Thursday, March 19, 2009

Week in Review- March 19th

This past week was full of racing opportunities. The big "team" event was the Ras na hEireann U.S.A. 5Km....affectionately known as the "Ras". The "Ras", a big St. Paddy's weekend race, is part of the tent series, and BTTers were out in force to race and volunteer. The racers were led by Lauren O'Cullings on the women's side and Jay O'Higginbottom on the men's side. Steve Sian, Brett Johnson and Sasha Dass all put in solid performances. Lauren actually placed 4th in the ever competitive W30-35 divison. She gives us the take on her day:

We couldn't have had a better day for the 7th Annual Ras na hEireann U.S.A. 5Km. The 4000+ runners and walkers were all abuzz with St. Patty's cheer many dressed head to toe in green and with the sunny and 50 degree weather we couldn't have asked for a more perfect setting for a race.Personally, I had a great race. I had a 5K PR and much to my surprise came in 2nd in my age group missing #1 by 1 second. Really?? ONE second!?!?!? But, the highlight of the race was when I was pushing for the green, white and orange balloon arch and Higginbottom blew by my @ss with a "keep it up Cullings!" and left me in his dust. Hey, at least he didn't smack me in the butt on his way by . . .Thanks to all of the volunteers and congrats to all of the BTTers who ran!! It was great to see everyone out there!

On the volunteer's were really out in force. However, based on the picture, when someone told Brady the Ras was held in the 'Ville....he must have thought it was Waterville!

New member, Mike Williams, tells us about his day:

The Irish and Irish wannabes came out strong for the Ras 5K. Having been to Southie festivities a couple years ago, I was impressed to see such a green showing north of the Charles. The runners, spectators and volunteers enjoyed beautiful weather -- 50s and sunny. I arrived just before the race start and joined the BTT volunteer effort in the post-finish line chute. We had a large group of BTT-clad volunteers passing out medals, claiming timing chips, and packing up barricades. Several BTTers crossed the line and immediately jumped into volunteer mode -- making me feel a little lazy in my jeans and dry sweatshirt. Grace and Dave ran a smooth operation. The only problem was a shortage of medals for the slower finishers. This was disappointing for a couple reasons: 1) it was a cool medal, doubling as a bottle opener; and 2) those folks seemed to seek the "finish" recognition perhaps more than the earlier ones. All in all, a great day.

The Ras, however, was not the only race in town. Our favorite Prez, Meredith, snuck over to Southie to do the Boys and Girls Club 5k (there's no truth to the rumors she was "cherry picking"!). And, we had several people head down to New Bedford for the half marathon, which, as usual, had a stacked field. Nicole Richer smoked the course in a blazing 1:29 and change. If she keeps this up...having a kid could soon be considered a performance enhancer! BPQ, Michele, and Letia all ventured down to the whaling town. Chris Lawton, however, led all BTTers with a solid 1:28.
Great job to everyone who raced!
In other news....our own, Doreen "Dori" Miller, was honored over the weekend.
The English Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation held its annual awards dinner this week to honor the following individuals: The Eurotunnel Award for the fastest CS&PF English Channel Swim of 2008: Doreen Miller (USA) from her England-to-France 10 hour 17 minute crossing.
You can read more about the awards HERE.
This weekend is the New England Multisport Conference at MIT. Let's see some BTT colors there!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More from the BTT Time Trial...

From our sponsor, Mark Vautour of Landry's:

March 1st 2009 First Annual Boston Tri Team Indoor Time Trial (BTTITT)

A race report from a non racer

By the numbers:
1 Pedal powered blender (thank you Cycle Ops)
4 Hours of sleep the night before
6 States represented
11 Years old, youngest racer
16 Computrainers
25 Volunteers
67 Years old, oldest racer
144 Pint glasses
210 Participants
330 Harpoon Beers

1 Great Day!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Week in Review- March 6

This past weekend brought us the first annual Boston Triathlon Team Time Trial. It was a huge success...thanks in part to all of our members who volunteered and raced. A special thanks must go out to Ali Winslow who showed up at Landrys on Saturday night....and (I think) didn't leave until Monday morning! Ali gives us a writeup of her day:

