Saturday, August 25, 2012

Week in Review: 8/25/2012

by Brenda Chroniak

Welcome to the weekend, BTT! I waited until the last possible moment to send this out so everyone who raced last weekend could get their results in and send race reports. Thank you to everyone who did.

Let's start off with a HUGE CONGRATS to everyone who raced and an even HUGER (is that a word?) congrats to Austin Whitman for his Kona qualification at Ironman Mt. Tremblant, placing 4th in his age group. Clearly the Canadian air agreed with him, and it seems he wasn't the only one--Brendan Hall, Will Bruce, Matt Coarr, Mike Corcoran, Ed Galante, Kayle Shapero, and Paul Newman all had fantastic races. It's also worth noting that Kayle was the 3rd Age Group woman out of the water that day, placing 11th in her age group--in her first-ever Ironman. YOU GO, GIRL!

Word on the street is the group that went up to race had a phenomenal time, and Hard Coarr put together a very thorough race report, so if you're thinking of taking on Tremblant next year, if you've already registered, or if you just want to hear what his race was like, take a read!

Last weekend was also a big weekend in Gilford, NH, at Timberman, with Tim Daley, Jamie Strain, Mark Vautour, and Trish Weston racing the 70.3 and Grace Tkach and Maggie O'Toole doing the sprint. That Saturday Maggie totally crushed it, placing third in her age group, and Grace had a terrific race, too, then Sunday we had Jamie and Trish both on the podium, placing third and second in their respective age groups, with Mark and Tim both posting solid times as well.

Of course, last weekend was also Age Group Nationals in Burlington VT, and BTT had a strong showing with Pat Dwyer, Jamie Strain, Sean Sullivan, Meg MacSwan, Laura Miyakawa, and Jess Douglas all in the Olympic race, and Audrey Perlow racing the sprint. Pat and Jamie both finished top ten in their age groups, despite a crazy choppy swim, and there were a lot of other great results and PRs across the board that day. Thanks to Laura and Audrey for both writing up great race reports.(Laura's here. Audrey's here.)

A shout out is also due to Mark Pelletier for a solid race at the Westborough sprint, and because our athletes do more than just triathlon to stay in shape and keep sharp, Brett Johnston and Steve Sian both ran a crazy 50K trail race with strong finishes, and Chris Borges posted a great time at the Providence Rock N Roll Half Marathon.

Last but not least, I'll leave you with a really nice Ironman Lake Placid race report from Matt "Serious" Pokress. 

Race Report: Age Group Nationals

by Audrey Perlow

Title:  How does it feel to be 18th best?

During the Olympic trials I found myself sitting on my sofa saying to my boyfriend: How can I not be good enough at a single sport on the entire planet to represent the United States?  Not a single sport??

A few weeks later I received an email from USAT that I had qualified for AG Nationals at the Olympic distance.  EXCITING!  Nationals!!  The Olympic distance was sold out, however, and the email encouraged me to sign up for the sprint distance.  Done!  I signed up and decided, in honor of this being a national championship, I would go swimming.  On July 2 I began to incorporate swimming into my training.   It’s almost embarrassing to admit I trained at all because my swimming is awful, but I really tried.

I have to say, I am certain I had the worst equipment at Nationals.  I have a 6 year old road bike I race on, no areo helmet, and I wear my training sneakers b/c I can’t be bothered to put speed laces into my racing flats.  I knew, however, at least no one would steal my stuff in transition.

I felt pretty good on the swim.  Nothing awful happened and I swam as expected.  I was slow but not hurting.  (In retrospect, if I was doing okay I should have gone harder.)

After the swim I couldn’t find my bike.  The day before I had taken 8 pictures of my bike in transition including a picture of the letter at the end of my row.  I was in row E.  Unfortunately, I found myself running around row D.  I also could not get my wetsuit  off .  I pushed down the panic and silently yelled at myself:  PULL IT TOGETHER NOW.  YOU HAVE A MARGIN FOR ERROR AND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO LOSE THIS RACE RIGHT HERE IN T1.  GO FIND YOUR $%#$&%#  BIKE!

