gnarly.  

This was supposed to be a 1/2 mile swim. Roughly 800 yards.  The currents had a whole different idea as you can see from the swim segment from Garmin Connect.  During the swim I kept blaming things like my leaky goggles or my new wetsuit.  I had practiced in the new suit, but it was my first race using it.  There were times during the swim that I just wanted to say "screw it" and go grab a kayak.  I was thinking the entire time "I suck, I'm not going to win my age group, there are going to be no bikes left in transition, why didn't I get my goggles on right?, why did I get this wetsuit?" The one thing that kept me going was knowing that I had raised a lot of money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and I'd feel like I let my donors down if I didn't finish.

I did finish the swim and when I ran into transition I was very surprised to see lots of bikes still on the racks.  Clearly I wasn't the only one having swimming issues.  I would find out later that a lot of people had to be pulled from the water.  It reminded me of that race I did in Delaware many years ago where the currents went crazy.  I smoked the bike, having the 5th fastest bike split among all women.  The 4 women with faster bike splits were 1/2 my age.  BTW, I did win my age group again.

First 3rd of my season completed.  Next on my schedule was National Age Group Championship in Omaha, Nebraska.  My last trip to age group nationals was 11 years ago when there ended out being no race, but lots of good stories to tell afterward.  Back then it was unheard of canceling a race.  These days it seems like races are either getting shortened, turned into different format, canceled or rescheduled.  Mother Nature has turned into a real bitch.  

However before making my way to Omaha there would be a couple of non-triathlon trips in July, including that vacation in Ireland.

Stay tuned for Part 2...

Yes I'll even slip a few Ireland pictures in there. Although this is a triathlon blog, I sometimes like to pretend it's a travel blog instead.