Although the 2014 Socchi Winter Olympics ended yesterday, I am gearing up for 8 very exciting days of coaching and xc ski races. In just 5 days, I depart for Stowe, VT to coach at this year’s USSA Nordic Skiing Junior Nationals in Stowe, VT. This event represents the culmination of athletes who have qualified through a tough series of Eastern Cup Races here in New England and qualifiers in each US Region who ultimately represent the top U16-U20 XC Skiers in New England and each division. I will be coaching w/12 other top coaches/wax techs in New England.
This will be my fourth time since 2003 in Fairbanks, Alaska that I have had the opportunity to coach at the Junior Nationals. Other times include, Lake Placid, NY 2004, Soldier Hollow, UT 2007 and now Stowe, Vermont 2014.
Honestly – of all the years that I’ve been privileged to be selected to be a part of the coaching staff at JNs – being right here in New England is what we all dream of! This is super special! Not having to pack for a plane trip or gear up for a time change or altitude change … makes travel for both athletes and coaches much simpler!
What’s the most exciting aspect of being a coach at the JNs? Well, if you watched the Olympics – many, if not all, of the athletes that represented Team USA in Nordic or Biathlon in Socchi at some point or another raced on one of the divisional teams at the Jr. Nationals. Specifically – several athletes on the US Nordic Team and Biathlon Teams are from New England – Liz Stephens, Sophie Caldwell, Sean Doherty, Russell Currier, Susan Dunklee, Hannah Dreissigacker to name a few.
The next generation of so many talented and developing young xc skiers/athletes will work hard next week to possibly become the next Team USA!
I look forward to sharing a few photos and experiences here as well as unique perspective on what it’s like to coach and work together as a team at the Jr. Nationals!
Weekend Winter Escape”
White Mountains, New Hampshire
December 13-15th – 2013
Click here for full brochure and registration details!
Join regional fitness experts Laura Creagan and Sarah McLaughlin on one of the most exclusive experiences of your winter! These fitness professionals will guide you on a journey that will forever change how you approach your health and winter! Having motivated athletes around New England to achieve their goals, take charge of their fitness, your guides will lead you on a journey of self discovery.
To register or have questions Email us. A deposit of % 50 is required with registration, with full balance due by November 30, 2013. Flexible payment plans are available. In the event that the trip has reached capacity, a waiting list will be taken. NO REFUNDS requests will be honored past November 30, 2013, unless your spot can be filled. Please inquire if you have any questions or special needs.
You’ll stay at the AMC Highland Center lodge in Crawford Notch, NH. Highland Lodge is a four-season lodge & outdoor education center, offering “green” lodging as well and backdoor access to a variety of outdoor activities. All rooms are NON-SMOKING and there are handicap accessible rooms.
Being active is an important part of a NEET Healthy Weekend Winter Escape, so plenty of winter activities will be offered, providing for all abilities. With a combination of group & individual activities & informative clinics in: nordic skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking you’ll be physically challenged in a way that benefits your body with plenty of relaxation time.
Being active is an important part of a NEET Healthy Weekend Winter Escape, so plenty of winter activities will be offered, providing for all abilities. With a combination of group & individual activities & informative clinics in: nordic skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking you’ll be physically challenged in a way that benefits your body with plenty of relaxation time.
Relaxation & Spa:
After an active day, what would feel better than treating yourself to a massage or spa therapy treatment. A full range of massage and spa therapy services can be arranged at the Omni Mt. Washington Hotel just 5 mins. from the Highland Center for an additional charge.
Starting at just $450 per person for shared accomodations
Private bed/bath accomodations start at $510 per person
** Additional NON-Participating spouse/partner, youth or children rates are available. Rates apply for non-participating spouse/partner, youth or children traveling with a registered participant. See brochure for full accomodation options and details.
Trip & Registration includes:
- Accommodations for 2 nights, 3 days at the Appalachian Mountain Club Highland Lodge, Crawford Notch, NH.
- All activities–nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, evening movies and social gatherings.
- Trail passes for all 3 days for nordic (xc) skiing, snowshoeing, hiking.
- Two world-class coaches, on-site for a weekend long motivation.