I finally located my bike and extricated myself from my wetsuit and got underway.  I biked hard.  It was a strong bike for me and I passed a few women, including ONE from my AG.  I was confused b/c I was sure my swim was slow and my transition was worse and there should be more people ahead of me and I was biking well.  OMG, were they THAT FAR ahead of me??

I made it back to transition without a mechanical (always a big happy moment for me) and carefully found my bike (there were 1200 bikes in there!) and put on sneakers.  I hit up the run where I finally passed women in my AG (3-4 of them).  That was super satisfying.

There was a 41 y/o woman running right near me that wasn’t interested in letting me pass her so we pushed each other until the final straightaway where I finally kicked it in and sped past her and a few other women in the final meters.  (Remember this giant burst of speed for later in the story.)

At this point I felt as if I had for sure made Team USA.  The top 18 from each AG qualify and my time would have put me around 7th in 2011.  I was pumped with my race and my boyfriend and I took lots of pictures that had US flags in them.  Finally, enough time had elapsed where I could go see the results….

I was 18th.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-that was uncomfortably close.  AND THEN, since worlds is in 2013, I had to see if any 29 year-olds would bump me from the top 18 as their age next year is what counts for the 2013 Team USA.  When all was said and done, I was 18th in the 30-34 AG, headed to London next September, by 2 seconds over 19th place.  That’s right, *2* seconds.  Nineteenth place was a 29 year-old who had started in a different wave than me so I never saw her during the race.  It still makes me nervous to think about!!!

I’ll tell you what, though, 17th runner-up has never felt so AWESOME :)

(I’m giving an A for Audrey here…l was trying to come up with my own symbol like Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, etc…)

Race report: Ironman Mt. Tremblant

by Matt "Hard" Coarr

A bunch of us traveled up to Mont Tremblant, Quebec, for their inaugural Ironman (only the second IM race in Canada)!  When registration opened last year, we actively recruited among BTT and friends to gather a group to head north for this new IM.  

A group of us visited Mont Tremblant over the Fourth of July (and Canada Day) to check out the course and see what we were in for.  This exploratory trip was well worth it, as it allowed us to have a preview of the bike and run routes, which makes race day much less surprising.

For race week, we rented a house up on the hill behind transition.  This was home for 12 of us (7 IM racers, 5 SOs).  A couple other BTTers were up for the race too but staying with other family and friends, yet they still had time to hang out with us and prep for the big day.  Several other friends were also up in Mont Tremblant to race (FoBTT, QT2ers, and Minuteman swimmers).  It was a busy weekend with a lot of familiar faces all around town from registration to the taper swim to the final couple bike rides. 

At our registration, the lines were really quick and the whole process only took about five minutes! Plus we got some cool swag including a super nice backpack, an IM Mont Tremblant license plate frame, and a baseball cap.

All our training over the previous year came together this past weekend as nine BTTers raced the first IMMT!  The resort community really knows how to organize a great event!  The kickoff dinner opened with a local performance troupe of drummers opening things with a bang!  They also had an appearance by Pierre Lavoie, who's a Canadian national celebrity (former age grouper ironman champ) who has been very prominent in getting Canadian children into physical activity. After the dinner, they had a band performing and a fireworks show (you'll have to ask Ed...I was trying to stay off my feet).

Friday afternoon and Saturday morning were all about the carbo load!  For the big breakfast I joined my fellow QT2 coachees at Hotel Mont Tremblant in the old village.  We definitely consumed more pancakes, french toast, eggs, and potatoes than a normal person would imagine is possible.  Back at the BTT residence, there was a lot of eating going on throughout the day!  Newman takes the prize for the always having a pretzel in hand!

