Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011




PS- Don't forget why we're celebrating!!! Today, the world pauses at a manger. The God of the whole universe who dwelt in inaccessible light, whom no man had ever seen and lived, became one of us and made His home with us. He continues to live with us as we live our life now in Him.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hoboken Masters Swim Meet Dec 2011

I have officially competed in my first ever Masters Swim Meet!

Sometime during this past summer, my old coach, Brad Thornton, had asked me to help out with his Hoboken Masters Team and start coaching every Friday morning practice. I gladly accepted the offer and this past semester has been so much fun getting to know the other Masters swimmers while coaching them and swimming with them as well.

I’ve been swimming with my home club’s Masters team since the summer after my Junior year of college. The previous two summers I had trained with the younger kids, but once I picked up my triathlon training, I didn’t feel the need to swim as much during the summer if I was biking and running a ton as well. The practices generally went about an hour, sometimes 15 to 30 minutes over that depending on the day, and they were just perfect for my off-season training for swimming. I totally owe a lot of my improvements during my Junior and Senior year to swimming Masters of the summer in addition to the triathlon training.

So now that you know all that, it makes sense why I love Masters swimming and why I was so excited to join up with the team at the Stevens pool more regularly now that I’m no longer a competitive collegiate swimmer. I have met quite a few new people and it’s been a great experience so far.

Therefore, when Brad first mentioned his idea about running his first Hoboken-hosted Masters Swim Meet at the Stevens Pool, I was stoked about it! I planned my flight home for the following day and committed to signing up.

I had definitely upped the running mileage following my jump back into training, so I have some good cardio going for me. And in the few weeks leading up to the meet I made every effort to increase the number of swim practices I was going to.

I signed up for the 100 fly, 50 free, 50 fly, 100 IM, and then the 500 at the end of the meet.

Results are as follows:

100 fly     1:06.72
50 free      28.21
50 fly        30.45
100 IM     1:11.85
500 free    5:44.92

Definitely doesn’t compare to the caliber of racing I was doing just 1 year before at ECACs with the Stevens team, but I was happy with the results and I wasn’t too embarrassed.

I think I loved the camaraderie amongst all the Hoboken folks the most because it was the thrill of being part of a team again that got me excited. I think that part of me that loves a team atmosphere will always be there and why I’ll always love swimming for a Masters team the rest of my life probably.

Sarah and I were joking that we can’t wait to be old people killing all the old folks records when we get up there in age : )

I know it’s a long time from now, but my debut into the world of Masters Swimming has officially happened and I’m in it for the long haul!

As I write this, I’m on the plane back to sunny Southern California in anticipation of a long and much-needed winter break without having to come back early for a hellish training trip. Life is good!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Toughmudder Tri-State 2011

Toughmudder Tri-State 2011

This was quite an adventure!
One year ago, my compadre and good friend, David Quirk, completed his first ever Toughmudder and in my opinion it was quite a life-changing experience for him. He came back from the event a more motivated individual who had discovered a new-found passion for completing challenges and new fun activities of the sort.

Obviously this sort of enthusiasm got me excited and I wanted to get in on the action. .

David invited me to the first annual NYC Toughmudder Training Run back in early May of this year located in Central Park.  I was a bit apprehensive at first, but I caught on to the nice idea of doing a 6 mile run in one of the most unique places to go for a jog in this country. David’s friend, Nick Fania, also came along as he was actually the guy who got David to sign up on his team for their first Toughmudder. I had no idea what to expect from that facebook invitation, but I was in for one hell of a ride when we got there. It wasn’t just an hour-long run with a bunch of people in orange headbands like I thought it was going to be! Instead, we got yelled to do pushups, dips, crunches, run through streams, jump over rocks, and climb treacherous rocky cliffs that I didn’t even know existed in Central Park. It was quite the adventure and eventually lead me to want to sign up for my first real TM because I was so stoked on the experience.

A few months after that, it actually took some persuading on David’s part to eventually get me to sign up for the race… mostly because of the entry fee, but ultimately I caved and dished out the money for the Tri-state Toughmudder on November 12, 2011.

I had been doing a ton of triathlon training at the tail end of summer all the way to my last race on October 1st. After that I had taken a few weeks off for some much needed R&R, and then eased back into some solid running training with a few swims sprinkled in here and there. I figured I would be in pretty good shape by November 12th to run 12 miles and tackle obstacle courses.

Luckily, that conjecture was correct and on the morning of November 12, I was so ready to go!