When I brought the idea for an indoor time trial to Mark at Landry's, I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into... Months of preparation, emails, phone calls and finally the day arrived. We were certainly nervous, as this was the first time any of us had put this type of event together. Mark and Meredith spent the time figuring out where to put everyone, the beer (very important), the food (pretty important), Jeff and I put together the course (just a few days before, neither one of us had ridden it) and so we were ready to go. On Saturday night, we set up all the computrainers, moved all of the bikes and clothing and left the store feeling confident that we had a recipe for success. I have to say that Jeff and Tammy were so super calm and organized, it made me feel much better about the computer aspect of this event, and they had all the spreadsheets already set up (I think Jeff is an excel whiz). I think having experience with the computrainer multirider system is key for this type of event. 5am the alarm goes off on Sunday morning. I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed my clothes and headed out in the dark over to Landry's. I pulled into the garage and wasn't surprised that Meredith, Mark, Tammy and Jeff were already there doing the final setups. Grady and his crew set up all the warm up trainers in the garage and Vic and I added the music element, as I knew people needed some motivation to get going out there! I barely had time to get 1 sip of coffee in, when athletes started showing up for the first heat. The start was smooth, Richard Fries, our MC was going already with the fantastic music and wisecracks to keep everyone entertained, and our first heat produced some impressive results! It only took us a few minutes into the second heat to realize that one of our computrainers was reading a strange wattage number, in fact it was almost 80 watts off! We quickly changed it out and kept on rolling...The second heat featured several BTT athletes, BPC Coach Vic Brown and the competition was definitely out there! The leader board showed current results, and the competitive athletes were certainly checking it out to see what times and wattages were being posted by the top athletes in each heat. I was super busy getting all the athletes set up on their bikes on the computrainers, making sure that all trainers were calibrated correctly and that the trainers were all reading correctly on the computer. Jeff and Tammy were busy getting the athletes weights inputed into their computers and the BTT volunteers were guiding folks to the appropriate areas to either warm up, get food or just watch. Suddenly I realized that if I wanted to warm up, I needed to get out to the garage and hop on my bike! I set up next to Amy Robinson and Liz Kennedy, two of my competitors for the 9:20 heat. We looked around at the warmup area and realized that we were also competing against the MIT cycling team and several of the BPC athletes as well. Excellent! Bring it On! I thought to myself...I am not sure Liz and Amy felt the same... we did our warmups, some spin ups, single leg drills, "light and fast" I told them, so that they would feel ready to start the race. I had raced the Harpoon event a few weeks back, so I had an idea of what to expect, but Liz and Amy had never done an event like this, so I gave them some coaching advice about the start and how to look at their heart rates and wattage. I knew that I could sustain about 230 watts and still have some room to work, but I also was suffering from bronchitis, so I was a bit worried about what I could accomplish for the race. 9:20am, our heat started without a hitch. I strategically placed myself in the front row, so that I didn't have to look at anything but the screen. I wanted to focus on my wattage and not worry what anyone else in the race was doing, or how far back or front I was. I was conservative for the first few minutes, something that really helped me out in the end. I think people always start out too hard and they pay for it in the end. All was going smooth, I felt like I was holding a strong watts and knew I had some room to go, we hit the final hills and as I tried to shift, my chain dropped....ugh! That definitely caused me to lose time- certainly because poor Jeff had to get it back on for me, and then I had to sprint as hard as possible to get back! Thankfully I didn't have much more to go, about a mile, but it caused my HR to jump about 5 beats too early, something I wasn't really ready for! Oh well, that's what happens when you race- be prepared for anything and deal with whatever happens...I was happy with my second place finish in my heat, good enough for 5th women overall on the day. Our heat was over and it was back to business- setting up bikes, calibrating trainers, directing people to the appropriate areas. Woody was great with his strong hands to help get the bikes on and off the trainers (man those things got tight!). BTT volunteers were awesome, helping anytime I needed anything, and I think people had a fantastic time. It was great to see so many athletes racing in one day, especially on a Sunday! Thanks to everyone who contributed, we couldn't have done this without you. BTT was an integral part of this event and I know it showed the community what a fantastic team we have. Thanks to BVHP, Jeff and Tammy Godin, who not only provided the computrainers, but also the multirider system and the computers to run the event. Thanks to Woody for getting us those screens from BU, to Landrys and their staff for providing us with not only the space, but the great give aways, the bike support , and the organization! Thanks to Brian Quigley, Michael Yenke, Nancy Arena, Jeff Kreher, Ron Ulich, Trisha Kelly for your computrainers! Thanks to BPC athletes who stayed all day to volunteer and provide support. We had a great day, even if I lost my voice for several days after. I can't wait to do it again next year!
Krista Schepanovsky and Terry Reagan opted for the run rather than the bike and headed out to Clinton, Mass to tackle Stu's 30K. Krista, never shy to talk about her race, reports:

Stu's 30km is a race named after, well some guy named 'Stu', who thought it'd be 'fun' in a twisted way to organize a race that goes around the Wachussett Reservoir, an area maybe familiar to you if you'd ridden up to Mt. Wachussett. As this race has lots of long LONG up and downhills and the length and timing make it a perfect training run for Boston, but it being the first weekend in March in New England it is notorious for some crazy weather, and this year was no exception. Lucky it got a bit colder than expected so it snowed, rather than the freezing rain called for, which is just awful to run in. Still, it was very windy and chilly and around the 15km mark I was already thinking of the hot showers and clam chowder that would be waiting at the end. We were both a little slower, well ok a lot slower, than we wanted, but it was satisfying to get a long tough run in as we are both doing the Boston Marathon. I was a half hour slower than last year, and it felt twice as hard. Back in the fall I had thyroid surgery and did not run much for a few months, and it sure is hard and discouraging at times to try and come back, and I've had to remember I am just fortunate to keep on running and not worry so much about times and PRs, I am hoping that will come again...someday. But Stu's is a great race and one you'll feel super satisfied about finishing and I recommend it if you are doing a spring marathon next year.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Race Report: Fenua 5.3K (Tahiti)

