Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MIT-Pro Debut

Overall the day was definitely a learning experience. My morning routine was good. Everything went smoothly. Up at 4:30 and eating breakfast, which consisted of a brown rice wrap with almond butter and honey and an apple with a water bottle of the Right Stuff for additional electrolytes. Out the door in time to be at transition by 5:45am. While setting up transition, I continuously sip from a water bottle with the right stuff and EFS drink, to make sure I am well hydrated and adding the last bit of fuel just before the race begins. The females pros were in the water at 7:17, just 2min behind the male pros.

I really just kind of followed the leader when getting ready to get in the water before the race started. Once we were in the water we couldn’t get back out, so we waited until about 8min before we started. Then we jumped in to warm-up. Well, not much of a warm-up being that the water temp was 71 degrees and no wetsuits. There was a bit of a current from the tide coming in. We all paid attention to it. Then the fog horn sounded and we were off battling for our places. Immediately a group of ladies were out in front and weren’t letting up. I found myself between two ladies and it wasn’t a pretty swim. Literally hitting arms ever other stroke if not every stroke. The current was pushing us of course a bit so I fell back on Jenny Fletchers feet to get to the other side of her. Once I did that I was able to site the first turn bouy on my own and no more hitting of arms. We made the turn fine and started sighting what we thought was the correct bouy. We (Jenny Fletcher) and I come to find out that it wasn’t the correct bouy and had to swim back about 150m to get back on course; FRUSTRATING. Once back on course, I was able to see where I needed to go so I swam hard. I needed to catch up. I could see another athlete in front of me so I was determined to catch her. Once I realized I was making ground on her I swam even harder. I had too much of time to make up. I finally caught up and passed Angie Axman. However, she came out of the water just behind me and managed to pass me on the run into transition. She had a great swim to bike transition, I on the other hand did not. I actually mounted my bike twice…go figure.

My first bike mount I was told to get back off and walk the bike down the curb by the volunteers. I reluctantly listened, knowing it was going to tack on more time that I really didn’t need. So then I go to mount my bike the second time, my left shoe falls to the ground. I had to pick it up, put it on my foot, then begin my ride. Due to frustration, I yelled aloud, “you have got to be kidding me, what next!” One of the spectators heard me and tried to encourage me with, “you’re doing fine.” Thanks for the vote of confidence whom ever you were. It totally made me smile when I was able to get my head back on straight, attention back to the race, during the ride. So needless to say once again, I was playing catch-up. I had to convince myself I had a chance and to keep pushing hard. In the end, I was able to pass two girls on the bike, got passed by Jenny Fletcher and came into transition with a decent bike split.

Then to the run. My bike to run transition was flawless, finally something went right during this race. I could see Jenny just in front of me. I had my eyes on her, not letting anything get in my way from tracking her down. I passed her at about 1/2mile into the run. I thought to myself, one down only too many more to go. But I didn’t let myself get discouraged. I made sure I stuck to my pace and pushed on. Overall, my run was ok. In hindsight, I feel like I could have probably pushed a little harder if I had a rabbit. But since they were all so far ahead, I couldn’t even begin to make myself go any faster. In the end, I had my fastest run ever in an Olympic distance race. So, proof is in the pudding, training is paying off. I now just need to get rid of all the unnecessary glitches. MIT, my pro debut was a learning experience. I had a lot of fun and couldn’t thank my sponsors enough for all their help. (Specialized, 2XU, Profile Design, Right Stuff, Smith Optics, and First Endurance) Without them I wouldn’t have a fast and aero bike, comfortable race kits and compression gear, and the necessary nutrition to make my races a success. I can promise on thing, when it comes to races glitch free, you all will see me higher up in the ranking. It may take a few races to get the nerves out of my system. But I will be there…

Monday, March 14, 2011

checklists and routines

It would be nice to know that there are other people out there as neurotic as I am. It's Monday and I'm already thinking about packing for my MIT race, which I leave for on Thursday morning. Not only do I think about it, I begin to get nervous...strange, I tell you.

I wouldn't be confident in my packing if I didn't have a checklist; there are just too many things to think about. I have found that by checking it off my list, there is some sort of satisfaction, in it of itself. Not only do I have a checklist, I have that check list divided into categories (training, race day apparel, nutrition, bike, running, and swimming gear). How much more A type personality could one be?!

