Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Five Fast Femme Fatale Freiks at the Bird!

This past weekend was the Roadrunner Akron Marathon also know as The Bird Marathon by many locals.

It a a very scenic course which is not known for being particularly fast!  It has a bunch hills thrown in and takes you through many of Akron's most scenic areas!  The course is increasingly popular as the race director really seems to do a nice job in providing a nice race experience for participants going as far as to shake every finisher's hand.  Additionally marathoners have always got nice giveaways such as free shoes or jackets in past years.  Another awesome feature of the race which has opened it up for many new participants has been the 5 person relay division that they offer (yes, the relay is all I have ever done here besides all the training runs on the marked BLUE LINE).  On top of that all there are two other huge bonuses-

1.  Finishing in Canal Park stadium and having a prime viewing area to watch everyone else finish and
2.  Free Beer at the finish line, 2 per participant!

So four years ago, four of my fast friends and I set out to lay down a fast time and take the women relay division.  No dice on that in 2007.  Ran a 2:53:31 and took 2nd womens team overall.  Tried again in 2008.  Ran a 3:02:47 and took 2nd again!  Thought third time might be a charm but ran a 3:05:30 and took 3rd.  This year we lined up with silly fast ESpeed as our anchor and had a good shot!

We ended up finally beating the team that usually gets us but some silly fast other team showed up and again we were number 2!

However, our team, Five Fast Femme Fatale Freiks ran our fast marathon time to date, a 2:51:56, absolutely crushing our time the last couple years!  Hell ya,  maybe we will continue to get faster with age!

As far as my relay leg.  It was the second relay leg of 5.7 miles.  Week one after REV3Full, I swam, biked but did not run.  I have been very nervous with my tibia ALL YEAR so I decided to let her rest.  Then this past Tuesday, I decided to run with F^5 teammie, CV.  We ran a 2 mi w/u and started into mile repeats.  Did first one ~6:20ish pace, then a little break, and then another one around 6:20ish pace and then I started limping away (calves got tight and right hip flexor was grabbing) into a 1.5 mile cooldown as CV went on to do 3 more alone.  Oh that was not smart to do that my first run back.  Oh I miss the good ole days of just being able to run hard and all the time like I used to!

So I only ran one more time Thursday for 2 mi easy before Saturday's race.  Needless to say I was a wee bit nervous.  But I had friends around and was pretty relaxed.  As I got to my relay leg, I went to turn on my garmin but I had nothing.  Bummer, I really have got used to glancing at it for pacing look at pace and HR.  Oh well, I took it off and went for a warm up run getting in some nice striders.  I was feeling ready to go. 

As teammate ML arrived in 3rd place I took off in hot pursuit to catch #2 women team.  I got within about 10 yards and stayed there.  I believe my first mile and a half was around 6:20 pace.  The first 4 miles of my leg have some decent little hills in there and they were starting to wear on me at that pace fast.  It was sooo hard to believe so many of the people around me were all going to run the mary or half at that pace!  Yikes!  About 3 miles into my leg team #2 female started to pull away but I kept her in my sights.  I started to slow and was dying inside a little.  I saw one mile at 7:05....crap!  I was not sure how much longer I could hang on but it is amazing the pressure you feel not to let your teammates down!  I sucked it up and finally I hit the downhill section of my leg!  THANK GOD!   I was not gaining on second team but at least I finally quit fading.  As I climbed that final uphill grade to the exchange I was spent...short course hurts! 

I ended up with a 38:30 for my leg which works out to be 6:45 pace for the 5.7.  I guess it is not too bad on that section of course and coming off the full.  Then it was off to the finish line to celebrate!

The highlight of my day was watching my sister, and my wonderful Gville friends complete their first Akron Mary relay ever as they are all new runners this year and did fantastic.  Their team, 5 Rookies finished at a 4:01:33 which I think is one heck of a debut with my sis smokin that anchor leg! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

REV3 the Prequel!

To say times have been busy would be an understatement....mainly all work-related and I know no one wants to hear about that!  So back to the regularly scheduled program!

The week leading up to REV 3 was also quite busy with work so thank goodness it was taper time.  I managed to get in some good swims, a couple super easy runs with some pickups and some short bikes with some pickups.  Packing seemed to take forever and it seemed as tho my checklist of things I did not want to forget was never ending.  This led to printed off lists and spreadsheets to at least feel like I was remembering everything.

The plan was to get up to Sandusky 1.5 hours from home by 5.  I did not get off work until noon, then had to stop by a clients, the store, cleaned the kitchen, was packing up all last minute items, yada, yada, yada, husband was not early, a million things to pack in his vehicle and I was already running later than I wanted to be!

