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2015 Racing has Begun!

Next up: NYC Triathlon, July 19th!

On the road….again!

After a good 2 weeks at home after CDA, I was back on the road. Luckily for me this extended trip was a driving tour of the north east. Not that I particularly enjoy driving over flying…I just enjoy the luxury of being able to overpack :) Thus, the car ended up with 3 bikes, 8 wheels and a trainer in it…..before any of the luggage was packed. Hello, roof rack!

First stop on the tour: HOME! My parent’s house has actually turned into a solid training destination for me. A pool about a quarter mile down the road, good riding and running roads, and a mother who is so happy to see me I get dinner made for me every night?!! I need nothing more!! Thanks Mom and Dad! But, this was only a brief stop, and after a couple days I headed on my way to the Big Apple.

NYC and I have a love-hate relationship. I typically love being in the city for about 2-3 days. Then I start to feel quite claustrophobic and my inner country girl begins to shine through. My sister has been living in NY (now Hoboken) for quite some time and it was always on the list to come up for a race at some point. With a small opening in the schedule and a pro-race available for the NYC triathlon, it seemed like a good time to make the effort.

Logistically, racing in NY is just never going to be simple. Planes (okay not really), trains (yep), and automobiles (taxis) are just all part of the fun to get yourself to the start line. But I should say that the pre-race experience as a pro was second to none. The Lifetime Fitness team really made an effort to make the professionals feel welcome, and, like they are a professional. That’s a nice touch.

Race morning was another early start. I am eager to return to a race where I can start after 6am! The swim for this one is a downriver swim (yay!)…….in the Hudson River (eek!). More than a handful of people warned me about potential diseases and debris I could find in the river. Thanks, guys. Still no sign of a third nipple yet.

The race offers a dive start from the barge for the pros. I’ve been practicing this and was eager to try my skillz. Ed was able to capture the moment in video for me! I think if I get a little more aggressive (ie don’t wait until everyone else goes in to dive) and keep my feet together, I’ll be in good shape next time. I’m 5th in from the left in this video:

The bike course is deceivingly hilly (who knew the West Side Highway has substantial hills?) and the run course through Central Park is, of course, also hilly. My powertap decided not to work when I hopped on my bike, so I bike as hard as I could for the 25 miles before heading out onto the run. Mostly running solo, I finally caught sight of a woman up ahead and was able to make the pass before the finish line where Ed and my family were cheering. I had zero expectations for what I could do in a short course situation 2 weeks after an IM, so I was happy enough with 9th place and certainly pleased to have had the opportunity to get in a hard 2 hour effort while crossing the “race in NYC” item off my bucket list.

Post-race brought some touristy things (can you believe I had never visited the Museum of Modern Art before?!), a really really good Italian dinner in Jersey, and some rest before packing up and getting back into the car and heading up to Great Sacandaga Lake. Ed’s family has a “camp” up here and were kind enough to offer us a bed in the sleeping loft so we can take a few days of R&R on our way up to Lake Placid. Turns out, this area has great riding roads and, obviously, a great opportunity for some OWS practice right down the front yard.

But, in keeping with the theme of things, after a few days it is time to pack up (again!) and head out – onwards to Lake Placid! TeamHPB has 7 athletes racing – 4 first time IMers! I couldn’t miss this :) I’ve already decided I will need about 8 phone batteries to be able to keep the team posted on everyone’s progress on Sunday. Looking forward to catching up with some other good friends who are there racing, it will be a fun final stop on the tour before heading back to VA on Monday.

Charlottesville Tri Camp Recap!

Have a bit of catching up on the blog here so I’ll be heading back to earlier this month first —

Coming home from CDA, it was not quite time for some R&R just yet. There was still Charlottesville Tri Camp to be done!! Comprised of mostly TeamHPBers, yet open to all, it’s a great compliment to the Tucson Camp option that I help coach with Hillary and Maik.  We had a great mix of experience with the campers for this year, and I was really excited to see the weekend grow from last year.

Leslie and Nate were on the same CDA-Camp double schedule with me, and it was nice to get to see them so much more often than normal! We headed over to the UVA track to meet on Thursday night for our shakeout run with the campers. Followed by a low key pizza night, it’s always  a great night as the mix of nerves and excitement for the training ahead is tangibly in the air.

Friday and Saturday are my favorite days of the camp, as the longest days that we have it’s often the largest chunk of back-to-back training many campers have experienced to this point. Friday’s Skyline ride is also pretty special for those coming in from out of town. They might not have called 8,000+ feet of climbing “special”, but I think that’s a good word for it :) Once again, we were super lucky with the Charlottesville weather forecast, managing to narrowly miss some strong summer storms, and finding the riding weather actually quite comfortable – a good break from the stifling heat and humidity we had seen a few weeks earlier.

After conquering 104 miles of some of the toughest (but most scenic!!) climbing in the area, Saturday’s adventures on paper don’t seem like much, but soon the campers found out otherwise :) We rode over to Walnut Creek Park this year for some Open Water Swimming practice. With a comfortable water temperature and a good swimming beach, it’s a great place to practice all sorts of things for open water, especially starts and sighting. Soon everyone realized how tiring sprinting in and out of the water can be!!

No rest for the weay though – a 20 mile ride was ahead over to Ridge Road. A hidden gravel road that many people come to Charlottesville to experience as a runner, the 4 mile long stretch of rolling hills is my favorite place for a progression run in the area. It just wouldn’t be proper to bring people to Charlottesville to train and not show them that then, right?! Ridge road can be humbling, and it wasn’t the first time that I saw some campers experience their first “blow up” during the progression portion. It may not be fun for them to have coach running alongside when that happens, but having it happen in a controlled training environment where I know we’ll ultimately get them home safely is actually a good thing in my mind. Better in training than a race for sure!!

Some of the crew heading out on Ridge Road!
Some of the crew heading out on Ridge Road!

A final easy spin home and, time for some food and rest.

Sunday includes an easy spin along the country roads, followed by a long swim session. We had a few 100×100 takers this round, but Leslie and I used the time with folks to focus on technique and form as well. Nothing like 3 hours in the pool to really get some time looking at strokes, right?! :)  The traditional Sunday night BBQ was well timed this year with the women’s world cup final. We piled into the living room to watch the USA victory and I think it helped to keep everyone inspired for the last task at hand: Monday morning long run! A mix of roads, trails, gravel and plenty of hills, we tackled 3 hours on the feet before hugging goodbye and sending everyone off to the “real world” once again.

Leslie, Nate and I had SO MUCH fun coaching this group. It was also fun to get to see Stephanie’s progression with the sessions year over year as our returning camper. She has been working so hard the past few years and her improvement is proof that it’s working. After seeing her progress this year at camp, I have no doubts about her ability to smash IM Chattanooga!  Several of the other campers I will be getting to watch this weekend in Lake Placid. They are all so fit and so ready, it’s going to be a great day for sure!!!!

Stephanie pleasantly surprised with progress from last year!!
Stephanie pleasantly surprised with progress from last year!!