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The Season's best Race--One more Race Report for 2010

Posted Sep 20 2010 6:13am
Saturday was the Lobsterman Triathlon in Freeport, Maine. I almost skipped it this year. I can't tell you how happy I am that I changed my mind.
This race is just fun. I do love it from start to finish.
It's an Olympic Distance race. In some ways, I think this is the hardest distance. This could be argued. Of course an Ironman is harder. A Half Ironman is too. But at the same time, the Oly has the potential to hurt more. A sprint is so fast and furious that you almost don't have time to feel the pain. But an Olympic is short enough that you need to go nearly 100% the whole time but you know...it's Hard to go nearly 100% for over 2 hours!
Regardless, I Do love the distance. It requires a combination of grit, guts, smarts, and stamina.
Back to the race.
I packed up the kids on Friday afternoon and hurried down to Freeport. It's an hour from home and on the coast of Maine. We were blessed with perfect Fall weather. Sun and warmth. We grabbed my race packet and settled in for the night at my family's cottage at Wolf Neck. {if you read this from time to time I'm sure you've heard me go on and on about how much I love this spot....} I was in the perfect place for pre-race relaxation.
My husband was also racing but had to join us a few hours later after he left work. by 7:00 we were all there enjoying a nice meal before we went to bed early.
We put the kids to bed, built a fire in the fireplace, looked out over the ocean and Mark started going through is race packet and things for the next day.
"Why do you keep leaving your tri shorts on the ground?" I had been pickign those things up all day.
"I'm just going to put them on first thing in the morning."
"Ok. so where's your shirt?"
"In my other bag. YOu grabbed it from upstairs right?"
Um...no.
Mark and I had talked before I left town. The question was, did he need to go home before he came to the cottage? Yes. I told him that I couldn't bring all the things in my car so he needed to get his stuff and a pile of things in the garage that I left behind.
He grabbed the stuff from the garage but he never went in the house for his own gear.
Oh No!
At 9 p.m., my poor husband had to drive 1:15 minutes home to get his bag. And then back. Not good.
Needless to say, neither of us had a very restful night. I was in bed but awake until he got back. I called him a few times to check on him and 'keep him company.' For some reason, even after he was home, close to midnight, I was still unable to relax. I was awake almost ALL night long. I grew more and more tense and stressed. Yes, two night before a race are more important but I don't think a pre-race all nighter is recommended either. Would I feel like Mush the next day? I was worried. I had big goals for Saturday---how could this happen?

Well, I was thrilled when the alarm went off at 5:30 and it actually Did wake me up. Phew. It's better than nothing.
I didn't jump up quickly like I normally do on race morning but I did get up and make my way to a hot shower. I was ok... ready to focus.

Mark and the kids were coming along a little later than me. That's just the way we do it. We had two cars so it worked out. I'm an early bird and he is not. There is no changing that so we don't fight it.

Mark's Mom and Dad were actually camping for the weekend at the race venue in their motor home! My Mom and Dad live in the town where the race was held so we had tons of support and help for the boys.

I arrived nice and early and began my pre-race routine. {aka--try not to allow myself to get too nervous. It's just who I am. I get nervous and unable to focus on anything other than what I need to be doing at that moment. People give me grief for it...but it's just how I get revved up to do my best. It's not a regular workout day-it's a race and I go there with one mission. So it's only natural, in my opinion, that I would be feeling some nervousness and anxiousness. Once in a blue moon I feel calm and ambivalent on race morning. THOSE are the days I worry about my performance. I NEED the pre-race tension. }

I set up my transition area, I hit the portapotty lines x 3, I ran, I talked to my brother, my parents helped me with some logistics with my car, I talked to Mary, I talked to Mike and Mary Lou, I wondered where Mandy and Katharine were,and I saw very few others for the first few hours before the race. This seems to be normal. My tunnel visions prevents me from too much socializing before the gun fires.

I also wondered where my family was. There were 800 racers that day. Turns out the line into the park was long and slow. Mark and the kids were hung up there. Eventually they made it inside and I was able to grab a few hugs and show Mark where his things were. They boys then ran to the motor home to have pancakes with Meme and Papa. I was so happy they were having a fun race morning too.

Finally it was time to make our way to the start. I had decided it would be best to skip the swim warm up. I Really wasn't happy to make this decision, but after last year, I thought it was the smartest thing to do. You see, this race is in the ocean. I love the ocean, but, I admit, the Maine waters are NOT warm. Especially in September. Our days are still warm but our nights are very chilly. The water temps drop rapidly during the weeks preceeding the Lobsterman. Last year, I jumped in for a swim before the start and it Hurt! It was miserably painfully shockingly COLD. Frigid actually. I stood around for the next 20 min stressing and shaking about the cold. It distracted me from the race. So this year, I skipped it. As did many others.