Fast forward to Sunday morning, and I woke up ten minutes before my alarm (my first alarm was set for 3:30am and my second alarm was set for 3:31am).  I hop out of bed and start on my QT2 race day fueling plan, which starts off with a boat load of applesauce!

A couple hours later, a few of the housemates who were not racing dropped us off near transition (we were VERY thankful!!) and the adrenaline started pumping!  

Transition closed early since we had to walk a bit down the street to get to the swim start (air temperature was about 47 degrees). The swim was a one loop swim in pristine water in Lac Tremblant Nord with an out-of-the-water mass start!  To kick the race off, for the pros at 6:50 and again for the age groupers at 7:00, they had both a large canon (not a small starter canon) and a flyover by a military fighter jet!!  Then off we went! GO TIME!!  The water temperature was perfect competition temperature, even a bit chilly at times in a full wet suit!  The swim was very physical the entire time.

My swim was definitely a bit cautious (I wanted to take it easy after inhaling some water during the IM Germany swim last year).  I finished the swim in 1:25:33, which was a bit slower than my PR in IMLP in 2010 (1:08:56 swim).  

I felt strong coming out of the water.  I had a good solid run back to transition (a first).

The bike is a really nice course.  The course follows the same route twice.  In each loop, there are three out-and-back segments -- the first one is an out-and-back on Route 117 (very fast, open, rolling hills), the second one is a really short, mostly flat, out-and-back into the village of Saint Jovite, and finally there's an out-and-back along Chemin Duplessis, which is the big climbing segment (some steep climbs, but they're short and you have a chance to recover).  The weather all day never really got above about 70 degrees, so it was ideal for racing!

I just focused on keeping my hear rate and power in my target zone on the bike.

Next up the run!!  Just a little marathon to go!  The marathon conditions were just about ideal! Cool weather, partly overcast, a passing five minute shower, and a mostly flat run course that was largely on a crushed stone bike path!  The run route is essentially one long out-and-back with a quick side spur (also out-and-back) on the way home. This meant lots of opportunities to see teammates and cheer them on (and to size up how far ahead or behind you are).  My goal was to have a nice steady low-to-mid z1 run for the first loop and then aim for high z1 to low z2 for the second loop.  I managed to stay on my pacing the whole race, but the first presented some GI distress that forced a couple stops in the big blue boxes.  Luckily, I was able to get my innards settled down during the first loop and pick it up a bit on the second loop.  

Overall, I felt like I had a strong day. In the end, my official time was 11:17:08 (just missing my PR time of 11:17:02 by six seconds!!)

Right after I crossed the line, I saw Will, who had finished just two spots in front of me!  

After I finished, I was standing in the food line, and, about 10 minutes after crossing the line, it started to downpour and thunder!  I felt so bad for the BTTers and friends who were still out on the course!  The rain didn't let up for an hour!

There were some awe inspiring performances out there from Austin's Kona-qualifying race, to Mike and Kayle's first Ironman finishes, Ed's huge PR, and great performances from Paul, Will, Elaine, and Brendan.

Later that evening, a small group of us headed back down to transition to watch the last hour of finishers come in before midnight!  The ski village and the finisher chute were packed and dance party lights were flashing!  It was inspiring to see the determination on these ironmen and women who had been out there for a very long day! At midnight, they had a small fireworks show to celebrate the close of the ironman!  They even kept the lights and music going for one guy who didn't quite make the cutoff finishing at 12:05, and Mike Reilly got the whole crowd to say "you are an ironman" to him!!

Monday after the race we went to the awards banquet to cheer on Austin.  The food was great! My favorite part was the caribou stew!

This race was in incredible experience!!  The two highlights of the race for me were the incredible organization that the IMMT team put into this race, and even more importantly, spending most of a week hanging out with some amazing friends!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Member Spotlight: Nancy Arena

by Mary Beth Begley

Nancy Arena (BTT 2007) is the reigning BTT Female Athlete of the Year having been awarded this honor after an outstanding 2011 season. In addition to her BTT honor, she received Honorable Mention honors from USA Triathlon.

