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After IMAZ and the work that went into that race and my PR there…I decided to keep 2012 fun and lighter. NO IRONMAN and possibly not even any 1/2 IMs…even though I have since changed my mind.
This weekend, I have kept my promise and had another FUN and competitive weekend. I raced in a Sprint Triathlon up in Whitewater, WI where the swim was in a POOL! Gasp. Actually, I have done this race 5-6x and it is just fun, low-key and cold. A perfect combination for me. Race day did not disappoint..it was barely 40F when I started.
This race is a 500 y pool swim, 14 mile ride and 3. something off road cross country run. NO pavement. It is so fun! Lots of beginners and a splash of some really fast athletes.
Best part? The fastest wave starts at 11am! I did not have to set an alarm and myself and Mia, Karen, Stacie and Jaynie all left my house at 8am. Lovely.
And, it was fun to see familiar faces, catch up and kick off the official Triathlon season here.
I was so calm. As, I really should be for a race like this. But, truth be told, I was SO unsure of my run fitness. I really was concerned I would be running SUPER SLOW and get passed 1000 x. My times are so-so right now, but I respond VERY quickly to the track and I have been on the track all of April and despite Dave thinking I am sucking wind right now (he is always right) I am getting my legs back under me slowly.
Anyway, they started my wave, #35, 20 minutes early! (Who does that? lol) and there were 3 in my lane, lane #4. The look on these kids’ faces were priceless. They entered a very fast time for their 500 and I was with them! And, my entry time was theirs too! They had on their ITU racing suits…they were probably HS age. Anyway, I passed one of them and the other put 25y on me. GOOD lane!
But, that was not my competition. My competition was Lauren Jensen..someone who I am happy to race against this year after a horrific bike crash 2 years ago killed her friend and injured her. She used to race PRO, but now is back to AG racing and she is 44! Us Masters kick butt! While she is nice, I am still there to beat her. I beat her out of the pool and out of T1.
I rode and rode…14 miles – please. I was breathing so hard you would have thought I was a smoker. That is how I race Sprint races…so hard that I can not possibly drink anything or do anything but focus on breathing and not the pain in my lungs or fire in my quads.
Lauren is a great cyclist. All 110 lbs of her…and she passed me. WITH a tail wind – so she was going over 30 mph and we were hauling ass. Anyway, I held on as tight as I could to her and she was only able to put about 40″ on me ….I was coming into T1 and she was coming out. I flew off my bike and thankfully did not kill myself and hopped into my shoes and off I went (I almost forget how to do the dismount after IM training!).
I love Sprints. I am not saying I am the best Sprint athlete out there (ha) but I surely like the animistic feel of racing a Sprint. Nothing but myself and the clock…and every second matters. The last triathlon I did was an Ironman, so this was so fun. I found myself having fun and smiling (I never smile when I race b/c I am working so hard) but I was doing what I wanted: having fun and hunting 1st place down. I was working my TAIL off…running fast.
I was in shock. NOT only did I feel like I was floating on air, I was racing Cross Country style through flags and hay and single track and hills and sand..it was AWESOME and different. I was closing the gap on her but not enough…I could see her, I was huting and I never let that string break between her back and my eyes. I needed another 1/2 mile…and it would have been an interesting finish. And, I could hear someone breathing behind me…and not leaving. !!! I turned around and there was a girl! Not that I should be surprised but it is J Hawk not St. Anthony’s, so I kind of knew where I was all day…even though there are 100 waves…and she was tough. I give her a ton of credit, she did NOT give me an inch. (come to find out she was moving b/c she was part of a relay, but I did NOT know this at the time).
I never let up. I was fighting the vomit back in my throat…I had to close my eyes on the flatter grassy areas so I would not explode. I never took a drink or sip of anything. The race only took me 1:08, I couldn’t afford anything that would not move me forward.
I finished 2nd OA and with my best time EVER on that course???!!! The course has never changed, but the winds have over the years….this year it was windy but not as bad as last year. But, the best part? My swim was the same as last year (of course, it is only 500y) and I had the fastest swim of the day and the 2nd fastest bike (after lauren) and was 3 minutes faster than last year and pretty close to my fastest there and the best news where I walked away and smiled: I had the fastest run…and my best run time there EVER.
