Oxford Smiles on me again!

On March 22, 2015, I finally did my first official road race which was the Oxford Road Race.  While I am fairly confident in my biking skills, you never know what can happen such as my first cyclocross race when I got a healthy dose of reality in realizing that each type of bike racing has differences and sometimes there can be quite a learning curve.
Since my husband was hopping into some bike racing, I figured, I might as well too.  Awhile back we looked at the Ohio Cycling Calendar (http://ohiocycling.org/2015road/) and the first race was in Oxford.  This was PERFECT in my book…I could race and get to visit Miami University, my alma mater, where I have not been for well over a decade!  I booked us a non-refundable room in Oxford so no turning back now.
Lead-up was good.  Easy drive down, pre-rode the course, dinner at Paesano’s Pasta House (yum!), a beer at Mac & Joes (favorite college pub) and an early night to sleep.  Race morning for my husband is like Christmas and he has me up at the crack of dawn and at the race site very early.
After looking like the total race noob that I was with my number pinned on the wrong way (which I fixed twice), I was lined up ready to go.  The3/4 race was 3 laps of 9.6 miles for a total of 28.8 miles.  As I watched the signups, when I signed up there were 9 girls and by Saturday, there were 18.  There were also a couple day-of signups.  It was a larger field than I was anticipating and of the field at least 9 of them were all on the same team so I was not sure how that would affect things as I was there as my own pony show.  I knew from pre-riding the course there was a decent climb early on so I was hoping for a separate before we hit the road with lots of potholes.
After a neutral start for a quarter mile or so, we hit the actual start line.  I was on the far left of the road and from the right two ladies from Indianapolis stepped on the gas pedal.  I did not waste any time in accelerating to go with them in the third spot.  We pushed on at a good clip up the first decent climb.  As the road leveled off, there were 4 of us in the front group that had put a decent gap on the rest of the field.  We started to all work together in a rotating pace line to increase our lead.  I was feeling pretty settled in and comfortable to be in a smaller group.  The wind was pretty strong from the east so it was good to have a few others to work with.
About half way through the race, after one of the climbs by the finish into the wind and rounding the corner, the Indiana ladies upped the pace noting Team Dayton lady was struggling and then there were three….podium spots for everyone if we stayed away.  We continued to work together.  Pace was somewhat relaxed and we chitchatted about triathlon as we also raced them.  One of the ladies had done Kona in 2014 and it sounded like the other one was pretty fast and perhaps had a decent shot of qualifying for it this year.  I didn’t give much away about my results deciding to stay under the radar as much as possible.  Several times the other two ladies were conferring as we rode and it was clear they were strategizing their plan to take me….yet my wheels were grinding trying to figure out my own plan.  Bike racing is very different than triathlon biking.  As recently quoted in the article my husband shared…in triathlon,  “Hardest pedaler gets there first.  Brain not required.”  While I think you need some thought in how hard you pedal in triathlon, the hardest pedaler does not necessarily win the bike race whereas hardest pedaler typically should have the best bike split.
While thoughts of making my own attack sooner rather than later, were entertained, I thought with the wind and two teammates working together, I was going to have to very carefully make my move.  As we turned onto the final road the last time, I knew the time was coming and I patiently waited.  We hit the final big climb and just before we crested it, around the 200km mark, the lady in front started her acceleration and I was matching her move and then with whatever I could muster, I moved over to sprint with all I had and came across the finish line in first with both of the other girls just behind me.  Kudos to both of them on their efforts!
Sweet success on my first road race and again, Oxford has treated me well!  Next up, Barry Roubaix this weekend!!!
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The Inaugural Epic Road Apple Roubaix

For the past two years in preparing for the March Barry Roubaix held in Hastings, MI, my husband, Joey and I had been riding gravel roads out in our neck of the woods to get ready for the event.  Last year it was bitter cold and we got in very few winter rides.  We had managed to con several friends into our little training rides out in our neck of the woods and at some point we decided, it would be fun to make it an official event and show off our quiet Amish country roads.  And the Road Apple Roubaix took shape from there!

I am thinking you could call this year bitter cold too, but either we were tougher or crazier and seemed to get in quite a few gravel (and snow-covered) road rides.  We started riding and previewing the roads more and more trying to pick out what would be the ideal route.  The ideal route would include the newly constructed southern end of the non-paved Maple Highlands trail complete with 2 covered bridges through scenic Geauga County.  However, as the 2014-2015 winter-that-kept-on-giving, that path was not going to be passable so we went to Plan B.  There was a preview ride where we used the small very snowy path out of the north end of the park and it was hike-a-bike for most of us.  I thought my calves were going to pop from trudging through the snow in my bike shoes before we even got riding.

