Quakerman Race Report

June 17, 2012

I live 60 minutes away from where I grew up. My parents still live there, in the house I grew up in. While I swore up and down when I grew up I’d live in a different state I am grateful I live close. A trip to see Grandma and Granddad is easy. Having grandparents around for your children is a gift.

It’s hard to drive through Orchard Park. Not hard in a bad way, hard in an “It’s so different way.” It almost feels as if there are ghostly memories from when we were young. I drive by the animal hospital which used to be Super Duper and I think of all of the years Tina’s Dad put in there. I drive through town and see all the new stuff there, and I can almost see the memories of us riding our bikes through there. Now…. there are new buildings and new neighborhoods and new kids and new families…… in one way I feel as if our past has been erased and on another note I feel like it is still our little town.

I grew up lifeguarding at Green Lake. A few years ago when a triathlon emerged there it was a no brainer. I could sleep in the bedroom I grew up in and swim in Green Lake outside of the lines. I could race with my son. The next generation.

I hate when I hear athletes say… oh it was a big training week and I was a bit flat….. I feel that’s disrespectful to the competition. With that being said, that’s exactly how I raced. While I am not a fan of training through races, it’s what I did this week. Two weeks ago I arrived in Edinboro rested and raring to go, and my bike broke coming out of T1. I couldn’t lose any more training time so I had to train through like normal. I just made Friday and Saturday solid recovery effort days.

My bike situation is just about to be all sorted out. I can not thank Jeremy Clay and Bike Loft East for their incredibly hard work and effort through this whole thing. I am in the best possible hands. I am picking up my bike on the way to QT2 Camp in lake Placid on Wednesday….. I can’t freaking wait.

I can tell you more in about a week!

In the meantime Curt zipped my Cervelo P2 Carbon bike over to the local bike shop and when I went to pick it up….. Craig (from Mendon Cyclesmith) said “This bike is a warhorse.”

Warhorse. You’d better believe this bike is a warhorse. He was so right. I have had it since 2006. It’s been over guard rails, crashed into ditches, helped me achieve a sub eleven hour Ironman. It’s ridden through the mountains of the Carolinas, Placid, it’s ridden through Germany and Texas. In 2008 I will never forget the moment where I was loaded into an ambulance and I watched it get loaded into the back of a pick up truck. I felt like I was being separated from my best friend. I asked the medics if I could just bring the bike with me in the rig. I would have hugged it the whole way.

I admit, I get emotionally attached to bikes. I spend a lot of time on two wheels. Those wheels have carried me more miles than I can count. This bike has never, ever failed me. Ever.

Race morning was calm. I got myself to the site in time for registration and to catch up with some friends. Luc was coming down later with my parents, so he had the chance to sleep in.

I took a 3 mile easy run about an hour before the race began, through the neighborhood. I smiled as I remembered who used to live in this house, that house, the house three doors down. We used to go swimming over there…..  so many memories…. all good ones.

As I headed down to the water my goggles broke. I laughed thinking about my bike debacles this season. Any swimmer in the world knows that you travel to a race with about 6 pairs….. so back to transition for the swedes I went. The swedes, like the warhorse, never fail.

The gun went off and as it did my friend Amy said to me…… “This beep, it means WE go!” … for some reason it took my wave a second to realize we were beginning! The swim was good, I felt good. The longer warm up helped so much. My goal for these short course races is to shake off the rust that years of Ironman and peeing myself have allowed me to build. In sprint races time is of the essence.

As I came out of the water and hopped onto the bike I realized that I was in front. Like in front in front. My course was the sprint and there were just a few Olympic course guys in front of me. I was riding one loop and they were riding two. I also knew that Kevin Patterson (owner of TriSpot) was behind me, and I knew he was gunning for me. I didn’t know the time differential between my wave and his, 3 minutes? 5 minutes? It meant I had to go.

For the entire race I was alone. I like racing off the front. I like racing alone. Too many people around me and I begin to take care of them. Have enough fuel honey? You ok? So one of my goals is to stop doing that!!!! When I am out in front racing alone I know I am the hunted. I love being the hunted. In races like this I use my swim bike combo to get myself in front and then run scared to try to stay there.

That strategy has not worked so well in long distance racing by the way. But this was short course day!

Because of the bike issues I have been having, my confidence in the bike, not my ability to ride the bike…. has been shaken. because it’s caused me to crash…. I rode a little paranoid, a little scared. After a bumpy section I looked down. My headset had come loose. My aero bars were pointing to the right and my wheel was straight.


I stopped immediately and straightened it out. I knew the remainder of the course was relatively straight and I promised myself I would not jeopardize my safety for anything. So I kept a good eye on things and settled back in. I felt good, albeit a bit tired.

When I come into a race in a big training weeks I do pace it a bit differently. While we know sprint is all out, there are some things I do follow to keep myself on track. In these short efforts I find that I have to remind myself to pay attention. In long course you can settle into a zone. In short course you have to be on fire in your mind. I knew what my heart rate target should be so I hit it and stuck there.

When I am rested I use pace or more tangible numbers to hit XX and YY. I go strictly by HR in these situations because I know that my true speed is masked by fatigue and I really need to aim for the effort in times like these. Then I don’t worry about time, I just go on effort. Can I match the perceived effort with what my HR says? Most of the time I can.

I came off the bike in what appeared to be first overall overall. I began hearing… OMG THAT GIRL IS WINNING IT OUTRIGHT!!! Yeah, no I wasn’t. The men were behind me and trust me they were coming. Wave starts mean they were 3-5 minutes behind me but many were 4 minutes ahead. It was purely the appearance of being first… first.