That, my friends, is a Christmas MIRACLE. I have been chugging along with my running in training….and training on tired legs and swimming then running, you know…
But, for me, I have this switch when I race. I like to race more than I like to do pretty much anything in this sport, so when that flag drops, the sh*t stops and I suffer. It is like I enter this zone where I am so focused, so plugged in, that I rise above where my training has been. Gosh, that feels so good. Ironically, everything came together for this little sprint. HA…and I did not rest for it (of course) coming off the bit rest I did for the State swim meet last weekend. I even rode 50 miles on Friday. Hmmm.
I will say this: I was not stressed all week, I ate well (except my normal chocolate), I slept over 8-9 hours every night…and that helps me a ton. And, I was with friends and fun people. That really is the icing on the cake for me.
Congrats to everyone who raced and to Stacie, Mia, Jaynie and Karen who traveled with me and hit the diner with me afterwards (the best part). And it was great to see Gina, Tracy and John Lorenz who raced well and their kids (Justin/Alex) who raced well and the MMS Kids Team with Chris Palmquist who was up there racing. Just a great day!
Keeping it fun, as I promised myself!
I really LOVED the State Swim Meet this weekend for many reasons.
This was the first year I decided to do the ENTIRE meet – 9 individual events + the max of 4 relays. That meant swimming Thursday night and then 6:30am-8pm Saturday and Sunday downtown at the UIC. That is a huge commitment, but in the past I have drove in for “my” favorite events, either the 1650 or the 1000 (alternating years) and the 500 Free.
This year was different. I came off the IM and was SLOW and tired. I took a large chunk of time out of the water after IMAZ. I had not done a hard pool workout in months. By the time I got back to Masters and moving for 2012, I was far behind the girls in my lane. So, when the small meets rolled around, I swam in them, but I was still off and slower. I decided I needed a new challenge. For the past 4-5 years I have either done the 1650 or 1000 and 500. That is all. And, every year I had won. I know that sounds horrible and I never take that for granted (especially this year!) but I needed a new challenge. So, I picked the hardest swim event (in my opinion) to aim for at State. This was in February.
I decided to share that goal with everyone and talk incessantly about it so that it would MAKE me stay honest with it. Because, it is NOT easy to slow down and do the hard stuff that I really needed to do work on my fly, back and breast. But, I did it and by the time this weekend rolled around, I was as ready as I could have been.
Fast forward to this weekend. I tapered fully for it. I did not run or bike after Wednesday…and Wednesday was SUPER light. My 1000 was Thursday night and late..I think I swam around 7:30pm or 8pm? I went down all weekend with Mia, Stacie and Karen. We had a great time and they all PRd massively at the meet!!
It was like lighting a match 14 x.
ALL out, all lactate burning and all very ,very hard. Closing my eyes to finish hard.
And, eating appropriately to do this from when we woke up at 5am or so until 7:30pm each day. That is tough, but thankfully we did a good job at that (thanks Stacie for the homemade bars!).
Honestly, I was most nervous about the 1000 Free and 500 Free. Two events which I consider a better fit for me as a Triathlete…ironically, I still consider them way too short. MY FAV event is the 1650. Anyway, I was nauseous nervous about the 1000 all day…nothing like racing at 8pm to keep your mind and stomach honest all day!! I did the best I could. I was a little slower than I raced at last time but ended up getting 2nd in that event for the meet and swimming a 12:2x.
Krista, my lane mate ended up 1st. Ironically, we went 1-2 last year as well…just roles were flipped this year. Krista ended up having a GREAT meet, and we went 1-2-3 in the 1000 F, 500 F, 100 F, 200 F (where I just barely out-touched her!) and we were 2 “ apart in the 500 F and swam the same time in the 100 F, but she got me. So, it was a fun meet. She ended up winning HIGH POINTS for our AG – tied with uber swimmer, Jennifer Ridge (who went 56 in the 100, 1:59 in the 200 and went 5:2x in the 500). OUCH.
I was fortunate and pleasantly surprised to get 3rd place HIGH POINTS in our Age Group – I was so excited. How fun is that? Something I didn’t even know they acknowledged or awarded. It just means I scored the 3rd highest points in the meet in my AG. Fun! See, you never know unless you try!
Ok, let’s move on…I hate posting my times b/c that seems kinda silly, but this is a swim meet so I will talk about times if they help..some will think they are very fast and real swimmers will think they are super slow! LOL
I dislike the 50 Free. It is a pure power event/speed, both of which…well…I am not super at. Add in the flip turns and starts and well…OUCH. The 50 Fly and the 50 Free I did score points in but these were the only 2 events I did not get 1st or 2nd or 3rd in.
