What’s Next?

28 08 2013

Triathlon Season 2013 is wrapping up for a lot of people, but for me, it’s really just getting started. Here’s what’s next on my schedule:

September 15, 2013: Atlantic City International Triathlon

I did this race in it’s inaugural year, and had an absolute blast.

IMG_2417AThis is the race’s third year, and though they’ve made a few changes to the course, I’m still super excited about this race. One of the reasons I’m really excited about going home that weekend for the tri is actually the other events that are happening that weekend!  My dad’s birthday is right around that time, so I know we’ll be celebrating that, then there’s the Seafood Festival, AND the Miss America Pageant has returned home to Atlantic City that weekend too!

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You may be thinking, “The Miss America Pageant? Really Steph?” If you’re from South Jersey, particularly the Atlantic City area, you grew up with the pageant- it was the big family-friendly event that happened every fall, and it included a whole week’s worth of activities: the girls’ entrance on the train, the parade, the preliminaries and then the big finale. One of my fondest childhood memories is going over to my friend Julie’s house every year for the Miss America sleepover. There’d be 10 of us, and we’d all bring a dollar to contribute to the prize pot. We each drew the name of one of the top ten girls, and whoever’s girl was crowned Miss America, took home a whopping $10! 🙂

Oh, and the parade! The Friday before the pageant, the’s a big parade along the world famous Atlantic City boardwalk. All of the girls ride on the back of convertibles, waving to the crowd as they yell “Show us your shoes!” Some girls wear cute heels that match their gorgeous evening gowns, but my favorites are always the creative ones- like when Miss Idaho wears slippers shaped  like potatoes. 🙂 Can you tell I’m looking forward to this? Call me cheesy, but I’m stoked.

But I digress…I’m supposed to be talking about races here!

September 21, 2013: Miles for Hope, Moving Towards a Cure

Last year, I participated in this ride in honor of my best friend Gina’s lovely cousin Lisa. It’s a charity ride for Brain Tumor Research over in Clearwater Beach. I signed up for the ride again months ago, as Lisa was still fighting the cancer and the pain that my best friend and her mom were feeling was palpable. I wanted to help, but I didn’t know what I could do. So, I registered for the 100K ride, for Lisa.

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Lisa lost her battle with brain cancer earlier this summer. Though my memories of Lisa are few (She lived in Washington State so visits to the east coast were tough), I know how much she meant to Gina and her mom, Patty, two people who mean so much to me. So this year, I ride in memory of Lisa, for Gina, Patty, and the rest of Lisa’s family.

If you feel so inclined, please donate, but clicking on the “Donate to Participant” Link in the upper left hand corner of this page.

September 29, 2013: IronGirl Clermont

This race is actually still up in the air for me-I may have a weekend away with Bill to see the comedian Gallagher, but that is still in the works!

October 19 2013: University Of Tampa Swimming Masters Classic

So, I know this isn’t a triathlon, but I’m really excited about this one! I registered for my first real swim meet since college! I signed up for the 200 free, 50 breast, 100 free, and 100 IM. HA! I’ve also made myself available for relays. I was actually just telling one of my swim buddies that I really wanted to see what I could do from the blocks. I’ll get my chance this fall!

November 10, 2013: Rev3 Florida 70.3

THIS is the race I’ve been training for. I’m just about 11 weeks out now, and I’ve been putting in lots of miles on my bike, some speed on the run, and many meters at the pool. I definitely need some more time to prepare, but I’m at the point where I know I will finish, and I will finish strong. Bring it Venice!





Top Gun Triathlon

6 08 2012

So, it’s been awhile. Sorry ’bout that. :-/

Anyhow, I’m back on the blogging train and the first thing I want to do is give a big shout out to Bill, who qualified for USAT Age Group Nationals with his stellar sub 1:00 sprint tri last weekend at the Top Gun Triathlon!

Some of the XP Gang headed out to Ft. DeSoto last weekend for the Top Gun Triathlon. This was my second time at Ft. DeSoto and my first time racing there. Courtney, Mary, and Marcus were also racing, and Jess and Felipe came to cheer us on (THANKS guys!!).