- Evening on site discussions to help get you started.
- Breakfasts and dinners (alcohol available for a nominal additional charge).
- Offsite massage and spa treatments may be arranged on side for an additional charge.
- A 4 week personalized post trip training and nutritional recommendations to meet your goals.
- A NEET winter ski hat.
Oct. 6, 2013 – Maine State 1/2 Marathon – Done!
Laura C. finishes 1/2 Marathon ahead of time goal.
It was a perfect day (not too hot, not too cold) to marathon or 1/2 marathon in Portland, Maine. Having done this race many years ago as a team – I semi-knew the course and hills ahead. Running on this course and the neverending cheering alongside me was an amazing experience! Way to go organizers of the Maine Marathon – I would do it again! Well done! I finished with a time of 1 hour and 48 mins – landing me in the top 20 in my age group! Not too bad considering the small amount of time I could commit to training up for this one! Very happy!
Oct. 2, 2013 – Christina P. Racing with Team USA in World Laser Boat Championships – Rizhao City, China – Day 2
I am receiving sporatic emails and communications about the World Laser Boat Championships in Rizhao City, China — but as I hear them I am ridiculously excited for Christina P. – who has dedicated so many months training and working up for each laser boat event. Today was Day 2 of WC Regatta racing. Christina P. currently is the 3rd place TEAM USA female Laser Boat Finisher/Racer and this is her first year doing this event! More details to follow as I hear them. Results are here.
News link here and photos on Christina here.
Sept. 14, 2013 – Team NEET races as Mixed Team in Lobsterman Triathlon
What a day to race! 70+ degrees, sunny, dry and light winds. Tri-Maine’s Lobsterman Triathlon in Freeport, Maine is always a super fun race organized in the best possible way. Sean C. raced the 1.5 KM Swim + 26 mile bike ride, and tagged-off the chip in transition to Laura who ran the 10K. It had been many years since racing in this event – it was so nice to see the evolution of the race and to support a Maine local race. We placed 8th in the MIxed (male/female) race cat. and had fun just doing something we love.
Sept. 15, 2013 – Junior Triathlete Kate W. Takes Back-to-Back Top 1 & 2 Finishes!!
Robin B. Takes Top 10 in Age Group Pumpkinman Triathlon 2013
September 7, 2013 – Robin B. Posts Personal Best – Top 10 Age Cat result at Pumpkinman Sprint Triathlon
This past Saturday – NE Fit Athlete – Robin B. recently raced in the 2013 Pumpkinman Sprint Triathlon in South Berwick, Maine. She placed 8th in her age category 50-54 and had a personal best in this year’s Sprint race. She finished this year’s event with a time of 1:30:45 s. Super job Robin – even after a tough past week!! You are an inspiration!
Jeff D. finishes strong in Ironman Lake Placid
NE Athlete – Jeff D. is the newest Ironman – Lake Placid, NY Ironman – 2013 – Congrats to Jeff!!
He finished in 67th place with a finish time of 11 hours and 39 mins. He swam 2.4 miles in 1 hour 13 mins, Biked 112 miles in 6 hours and
6 mins., ran 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 1 min.
Congratulations, Jeffrey, on your finish!
Still waiting to upload photos from Jeff’s LP Ironman – but until then. Here is the link to see photos.
Laura C. & Carole A. Race Garneau 2013 Quebec Grandfundo Race.
August 11, 2013 – Grandfundo Quebec City done!
Laura Creagan raced in the 110 KM Quebec City, QC Grandfundo Bike Race alongside almost 3000 cyclists. Over the 70 mile point-to-point course Laura averaged 21.5 mph finishing with a chip time of 3 hours and 15 mins. She placed 19th place out of 118 cyclists in her age category. Fellow York Cyclist and good friend – Carole A. also raced in the event and shattered her previous year’s race (by almost 30 mins) time with a chip time of 3 hours and 27 mins. She placed 17th place out of 106 racers in her age category.
Jr. Triathlete places 2nd in age group in first race
Jr. triathlete Kate W. raced in her first triathlon this past weekend – the Wolfeboro Jr. Tri. Not only did she finish, but she placed 2nd in her age group! Way to go Kate!