The team was named Team Fania Mudding Co. as a play on NickFania’s dad’s family business name. Pretty awesome if you ask me! Especially because David probably wouldn’t be doing this without Nick, and in turn I probably wouldn’t be either haha.
Sarah had also been convinced to sign up for this adventure with me, and the other team mates included David’s brother, Patrick, and two of Nick’s friends, (another) Amanda and Kyle.

David drove us to IHOP that morning for a full and hearty breakfast. Nick’s family was there as well and his father so graciously paid for the food, which was so kind but so unnecessary.

After that, we made our way to the Englishtown Raceway Park and became witnesses to a massive congregation of what looked liked a bunch of crazies about to turn into mindless zombies… and that may be a somewhat true statement if  you saw what everyone looked like post-race haha
Come to think of it, if anyone wanted to capitalize on the opportunity for a bunch of starving, freezing, delusional, mud-covered extras to play zombies, they just need to show up to the Finish Line of a Toughmudder!

But in all seriousness, the race challenge was a blast!!!!!

Behold the pledge recited before every race wave:
As a Tough Mudder I pledge that…
I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.
I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
I do not whine – kids whine.
I help my fellow Mudders complete the course.
I overcome all fears.

Yelling this word for word with a crowd of strangers about to tackle the same course as you was so thrilling and, coupled with a bunch of super macho HOORAH’s, the perfect kick-off to get pumped for the grueling challenge that lay ahead!

Below are a series of photos that can somewhat describe what we went through.

By far the most fun moment was jumping off this platform into the freezing waters below, then swimming to shore!  This pretty much captures the essence of that moment for me and Sarah hahaha.

The most challenging obstacle that made me gain a ton of respect for what TM stands for was the Mount Everest Challenge. It was the half-pipe obstacle where you had to run up and grab either the ledge or an arm of a total stranger and get hoisted up by a combination of your own will power and the strength of total strangers that are helping out. Paying it forward in its most beautiful form! I loved that.

I’ll just make a quick comment about how damn COLD it was after the race. Sure the free post-race beer was satisfying to say the least, but I think I was too cold to enjoy any of it and all it did was make us have to pee so very badly while stuck in traffic leaving the raceway park haha. So frustrating. But yeah, just ask David and Sarah how much physical pain I was from the coldness. It was brutal. I don’t do well in such discomforts (goes along with my theory of bad blood circulation and crappy metabolism). I made the decision right then and there that if I was going to do another TM, it would be in a warmer climate, that’s for sure.

All-in-all, it was a total kick-ass event. I can see how people get hooked on it and want to sign up for all the ones in the area. There is an innate instinct within human beings to run around, get dirty, and feel like you’re fighting for your life. TM totally capitalizes on this basic human need and charges quite a hefty sum for all those people driven by their intrinsic impulses.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Spooktacular October

It’s that time of the year again… my favorite holiday!

I thought it would be appropriate to write up a little something for today since it’s the last day of October and I’ve had a very fulfilling off-season this month.

October 1st was the day of my last triathlon for 2011 and I vowed to take some time off following that race. I cheated a little bit and signed up for an open water swim on October 8th because Nick emailed the team about it and I hadn’t done an open water swim by itself in forever so of course I wanted to sign up. I convinced Marc to do it with me as well, so we had a chill Friday evening and woke up early on Saturday morning to drive to Red Bank, NJ. It was very familiar because Marc and I had been there earlier this year in April for the Red Bank Olympic and it was in the exact same place!

I’ve never done an open water swim longer than 1.2 miles, so this 2.4 mile race was quite a swim! Luckily I brought my wetsuit and it totally helped me out. Marc and Nick didn’t wear a wetsuit and they had to get out of the water after the first 1.2 mile lap because it was too cold! Not to mention there were JELLYFISH!!! Yep. They were stinging us randomly along the way because they were just chilling in the water as we swam. All in all it was a fun time. I ended up around 25 minutes for the first lap and 26 minutes for the second lap, coming in at 51:24.2 for the total time. CLICK HERE for results. After not swimming for a week, my triceps and lats were very sore by the end of it, but I did really well and it was a good experience!
Now I know that if I ever do an ironman, I should definitely be coming in under an hour for the swim part.