On Saturday I swam in order:
100 IM: What a fun event! It is fast but fun and another event where there are some amazing swimmers at. My head has to think about the turns a bit more than what it should b/c the turns are not normal for me and they were disqualifying swimmers left and right –so we had to be absolutely perfect with our turns (my weakness). But, I had fun, FELT amazing b/c it was the first event and even got it on tape so I can work on my IM. I went 1:19. That is slow for girls placing. I think my lane mates were closer to 1:10 or faster.
50 y Free: Just fast and hard…got 4th and well, that is not really fun.
200 Free: This is the hardest event of the entire weekend. It is not a distance event and in my mind, it is a full blown sprint for 2+ minutes. It was so hard but I felt AWESOME and swam well…I ended up getting 2nd here with a 2:15. The girl who won went 1:59. Yep.
400 IM: Ok, this was the last event on Saturday! I was not super nervous for it, but had to really think about all the turns…when you can flip back to back and open turn back to breast, etc. The last thing I wanted was to be disqualified!! I will say this. I ABSOLUTELY loved this event. I got done and felt that it was really not that hard. I am so used to absolutely hammering full blown that it was NOT cardio hard for me…it was muscularly hard for me – because I am not super efficient in the strokes compared to freestyle that my muscles hurt, not my breathing. Interesting difference. It went by so fast and I worked really hard because I knew 1st place would be tight. I ended up going high 5 and I was so happy to be under 6 minutes, and I ended up getting 2nd in that event! I will be doing this again for sure!!! Fly was easy for me – It was the breaststroke that was hard for me.
On Sunday we started with the 500 Free!
500 Free: This one is a little personal for me because no matter what I do I am pretty close on my times. My heat was AWESOME. It was 8 of us who were seeded all within seconds of one another – many of us good friends and some of my lane mates! And, Jenna next to me who I knew would swim a 5:45-50, so my goal was to hang on to her draft! Anyway, I felt good, raced so hard I had to close my eyes to fight off the pain and lactate and I ended up with a great time for me and 2nd again (lots of 2nds for me this weekend). Ironically my 400 IM time and 500 Free time were almost the same. I don’t think it really should be like that. Ha! Start of the 500 Free, where I was seeded 2nd slowest, hence lane #1!
200 IM: Now we are talking…not the 100 IM, but the longer the better for me…and after the 400 IM, this would be easy. I love the IM, no pressure and just fun. I went my seed time, which I was happy about and got 2nd! 2:4x.
And, then the 50 Fly. Well, let’s just say this was my bad seed for the day. I kinda screwed up the start. I just was too slow off the blocks and in a 50 fly with these girls, I am already screwed. I did OK but really not super.
100 Free was the last event of the day – at 6pm on Sunday night. I was OVER the getting in the pool to warm up, race hard, cool down. The thought of getting in ANY body of water again – all while we were FREEZING COLD to warm up was not appealing any more. We were all just over it by now…but the 100 Free is a VERY hard event for me and some fast fast girls. So, I willed myself into suffering for 1 more minute…I mean, seriously, we can do that. And, that is what I did….I put my head down, moved as fast as I could after all that swimming and went a 1:03. HA! Not my fastest, but not too shabby considering all my swimming. Krista out-touched me and we went 2-3. The girl who won went 55 or 56 in our AG…um….nice. The girl who won OVERALL 100 Free was 24 years old (maybe) and just graduated from Georgia and went 50.01. Yep. Amazing to watch.
Our team got 4th OA and I know Coach Corinne was not overly thrilled, but we did our best, had a great time and we all swam well.
I got home around 7:30pm last night and was starving for REAL food…my face looks like I got a sunburn – but OH no, we were inside all weekend..that is just the burn from all the chlorine! And, my friend, Sue Welker who coaches the Naperville Waves (who won the meet and who I swam with back in the day) said that she loves when Triathletes like me come out and mix it up with the real swimmers and end up having a great meet and doing things like the 400IM. We both agreed we wish more Triathletes would do these events – really keeps you honest!
