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