The ride was to start from Swine Creek Park in Middlefield, OH, the fourth largest Amish Settlement in the world.  Swine Creek Park offered a warm beautiful lodge nestled within the Geauga Park district.  Early on, we were happy to get support from Paul, the owner at Middlefield’s Fitness Plus 24 hr gym who not only sponsored the event, but also arranged a relationship for us with Middlefield Dominos.  Many thanks to both of them and we truly appreciated the local support.

In keeping with some of the other big cool bike races, we thought a title beer sponsor would be awesome and we could not have been more excited than when Cellar Rats Brewery stepped up to the task!  There was lots of behind the scenes work done such as securing insurance, park permits, and more!  One of the fun things was working with local designer, Steve McGowan on our Tshirt and Mug designs which we were pretty excited about.

We also wanted to use the event to give something back.  Locally we very lucky to have the Cleveland Velodrome right here in Northeast Ohio and we wanted to give something back to something that benefits cyclists, so we decided to hold a raffle and donate all proceeds back to the Cleveland Velodrome.  Speaking of the raffle, we were thrilled with all of the items that were donated to the event thanks to The Bicycle Hub, Cleveland Velodrome, Boom Nutrition, Mountain Road Cycles, Powerbar and Fleet Feet Cleveland.  Also a special thanks to our very own super talented cousin, Rick, for donating the coolest wall hanger ever!

As event week came, all the final preparations were made, the packets were prepared, the course was marked, the signs were made and supplies were bought.  Thank goodness schools were closed on Thursday and Friday, as I was able to put my 8 year old nieces to work alongside their parents!   The only real unknown was the weather and while it was supposed to get a little warmer, the threat of a snowstorm loomed.

I awoke to the snowfall and even 7 more registrations overnight!  The snow was already falling and it was already sticking to the roadways making the drive of Swine Creek hill difficult for some and led to a long drive for those making their way out to the event.

Conditions were far from ideal and what we would have hoped.  However, never doubt the tenacity of hardcore cylists here in the Great Lakes region.  We had around 100 people show up who were ready to ride despite the very snowy conditions.  We had teased that this event could be epic and it seemed that it certainly lived up to that.  The snow made it challenging to stay upright, let alone to go with any real speed.  The word from the aid station was they were seeing lots of smiles.  It seemed as though some were just laughing at the ridiculous of it all.  The 20 mile route was the clear choice for the day with only 5 hearty souls finishing the 40 mi route.  (HUGE KUDOS TO THEM ALL!)

Also returning with smiles was my sister and her husband, each worthy of kudos for their own reasons.  Sis, who is now a Boston qualifying runner but who has barely ridden a bike in her adult life had signed up wanting to support the event and ride with some friends.   After she helped put together the event packets on Thursday, I suited her up in all my stuff and set her up on my mountain bike while giving her a quick explanation on shifting gears.   Then I looked over to her husband who had his hand all wrapped up fresh off a hand surgery on Tuesday.  We gave him some lobster gloves that barely fit over the wraps.  Needless to say, I might have been a little nervous about both of them and was stoked to hear they both fared well!   Point being, there were lots of tough cookies out and props to you all!

Upon return, riders were greeted with Cellar Rats beer and Dominos pizza and warmed up in the lodge with their choice of coffee (thanks Bicycle Hub) or hot chocolate (thanks Boom!) by the fire.

With the return of most the riders, we pulled 27 lucky raffle winners!  In total, we sold $484 dollars of raffle tickets and made a donation of $600 to the Cleveland Velodrome.  Thanks to everyone for supporting the raffle!

While maybe the name should have been the Snowball Scramble vs. the Road Apple, thanks to all the folks that supported the event!

And finally many thanks to all the sponsors-Cellar Rats, The Bicycle Hub, Cleveland Velodrome, Fitness Plus, Dominos Pizza, Boom!, Mountain Road Cycles, Fleet Feet!

