LKN Sprint

08/31/2012

This past weekend was the LKN Sprint which is one of my favorite races in the series for some reason.  I have always had a decent run (for me) on this course so maybe that’s why I like it?  Nonetheless, after the news of my cousin on passing on Wednesday, I assumed I would skip the race as we’d be in NY for the services.   But, we later found out that his service would be Sunday and Monday which allowed for my sister and I to do this race – my first race my cousin would “see”.  I dedicated all of my efforts and energy to Jim and Leigh Ann’s dad at this race.

In an attempt to be less “fly by the seat of my pants” and a bit more prepared for my races this year, I decided to do some transition practice on Friday night.  I took my bike over to a church around the corner, found a good flattish area to do some mounts with my shoes on my bike and dismounts the same.  Well, that proved to be an epic failure.  In an attempt to lift my foot to hop on my bike while in motion, my left toe caught the ground and took off literally the entire top of my toe!  It was a bloody disaster!  But, I decided instantly when it happened to just not stress about it, cleaned it out when I got home, bandaged it up with moleskin, made the decision to race (even swim) in my compression socks to keep the bandage on and called it a night.

I arrived at the race earlier than usual which was nice.  Parked in the same parking spot I’ve parked in for the last 3 years and mad my way down to the site.  I had 6 clients also racing so it was nice to see friendly faces before the race and take some of the stress off my own race.

Swim:  15:54 / 55th of 198
I don’t even know what to say about this.  I have no idea what “happened”, I have no excuses, no wrong turns, no story that I can remember.  I was just slow.  I lost the race in the water (again), and I knew it when I saw 15 min + on my watch when I stood up.  So that is that.  It’s getting old.

T1: 2:08 / 26th
A little slower than I would have liked, but ok.  Given my failure the night prior attempting to mount with my shoes on, I decided to do a regular old mount this time reducing the risk of further injury.  The route through transition that I chose to run to the bike exit definitely cost me some valuable time, particularly while running in my shoes, but otherwise fine.

Bike: 47:50 / 2nd
After Brian Couture and I did the weavy-swerves nearly taking each other and a few cones out trying to get clipped in, I set out on the bike pretty hard.  I knew from the get go that it wouldn’t be enough after my swim though.  Again, that’s getting old.  I can only ride so hard and make up so much time as I have to run just like everyone else.  I had ridden the course the Wednesday before the race and knew where I could push it and where the hills were.  The only “interesting point” of this ride was due to yet another mishap on my part!  I made the decision to put on my disk cover the night before, all by myself, which I was proud to accomplish for the first time.  Chain whip, wrench, the whole 9-yards and I managed.  Proud Kim.  🙂

Well, kinda managed.  About 7-8 miles into the ride as I was slugging up Shearer’s, I shifted into my small ring to spin a bit on one of the bigger hills.  I heard something kinda start rattling.  I peeked down and knew exactly what it was…but had no idea what to do about it!  It was my cassette, that I clearly didn’t tighten enough the night before!  I instantly shifted back into my big ring and it somewhat went away, but given this course is pretty hilly, there was a lot of shifting that needed to go on.  The longer I rode, the looser the cassette got and the more it rattled.  I’m not usually fearful on my bike, but descending Faith Road at ~40 mph knowing my cassette was loose was downright scary!  I chose to stay in the big ring from then on and just ride as hard as I could to get back and off my scary bike.  Thankfully I made it safely.  I rolled into T2 in 3rd behind Melissa and Carrie – with far too much ground between us on a 3 mile run.

T2: 1:05 / 8th
No issues, nothing to report.  Trying to stay calm while also trying to move as fast as you can, is often challenging.

Run:  20:49 / 4th
I set out up the hill behind one other guy and he passed me about 1/4 mile in.  I decided I would do all I could to just stay with him.  It’s nice being passed by someone who is just slightly faster than you (and not female) because having someone pace you really does make a difference.  Had he just blown by me it would have been demoralizing, and not motivating!  Pleased to report I ended up staying with him right to the finish line which felt good!

5th Overall / 3rd Open – I am not pleased with this race.  I am tired of losing races in the water and I’m annoyed with my cassette.  I feel good about my run right now but that’s all I can say about my race.  I’m super super proud of all of my athletes that were out there, that ironically, ALL had one of their best races to date with PR’s and goals met all around!  That alone makes up for my lackluster performance 🙂


Lowe’s Time Trial #4

08/19/2012

If you actually go out to race a TT, they’re all pretty much the same….an all out effort that makes you want to stop peddling and catch your breath.  I’m not sure I’ve ever done a time trial or power test of any sort where, during it, I thought “oh this is so fun”.  It’s pretty hard.  My 4th week at Lowe’s proved nothing different.