I was so happy that Katharine (one of my best friends from college) found me while I was donning my wetsuit at the start area. While chatting with her and getting the rubber suit on, something happened.
I have no idea Why or How but I felt this Twang (best word I can come up with) in my back. It took my breath away. I could not breath deeply and I couldn't move my arms around.
#$(*%^#*($&#($*#*(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What is THIS!?? Geez. Does my body think I'm 40 or something?? I was mad. And really, afraid I may have just caused myself the need to DNS. (did not start..)
I tried to pretend I was makign a mountain out of a molehill and just wiggled myself around and tried to UNtweak it. NO luck. I became increasingly uncomfortable and worried and had to excuse myself from Kath and walk off to find some help. I immediately saw my friend Mike and a few others behind him. I sort of lost it for a minute and kind of cried while I begged him to help me. He unzipped the back of the suit and began working on the 'spot.' OUCH!!! It hurt SO SO SO BAD!!!! Meanwhile, my other buddy Bob bobbed up full of great prerace energy and excitement. He tried to high 5 me and all that and I just had my head down and kept making 'I'm in pain' noises. Finally he caught on and asked another guy that was right there, "what's wrong with her?" He hurried off to find Jared, who is a PT he thought he might be able to help. That was the last I saw of Bob. I wanted him to go focus on his own race anyway, so that was good. I also wanted Mike to take off to do the same...thankfully at that moment Another friend (see how lucky I am!) ERin came along. She is also a physical therapist. She grabbed my back and started trying to 'melt' this Marble as she called it, away. Yikes. It hurt so much but she did Help! Erin Saved my race. ( she was doing a relay and not doing the swim leg so I felt better about stealing her for a few minutes.) I am NOT kidding. After 5 or so minutes I was not pain free but I was back in business and in line to start. THANK YOU ERIN!!! I did wonder if it would be ok in the water but I decided to refocus on the day ahead. Back to business.

Swim:
I was in wave 6. Why do they Always put the 40+ women Last?? I have issues with that. do they think we're slow? Ha! Time to proove that theory wrong!
I swam out beyond the dock where we started. Mary was next to me. I was really excited because I Could swim and didnt' feel my back. SO Lucky on this one. I was also thrilled to feel that the water was not too cold! I could stand this temperature!! It was just fine... ( found out later it was 60-61 degrees..incredible for mid-September.) I put myself in the start position for a deep water start, clicked on my interal race mode and readied myself to suffer and love it. GO GO GO GO GO!!!!
We were off. I kicked like a mad woman and kept my head down. I find it quite difficult to site at this race. We swim in a direction that heads us towards the sun. The ocean is sparkly on a sunny day and that makes it even harder to identify things to site from. I followed the splashes from the waves ahead of me and knew I'd see the turn buoy soon.
I could tell I had a lead on my own wave. My plan was to get that lead by buoy #1 and not to let it go. THis was my goal. I didn't want to see any other women that day UNLESS I was going by them. I was aiming high. Why not!?
I felt good in the water. I swallowed a bunch of salty gulps but never choked. THe water was quite calm and I only had to mash my way through a few groups of people in front of me. I did get myself through a bunch of different colored caps but I didnt' have trouble weaving through most of them. I sited well and kept good lines. I would love to watch a video from the air someday... not sure how that would ever happen but it would be cool and I'm sure I'd have a different analysis of my 'lines' after seeing it from that perspective!
I hit the bottom of the ocean floor with my hands, did one dolphin dive and ran up the ramp. I heard my parents and my kids and Tried to smile and look. But as I explained to my boys later, I have to stay focused. I knew I had a lead but the race is so fast and 'short' that every second in the race counts. I had to keep my eyes on the ground and begin thinking about what was next.
Unzip the suit.
Cap and goggles off.
Run.
run.
GEt to the bike. Stop. RIp off leg 1, step on the suit and yank out leg 2. It worked this time! The wetsuit was off in a flash.
Glasses on. Helmet on. buckle. Into shoes. (ok....I know.... Jen.... sorry but I still really need work on climbing on the bike With the shoes clipped on. )
bike off rack and we're off!!!

swim time: 21:41 (it was about a mile...)