So that was that. Marc and I went to Sandy Hook to walk around and get lunch after the race and the weather was sunny and perfect. On Sunday we took a trip to the High Line Park in NYC and also made a stop at the Peanut Butter & Co. Sandwich Shop. It was a perfect day during a perfect weekend.  We even went Pumpkin Picking at Peaceful Valley Orchards at some point that weekend and it was so fun! I didn’t have to worry about swim practice, going for a run, needing to ride my bike, nothing. Being so carefree and relaxed is something I’m not used to and it felt so good!
Marc pulling our pumpkin wagon...
The rest of the week I did zero physical activity and prepared for the most epic October weekend ever to be! Stevens Institute of Technology was preparing to inaugurate its 7th president since 1870, Dr. Nariman Favardin, and they had planned one hell of a party to celebrate.

I invited Sarah and Andrea to be my guests for the actual Inauguration on Friday, and we went from the Inauguration in the gym to a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception in Babbio. We met some very nice elderly alumni and had a grand old time. Then Saturday was Stevens’ first home swim meet of the year, so I gathered the alumni on a full bleacher section at the pool and we prepared to cheer on our old teammates! It was soo weird being on “the other side.” So weird. I felt old and very nostalgic because I totally wanted to be swimming with them. I guess that’s how I’ll always feel now that swimming is no longer my life. We cheered on the Ducks and grabbed some free food and drinks during the Homecoming festivities out front of Walker Gym.

We then headed back to prepare for the epic Edwin A. Stevens Society & Inauguration Gala!!!! Pictures below. It was just a beautiful night at The Westin in Jersey City filled with good food, good drink, great friends, awesome music, and killer dancing.

After all the amazingness of that weekend and about 2 weeks off of physical activity, I was feeling the happiness in my body start turning into sluggishness. So I decided to run a couple times that following week and I even ended up running 8 miles on October 23rd and 7 miles on October 30th after a few miles here and there throughout the week. So I’m slowly easing into it and it feels great!!!! I never knew that running could feel so freeing and relaxing. I bike so much during training that it never gives me the opportunity to run effectively on fresh legs.

After these few solo runs, I can definitely tell that my running during the season is affected by all the brick workouts, lack of rest in between bikes and runs, and lack of rest in general. After reading THIS ARTICLE that was passed along to me, I may be changing up how I approach my training a little bit this year and see what happens. I don’t want to be tired all the time… I want to be fast and efficient and that’s how I’m going to train.

Here are some photos from our Winter Storm Watch weekend
Yup, it was only the fourth time since the Civil War that snow has fallen in NYC in October!

Pumpkin Carving!
Pumpkin Spice Cookies!
So on this beautiful Halloween day, I am kicking off my new season and jumping back into training! Here’s to a great upcoming season…
Look out for more training reports along the way as I figure out how to face the freezing temperatures on runs and bike for hours on my trainer indoors. I may even start blogging about some delicious and nutritious meals I cook up as well!


Pretty sweet pumpkin bike racking I found randomly ; )

Saturday, October 8, 2011

[NECTC] Mightyman Sprint 2011

[NECTC] Mightyman Sprint 2011
Montauk, NY
October 1, 2011

Final race of the NECTC 2011 season!

750M SWIM --- 17Mi BIKE --- 5km RUN

We took the drive to Montauk early on Friday because it takes so long to get to the tip of Long Island! After a couple years experience with this race and traveling there, I’m so glad I was able to get there early in Nick’s car with Matt.
Last year the drive up was horrible and I was angry the whole time because I forgot my Powertap computer and I had been swimming all week. I wasn’t a happy camper. This year I was rested and ready to go!

We got there a little after noon and went for a bike ride as soon as we got our stuff into the rooms. We did the bike course loop since it’s so short and it was interesting to ride it on a nice beautiful sunny day! Haha because the only other two times I’ve ridden it, it was cold and dark and rainy. It was super windy, but we pace lined it with the people there: Nicole, Jamie, Evan, Nick, Matt, and myself. Fun stuff.
When we got back, a few people wanted to plunge into the ocean for a swim. I, however, wanted to just lay out on the beach, in the sun, with my two piece on. And I did just that! It was so beautiful and warm out.

After we cleaned up, we picked up our packets from the race site and headed over to Luigi’s for some more pre-race Italian food!

The transition area this year was no longer in the grass field, much to everyone’s delight. No more nasty, muddy transition areas. We got up super early and biked to the race site in the pitch black darkness with our stuff. After we dropped that off, a few of us took the bike up and down the hill on the main road a few times (there were street lights on the main road) and went for a short jog to get the legs moving. This race is so short and fast that warm-up was crucial!

I got SUPER nervous before the race and couldn’t wait to just sprint and be done with in an hour!!!!

