Monday, July 27, 2015

Our First High Peaks Adventure - Porter and Cascade Mountains

This past weekend Mike and I had our first real adventure in the Adirondacks! We have been in the Adirondack region before, namely Lake George and Hague (and Mike has been to Lake Placid as a kid), but we have never gone hiking in the Adirondacks. It was time!

Some of our friends were attempting the Great Range Traverse (and some completed it, amazing beasts!) and we were going to join another friend who was doing a similar hike with less miles, but where we board the Bern was booked! I had already planned on not working the Friday and Monday so I did some internet magic and found our first airbnb rental that was pet-friendly.

 Our cabin in the woods for the weekend

Our cabin was perfect (even without running water). The one negative, for us, is that it was located near Oneida Lake which is still 3.5 hours away from where we would be hiking. As Mike said, though, no matter where we stay we still have to drive the 5+ hours (total) anyway. Staying at this cabin made it so we didn't wake up at 3am from Rochester and instead we got to "sleep in" until 4:30am on Saturday.

After making a stop at The Mountaineer for some trail maps we drove the rest of the way to the Cascade Trail-head on Route 73 in Keene Valley. While turning around to get to a closer parking spot, we saw a triathlete friend from Rochester. He was there for Ironman Lake Placid (spectating, not racing). Crazy coincidence!

 Ironman and the ADKs collide!

After parking, we got all of our stuff ready. We had our hydration vests and enough food, water, etc. for us and Bernie. Right before we got going I saw a co-worker who was there with her family to spectate the Ironman the next day. So crazy!

 Cascade Mountain it is!

For our first High Peak hike we decided on the Porter and Cascade hike. After Christine (an ADK 46er) suggested doing Porter first and then Cascade (because of the differences in views) that's what we decided on. Right around 9:33am we got started, we had a brief stop at the trail head while I registered us and then we got going.


The trail was in pretty good shape. It had rained the night before so there were some muddy spots, but nothing too bad - yet. We had 2.1ish miles to get to the junction of the trail to go to Cascade Mountain and the trail to go to Porter Mountain. We stopped a few times to check out the views and to give the Bern some water.

 Which way first??

I love the ADKs!
At the junction, we went right to hike the .7 miles to get to Porter Mountain. This trail was really wet! At one point we sunk down into the mud, luckily we are used to mud because of trail running! We got to an overlook and decided to go up the rock to take in the views. We had about a tenth of a mile to go to the summit.

Bern's first High Peak!

On top of Porter with Cascade in the background

We made it to the summit about 2 hours and 10 minutes into our hike at 11:40am. Once at the summit (luckily, other people were there because it is unmarked) we took some photos, ate a snack and the Bern made some friends. His new friends gave him their beef jerky, we gave him some but not all of it.

Porter Mountain is 4,059 feet in elevation and is the 38th highest peak of the 46 High Peaks.

 Making his way to the top!

We left the summit and went back down the way we came to get to the trail junction. This time we went up the .3 miles to get to the summit of Cascade Mountain. The views were amazing!! We were greeted by the Summit Steward, who thanked us for leashing Bern and staying off of the vegetation. We reached the summit at 12:40pm and stopped for about a half an hour for lunch. I didn't want to leave the summit!

The views and our tired adventure dog!

My little family! High Peak #2
Cascade Mountain is 4,098 feet in elevation and 36th highest of the 46 High Peaks.

 This photo makes me laugh!

We went back down the 2.4 miles that we came up in the beginning and after 5 hours and 30 minutes (total time for the hike including stops at the summits) we finished our first two High Peaks! I checked us out at the register and we got in our car to make the drive back to our cabin.

 All done!

I cannot wait to hike in the Adirondacks some more! We are hopefully going to go back in the fall when I start to taper for my 50 miler. I am going to try to find a fall hike with great views that is dog-friendly. If you have any suggestions let me know!

2/46 done, 44 to go!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What's Next?

We often are asked, "what's next?" It is a valid question since 99% of the time we are training for something!

Now that our two 70.3 triathlons are done, we can focus on the next big races of the year. We do have a race coming up in Alaska, but that is for fun (I can't wait, less than two weeks until we are reunited with Crystal and Joe!!)

The next major race that we both are doing is the SOS Triathlon. This is a unique triathlon that has 8 stages and takes place in the Shawangunk Mountain Range. The race starts off with a 30 mile bike and then begins to alternate between running and swimming (there are 4 run legs and 3 swim legs). You are required to have a "sherpa" in between the bike and run leg, mostly to take your bike from you, and then you are on your own. Which means, that we have to carry whatever we swim with while we run and whatever we run with while we swim - yes that includes our shoes.

My shoes are in there, just makes my butt look big!

 Mike's shoes are more noticeable!