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IM Chattanooga Race Report

Last year several friends and I decided we were going to do Ironman Chattanooga.  This would be my first Ironman brand race and my 4th140.6 distance (well technically this one was 144.6!).  From the minute it was announced, I knew I wanted to do it as I spend a lot of time in that area because my husband has family in both Chattanooga and about 40 minutes outside the city in Alabama. 
Again, I was working with GoFast coach, Mark Gorris on my training plan for the race and I had been pretty diligent following the workouts leading up to the race.   As race week approached, of course there were a few things I wished I could have done better, but I was relaxed knowing I should be well-prepared.
As I made my way to town for the weekend, we were treated to perfect weather for everything.  Everything at the expo and packet pickup went smooth and Chattanooga was just bustling with race activity.  There was no shortage of restaurants to hit and getting around was easy with the free shuttle service.  This just seems like a great race venue!
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While I had stayed with our relatives on Thursday and Friday night, I settled into a hotel room with friends at the Choo Choo hotel Saturday night.  The wake-up call was an early 3:45 AM (ouch!) and I had not slept that well.  There was not much to prepare as all of our stuff including are transition bags were already at the race.  I brought two special needs bags with me and those were very minimally stocked.  One flask of FE Liquid Shot in Run Special Needs and one more flask in Bike Special Needs along with a 20 oz bottle of EFS.
Planned nutrition was about 500 calories for breakfast (bagel, PB, banana) and sipped on EFS prerace.  1500 calories on the bike (2 flasks at 400 cal each, 2 – 20 oz bottles of EFS mixed heavy at approximately 350 calories each with a planned additional 50-60 oz of water.  I planned on about 600-800 calories on the run which would be just 2 flasks of liquid shot and water at aid stations and coke later if desired.  I was very diligent about following this plan and it seemed to work just fine for me. 
This was my first every Ironman brand race and I felt lucky to have the opportunity to race it as a pro.  It sure made the morning less stressful as I was able to walk to the front of the swim line to get in first.  I was very relaxed that morning and was hoping things would go smoothly.  As the daylight started to break, it was time to get into the water for a very short warm-up swim.  The current was definitely going to be a nice assist in the swim as the other pro ladies and I held onto a line and fought the current while we waiting for our gun to go.  As the swim went off, I tried to stay in contact with some of the ladies but my goggles were fogged which I fixed and I just did my best to settle into my own rhythm and to stay relaxed.  Everyone who knows me knows that the swim is a constant source of frustration for me but I have been working at it and I would say I have had some small improvements thanks to both my regular swim partners (thanks EB & JM) and Liquid Lifestyles (thanks Michael & Daniel).  I was hoping to break 1:15 and with the help of the river current I was stoked to see my swim come in at 58:05.  Thank you current.  This helped set a good tone for my day.
I ran up the hill and got off the skin suit and grabbed my biking stuff as quick as I could.  T1 3:55
As I hopped onto the bike, as usual, my heart rate was through the roof.  I was trying to reel it in but it was just so high so I was trying to back it down without losing too much time.  About mile 5 or 6, I went to grab my sports bottle with EFS and it slipped out of my hand.  I stopped as quick as I could and ran the 50 yards or so back to grab it as I was going to need that!  At this point, I was beginning to worry that this bike may not be my day.  However somewhere between 35-45 minutes in, my heart rate finally settled and I started to feel better.  I was beginning to pass the people that had passed me and was now enjoying the bike course.  It was a nice mix of rollers and beautiful scenery.  Having a lot of others around frequently gave me carrots to focus on and I was entertained by certain people like this guy wearing a USA kit (I think his last name was Leestma) who really seemed to ham it up for the crowds and camera.  While the ride was methodical in watching my power, speed and heart rate, I was definitely just actually enjoying the bike and my average speed increased from 20.5 early on to 21.4 by the time I was done.  As I headed into the home stretch, I was thinking this was the best I could imagine feeling after 116 miles and I got off the bike excited that I had executed well on 2 out of the 3 sports and now there was just one left!  116 mile bike 5:25 (21.4 mph)
I grabbed my running stuff as quick as I could and out onto the course, I ran.  T2 2:20
All and all I would say I was just a steady tired and just couldn’t seem to push myself to go faster but I was remaining fairly steady.  I kept to my nutrition plan sipping my EFS flask.  I had carried a handheld so I could drink more easily but for some odd reason it quite working after about 6 miles so I pitched it after carrying the thing for several miles.  As we started into the run, I noticed how thick and humid the air felt and I knew that could impact my asthma.  However a little over halfway through the run, it started to rain and I must say, at that point I thought it felt great.  Step by step, I made my way to the finish.  I was most excited to see my husband and his family and friends out on the hills in the run a couple times and I was now longing to make it to the finish to see them and to finally be done.  I knew I was far off my run time goal but as I made my way to the finish I knew it was going to be a PR day for me and I took comfort in that as with the extra 4 miles on the bike, I knew that might not be an easy feat.  Run split ended at Run 4:00:00 9:09 avg pace per mile
 Total 10:29:26 13th division, 27 female, 199 overall
Overall IM CHAT was a wonderful experience for me.  A PR, a good time with friends and family.  Overall I felt well prepared due in no small part to my coach, Mark Gorris.  I was want to thank The Bicycle Hub and owner, Rob, for taking extra special care of all my last minute bike kinks that needed working out.  Lastly, thanks to my husband for all the sacrifices race weekend and all the days leading up to the event.
I really loved the course and now the question is, will I return next year?????
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The Hilly Billy Roubaix!!!

What will the husband con this “triathlete” into next?

OK, truth be told, I fancy myself as a triathlete, which I have learned is not necessarily “cool”” in bicycle circles, but since my training revolves around swim-bike-run as they say it is what it is!