The morning started bright and early, with a 4:45 wake up, and out the door by 5. It was still dark when we arrived, but boy, was it humid. I was dripping in sweat by the time I walked my bike the short distance from the car to the registration table. It was gonna be a hot one!

For some reason, I thought this was going to be a small race, of about 300-400 people. I don’t know where I got that from, because there were about 1200 people there!

(Photos courtesy of Jess)

I found Mary, Marcus, and Courtney and we hung out at the water’s edge while we waited for the race to start. As we looked out at the swim, we all commented on how short the swim looked. It was supposed to be a quarter mile swim, but I’m pretty sure it was shorter than that. Courtney, Mary and I were in the 4th or 5th wave, while Marcus and Bill were near the end, in the 12th and 13th waves.

The race started a little behind schedule, but I wasn’t too worried about it since it was such a short race. When the gun went off for our heat, I ran in and immediately started dolphin diving. When the water got deep enough, I began swimming. Unfortunately, there was a sand bar, so after only a few strokes my hand hit sand again. I stood up and did a few more dolphin dives and then found my stroke again. The whole time out to the first flag, there was a girl just to my left, battling to be the first out to the flag. I breathed to my other side, and saw a stroke I recognized, as Courtney was approaching from the right. I was the first girl out to the flag, and I kinda sorta cut off the girl to my left to cut the flag tight. Whoops.

Courtney and I swam stroke for stroke for a little while before she pulled ahead. I stayed on her feet for as long as I could. We were about halfway done the swim when we started running into the women from the heat in front of us. We were running down a lot of the women, and it was hard to find a clear path. I lost Courtney in the sea of neon pink caps as we turned the last buoy. I spotted her out of the corner of my eye as we headed towards the beach, but it got even trickier to find a clear path, as the women from the heat before us started to stand up. I felt like I was caught in a bad traffic jam while trying to speed to the hospital!

Courtney and I got to the beach at about the same time, and headed for transition. As you can see, we were dodging people left and right. It was a LONG run to transition. And then we had to run on hard concrete. Ouch. I made it to my bike, and I was off!

Swim: 4:53

T1: 2:39

I was SO excited for the bike leg. It would be my first race on Snowball, and I wanted to see how fast I could go. It was a short, flat 10 mile loop, so I pushed hard. Man, I felt good! This was probably the first race where I was passing people instead of being passed. What a morale booster! I kept my head down and pushed, so I don’t remember any specifics about the bike leg. All I know is that I was having a blast!

Bike: 26:40

T2: 1:13

So, my second transition wasn’t all that fast, but I threw on my shoes, hat, and number and headed out for the run. Man, I was hot. I had ridden really hard, so my heart rate was definitely up. I could feel that my face was really red. Maybe a quarter mile in, Courtney passed me, and told me I was looking steady. I kept running, but felt really slow. I was also worried about my foot, not wanting to push it too hard. At the first water stop around mile 1, I grabbed water and threw it on my head. That helped some. I kept trudging along. A little while later, Mary flew past me. She was having an awesome first triathlon!

I looked over to my right and over the grassy patch of land, where I saw people on their way back towards the finish. I thought to myself, Hmmm, that’s where the beach is. There must be a paved path over there too that I don’t know about.

I made it to the turn around and my heart sunk. We were running on sand.

This wouldn’t have been a big deal (I don’t think) had I been mentally prepared for it. But, the thought of running on the sand was certainly not appealing to me with the minimal running training I’ve been doing.

Ok, stay positive Steph. You used to be a lifeguard, this is no big deal.

The sand was actually packed pretty well, with only a little bit of soft sand on top. The course also took us back through some of the grassy area, where I had to jump over a few puddles and mud left over from a recent storm. By this point, I was blazing hot, and mentally I had lost a lot of steam. So I walked. I’m cringing as I write this, because I don’t walk during races, especially not during a sprint!

I didn’t let myself walk for long, so I started to run again. Thankfully, close to the second water stop were volunteers handing out cold towels. Hallelujah! I grabbed one and wrapped it around my neck. Life. saver.

This was the motivation I needed to finish the race. Yes, I was tired, and yes I was hot, but there was only one more mile left.

