Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Week in Review: May 30, 2012

by Brenda Chroniak

Break out the seersucker and linen, dust off the white shoes, and freshen up your Nantucket reds--summer is here!

Meg MacSwan and Matt Mead both started their summer (or, technically, ended their spring) at the Run to Remember (Meg in the half marathon and Matt in the 5-miler), while Steve Sian headed north for a 25K run in Maine. All had strong finishes.

This coming weekend is another big one for BTT with both Mooseman and Rev 3 Quassy, a tent series race, looming large. On Saturday, Victoria Arrigoni, Brenda Chroniak, Jess Douglas, Braden Larmon, Jorge Martinez, Laura Miyakawa, Jamie Strain, and Ross Stern will take on the Olympic distance race at Quassy and Mary Beth Begley, Tim Daley, Matt Mead, and Maggie O'Toole will race the Mooseman International Distance.

Sunday, we have Bryan Canterbury, Matt Coarr, Mike Corcoran, Ed Galante, Brendan Hall, Mike Hollywood, Pete Jensen, Brett Johnston, Sean McCormick, Elaine Metcalf, Carrie Mosher, Paul Newman, Matt Pokress, Kayle Shapiro, and Austin Whitman all racing the 70.3 at Quassy (Carrie is aquabiking), and Andy Hackett and Mark Vautour will be racing the same distance at Mooseman.

Also this weekend, Erica Allen and Grace Tkach will do the Charles River 1-Mile Swim (better you than me), Meg MacSwan will do her best to Escape the Cape (I wouldn't mind being trapped there for the next few months), and Kate O'Malley will run the Covered Bridges Half Marathon (how many covered bridges do you actually run over?).

Good luck everyone! Have great races, and please remember to post your results and goals so I can properly shout you out in next week's WIR. And if anyone would like to contribute a race report, please do!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Brenda's Week(s) in Review: May 23, 2012

by Brenda Chroniak

What a beautiful weekend we had! I hope everyone got out to ride, run, swim, race, or just enjoy the outdoors. The Walden swims are in full effect, as is tri season, and here's where the blue and green have been in the last two weeks:

While many of us were climbing the Kanc the weekend of May 12 and 13, Janice Biederman was climbing Mt. Wachusett and finishing first in her AG. Way to go, Janice! That same weekend, Matt Pawa and Kim Kaltreider raced the NE Season Opener, also landing themselves on the podium--Matt took third in his division at the tri, and Kim was second in her AG at the duathlon. Congrats, guys!

This past weekend was a busy one for BTT, with the snazzy new uniforms making their debut in races from Maine to Florida. Jess Douglas was vying for the Hard Core Award by racing the American Zofingen short course duathlon in the Catskills and winning her age group. Read Jess' race report to learn how she conquered this brutal course.

Sean Sullivan and Bethany Edwards also had great races at the Sugarloaf 15K and Just Du It Duathlon (respectively), both finishing third in their AGs, with Sean also finishing fourth overall.

South of the Mason-Dixon line, Audrey Perlow took first in her Age Group at the Ground Force IT Power Sprint Triathlon, and Trish Kelly and Janice Biederman raced the Florida 70.3. Janice placed fourth in her age group and neither BTT-er encountered alligators or brain-eating bacteria, thankfully. Read their race report to find out why both were a concern.

Last, the team had a great showing at the Harpoon 5-Miler, both as volunteers and as runners. Brenda Chroniak, Lucy Herzog, Shay Pokress, Jay Higginbottom, Sue Bruce, and Kelwin Conroy ran as a "Six Pack" team, coming in second in the "mostly female" category, while Ed Galante raced solo. All had solid runs, and were thankful to the great support on the course from fellow BTT teammates.

Phew! That's a lot of racing! Congrats to everyone on starting the season off strong, and good luck this coming weekend to Matt Mead, Meg MacSwan, and Dan Schorr who are all doing the Run to Remember.

Race Report: American Zofingen Short Course Duathlon

By Jessica Douglas

This race is epic.  I knew it would be tough going in, but I had no idea what I was in for.  

The race is held in New Paltz, NY, right in the heart of the Catskill Mountains.  It's pretty easy to get to, take the pike to 87 south in NY, about 3.5 hours.