Unfortunately in 2012, Nancy has seen limited race action since having hip surgery in December to repair an injury sustained in a bike crash at the 2011 Age Group Nationals. Recovery time is long and painful but we hope to see Nancy back in action in 2013.

Where are you from? And what do you do?

I grew up locally on the south shore in Scituate; in fact, I just attended a high school reunion where I proudly showed pictures of my Cervelo R3 and Guru. I think my bikes stood out amongst all the baby pictures. I’ve been living in Charlestown since I returned to the area from Connecticut in 2006.

I’m currently working at a large multispecialty practice as a Physician’s Assistant (PA) but still moonlight on occasion for Dana Farber Cancer Institute where I spent five years as a PA before switching jobs.

How did you get started in triathlons? When was your first tri? What race?

While training for the 2000 NYC Marathon, I injured my hamstring and IT band so I decided to “cross train” and this is how it all started. My first triathlon was at a Tuesday night race series sponsored by CATS, a local tri team in Farmington, Connecticut. I figured the swim part would be easy even though I hadn’t swum since I was 10 years old. I was completely wrong. I also used a mountain bike that weighed more than me. I got totally smoked but I was still hooked.

My first road bike was a blue Bianchi or “blue steel.” No aero bars (didn’t even know what they were), no race wheels, no GPS or heart rate monitor – I just raced old school. I raced only sprints that first year then moved up to the Olympic distance. My first half was at St. Croix. Just me and the blue steel and thankfully she came with a granny gear that I used all the way up “the beast.” I had no idea what I had gotten myself into but could not stop.

What is your favorite thing about triathlon?  Your least favorite?

I love to train and the daily sense of accomplishment with completing the training goals. I love being on my trainer to watch ELLEN; I tape her every day and if anyone has an “in” on how to get me a ticket to see her live, please let me know. I cover a lot of ground on my trainer like watching a full season of True Blood and Mad Men. 

Of course, the stress of getting it all in when training for long course - not enough hours in the day. I also don’t particularly love swimming but I am getting there and couldn’t do it without swimming masters, love the camaraderie of the pool, my lane mates make it fun!!!

When not swimming/biking or running, you can be found …

Working, shopping, drinking wine, grocery shopping - I love shopping at Whole Foods. I like to cook but don’t do it enough, but it’s fun to try making dishes I’ve had in restaurants.

What's your funniest/scariest/most memorable triathlon moment? (pick one - or more if you have more to share)

Umm...that would have to be my graceful move of wiping out in Burlington (2011 Age Group Nationals) at mile 24 ish....wiped out on sand around a corner, hit my head, heard my helmet crack , got up and the adrenaline made me keep going. Finished the race, but tore my right hip labrum. I’m paying for that now.

Most memorable would be LP 2008- RAIN RAIN and more RAIN, but I felt great!!!! I never felt so good at the finish line.

List three adjectives your friends would use to describe you.

Stubborn, driven, self- deprecating at times, and sarcastic.

Do you have any role models or a favorite motivating/inspiring quote?

HA - I believe it is "Lance had cancer and Jim has broken ribs, so stop whining" at Reach the Beach race a few years ago...

Favorite pre-race (pick one) song/meal/ritual

Guns and Roses, Paradise City.  Of course the meal is apple sauce, banana, Gatorade and protein powder

Finish this sentence: It may surprise you to learn...

I can take a shower, get dressed and be ready to go out in less than 12 minutes.

What attracted you to BTT?

I met a bunch of the BTTers at a race many years ago and was so impressed with the camaraderie , team members cheering each other on... makes going to the races that much more fun. 

Is there one epic race that you are most proud of?

IMLP 2008 - had a great race.

You had a tremendous year in 2011, did you do anything differently than in past years?