This past weekend, Mike and I had our first "official" SOS Triathlon training day. We went to Kershaw Park for a run/swim/run/swim brick. The water temperature was 77 degrees, so wearing just our speed suits felt perfect (I can only hope that the lakes' temperatures in September are that warm, but I doubt it)!

We are planning on starting the race with our speed suits halfway on and then running with them that way. Our goggles and caps fit into our tri tops easily. Luckily, I am able to get my speed suit on without any assistance. Mike will need someone to zip him up during the race, but there should be plenty of volunteers to do so. Running like that on Sunday felt normal and then we did the first swim.

Our plan is to shove our shoes into the top (or bottom for Mike) of our tri shorts and then swim with our speed suits on. It felt weird at first, but overall swimming like that didn't really bother me. It is better than wearing our shoes on our feet! I did wring out my socks after the first swim and while my feet felt heavy for the first few tenths of a mile, it went away relatively quickly.

We are going to keep practicing our run/swim/run/swim, etc. methods!

For me, my second big race of the fall is the Stone Cat 50 Miler in Ipswich, Massachusetts. I decided to enter the lottery back in June and found out (on the morning of the Musselman 70.3 at 4:40am, ha) that I had gotten in (honestly, I think almost everyone who entered the lottery got in)!

Two of our friends also got in to the 50 miler so it will be nice to have a lot of familiar faces on and off the race course!

Mike is still deciding on whether or not he will do a 50K in the fall, but if he does we found one in Ohio that he will most likely do the weekend following my 50 miler.

Spider crawls down a hill, thanks Gustavo for the photo!

 Workin' our cores, thanks Gustavo for the photo!

In addition to those races, we are also attending FIT1, an outdoor fitness class, regularly. It is a great way to build our strength!

The last time we went hiking, my guys on a mountain

Before all of that, though, we are going hiking this weekend in the Adirondacks! We had originally planned on joining friends on a longer hike, but where we board Bernie was booked! I decided to look into dog-friendly options and found a great place on Airbnb (my new obsession). We are going to start our journey toward becoming ADK 46ers and hike Cascade and Porter Mountain. Luckily, these mountains are dog-friendly and Bernie can come! I'm excited for an early five year anniversary getaway!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Musselman 70.3 Race Recap - Run Leg

Did you miss the swim and bike legs? Check them out, here and here!

The swim was done, the bike was done, now all that was left was the run! After grabbing a quick cup of water while in the transition area, I ran out on to the run course. According to my Garmin it was 75 degrees when I started running.

I was really worried about the run the entire weekend. It wasn't that I was worried I couldn't do it, I knew I would finish no matter what, I was just worried about how my legs would feel and the heat. Thankfully, the run didn't get as hot as it was supposed to and there was cloud cover.

 Mike starting his run, thanks Josh for the photo!

The run course starts the same way that the Mini Mussel does on Saturday. I ran right by our friends less than a mile into the run and they all cheered me on, it was a great motivator at the beginning of a tough run.

I definitely started out too fast, I was running sub-8 minute pace the first mile! I told myself to slow down and I was able to, somewhat, reign it in. I knew that there was going to be some walking during the run, but I forced myself to not walk until the first aid station about a mile and a half into the run. Even with a brief walk break through the aid station (where I poured ice down my tri top), my first two miles came in at 8:13 and 8:52. I wasn't too worried since I knew I was going to slow down due to the course and some walk breaks here and there.

After running along the path near the lake, we turned to go under a tunnel. It felt nice and cool in there! The beginning of the run course combines some of the first and last run legs of the Seneca7 relay that we do every year, it is fun to reminisce about that race!

After running along some gravel for a bit, we got to the part of the course that I had do for Seneca7 this year. Before going up the hill (to get to the grassy hill), someone was coming down in the opposite direction and almost collided with me! He didn't stay to the left like he was supposed to, even after the volunteers told him what to do. I'm just happy he didn't actually crash into me!

I ran/walked up the paved hill and then made it to the grassy hill. You can either use the stairs or the grass, and I just went up the grass. This was a tough part of the race, but I got back up to the sidewalk as quickly as I could.

We ran along the sidewalk for a couple of miles, while going through an aid station where I started to take sponges. Some spectators were out and were offering to spray us with their hoses, which I of course accepted!

We turned down a street to go onto Hobart and William Smith's campus and I thought about this portion of the race when we first did it in 2013. That year there were some musicians who were playing what sounded like death march music. Luckily, this year there were different musicians and their music was a bit peppier!

I kept going and after turning onto another road, I started to walk up a hill. A guy next to me said that was a good idea and started to do the same. I didn't walk the entire hill, but I would give myself little breaks here and there. After turning down another street, I was really close to being half way through the run! I could tell based on the current time and distance that I was still averaging below 10:00 pace for the entire run.