The race is run by a small multisport shop, which was a little difficult to find, as they had moved to a new location, and I did not get the email with the new address.  It is a very small race, very low key.  Not a bad way to start the season.  There are several options. Short Duathlon - 5 mile trail run, 29 mile road bike, 5 mile trail run, Mid Distance Duathlon - 5 Trail, 29 Bike, 5 Trail, 29 Bike, 5 Trail, and Long Duathlon - 5 Trail, 87 bike, 15 trail.  I chose the Short Course, FoBTT Jana did the Mid-Distance for the second time.  They also offer ITT's of 56 and 112 miles.

The area is beautiful, and we had spectacular weather (sunny and mid-70's).  It is hilly!  We drove the course the day before, which really helped to know where the tight turns are. There is very little road that is flat, most of it is climbing or descending, and there are several tight turns off of descents.  I was very glad that I had a new 12-27 cassette and brake pads put on my bike the week of the race!

We got to the race and got transition set up in a beautiful field.  The Race Director played the "Star Spangled Banner" on his bagpipes, but before he did, they did a small dedication of the race to a close friend and racer, G. Chris Gleason, who passed away in the Philadelphia Marathon this past year.  I was not expecting this, and it was emotional, as his wife, sister, and several family members were there to race under his race number (he had already entered the race) in a relay.  It is obviously a tight community and I talked to a lot of people who knew Chris.  

Racing the short course was nice, as I got to watch the longer races start, each 30 minutes apart.  I warmed up, took in some last nutrition, and started the race with about 50 others.  I was supposed to try to average 9 min/mile and really wanted to go under that, but about .6 miles in, I knew that would not happen.  The trail went from an open field, rolling hills, to a single track, fairly steep and technical trail for about 1 mile, where we all slowed to a shuffle.  Then you hit an open, flat trail where you could actually run.  Then, another uphill to the 3-mile mark.  There was an aid station, which you actually passed 2x.  Especially nice on the second loop!  Then the second half of the loop was mostly downhill, some on open trails, some on single tracks, then through another field to transition.  I had to walk in a few steep spots, but was able to finish in 46:30, just a little off my goal of 45.

The first part (.6 miles) of the bike is a hilly dirt road to exit the park.  When you hit the road, you are immediately smacked in the face with a steep uphill, climbing about 400 feet in 1 mile.  Then you get a nice descent and some rolling hills through the 5 mile mark.  My calves started to cramp after the descent, as I really hadn't trained a lot of running before biking.  They settled down after a few miles and I could start to work, as we were starting the big climb to mile 15.  I didn't get to see much of the scenery, but there are some gorgeous "scenic overlooks" along the course.  There is an aid station at mile 17, and a lot of descending after that!  There are a couple of steep climbs again in the last 7 miles, where I was really grateful for the new cassette, and then you turn back onto the dirt road to transition.  I finished the bike in 1:55, a little slower than I wanted, but right where Coach Jorge thought I would be.

I grabbed a bottle from my bike to take with me on the trails, as it was definitely warm now.  There was no "shuffling" up the steeps this lap.  I just power walked my way up and ran wherever it leveled out a little.  My legs were burning and beat all over, but trail running really is much more interesting than road running and I was enjoying myself.  At this point, I didn't know how many women were in front of me.  I had passed a few, but the field was so spread out, I had no idea where anyone else was.  So, I tried to keep an eye over my shoulder for anyone coming up on me and pushed as much as I could. When I saw the last field, I was pumped.  The race finishes in a rustic pavilion, where they serve burgers, fruit, pasta, and beer!  Final run was about 52 minutes, again slower than I wanted, but I had nothing left in the tank.

I was surprised to see that I was the 5th female finisher, and won my age group!  I was especially pumped to learn that I won a gigantic beer mug.  Even better, the multi-talented race director also brews beers, so we had a nice Stout and IPA to drink after the race!

I met so many nice people there.  I was hanging out by myself most of the time, as Jana was still on course (she won the mid-distance race for the 2nd year in row BTW), and had no shortage of racers and supporters to talk to.  They were so friendly, and I learned a lot about the race organizers and the man they dedicated the race to.  There were massage and ART practitioners there, so I got some work done before driving home. 

I was assured that there is a pattern for the weather for this race.  They have 1 year of horrendous weather (which they had last year), then 4 years of spectacular weather!  So, we are set for the next three years.  I am hoping to go back there with a little better training under my belt and see what I can do.  Who's with me??