I had hoped to get there in time to hear Robert from First Endurance speak to the Trakkers crew and then head over to Cedar Point with the team.  Yet, I got there at 6:15 and by the time I got checked in and made a zillion trips up and down the place to take in all my crap, it was nearly 7 and I had a one track mind-FOOD OF COURSE!

So rewind slightly.  We were staying at Hotel Breakers which was oh -so convenient and for that reason alone I will stay there NEXT YR (YES, I SAID NEXT YR!).  Hotel had some room for some renovations and very little room for the cot we got Saturday and Sunday night (we had to put chairs in the hallway just to have enough room to set it up) but nonetheless, everything was really fine in the end!  Friday, again sticking with convenience, we just grabbed some dinner at TGI Fridays right there on site and then I went back to the room to do some arts and crafts that I had not found time for all week...beyond printing some stuff and pics off and buying supplies!

Saturday was a busy day of good fun!  It included hanging with the Trakkers gang on the beach at the practice swim hooking up people with Tri-Swim products and some laughs, of course only of the appropriate nature as we lubed people up with TriSlide! 

Then I headed into some rough water for a practice swim.  I was struggling a bit and thought that once I got out past where the waves were breaking it would get easier.....not...they were just big swells then!  Yet, I kept heading out figuring if studdette, Carole could do it with one arm in a cast, that I would survive!  And I did!

Then it was time to work the Cleveland Tri Club booth for a couple hours!  This is a good gig in my opinion, sitting around with my feet propped up, drinking muscle milk, talking about the club and sport I love!

After that, it was time for a little Janet time.  I grabbed my packet, some lunch and got my stuff all sorted out (so I thought!) in appropriate transition and special needs bags and headed back to the expo with my bike in tow!

I dropped my bike in T1 and covered it up with some plastic, thanks to KenB and headed over to the CTC booth were club members were starting to gather!

Say cheese!  The CTC gang took some pictures and shared some last minute good lucks before heading our separate ways!

And just like all good triathletes, I was excited about the next event...DINNER!  We headed out to dinner with a bunch of Bike Authority Fleet Feet teammates to this little Italian restaurant, Sortinos!  The place was memorable with a door bell, great Italian decor and was home to a lot of our laughs due in no small part to the memorable pic in the ladies bathroom.  This was one of those nights that I laughed about as hard as ever and will not soon forget!

After all the fun, I headed back to the hotel to take some tylenol PM and prepare myself for the fun that was about to start bright and early!

The long and the short of REV3 Cedar Point for me was that it was such an action packed weekend in which I enjoyed every minute of it (well maybe except for chip panic and rough swim start).  Post race included hanging back at the finish and food and beers at TGI Fridays.  I can not imagine a better experience so needless to say I have already started to plan on being back for the Full REV3 Cedar Point on 9/11/11!!!!  Bring it on!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Buckle Up for REV3 CEDAR POINT Roller Coaster!

What an amazing weekend!!!  Where to start?  There is so much to say so I will try to get something down while it is fresh and circle back with more details later!  Yes and it is a long day so also a long report!

The prequel will be forthcoming of Friday and Saturday festivities!

Race morning I woke up at 4:15.  I had made the decision to take some Tylenol PM Friday, Saturday and Sunday night to ensure I slept well.  I don't regularly use the stuff, but have on occasions and it works well for me.  I had some of the best nights sleeps around the race which was awesome.

I dragged my butt out of bed and went straight to the shower to try to wake up while everyone else in the room tried to get moving at this silly hour!  I had also brought my coffee maker and toaster so it was awesome that after my shower I had my coffee, bagel with PBJ, banana and 2 hard boiled eggs.  The morning was pretty leisurely and we drove over to the start at about 5:45 to get my body marking, weigh in, drop my transition bags off and make last minute drops to the bike.  I was back all the room by 6:25 and just chilling out.  I drank some EFS Sports Drink and EFS Prerace in the room but did not drink it all as I did not want to have too much of a jolt between that and my coffee.

About 6:40, after lubing up with my TRISLIDE we headed out of the room and down to the start.  I had put my wetsuit on my lower body to stay warm as it was a gorgeous cool morning.  Although it was still rather dark the lake look a thousand times calmer than it did the day before and I was so thankful for that.  My gal, ET showed up with a poster she had made for me which just had me smiling and relaxed.  