I do like to mix things up a bit so I don’t get bored, plus I have been doing more and more bike stuff since that special someone (the husband, Joey) has been getting more and more into it.  Yes, watching him transform from the guy who never exercised, weighing in at a few lbs more (or nearly 100), to this fit guy who now punishes me regularly on the bicycle seems to motivate me to try new things (and every now and then, suffer A LOT!)

So back to Hilly Billy….  After completing our second Barry Roubaix, Joey pitches the idea of doing Hilly Billy Roubaix and AS A TEAM!  Well me always being the sucker to what-the-rationale-person-would-say-no-to, said sure!  After all, it would be my first team event with the old (well technically younger than me) man!

I was a little less excited about the race looking at the forecast.  RAIN all day!  Yet, it actually seemed a little better.  Like a million other peeps, we debated cross vs mountain bikes, but we decided to go with the safe mtn bike choice which I think given the 2014 super muddy conditions was the right call for me!

We arrived and it was a super chill hilly billy experience! Some twang in the air and I encountered a West Virginian dog…her name was Lou Lou!  I LOVE HER and want one!!!  Got to talk to her proud parents and apparently her sibling doggy, Denali, gets jealous because she gets all the attention.  Wonder why?????lou lou

Anyways, with Lou Lou’s squeal, we were off!


OMG, we hit a few road sections and I was playing it safe and then we hit the first big hill which seemed never ending and my heart rate went through the roof.  I could see Joey ahead trying to wait on me.  I was maxed with my heart rate pegged over 170 and I thought this day might kill me and I was most disappointed as I knew I was slowing him down.

However, finally the terrain leveled out and I started to settle into my rhythm.  Joey joked likening me to the turtle…yes there is something to be said about slow and steady.

We made our way into hilly billy MUD HOLE HELL….well that is what this roadie triathlete will call it.  I mean really???

more mud

I tried riding through some of it and then gave up and ran through some of it!  I heard it was the wettest it had been in many a years!  Hmmmm….why has this race been called one of the most ridiculous races?me in mud

Miles were clicking by and we were making friends along the way with other teams, especially when we hit the road sections and Joey hammered like a maniac and others sat in, like me!!!

Most of the race is now a blur.  I was metering my pace trying to make it through the day.  Looking back maybe I should have worked harder.  Joey was a machine, dragging me around most of the day, but most of all, I was enjoying that all these hours were with him and much better than being out there solo.

As the race went on, we were passing more and more people and I was enjoying it.  Crazy thing was, as much as I wanted a nice sunny day, I was enjoying the cool light rain (did not really need the hard painful rain times) and when the sun came out and warmed everything up, again I would think I liked that rain!  OMG,  literally that was the dirtiest and most soaking wet I have ever been!  I have never been so dirty from the very start.  I never had a dry clean place to wipe anything.  For that reason, I skipped the glasses knowing they would be so trashed and end up off, but oh did my little eyeballs get destroyed with mud, hard rain and everything else.  I might still be pulling gunk out of them!grass

Joey was having some shifting issues throughout the race, my tire was going flat and we stopped once for that, but other than that, the only other real slowdown was Joey’s legs started cramping late into the race as he had worked so hard.  We lost a spot in that last 10 miles but I was pretty excited to come into the finish. last hill Yes maybe there was a nasty steep road climb followed by the grassy section (or rather swampy exert maximum power to get through) and then the last climb to the finish, but then we crossed the finish line to get our SUPER BAD ASS Hilly Billy Roubaix mason jar glass.  And yes, there was free beer to go in it and pizza and bacon and more!!!! field

Even better, Joey and I managed to score third co-ed team with our time of 5:35!  Since we were just hoping for the podium, we were thrilled and the race event had a super nice prize bag for us (tires, lube, tshirts and more!!!)  I also will note here that I also really liked the soft fun race event shirts!podium

All and all, this was such a wonderful experience!  Definitely not a triathlon and I might have thought, “This is ridiculous” and “You have got to be kidding me,” more than a few times, but I already want to come back.  Next time we are suckering more friends into it with us!  Lastly I wanted to give huge props to the RD and the volunteers….aid station stocking and execution was about the best I have seen!  BRING ON HBR 2015!!!