Here is a link to the website if you want to check out the course and start planning for next year! 

Race Report: Florida 70.3

by Tricia Kelly and Janice Biederman

Janice Biederman and I made our way down to the Sunshine State for Florida 70.3.   Ironman found a new venue for 2012, and I think they have a winner.  I would go back again.  Janice is not so sure, despite the fact that she podiumed!!!  Way to go Janice.

The trip started off with a bang, with Janice discovering her credit card and license missing from her wallet.  With no picture ID, she used her mid-west charm and flexed her Ironman muscles to get on the plane (and through IM registration) without a picture ID.  Well done Janice. 

On to the race.  First, the venue was great.  It was in a beautiful park that had a lovely breeze all weekend.  The hotels were all about 15 minutes away, so no walking to the start.  But with the low hotel rate of $60/night… I’ll take the 15 minute drive.  Parking was a breeze.  Expo was one of the best tri expos I’ve been to.  (The best race expo was Healdsburg half-marathon, which served wine...)

The Swim (Trish):
Swim anxiety started early for me.  Swimming is my weakest sport.  Let me count the ways:
·         Facing the reality that this was NOT a wetsuit swim.  82 degrees.  One degree shy of a complete wetsuit ban.
·         Gators… IronKids race was delayed so they could capture the 2 alligators swimming in the lake.  They found 1… and then let 200 small children in water.  We believe all children were accounted for…
·         Race morning, my speed suit did NOT pass the legal test.  No worries.  I have my credit card, I’ll just buy one now.  I think the game warden (chief referee) thought I was high- the IM shop was not open at 5:30 AM.
·         Finally as I was walking to the beach, some tool with a Boston area uniform, warned me about the brain-eating amoeba that is present when the water temperature gets too high.  He said he considered backing out, as he had heard about a kid who was waterskiing, took water in the nose, and was dead within the week.  Thanks a lot ***hole.  At least I was no longer concerned about the alligators. 

The actual swim was sort of nice.  It was like bathwater – a balmy 82 degrees.  I was in an early wave.  Waves were still going out upon my return, 57 minutes later…  I am OK with my swim, considering no wetsuits.  NOTE:  I thought of Joe/Crystal during the swim, as some guy got a good hold of my back and almost dunked me.   The swim course was a crazy M-shape, which meant 4 turns.  Turning at buoys is always a cluster-f***.  All in all, a decent swim.  No alligator attacks.  Can someone check in with me in 7 days to make sure I haven’t succumbed to an amoeba? 

The Swim (Janice): 
What Trish left out about the swim was the quality of the water.  Because the bottom of the lake was rather undulating at the beginning, we started about 20 yards from shore.  This required us to stand in slimy muck waiting for the gun to go off.  Within 2 minutes in the muck, I had sunk to my knees.
Finding a good draft was impossible, since you couldn’t see your own hands in the water, let alone anyone else.  The murky quality of the water also led to a lot of collisions, since you couldn’t see when you were coming up on someone.  This also led to some, hopefully unintentional, groping.  I did, however, set a PR for the swim.  Unfortunately it was a reverse PR… slowest swim.

The Bike (Trish):
As a slow swimmer, I have added advantage of coming out of the water with mostly men (from the later waves)… which means I am generally surrounded by faster cyclists.  I did take advantage of this.  Unfortunately this did not go unnoticed.  Not quite sure if I got a drafting penalty, as he did NOT say I had to stop at the penalty tent… just to drop back.  To my defense, I had just passed a line of 3 guys.  I was trying to pass the lead guy, but couldn’t… that is when I got caught.  The problem was, I couldn’t drop back, because there was another guy practically on the lead guy’s wheel.

Drafting was an issue.  Thoughts of Jorge every time I see a team of 2-3 cyclists clearly working together.  Unbelievable.

For the record.  The 2012 venue is NOT FLAT.  No raging hills, but there were some decent long and steady climbs. 

I felt pretty strong the whole bike, but almost lost it with a crazy neck pain.  I noticed it around mile 30, I was fairly uncomfortable around 40.  By mile 48, I could barely turn my neck without shooting pain.  Very happy when I racked my bike. 