6:55AM- We heard the swim start would be delayed by 10 minutes.  But then the question came... "Janet, where is your timing chip?"  NOT AGAIN!  NOT THIS DAY!  Oh my heart sank and the PANIC button was hit.  My posse and I started running to the hotel room.  I had pulled everything out of my morning clothes bag and I was not optimistic that it was in the hotel which meant it had to be mixed in with one of the other bags (transition or special needs).

We checked to room and dashed to Emily's car.  Sorry to parking attendants that she totally disregarded as she drove like mad.  I did not even know if I would be allowed in as it was supposed to close at 6:30.  I am shaking.  Can't believe I did this...AGAIN!  I check my transition bags and don't see it.  I find special needs bike bag...not there.  Run special needs is MIA.  I am trying to find someone who can issue me another chip....can't find.  I know the sand in the hour glass is running out.  I run back over to the transition bags for a second look.  My timing chip emerges from my bike shoes.  ?????  I have no idea how I managed to put it in there.  However no time to think, run to car, emily drives like mad, and I take to the beach with about two minutes to spare.

Now I am trying to find a way to relax.  SO NOT RELAXED!  I saw my friend CS who I know to be a better swimmer than me.  She had suggested we start to the far left to avoid some contact.  I followed her over there as the less contact, the better in my book.  This is by far the most people I have ever started with and the swim is always my weak suit.  The swim was to be 2 rectangles coming into the beach in the middle.  With the countdown we were off.  It started off slow as the beach was shallow.  I saw lots of people trying to dolphin dive and get going early but I was slowly wading in at the same pace as most of them working much harder.  When I finally started swimming, I just felt like there was no clear water, the water was cold and a body shock and I was getting pummeled.  My chest was starting to get tight and I was starting to panic.  I was on the far left, kayaks on the far right.  I started to breast stroke over across the field toward the kayak, so very distraught.  I saw the lifeguard on the kayak go in for someone else.  I got about 15 yards from the kayak and started to tread water.  Breathe, breathe.  I did not think I could do this right now.  Yet, I just could not bare the thought of failure here.  This is when I am thankful I feel accountable to so many people.  I started to breast stroke forward.  OMIGOD, this is going to be the longest swim ever and I hope I can make the cut off!  Then I started to freestyle and calmed down.  I was getting some clearer water.  Yellow buoy to yellow buoy.  At the red buoy I turned.  Then my sighting got off.  I think one of the kayaks was similar in color and I ended up way out to Canada.  Then I came back in and I was finally in a rhythm although the chop was definitely rougher on the way back in to the beach.  As my feet hit the sand after the first loop I took a look at my watching expecting to see an hour given my struggles but it was around 42 and I was blown away.  I can even still hit my 1:30 goal!

With renewed spirit, I took my time getting out of the water and back in for lap 2.  I even saw Tiffany in my vicinity and a friendly face there helped to relax me.  Back out on for the second lap I was trying to focus on conserving energy.  I did feel like my form was starting to get a little sloppy by the end but I also think the chop was a little more.  As I started to come in to the beach I was trying to keep my heart rate down.  I did something I never did which was I took off my wetsuit in the water.  Seemed to work well and I walked up to transition trying to change gears for the bike.  Then I smiled knowing one of my biggest concerns was now over and now I could try to enjoy my day.

Split 1 - 43:33
Split 2 - 44.33
Total Swim 1:28.06 2:17 min/hm

Goal 1:30!  SWIM GOAL MET!  Oh I am so happy.  Into transition and some small talk with the husband and Durno and I am off with my bike...which took me a minute to find which my friend Elizabeth managed to catch on camera!  T1 done all at my bag rack was 3:14 including throwing on my calf compression sleeves.

Out onto the bike.  My plan was 5:45 which was a 19.4 mph average.  I knew it should be doable and save enough for a run, or at least I thought!  I had a plan of attack for the race and was using the Garmin.  If HR hit 160, back off.  Try to stay low zone 2 around 150 and that was what I did to a tee! Average HR 150 for 112!

As I pedaled down Cedar Point Road I was trying to start easy and get my heart rate in check.  Only water for first 20 minutes to make sure everything in my muscles could settle from the upper body.  I was thankful to the many spectators out on Cedar Point Road and I was waving and smiling to all as I thanked the police directing traffic.  On the bike, I was running water up front in my aerobottle and two 20 oz bottles of EFS Sports Drink in my bottle cages.  In addition to the water and EFS Sports Drink, I also had 2- 5oz EFS liquid shot gel flasks for the bike (and another 2 EFS Sports Drink Bottles and 2 more flasks of Liquid Shot in special needs).  The goal was water every other 10 minutes with EFS Liquid Shot and the other 10 minutes was a couple sips of EFS sports drink (Fruit Punch, my favorite flavor!)  I did a pretty good job getting in fluids and nutrition throughout the bike.  I could tell from the amount I had left that I was a little shy but probably not too bad!