Disaster Relief 5K – Giving & The Spirit of Racing
This past weekend I realized how long it had been since I had jumped into a straightforward, low-key 5K running race. My friend Carole told me that the race was for the Victims of Sandy. Knowing that I would be racing for those in need (beyond myself) and not racing for an extrinsic reward truly encouraged me to get racing again.
Honestly – I was unsure how I would do in a straight 5K race after a slow “build” back up to now (after a horrible dental problem riddled fall). As it turns out – not too bad! Reflecting back on this past weekend – I feel that doing the 5K for a cause – was a fun, “no-stress,” easy way to get back into the spirit of racing (& in the spirit of the holidays… GIVING to those in need). Having nothing but my running shoes on my feet and running gear on my back was very liberating. Not having to pack or think much ahead about my bike, race wheels, helmet, race belt, bike pump, swim goggles, towel, extra gadgets, gels, bars, spare parts, etc… (Triathletes – you know the drill here.) – made life very simple this weekend.
The race was hosted by Loco Running in Exeter, NH and boy did they run a nice race! I definitely will be racing in another one of their great events! Great organization, course support, coverage, timing and post race food. 100% of the proceeds went to the American Red Cross to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. I took top 10 for women – 7th place with a time of 22:50. Carole placed 1st in her age cat. with a time of 23:35. Way to go Carole! There were more than 450 runners racing! Here is the link to the results.
Just before Sandy arrived – Christina Raced in frostbite Series Oct. 2012
Ashley takes – 1st for Americans, 30th in Age Cat at ITU World Tri Championships Auckland, NZ
Wow!! I couldn’t help but take this photo in front of the US Flag while in NZ – just before the opening ceremony/parade. Here’s Ashley proudly representing Team USA and the US AF Academy at the ITU World Triathlon Championships Grande Finale in Auckland, NZ.
I will start by saying – what an amazing journey and experience to have been in New Zealand as a coach! A few days ago, I just returned from coaching Ashley T. at the ITU World Triathlon Championships in Auckland! Arriving only a few days out from the start of the race with only a few days to train on the
bike & run course as well as get a feel for NZ ocean – Ashley competed against deep international competition and in front of thousands of spectators – pulling out a solid race this past week! In her Age Category-she was the first American Jr. Female athlete finisher and placed 30th in her age category with a time of 1 hour and 20 mins in the Sprint Tri Distance. Her performance on the run portion of the course surpassed all of her personal goals! She put down her personal best run time in a sprint tri with a time of 21:55.
Here’s a link to Ashley’s finisher’s video
Link to results.
Auckland Harbor, NZ
World Tri Champs New Zealand
Finally have access to WiFi here in Auckland, New Zealand. I am here with Ashley T. As she prepares to race in the ITU World Tri Championships and what an amazing place. After more than 19 hours of plane travel today we were finally on our bikes riding the course with Team USA! In a word – challenging! Rain, high winds and ever changing conditions in the 50s.
Question: Why continue to train or race?
It’s the 2nd week of August and I have finally found an extra moment to sit down and reflect.
I have been competing in xc skiing, triathlon, running and cycling events for many years. And almost yearly, I pose the question to myself… “why continue to train or race?” I mean… honestly… I’m not getting any younger. Certainly, a recent slew of health issues have reminded me of this fact. Details spared….
So how did I respond to my own question: “why continue to train or race?”
My answer: “I train and race because I can, I’m physically able to and enjoy doing so. When I am no longer satisfied with the challenge that training for a particular race or event presents… I move on to my next challenge.”
Is it really that simple??
Well, to me my reply stems from these ideas:
1) avoid mundane routine and being stuck in a rut
2) if you’re bored doing the training, move on
3) love what you are doing, training or participating in
4) be challenged ….
If 1-4 aren’t coming together for you personally….
Refocus and seek new and exciting challenges. There are plenty of them!!