I pushed through to the finish, but man did I feel terrible.

My foot bothered me some during the race. It wasn’t debilitating, but it wasn’t pleasant either. This season has just not been my running season.

Run: 29:17 (yipes)

Total time: 1:04.27

When it was all said and done, I was happy that I raced. And, I was happy to have my XP teammates there too! Courtney and Mary killed it, placing 2nd and 4th, respectively.

You Go Girls!!

This was a really fun race, and gave me an opportunity to get some speed on the bike. I also learned that I really need to read the details about the course. (Shouldn’t I know that already?) I’d do another Ft. DeSoto race, and I’ll be mentally prepared for running on the sand!





Snowball

17 07 2012

Hey friends! Long time no see! These long work days sure do make it hard to blog during the week!

Some of you may have seen my tweets last week about the newest addition to my family. No, I’m not talking about another one of these:

(but gosh darn it, aren’t they cute? 😉 )

No my friends, I bought a new bike!

Meet my new 2012 Specialized Shiv tri bike, Snowball (the name isn’t set yet, but I do love the irony!) 😉 Ain’t she sexy?

Five years into the sport, I decided that it was about time to invest in a good tri bike. I’ve been searching for some time now, but I knew I needed to buy soon if I wanted to have a better bike before Age Group Nationals.

So, on Friday, Bill and I decided to check out the Tampa bike shops together in search of “the one”. I had already done some looking around at the Trek store, Cycle Sport Concepts, and on Craigslist, but I was hoping that maybe we’d find something new today.

We fueled up at our favorite little breakfast place, Daily Eats and then headed to the Trek store.

The Raymond: egg whites, sauteed spinach, sliced tomatoes, American cheese, served on multigrain bread.

The Trek store had a few tri bikes, and I rode two different ones. I actually couldn’t tell you which model they were though…Both bikes rode really well, and convinced me that I really wanted an all carbon frame. They just ride SO MUCH NICER than a bike with a carbon fork and aluminum frame.

Not completely sold on either of the bikes, we went up the street to Cycle Sport Concepts. We were greeted by Rob, who’d helped me out on a few other occasions when I’d been in the shop. He showed us the three tri bikes they had out on display: one was a little less bike than I wanted (carbon fork only) and the other two were WAY more bike than I wanted. We explained what I was looking for, and Rob politely asked us to wait a few minutes while he checked something out. Five minutes or so later he came out and told us that he had a 2012, men’s small, all carbon bike. YES, please!

So he rolled it out, sized me up, and around in the parking lot I rode!

LOVED IT!!!!!

I can’t even tell you how much better this bike is than my old Novara. The ride was SO SMOOTH. Bill asked how I felt and I think my response was, “When is our next race?!” I wanted this bike.

A little while later, and with a much smaller balance in my bank account, I walked out of the store with the same bike that Craig Alexander rode to win the 2012 Ironman World Championships (except mine doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that his does).

Worth it? Heck yes!

Wanna see one of the coolest things about the bike?

There’s a hydration bladder (like a CamelBak) that goes INSIDE the bike! Talk about innovative, right?

I’ve had a chance to go out for two rides on Snowball, but unfortunately both were cut short due to rain/thunderstorms. However, the short time that I spent in the saddle was awesome (well, besides the fact that bike seats are generally uncomfortable); I felt fast! I’m really looking forward to the Top Gun Triathlon at the end of this month!

Even though I’ve only had the bike a few days, I have learned a few of the drawbacks of this particular model.

First, there’s not really a place for nutrition. Because of the location of the hydration bladder, I can’t really put my bento box there. For my ride on Saturday, I put mine on the top tube, below my seat. Unfortunately, my legs consistently rubbed it. I did some research online, and some of the other bike owners had similar problems. I think the company has a few prototypes they are working on, which will hopefully be out soon.

Second, there’s not really a place to keep my tools/flat kit. My bag strap doesn’t fit around the seat stem. Suggestions?

However, I think these are issues that have a solution, or will have a solution soon, since the bike model is so new.

Despite these two small concerns, I can’t say enough times: “I love this bike!” Bring on the remainder of the tri season!