So back to the actual bike.  I was very familiar with the course.  What a comfort it was to have ridden it on the course preview days!  As I was settling in and a few people I knew passed me, but I decided I would exercise some self restraint and stick with Operation Daisy's Race Plan!  I was getting excited to get to mile 22 or so where I knew the best IRONFAN CREW would be in the whole world.  As I came into town, the CTC entourage was no disappointment!  I could hear them long before they came into view and what a lift they gave me! 

I headed out on 113 and was happy to see my friend CS out on the bike!  She looked very comfortable and chatted for a moment before I pulled away.  I enjoyed the smooth long stretch on 113 with the wind at my back, just as it had been every training day.  Then we started to wind down many of the chip and sealed roads that I just wanted to get through without dropping the pace too much on some of the uphill grades.  With Berlin Heights quickly approaching I stopped for a bit while I waited for someone to find my bike special needs and was off again.  Again I started to look forward to mile 59 or so when I would see my IRONFAN crew again.  Miles were ticking off effortlessly and although the wind and chip and seal were slowing me down, I was feeling quite comfy and just executing the miles and watching the heart rate and was thinking about intake.

Hit Milan again and was stoked to see my the crew again and with some smiles and waves, back out 113 I went.  Ughh, there was the realization that I did not expect to see the ironfan crowd until the run and I knew that those next 62 miles would be long.  Yet, I was enjoying the smooth road and saw a CTC jersey up ahead of me which was fellow CTC board member, KB.  He was looking strong and had a smile of course as he encouraged me on.  JUST LOVE THE SUPPORT OF OTHER ATHLETES OUT THERE! 

 It was around mile 70, I started feeling like I had to go to the bathroom and not #1.  I thought about stopping then but thought it might go away and kept on.  Again back to the chip and sealed sections with the grade that always bogged down the pace a bit.  As I came around to bike special needs again, I passed it. Every time I passed an aid station with a POP, I debated if I should stop.  I decided I would pass until I could not wait.   As I headed though Berlin Heights and started to really battle the wind and the chip seal was everywhere.  I thought about my friend BH and thought "FU wind", "FU chip and seal" which made me laugh to myself.  Then I was climbing some uphill grade around mile 95, I got just the pick me up that I needed!  THERE WAS THE CTC IRONFAN CREW AGAIN!  YEAHHHHH!! 

LOTS OF LOVE TO YOU ALL! And it was on to the homestretch!  My thought was to pick it up after mile 80, but with the wind I think I just pretty much stayed steady.  The final 5 miles or so up Cedar Point Road, I started to squirm a bit disliking every bump and was glad to know that a few more bumps and I would be off the bike!

Bike 5:47, 19.3 mph

I hit the dismount line and started to walk.  OUCH OUCH screamed the hamstrings.  My feet were killing me and I need to go to the bathroom pronto.  Seriously I could barely walk at this point.  I hobbled to the POP and was able to pee for the first time of the day but could not do the duty I was hoping for.  I complained a bit to another one of the terrific volunteers about my feet, perhaps they had just went numb with the constant pushing.  I was not sure how the run was about to go but I just headed out anyway.  T2- 5:42

The first burst of energy came when I saw Mama Bear, Trakkers Carole right out of transition cheering my name!!  As I started to run, my legs were tired but it was actually working out the funk in my feet.  I was feeling pretty good and took a glance over the the garmin to see I was running around the goal 150 HR with about 8 min mile pace.  Mile 1 -7:59, Mile 2 - 8:04.  Oh but I still needed to go to the bathroom which was now very evident!

I stopped at mile 2.5 or so and finally took care of business.  Then I was ready to go!  I was running comfortably but my pace was slowing a bit.  I was inclined to just run what pace was comfortable and after mile 5, the pace started to drift above my goal pace of 9 min miles.  Yet, I knew my goal of sub 12 was well within reach as I had built in some flex time so I just wanted to stay steady and I knew I could do it.