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TTT 2014 Race Report

2014 marks my 4th year at TTT!  After three times through it, I knew what to expect…lots of hills, little rest and some sore legs!  Yet, 2014 was the first year for freezing cold and as if getting motivation to race when you are tired, it is sooo much harder when you just don’t feel like freezing to death. 
I (aka Puppy) headed out with the east side gang of my husband (aka Shooter), John Mack (aka Hops) and Eddie Police (aka Matches) in the RV to Shawnee State Park.  Upon making the nearly 5 hour drive, we rolled into the park just in time for the rain to start.  In rolled fellow Team Bicycle Hub teammate JCaruso and his wife and then GAKurilko and GA Sandy to complete site 30.  CTC was taking over the top area of the campground with the rest of the CTC party bus gang just a couple of sites away. 
As we grabbed our packets on Friday, the sun came out to tease us just for the rain to move back in about race time.  I stood by shivering crammed under and ez up with some other racers.  After a short delay, I found myself on the beach ready to start the race.  I opted to go see how cold the water felt and it was a balmy 60 degrees or so.  Good thing for the full wetsuit I was wearing on a 250 meter swim!  As the race kicked off, the next 25 minutes flew by and I was crossing the finish line.  It was a good teaser to open the weekend!  Within a few minutes of finishing, I was chilly and packed up my backpack and hopped on the bicycle to head back to camp.  We sat out by the camp fire with the NE Ohio gang grilling up some chicken and BACON of course!  Like good kids, we hit the hay early for Saturday was to be a big day. 
The alarm went off at 5:30 am Saturday morning and I did not need to go outside of the RV to know it was cold, but it was time to get to work.  There was a fair amount of head scratching trying to figure out what was going to be the best choice of biking attire.  As I rode to the start, I sported some new biking attire for me, my wetsuit!  Now that we were all vets of a TTT race, the Saturday morning transition was a laid back vibe, much more so than your typical Olympic tri start.  I walked over to the water with my super cool neoprene cap on and forced myself in for a little warm-up.  Luckily as the race started and I started working a little harder, I warmed up and got into a rhythm.  By the time I completed my second loop, I was warmer than I expected.  Transition was not fast.  I put on socks and put them into my tri shoes which have toasty toes in them and toe covers over them and grabbed my jacket.  I placed my wet butt on the bike seat and off I rolled.  Three decent climbs and endless rollers later and I was back at transition to start the run.  As I started the run, I thought I had somehow got some rocks in my shoes, but knowing that the whole course was rocky I motored on realizing it was just the numbness in my feet, not rocks in my shoes.  I was working hard on the run and breathing a little labored, but kept thinking I need to meter myself for the long weekend.  The best part of the run is the out and back nature and seeing all of the racers out on the run course…that and the second half is much more downhill! 
Again upon finishing under the new HFP finish line, Matches directed me to the computers they had set up with race results.  I typed in my number and there were all my splits and you could just print off your little receipt with your info!  SO AWESOME!  I headed over to transition where Playa got some grind on Matches…oh the look on some of the other racers faces who witnessed this!  Then there was Matches dancing to Beat It claiming that’s his jam and off I went back to the RV to grab a shower and some food.  On that note, HFP puts on a mad spread of food after each race but I had also brought my own.  As I sat there eating lunch, all of the sudden I became so tired so I decided a nap was in order before race 3.  Someone must have pressed the fast forward button because right away I found myself back over at transition to start race 3. 
The second Olympic tri of the day (Race 3) starts on the bike and I was excited to start dry!!!  It was a time trial start format and Matches and I rolled out at the same time.  I fell back to a legal draft zone and was again thinking about metering my effort knowing Sunday was a long day.  Matches and I had swapped positions a couple times but were in the same area for a while which was not surprising, given how often we train together.  Yet, at mile 8, we made the hard left onto Thompson road (the wall) and Matches rode away from me.  The next 8 miles I could see him way up ahead and I worked so hard trying to close the gap.  It is definitely helpful to have a carrot in front of you on these roads as they can get a bit lonely.  Finally I closed down the gap with about 9 more to go.  As I  pulled into the transition, I embarked on the transition I never practice…preparing for the swim.  Some Trislide, some grocery bags on the feet and my brand new sleeveless wetsuit went on pretty quick.  The volunteer questioned how to close up the back, but I was not sure as it was the first time I had the wetsuit on.  As I made my way to the water, it now felt colder than ever.  I walked a bit and tried to get going.  It was a super slow start.  I could tell early on the wetsuit was rubbing my neck, so I was wasting some time trying to fix it.  It was a lackluster swim and over 4 minutes slower than my morning swim and also had some nice neck chaffing. I never did get warm on that swim in the sleeveless wetsuit.  By the time my feet hit the sand, I was in full shiver mode as I pulled on my running shoes.  I kept thinking, I need to run faster just to get warm.  Out onto the fire road and heading uphill, I see the CTC posse (BM and MD) out on the run course bellowing away with their funnel, beverage in hand!  With a few laughs, I keep moving on trying to stay steady.  The way home always feels better and I pick up the pace as I passed on the beer up with less than a half mile to go.   Again, I hop back on my bike and back to camp I went for a shower, food and some relaxing time!
5:30 AM Sunday morning, the alarm goes off.  It is even colder.  I would be surprised if it was 40 degrees outside.  I might have said, “This is stupid,” more than a few times!  This ½ IM race was to start at 7:00, so I had to move through the morning routine a little quicker and I this I had the slow motion button stuck on.  Again, I put on my wetsuit to ride over to transition and shivered the whole way.  With all of the TTT participants in our American Flag singlets (yes, same shirt, 4th race!), we listened to the National Anthem and before long, I was back into the freezing cold water.  I actually had not warmed up on Sunday because I just did not want to feel cold waiting to start so it took a minute to settle into the cold water on my face.  I actually felt like my swim was pretty smooth and I was out in 32:53.  As I got out of the water, I tried to hurry through transition but I was just not fast putting on more layers for the bike and it took me over 4 minutes which seemed like forever.  I had decided since I was sore and I figured the course was hilly that I would ride my road bike.  I pretty much spent the majority of the race regretting that decision as there plenty of areas to just stay aero and I knew it was costing me time.  I just felt slow the whole bike and I wasn’t sure if it was the course or just that I was tired.  I was very ready to get off the bike as my neck and upper back were very tight.  Again it seemed like another slow transition and I was out onto the run course.  It was any easier to get going up the hill in race 4.  I was steadily making progress as I ran along but definitely jogging pretty slowly up some of the uphills.  I did carry my handheld full of EFS sportsdrink and that was nice so that I could drink whenever I wanted.  Again, my favorite part was seeing so many local friends out on the race in every direction of the run.  I felt better every time I saw one of their smiling faces.   CTC friend, MD, who was racing the Lil Smokies half caught me as we headed into the woods on the second loop of the run.  As much as I wanted to stick with him, I ran my own pace.  Finally as we hit the last turnaround with 3.25 left to go, I started to get more motivated.  I put my head down and climbed up that last long hill before opening the legs up for the rest of the way in.  I thought I was clipping along pretty well but alas I got passed by two speedy ladies in the final two miles.  For some dumb reason, as I came through the final 200 meters or so, I went into a near full sprint and I paid for that at the finish line as that hurt!
It was a solid weekend of racing, training, laughs with friends, camaraderie amongst racers and definitely the coldest triathlons I have completed!  While it may not have been my best race(s), I like to look at it as a great springboard to the season.  Finished 1st in the TTT Female Senior (age 24-39) Division and 4th overall solo female.
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Winter Run for Regis Fun Run