Yes, due to continued hamstring/pirifomis injury, I didn’t run for 5 months, and worked with Aaron Brooks who specializes in addressing biomechanical issues - tedious work but I think combined with rest, and decreased  volume, I was more efficient, and my running and biking was faster. I also need to credit Lauren Bonaca for our Wednesday am secret training sessions :-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lake Placid 2012 - Matt "Serious" Pokress

Each year at LP requires a slightly different perspective. The number one goal, of course, is to execute and go as fast as my fitness allows. Four years ago I was confident, but Kona qualification was terra incognita. Two years ago I wanted to prove that KQ was not a fluke, and I was scared and motivated all winter knowing there were at least three other proven qualifiers in my age group. This year KQ alone was not enough - I wanted to move up the ranks.

I have reasonably detailed records of all my training going back to 2004. It is humorous how many “empty” days I had throughout the springs of 2006, 2007, and even 2008. Times have changed. Every week this year I compared my output to what I had done the corresponding week in 2010. That can be a dangerous game, especially when adding something totally new (and totally awesome) like the Six States Ride. Still, I would be a fool to deviate from what brought success in 2010. Finishing atop my age group at Rev3 in early June was a first for me at a race of that caliber. That result, in the midst of the big runs and rides, gave me a good feeling. I never feel like I have done enough. Never.

Swim (56:55 11th AG/65th OA)
After an arrogantly aggressive start position in 2010, which resulted in too much pounding, I reverted to a position more to the right. Still starting in the second row, but with a much smaller crowd. The start was clean and relaxed and I hooked onto a perfect set of toes. Checking the clock at the end of loop one I saw 27:XX. That is quick for me, but I have gone 28:XX in the past and still ended up around an hour for the whole deal.

Shortly after re-entering the water I somehow pissed off the guy behind me. He took a few angry swipes at my ankles, after which I felt the timing strap flapping around. For the remainder of that lap I was cognizant of the fact that the chip might already be gone. Nothing to do but stay focused on the moment. I would deal with the chip later.

For the next 1.2mi I followed another good set of toes, and popped out at 56:55. This is over three minutes faster than I was in 2010. In addition to a new (better fitting) wetsuit this year, I added an extremely painful weekly swim session against Pat Dwyer at the Arlington pool. There was early evidence that the equipment and training were making a difference as I have been able to hang onto Joe Kurtz's toes for almost two whole loops at Walden a few times. I don’t think the course was short. Joe does.

The timing chip was my top priority as I went to the wetsuit strippers. Sure enough, after the peel I had a strap without a chip. My experience working as a timing volunteer in 2009 was invaluable here. Not wasting a moment, I ran back to the timing tent at the swim exit and called out my number. They handed me a chip on a new strap and I watched as they wrote down my number and last name. After that it was as if I was shot from a gun. T1 ended up being one second faster than my best.

As it turns out, my chip got stripped off the strap along with my wetsuit. It was on when I left the water, explaining why my swim time was properly registered initially. They found it in the sand after I was gone. Going straight to the tent was the right choice, though, and this is a fantastic example of volunteer experience contributing to better race execution. I will also be sure to bring my own timing chip strap to future races in case I am issued a short strap again.

Bike (5:22:21 10th AG/42nd OA)
Two years ago I was surprised to lower my LP bike split by nine minutes. I had high expectations this year given how powerful my training rides have been, and how I seem to be going faster on equivalent output at races. The swim placed me further up the string than I have been in the past.

The one truly humorous event occurred as I went too fast through the first aid station. The first two bottles slipped out of my hand. The third got knocked out and hit me right between the legs. I never expected to need an athletic cup for protection during a race. 

After the most confident descent I have ever had into Keene, I was motoring along Route 9 right on the watts. I got way ahead of myself and started dreaming about what my finishing time might be. There is very little room for this in Ironman, especially when not even two hours into the race.