Swim= 10:32 – 1st fastest female swim split in NECTC

Last year’s swim time was a terrible 13:31 due to the little off-course racing we did in the lead pack. So the 3 minute time difference was probably mostly due to that. However, one of the biggest differences about this race compared to the previous 2 years was that they split the NECTC wave into a men and women wave. There’s some USAT rule that limits the number of people in a wave, so they had to split it up and it was a huuuuuuuuuge benefit for the girls. Every time we have an NECTC mass swim start, the girls get pummeled by the guys and have to fight their way to start the swim. It was totally an advantage for me because I got out ahead right at the start and started passing some guys at the 2nd buoy even. I didn’t get lost this year and I had a great transition to my stuff.

T1= 1:25

Bike=0:28:20– 1st fastest female bike split in NECTC
Average power = 197
Average speed = 22.37
Bike HR Avg = 185

Last year I went a 29:52, so I had a minute and a half improvement! It was a pretty tough ride with the blowing winds and wet roads. I had some extra motivation kick in during the one big hill because I saw Joe off to the side fixing a flat and I saw Evan at the bottom walking his bike after a flat. I was so disheartened for them, but it made me want to push it harder and fight for the points that we were going to struggle losing without them. I saw Luke, Nick, and Matt at the turnaround and I eventually passed Matt like he was standing still and I yelled at him to go faster… little did I know that he was going so slow because he had gotten a flat and was vicariously riding on his rear wheel rim for 70% of the race! Crazy!!!! But when we looked at the points later, we realized that had he not done that, the guys might not have finished in such good standing!

I killed the hill on the way back to transition and had perfect timing getting my shoes off at the end.
First ever flying dismount!!! Haha I wish I had a photo to prove it. Good thing we all practice the day before during our warm-up ride!

T2= 1:02

Run = 20:23
Run pace = 6:34 min/mile
Run HR Avg = 189

This race totally was not a true 5K. It never is, never was. This was the first time I ran this course with a watch, and Mr. Garmin said it was 2.86 from the first water station right out of transition to the Finish line. I missed about 20 seconds of the race because that 2.86 miles took me 20:05 on the watch. My HR average was ridiculous and I can’t believe I kept it that high for 20 straight minutes.
Run split from last year was a 21:14, so I had quite a significant improvement for such a short race!
Very fun, very fast, and very nerve-wracking! I had some lady come around on a mountain bike when we turned down the home stretch of the run to jump in front and lead me. I hadn’t looked behind me the whole time yet, so I asked her if she could see any girls behind me and she said no! I was so stoked that I sprinted as fast as I could to that finish line and I was absolutely bewildered that I was going to win!!!

Overall time = 1:01:40
1st overall female in NECTC and the entire race of age group women

After all the hard work, it all paid off. I was so happy!!!!!!!!!
I’m delighted to announce that I walked away with the Overall Female Point Leader for the season and Jamie came in third!!! Domination!!!! Even with only 1 race scoring, Nicole finished 22nd! Our top 3 guys were Joe in 8th, Nick in 11th, and Luke in 12th for the overall Male Scores. Fantastic finishes amongst all those fast Army and UVM guys!
I was also so proud of the fact that we were able to score all the swimmers and runners and that we were able to dominate again this year. All the work we did petitioning to the NCAA and pushing the legislation really paid off and we were able to come back to the NECTC this year in full force! I love my team and I’m so proud of everyone’s accomplishments! Stevens Triathlon Team = 2nd place in the NECTC overall!! Woohoo!!!!!

Here we come Tuscaloosa!!!!!! Nationals is going to be off the hook!!!!!

If you want to read the team race report written by the lovely Aaron Perelman, CLICK HERE to get to our Stevens Tri website!
Hotel view after the race :)
The night of the race was filled with shenanigans and a beach-side bonfire... Waaaaay too much fun.

The next day we volunteered as a team at the Mightyman Half Ironman and Marc and I took a pit-stop at a seafood place called The Lobster Roll as we exited Montauk for the drive home : )
mmmmmmm Fish&Chips and Pumpkin Lobster Crab Bisque

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

[NECTC] Westchester Olympic 2011

[NECTC] Westchester Olympic 2011
Rye, NY
September 25, 2011

Second race of the NECTC 2011 season!

1500M SWIM --- 40km BIKE --- 10km RUN

I had a special guest come with me to this race again… Mama Nauman!!!
She wanted to come out and watch this race like last year, so she flew out on a Thursday night and hung out with me til we left for the race on Saturday morning. I cooked some food and we walked around Hoboken, it was fun! We made a tourist stop on the way to Rye, NY, on Saturday at the Rockefeller Lookout point off of the Palisades Parkway.