In the previous 3 sessions I’ve done, we’ve had some pretty tough wind on the 2nd turn and down the back stretch, but this was the first week we saw wind on turn 4 and through the front stretch.  Given there is a slight downhill coming out of turn 2, when there is wind, you’re still working really hard.  This week, with the tailwind and the slight downhill, my power numbers kept dropping on this stretch despite putting out, what felt like, the same hard effort.  The good news however, was that despite the reduced power, my speed would improve due to the tailwind.  And vice versa on the front stretch where you worked hard into the wind, saw your power numbers tick back up, but your speed start to dip.

I will say this week was the first time I truly came within a fraction of a second away from stopping my pedals and taking a quick break.  I pretty glad I didn’t.  It can be very hard to fight that urge when you’re maxed out effort-wise.  I seem to have mastered managing this discomfort much better on a bike than I have in my running and swimming; I’m not sure what’s up with that.

I rode 22:22:23 which was an 18 second PR for me!  Despite, I still managed to get my tail handed to me by two other girls who laid out some seriously impressive times.  Fortunately, these two girls are Lauren, one of my Pain Pathways teammates who rode an amazing 21:57:33 in her FIRST Lowe’s event, and Addy Abershardt who races with national pro team NOW and Novartis for MS, also riding a really impressive 22:01:54.  Excellent work ladies!  I’m okay with finishing 3rd to these ladies; I gave it all I had for this day and I’m pleased to see my times continue to improve!


My Lemonade Recipe Doesn’t Call for Quite So Many Lemons

08/17/2012

This week has been a doozie. I feel like the hits just keep on coming.  I’m down, and am trying to stand up, but keep getting knocked down when I do.

“There are times in our lives when we are on narrow roads.  At those times, we are fools if we try to maintain our usual speed.” ~ Unknown

It started back on July 19th.  We got a call from my cousin that her dad, Jim, had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He’s 58 and was scheduled to retire on August 15th after 25+ years of working for the NY Railroad.  Instead of gearing up to spend the rest of his life enjoying his hard work with his wonderful wife Kathy, they began preparations to fight the horrific disease that is cancer.

Fast forward less than one month.

I wake up on Tuesday morning, sit down at the computer with my breakfast as I always do, and log in to Facebook.  The first thing I see is my coach, Leigh Ann, has posted a picture of her father stating “her heart is broken into a million pieces”.  Obviously this is not good.  I reach out to Leigh Ann to discover her father has suffered a massive brain aneurysm and is on life support.  She spent the whole weekend prior (2 days before) in Atlanta with him celebrating his 70th birthday and now she drives in the middle of the night to sit by his bedside as he breaths through a machine and the family is left to “make decisions”.  I am speechless.

Since I am up early, I decide to get some stuff together for a group swim I am hosting this weekend.  I have ordered shirts, water bottles, and visors for each of my athletes so I prepare to get them together.  I head to my car to retrieve the visors which I had shipped to work the week prior and had not brought in the house yet.  I discover there are no visors.  Not only are there no visors, there is no Garmin, no yoga mat, no jumper cables, no CD’s, no phone chargers or iPod plug ins. I have been robbed in my own driveway, while I slept not 15 feet from my car in my cozy big bed. Talk about feeling violated.  Everything is replaceable, life goes on, you can’t sit around and mope about something that you cannot change, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be annoyed about it for a little.  So that’s where I am with that.  I was beyond excited to hand out nice little CK Multisport packages including the visors this weekend, but looks like those will have to wait.  In the grand scheme of this week, the robbery is nothing – it’s not a life or death situation and all material things can be replaced, even if it sucks spending hundreds of dollars on stuff you already owned.

As the day turned to Thursday, Leigh Ann’s father went peacefully in his sleep.  I am thankful for her and her family that it was quick and it did not prolong, but that doesn’t ignore the fact that it is unfair and tragic that he had to go at all. Dealing with loss is difficult enough and unexpected loss is that much harder.  Words cannot express how it feels to see a friend go through this.  I did not know her dad, but that isn’t the point. My heart still hurts for her.  If you know Leigh-Ann and would like to make a donation in her dad’s honor to the Wounded Worrier Project, please contact me.

I was “not right” after hearing the news of Leigh Ann’s dad…and the second blow at 3pm rocked my world.  We received news that the doctors said there is nothing more they can do for Jim.  His cancer continues to grow despite chemo and other attempts to shrink it.  He will be sent home in the hands of Hospice tomorrow.  We have never dealt with this so close to home and we’re not prepared to do so quite so soon…or ever for that matter.

This year has been riddled with news of tragic deaths and cancer.  And last year.  And the year before.  Apparently that is the new norm in our society and particularly the older you get, but I am having a hard time accepting it.  It seems every other week I hear of someone, someone’s mom, dad, cousin, brother, dog, friend, sister, neighbor, you name it, who is fighting some form of cancer.  Death is a part of life, I realize that; however, the unfairness of the circumstances that determine when it is “someone’s time” anger me to the core.  It is not supposed to be Jim’s time.  It was not supposed to be Mr. Goodwin’s time.  They have so much living left to do.