CONGRATS to all swimmers – to everyone on the team who did so well and to my lane mates: Drew, Sarah, Krista and Jenna…all who made me work so hard in practice in the stroke work..especially when they are swimming 5:15s for their 400 IM stuff. Thanks for putting up with me this season!! And, for Krista who is 41 years old too and makes me work hard to keep up all the time and it is FUN to compete against you at every meet, even if I get 2nd sometimes. J
Thanks to Andrea who came out to see the meet and watch her friends, including me swim! Watching an all day swim meet is not the most exciting thing to do! And, I spent some quality time with Lindsey Whalen too – great meet!
And, I was excited to learn I qualified for Nationals in the 50 Free (joke, I will not swim this at nationals!), 100 F, 200 F, 500 F, 1000 F …so I am heading to IUIPUI with Krista (Cheryl and Melissa S!) to swim next year at Nationals…and I am only 13 seconds off for the 400 IM and I will get it there before I go next year!
And, for anyone reading who has never done a swim meet….really, you should. This meet surely had some uber fast swimmers…but the range for women’s 100 Free was 50.01 – 3:00+! And, all ages…up to 85+. Truly inspirational! Really….worth the time and all the hard work!
I have wanted to blog but just have not had the time to sit down and type! So, here are my bullet points to ease my rambling mind:
- I am excited (and nervous)! This is the Masters Swim State Championships week and weekend! Thousands of awesome swimmers down at UIC swimming for 3 days! I have worked hard at getting back into swim shape to race these girls. I am even tapering for this meet. I did my hard run workout today and will do my hard bike workout tomorrow and then that is IT. I am racing the 1000 on Thursday night and then Saturday and Sunday I am racing: 100IM, 200IM, 400IM, 50 Free, 100 Free, 200 Free, 500 Free and all relays. Needless to say I will be a mess when this is done. The competition is stiff this year. The gal who is seeded first in the 200 Free in my Age group is seeded at a 1:59…just to keep things in perspective! So, I must rest (not that I will swim a sub 2 min 200, please…but so I do not get blown out of the water!). And, doesn’t sitting on bleachers soaking wet all weekend sound like a good time? LOL
- I had a track workout today and I was so excited about it and it was a tough one. The prescribed times were not too fast but the 50 mph wind gusts and rain were SUPER challenging. But, the last thing I would even think of doing is miss my track workouts. I beg and beg to do them, so when they come, I better shut up and do them. Winds or not. And, I nailed it. I know people driving by thought I was nuts. I would come around one bend and not be able to take one step forward…I was stopped dead in my track! But, I can feel my run fitness coming back and yesterday I even ran 8 miles easy…at a pace faster than I raced my ½ Marathon at in March. So, progress!
- Speaking of the track, 2 weeks ago was my first track workout in over a year…and I was so nervous for it. I barely slept the night before and when I was meeting Dave at the track I seriously was worried about what the workout was going to be and if I could will myself around that track. Dave has not seen me run in over a year…as I was focusing on the IM and my Achilles last year…so on my first lap he peered over his glasses and let out a primal “ughhhhhhhh”. And, I am not sure I was supposed to hear that…but I did. He said, “You look like a Triathlete not a runner.” (that is not a good thing, by the way) And, he was right. All my swimming (and honestly, it is not that much) creates massive shoulders and lats on me…and makes me look massive…and really clumsy on the track. And, heavy. I felt heavy. Well, truth be told, I may be, but getting that rhythm back is so critical for me to run well….and I just had NO rhythm at all! By the end of the track workout I did see a 2:xx for my 800 but not without a full blown effort. BLAH!!!!
- I had the pleasure of co-hosting Jessi Stensland this weekend for her Movement U Strength Clinic (http://www.gojessi.com/movementu/). I have been corresponding with Jessi over the last few years and asking her to come to Chicago. She asked if I could get the athletes and I said, “yep!” and we had nearly 21 at the clinic at ProKine Fitness. It was awesome. I highly recommend going to one of her strength clinics….it was extremely beneficial. OH, and here is the truth…Jessi stayed with us at my house and slaved over the food for the clinic all day on Friday. She made homemade hummus, etc.,. On Saturday (day of the clinic) she made my breakfast as I packed the car (oranges, bananas, organic oats and almonds), then we had a snack mid day of organic greek yogurt and fruit…then for lunch these wraps with veggies, hummus and quinoa…then I had a Lara Bar mid day. By the time I picked my kids up at my parents house at 6:30pm I NEEDED food. No more bird food. I needed MEAT. I was dying. STARVING. We did movement all day, but still….I still was hungry at Masters yesterday AM too! No wonder she is tiny and ripped and I am a slob.