A Lifelong Sport: Jr. Triathlon Clinic planned in York – Article in Portsmouth Press Herald
Thank you Rachel Collins of the Portsmouth Press Herald for writing such a terrific article in the “Get Off the Couch” section in the Portsmouth Press Herald on Wednesday, June 20th. The article titled “A Lifelong Sport: Jr. Triathlon Clinic Planned in York, Maine” highlights the success of NEET Athlete Ashley T. who qualified for the World Triathlon Championships and her thoughts on coaching, coach Creagan (owner of NEET) + the NEW Jr. Triathlon Sessions being offered in July 2012 through the York Parks and Recreation Department by New England Endurance Training.
NEW! Junior Triathlon Introduction Summer Camp – registration is open as of today
Junior Triathlon Introduction Camp coming to York next month
New England Endurance Training, owner – Laura Creagan, through the York Parks and Recreation Department, will offer a Junior Triathlon Introduction Camp for boys and girls between the ages of 14-17. Registration for this four-week clinic starts on Thursday and the clinic will run on three consecutive Fridays starting on July 20, with the last class scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 10.
Registration is available here on the York Parks and Recreation website.
The full news story is available on Seacoast Online News.
BIG NEWS!! NEET Athlete – Ashley T. Qualifies for ITU World Triathlon Championships in New Zealand with Team USA
Ashley T. of Windham, NH recently qualified to compete in the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Triathlon Championships to be held in Auckland, New Zealand, October 2012. She will represent Team USA in the championships. Ashley is a top ranked Jr. Female Triathlete from New England who is coached by local multisport coach Laura Creagan and owner of New England Endurance Training of York, Maine.
Ashley qualified after racing in several USAT Sanctioned Triathlons and ranking in the top 10% of all US Female Triathletes in her age class (18-19 year olds) in the 2011 triathlon racing season. Ashley raced in the following USAT sanctioned events (in New England and New York) and placed in the top 3 of her age category in the following events: Black Fly Sprint Tri (1st in Age Category), Black Fly Olympic Tri (1st in Age Category), Mini-Mussel Triathlon (1st in age category), Crabman Sprint Triathlon, Cohasset Triathlon (3rd in age category).
Previously, Ashley qualified and raced in the USA Triathlon Jr. Nationals and is a 3 time winner of Northeast Junior Triathlon Development point ranking races.
Ashley first tried triathlon at a “kids triathlon” when she was just 10 years old and has stayed with it, competing in sprint distances for the last 4 years and trying two olympic distance events.
Ashley will attend the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado 2012.
Over the years, Ashley has been a true inspiration to young aspiring athletes and gives back to the sport of Triathlon by volunteering at the Windham, NH Granite Kids Triathlon benefiting Autism Speaks. This spring and summer, Ashley will continue to train with Coach Laura Creagan of New England Endurance Training.
Reverse Triathlon… Perhaps the next best thing?
Two weekends ago I raced in the – N’oreaster Reverse Triathlon centered at the University of New England campus in Biddeford, Maine. Before I ramble on… I’d like to give cheers to the director, organizers and volunteers on the quality of this event (only its 2nd year). The course was in good condition, it was clearly marked, directions were good, there were loads of great volunteers, nice to see a healthy post race vegan chili for a change, seriously nice awards and raffle, plus spiffy t-shirts for all racers! Bravo! Best of all – right here in Southern Maine!
So – what is a reverse triathlon? Simple, participants run, bike then swim (sequence of events in reverse of today’s traditional triathlon).
However, if you know your Triathlon history the sequence of events hasn’t always been “swim, bike… run,” as it stands today.
According to my oldest sibling, who has competed in Triathlon since the 1980’s (as long as Scott Tinley), and of course verified by Wikipedia – “Triathlon is considered by some to have its beginnings in 1920s France.According to triathlon historian and author Scott Tinley (and others), the origin of triathlon is attributed to a race during the 1920s–1930s that was called variously “Les trois sports”, “There are documented tri-sport events featuring running, swimming, & cycling (not necessarily in that order) in 1920, 1921, 1945, and the 1960s. In 1920, the French newspaper L´Auto reported on a competition called “Les Trois Sports” with a 3 km run, 12 km bike, and a swim across the channel Marne. Those three parts were done without any break. Another event was held in 1921 in Marseilles with the order of events bike-run-swim.”