I kept taking my energy chews and would take Coke and water at the aid stations. I also kept replacing the sponge that I had stuffed in my tri top. The spectators who offered to spray us with their hoses were amazing!

I finally got to the worst part of the run course - Barracks Road. This road is gravelly and has an extremely long hill. I mentioned how I didn't like this part to the person next to me and she said it didn't look fun. She asked how long it was and I said a little less than a mile. I forced myself to run the flat part and then I ran/walked up the hill. There were people playing music toward the top and they were really motivating! Finally, I made it to the top and got some water at the aid station.

Luckily, the next part is a nice downhill so that you can build up some momentum again. A volunteer at the next turn said most of the bad hills were over, which was a good thing!

Over the next few miles, I kept playing tag with the same people. It was nice to be able to encourage each other. I had started to pay attention to my total race time and I was surprised that I was potentially going to PR. I tried not to get ahead of myself, but with about 3 miles to go I was still feeling pretty good!

The course crossed one of the streets that we were on before and we turned left to head back the way we came. This part had two way traffic, but there weren't many people heading out on to the run course at this point.

I passed one guy and he said that I had good form and to keep it up. I then went by the same spectator as before and she sprayed me with her hose again.

I ran down a steep hill, that I didn't remember from the first year that we did the race and I was back at the part of the course where the guy almost collided with me. The same volunteer said that no one would run into me this time and I told her that it wasn't her fault from before! I made it to the tunnel and I only had about 2.5 miles left to go.

The run along the lake path was starting to get hot, but I would force myself to run as far as I could and then only walked briefly when I needed to. I made it back to where the Mini Mussel turns around on Saturday and got to the final aid station. I took some water and then started to run again, another woman next to me said that we were almost done!

Pretty soon I only had one mile left to go. I knew that I was going to PR, I just didn't know by how much. I forced myself to run and finally, I made the turn around the bend toward the finish line. Some spectators cheered me on and said that I was going to finish the DoubleMussel (they could tell by my bib number). Then, I saw my people!

 Smiling because I'm almost done!

 Love this photo of us, thanks Kirsten for the photo!

I saw Mike cheering me on, as well as, Greg, Kirsten and Josh. It was great to see everyone! I picked up the pace and ran through the finishing chute and then I was done! I was a DoubleMusseler!

After getting my medal, water bottle and a piece of watermelon, I started walking back toward the tent where we had left our stuff. I saw Mike walking toward me and we sat down on the ground for a few minutes. After collecting ourselves we joined everyone at the tent for awhile, before heading back home.

Mike did great and was only two minutes off of his PR that he set two weekends ago. He finished in 5:52:33 and placed 13th in his age group for Musselman. Out of 63 people who finished the DoubleMussel, he was 25th overall and 22nd male out of 39. I am so proud!

I, somehow, ended up with a little over 19 minute PR from two weeks ago. I finished Musselman in 6:15:57 and came in 13th in my age group (out of 32). I came in 39th overall for the DoubleMussel and I was 8th female out of 24.

I hope that we get to do some part of Musselman weekend next year since it is such a great race! I really want to do the DoubleMussel again sometime, even though it was challenging it was fun too!

Run Leg (13.1 miles) - Jamie: 2:10:34 (9:49 pace), Mike: 2:19:13 (10:28 pace)
Finishing Times - Jamie: 6:15:57, Mike: 5:52:33
DoubleMussel Total Times - Jamie: 7:53:47, Mike: 7:17:29

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Musselman 70.3 Race Recap - Bike Leg

Did you miss the swim leg? Check it out, here!

After getting my stuff on in transition, I ran out to the mount line and started the 56 mile bike leg. The bike leg is the same as the Mini Mussel for about 8 miles and then you continue on the same road rather than turning right for the sprint. Unlike the day before at the sprint, we did not have a tailwind. Rather we had a headwind!

The bike course takes you out of Seneca Lake State Park and we were on the same road for about 15 miles. This part of the race course felt like it always does for me, slow! The headwind was rough, but I just focused on trying to pedal as strongly as I could without fatiguing my legs too much. My left leg was bothering me a little bit, but eventually it worked itself out.

Around mile 8, I ran over someone's helmet sticker! Normally during races I do not stop no matter what, especially on the bike course (yes, we all know I have peed on my bike before). As soon as I ran over the sticker, it stuck to my front tire and the noise that it was making was incredibly annoying. I kept pedaling for a little while, eating some of my nutrition while pondering what to do, I really didn't want to stop!

After about a minute or two, I decided I couldn't listen to the clacking noise that the sticker was making and I was worried about any potential issues that the sticker might cause to my bike and slowing/stopping - so I skidded to a stop and got off of my bike. I ripped the sticker off and got back on my bike as quickly as I could. I probably stopped for about 20-30 seconds total, so all wasn't lost.