We think this is a record....longest distance for the shortest race! A few weeks ago, Jeff and Rachel traveled to Tahiti to take on the Fenua 5.3K road race (oh, they were also there on their honeymoon!). They were gracious enough to give us a race report:

As we planned our honeymoon in French Polynesia, we saw that the Tahiti marathon, ½ marathon, and 5km (or 5.3k as we later learned!) fun run would take place on the island of Moorea while we were there. Moorea is ~12 miles northwest of Tahiti, and is the epitome of what you’d picture an island in the South Pacific to be.

Signing Up
We tried to sign up via the website before we left, but it lacked key information… um, like how to sign up in a method other than bringing a check by the race HQs before race day (no race day sign ups). So, we decided to wing it, and managed to find out about a free athlete bus that took us from some shops near our hotel to registration and the pasta party (we passed after seeing more flies than athletes buzzing around the food).

The race site was on a public beach area that was really beautiful, with a picturesque view of Tahiti. Like most races we have been to, there were sponsor banners, places to sit under a tent, a stage for the band to play, a podium for the awards the next day, and a finish line being constructed (complete with 2 giant pineapples). Jeff had considered doing the 1/2 marathon, but after we learned the start time was 5am, with bus pick up at 3 am, that idea quickly changed to doing the 5k (hey, we are on vacation after all… and you think that’s early, if you are ever planning doing this race be forewarned that the marathon starts at 4:30am!). After some language issues (anyone know how to say “We’d like to register for the 5k” in Tahitian?), we got ourselves signed up for the race that would take place the next day at a more reasonable hour of 8:30am.

After taking the local bus back (which was a story in and of itself… hint: it’s called LeTruck and it’s a flat bed truck with benches), the driver let us know that we could catch the 6:30 am local bus to take us down to the start (which was a better option than the 3 am race bus).

Race Morning
We awoke to some roosters (no, really… there are lots of them that roam the island and make their presence known in the mornings), got our stuff together, had a quick bite and made it out to the road to catch the local bus. It got crowded with locals as we approached the race site, and as we headed to the race start, we began to see the marathoners on the course (the road isn’t closed for the race). Both the marathon and semi-marathon followed an out and back course on the only real road that follows the perimeter of the island. Even at 7 am, you could tell the temps and humidity was taking its toll on the runners. The water stops were set up in full Polynesian style fully decorated with plenty of flowers, fruit and water.

The race village was busy with folks finishing, runners getting ready for the 5K, music playing, and a Polynesian announcer greeting finishers at the finish line. We dropped our bags at the bag drop, and did an easy 10 min jog over to the race start. Among the approximately 150 runners, we met a few Yanks at the start and chatted with them as the sun rose higher and the temps warmed. Everyone seemed to be huddled in one of two patches of shade. Right before 8:30, we gathered at the spray-painted start line and waited for the gun. We had no idea how we’d feel once we started running (it was already 60 degrees warmer than what we had been accustomed to back in Boston) and just figured we’d just wing it. The gun went off and we both (surprisingly) hit a good pace.

The course ran on local roads around the airport, with an initial turn through the local golf course. Most of the run was on dirt roads, which was much better on the legs. The last 30 meters had you turn off the dirt road and onto the beach to the finish. The runners ranged in age but there were a bunch of younger islanders taking on this race (teens and younger); some wearing team shirts, others in baggy shorts, and a few in bare feet.

We both experienced similar things during the race… At about 7-8 minutes into the race, we realized there were no km markers. At about 10-11 minutes in, we were each enjoying the music coming from a boom box a kid carried on his dirt bike as he and 2 others paced his friend (is pacing legal in Polynesia?). At 12-13 minutes there was a water stop (hooray!) but it was one of those days where we got more relief from dumping the warm water over our head than drinking. At 15-16 minutes we managed to push ourselves to run faster to pass a kid on his moped, which he used to pace his buddy (fumes weren’t helping our game at this point; we know we shouldn’t complain, but did we mention it was reeeeally hot?). There were a few people cheering their friends along the way, and we had each found our groove and ran faster than we had planned. We both finished in good times, with Rachel taking 1st overall woman by a few seconds and Jeff taking a very respectable 19th overall (in the “with shoes” category).

Some things in racing are international. The award ceremony was for all of the races and after waiting it out for Rachel to receive her award, we missed the athlete bus back to our hotel. This lead to another adventure of getting back which is a story for another day…. So, if you find yourself in this part of the world, we recommend this 5.2k run. As with most races, there are still some kinks to be ironed out, but all in all the spirit was there as was the French Polynesian touch.