The Bike (Janice):
Having done this race in its prior Disney location, this new bike course was quite a shock.  Where the old course was almost entirely FLAT, this course had lots and lots of rolling hills, and LOTS OF TURNS!!!  The turns in particular, caused a lot of bunching up and inadvertent drafting.  There was, of course, some not-so-inadvertent drafting.  As I was passed by numerous pelotons.  Like Trish, I was having a good ride up until about mile 35.  The low back pain set in with a vengeance.  It was too painful to stay in the aero bars.  The bottle (and cage)-ejecting rough road did not help the back situation at all.  Like Trish, I too was happy to get off the bike. 

The Run (Trish):
This was a 3-loop course, which I like… I felt like I was on autopilot and could use visualization for the 3rd loop.  There were 2 sizable hills, which we saw 3 times.  My family drove up, and the 3-loop run made it nice for spectators.  I had a decent run for myself.  Decent for me, means that I’m not hating myself.  I really felt that I maintained a controlled pace/heart rate.  I employed the Carolyn Soules – douse yourself with water – method of temperature control, which was key to feeling decent.  I didn’t die the last 3 miles (like I did at New Orleans).  It was HOT, 90+ with full sun.  Fortunately, it was not humid and there was a nice breeze. 

THANK YOU to the lady with the hose.  I fully drenched myself on each loop. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Week in Review: May 9, 2012

by Brenda Chroniak

'Twas the night before TW and all through Beantown, BTT-ers are checking their bikes up and down. They're looking at brake pads and trueing their spokes, while working out carpools and planning with folks. Their sneakers are ready, their bathing suits packed; the rooms are assigned, and by God there'll be snacks!

But before I skip town, there's one thing left to do. I have to and must send the Week In Review! And so I'll exclaim and will not dilly-dally, HAPPY TRAINING WEEKEND TO ALL! SEE YOU IN WATERVILLE VALLEY!

This past weekend Meg MacSwan and Doug Sherwood both got some podium time at the Total Image 5K and 10K. Congrats to Meg for placing first in her AG and second overall in the 10K, and to Doug for taking third in his AG and and 11th overall in the 5K. Talk about a power couple! And speaking of placing, Audrey Perlow took third in her AG at the Frederick Running Festival 5K. Way to go, Audrey!

Jamie Strain had a solid finish at the Avia Wildflower triathlon, and I'm also excited to be including some local tri results in the WIR. Summer is almost here! We had a great team showing at the Sudbury Sprint, including a podium finish for Sean Sullivan, who took first in his age group. High fives and hugs are also due to Sean McCormick, Elaine Metcalf, Gregg Tucci, and Steve Sian, who all had great race results.

This weekend, while many of us will be climbing the Kanc and hoping Pat Dwyer picks up the bar tab, others will be racing at the New England Season Opener. Good luck to Kim Kaltreider in the duathlon and to Matt Pawa and Peter Jensen who are racing the tri. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Week in Review: May 3, 2012

by Brenda Chroniak

If the damp weather has got you down, please allow me to brighten your week with Laurie's race report from Ironman 70.3 New Orleans! Congrats again to the BTT ladies who raced it.

Virtual high-fives are also due to Brett Johnston, who this past weekend finished his first 50K trail race in 4:35:52, coming in 13th overall, and to Matt Coarr and Bethany Edwards who had strong races at the James Joyce Ramble.

This weekend, Meg MacSwan and Doug Sherwood will be running the Total Image 10K and 5K, respectively; Bradon Larmon will race the Polar Bear Duathlon; and it will be the battle of the Seans at the Sudbury Sprint, as McCormick and Sullivan both represent BTT. Stay warm, guys!

Thanks to everyone who has been diligently posting race results and goals to keep the WIR alive! I hope you're all excited that King of the Hill/Queen of the Hill has started back up, and are looking forward to Training Weekend, which is fast approaching! Please get in touch with our social and athletics coordinators if you are interested in helping out with shopping/prepping or leading a ride/run.

Race Report: New Orleans 70.3

by Laurie Damianos

This is the first time I have ever flown to a triathlon which turned out not to be a triathlon after all. This was an adventure. Less than two months earlier, I had agreed to join Mary Beth Begley, Maggie O'Toole, and Trish Kelly in New Orleans for the Ironman Ochsner 70.3. This was meant to be fun and not an A race for any of us. Nancy Arena, Beth Edwards, and two of Mary Beth's friends were also coming down for a long weekend of food, music, and other sorts of entertainment.