I got going again and continued the slow trudge through these first bike miles. At mile 15, we finally turned off of the road we had been riding on for a long time and I knew one of my favorite parts of the bike course was coming up! I had looked at my watch around an hour into the bike and I was averaging below 15mph. I knew some downhill portions would help my average, but I still had no idea how I was going to do during the rest of the bike leg.

 Mike around mile 28 on the bike course, photo courtesy of Thomas Björkman

There were a lot of USAT officials out, just like on Saturday (but this time Mike noticed them), so I made sure to not draft anyone. Right before mile 18, we turned left onto my favorite section of the bike course. A group of spectators had been stopping throughout the course and cheering everyone on and one of them told me that there was a tailwind now. For the next 7 miles, I was able to make up some ground. I was flying down the hills and it felt great to give my legs a little bit of a rest here and there.

There was a turn down one road that usually feels a bit rough, but this time I didn't notice it too badly. My aero bottle didn't fly off like it did during our Ironman, thankfully! After a relatively steep downhill with a quick right-hand turn (that forces everyone to slow down), I started to ride along Cayuga Lake. The views are pretty and there are a lot of wineries along the road (one of the other participants even commented on one of them when she passed me).

 Mile 28, photo courtesy of Thomas Björkman

The worst hill is just a little after 32 miles on the bike course, but due to the extremely hilly and challenging bike course at our 70.3 two weeks ago and a training ride last week the hill didn't feel bad at all! I was able to get up it without any problems and continued on my way. My average speed had picked up and I noticed that I was averaging above 16 mph about 2 hours into the bike leg. I grabbed a water bottle at one of the aid stations, even though I didn't really need it (I did it just to be safe).

There was some more headwind for a few miles and after a couple more turns on the bike course, I turned on to the second best section of the bike leg! This downhill portion is shorter (about 1-2 miles), but it is a nice break. Unfortunately, you do have to lose some of your momentum to slow down in order to make a quick u-turn before continuing down toward Sampson State Park.

Sampson State Park is my least favorite part of the course. It is gravelly and the bumpiness gives me a headache. Also, it is harder to pass people due to the narrow road. USAT officials were going through this section too, two of them passed me during the 3.5ish miles in the park. My mph slowed down a bit, but I was still averaging above 16mph. Finally, I got through the park and started the ride on the east side of Seneca Lake. Three hours into the ride and I was still averaging over 16mph and I knew as long as I kept up the pace that I would be close to 3:30 for the entire bike leg.

About 50 miles into the ride you are back on the same course that the Mini Mussel uses the day before. There are some rolling hills, but nothing major in this section of the bike course. I was starting to think that our friend Greg would pass me soon, his wave started about 10 minutes after mine.

After getting up the last hill of the bike leg, I started to think that a sub-3:30 total time might be possible. I only had about 3-4 miles left of the bike to go. As I turned onto one of the final portions of the bike course, though, I quickly realized that the bike was going to be a little over 56 miles (according to my watch).

I just tried to take advantage of the downhills and made it back to the park. I turned down the road toward transition and got off of my bike. I had decided the day before that I was going to take my bike shoes off so that I could run through transition easier than I did at Mini Mussel. I ran briefly with my bike shoes on and crossed the timing mats. I then leaned my bike against the barrier and took off my shoes.

It was so much easier to run through transition this way! As I arrived at my transition area, Greg pulled into transition too! We talked for a few seconds and then he took off, while I went to get a cup of water before heading out on the run course.

All day I was the most worried about the run leg, now it was time to see what I could do!

Bike Leg (56 miles) - Jamie: 3:30:33 (15.95 mph), Mike: 3:01:48 (18.48 mph)
Transition 2 - Jamie: 3:09, Mike: 3:24

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Musselman 70.3 Race Recap - Swim Leg

Did you miss the first race recap of our DoubleMussel weekend? Check it out, here!

 Drying our wetsuits in between races!

After recovering as much as we could from the Mini Mussel on Saturday, Mike and I went to bed around 9:30pm and woke up at 4:40am. We wanted to get to the race site with enough time to pick up our timing chip for the race (which was the only thing we couldn't get the first day at packet pickup) and set up our transition areas.

When we got to the parking lot, we started to put air in our bikes' tires. I got mine taken care of and then Mike started to put air in his. All of a sudden we heard this loud hissing sound. I thought he had gotten a flat tire, but it turned out that bike pump's hose had a hole in it! Luckily, we were at a race so there were plenty of other people with a pump nearby and a man let us borrow his.

We saw our friends, Kirsten and Josh, while we were walking toward the transition area. Kirsten was volunteering at body marking and then later at the swim exit. She ended up body marking both of us, and she pulled my pants back up for me! True friend right there.

I saw a blog reader, Allee, at the body marking area (well really, she saw me!). She told me that because of my blog post about Musselman she decided to do the race! It is always nice to meet blog readers in person.