This past Sunday, February 16th marked the first timed event of the season for me, the Run for Regis Fun Run!

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the race.  I have been pondering how many years now that I have ran it…I am guessing 5 or 6.

The other bonus thing about the race was there were many of the CTC friends doing the race and lots of my fellow Team Bicycle Hub members were racing!  Huge props to many of them who had awesome days! 1654148_427567287377052_1835666947_n

Despite the snowy cold, winter, our Sunday trail run group had a hearty group of faster runners that showed up every week despite the cold.  There are several reasons I run this race every year.  One, trail running in the winter is beautiful and one of the few things that you can comfortably do one the coldest of days.  Two, I think trail running just really is more of a full body workout that really strengthens so many muscles.  Three, it provides me the motivation to get out and log lots of miles, even when the weather just makes you want to pull the covers back over your head.  And last but not least, every year it seems I have been fortunate to have an awesome group of friends to run the trail miles with an I truly enjoy the many laughs and stories!

In going into the “Fun Run”, of course I wanted to run well, but not only did I want to run well, I wanted to run smart as not to overdo it and jeopardize the season.  The Wednesday before Regis I came down with a cold and frankly I was having second thoughts about running so far being sick.

Yet as the day arrived, I was not feeling too bad and was excited to head to the Ledges Shelter to see so many of NE Ohio’s trail runners.  There is just such a laid back community feel to this event which I enjoy.  The morning kicks off every year with one of the most comical moving talks from race director, Tanya.  I really cannot say enough about her and how much I have appreciated all of her efforts over the years.  At the same time, lots of other volunteers deserve a lot of credit too!  There are no prizes for the fun run , not even for first but every finisher, no matter the distance would get a nice jacket and a SPORK!  Score!

1961852_10152315044874924_934437099_oI took off in the first wave at 7:30 am leaping and bounding through the deep snowy field. OMG, this field was SO.MUCH.WORK!  My first thought, was oh this is going to be a long day!  As we hit the trail, conditions improved on this very chilly 10 degree morning.  My friend, Ashley, and I chatted and ran along, just as we did most Sundays!  I felt good and we were making good time.  First loop 41:30.

Headed out onto the second loop and my newly screwed shoes were not feeling great.  The lightweight soles were just not thick enough for the screws.  Everything was going pretty smooth and we came back through the second loop with a time of 1:17 and a half time of 1:58.  Some quick math and I was excited that maybe it would be a quick day.  At this point, I switched into my back-up trail shoes.

photo (6)Yet the snow was falling and it seemed the conditions were getting tougher as the day wore on.  I started slowing down on the 3rd loop which took another 49:50 to complete.  The hills on the way back just seemed so much bigger the second time around and I don’t think walking them made them any easier.