The rest of the team met up with us at the Expo around noon on Saturday and we went on a nice Team Warmup ride and then some of us went for a swim or a jog. Luckily we had time to drive the bike course for all the noobs because it’s such a difficult course and knowing the details and where to push it is critical.

After that we made our way to the lovely Marriott down the freeway and settled in for about an hour. We then went to dinner at Bertucci’s.. of course we had to have Italian food! They found a huge table for our whole team which was awesome and we consumed copious amounts of pasta amongst us all. The team meeting was short and sweet and we were all in bed fairly early!

Westchester is a super early race, so we were up and out of the Marriott as fast as possible in the morning to get to the race. We never even saw dawn until we started putting on our wetsuits!

Swim= 20:07 –1st female swim split in NECTC, 5th fastest overall female swim

Last year’s swim time was an amazing 18:40 and that difference could have been due to a number of factors.. but I think it was because I was a week into the swim season at that point last year and was much more in tune with my swimming abilities.
To be honest, I thought I was flying in the water! But that was probably because I was blowing by all the old men in the wave before me.. oops. It’s all relative!

T1= 1:15

Bike=1:09:43 – 2nd fastest female bike split in NECTC, 8th overall female bike split
Average power = 190
Average speed = 22.37 mph
Bike HR Avg = 180

My computer said I did 25.27 miles where as last year I clocked in at 24.89 miles. Last year I finished at 1:08:33 with an average power of 192. Minor minor differences. I couldn’t tell you why I was a little slower this year, but I wasn’t at my full taper yet so I was hurting.

I also could have sworn I was going to be over 200 watts, but I guess the back half probably brought down my average a bit.

4th fastest female Clair’s Climb Prime!!!

Last year I did the climb in 2:17 because I don’t think I was really trying. This year I hadn’t planned in trying until I came right up to the start line with some serious momentum and just decided to hammer it out for fun! There was a lady that I had been going back and forth with the whole time and she was just a bit ahead of me at the start of the Climb and I could tell that she wasn’t trying so I thought I’d make an effort to pass her at that moment. I eventually got to her and passed her at the top!

T2= 1:13

Run = 47:38 30th overall female run split
Run pace = 7:40 min/mile
Run HR Avg = 182

I came blistering out of T2 and ran the first mile around Playland at 7:18 because the lady that I had been going back and forth with on the bike had passed me and I wanted to keep with her if possible. Unfortunately she got away and then during the third mile, the terribly steep climb cramped my style and made me come to a complete stop at the top of the hill because my inner quads had cramped so badly. Luckily I was still able to keep that mile under 8 min, but it was painful and the rest of the race was a struggle to keep around 7:45 pace.

The Columbia girl passed me around the end of mile 2 and the Army girl passed me during mile 5 which was pretty frustrating. I just tried to stick with the 3rd place finish and bring it home as best I could.

Overall time = 2:19:53
3rd overall female in NECTC and 7th overall female in the race

In the 20-24 Female age group category I was 2nd overall to the Army girl because she’s 24. Gabby was right behind me with a 2:26 but she wasn’t in the NECTC so she received the first place award for the age groupers. For some reason they didn’t include the NECTC kids in the age group awards like they did the year before.

I was about a minute and a half slower than last year, and I have to admit that I was slightly upset about it because I really wanted to kill this race after having done so well the year before. But as luck would have it, the cancellation of Buckman really threw off my training schedule for the 10 days before this race and I had to compromise.

Overall, I still love this race course and it was a blast!



If you want to read the team race report written by the lovely Aaron Perelman, CLICK HERE to get to our Stevens Tri website!

Sunday, September 11, 2011



First this….

Dear Athlete,
Congratulations! You are being contacted because you have earned a spot on TeamUSA for the 2012 ITU Short Course (Olympic) Triathlon World Championships because of your outstanding performance at the 2011 USAT Age Group National Championship. The 2012 World Championships are set to take place October 18-22, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand. Please note that the Short Course Triathlon World Championship race date is currently scheduled for Monday, October 22, 2012. For more information about the World Championships please visit the Team USA website (

Then this!!!...

Hello 2012 Team USA athletes!
We see that you have accepted your Team USA Olympic distance triathlon slot on the Active Network and paid your $50 non-refundable deposit to be part of Team USA. Congratulations, your spot has been officially held!
Once ITU announces the exact entry fee we will be contacting you to pay the amount of the entry fee. Once this entry fee has been paid you are officially on Team USA. We don’t expect ITU to announce the entry fee until summer 2012.You are a year away from the 2012 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand! 