 Part of the swim course in Seneca Lake

We got our chips and then went into transition to set everything up. While in there our friend, Greg, showed up. He was also doing the DoubleMussel and we all said we weren't sure how the day was going to go, but we'd do our best!

 Everyone before the start of the race, thanks Kirsten for the photo!

The swim start for Musselman is in a different location than the swim start for the previous day's Mini Mussel. Our friends' tri club tent was set up right in front of the beach where we would be entering the water, so that was nice! We all got ready for the start and after a quick group photo it was time for Mike to get into the corral for the first swim wave.

Pretty soon it was time for my wave, the second wave, to get into the corral to wait for our start. Right before 7am we were told we could start making our way toward the start buoys and then Mike's wave took off!

A little before 7:05am we heard, "40 seconds to race start", and it was time to get ready for the final 70.3 mile victory lap of the weekend.

As soon as we took off, I tried to get into clear water. It didn't take too long, thankfully. Even though I really need to replace my goggles (they are really scratched and fog up right away), I was able to sight the buoys easily. The waves at the beginning of the swim were stronger than I thought they were going to be and I thought I was going to have a similar swim time to our 70.3 two weeks ago.

I got around the first turn buoy and was able to sight the next couple of "continue straight" buoys easily. I did stop for a second to make sure I was heading toward them as closely as possible once. I started to pass some of the swimmers from the first wave, but no one was blocking me thankfully. The waves were still really strong so I had no idea how I was doing.

The second yellow "turn" buoy appeared and I made the turn toward the canal where the swim for the sprint was the day before. The sun was a bit bright at this point, but I was able to see the orange buoy easily and got to the point where the sprint had started - I knew I only had about 10-11 minutes left of swimming!

I think we may have had some tailwind once we made the turn toward the canal and the waves subsided. There was one more turn buoy and after dodging a few men from the first wave, I made the turn toward the swim exit. There was one more big orange buoy off to the right (on the shore) and I think one guy thought he had to go around it and he ran into me for a second. Another female swimmer also got too close to me and after colliding briefly, I had clear water to the swim exit.

I saw the buoys marking the boat launch ramp and I kept swimming until my hand hit the bottom 2-3 times. When I popped up out of the water, I heard Kirsten yell my name! It was motivating to hear her cheer me on.  I still had no idea how I had done and as I ran toward the transition area, I saw that I had finished the swim under 30 minutes! I really had no idea that I had swum that fast considering the waves and wind in the beginning.

I made the long run through the transition area and got my bike stuff on as quickly as I could.

Next up a 56 mile ride!

Swim Leg (1.2 miles) - Jamie: 29:30, Mike: 26:14
Transition 1 - Jamie: 2:11, Mike: 1:54

Monday, July 13, 2015

Mini Mussel Sprint Triathlon Race Recap

This could also be called "DoubleMussel Part 1".

Mike and I did Musselman 70.3 as our first 70.3 back in 2013. Last year we raced the Mini Mussel Sprint Tri. This year, we did both! Only a select few crazies sign up for the DoubleMussel (a little less than 100 people).

We went to packet pickup on Friday night in Geneva and then went back home to finish getting ready for the double race weekend. Two people racing two triathlons in one weekend requires a lot of stuff!

Saturday morning we woke up around 5:40am so that we could get to the race site around 7:30am. Luckily, the sprint starts at 9am! We got to Seneca Lake State Park easily and as we were walking our stuff over to the transition area, we saw our friend Greg in the parking lot. He was also doing the DoubleMussel so our transition areas were all close to each other.

 I love the personal touch!

We got body marked and then went into transition to set up. As we were setting up, I saw the Unexpected Runner (another Double-Musseler)! It's always great to see her at local races.

 Us with Mark

After setting up our stuff and using the port-a-potties (and seeing Jenelle in transition), we checked our transition areas one last time. As we were doing so, we saw our friend, Sarah! She was there to spectate while our friend Mark raced the Mini. It was a pleasant surprise to see them there!

 The Double-Musselers!

We dropped off our stuff at our friends' tri club's tent (they are nice enough to let us use their space even though we aren't members) and got our wetsuits on. Mike was in the first wave at 9am and I was in the second wave at 9:05am. We made the long-ish walk over to the swim start and wished each other luck.

Both Jenelle and our friend Kirsten joked that they were going to hold onto my feet during the swim! Right before 9am they let our wave start making the long walk toward the swim start. Mike's wave was in the water for a really long time! As I was walking toward the buoys for the swim start, I scrapped my foot on the rocks (or Zebra mussels, who knows). Luckily, it didn't start to bother me until after the race!

Mike's wave went off and then my wave went to go tread water for a few minutes. A little after 9:05am, we were off!

