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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ben Franklin Bridge Run 10k, Nov. 4th, 2012...and "Scene!"

Pol, Chris, Fred, Noah and Judy post-race...the cool wind in our hair!
When an ol' running pal who hasn't raced in years, suddenly comes out of retirement and signs up for an event, out of principle you gotta do it too!  When that pal has also helped you replace your hot water heater, fix your toilet and is just an all-around sooth-sayer wise man, it's even more reason.  Thanks Fred for getting us out on a cold Sunday morning in November!

The Ben Franklin Bridge Run 10k is one of those must-do events in the Philly area, and somehow this was our first time!  Starting in Camden, NJ you run across the closed-off Ben Franklin Bridge to Philly, turn around and come back, then run a few more miles in Camden before finishing in Campbell's Baseball Field.  It was a chilly, windy morn in the low 40's, but we dragged ourselves out to race with Fred, Noah and Judy in what turned-out to be a great finish to our racing year.  All felt accomplished, and special accolades go out to Fred for beating his goal time.  Here's how Chris and I fared:
Polly:  41:05, 1st in AG out of 394, 89th overall out of 3,263 finishers
Chris:  40:21, 5th in AG out of 201, 74th overall
1st in AG award!

Mega-"Death" Transect, Sept. 29, 2012!

Help me!
 You know, when you sign up for a race on New Year's day after a long night of celebrating with your trail running friends who say, "Hey, let's all sign up for this 26+ mile ultra trail run/hike thing," it somehow sounds like a great idea!  I wasn't exactly picturing what I was getting myself into, hence the above photo.
Chris making it look easy!
The Mega Transect is 26+ish miles of hell on a mountain in Lock Haven, PA.  When we signed up, it sold out in just a few hours!  My friend Erik who had completed the feat several times along with his fiance, Anita insisted, "Oh, it's totally runable!"  I would find myself snarkily repeating this phrase over and over as I envisioned punching Erik in the face for my finisher's photo!
"Shaking tree" pose
Don't get me wrong, I love trail running.  And I love hiking.  I just didn't anticipate the straight-down descents and the rocks of death that were taunting me for over 7 hours!  I experienced a new kind of pain out there.  Had it not been for my friend Judy who met up with me on the first boulder field of death (there were two!), I would probably still be out there curled up in the fetal position mumbling, "Erik is a dead man!"
Finishing ecstatically with Judy, my savior of the day!
Since I am writing this now, I did make it out alive, but it took me a while to put my thoughts together!  "Never again!" is what I have avowed after this harrowing event!  Fortunately, there was plenty of Troeg's beer at the finish line, cold showers, a warm camp fine and the great company of friends who had survived a day of pain.  And no, I didn't punch Erik in the face!
Still alive!
 Chris destroyed me at this one, finishing 31st in 6:02:55.  I hobbled in at 7:18:12 in 134th!  Next time, I'm taking pictures!!
Erik, Noah, John (Noah's dad), Chris, Judy, Anita & Pol celebrating our victory!

IMLP 2012, The Movie!!

My sentimental side came out recently and I created a recap of our IMPL 2012 journey.  This is dedicated to my wonderfully supportive family and friends, my parents whom I miss every day, and especially to Chris, my training partner and the love of my life.  Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Monumental Finish!: Nation's Triathlon, Washington, D.C., Sept. 9, 2012!

Chris and Pol post-race, celebrating the close of an epic tri season!
And so it concludes--the 2012 triathlon season is now in the books with Nation's Tri marking the end of a fantastic and memorable year.  After completing Marine Corp Marathon last fall, it was great to be back in D.C. for yet another "monumental" event!  There's just something special about racing in our nation's capitol. No matter which direction you look, the monuments, history and beauty of this city paint a spectacular picture to swim, bike and run through!  O.k., maybe swimming in the Potomac was a little less than glamorous, but for the most part, this race really delivers.

With over 4,000 registrants, Nation's Tri has set the record as the largest olympic-distance triathlon in the country.  Pretty cool to be racing amongst such an epic crowd, but the numbers also make for a lot of swim waves.  I started in wave #27, which was well over an hour after Chris got in the water!  Navigating the crowds out there became sort-of an obstacle course, but after recalling that Ironman swim start, nothing is impossible!!
2nd in AG & awarded with a beer mug!  Great day!
After the 1500m swim, came a super-fast 40k bike leg, mostly on the closed Clara Barton Parkway.  With a flat course and smooth sailing, Chris and I both posted our speediest bike splits ever!  Most of the scenery was a blur, but I did manage to take in some views of the C&O Canal as I flew by...for at least a moment or two!  Then it was on to the 10k run, which was highlighted by the Washington Monument, familiar parts of the marathon course and lovely views of the Tidal Basin and Potomac.  Throughout the run, thoughts of all of our 2012 races swirled through my head and I kept thinking, "This is it...make it count!"