Interesting read and makes me wonder if we’ll see more Reverse Triathlons, or different sequenced Triathlons in the near future? Honestly – I sure hope so!! I truly enjoyed competing in “reverse” and was pleasantly surprised at how refreshingly fun this event felt. It brought back the fun to a sport that can at times be … a bit repetitive… swim, bike, run… swim, bike, run… 🙂
Oh… how did I do? 5th woman overall and 1st in my age group! Not too bad for a first crack at reverse. Results can be found here.
Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon
Last weekend I raced along side many other fellow Nordic Skiers in the 21 KM Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon to benefit the Ski Museum of New England (the cause seems somewhat ironic, but I will get to that in a moment).
Despite warm temps during the week leading into the event (for that matter the entire winter) and rain the day before – mother nature cooled down enough the night before to provide -2+” of fresh snowfall the night before and super-hard packed ice tracks to ski the entire course in.
Waxing was interesting, but not impossible! I applied a light Rode klister-binder for my base (given the ice) and waited to apply my the topcoat upon arrival. With temps in the upper-20’s (warming from the teens over night). I opted for a little Rode Violet Klister with a light hard-wax coat to prevent ice/snow build-up. Turns out my combination worked A-1 and I was as happy as one could be considering the challenging conditions.
For what it’s worth… I actually enjoy stressing over the wax. It’s an interesting mix of chemistry, art and bravery. Not to mention so many memories I have every time I smell klister being warmed by a torch… I won’t go there. I realize that I’m different….
How did I finish? It was a mass start race (women & men starting together) which quickly funneled from 6 lanes into 2 in less than 100 feet (on ice). I seeded myself up as far as I felt comfortable (probably should have put myself further up – in hindsight) and ended up placing 4th overall w/ a time of 1 hour 27 mins in the women’s race and 1st in my age group! Not too shabby – considering how many actual days I had on snow and my valiant attempts to ski every weekend – despite summer conditions here in S. Maine.
For most of the course – good double-poling was key, but striding every up was also key. Several people lost time on the ups, gave up and herring-boned – due to poor wax. Thankfully – I was able to ski just about every uphill.
Back to my statement regarding the irony of the race beneficiary being the: “Ski Museum of New England”. Why is this ironic? As it is now March 19th and yesterday we hit 70 degrees (still not even Spring) – about 20-30 degrees above norm. Plus – Southern New England posted the warmest/snow-less winter on record. My thought is that xc skiing and skiing in all of it’s beautiful forms – may be heading to into the history books (or the Ski Museum). Will skiing exist in 20 years? Or just become a photo in someone’s photo album? Will we sit around reminiscing about how amazing skiing once was? Even writing these statements greatly sadden me as skier and as a winter sports enthusiast.
XC skiing is the one sport that makes you feel like you are flying over the snow, fully free.
I honestly hope that my above statements do not come true, but I am very worried after the winter of 2011/2012.
Overcoming No Snow in New England
It’s February 14th! It seems like everyone is celebrating Valentine’s Day… except for me!
Not to rain on the loving, hugging and valentine exchange, but if you’re like me you just don’t feel much in the mood for any of the above. By this time of year, usually I am excited to reach V-Day. It usually marks the beginning of my yearning to transition from xc skis to my road bike. Yes, of course I’ve had my road bike on the trainer and have logged countless hours, but without any winter snow arriving I am still yearning to get out on my xc skis! I have been a skier since the time I can remember walking and in all honesty I have no recollection of a “snow-less” winter. I also very much love the sport of triathlon, but enjoy transitioning away from running in the winter to give my legs a much needed change.
So… what does a skier do in a “snow-less” winter and triathlete that needs to give her running legs a break do? Well… aside from giving up on skiing (which I will never do) – head north of course and make the best of your training with other activities!!
There’s still snow up north!
The northern portions of NH, ME and VT still do have skiable snow. Each weekend I have been trekking 2 hours north up to Jackson, NH where there are 85 KM of trails open. Thank GOODNESS!!
When I am not driving north, I bundle up and go out on my mountain bike. Breathing fresh air and variety are very important to achieving balance.
What else can you do?