This article published at the Stevens Ducks website just about sums it up : )

I also made it in The Stute!


Monday, September 5, 2011

[NECTC] Lake George Olympic 2011

Lake George, NY
September 3, 2011

First race of the NECTC 2011 season!

1500M SWIM --- 40km BIKE --- 10km RUN

The Cranberry Olympic race was supposed to be the first race of the NECTC season on August 28th in Massachusetts. However, Hurricane Irene trumped us all and forced the race director to cancel the race because Massachusetts was placed in a State of Emergency leading up to that weekend (along with every other Northeastern state in the US). We were all pretty bummed, especially because some had been doing solid speed work training specifically with that race in mind. So instead of racing, we were all huddled up in our own apartments on Saturday and Sunday, waiting for this monster of a storm that was supposedly about to come barreling down on us. As you probably already know, NYC wasn't hit nearly as hard as predicted and I even managed to squeeze in a couple long runs. One of those was in the pouring rain and it was awesome!
Anyways, back to the race at hand…

The team headed towards Lake George on the Friday before Saturday morning’s race. I was in Nick’s car with Joe and Matt, and we were lucky enough to leave at noon. The drive was long but the company was enjoyable and it went by fairly quickly. We got to packet pick-up at an indoor water park (so weird!) near Lake George. It was the most inefficient packet pick-up I’ve ever been through, but long story short we made it out of there in one piece with our numbers and that’s all that matters.

The most noteworthy issue, however, was that I wasn’t actually ever signed up for this race! One of the freshmen newbies on the team, Carrick Porter, had signed up and was no longer able to race. He emailed the race director to allow me to have his slot, but I never received a confirmation email. I just went to the race strictly on optimism that I was racing haha. Fortunately when I got there they had already set my name aside, gave me all of Carrick’s stuff, and then assured me that the timing company had changed the name and sex. Guess what number they gave Carrick? Number 1. Hell yeah.

We biked around the Lake area for a little bit before checking into the luxurious motel, and then we drove down to Olive Garden for dinner. The other cars with Luke, Evan, Aaron, Carolyn, and Kevin had to leave later in the day and we met them at the hotel after dinner that night. The team meeting was great.. I’ll never forget Matt totally breaking the bed with his own weight just by sitting there haha.

Since Nick’s car had already gotten our packet info, we stalled for a little bit longer getting to the race site on Saturday morning and just met the other guys there.
All the collegiate kids were in the first wave and our numbers were all in the top 100, so consequently we all had the same row of bike box racks. I started joking that all the Stevens kids needed to spread out because we were going to come out of the water and all get bunched up haha. We remembered to snap a pre-race photo and then everyone kinda did their own thing for warm-up and prerace shimmies.
Once the wetsuits came on we were all giddy with excitement and itching to race!

Swim= 21:16 – 6th fastest swim split in NECTC, 1st overall female swim split

Stevens comprised the top 7 swim finishes in the NECTC: Evan came out of the water first, then Luke, Joe, some UVM kid, Nick, me, then Matt. Stevens domination.

I had some goggle issues because they kept fogging up and I had to stop a couple times to clear them because I had no idea where the buoys were. I could see the hazy figures of who I assumed were Luke/Joe/Nick ahead me during the whole swim and just made sure to follow them. I’m in dire need of some anti-fogging goggles so I don’t have to stop and clear my goggles 3 times in a 20 minute swim. No bueno.

The swim also felt like it took a lot longer than 21 minutes, but it was pretty decent. I came into transition and saw all the Stevens guys and cheered us all on! So exciting to see us all in the lead from the start!

T1= 1:28

Bike=1:10:27 – 12th fastest bike split in NECTC, 4th overall female bike split
Average power = 184
Average speed = 21.3
Bike HR Avg = na

A little over 2 minutes slower than Vermont, but it was a much hillier course. The beginning portion was on a beautiful smooth paved bike path that was awesome to crank down on.
Overall, awesome bike course with a perfect amount of challenging rolling hills.

Fun fact, the average power of 184 was exactly the same as VT but it was slower.

T2= 0:56

Run = 46:46
Run pace = 7:33 min/mile
Run HR Avg = na

The only bummer about this portion of the race was my lack of Mr. Garmin. Unfortunately, the battery was dead when I turned it on the morning of the race… so I was back to the traditional method of just running without any sort of concept of time. I was kind of annoyed because I loved having the watch in VT.
It would be cool if I had known the actual distance of the course.. because I was so stoked about my sicknasty new PR under 47 minutes and I really hope the distance was actually a 10k!