But I took it and used it.

As I began the run course my legs felt fine yet like they were missing that extra gear. Instead of focusing on what pace I was not running I made sure my bike to run offset HR was enough. In races like this it’s essentially best sustainable effort, but you’d better have that HR above the bike HR, not lower than. So that was what I went off of.

The HR cue was what helped me. I knew faster was within me but I couldn’t dig it out. Again I was going for the effort. And the effort was there.

The run course was weird….. no one was around. I like when races place confidence arrows on the ground like Score This !!! does. A confidence arrow is an arrow or some sort of cueing placed in the middle of a long stretch where you might be alone. Just to assure you that you are going the right way. There were none of these on the course, although I did know the course. However when we athletes know the course and then the gun goes off, it’s like our IQ drops by 50 points. I hope that’s not just me. Things I could calculate or think about in a second, I can’t remember at all.

As I came upon what I thought was the final turn in the course, it was an intersection with four people. No arrows. I thought I was to turn. I asked to make sure. They had no idea. I stood there for about a minute……. and then remembered….. path to the park. I looked behind me, no one was there. I just ran.

Turns out we chose the right turn!!! I came through the finish and let the directors know their volunteers might need some help at the final turn!

I was able to snag the win, keep my HR jacked and MOST importantly fend of Patterson. Of course he beat me but he never caught me (wave adjusted times). WHEW. He only runs like a 5 minute mile and I didn’t want that SWOOSH to go by me!

I don’t run a 5 minute mile.

I was happy. I still haven’t checked out the times and paces, I have just looked at my effort. Run HR higher than bike HR and aside from the one minute party at the final turn my pace was steadily descending. That’s all I wanted. A good solid effort and no bike drama.Oh, and the Patterson thing!!!!

Luc arrived with my Dad around 11am. If you have been around here a while you know that at age 11 Luc has only been on two wheels for about 2 years. Due to his delays he rode an assisted bike for years at these kid’s races. We went through an amazing program called Lose the Training Wheels, which UNYFEAT brings to Rochester annually. This program changed our lives. It’s for kids like Luc, in one week these kids learn to ride a bike. And Luc completed his first triathlon season on his own two wheels last year.

We don’t pressure him to race. If you’ve been around us at races you know he’s a kid who finishes last, or close to it. He chooses when he does and doesn’t race, and he seems to really enjoy the experience. Our goal for him is to be active and move. That’s all. There are things I need to assist him with like buckling his helmet and helping him with his glasses. But I no longer need to race with him. It’s awesome.

I picked up a pair of K Swiss racing shoes yesterday over at Trispot…… and Luc fits them. How can our feet be the same size? I am not old enough for this, am I????? So……. we traded shoes. I wore HIS sneakers and he wore my K Swiss. I had a QT2 Systems race top from 2009 that he wanted to wear, so he did. Is it strange to share clothes?

I am always so proud of him when he races. He’s cautious, he’s calm, and he’s usually last. But he loves it. And we love watching him move and be fit and have fun.

This time on the run he even passed a few kids. I saw his face light up as he made those passes, which made me be even more careful not to react. This is HIS thing, not MY race.

He earned his second medal of the season (first was at Keuka).

These are the medals he earned last season (I will use any excuse to use this picture)

Racing at home with my son, and Grandad watching…. is special. It reminds me of the history of our lives. The history of so many friendships. I connected with a friend I hadn’t seen in 20 years and in a month we will have our 20th high school graduation. I skipped the 10th. But now….. I am ready to come home again.

I was thrilled with my race. for me as I feel solidly on the comeback trail it was not about pace or time, it was about the effort and the execution. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. One day I will even tell you why. But my health is good and it’s taken a while to build back. I am blessed beyond blessed wot work under the guidance of the team I now coach with. QT2 systems. What I have learned as a coach and as an athlete with this group is nothing short of life changing.

I wish there was a better way to convey my gratitude. I admit, I get a little emotional over racing in general. I just love it so so so so much.

At the awards ceremony the Eclipse Multisport race directors Dan and Anne presented me with a donation for Teens Living With Cancer and gave me a minute to speak to the crowd. There are so many people who I run into at these local races these days who were a direct part of the Duel in the Pool. It’s my chance and my goal to thank every single one. It’s why I race in the suit.

we are over $71,000 in our fundraising efforts and I want to personally thank everyone who donated. I began writing the thank you cards last week. They are going to be slow in coming to you but I want to write them all myself. You took the time for us, now I will tak the time for you.

My gratitude towards you is never-ending. I don’t even know how to express it.

This is too long a report for such a short race….. but I am pleased with my progress. I am pleased with the trend. And I am honored to share this with my son and husband. (Curt didn’t race today!)

I have to give the biggest thanks to those who have supported me through so much. Thanks especially to Jeremy Clay and the entire staff at Bike Loft East. The bike drama resolution is Wednesday. These guys have gone above and beyond what they should have done for me in every way.

Thanks to my team QT2 Systems. Like I said it’s been life changing to work with all of you. We are headed to our first annual Lake Placid Camp this coming Wednesday…. stay tuned. You will want to see that!

Thank you to my husband Curt for always being the wind beneath my wings and for bringing the warhorse back.

The comeback trail……. game on.


One comment

  1. What a great day! Congrats to you and Luc for great races! For what its worth, Jake is currently racing in my QR kit that he “borrowed” from me (and won’t give back) and though his feet are now bigger than mine, for a period of time, if I couldn’t find my racing shoes, I looked in his closet and usually found them! I think its cool that we can share this whole crazy tri thing with our kids!

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