Monday, July 16, 2007

Half Ironman Crazy??


A). Great Training
B). Slight Insanity
C). Rockin Vacations
D.) All of the Above

WOW! I have just done 3 half-ironman races in a four week period. Needless to say, I was a little tired by the third, but it was the most fun – read on to hear about my adventures.

The First Half-Ironman was the Med Express Mountaineer in Morgantown West Virginia, which I won. I had the opportunity to stay with friends Vinnie and Rona Monseau. The night I arrived was a large cookout for friends, pro athletes and HFP Race Management. The race day was a perfect morning.

The swim gave us the opportunity to do a dive start, (most all of us were long course athletes so we had never done a dive start like the short course athletes so often do). I was dropped immediately by the fast swimming Laurie Hug. She put 1 minute 30 seconds on us during the swim.

On the bike the hills were truly a shock to my system as I am primarily riding flat, flat roads. It took a little to get going. I was going back and forth with Amanda Lovato who was aggressively riding the hills. We eventually passed Laurie. On the second loop I felt much better and pulled away on the bike.

I came off the bike in 1st, ran the first loop hard – at the turn-around I had about a three minute lead on Amanda and wanted to save some energy for my next 70.3 race just seven days away. I finished 1st, Stephanie Jones was second and Amanda was third.

My second half, Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens, was a family trip to visit an athlete I coach and her family. She has two boys who are the same age as my children. My daughter Jordan and her son have been e-mail buds so they couldn’t wait to meet. Needless to say all three of my kids were very excited and when on vacation with five children – flexibility is key!!

The first day there we had a 2,100 yard swim workout and a 1.5 hour bike planned. I wouldn’t say we “blew it off”, we just didn’t have time for it – didn’t need the stress. We had a large cookout pool side while we watched all the kids swim. That night I went to a local Triathlon Shop, Fitness Finatics for a Tri talk and Q & A. It was a great group of people, I very much enjoyed the experience.

The race field was strong and I was really looking forward to racing some athletes that I haven’t raced before. I have never been to this area, it was a beautiful picturess lake surrounded by snow capped mountains in the background. I had a great swim, maintaining contact with leader Rebecca Keat.

I learned after these three races that I need to work on my transitions. She was off and I trailed ten seconds behind. Melissa Ashton passed me on the bike and I hated watching Rebecca continue to ride about two inched off her back wheel. She did get a penalty and served her time in the tent. Kelly Couch went by strong on the hills, I worked hard but she pulled away. I kept focused however and managed to reel her back in at mile 40.

Rebecca Keat went flying by with a group of guys at the end and took off fast on the run. I got off the bike in fifth place and was able to run down some of those in front of me to podium finish behind Keat and Ashton.

Half-Ironman Race #3
I was going on a paid trip with my oldest son Joshua – some one on one Mom time, time to see old friends and grandma. He couldn’t wait and his excitement got me going even though I was feeling sluggish going into this race, but was so excited to go back to my home state.

My friend Sandy picked us up at the airport and took us to the expo, and dinner and to our hotel. The next day my best training partner back in Wisconsin (I talked my other best one, Linda into moving to Florida). Frank Alvarez came to ride with me and doing a little run. Grandma Bruett came to hang out and take Joshua to lunch. We swam in the hotel pool and visited with more friends.

Oh yes, back to the race – it was a competitive field with a lot of foreign competitors, Australians Mirinda Cafree and Abbigail Bayley and Canadian Lisa Bentley along with Kate Bevliaqua. There was a lot being made of the race field with the #1 and #2 finishers at the 2006 70.3 World Championships on hand.