Rollerski. If you don’t have a pair already – rollerskiing is a great way to get off your running legs and “glide” your way to a better and more difficult workout than a run any day! V2, SkiSkett, Marwe, and many other brands are available.
Mountain Bike on trails or on the road. For many road cyclists, the preference is to stay warm and keep to the indoor bike trainer. However, hitting the mountain bike trails and/or roads on your mountain bike will feel great once you get going. It’s a great way to break up the monotony of biking inside on your training only. Mountain biking offers a great strength, core and balance workout specific to biking.
So – if you’re looking for alternatives – take my advice. Go north if you can (while the snow lasts), get onto your mountain bike, and/or think about investing in a pair of rollerskis!
There’s always March… we may still get winter after all?
Winter, winter — where art thou???
So – I just returned home from the opposite end of the country – Texas. It was the exact opposite weather – dry, sunny and not a spec. of water to be found. It was in the mid-60’s just about every day. I know – some of you would love this… but to me I couldn’t wait to get back home to find a long trail or road to be outside on.
With rollerskis in hand – I attempted to trick myself into thinking that if I skied hard enough in Texas – it would snow back home in Maine.
Nope!! Here it is Jan. 6 and still just a sprinkling of snow to speak of. Almost every nordic ski center that I frequent is still closed. What to do?
Do I fret over it? To top it all off – the Winter Triathlon Nationals were moved to Montana in lieu of the lack of snow here in New England.
Again – what to do.
I have pledged not to give up on skiing or winter triathlon. I instead wrote to USAT requesting that a qualifier be done in New England. We will see what happens.
So – today instead of stewing yet another day of the lack of skiing locally, I put my ski gear on (pants, hat, gloves, etc.) and ran the ski trails! With just a dusting of snow covering them – it was a great change of pace and scenery from the multiple loops that I endured while in Texas (there were no long windy, treed roads where I was in TX – just a loop that I did over and over).
Today I encountered sections of ice in the fields, clumps of frozen hay and mud along with plenty of obstacles. It was great footwork and just a nice change from the norm.
So – I say – instead of giving up on our wacky weather, put your skis on hold until mother nature delivers, grab an old pair of running shoes and head for a new trail.
Breath some fresh air and just live up the quiet peacefulness of winter. UNTIL the snow arrives!!
Getting Ready for Winter
Winter is just around the corner. How should you prepare yourself and xc skis for the winter ski season? It’s October and tri season in New England has officially ended. Time to devote time to your winter training and racing plan. Get your wax box stocked for the winter season with the necessities and get your body ready for the winter ski season ahead.
Next week – I will post details on how to get yourself and your gear ready for winter xc ski season.
100 Miles behind – what next?
Hard to believe that just 4 days ago I biked up the entire NH seacoast, the southern coast of Maine to the Nubble Light and then back into just a touch of the state of MA. I did not do this alone – my biking buddy Carole (her first time doing a full century), Sean (my husband) and Elise (my daughter) also joined-in as well. For more than 6 hours I felt fully removed from it all… and had a great day of riding! Topped off with a final jump into the ocean with bike shorts on! Awesome for September!
We all started the route together, but Sean and Elise started with a simple goal: ride home from NH which was approx. 30 miles. With Ice Cream as a reward to my daughter – I’ve never seen Elise pedal so beautifully! She was the youngest rider out on the course. She enjoyed so many smiles and “thumbs-up” from all the riders! Daddy and Elise ended up biking 43 miles (when all was said and done) – all the way up to the top of the bike course. Nice job guys!!
After splitting from Sean and Elise – Carole and I continued our quest. For just one day- It was just my bike and my friend Carole biking along with me for the many hours of work ahead. No race, no clock, no TV, no internet, no stress… The serenity of putting down the mileage over some of the most scenic roadways in the Northeast was and always is just a great feeling. This was my 4th year completing this ride and most likely my last. I say “last” not because I didn’t enjoy it or felt that it was difficult, but because I feel that it’s time to move onto new and different challenges. I’m thinking of entering the Three Notch Century up in the White Mtns. of NH or the Mt. Washington Century in 2012 which would land me in the valleys and mtns. of scenic NH. Awesome scenery and a great change of pace.