Swim Leg (.47 miles) - Jamie: 12:12, Mike: 10:53

The swim went relatively smoothly. I didn't have to fight with anyone for space and got into a rhythm right away. The swim is in a channel so we are never really out in the open water of the lake for very long. I caught up to men from the first wave before making the turn around the one "turn" buoy of the swim.

The channel is a bit weedy, but it didn't seem too bad this year. I did have some weeds stuck to my hands for a few seconds, though. This swim is so short that before I knew it, it was almost over! I could see the buoys for the swim exit and just kept swimming until my hands hit the bottom of the boat launch a couple of times and then popped out of the water.

I ran out of the water and toward transition. I was a bit surprised at how slow (for me) my swim was, but I didn't let it bother me. I was 2nd out of the water for my age group, so all things considered I did pretty well! I fumbled with my watch (I hit stop instead of lap) as I crossed the transition mat.

Transition 1 - Jamie: 1:45, Mike: 1:35

The run through the "swim in" is really long. Then we had to run all the way back down to our transition area. Luckily, I didn't have to run too far with my bike to leave transition. I got my stuff off as quickly as I could, grabbed my bike and ran out of there.

Bike Leg (16 miles) - Jamie: 55:15 (17.37 MPH), Mike: 46:20 (20.71 MPH)

After running to the mount line, I got on my bike. I heard a woman say, "6th female" and that felt pretty good even though I knew it wouldn't last for long! Normally, I don't like the beginning of the bike course. It isn't too hilly but it is a gradual incline and I always feel like I am going really slow.

Luckily, this year we had a tailwind! Even though some of my first miles were slower than I would have liked, I was alright with it since we were doing the DoubleMussel anyway. Jenelle (Miss Speedy) passed me around mile 2!

I saw a lot of USAT Officials out on the bike course (later when I asked Mike if he saw any, he said no) so I made sure to not draft at all. After 6 miles, our friend Kirsten passed me. I wish I was as speedy as she is on the bike!

Finally, we turned off of this stretch of road and started the nice downhill portion of the course. It was nice to not have to pedal for a few seconds! I made the turn at the bottom of the hill and started to head back toward the transition area. Along this stretch of the course our friend, Greg, passed me.

I made it to the two-way traffic section of the course and started to think about the run. My fastest mile was mile 15 at 20.8mph, not bad for me! I made the turn back into Seneca Lake State Park and rode back toward transition. I dismounted my bike at the dismount line and ran back into transition.

Transition 2 - Jamie: 2:28, Mike: 1:59

 Mike in transition

I really struggled with this part of the race. It was really difficult to run over the transition's surface with my bike shoes on. It was grassy and had some stones throughout and I was slipping all over the place. I made a mental note to take my shoes off before running through transition for the 70.3.

I finally got back to my transition area and got my running stuff on. I tried to be as quick as possible since I knew I had a slower transition due to running so far with my bike and over the horrible surface.

Run Leg (3.1 miles) - Jamie: 26:10 (8:26 pace), Mike: 24:09 (7:46 pace)

As I ran out of transition I may have taken off too fast. I didn't want to "race" the sprint because of the 70.3 on Sunday and when I saw that my first mile was 7:40 - I knew I had to back off. I saw Mike about a mile into my run and we cheered each other on. I saw other friends finishing up their runs and I just wanted my race to be almost over too!

I went through the one aid station on the course and then ran toward the small loop and ran back toward the finish. After going through the aid station again, I passed our friend Mark. As I went by him he cheered me on. I saw a few more friends running toward the turn around.

I slowed down the second and third miles (8:17 and 8:33 pace, respectively) because I didn't want to sabotage Sunday's race. I also knew I wasn't going to place in my age group so there wasn't really a point to running all out.

 Yes, I passed him!

Finally, I saw Mike and our friends on the sidelines cheering me on. I was so happy to cross the finish line and get race #1 of the weekend under my belt! (The run course may have actually been 3.2 miles, which matches up with the pace on the results page, but I counted it as what it was advertised as - 3.1 miles)

Finishing Times - Jamie: 1:37:50, Mike: 1:24:56

 Everyone after the race

Mike had a great race and finished a little over one minute slower than his time last year! He came in 5th (out of 20) in his age group, a great start to the weekend! I came in 12th (out of 41) in my age group and I was happy with how I raced. After getting some food and hanging out for a bit, we went to our hotel so that we could take showers and start relaxing/recovering for the next race of the weekend - Musselman 70.3!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

2015 Goals - Half Way

I can't believe that we are halfway through the year! This year is flying by, as usual, and I hope that I can make an even bigger dent in the goals that I set for 2015.

I have had a decent year so far, some goals will not happen and quite a few have already been accomplished. Let's see how I am doing so far!

This was a good day!