So yes, of course there is a system to my packing as well. I have to lay everything out in their appropriate categories. As they get put in the bike box or bag they get checked off. Even once they have been checked off, I still double and triple check. You would think I would never forget anything; wrong. There have been several races where I'm looking for my sponsors booth at the expo to grab an item that has been left behind. Thank goodness, my sponsors have come to my rescue on several occasions.

Obviously, I am a creature of habit. I try to make things as routine as possible when it comes to triathlon and racing. Not only do I use check lists, I also stick to a routine. This years season opener at MIT is going to throw me for a loop. My routine has to change; there is just more to do. Stepping into the professional world means more obligations. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds; how many times I change my routine before I am completely happy with it. This is definitely going to be a year of lessons and learning experiences. I am up for the challenge and have nothing but high expectations.

See you all out at the races...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

pro night at Wheat Ridge Cyclery

Wheat Ridge Cyclery in Denver put on an expo style function last night. It went off with a bang. Not only did they doubled the number of people that walked in the door from last year, there were several amazing vendors such as Specialized Bicycles, Zipp wheels, Pearl Zumi and many others. It was a great opportunity to get to know all the local pro's and Specialized representatives.

The evening began with a raffle and panel discussion with Specialized and Trek. The audience had a lot of great questions, many of which pertained to aerodynamic, the easiest and cheapest ways to get free speed. Both Specialized and Trek agreed that the placement of water bottles, the use of more aero shaped water bottles vs. the typical round water bottles, and a good aero helmet were the most cost effective ways to gain speed by reducing drag. Of course, wheels and bike frame are two very important aspects to aerodynamics and free speed; however, they are the most important too. One very interesting note I learned while attending this discussion was, believe it or not, the straw on a front loaded water bottle creates more drag (if the straw is sticking out far) than the aero bottle itself. It is always fun to take a tide bit of information home.

Shortly after the specialist panel, there was a pro panel discussion. Once again the audience had great questions. My favorite was something along the lines of, what is the biggest mistake you have made during a race? Of course we all had something to add. Some of the stories consisted of grabbing the wrong bike, missing a turn bouy on the swim, making a flight a week before race week, grabbing someone elses wet suit, etc. We all have been there and done that, somehow, some way. For those of you who haven't, I'm sure you will. When the time comes, laugh and chalk it up to another day racing; you never know what can go wrong.

Overall, the event was successful and fun.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

juggling it all...

Moving to Colorado 8months ago was a scary and exciting necessary step. It not only was tough to leave the only place I knew as "home". It was also very difficult to leave my speech and language therapy business, Freedom of Speech. Too many "what-if's"could potentially happen to make me feel 100% confident in leaving my clients and their families behind. However, after hiring a few outstanding therapists and support of my clientele, I knew I had made the right decision; to pursue another's time to race professionally.

The first few months in Colorado was quite the adjustment. Having going from not having enough time in a day to having too much time on my hands was hard to swallow. I initially thought having all the time I could possibly need to train, was the answer. Well, despite a great 2010 season, having more time to train was not the answer for me. It wasn't that I needed more time to train, I just needed more down time. Time that allowed for proper recovery. Mental recovery is as important as physical recovery.

It took me about 6months to really find my way. By that I mean, finding the right balance. I am now back to juggling it all...I wouldn't have it any other way. I knew there was something to be said about working with my little ones. Speech and language therapy is therapeutic to me as well. I soon realized that just training wasn't going to cutit. It was making a neurotic even more neurotic...balance is essential!

Another aspect that created some uncertainty was sponsorships. Coming into the 2011 race season I am confident in my drive and motivation to create a successful year. However, I was a little nervous about who and how much support I was going to be able to attain. Triathlon isn't a cheap sport, as you all well know, so sponsorships are key. I am proud to announce I have signed final contracts with several great companies, some of which are Specialized, 2xu, profile design, right stuff, smith optic, and first endurance. Thank you all for your support and belief in me. You are playing a vital role in helping me fulfill a dream.

With Freedom of Speech up and running in Orlando and here in Boulder, training in one of the top places in the country with some of the best of the best, and looking towards my future with the love of my life, I couldn't have asked for my plan to unfold any better. I do have a full plate, juggling running a business, training and racing professionally, and planning a wedding, is more than most people would like to take on. I have managed to find the balance I need to be a success...

I am blessed. Thank you all for supporting and encouraging.