2 lap course!
Luke came in from the bike relatively close behind me and passed me on the run within the first mile and Matt was close behind him. They both ran ahead during the first lap, but I ended up gaining on Matt once I started the second lap. When I came around for the second lap, there was an older guy, who’s leg defined him as a 60 year old, that came trucking out at quite a quick pace with a super high cadence. I thought about asking if he knew what pace he was planning on holding, but after a couple minutes of just trying to hang on, I decided to try and stick with him because he was running fast!
Without Mr. Tim Ricks, number 375, I totally would not have gone a new best time for my 10k. He was going the perfect pace that pushed me to a new limit on the back half of my run. Near the end, he looked at me and said, “You’re an animal!” I replied, “You’re killing it, too! Thanks for letting me hang on.” And then he asked me if I wanted to do a third lap with him haha. I respectfully declined and told him to pretend I was still right behind him! Later, I found him after the race and we chatted for a bit. For the last half mile, I was probably going 6-something because I was hauling. I came into the running chute and right as I approached the finish line, frikkin Aaron Perelman blasts by me as fast as his legs can move him so he nudged me out by 2 seconds for the overall finish. I cursed him as soon as I realized what happened and just laughed off the ridiculousness once I was able to breathe haha.

Very memorable run for sure!

Overall time = 2:20:53
1st overall female in NECTC and the entire race of age group women

The men on the Stevens team posted up some awesome races and walked away with the team win! They edged out UVM and one of our biggest competitors, BU, from last year. On the women’s side, Carolyn and my points added up perfectly to sneak away with the win right ahead of UVM even though we were the only two girls racing that morning from Stevens. On both sides, that’s pretty dominant if you ask me!

If you want to read the team race report written by the lovely Aaron Perelman, CLICK HERE to get to our Stevens Tri website!

Here's our very professional post-race team photo!

Next race: Buckman Sprint!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

USAT Age Group Nationals 2011

Burlington, Vermont
August 20, 2011

My first age group nats!

1500M SWIM --- 40km BIKE --- 10km RUN

This race was semi planned last minute in the sense that I knew that I wanted to race, but I kept putting off signing up for various reasons. I received an invitation to do the race from USAT earlier in the summer because I was ranked 38th in the nation in my Age Group in 2010 and was named an Honorable Mention All-American. They tried to sweeten the deal to get me to show up with a discount code.. but the selling point that eventually swayed my mom to say okay to letting me sign up was the potential to qualify for Worlds in NZ in 2012. She was totally down for another triathlon vacation haha.

There was a small scare in July when the race actually sold out because USAT didn’t allocate enough race slots… so I put my name on the waiting list for sign-ups as soon as I saw the complaints on Slowtwitch. Luckily, I got an email in the next two days that I was good to go and signed up for the race! Apparently USAT figured out a way to convince Burlington that they had the capabilities for more race entries.

This was an interesting month of August. I flew out on Wednesday, August 17th, towards the east coast and then left the following morning for the road trip to Vermont. We settled in and I went and did a short jog along Lake Champlain near the transition area for the race. After only being there for one sunset, I determined that Burlington is absolutely beautiful. A friend of mine spent all summer in Burlington and had told me that the sunsets over the lake were unreal.. and boy was he right. I never knew the entire sky could light up with pinks and oranges like that.

Friday consisted of race check-in, rolling around on the bike, dipping into the lake for a short swim, and abandoning my bike at the mandatory bike-drop at transition. We ordered some chicken and pasta from the nearby Olive Garden and focused on getting ready for the next day’s race!

Getting to the race and finding parking was surprisingly simple and we got a spot right next to transition. Cha-ching! Setting up and going through the pre-race ‘rituals’ were relatively smooth. Got the wetsuit on and made my way to the swim start!
Fortunately for me, the F20-24 group was Wave #2 in the whole race! There are advantages of being in the back waves, but I was really glad that I’d have some more open water and roads for this race.

Swim= 20:45 – 8th fastest swim split in AG, 8th overall female swim split

I’ve never lined up for a swim start before and actually been seriously intimated by the girls standing around me.. but this was a whole new ball game. Everyone was talking about the D1 schools they swim/swam for and some of them just looked fast. You can always tell who the real swimmers are by the goggle selections.