  • Finish a 50K with a smile on my face. Check! I finished the Pineland Farms 50K, and as the photo above shows I did it with a smile on my face.
  • Run the entire length (out and back) of the Seneca Trail at one time (approximately 27 miles). Not yet. I did attempt to do this one time and I made it 21 miles. I am going to try again in September.
  • PR at least one race distance. Check! Though, it is kind of cheating since my new running PRs are all in distances I have never raced before including an 18 miler, 25K and 50K.

    • Race and train with friends as much as possible. Check! I think this is going pretty well. Mike and I do train by ourselves a lot, but we have been running trails, swimming and going to races with friends. There will be even more of this happening the rest of the year.
    • Swim a total of 110 miles, bike a total of 3,500 miles and run a total of 1,300 miles. In progress. Currently I have 35.66 swim miles, 1,008.21 bike miles and 673.85 run miles. Unfortunately, I don't know if the swim and bike miles will happen but I am going to give it my all.
    • Race in two new states. Not yet. We are racing in Alaska in a month and we may not get the second new state this year.
    • Ride around two more of the Finger Lakes. Not yet. We are planning on riding around two of the Finger Lakes this week.
    • Complete a half Century ride a month. Fail. We didn't even ride our first half Century this year until a few weeks ago, oops!
    • Complete one Century ride, for fun. Not yet, but hoping to do this in a few weeks.
    • Log swimming, biking and running miles every month. So far so good.
    • Support Mike and friends at races I'm not participating in at least twice. Check! I supported Mike at the Fly by Night Duathlon and we went to support our friend, Greg, at an Olympic distance triathlon.
    • Place in my age group at least once. Check! I actually thought this was a long shot, but I just placed third in my age group at the HITS North Country 70.3.
    • Finish a 70.3 in under 7 hours. Check! I finished the HITS North Country 70.3 in 6:34:58.
    • Become a Survivor. In progress. We both got in to the SOS Triathlon so that is a step in the right direction (it sold out in 4 minutes)!
    • Decide on and register for Ironman #2 (for 2016). In progress. We are 99% sure we are going to do Ironman Mont Tremblant in 2016 and will register in August.
    • Set a course PR at Keuka Lake Intermediate triathlon. Check! I finished in 2:58:08.
    • Volunteer at a race at least once. Check! We volunteered at the inaugural Ontario Summit Trail half marathon and marathon with our friend Greg at an aid station.
    • Make strength workouts a regular part of our training routine. Semi-successful. We were doing well in the beginning of the year and then fell off track. We did go to a fit1 class and after our 70.3 race next weekend, we will start going more regularly.
    • Remain injury-free. So far so good.

    • See at least one new lighthouse. Check! We saw two new lighthouses in Maine - Doubling Point Lighthouse (in the photo) and Squirrel Point Lighthouse.
    • Go hiking in Alaska. Not yet, but hoping to in a month!
    • Hike at least one new mountain in Maine. Check! Technically, I already hiked this mountain but never with Mike. We hiked Flying Mountain while in Maine in May.
    • Hike at least two of the 46 peaks in the Adirondacks. Not yet, and unfortunately we can't go on a group trip we were planning on doing that would have had us hiking quite a few of the 46 peaks.
    • Do one thing, that's not planned for 2015 yet, that "scares" me. Check! I registered for the Stone Cat 50 miler lottery. Now, if I actually get picked that will definitely be something that "scares" me!
    • Organize and display our race bibs and medals. Not yet. Our bibs are organized and displayed but we really need to display our medals.
    • Get rid of, donate and/or sell at least 10 items in our house that we no longer use. In progress, we got rid of quite a few things and have more things we can get rid of in our house.
    • "Unplug" more often. We really need to do better at this, though we have improved somewhat.
    I would say that overall, I am doing pretty well. I am looking forward to the rest of the year!

    Wednesday, July 1, 2015

    HITS North Country 70.3 Race Recap - Run Leg

    Did you miss the swim and bike legs? Check them out, here and here

     Mike heading out for the final leg of the day

    Time to see what I'm made of

    After finishing that extremely difficult bike leg, I ran into transition and got my running stuff together as quickly as possible. I knew that in order to beat my time at Musselman in 2013 (and get my sub-7 hour 70.3) that it was all going to come down to the run leg.

    The bike leg took a toll on my legs and I was worried about how I was going to feel. I left transition, where Mike's parents cheered me on, and took off at a comfortable pace. Usually I take off way too quickly (during our Ironman I was running at marathon PR pace for the first 3 miles, oops) and I didn't want to jeopardize my chances of achieving my goal.

     Mike at mile 2

    The run leg was an out and back on route 9N with two slight deviations from the main road. It was nice that it was an out and back route since you were never alone for very long.