Usually I overlap with the lead male on the out-and-back section of the bike, but Andy Potts was already on his way to Wilmington by the time I got to Jay. I counted the remaining bikes as I approached the turnaround and confirmed that I was in a good position.

Once we turned up towards Wilmington it became apparent that this would not be a PR day. It was already hot and humid with a slight headwind working against us. The headwind became more pronounced on the way up Route 86. In 2010 I felt like I was floating up that hill. This year was a constant, head down, struggle against the pedals. It required a lot of mental effort to keep on top of the watts. The important thing is that I tuned in to that sluggishness and did not quixotically chase a number on the PowerTap.

Around mile 60 I heard the rumble of a V-Rod on idle. I knew even before looking over that it was the BTT course marshals (Joe Kurtz and Chris Borges). Don’t worry that I got special treatment, the bikes were way too spread out for any drafting. Joe gave me his highest compliment: "Nice swim". I explained the chip loss to them. Chris looked up the open road and (sarcastically) reminded me to stay four bike lengths back. They followed me to the top of the descent into Keene, and then Chris switched on my Contour camera. We stuck it to the side of his helmet expressly for this moment.

Loop two proceeded uneventfully and I kept on the gels, sports drink, and water. I occasionally grabbed a banana just to put something solid in my stomach. As in the past, though, I derived nearly all nutrition from gels and sports drink.

It continued to be a mental challenge to keep turning the pedals over as I biked past Whiteface again. I got a nice lift on Papa Bear going past the crowd of Boston area athletes from QT2 and Psycho. My own (extended) family was positioned overlooking the oval right at the end of the 112. They rallied me off the bike and into T2.

In any race, T2 is a major relief because there is no longer any chance of an equipment failure. That being said, I may have forgotten what those first few minutes off the bike in an Ironman feel like, or I was actually more fatigued than usual. Either way, I actually sat for what felt like 30” in the changing tent after doffing the helmet and swapping the shoes. It felt like I was catching my breath, but it was just a brief mental break. Then I was off.

Run (3:22:02 6th AG/30th OA)
Two years ago I gambled and ran very hard right out of town. I paid for that later. With that experience seared into my brain the new plan was to start more slowly. The past few Ironmans I have had a lot of success walking the aid stations to ensure that I can get the fluid and calories in. This year, with the heat, was no different. I consumed at least a cup of Coke and a cup of Perform at every station. Sometimes I drank a cup of water, too. If they had ice or cold sponges I would stuff my shirt. One of the truly great feelings during Ironman is that stream of cold water running down the front of my shorts from the melting ice. Heaven.

It is tactically much easier to figure out what is going on during the first loop since the runners are few and far between. I could tell that no one was breaking records (except Potts) because some of the pros were not that far ahead of me at the first turnaround. Finishing off the first loop on Mirror Lake Drive I saw that the gaps on the age groupers behind me were not closing. I was fairly certain that I had moved into second place in the AG. I high-fived the family in both directions and then headed out of town again.

The second loop is a bit of a blur. It becomes more difficult to discern position as there are many more runners on the course. No one was passing me, though, and everyone slows down on the second loop. Apparently a college teammate of mine handed me some water at one of the aid stations. I knew he was volunteering, but the tunnel vision was in full effect.

Slicing the run into three nine mile chunks is how I mentally attack the run. Maybe it is because that last “third” is only 8.2 miles. At LP, mile 18 is just before the turnaround on River Road. Kona Qualification is sewn up starting there. Running all the way to the oval would mean begging Shay to let me do one more Ironman this year. Start walking and, well...

The miles ticked off, and though I was obviously fatigued, I had no concerns all the way back to town. When I turned up onto Main Street I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to run anyone down, but I also knew that no one was going to catch me. It was time to close it out.

The turnaround cone on Mirror Lake Drive is unreasonably far away, regardless of what loop you are on. The deceleration and 180 around it resulted in a total left hamstring lockup. The cramp was unreal, and internally (at least I think it was internal), I thought: “Not now!!” I stopped, bent over, straightened up, walked a couple of dozen steps, and was then able to shoot down towards the oval. Even Nate's new pen pal, Craig Alexander, cramped at the end of the run on his way to a Kona course record last year.