I’ll end with a quote I read a while back. It seems fitting for this unforgiving situation.

“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you deal with it is what makes the difference.” ~ Virginia Satir

I thank you all for keeping my family and Leigh Ann’s in your thoughts during these difficult times.  Have a great weekend everyone.


A Weekend of 5ths

08/05/2012

So I’m clearly a bit behind on my blogging as these races were over a week ago which you know means one thing…I’ve been slam packed busy!  I’ll provide a quick recap of the two races I did last weekend, cause that just what I do on this here blog 🙂

My cycling team is based out of the Winston/High Point area and when these two events showed on the calendar I knew I’d want to do them.  This would be my first bike races since upgrading to Cat 3 back in April.  Given my general lack of top speed / Vo2 max training on my bike, crits are usually pretty tough for me….especially the “open” and cat 1/2/3 races.  Fortunately, I can rely on my ability to gut it out when it gets hard, but it’s not always enough, as evidenced by the title of this blog.

NC State Criterium Championship – High Point

This race was a cat 1/2/3 race on a ~1.4 mile loop around downtown High Point.  We raced at 10:30am but since there was a later race in the day for the women (30+ and 40+) that I wasn’t doing, I opted to ride up alone.  I arrived about an hour early, got situated and got my ~25 min warm up in.

The race started pretty fast and included several attacks by members of my Pain Pathways team as we had big numbers.  I attacked about 15 minutes into the 40 min race and was able to stay away for about 2.5 laps before being picked up by the field and nearly dying trying to get back in.  There was one nice little corner on the course followed by a climb…not a big climb, but big enough to feel after riding it several times at a generally high effort.  I nearly got popped off the back after my attack when another strong rider attacked on the hill but I did all I could to get back on.  Thankfully.  Riding alone in a bike race kinda defeats the purpose of racing.

The way the course was laid out, it was tough for any one individual or group to establish any significant break.  After about 30 minutes I think it was mutually understood that we’d duke it out in a field sprint.  I set myself up in good position for a lead out on the sprint; however, when it was time to “go” I had little left in the tank to actually “go” anywhere!  Exhibit 1 of my general lack of Vo2 max training 🙂  Not surprising, the 3 girls that my teammates and I knew were a threat, finished 1/2/3 while my teammate Marianne and I rounded out the top 5.  I was neither happy or unhappy with my results, if that makes sense?

Haynes Park Criterium – Winston Salem

After Saturday’s race, two friends / teammates and I headed to Winston Salem later in the day on Sunday to race the Haynes Park crit.  We didn’t race till 2:30 so the 100 degree temperatures were in full effect.  Fortunately, this ~1 mile course was mostly shaded.

The original race plan my teammates and I mapped out didn’t necessarily go as planned and I failed miserably again to get clipped in at the start.  After swerving accidentally and nearly taking out my own teammate (sorry Hannah) as I tried to get clipped in, the race was well under way and I was balls to the wall getting back in the mix.  Seems to be a pattern.  I’m planning to change out my clips on my road bike to speedplays which should help with this issue.

The race proceeded at a pretty nice clip with some early attacks but none successful.  Unfortunately, on the 2nd or 3rd lap (can’t remember) as we climbed the nasty little hill, there was a nasty crash pretty much right in front of me.  All I saw was two girls collide and I darted left.  Thankfully I was able to get around the wreck; unfortunately one of my teammates and one of my friends were involved.  All I heard were some screams, screaching, a few curse words, and a really loud tire pop as I headed on by.  At this point, I learned this weeks bike racing lesson…you keep racing if there’s a wreck.

Unbeknownst to me, you don’t stop, ask your teammates how they’re doing, pick up broken bikes…nothing.  You just keep racing.  I slowed to stop to check on everyone when someone used the crash as a chance to establish a solid break.  So, in limbo between the wreck and the 4 girls up the road, I decided to go catch them.  Thankfully I was able to grab on somewhat quickly and found myself in a nice, established break of 6…with two of my teammates!

We proceeded to ride generally hard in our group with a few people attacking, including myself, to no long-term avail. About halfway through the last lap, we caught the remainder of the field which usually ends up being a disaster.  It was no different this time.  The “rule” is that the people in the group that are being lapped, are supposed to stay neutral until the lead group passes and THEN sprint.  However, there were a few eager beavers in the field that decided they should try to sprint with / against us as they were being lapped, one of which “raced” me to the line.  Not out of the ordinary, I didn’t have much left mustard to give at the sprint and ended up with another 5th behind the same 3 girls from Saturday in 1/2/3 (different order today) and a different teammate of mine in 4th.  Again, I was neither pleased or pissed with my results.  🙂

As a whole, I love to bike race, despite it being so so very hard.  I think it’s great training for shorter distance triathlon, periodically.  I have a few more races planned out for this year and I’m excited to tackle them in hopes to finish better than 5th 🙂