I had now turned into a frozen ice cycle.  I was working up a decent sweat but then the moisture was just freezing on my face and my gloves.  Additionally, my eyes were just tearing away much of the morning with the snowflakes hitting them.  As we headed out onto the last 8 mi loop, I just could not keep up with Ashley.  Maybe it was the hard work in the early miles or maybe my cold, but I just felt like I working harder than I wanted to.  Just after mile 23, she went ahead and went on to take first female  (Huge props to her)!  At this point I think I was a little relieved that now I could just run my own race and not hold her up.  I knew there were not too many people ahead of me, but I would be lying to say I was not discouraged that I knew I was slowing down a lot.  Finally made it back 1:42 minutes later (25 more minutes longer than the first time…Yikes!).

I was not really feeling like the last loop, but I knew I could keep going so I grabbed a little coke, gatorade and off I went.  After all, I couldn’t pull an Eddie!  He is one of my fast training partners that we made good fun of for the past year after he signed up for 50k last year, going out like a wild bull waaay out front and then bagging the race at 26 miles after getting passed!  If you knew him, you would understand why we must pick on him for this :-)!  So, I was just plugging along at a nice steady pace.  There was no walking the hills, as at this point the running gate with short steps felt easier and seemed to keep the heart rate a little lower.

Finally made it back across the deep snowy field for the 10th time and crossed the finish line with a time of 5:34.  3rd female, 10th overall.  Definitely not one of my faster 50ks, but I think the course was definitely more work than other years.  All and all, I was just happy to finish the fun run!  I was definitely tired and sore by the end of all that snowy fun!  Maybe I would have liked to have run a little better the last 13 miles but I consider this mission accomplished!  Another tough 50K done, a whole winter of getting outside and building strength and endurance!

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And who loves to train and race in fun, bold style???

This girl!!

Over the last few years, one of the websites I would often check out has been Betty Designs!  


The designs are edgy, fun and super cute.  I like my Betty Designs butterfly and skull swim suit so much I have pretty much wore it out!  So of course when I see that they are having a contest, ‘Are you a Betty‘, I was going to have to jump at that!


So here is the lil video I put together for them!  

Hope you like it and hopefully I get picked to represent them for 2014!!!

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REV3 WI Weekend Pics!


The Beaver has the same nickname as my dad!!! Smile with the beaver!



go cart 2

Time to race…ricky bobbi style! Until Eddie put me into the wall!

gocart 1

Go carts take II…fastest go carts!!!


Cannonballs to start the practice swim! Goal, splash Eddie accomplished!


Post race mini golf!!! Hole in one for the hubby!























































































REV3 WI finish II

A smile for the finish!

REV3 WI finish

Time to stop this garmin that I messed up the laps on awhile ago! 🙂








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REV 3 WI Race Report

So we arrived in Wisconsin Dells Friday night about 10PM.  Waterpark capital of the world! This trip would be my husband, Joey, and training partner, Eddie.

Eddie drove to this race and despite a few rumble strips almost going off the road and almost running out of gas in Chicago traffic (eeks), we made it!  The drive was about 9 hours, 10 with stops from Cleveland and luckily with the extra hour time zone change, we got in about 10 PM friday night.

Saturday, we hit the open water swim.  GREAT SWIM VENUE.  It was gorgeous and nice and calm.  Of course I cannonballed the practice swim to splash Eddie as usual!  🙂  It is becoming my swim highlight.  The rest of the day consisted of not 1 but 2, go cart races (I lost them all and Eddie even spun me stopping me out on the wall on one), hitting the meeting, hitting a pizza pasta lunch buffet, hitting some stores, chilling in the hotel room and the best part was having dinner with my old college roommate, Trisaratops and some of her friends and teammates!  I will forever love this girl.  It was also nice to get to meet  and talk to her coach and pro female racer, Emily.

Race day came and for once, it was nice to watch the start since I was racing the oly and the half went first.  Unfortunately the rain started.  Yet, my husband donned it best swim venue yet!  Concession stand with doughnuts and coffee, nice restrooms, a ski show stand to watch much of the swim and an overhang to stay dry in.

As it was about race time, I stood shivering under the overhang with some of the other pro women. Shortly before the race,  got in the water to get warmed up and swam over to the start.  I was excited to have the in the water start as I tend to feel much more comfortable then.  With the start, I tried to get into a nice steady swim pace.  It did not take long before the ladies swam away which was frustrating, but at least I felt like I was swimming decent after the Williamsburg debacle!