Bike: I felt great from the start. My legs were Not dead. They were turning over nicely and my focus was dead on. We have to climb for a while when we are first exiting the park and that is a tough way to start the bike And the run. I just stayed positive and rode hard. NO TIME to let up. I had a great bike fit done a week ago and with that came some good advice. I had cleaned my bike of all extraneous gadgets. I took off all the water bottle cages. I didn't carry Anything except my gel flask and the aero bottle. My head was down, my hands were in the right place and I hammered.
Up and over hills, around the corners and into the masses. The roads were clustered with riders. It was dangerous and annoying. I did my best to fly past people as quickly as I could. I have No desire to draft or cheat but it's clear that many folks out there are not privy to the rules of the road. People park themselves in the middle or on the left and just hang out. It makes it very tough and quite frankly, dangerous.
The ride went very well except for when my chain got locked up around mile 10. It was absolutely stuck. It didnt' drop off, but the rings would not turn! I talked to it and wiggled this and that and somehow I maneuvered it back into place and never had to get off the bike. Close one!
Around mile 18 (?) I saw my husbands orange tri top. I was psyched it had taken me so long to catch him! Granted he had a 12 minute head start on me! :) I smacked him in the butt as I rode by and of course, he loved that. He told me later that the guy near him said, "hey ! that was a girl that just flew by us!" Mark was apparently proud to tell him, "yeah, that's my wife. She has 12 minutes on us now buddy."
Mark's such a good sport about it. He's a tremendously talented athlete but he doesnt' have time to train very much at all. He has no issues At All with his wife crushing him. Thanks hun.

bike split: 1:09.30 (21.5 mph) a mere 5 minutes faster than last year!

Time for my favorite part. The run. Ok... of course I love the swim. But there's so far to go on the swim and things aren't in place yet. I love the run because I can get out there and make it all come together.

I felt decent when I started. A little wobbly. Definately tired. But I had a lead and I intended to hang on to it. I had no idea where the women were from the wave in front of us.

So many people yelled "go Ange" while I was running. It really touched me. I couldn't see who many of them were because they yelled as they biked by or as I ran on the other side of the road. I had my head down and I was thinking about where I was so I missed so many of them. Thank so for the support out there! It really really gave me a boost.

My garmin didn't record my mile spilts. I have no idea why but I'm bummed about that. I saw 6:20-6:40 for the first few miles. I knew this was probably too fast to hold on to but I was just going for it until I couldn't push any harder. I hit mile 3 and was feeling steady. I wasn't feeling Great but I was fine. I was working and ready to push the last 3.2 miles of my season as hard as I could.

I turned into the park and knew I had about 2 miles left. It's very very hilly at the end of this course so it requires a lot of focus. FInally, I could see the ocean again and feed off the crowds. I heard some friends and worked off that support. We make a big loop around a circle before running down the finisher's chute. It's looooooooooong. However, Mom, Dad, my In-laws, my brother, my friend Mike and my 3 boys were ALL there cheering me in. Nick was holding a horse shoe crab in the air at me while we slapped hands. Tommy was yelling, " I found a message in a bottle Mommy!" while we slapped hands too! Pretty cool stuff.
Run 43:34 7:01 pace.

Overall time 2:16.43 (5 min faster than 2009)

Post-Race at Lobsterman is another reason I love that day. There were freinds everywhere. We all stood around chatted about our race and our season. We are overlooking a sparkly ocean. They give us cups in our gear bags for free beer after the race. They put on a Lobsterbake.
Does it get better than that?

My Dad, my biggest fan by the way, was keeping track of the field for me.
He let me know that some other girl snuck in ahead of me. "Was she more than 3 minutes ahead though?" (the spacing of the waves.) She was. Oh well. I did my best.
The comical thing is that this woman, a 30 year old from New Jersey, beat me by 2 1/2 minutes in the water!
Our two transition times were within 5 seconds of each other. Our bike times were Both 1:09. Our Run times were Both 43. She was 43:32 , I was 43:34. Unreal. IF ONLY we had gone head to head---perhaps I could have chased her down. Who knows.

I am 100% satisfied with Saturday's race. I felt strong, I moved pretty fast, and I had a blast. My head was in the right place and I never let up my guard. I LOVED RACING and That felt great. I posted something last week that I ended up deleting. It was too negative and I didnt' like the way it sounded. I'll get back to my thoughts on all that but I'll just say that Saturday rekindled my love for the sport. The day was all about why I love to race Triathlon.

Overall stats from Lobsterman 2010.

2nd overall woman. 1st age group. 27th out of entire field of men and women (800 racers?)

Now-I rest.
That thing in my back, came back with a vengeneance as soon as I crossed the line. not sure what it is or what to do about it but I am in pain. I'll be calling for a massage asap!
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