So to complete my list that I started in my previous post – why did I do a Century Ride?
#1 reason: great feeling of accomplishment
#2 reason: it’s not a race… it’s a ride… take all day… have fun!
#3 reason: you never know what will happen over 100 miles… the unknown is great to take on.
#4 reason: nice people turn up everywhere. On the last 20 miles when we were pretty tired – we happened to meet a group of 3 guys from northern NH (Thanks guys) let us draft on the back of their wheels for a nice 20 mph avg. all the way back to the start.. that was AWESOME and really motivated us to push it on in!
#5 reason: the best of all… a great dinner following the event with Carole and her family + 2 very good glasses of french wine!! NICE!!!
Happy travels all… I am switching gears to skiing and will be posting more to this tune as I clean the bike up for winter training.
100 miles in the rain?
To my Texas friends and family who have been enduring the worst drought in years – I am sad to report that it has been raining on and off for two days here. I wish I could send it down your way! Our forecast is for more precipitation all the way through next Thursday!
So – I pose this question in this soggy wet weather – how does a cyclist plan to ride 100 miles on a bike in rainy, soggy weather? Yes – this cyclist is me!
Answer: Gore tex and plenty of zip lock bags!!
This weekend marks the annual Granite State Wheelmen Seacoast Tri-State Century Ride. That’s 100 miles on a bike passing through MA, NH and Maine. All on the beautiful seacoast with plenty of ocean views to boot! This year will mark my 4th year biking the course. It’s a beautiful course and draws hundreds of cyclists from all over the northeast & US. I am so lucky this year a have a friend, my husband and daughter joining me for the trek.
Some of you are probably asking… Why do a century ride? That’s a long time to be on a bike.
Number 1: It’s NOT a race – it’s a RIDE !! You can take all day to complete it… and no one cares if you’re first or dead last. Honestly, I love racing, but look forward to just enjoying going long and laughing along the way!
Number 2: The “after ride” dinner and wine!! Who knows where or what I’ll eat… but I won’t have to cook and I haven’t had a glass of wine in over a month!
Number 3: Can’t think of a better way to spend a fall day!! Some people enjoy shopping, others hit the spa and still others go golfing… I hike, bike, run, kayak, etc.. in the fall!
Number 4: Quality “me” time…just me, the road and my bike (and great company)!
Number 5: Great way to build endurance for winter xc skiing!
Number 6: Strengthens mental fitness and teaches me to endure beyond my normal comfort zone…
Number 7: Gotta love those fig newtons, gels and bars after mile 70!
Number 8: For a good night’s sleep …
Number 9: To be continued after the weekend. I will add more after the event…. 🙂
Pumpkinman all weekend
Wow! It’s already Monday and most of my weekend was spent up in or thinking about Berwick, Maine!
On Saturday, I awoke at 4:30 am to eat my usual oatmeal, blueberry, banana, wheat germ and kefir mix + 1 large cup of Java. At 5:45 am I drove up to Berwick, Maine to compete in the Pumpkinman Sprint Triathlon (distances of 1/3 mile swim, 14.5 mile bike and 3.1 mile run). The morning was chilly (55 degrees), but beautiful for what I had planned as my last summer tri of the season. The last time I competed in this race was in 2009 – in the Half-Iron Distance Race (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run). In ’09 – I spent many hours preparing for the rigors and distance of being out on the course for 5+ hours. But nothing could prepare me for the hill run out of the water… and what was to come.
This year – I had mixed emotions about racing on this course again (albeit short course) – mainly due to the hill climb (or the Powderhouse Hill Challenge) directly off the swim portion of the race into T1. The last time I did this race – in 2009 I ran full speed up the hill (taking it head on) and felt a strong “pop” in left achilles, but continued to race the race through to the finish (I was not about to quit). I posted a strong bike leg averaging 19.9 mph on the bike (in pain) and ran much slower than my target pace on the half-marathon portion due to severe pain in the lower left calf/ankle. 2 months later – I found out from my PT (after bouncing around from Dr. to Dr.) that I had partially torn my left Achilles tendon (probably on that hill) and my left knee followed suit (freezing up on Christmas Morning) with no support from the lower leg due to a tendon tear. I spent several months on crutches, forced to hang out on the couch and missed entire ski racing season due to pain. Training was off the table until I repaired. Coaching my ski team was a super challenge in 2010. For 2+ months – I was essentially misdiagnosed by different physicians – who couldn’t figure out the root cause of my troubles.