I took a long look over my shoulder as I entered the oval to confirm I was alone. Then I enjoyed my time approaching the finish as never before. Four years ago I had no idea where I stood in the race, and was gunning for a PR. Two years ago I was not only gunning for another PR, but I did not want to yield one additional second to Pat. This year the clock was already showing me seven minutes off my best time, so I actually stopped (or paused) for more high fives with the family before running the last few steps and making it official. I even heard Mike Reilly reading off some of my palmares.

Joe and Chris were just over the finish line, and after standing and talking to the family for a few minutes, I grabbed a seat right there (just like 2010). A few minutes later I was vomiting, so it was off to the med tent (just like 2010). At this point, I would consider it a weak showing to finish and not end up there.

How much is airfare? (9:48:09 2nd AG/5th Amateur/14th OA)
Experienced Ironman spectators post-race
The night before the race two years ago I looked at a picture of the 2008 start. Out of that mass of amateurs only 12 of them got to the finish before me. Could I possibly do that again? As it happened, I cut that number to nine. The day after the race this year I saw the big prints of the swim start. Only four of those people beat me to the oval! I do not take this feeling for granted as I still remember what it was like to run for four hours at LP.

Fun Pokress (FP) and I always tiptoe around the topic of Kona leading up to LP. It makes no sense to make plans until it is over. After 2010 I told the kids that if I went to Kona again they would come with us. The semantics of that statement did not commit me to taking the spot, it just made it all or nothing for our clan. FP and I had a private discussion after she and the older kids returned from the midnight finish. I had no interest in going alone. Vacationing in Hawaii with Fun Pokress is sublime, but we have done that twice and it is disruptive for the kids. We decided to think about it overnight and I would be happy either way in the morning. A short while after this conversation, I went into the bathroom and when I stepped out Ellie almost knocked me over with a big hug. Apparently her mom had just said to her "We're totally going to Hawaii!" Make no mistake: FP made it official.

Jane has now come with me to register for Kona on each of her three visits to Lake Placid. That is a very special tradition, and one she is finally old enough to appreciate. I leave all my Kona stuff at the bottom of my dresser for the months leading up to LP, but she wore the shirt we brought home for her in 2010. It was the perfect choice for that trip to the left side of the LP High School gym.

A pair of October truants

I am still baffled (in a good way) about the swim. There is no way I ever expected a swim split that was 11th in the AG and a bike split that was 10th.

What I gained on the swim I more than gave back on the bike. I am not happy with those 112 miles. Jane said last year (while I was hauling her uphill on the Trail-A-Bike): “The bikes are sad because they are moving slowly.” Damn right. I have a few months to make sure my bike is happy again.

My winter pipe dream was to run a Boston qualifying time at LP. Heat and humidity aside, it is clear that I did not have the foot speed to make that happen. I still ran through 10 people, three of whom were in my age group. Through that prism, while not the fastest, it is perhaps the best I have ever run in LP. The Ironman BQ still eludes me and pisses me off. That is a good thing.

Race day is tiring for the family, but it is (I think) the reward for what I do during the year.  This year Shay's parents, her brother, and his family came to watch the race. I think they were impressed by the whole experience. Shay's mom, in particular, has always had an outside view of Ironman and now has gained a new perspective. I am thankful she stayed with our kids when we went to Kona in '08, and watched them again this year so I could be "Serious" and Shay could be "Fun" (and ride the Kanc, which is both fun and serious) during Training Weekend. My own parents have been to LP on three previous occasions, moved in to watch the kids in 2010 when we went to Kona, and watched them this year so I could go out and have one last huge volume weekend.