Overall, I was really pleased with the race, though Chris bested me by a mere 30 seconds!!  Here is the breakdown of our results:
Swim: 30:48; T1: 2:18; Bike: 1:12:43; T2: 1:23; Run: 42:35; Total time: 2:29:44
Swim: 36:33; T1: 1:57; Bike: 1:06:20; T2: 1:13; Run: 43:10; Total time: 2:29:11

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mmmm...donuts!! Donut Derby, Sept. 3, 2012

The tasty treats await the riders!
In the words of the great donut aficionado, Homer Simpson, "Donuts...is there anything they can't do?"  Fuel a bike race?  Heck yeah!!  What's not to love?!
Off to get me some donuts!!
The parameters are quite simple:  bike 12 miles...eat donuts...bike 12 miles...eat donuts...bike 12 miles.  For every donut consumed, you get 3 minutes taken off your total time, aka your DAT (Donut Adjusted Time)!
"Got donuts in my belly!" says Alex.  "Donuts...please stay down!" says Chris.
This spectacular event is hosed annually by the Lehigh Valley Wheelmen in Trexlertown, PA.  Starting at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, the ride winds through beautiful farm land and country roads where the locals no doubt get a chuckle out of the 250 spandex-clad racers all hammering it in the name of Krispy Kreme!
"Had me 10 donuts!" says Noah.  "Keep blocking the wind,  Donut Boy!" says Judy.
The best part was sharing this experience with friends, Noah, Judy, Anthony and Alex, especially since it was a draft-legal event on a particularly windy day!  Chris and Noah were the champs of our merry group with 10 donuts each!  I managed to put away 4, utilizing the recommended technique of squishing two donuts together for more efficient consumption.  This was nowhere near the winner who defended his title for a fourth straight year with 32 donuts!  Simply amazing!
Round two means two more donuts for me!!
All in all, it was a great day and we managed to get the race in before the weather turned soggy.  With 4 donuts, my DAT for the 36-mile race was 1:53:35, enough for 5th in my age group.  Chris turned in a solid performance with his 10 donuts and managed a DAT of 1:35:30, finishing 7th in his age group.  Next year we need to come up with a donut training plan to build up to that coveted donut PR!  Mmmm...now that's a goal worth committing to!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wissahickon Wanderers Distance Track Meets Aug. 21 & 28, 2012

"Fast-Cat" Fred put us all to work calling out bib #'s and timing for the events
The end of August always marks the Wissahickon Wanderers Distance Track Meet.  This year, the event was divided into two meets, one to raise money for the Back On My Feet organization http://www.backonmyfeet.org/ and the other to involve all area running clubs.  Chris & I enjoyed volunteering at both and participating in the medley relay for the running club meet – Go Wanderers!  Here are the links to the reports on both events:
Job well done!!
Back On My Feet Meet:
Tracking the finishing orders required several pairs of eyes!
Running Clubs Meet:

Chris was the Master Starter of the events!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Racing with Awesomeness! USAT Age Group Nationals, Burlington, VT, Aug. 18-19, 2012!

After my race and before Chris'.  He has one more day of tapering!
What's the quickest way to cure the post-Ironman blues?  Do another race of epic proportion!  The USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship certainly was that.  I was able to qualify for this olympic-distance race at the Pocono Mountains 70.3 last October and was excited to hear that is was within driving distance for 2012.  Chris signed up for the sprint-distance race for the next day, so just 3 weeks after IMLP...Burlington, here we come!
Wow...that's some choppy water!
Glad that swim's over...time to ride!
My race was Saturday and started out with a .9 swim in Lake Champlain.  To say the water was "choppy," is a slight underestimate!  Having done ocean swims, I can truthfully say this swim was one of the most difficult I've ever experienced!  Whitecaps, drifting buoys, swallowed water, flailing limbs...it had it all.  Thankfully after 27 roller-coastering minutes, I was outta there!
Away we go!
Hill?  What hill?
The 40k bike had a little bit of everything...city streets, country roads, views of farms and mountains...Interstate Highway?  Yes, and it was fast and awesome!  We definitely had some strong winds to contend with, but the rolling hills kept things interesting.
Finish line...here I come!
Thanks, TriSports.com!

Finally it was on to the 10k run - one of my favorite distances!  The one hill on the course was right at the beginning, so after powering up that, it was GO time!  After a long stretch of road, the course eventually meandered onto a paved bike path where it was a little challenging weaving in and out amongst the many runners.  Got a lot of shout-outs for TriSports.com along the way, as they were a strong presence sponsoring the race this weekend!  Hearing the support and crowd noise build, I was happy to reach the all-American finish lined with flags waving and cheering spectators.  Happy that the race was done and thankful to Chris for the support, it was now my turn to relax and cheer Chris on!
We even had the same wave # and cap color...though racing on different days!

What exactly was your complaint about the water conditions?!
 As luck would have it, Chris' swim start on Sunday was in calm, serene waters!  Really?!  Though he got frog-kicked in the neck, Chris quickly recovered and flew through his .5-mile with the greatest of ease.  The sprint-distance bike was a little different, but also got to go on a closed highway.  Something you don't get to do every day! 
Finally...a picture of Chris in action on the bike!  Of course, it had to be on top of a hill!

Powering up that hill!
Chris powered through his 5k run, which also hit the one big hill and the crowded bike path.  Before I knew it, he was flying down to the finish, but not before overtaking one more guy in his age group!  An awesome weekend for both of us racing with the fastest in our age groups in the nation!  It was especially neat to have the rare opportunity of supporting each other on back-to-back race days!  Here is the breakdown of our results:
Age Group Place: 39 out of 142; Overall Place: 860 out of 1988
Swim: 27:57; T1: 2:21; Bike: 1:14:27; T2: 1:24; Run: 41:36; Total time: 2:27:46
Last guy to pass...here I go!

Great finish!
Age Group Place: 28/48; Overall Place: 321/1025
Swim: 14:08; T1: 1:59; Bike: 34:39; T2: 1:23; Run: 20:09; Total time: 1:12:20