2 years later… I am finally back to running a 7:31 min/mile (not my fastest, but slowly getting there) and averaging 19.9 mph on the bike over the short course.
THIS Saturday – I had demons to overcome as I started this race…
I took my focus instead and thrust it into the swim. Starting in the very front of the pack in my age group. I decided that – “TODAY.. I was going to be a great swimmer!” “today… I will swim my hardest and if I am passed… I don’t care…I will start strong and hold it as long as physically possible!”
As it turned out I surprised myself… I was the second fastest swimmer in my age group (never done that before) – and ended up passing several swimmers from other age groups…
OK… the swim was done… onto the hill climb….
I decided to approach the dreaded hill using a “side-hill bound approach…” I decided that no matter how silly I looked getting up this hill – I was NOT about hurt my Achilles tendon for a second time. I switched on and off from left-to-right bounding – keying more into my hips/lateral portion of leg muscles rather than my achilles/calf muscles.
IT WORKED!! I was NOT the fastest up the hill – but I survived it WITHOUT INJURY!
Off with the wetsuit and onto the bike. Once on the bike – I felt good! Legs a little heavy from the previous weekend’s 60 mile ride.. but pretty good despite! Mentally and physically – I was in the right place. I knew that today was a better day than 2009. I gave it my all with the exception that I had to slow on a few rough pavement patches as I practically threw myself off on two occasions hitting huge cracks.
Quickly transitioning to my run…
I forced myself to hold a 7:30 min/mile. This was my target for today! Humming a few classic 1990’s rap songs (I have no idea where they came from… they just popped into my head) — I did it!! I WAS VERY PLEASED with my achievement!
I ended 2nd place in my age group of 35-39 with a time of 1 hour and 18 mins. to complete the course. I placed 9th overall in the women’s race out of 401 women and 44th overall in the women’s + men’s race out of 800+ racers. NOT TOO SHABBY for a mental comeback on this course.
Okay – REPEAT ON SUNDAY … except this time it was Sean’s turn and my turn to babysit. Sunday, Sean woke up at 4:00 am and left the house at 5:00 am for his turn on the Long Course (minus the Run portion). I couldn’t think about waking up that early two days in a row… but he managed to wake me… with so many lights going on an off… ARGH!!
He competed in the USAT Aquabike Nationals in Berwick which was a 1.2 mile swim and 56 mile bike. With less time to train that planned – he felt okay in the swim and survived the two lap swim in the lake. On the bike was where he stepped it up… averaging around 21-22 mph over the entire 56 mile course he had another great bike.
Sean finished in 3rd place overall in the men’s event and came home very proud of his accomplishments! Nice job Sean! Next year – you’ll have to spend more time in the pool 🙂.
Yes! New England is a great place for endurance athletes
Welcome to New England Endurance Training. This blog is dedicated to all those New England athletes who train here in the Northeast. As a coach and athlete – we spend many months training in the cold raw months of winter either on snow, in the rain or cold. Some of us head inside onto the bike trainer or treadmill and some others head outside and cherish the winter on xc skis. We train in any and all conditions accepting what nature dishes us as part of the New England/Northeast experience.
One day you’re heating the house and the next you’re turning on the AC. That’s the Northeast in a nut-shell.
Yes – there are many great champions and athletes from New England – so for those who may hale from the Western US – perhaps in sporty Boulder, CO… or farther afield… it may not be perfect up here… and the weather may challenge you daily… but we are a hearty bunch and oh so creative when it comes to getting our training done outside.
I speak completely of my own opinion here – we (most of us) enjoy all 4 seasons!
Training and coaching up here offers up a sort of natural poetry that rings in your mind as you bike or run on quiet almost perfect roads of New England. My meanderings on this blog will be wide and varied and I look forward to sharing my coaching and athletic endeavors here with anyone who may be interested.