A variety of things helped tremendously on the run.  1.  FIRST and foremost, IRONFAN crowd.
2.  Carrying my own handheld water bottle.  I feel like I don't get fluids down quickly and love to be able to drink whenever I want
3.  Carrying my EFS Liquid Shot- so nice to use what I know will work for me and it has all the electrolytes and nutrition to carry me through.
4.  LOVE LOVE LOVE my Saucony Grid Tangents which were perfect and how crazy is it that after all that, I did not so much as even have a blister!
5.  PAIN RELIEVER-about miles 12&13, the day started to wear on me. I hurt.  My breathing felt more labored even while my HR seemed in check. As I hit special needs and grabbed another liquid shot, it was time for some proactive steps.  I hit my asthma inhaler, took some pain reliever and some water and got going again!  After my fade, I started to come around and caught up to BAFF teamie, JZ.  We ran together for a mile or 2 and I started to feel much better and took off on my own.  I saw Tiffany again and was glad to see that she looked steady and I knew she would get to the line!
6.  The volunteers were awesome.  I would give a heads up asking if someone could refill my bottle and next thing I knew they were all helping to keep me going quickly!  Thanks especially to the very efficient SSSMT aid station for your help!
7.  Seeing so many friendly faces on the course.  HUGE PROPS TO training partner ES for a dominant 10:10 finish.  Also the many Cleveland team racers and CTC people all over on the course.  Huge props to my Trakkers teammates and especially Kathleen who took 3rd overall female pro and even gave me a thumbs up when she passed (how cool!)

So the first 13, I had not walked any aid stations but I started to walk them and take in coke too which seemed to help.  I kept thinking that I was not really feeling too bad (had many worse days like the Summer 50K that I melted) so I trudged on and was enjoying myself.  But now I was starting to look forward to hitting the finish line and getting done. 

Every time I saw the cheering crowd, I got so excited and I knew long before I saw them where they were!  Thank you to all of you!  A very special thanks to my husband for all the support and driving the party crowd around!

I knew I would be close to my goal but I just could not figure out how close and I soooo wanted to break 12.   At about mile 25, I saw Bike Authority super mechanic (who had an IRON weekend on his own with all the work him and Doug did for days supporting the REV3 athletes), SG.  SG ran beside me in his sandels for a minute and checked his watch and confirmed I had it for sure!  It made me SOOO HAPPY!

As I came into the finish line, I was stoked that I did it.  I was happy for me.  I was happy because I wanted it for Mark Gorris who had helped me so much this year with my training.  I was so very grateful to REV3 for bringing this event to our area and making it so AWESOME!

RUN: 4:15, 9:44 pac, avg HR 149
TOTAL: 11:39:09

Over the day here are how the ranking changed-
SWIM 44/83 women, 12/19 AG division
BIKE  19/83 women, 4/19
RUN 15/83 women, 4/19

There are so many things that I am leaving out but suffice it to say, it was a truly awesome experience and thanks to everyone for your support along the way!

Oh and the icing on the cake came at the awards ceremony when I got a 2nd place AG award and so did fellow BAFF teammates, ES and KZ!   PS - thanks to Danielle & Elizabeth & Katie for the photos used here!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


So another short post as I am super short on time lately!

I had a super fab workout with the boys on Saturday which included my coach (WHO IS THE BEST AND IS EVEN LETTING ME BORROW HIS RACE WHEELS) and all-stars, ES and DM...who are also going to kick some REV3 butt!  I am very excited to see how well they will do!  We had a very windy final brick (45/3).  I was actually chilly at the start and luckily we dodged most of the rain!  On the way out we tackled a major headwind and I was just tucking in behind the boys as we all took turns with some pulls.  Then on the return trip we got to really have some fun and we averaged 25mph on the ride back from Orrville until we hit Rte 21!  Yeah for fast friends and tailwinds!  Then we threw on the shoes and headed out for a final quick run.  I love how fast 3 miles fly by on these "short" bricks!

Now I am in the nice and easy taper mode!  I even had a chance to stop in and visit the ole SERC crew at the bagel shop this week as I did not have some lengthy Sunday workout...WEIRD!  Feeling ready to roll with the exception of my super dooper swollen sting I got yesterday.  I suddenly have an extra hard red fat roll on my right outside hip.  Hurts like crazy!  My friends laughed at me talking about the crashes they have seen me take but never have heard me whine as much as I did yesterday over the sting.  I never even saw what got me (hornet/wasp/bee)?????  All I knew is there was no mistaking, something got me good!  So if I am itching myself on the REV3 course come Sunday, you will know why!   Lots of swimming on tap this week with some short bike / run intervals!  Other than that, just trying to think through all the little details with regard to nutrition, pacing and packing, planning the schedule with teams/CTC stuff, etc, trying to get some extra Zzzz's, not eat too much and mentally preparing for the inevitable pain cave!

I am really looking forward to the weekend and seeing everyone out at Sandusky!  Rest up racers ...the fun is just around the corner!