We shipped our bikes via Tri Bike Transport, probably the only part of the race trip that went smoothly. When we picked up our bikes at the other end, we were told the winds were too strong to check our bikes in transition. We walked them back to our hotel in the French Quarter and booked two cabs to drive us the 8 miles in the morning. What we did not know was that cabs in New Orleans would not wait. They  came and left before we could get downstairs, only two minutes late. The hotel staff flagged down cab after cab to no avail; they either had fares coming home from a late night or they balked at our bikes. We considered riding the 8  miles in the dark with no lights on bad roads, but none of us really wanted to do that and we were not sure where we were going. Finally, in an act of desperation as we realized we might miss the race, Maggie ran out into the street and blocked a cab in a large Suburban-type vehicle, begging him to take us and our bikes. The cab driver, Elijah, was a gift from the heavens. He folded seats down and helped us carefully stack our bikes in the back. They all fit, and we piled in, holding our wheels and gear bags on our laps. 

We got to the race just as they were closing the entrance to transition. Normally, I get the race jitters and would have been a mess by now, but we had already learned that the swim had been canceled and that an extra 2-mile run had been added to the start of the race. Many of you know that I like the swim, and I suffer through the run, so this turned the race into something I would never have signed up for. In fact, it took all the pressure off since I really did not care any more. My goal at that point was to cross the finish line. I was not the only one with this attitude. In fact, everyone around me was relaxed and talking and laughing. It was quite the social scene.

Once the pro waves went off, they lined up the age groupers in our original waves and had us start in pairs, just a few seconds apart, to help stagger the course before we got on the bike. Maggie and I started together, and Trish and Mary Beth started together. It felt very much like we were back in kindergarten on a field trip. For a brief moment, Maggie and I considered holding hands while we crossed the starting line. We were laughing as we ran and were even more amused to see a few participants race in goggles and swim cap with one actually running in his wetsuit!

The bike was less amusing.

We started off with a head wind, were hit with a cross wind, and then finished with winds coming from everywhere at once. It was all I could do to get down and keep my bike solidly under me. People were going down left and right. Early on, I saw Trish at the side of the road with a girl who had crashed. Trish yelled at me to get help and, in the second I took my eyes off the road to look over, my front wheel went into the same joint in the pavement that had brought the other rider down. I knew I was going down as I heard Trish gasp but somehow, some way, I managed to wobble out of that crack and keep going. With police support at every intersection and EMS crews scattered along the course, it did not take me long to send help. Maggie did not go down but managed to finish with three flats and only two spares.

The rest of the ride was like this: wind, wind, wind, riding next to the endless levee, a dead black voodoo cat lying with its tongue out in the middle of the road, lots of long dangerous joints in the pavement, crossing over a draw bridge (scary!), more wind, and why are there caterpillars all over the road? I saw Maggie and Mary Beth a couple of times on the course, but no words were exchanged - just small sympathetic hand waves. Even though the bike had been shortened to 52 miles (because the recent storm had left too much debris), I felt completely beaten by the strong winds on the flat course.

I have never run more than 13 miles in one day, and my longest training run this season had been a split 10-mile run so I found myself pondering the feasibility of completing 15 miles. I seriously considered quitting several times but stopped listening to the debate in my head and decided that I would feel worse if I did not finish. The 2-loop run course was like a flower with several petals. Because of this, I was able to see the others multiple times as we wound around and around. They did not look as if they were enjoying this either. Beth, Nancy, and the others spurred us on with their enthusiastic cheering , ignoring our scowls and swearing as we passed by them. We all finished in the scorching heat. Our savior, Elijah, picked us up again and brought us back to showers and food, and we enjoyed the rest of our stay immensely.

Did I like this race? It was hard but it was fun. The race was well supported with plenty of water and fuel stops complete with sponges, Bonk Busters, and sun screen. The volunteers at the water stops were mostly young kids (if they were students from the University of New Orleans, I definitely feel old!) who were energetic and fun. There was music on the course and a good band after the race. The Blue Angels had been scheduled to do an air show but unfortunately that was also canceled due to the winds. Having canceled the swim two years in a row, the race director finally promised to look for a new swim location next year. Will I do this again? I am thinking about it but I would stay for Jazz Fest next time.