About three weeks out from an Ironman FP  begins to stand for "Furious Pokress". Then I know it is time to taper. About six weeks from now I have to watch out! Seriously, I am fortunate to have a supportive crew behind me throughout the year. Seeing Shay, Ellie, Nate, and Jane excitedly cheering for me throughout the day makes the race much more meaningful. Bringing them all to the signature race in our sport will be amazing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Week in Review: 8/15/2012

by Brenda Chroniak

There are a lot of big important races coming up this weekend (Timberman, Age Group Nationals, Ironman Mt. Tremblant, TARC 50k Trail Race, Rev3 OOB) so we're going to switch things up this week and start off first by wishing everyone a huge GOOD LUCK!!!! I know you'll all do well and make BTT proud. I also know that while you're racing, you'll be composing race reports in your heads so you can type them right up and send to me afterwards. Maybe even take a little tape recorder on the bike so you can dictate while you're riding? Right!? Right...

Now, to congratulate everyone who raced this past weekend, starting with Steve Wall who braved swimming in a potentially sewage-filled Hudson and had a great finish at the Ironman U.S. Championship. Also, Tim Dewland had a great ride at the Harpoon P2P, and Audrey Perlow had a great run at the Steve Thompson 8K (which technically was yesterday, not this past weekend), placing third overall and third in her division.

Per usual, Audrey wasn't the only one on the podium this weekend. Pat Dwyer, Jamie Strain, and Lauren Bonaca ALL placed in their Age Groups at the Boston Triathlon (Pat taking first in his and Jamie/Lauren both placing second in theirs) and all had top-10 overall finishes. In Sharon, Meg MacSwan was first female overall, Jorge Martinez was second male overall, Noah Manacas placed third in his age group (despite having really only trained for the bike leg), Ira Sills placed first in his age group, and Laurie Damianos, Shay Pokress, and I all had top-10 age group finishes.And even though he didn't post his race results (tsk tsk!), Matt Pawa finished 6th in his age group.  Also, friend of BTT and Brendan Hall's wife-to-be Danielle McLaughlin had a fantastic race, placing 10th in her age group.

Congrats again to everyone who raced, good luck again to everyone who is racing this weekend, and enjoy these last few weeks of summer!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Week in Review: August 9, 2012

by Brenda Chroniak

Last week got away from me, so this week is a jam-packed two-fer! Happy August, everyone.

The last weekend in July was another good one for BTT, with Elaine Metcalf placing second in her AG in Lowell, the O'Toole sisters both placing first in their division at Wild Cat, and Audrey Perlow taking first in her age group and placing second overall at the Hugh Jascourt 4-miler. Virtual fist bumps to Glen Cote, Kyle Geiselman, Alan White, Greg Tucci, and Sasha Dass, as well, for their top-10 AG finishes, and high fives to Mark Pelletier and Steve Sian for strong finishes. And a special shout-out to Jamie Strain, who raced at the ITU Long Distance World Championship in Spain and placed 11th in his age group. Ole!

This past weekend, Noah Manacas took on his first stage race at the Tour of the Catskills, dominating some really brutal climbs. He rose through the ranks after each stage, ultimately placing 10th in his category after a grueling three days in the heat. Way to go, Noah!

Also this weekend, Eric Lambi had a great race at the Beach to Beacon 10K, Audrey Perlow was the overall winner at the Cross Country 3-Miler, and Beth Edwards won her age group at the Block Island Triathlon.

Even though he has not posted his race results, a huge congratulations to Josef Kurtz for his overall win at the Even Up Aquaman Triathlon and setting a new course record.

This coming weekend is another busy one, with teammates racing the Harpoon Point-to-Point, Ironman U.S. Championship, Brew Run, Danze Sprint Triathlon, Boston Triathlon, and of course a huge group racing Sharon. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm only doing it for the post-race margaritas and slip n slide at Fun Tony's place.

Train hard, race hard, have fun, stay safe, post your results, support our sponsors, send me race reports (please please please), and GO BTT!!