Before exiting the water, two guys passed me from the wave behind, so I thought I must have still had a pretty decent swim.  Out of the water, and it was up a nice hill to transition.  This was the hill where the husband and ole college roomie chose to heckle people in the waves behind me.  Apparently several people were walking the hill and the husband entertained himself and some racers to a degree as he cheered them on giving out dollar bills for them to start running!  As a side note when we were leaving, the two guys in front of us saw him and were laughing that he was the dollar bill guy!  🙂

As I hopped onto the bike, everything was now just soaking wet.  The first stretch winded through some twisty turns getting out of town and I took things conservatively to be safe.  The one thing I was not prepared for was the insane fog on the visor of my aerohelmet and I felt like I was riding in a cloud for the first several miles until I started using my windshield wiper (my finger) over and over again for the rest of the race.  So not ideal!!!  At some points, the rain was coming down so hard, it was hurting at speed.  Definitely not the funnest weather, but the bike course seemed pretty nice with the majority of the roads in nice condition and decent scenery.

In terms of the bike, with being in the fog and the sketchier roads, I was not watching the garmin.  Plus being on a hillier course, it was harder to judge my speed.  I was leapfrogging a couple guys and thought it was a pretty respectable pace given the conditions.  As I look back at the bike results afterwards, I think it is key for me to pay better attention of where I am at during the  race as it appears I should have been working harder!

While I always enjoy the bike I was quite happy for it to come to an end with no issues.  I just have had waaaay too many wet rides and flat tires due to them this year!

Back into transition to grab the running shoes.  I had thought ahead to put them in a plastic bag so that they would be dry but just out of transition, the entire road had a couple of inches of standing water and right away the shoes were soaking wet!  On the bright side the rain seemed to start to end as I ran.  I was feeling pretty good out on the run.  I had screwed up my garmin so I was just running on feel and I thought it was going rather well.  Again, the take away is if I feel pretty good, I am probably not running hard enough!  Yet, I was passing a few people and I really liked the run course.  After all the switchbacks on the Giant Eagle course, it was nice to just be moving forward and only have one Uturn.  As I cruised into the finish, I was pretty happy that I thought I raced decent and felt good.

Looking at the results after, I was definitely a little disappointed.  I obviously felt good because I did not push hard enough and was slower than I thought.  Nonetheless, a good training day I guess and a few lessons learned.  Definitely will pay more attention to my pacing.  All and all though, everything went and felt smooth, so no complaints.  Definitely liked the venue and as usual, REV3 did a terrific job!  Olympic tris have never been my strong suit as the swim is proportionately too long so I am glad to move on to a distance more to my liking next….bring on the half!


Swim- 32:00 (including quarter mile run uphill)

Bike- 1:12:45 (20.5 avg)

Run-44:57 (7:15 avg)

Transitions- 1:12, 1:10

Total – 2:31:45


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Giant Eagle Tri Race Report

1082614_10153068550020641_2032126410_oI was excited to have the opportunity to head to a race that was within the home state and the best part was that we even had a free place to crash which included some bonus time hanging out with a friend.

We awoke Saturday morning to a constant downpour of rain.  While it put a damper on the boys mountain bike plans, we still managed a short run before journeying out to the city for some food, shopping and the expo.

Sunday morning was a super early wake up call to get to the race.  Pros were scheduled to hit the water just after 6:30.  Training partner, EP, and I hit the water for a short warm-up.  Again the pros were sans wetsuit at the water temp of 72.5.  The nice thing about swimming at Alum Creek is that it is usually a mellow swim.  While I was not able to stick with the fast ladies on the swim, I felt relaxed in the water.  It seemed my swim pace was actually ok, but my sighting needed some more work.  As I came around the first lap, I realized I was waaaay off course and had swam outside a couple of buoys that was not intentional….oh how I dislike stupid mistakes!  One of these days I will get it right!  The swim course by most accounts shown the swim was short, yet my  garmin had me long.  Swim time:26:47

Out onto the bike course and happy to be in my comfort zone, I tried to settle into a decent pace.  Yet, my hamstrings were feeling quite tight and it took a solid 7 miles or so for them to loosen up a bit.  While I was a little worried about being cold when I started the bike all wet, it turned out to be a picture perfect racing morning.  We had a point to point bike which was all marked well and had lots of police presence and I was actually enjoying the morning.

As we got closer to the city, I increased my turnover a bit as I prepped for the run.  Bike time: 1:03:29.  After a 1:34 transition, I headed out onto the run course seeing a couple friend (BS and EP) early on.  These guys got some speed so I just fell into my own pace.

The run course was very scenic down by the water but included a lot of turns and switchbacks which made it seem hard to stay at a steady pace and run tangents as well as I should have with the two way traffic and running around some walkers.  I hit the finish line with a 43:27 10k time and total time of 2:16:45.  My GPS had me at a 6:52 avg mile run pace which needs some work.

All and all, this was a great event put on by HFP.  My bike was solid, swim was ok but sighting could have been stronger and definitely some room for improvement on the run.  One more oly to go!  Olys just are not my strong suit, but definitely good practice and I got to admit that it is nice to wrap up the race so quick!

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