We jumped in the water and I kept an eye out for a few girls I knew would kick it on the swim so I could try and hang on behind them. In-water starts are always a pain, but I had a pretty great start for once and ended up in a lead pack right away towards the first buoy. After the second buoy we slammed into the stragglers of the older men’s wave ahead of us and everything was broken up from there. I was just dodging guys left and right all the way to the last turn into shore. At that point I was going stroke for stroke with another girl and I came out of the water next to her; later I realized that she was the girl who ended up winning the F20-24 AG.

T1= 1:07

Bike=1:08:04 – 3rd fastest bike split in AG, 51st overall female bike split
Average power = 184
Average speed = 21.9
Bike HR Avg = 180

Within the first 4 minutes of the bike, I had a horrifying experience. My Profile Design water bottle on my aero bars decided to fling off my bike when I hit a huge lip in the pavement that hadn’t been marked or emphasized by the volunteers standing around… I then proceeded to yell NOOOOOOO as I saw it fall to the ground and empty everywhere, and made the split second decision to suck it up and somehow live with one meager bottle with Gatorade for 24 miles. Needless to say, I was very concerned that wasn’t going to be enough hydration.

All I can say about this bike is that it was FAST. I had seen the elevation profile (but we didn’t drive the course, bad move) and knew that the first part was uphill, then it plateaued with flats and rolling hills, and the last part was downhill to transition. So my plan was to work the beginning and keep it strong, then blast it after the turn-around. The beginning was tricky and my HR skyrocketed from the start, but once I got a rhythm I started passing some of the guys and girls ahead of me.

I was high on life at the end of the bike when everyone was yelling “3RD FEMALE!” Third? Really?! I guess I passed 5 girls during the bike and moved my way up from 8th out of the swim to 3rd into T2! Yikes.

T2= 1:14
Terrible T2.
When I hung up my bike after getting to my spot on the rack, I got an odd cramp for the first time ever during T2. I couldn’t bend down to get my shoes on because my left quad would seize up and cramp. So after two attempts I had to just pull it back and stretch it for a few seconds and then I finally got the shoes on.
And then, I dropped a Gu and turned around and added like 5 seconds.
And then I decided not to listen to the guy yelling “Watch your step here! It’s slippery!!”… and of course I slipped and slammed onto the ground hard right at the transition exit where everyone simultaneously groaned at my clumsiness. Embarrassing.

The most hilarious part of all of that mess is that my mom, sitting all the way at her computer early in the morning in California, saw me totally wipe out via the live stream coverage that USAT was broadcasting online. I got my phone after the race and there was a text from her that said, “I saw you fall : (” Even more embarrassing that everyone on the live stream saw me! Haha oh just my luck.

Run = 47:46
Run pace = 7:41 min/mile
Run HR Avg = 184
Only an elevation gain of 217 feet according to my Garmin.
Feeling a bit sheepish after falling, I made my way around transition area to the one and only hill on the run course and just powered up it as best I could with wobbly legs. I could feel the spot where I cramped up in T2 and just prayed that it wouldn’t hurt me later. I also had the sinking feeling that I didn’t drink enough on the bike because of the bottle mis-hap, so I made it a point to get a cup of water at every mile.
Personally I felt like I was moving at a really good pace.. but it never helps when there girls start passing me left and right in the first few miles. I didn’t get discouraged much though, because I had my Garmin watch telling me that I was going faster than any pace I’ve ever done for a 10k! After about mile 4, the last two miles were a gradual descent back down to lake-level at transition and I was moving my legs as fast as possible. I remember some guy in a Duke tshirt telling me “Come on, Stevens, you’re the 16th girl. Hang on.” In hindsight, I now realize that he was trying to tell me I was in the top 18 winner slots, but at the time I was annoyed that he told me my place with .2 miles left to sprint. Needless to say, I gave it all I had to the finish and the pictures at the finish line show how dead I was..

Considering I’m not much of a runner, I’m pretty happy with the fact that I was in the top 50% of the run times in my age group! It was also a personal BEST TIME! My run at Westchester last year was a 48:06, so I broke the 48-minute mark for the first time! Super stoked about that split. I really really really need to get under :45 for Collegiate Nats. New goal.

Overall time = 2:18:55

That’s less than a minute slower than Westchester’s overall time.. but there were a lot of different factors coming into play here and I’m at the point now where it’s hard to compare different times on varying courses (especially swims).

But I’d definitely say this was my best Olympic distance race I’ve ever done! It’s going to be great to compare this to Westchester in about a month!

Hopefully this is a sign that the NECTC season is going to be awesome!!!!!