- And, lastly, over the past 1 + or so, some of us local Triathlete Moms have been writing sections of a book a friend of ours is working on…about being a Triathlete and a Mom. It is going to be super cute. Yesterday we had the photo shoot for the book..and we all had our kids there. It was fun and just nice to catch up with some of these gals that I spent so much time with over the years and especially before kids. Great group! (not sure when the book is coming out, but I will let you know).
This is not the professional pics, of course..we were not allowed to take pics inside. So, this is the group outside: L to R: Lindsay “hair” Zucco, Christine “I don’t have makeup” Palmquist, Elizabeth “guns” Waterstraat, ME in the visor, Jenny “I just had my 3rd child, help me!” Garrison and Carla “I got guns too” Hastert.
And, then, of course, me with Max Waterstraat. He loves me. He played Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd on my Iphone.
What a great time! This year I decided to do only one JHC Camp in Tucson. Last year we did two in 10 days and it was fine, but with the kids it was too much. So, for now, while the kids are little, I am doing one. I was less stressed and while I look like hell today (skin peeling all over my face and cold sores), I really came home in FINE shape.
This is such a fun camp and I look forward to it every year. This year we had 14 campers and a fun house that slept everyone. It was a little tight at times, but overall, it worked out well and the more experienced campers/athletes helped the lesser experienced athletes and I think everyone loves the camaraderie that sharing a house allows. Not sure how much everyone slept, but while they were up, I think they had fun.
We jam in as much as I feel is reasonable, but every year I do make the camp harder…and that is not easy. Of course we have our standard swims at an amazing outdoor pool, but truth be told, we are not in sunny Tucson to swim. We are there to ride and run. This camp was, by far, the hardest one yet.
The weather was AMAZING, we got so lucky. We rode up Mt. Lemmon, had a cookie at the top (of course!) and did a T run, and it was HOT for that T run….maybe 90F, which is hot and shocking! Then, we had a great dinner out and was able to catch up and get to know everyone.
Let’s see….we had athletes from Minnesota (I LOVE the girls up in MN, they are so great and I am lucky to work or have worked with many of them), Philly, Chicago, Ohio, Virginia, Washington DC…! It was great to get to know some of the newer campers and see some of the returning campers. Kate Oliver has been to every one of my camps! Love it!
We rode Madera and swam and ran on Saturday. Trisports.com was nice enough to help us with this ride, but honestly, they let Gail go last week and it was a SHOCK to me and caught me off guard when I was out there. The SAG was nice but without Gail running it, we struggled a bit with this part!
One day we did Time Trials up Mt. Lemmon. I was a little excited and prescribed 3 of them…OK that was ROUGH because we did it in the afternoon after a long, hard hilly run in Sabino (2 hours)…so people were DEAD. This was the make or break part of camp…and everyone did such an awesome job. I was pretty tired after this ride as I think most were!
One of the things that I work very hard at is spending time with each camper. Jerome luckily can lead all the workouts and push most of the campers and my job is to sweep the camp, to make sure the last riders are covered. Jerome did a great job considering he is drinking more beer these days than riding or running miles. For example, for Mt. Lemmon, it is 25 miles up…I ended up riding nearly 36 miles up that day….because I would go up…ride with a few riders, go back down and keep bridging the gaps. I never could bridge from last to first, but I did the best I could. By the time I was done riding on both days, I had put in nearly 5=6 hours of riding and bridging gaps each day! OUCH. I had to be super careful with my nutrition to manage all of that in March! But, everyone did great and I was able to bring in the last groups on all the group rides and see athletes and talk to them…all of which is so important at camp.
The last day we ran the trails again and this time I had time to talk to the lead group (Jerome ran with Caroline) of Julia, Julie M, Glen and Lindsey and we had a great time – albeit everyone was shattered…and then we swam to end camp. I decided to coach the swim workout and video tape as many athletes as I could and give more feedback on the deck. Not a bad gig, eh?
Thanks to all the campers who came to Tucson this year and worked hard and pushed themselves harder than they thought they could. I think the quote of the camp was from Mia, who said to me after climbing and being challenged riding up Madera, “YOU know this was way beyond my ability, Jen!” And, she was pissed.
Exactly, Mia…that is why they call it camp! It is not the SPA camp. You’ll be happy later.
Cheers until next Camp – March 2013! More fun pictures are on Facebook…I didn’t have a ton of time to take too many.