    The one positive of running a 50K five weeks prior to this 70.3 is that I was able to utilize some ultra running strategies. Due to the difficult bike leg, I knew that I was going to walk up most of the hills. The run course was almost constant rolling hills and I walked for the first time about .5 miles into the run. I never let myself walk on any of the downhills and the only time I walked on the flats was at the aid stations briefly.

    Smiling for the camera

    Around mile 2, I saw our friend Greg cheering me on. He was at the first slight deviation from 9N and he told me that it was a nice downhill (on a gravel road) in the shade. It felt good to get off of the main road (the road didn't have a great shoulder) and get into the shade. I wasn't too hot at this point, but I was taking two cups of water at all of the aid stations - one to drink and one to dump over my head.

    As a "stronger" runner, I was able to pass a lot of people who had passed me on the bike. Everyone was really encouraging and I chatted with a few people about how tough the course was.

    At mile 4, I saw Mike! We high-fived and I told him he only had about 4 miles to go.

    I kept up my strategy of walking up most of the hills (but I wouldn't let myself walk the entire hill and kept an eye on my pace) and did well with pacing the first 5 miles (9:21, 9:54, 9:50, 9:52 and 9:38). The second deviation from 9N was really long and we ran by a YMCA. There were a few people out and about, but none of them really paid attention to what we were doing.

     Mike near mile 11

    About 5 miles into it another female athlete ran by me, she was going really fast! I tried to not let her get too far ahead of me. Eventually I hit 6 miles and I knew the turnaround would be coming up relatively soon. Then, the woman who had passed me was coming back and said to me, "the turnaround is just up there and they have sponges!"

    The view at the turnaround

     Always a nice sight to see

    I thought that the turnaround was a bit early (more on that later), but at that point I didn't care. It was starting to get hot out so I took some Coke, water and a sponge for inside of my tri top. As I made my way back down to head back to the finish, more athletes were making their way up to the turnaround.

    I was able to get three energy chews down during this run, which is pretty good for me! I also took in Coke at a few aid stations and lots of water. I did slow down a bit on the way back but miles 6 through 10 were 10:03, 10:35, 10:30, 10:33 and 10:31. I was keeping pretty consistent and I knew that I was going to get my sub-7 hour, I just didn't know by how much.

    On the way back I did notice that the mile markers would appear before my watch hit the same distance. Sometimes my watch is off a little bit, but this was a big difference (about .4 to .5 miles off). I didn't think anything of it and just kept focusing on getting to the finish.

    Around miles 10-11 we had to run up that nice gravel hill that we ran down in the beginning. While it wasn't steep, it was probably the longest hill of the course. I could see people walking in the distance and I just kept alternating between running and walking. I didn't know if Greg would still be in the same spot, but then I saw him waving his arms at me. I put my arms in the air and then I told myself to run.

     Notice the sponge in my top

    He said that I was almost at mile 11 and after I said that this course was no joke, I kept going. Mile 11 was my slowest mile at 11:00 pace.

    Since I knew I didn't have very far to go and that the majority of the hills were over, I ran as fast as I could. Luckily, there were some nice downhills. When I got to an aid station (and replaced my sponge), I asked if it was the last one. The volunteer said yes and that it was about a mile and a half to the finish.

     Making his way to the finish!

    I walked a bit up a hill and then started running. I could see three other athletes in front of me and one guy started walking on the downhill. I took advantage of this and passed him, while giving him encouragement, and then after a brief walk break up part of a hill I kept going.

    My watch was still off of the mile markers, but at this point I could see the swim buoys still in the water. I knew that the park (and the finish line) were just around the corner. Finally, I made it back to the park and ran toward the finish line. I saw Mike on the sidelines cheering me on and then I was done!

     Happy to have another 70.3 under my belt!

    I got my sub-7 hour 70.3 and finished in 6 hours and 34 minutes (at first I thought my time was around 6:36 but I had left my watch running for about 2 minutes after I crossed the finish line). Mike did great and also PR'd with a finishing time of 5:50!

    70.3 x 2


    In the end, we found out that most people had about 12.5 miles for the run. A bit disappointing that the run course was short (they should have had the turnaround about .3 miles away from where it was set up), but I think our times would have been about the same since the swim course was .2 miles long. I am still counting it as the correct distances, however.

     Good day for us!

    After checking out the results, Mike and I found out that we both placed third in our age groups! Mike came in 33rd overall (29th male) and I came in 69th overall (13th female) out of 109 finishers.

    I am happy with how this race turned out considering we didn't train for it the best that we could have, but I am hoping that I will be able to PR again in less than two weeks at Musselman 70.3. We are doing the DoubleMussel (sprint and 70.3) so I don't know if it is possible, but I will give it my all!

    Run Leg (13.1 miles) - Jamie: 2:05:28 (9:34 pace), Mike: 2:00:03 (9:09 pace)
    Finishing Times - Jamie: 6:34:58, Mike: 5:50:56